Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (10 November 1759 – 9 May 1805) was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last few years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang Goethe, with whom he greatly discussed issues concerning aesthetics, encouraging Goethe to finish works he left merely as sketches; this thereby gave way to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Die Xenien (The Xenies), a collection of short but harshly satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe verbally attacked those persons they perceived to be enemies of their aesthetic agenda.
Schiller was born in Marbach, Württemberg as the only son, besides five sisters, of military doctor Johann Kaspar Schiller (1733–96), and Elisabeth Dorothea Kodweiß (1732–1802). On 22 February 1790, he married Charlotte von Lengefeld (1766–1826). Four children were born between 1793 and 1804: the sons Karl and Ernst, and daughters Luise and Emilie. The last living descendent of Schiller was a grandchild of Emilie, Baron Alexander von Gleichen-Rußwurm, who died at Baden-Baden, Germany in 1947.
His father was away in the Seven Years' War when Friedrich was born. He was named after Frederick II of Prussia (Friedrich is German for Frederick), the king of the country his father was fighting for, Prussia, but he was called Fritz by nearly everyone. Kaspar Schiller was rarely home at the time, which was hard on his wife, but he did manage to visit the family once in a while and his wife and children also visited him occasionally wherever he happened to be stationed at the time. In 1763, the war ended. Schiller's father became a recruiting officer and was stationed in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The family moved with him, of course; but since the cost of living especially the rent soon turned out to be too high, the family moved to nearby Lorch.