1771 - 1773
The Ducal Training School at Solitude was, at first, an equivalent to the lower and intermediate levels of the German Gymnasium (high school). All Wuerttemberg officers were invited to send their sons to this school.
With respect to Schiller's Lutheran Confirmation in 1772 is to report that, probably on the request of his mother, Schiller wrote a poem (now lost) in which he reportedly discussed, in the free style of rational piety of Christian Fuerchtegott Gellert (a poet Beethoven's teacher Neefe also revered and to some of whose texts Beethoven later set various 'Geistliche Lieder' (spiritual songs), to express his emotions in light of the upcoming confirmation. Johann Kaspar Schiller's reactionr reportedly culminated in his outcry, "Bist du naerrisch geworden, Fritz?' (Have you gone mad, Fritz?).
After Johann Caspar Schiller had twice declined the Duke's invitation to send his son to the new training school, keeping in mind his son's career wish of becoming a clergy, had to give in to the third Ducal invitation. He was promised that his son would be able to freely choose his study subjects and that his later earnings would be more lucrative than in a clerical career. Carlyle's 'Supplement' has the following to comment on Johann Kaspar Schiller's reasoning:
"The straightforward Father ventured nevertheless to lay open to the Duke, in a clear and distinct statement, how his purposes had always been to devote his Son, in respect both of his inclination and his hitherto studies, to the Clerical Profession, for which in the new Training School he could not be prepared" (Carlyle 222),
and, in the main biography, on his final decision to 'give in':
"...the Duke, on learning the nature of their scruples, desired them to think well before they decided. It was out of fear, and with reluctance that his proposal was accepted (Carlyle 9).
Let us look at the daily routine of the Training School in order to gain an idea of its military character:
"5 a.m. (re. 6 a.m. in winter): Rising, Inspection, Rapport, Breakfast 7 - 11 a.m.: Classes 11 - 12 a.m.: Cleaning of the Uniforms (which were compulsory; the students wore wigs, as well) and inspection by the Duke 12 a.m.: Lunch, followed by a supervised walk in 'divisions' of students 2 - 6 p.m.: Classes, One Leisure Hour 7 p.m.: Inspection and Rapport 7:30 p.m.: Supper 9 p.m.: Bedtime (The nearly 300 students slept in groups of 50 - 60 in dormitories in which smaller sections were formed by wooden cage separations)" (Goethe und seine Zeit 83).
Outside visits under the supervision of guards were seldom granted. Carlyle reports that Sunday visits by female family members were sometimes granted, however.
The influence of Schiller's father was replaced by that of the Duke who became the new 'father' of the students.
Schiller's first-year-studies at this school were still of a general nature, encompassing humanities subjects, with Latin making up 15 hours of weekly lessons. Next to such academic subjects could also be found 'morality', 'horseback riding' and 'dancing'.
While one of his superiors, Rittmeister Faber, had to report of him, "Schiller is full of good intentions and has a great motivation to learn something. Due to his dissolute and slow nature, however, he needs to be warned and chided frequently. On the other hand, he recognizes his mistakes and tries very hard to better himself", first reports also tell of his being punished for untidiness, lack of attention during 'Grace' at the dinner table, and once he even received twelve lashes with a willow branch for buying several loaves of bread with borrowed money.
While private readings were not encouraged, some material had found its way into Solitude so that Schiller was able to read Klopstock's 'Odes' and his 'Messias'. Friedrich's attempts at emulating these writings resulted in his hymn 'An die Sonne' and in the epic poem 'Moses' (which has been lost). Towards the end of 1773, Schiller turned from religious writings to the dramas of the young German storm and stress movement, namely Gerstenberg's 'Ugolino' and Goethe's 'Goetz von Berlichingen'.
The outside world appeared to have ceased to exist for Friedrich Schiller. He never saw his little baby sister Beata Friederike who was born on May 4, 1773 and who died on December 22, 1773.