FREDERICK III. (1463-1525), elector and duke of Saxony, surnamed the Wise, grandson of the preceding and son of Duke Ernst, was born at Torgan, January 17, 1463. On the death of his father in 1486, he succeeded him in the sole government of Saxony, but divided the other possessions of the Ernestine line with his brother John the Constant. Frederick founded the university of Wittenberg in 1502, and appointed Melancthon and Luther to two of its chairs. Though he never formally adopted the principles of the Reformation, he granted to the Reformers his friendly countenance, and in 1521 he secured the safety of Luther during the diet of Worms, and afterwards sheltered him in the castle of Wartburg. In 1493 Frederick made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and was made in Jerusalem a knight of the Holy Sepulchre. He was three times imperial vicar, and on the death of Maximilian I. he was offered the imperial throne but declined it, and, in accordance with his recommendation, it was bestowed on Charles V. Frederick died at Lochau, 5th May 1525.
See life published from Spalatin's manuscript by Neudecker and Preller, 1851, and another by Tutzsehmann, 1848.