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WOLFENBUTTEL, a town of Germany, in the duchy of Brunswick, situated on both banks of the Oker, 7 m. S. of Brunswick on the railway to Hamburg. Pop. (1905) 19,083. Lessing was ducal librarian here, and the old library building, designed in 1723 in imitation of the Pantheon at Rome, contains a marble statue of him. The library, including 300,000 printed books and 10,000 MSS., was, however, transferred to a large and new Renaissance edifice in 1887. It is especially rich in Bibles, incunabula and books of the early Reformation period, and contains some fragments of the Gothic bible of Ulfilas. Opposite the old library is the palace, now occupied by a seminary. The ducal burial-vault is in the church of St Mary.

A castle is said to have been founded on the site of Wolfenbuttel by a margrave of Meissen about 1046. When this began in 1267 to be the residence of the early Brunswick or Wolfenbüttel line of counts, a town gradually grew up around it. In 1542 it was taken by the Saxons and Hessians, who, however, evacuated it five years later after the battle of Muhlberg. In the Thirty Years' War, in June 1641, the Swedes, under Wrangel and Konigsmark, defeated the Austrians under the archduke Leopold at Wolfenbüttel. The town passed wholly into the possession of the Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel family in 1671, and for nearly one hundred years enjoyed the distinction of being the ducal capital. In 1754, however, Duke Charles transferred the ducal residence to Brunswick.

See Voges'Erzdhlungen aus der Geschichte der Stadt Wolfenbuttel (Wolfenbuttel, 1882); von Heinemann, Die hersogliche Bibliothek tu Wolfenbuttel (2nd ed., Wolfenbuttel, 1894). For the " Wolfenbüttel fragments " see LESSING and REIMARUS.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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