Henry the Fowler

Henry the Fowler (German: Heinrich der Finkler or Heinrich der Vogler; Latin: Henricus Auceps) (876 – 2 July 936) was the duke of Saxony from 912 and the elected king of East Francia (Germany) from 919 until his death in 936. As the first non-Frankish king, he established the Ottonian Dynasty of kings and emperors, and he is generally considered to be the founder and first king of the medieval German state, known until then as East Francia. An avid hunter, he obtained the epithet "the Fowler"[1] because he was allegedly fixing his birding nets when messengers arrived to inform him that he was to be king.

He was born into the Liudolfing line of Saxon dukes. His father Otto I of Saxony died in 912 and was succeeded by Henry. The new duke launched a rebellion against the king of East Francia, Conrad I of Germany, over the rights to lands in the Duchy of Thuringia. They reconciled in 915 and on his deathbed in 918, Conrad recommended Henry as the next king, considering the duke the only one who could hold the kingdom together in the face of internal revolts and external Magyar raids.

Henry was elected and crowned king in 919. He went on to defeat the rebellious dukes of Bavaria and Swabia, consolidating his rule. Through successful warfare and a dynastic marriage, Henry acquired Lotharingia as a vassal in 925. Unlike his Carolingian predecessors, Henry did not seek to create a centralized monarchy, ruling through federated autonomous stem duchies instead. Henry built an extensive system of fortifications and mobile heavy cavalry across Germany to neutralize the Magyar threat and in 933 routed them at the Battle of Riade, ending Magyar attacks for the next 21 years and giving rise to a sense of German nationhood. Henry greatly expanded German hegemony in Europe with his defeat of the Slavs in 929 at the Battle of Lenzen along the Elbe river, by compelling the submission of Duke Wenceslaus I of Bohemia through an invasion of the Duchy of Bohemia the same year and by conquering Danish realms in Schleswig in 934. Henry's hegemonic status north of the Alps was acknowledged by King Rudolph of West Francia and King Rudolph II of Upper Burgundy, who both accepted a place of subordination as allies in 935. Henry planned an expedition to Rome to be crowned as Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope, but the design was thwarted by a hunting accident near the royal palace of Bodfeld in the autumn of 935 that mortally injured him.

Henry prevented a collapse of royal power, as had happened in West Francia, and left a much stronger kingdom to his successor Otto I. Henry died of a stroke on 2 July 936 in his royal palace in Memleben, one of his favourite places. He was buried at Quedlinburg Abbey, established by his wife Matilda in his honor.

Henry the Fowler
Siegel Heinrich I Posse
Henry's seal from a document of 30 March 925. He is portrayed as a warrior, with a spear and shield. The words are HEINRICUS REX (King Henry).
King of East Francia
Reign24 May 919 – 2 July 936
PredecessorConrad I of Germany
SuccessorOtto the Great
Duke of Saxony
Reign30 November 912 – 2 July 936
PredecessorOtto I, Duke of Saxony
SuccessorOtto the Great
Bornc. 876
Died2 July 936 (aged 59–60)
FatherOtto I, Duke of Saxony
ReligionRoman Catholic


Born in Memleben, in what is now Saxony-Anhalt, Henry was the son of Otto the Illustrious, Duke of Saxony, and his wife Hedwiga, daughter of Henry of Franconia and Ingeltrude and a great-great-granddaughter of Charlemagne. In 906 he married Hatheburg of Merseburg, daughter of the Saxon count Erwin. She had previously been a nun. The marriage was annulled in 909 because her vows as a nun were deemed by the church to remain valid. She had already given birth to Henry's son Thankmar. The annulment placed a question mark over Thankmar's legitimacy. Later that year he married Matilda, daughter of Dietrich of Ringelheim, Count in Westphalia. Matilda bore him three sons, one called Otto, and two daughters, Hedwig and Gerberga, and founded many religious institutions, including the Quedlinburg Abbey where Henry is buried. She was later canonized.


Legend of the German crown offered to Henry, Hermann Vogel (1854–1921)

Henry became Duke of Saxony after his father's death in 912. An able ruler, he continued to strengthen the position of his duchy within the weakening kingdom of East Francia, and was frequently in conflict with his neighbors to the South in Duchy of Franconia.

On 23 December 918 Conrad I, king of East Francia and Franconian duke, died. Although Henry had rebelled against Conrad I between 912 and 915 over the lands in Thuringia, Conrad recommended Henry as his successor. Kingship now changed from Franks to Saxons, who had suffered greatly during the conquests of Charlemagne and were proud of their identity. Henry, as Saxon, was the first non-Frank on the throne.

Conrad's choice was conveyed by his brother, duke Eberhard III of Franconia at the Imperial Diet of Fritzlar in 919. The assembled Franconian and Saxon nobles elected Henry to be king with other regional dukes not participating in election. Archbishop Heriger of Mainz offered to anoint Henry according to the usual ceremony, but he refused - the only king of his time not to undergo that rite - allegedly because he wished to be king not by the church's but by the people's acclaim.

Henry, who was elected to kingship by only Saxons and Franconians at Fritzlar, had to subdue other dukes. Duke Arnulf of Bavaria did not submit until Henry defeated him in two campaigns in 921. Henry besieged his residence at Ratisbon (Regensburg) and forced Arnulf into submission. Arnulf had crowned himself as king of Bavaria in 919, but in 921 renounced crown and submitted to Henry while maintaining large autonomy and the right to mint his own coins. Duke Burchard II of Swabia soon swore fealty to the new King, but when he died, Henry appointed a noble from Franconia to be the new duke.

Henry was too weak to impose absolutist rule, and regarded his kingdom as a confederation of stem duchies rather than as a feudal monarchy and saw himself as primus inter pares (first among equals). Instead of seeking to administer the empire through counts, as Charlemagne had done and as his successors had attempted, Henry allowed the local dukes in Duchy of Franconia, Duchy of Swabia, and Duchy of Bavaria to maintain large internal autonomy.

Wars over Lotharingia

Map of Lotharingia in the 10th century.

In 920 king of West Francia Charles the Simple invaded and marched as far as Pfeddersheim near Worms, but retreated when he learned that Henry was organizing an army.[2] On 7 November 921, Henry and Charles met and concluded the Treaty of Bonn, which they called a pact of friendship. Henry then saw an opportunity to wrest Lotharingia when a civil war over royal succession began in West Francia after coronation of king Robert I. In 923 Henry crossed the Rhine twice, capturing a large part of the duchy. The eastern part of Lotharingia was left in Henry's possession until October 924.

In 925 duke Gilbert of Lotharingia rebelled. Henry invaded the duchy and besieged Gilbert at Zülpich (Tolbiac), captured the town, and became master of a large portion of his lands. Allowing Gilbert to remain in power as duke, Henry arranged the marriage of his daughter Gerberga to his new vassal in 928. Thus he brought that realm, which had been lost in 910, back into the kingdom as the fifth stem duchy.

Wars with Magyars

The threat of Magyar raiders improved his situation, as all the dukes and nobles realized that only a strong state could defend their lands against barbarian incursions.

In 919 Henry was defeated by the Magyars in the Battle of Püchen, hardly escaping from being killed in battle, managing to take refuge in the town of Püchen.[3]

In 921 Magyars once again invaded East Francia and Italy. Although a sizable Magyar force was defeated near Bleiburg in the Bavarian March of Carinthia by Eberhard and the Count of Meran[4] and another group was routed by Liutfried, count of Elsass (French reading: Alsace), the Magyars continued raiding East Francia.

Henry, having captured a Hungarian prince, managed to arrange a ten-year-truce in 924, though he agreed to pay annual tribute. By doing so he and dukes gained time to build new fortified towns and to train a new elite cavalry force.[5] Henry built fortified settlements as a defense against Magyar and Slav invaders. In 932 Henry refused to pay the annual tribute to Magyars. When they began raiding again, Henry, with his improved army in 933 at the Battle of Riade crushed Magyars so completely, that they never returned to the northern lands of Henry’s kingdom.[6]

Wars with Slavs

During the truce with the Magyars, Henry subdued the Polabian Slavs who lived on his eastern borders. In the winter of 928 he marched against the Slavic Hevelli tribes and seized their capital, Brandenburg. He then invaded the Glomacze lands on the middle Elbe river, conquering the capital Gana (Jahna) after a siege, and had a fortress (the later Albrechtsburg) built at Meissen. In 929, with the help of Arnulf of Bavaria, Henry entered Duchy of Bohemia and forced Duke Wenceslaus I to resume the annual payment of tribute to the king.[7]

Meanwhile the Slavic Redarii had driven away their chief, captured the town of Walsleben and massacred its inhabitants. Counts Bernard and Thietmar marched against the fortress of Lenzen beyond the Elbe, and, after fierce fighting, completely routed the enemy on 4 September 929. The Lusatians and the Ukrani on the lower Oder were subdued and made tributary in 932 and 934, respectively.[8] In conquered lands Henry did not create march administration, which was implemented by his successor Otto I.

Wars with Danes

Henry also pacified territories to the north, where the Danes had been harrying the Frisians by sea. The monk and chronicler Widukind of Corvey in his Res gestae Saxonicae reports that the Danes were subjects of Henry the Fowler. Henry incorporated into his kingdom territories held by the Wends, who together with the Danes had attacked Germany, and also conquered Schleswig in 934.[9]

Family and children

German royal dynasties
Ottonian dynasty
Henry I 919 – 936
Otto I 936 – 973
Otto II 973 – 983
Otto III 983 – 1002
Henry II 1002 – 1024
Family tree of the German monarchs
Category:Ottonian dynasty
Preceded by
Conradine dynasty
Followed by
Salian dynasty

As the first Saxon king of East Francia, Henry was the founder of the Ottonian dynasty. He and his descendants ruled East Francia, and later the Holy Roman Empire, from 919 until 1024.

Henry had two wives and at least six children.

  • With Hatheburg:
  1. Thankmar (908 – 938) - rebelled against his half-brother Otto and was killed in battle in 938
  1. Hedwig (910 – 965) - wife of the West Francia's powerful Robertian duke Hugh the Great, mother of King Hugh Capet of West Francia
  2. Otto I (912 – 973) - Duke of Saxony, King of East Francia and Holy Roman Emperor. In 929 Henry married Otto to Eadgyth, daughter of king of Wessex Edward the Elder
  3. Gerberga (913 – 984) - wife of (1) Duke Gilbert of Lotharingia and (2) King Louis IV of France
  4. Henry I (919 – 955) - Duke of Bavaria[10]
  5. Bruno (925 – 965) - Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lotharingia and regent of West Francia


Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H08447, Quedlinburg, Heinrichs-Feier, Heinrich Himmler
Himmler at Henry's grave, 1938

Henry returned to public attention as a character in Richard Wagner's opera, Lohengrin (1850), trying to gain the support of the Brabantian nobles against the Magyars. After the attempts to achieve German national unity failed with the Revolutions of 1848, Wagner strongly relied on the picture of Henry as the actual ruler of all German tribes as advocated by pan-Germanist activists like Friedrich Ludwig Jahn.

There are indications that Heinrich Himmler saw himself as the reincarnation of Henry, who was proclaimed to be the first king of Germany.[11]

Himmler travelled to Quedlinburg several times to hold a ceremony in the crypt on the anniversary of the king's death, 2 July. This started in 1936, 1,000 years after Henry died. Himmler considered him to be the "first German king" and declared his tomb a site of pilgrimage for Germans. In 1937, the king's remains were reinterred in a new sarcophagus.[12]

In the arts

See also


  1. ^ A fowler is one who hunts wildfowl.
  2. ^ Gwatkin ,The Cambridge Medieval History: Volume III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926.p 180
  3. ^ Thietmari Merseburgensis Episcopi Chronicon, Die Chronik des Bischofs Thietmar von Merseburg und ihre Korveier Überarbeitung herausg. von Robert Holtzmann. Berlin Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1935, p. 21-22 Latin original text: "Rex autem Avares sepenumero insurgentes expulit. Et cum in uno dierum hos inpari congressu ledere temptaret, victus in urbem, quae Bichni vocatur, fugit; ibique mortis periculum evadens, urbanos maiori gloria, quam hactenus haberent vel comprovinciales hodie teneant, et ad haec muneribus dignis honorat." English translation from the Latin: The king drove away the Avars [Magyars], who attacked his country repeatedly. And when he once, with insufficient forces, dared to attack them, he was defeated and fled in a city, with the name Bichni [Püchen]. Because he there escaped death, so he gave the citizens the same greater privileges than they had before, and which have no match among their countrymen until this day, and besides that, he gave them rich presents too"
  4. ^ Menzel, W. Germany from the Earliest Period
  5. ^ Leyser, Karl (1982). Medieval Germany and Its Neighbours 900-1250 (1st ed.). London: The Hambledon Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0907628088.
  6. ^ A Short History of Germany
  7. ^ Bohemia to the Extinction of the Premyslids, Kamil Krofta, The Cambridge Medieval History: Victory of the Papacy, Vol. VI, ed. J.R. Tanner, C.W. Previt-Orton and Z.N. Brook, (Cambridge University Press, 1957), 426.
  8. ^ Gwatkin, The Cambridge Medieval History: Volume III.
  9. ^ A Short History of Germany
  10. ^ Barraclough 1961, p. 76.
  11. ^ Frischauer, Willi. Himmler, the Evil Genius of the Third Reich. London: Odhams, 1953, pages 85-88; Kersten, Felix. The Kersten Memoirs: 1940-1945. New York: Macmillan, 1957, page 238.
  12. ^ Janssen, Karl-Heinz (19 October 2000). "Himmlers Heinrich(German)" (PDF). Die Zeit. Retrieved 24 May 2016.


  • Bachrach. David S. "Restructuring the Eastern Frontier: Henry I of Germany, 924-936," Journal of Military History (Jan 2014) 78#1 pp 9–36
  • Barraclough, Geoffrey, ed. (1961). Studies in Mediaeval History:Mediaeval Germany. Vol. II. Essays. Basil Blackwell.
  • Gwatkin, H. M., Whitney, J. P. (ed) et al. The Cambridge Medieval History: Volume III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926.
  • Leyser, Karl, Medieval Germany and Its Neighbours 900-1250 (London: The Hambledon Press, 1982)
  • Menzel, W. Germany from the Earliest Period. Vol I

Further reading

  • Arnold, Benjamin, Medieval Germany, 500-1300: A Political Interpretation (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997)
  • Bachrach, David S., ‘The Military Organization of Ottonian German, c. 900-1018: The Views of Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg’, The Journal of Military History, 72 (2008), 1061-1088
  • Bachrach, David S., ‘Exercise of Royal Power in Early Medieval Europe: the Case of Otto the Great 936-73’, Early Medieval Europe, 17 (2009), 89-419
  • Bachrach, David S., ‘Henry I of Germany’s 929 Military Campaign in Archaeological Perspective’, Early Medieval Europe, 21 (2013), 307-337
  • Bachrach. David S., 'Restructuring the Eastern Frontier: Henry I of Germany, 924-936', Journal of Military History, 78 (2014), 9-36
  • Gillingham, John, The Kingdom of Germany in the High Middle Ages (900-1200) (London: The Historical Association, 1971)
  • Leyser, Karl, Rule and Conflict in Early Medieval Society: Ottonian Saxony (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1979)
  • Leyser, Karl, Medieval Germany and Its Neighbours 900-1250 (London: The Hambledon Press, 1982)
  • Müller-Mertens, Eckhard, ‘The Ottonians as Kings and Emperors’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History III: c. 900-1024, ed. by Timothy Reuter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 233–266
  • Nicholas, David M., The Evolution of the Medieval World: Society, Government & Thought in Europe, 312-1500 (London: Routledge, 1992)
  • Peden, Alison ‘Unity, Order and Ottonian Kingship in the Thought of Abbo of Fleury’, in Belief and Culture in the Middle Ages: Studies Presented to Henry Mayr-Harting, ed. Richard Gameson and Henrietta Leyser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 158–168
  • Reuter, Timothy, Germany in the Early Middle Ages, C. 800-1056 (London: Longman Group, 1991)
  • Reuter, Timothy ‘The ‘Imperial Church System’ of the Ottonian and Salian Rulers: a Reconsideration’, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 33 (2011), 347-375

External links

Henry the Fowler
Born: 876 Died: 2 July 936
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Conrad the Younger
King of East Francia
Succeeded by
Otto the Great
Preceded by
Otto the Illustrious
Duke of Saxony
Battle of Püchen

The Battle of Püchen was fought in the summer of 919, between a Hungarian raiding army and the newly elected East Francian/German king Henry the Fowler, and ended with a Hungarian victory. This battle was a part of a long range Magyar raiding campaign, which lasted between the summer of 919 and the late winter or early spring of 920, and took part in countries like East Francia, West Francia, Burgundy and the Kingdom of Italy, resulting in victorious battles against the German king Henry the Fowler and the Burgundian king Rudolf II, while the West Francian and Lotharingian king Charles the Simple had no courage to face them.

Burchard, Duke of Thuringia

Burchard (died 3 August 908) was the Duke of Thuringia (and the Sorbian March) from shortly after 892 until his death. He replaced Poppo as duke shortly after his appointment in 892, but the reasons for Poppo's leaving office are unknown. Burchard may have been a Swabian.In 908 he led a large army in battle against the Magyars. In Saxony on 3 August, he fought a pitched battle at Eisenach, was defeated, and died, along with Rudolf I, Bishop of Würzburg, and Count Egino.After Burchard, no further dukes of the Thuringii are recorded, but they remained a distinct people, eventually forming a landgraviate in the High Middle Ages.Burchard left two sons, Burchard and Bardo, who were expelled from Thuringia by Henry the Fowler in 913.

Burchard II, Duke of Swabia

Burchard II (883/884 – 29 April 926) was the Hunfriding Duke of Swabia (from 917) and Count of Raetia. He was the son of Burchard I of Swabia and Liutgard of Saxony.

Burchard took part in the early wars over Swabia. His family being from Franconia, he founded the convent of St Margarethen in Waldkirch to extend his family's influence into the Rhineland. On his father's arrest and execution for high treason in 911, he and his wife, Regelinda, daughter of Count Eberhard I of Zürich, went to Italy: either banished by Count Erchanger or voluntarily exiling themselves to their relatives over the Alps. Around 913, Burchard returned from exile and took control over his father's property. In 915, he joined Erchanger and Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria, in battle at Wahlwies. Following the battle, Erchanger was proclaimed duke.After Erchanger was executed on 21 January 917, Burchard seized all his lands and was recognised universally as duke. In 919, King Rudolph II of Upper Burgundy seized the county of Zürich and invaded the region of Konstanz, then the centre and practical capital of the Swabian duchy. At Winterthur, however, Rudolph was defeated by Burchard, who thus consolidated the duchy and forced on the king his own territorial claims. In that same year, he recognised the newly elected king of Germany, Henry the Fowler, duke of Saxony. Henry in turn gave Burchard rights of taxation and investiture of bishops and abbots in his duchy.

In 922, Burchard married his daughter Bertha to Rudolph and affirmed the peace of three years prior. Burchard then accompanied Rudolph into Italy when he was elected king by opponents of the Emperor Berengar. In 924, the emperor died and Hugh of Arles was elected by his partisans to oppose Rudolph. Burchard attacked Novara, defended by the troops of Lambert, Archbishop of Milan. There he was killed, probably on 29 April. His widow, Regelinda (d. 958), remarried to Burchard's successor, Herman I. She had given him five children:

Gisela (c. 905 – 26 October 923 or 925), abbess of Waldkirch

Hicha (c. 905 – 950), whose son was Conrad, Duke of Lorraine

Burchard III (c. 915 – 11 November 973), later duke of Swabia

Bertha (c. 907 – 2 January 961), married Rudolph II, King of Burgundy

Adalric (d. 973), monk in Einsiedeln Abbey

Conrad I of Germany

Conrad I (German: Konrad; c. 881 – 23 December 918), called the Younger, was the king of East Francia from 911 to 918. He was the first king not of the Carolingian dynasty, the first to be elected by the nobility and the first to be anointed. He was chosen as the king by the rulers of the East Frankish stem duchies after the death of young king Louis the Child. Ethnically Frankish, prior to this election he had ruled the Duchy of Franconia from 906.

Duchy of Saxony

The Duchy of Saxony (Low German: Hartogdom Sassen, German: Herzogtum Sachsen) was originally the area settled by the Saxons in the late Early Middle Ages, when they were subdued by Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars from 772 and incorporated into the Carolingian Empire (Francia) by 804. Upon the 843 Treaty of Verdun, Saxony was one of the five German stem duchies of East Francia; Duke Henry the Fowler was elected German king in 919.

Upon the deposition of the Welf duke Henry the Lion in 1180, the ducal title fell to the House of Ascania, while numerous territories split from Saxony, such as the Principality of Anhalt in 1218 and the Welf Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1235. In 1296 the remaining lands were divided between the Ascanian dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg and Saxe-Wittenberg, the latter obtaining the title of Electors of Saxony by the Golden Bull of 1356.


The Glomacze, also Golomacze or Dolomici (Polish: Głomacze or Gołomacze, German: Daleminzier) - were Polabian Slavs inhabiting areas in the middle Elbe (Łaba) valley. Other West Slavic tribes such as the Milceni settled east of them. About 850 the Bavarian Geographer located a Talaminzi (Dala-Daleminzi) settlement area east of the Sorbs. According to later chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg, the people called themselves Glomacze after a central cult site, a now dry lake near the present-day town of Lommatzsch.

The first known account about the Glomacze is from 805 when they were raided by the troops of Frankish king Charles the Younger on his way to Bohemia. The actual conquest of the tribe started in early 929 by the German king Henry the Fowler who, as Widukind of Corvey reported, seized and destroyed their main castle called Gana at the Siege of Gana (probably located near present-day Stauchitz), exterminated the defenders and had a fortress erected on the hill of Meissen (Mišno). Their settlement area was incorporated into the large Saxon Marca Geronis and in 965 became part of the Margraviate of Meissen.

Hatheburg of Merseburg

Hatheburg (also Hatheburch) (* 876 in Merseburg; † on 21 June after 909) was the first wife of Henry the Fowler, later king of East Francia (Germany). After their marriage was dissolved, Hatheburg became abbess of a convent.

Hedwig of Saxony

Hedwige of Saxony (also Hedwig, German: Hadwig von Sachsen; c. 910 – after 958), a member of the Ottonian dynasty, was Duchess consort of the Franks by her marriage to the Robertian duke Hugh the Great. Upon her husband's death in 956, she acted as a regent during the minority of their son Hugh Capet, the founder of the Elder House of Capet.


Hedwiga (also known as Hathui; c. 850/55 – 24 December 903), a member of the Elder House of Babenberg (Popponids), was Duchess of Saxony from about 880 until her death, by her marriage with the Liudolfing duke Otto the Illustrious. She is the mother of King Henry the Fowler.

She was the daughter of Henry of Franconia (d. 886), documented as a princeps militiae of the East Frankish king Louis the Younger and dux of Austrasia under emperor Charles the Fat. Hedwiga's mother probably was related to the imperial Carolingian dynasty, however, a presumed descent of princess Gisela could not be conclusively established. Dux Henry died fighting against the Vikings during the Siege of Paris in West Francia.

About 869/70 Hedwiga married Otto (d. 912), a younger son of late Saxon count Liudolf. Her husband's family had already achieved a dominating position in the stem duchy; Otto's sister Liutgard was married to King Louis the Younger about the same time. With the support of his brother-in-law King Louis the Younger, Otto succeeded as head of the Liudolfing dynasty and heir of the Saxon estates, when his elder brother Bruno was killed fighting against the Vikings in the 880 Battle of Lüneburg Heath. Hedwiga's husband remained a loyal supporter of the Carolingian dynasty, while he rose to the position of a Saxon duke (Herzog).

Hedwiga and Otto had three sons: Henry the Fowler (who succeeded his father in 912) and his elder brothers Thankmar and Liudolf, who both died young; as well as a daughter, Oda who married King Zwentibold of Lotharingia, an illegitimate son of Emperor Arnulf, in 897.

Herman I, Duke of Swabia

Herman I (died 10 December 949) was the first Conradine Duke of Swabia (from 926), the son of Gebhard, Duke of Lorraine, and a cousin of King Conrad I of Germany.

When duke Burchard II died at Novara, while campaigning in Italy, King Henry the Fowler gave the duchy to Herman. By investing the duke at a reichstag at Worms, the king clearly demonstrated that he, not the tribal noblesse, had the right to appoint the duke. Herman married Regilinda, the widow of Burchard.Only once during his reign did Herman face a rebellion by his vassals, but he was also forced several times to make concessions in Switzerland. Sankt Gallen was given over to the direct protection of the king and the duke lost the use of its lands and incomes. By his control over the Alpine passes into Burgundy and Italy, he dutifully served Ottonian interests in these realms. At Worms in 950, after Herman's death, Otto the Great appointed his son Liudolf, who had, in 947 or 948, married Herman's daughter Ida (died 17 May 986), duke.Aside from being duke, Herman was from 939 count in Langau, from 948 count in Auelgau, and from 947 lay abbot of Echternach. He founded the church of St Florin in Coblenz and was buried at the monastery on Reichenau Island on Lake Constance.


The Hevelli or Hevellians, also known as Stodorans (sometimes Havolane; German: Heveller or Stodoranen; Polish: Hawelanie or Stodoranie; Czech: Havolané or Stodorané) were a tribe of the Polabian Slavs, who settled around the middle Havel river in the present-day Havelland region of Brandenburg in eastern Germany from the 8th century onwards.

West Slavic tribes ("Wends") had settled in the Germania Slavica region from the 7th century onwards. The Hehfeldi as they were called by the Bavarian Geographer about 850 built their main fortification at Brenna (later to become Brandenburg an der Havel) and a large eastern outpost at the current site of Spandau. In 906 the Hevelli princess Drahomíra married the Přemyslid duke Vratislaus I of Bohemia. Baçlabič was the prince of Hevelli from 921-936.

Brenna was occupied by the German king Henry the Fowler in his 928/29 Slavic campaign and incorporated into the Marca Geronis. Henry's successor Otto I in 948 established the Bishopric of Brandenburg in order to Christianize the pagan population. These efforts were aborted in the course of the 983 Great Slav Rising in the Northern March, which again defied German control over the region. Together with the neighbouring Sprevane in the east, the Hevelli waged war against not only the German Saxon forces to the west, but also other Slavic tribes.

The baptized Hevelli prince Pribislav (died 1150) finally bequested his lands to the Ascanian count Albert the Bear. Albert until 1157 could re-conquer the territory of the former Northern March, whereafter he established the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The Slavic Hevelli were gradually assimilated by German settlers in the course of the Ostsiedlung.

March of Merseburg

The March of Merseburg (German: Mark Merseburg) was a short-lived march of the Holy Roman Empire. It comprised the lands of the Polabian Slavs beyond the margravial residence at Merseburg on the Saale river.

Like the neighbouring marches of Meissen and Zeitz, the Merseburg march was created by Emperor Otto I in the division of the vast Marca Geronis east of the Elbe and Saale rivers, following the death of Margrave Gero in 965. Merseburg, located in the Hassegau on the eastern border of the Saxon duchy, had been the site of a fortress and a Königspfalz built at the behest of King Henry the Fowler from about 919.

The first and only margrave at Merseburg was Gunther who had rendered services accompanying Otto on his Italian campaigns. However, when Gunther participated in the revolt of Duke Henry II of Bavaria, he was deposed as margrave in 976 and lost his territory to Margrave Thietmar of Meissen. Shortly before his death in the 982 Battle of Stilo, Gunther reconciled with Emperor Otto II and his march was restored.

Upon Gunther's death, Merseburg was reunited with the marches of Meissen and Zeitz under the rule of Margrave Rikdag of Meissen, who thus temporarily reunited all of the southern Marca Geronis save the Saxon Eastern March.

The March of Merseburg may refer to the earlier Marca Geronis, which also had its capital at Merseburg.

Ottonian dynasty

The Ottonian dynasty (German: Ottonen) was a Saxon dynasty of German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I. It is also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin in the German stem duchy of Saxony. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings (Liudolfinger), after its earliest known member Count Liudolf (d. 866) and one of its primary leading-names. The Ottonian rulers were successors of the Germanic king Conrad I who was the only Germanic king to rule in East Francia after the Carolingian dynasty and before this dynasty.

Quedlinburg Abbey

Quedlinburg Abbey (German: Stift Quedlinburg or Reichsstift Quedlinburg) was a house of secular canonesses (Frauenstift) in Quedlinburg in what is now Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It was founded in 936 on the initiative of Saint Mathilda, the widow of King Henry the Fowler, as his memorial. For many centuries it and its abbesses enjoyed great prestige and influence.

Quedlinburg Abbey was an Imperial Estate and one of the approximately forty self-ruling Imperial Abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire. It was disestablished in 1802/3.

Today, the mostly Romanesque buildings are a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The church, known as Stiftskirche St. Servatius, is used by the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Germany.

The Deeds of the Saxons

The Deeds of the Saxons, or Three Books of Annals (Latin: Res gestae saxonicae sive annalium libri tres) is a three-volume chronicle of 10th century Germany written by Widukind of Corvey. Widukind, proud of his people and history, begins his chronicon, not with Rome, but with a brief synopsis derived from the orally-transmitted history of the Saxons, with a terseness that makes his work difficult to interpret. Widukind omits Italian events in tracing the career of Henry the Fowler and he never mentioned a pope.

Thietmar, Count of Merseburg

Thietmar (I) (also Thiatmar, Dietmar, or Thiommar) (died 1 June 932), Count and Margrave, was the military tutor (vir disciplinae militaris peritissmus) of Henry the Fowler while he was the heir and then duke of the Duchy of Saxony. He probably kept a small body of elite retainers (though he once feigned at having thirty legions behind him) armed with the latest in military technology and well-supplied with expensive horses. His armored cavalry played a decisive role in winning the Battle of Lenzen on 4 September 929, securing German domination along the Elbe river against West Slavic peoples.

He married Hildegard, a cousin of Hatheburg of Merseburg, first wife of Henry the Fowler. Thietmar's wife left him two sons, Siegfried, Count of Merseburg, and Gero the Great. His daughter Hidda married Christian of Thuringia and was the mother of Thietmar, Margrave of Meissen, Archbishop Gero of Cologne and Odo I, Margrave of the Saxon Ostmark.

Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral

The Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral (Czech: Svatovítský poklad) is a collection of ecclesiastical treasures of the Prague Cathedral and is in the property of Prague Cathedral Chapter. It is the largest church treasury in the Czech Republic and one of the most extensive in Europe. The Treasure contains more than 400 items, 139 from them have been displayed since 2012 in a new exhibition in the Chapel of the Holy Rood in Prague Castle.The Treasury includes many holy relics and reliquaries. Famous are the Sword of Saint Wenceslas or Coronation Cross of Bohemia. One of the oldest items in the Treasury is a relic of the arm of Saint Vitus, acquired by Czech Duke Wenceslas (Saint) in 929 from German king Henry the Fowler. Duke Wenceslas built a new church to preserve this relic in honor of Saint Vitus – today St. Vitus Cathedral. The Cathedral and its treasury was richly donated by many rulers, e. g. by Emperor Charles IV or King Vladislaus II.

Wallhausen, Saxony-Anhalt

Wallhausen is a municipality in the Mansfeld-Südharz district of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is located on the Helme river north of the Kyffhäuser mountain range and the border with Thuringia. Wallhausen is part of the Verbandsgemeinde ("collective municipality") Goldene Aue. The municipality consists of the 4 villages Wallhausen, Hohlstedt, Martinsrieth and Riethnordhausen.

In 909 Henry the Fowler, the son of Duke Otto I of Saxony, married Matilda at the Pfalz of Wallhausen, their son Otto was possibly born here in 912. King Otto III gave the castle to his aunt Abbess Matilda of Quedlinburg in 985. Wallhausen later was a possession of the Saxon Electorate, it became part of the Prussian Province of Saxony in 1815.

Widukind of Corvey

Widukind of Corvey (c. 925 – after 973) was a medieval Saxon chronicler. His three-volume Res gestae saxonicae sive annalium libri tres is an important chronicle of 10th-century Germany during the rule of the Ottonian dynasty.

East Francia within the
Carolingian Empire (843–911)
East Francia (911–962)
Kingdom of Germany within the
Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)
German Confederation (1815–1848)
German Empire (1848/1849)
German Confederation (1850–1866)
North German Confederation (1867–1871)
German Empire (1871–1918)

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