The next important step was the timely conversion of the count palatine's heir, Wolfgang William of Neuburg, to Roman Catholicism, and his marriage -with a daughter of the powerful Roman Catholic prince, Duke Maximilian of Bavaria.
Wolfgang, who became prince of AnhaltCothen in 1508, was a stalwart adherent of the Reformation, and after the battle of Miihlberg in 1547 was placed under the ban and deprived of his lands by the emperor Charles V.
1516) left three sons, John II., George III., and Joachim, who ruled their lands together for many years, and who, like Prince Wolfgang, favoured the reformed doctrines, which thus became dominant in Anhalt.
In March 1609 the death of Duke John William left these duchies without a ruler, and by arrangement they were occupied jointly by the elector and by his principal rival, Wolfgang, son of Philip Louis, count palatine of Neuburg.
However, in 1647 his title was formally admitted by Wolfgang, count palatine of Neuburg.