Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry II known as Saint Henry the Exuberant, Obl. S. B. was Holy Roman Emperor from 1014 until his death in 1024 and the last member of the Ottonian dynasty of Emperors as he had no children. The Duke of Bavaria from 995, Henry became King of Germany following the sudden death of his second cousin, Emperor Otto III in 1002, was crowned King of Italy in 1004, was crowned by the Pope as Emperor in 1014; the son of Henry II, Duke of Bavaria and his wife Gisela of Burgundy, Emperor Henry II was a great-grandson of German King Henry I and a member of the Bavarian branch of the Ottonian dynasty. Since his father had rebelled against two previous emperors, the younger Henry was in exile; this led him to turn to the Church at an early age, first finding refuge with the Bishop of Freising and being educated at the cathedral school of Hildesheim. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria in 995 as "Henry IV"; as Duke, he attempted to join his second-cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, in suppressing a revolt against imperial rule in Italy in 1002.
Before Henry II could arrive, Otto III died of fever, leaving no heir. After defeating several other claimants to the throne, Henry II was crowned as King of Germany on July 9, 1002 and as King of Italy on 15 May 1004. Henry II in 1004 aided Jaromír, Duke of Bohemia against the Poles, definitively incorporating the Duchy of Bohemia into the Holy Roman Empire. Unlike his predecessor, who had focused upon imperial attention in Italy, Henry spent most of his reign concerned with imperial territory north of the Alps, his main focus was on a series of wars against the Polish Duke Bolesław I, who had conquered a number of countries surrounding him. Henry did, lead three expeditions into Italy to ensure imperial dominion over the peninsula: twice to suppress secessionist revolts and once to challenge the Byzantine Empire for dominance over southern Italy. On 14 February 1014, Pope Benedict VIII crowned Henry as Holy Roman Emperor in Rome; the rule of Henry II is seen as a period of centralized authority throughout the Empire.
He consolidated his power by cultivating political ties with the Catholic Church. He expanded the Ottonian dynasty's custom of employing clergy as counter-weights against secular nobles. Through donations to the Church and the establishment of new dioceses, Henry strengthened imperial rule across the Empire and increased control over ecclesiastical affairs, he promoted monastic reform. For his personal holiness and efforts to support the Church, Pope Bl. Eugene III canonized him in 1146. Henry II married Cunigunde of Luxembourg, who became his queen and empress; as the union produced no children, after Henry's death the German nobles elected Conrad II, a great-great-grandson of Emperor Otto I, to succeed him. Conrad was the first of the Salian dynasty of Emperors. Henry was born in May 973, the son of Duke Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, Gisela of Burgundy. Through his father, he was the grandson of Henry I, Duke of Bavaria, the great-grandson of King Henry I of Germany. By his mother, he was the grandson of King Conrad I of Burgundy, the great-grandson of King Rudolf II of Burgundy.
The elder Henry came into conflict with his cousin Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, in 974. The elder Henry and Otto II disputed each other's claims to authority over the Duchy of Swabia: Henry claimed the duchy as his birthright while Otto II maintained his right to name a duke of his choosing. After an initial failed revolt, Otto II imprisoned the elder Henry in Ingelheim. After escaping, Henry again revolted against Otto II; when this second revolt failed, Otto II deposed Henry as Duke of Bavaria and sent him into exile under the custody of the Bishop of Utrecht in April 978. As a consequence of his revolt, the Emperor stripped the Duchy of Bavaria of its southeastern territories bordering Italy and formed the Duchy of Carinthia. During his father's exile, the younger Henry lived in Hildesheim; as a child he was educated in the Christian faith by Saint Wolfgang, bishop of Regensburg, studied at the Hildesheim Cathedral. The Emperor himself ensured the younger Henry received an ecclesiastical education in order that by becoming a religious official he would be prevented from participating in the Imperial government.
The death of Otto II in 983 allowed the elder Henry to be released from custody and to return from exile. The elder Henry claimed regency over Otto III, the three-year-old child of Otto II. After a failed attempt to claim the German throne for himself in 985, the elder Henry relinquished the regency to the child's mother Theophanu. In return for his submission to the child king, Henry was restored as Duke of Bavaria; the younger Henry, now thirteen years old, was named his regent over Bavaria. When the elder Henry died in 995, the younger Henry was elected by the Bavarian nobles as the new Duke to succeed his father as "Henry IV."In 999 Henry married Cunigunde of Luxembourg, a daughter of Siegfried, Count of Luxembourg. This marriage granted him an extensive network of contacts in Germany's western territories. In 1001, Emperor Otto III experienced a revolt against his reign in Italy; the Emperor sent word for Henry II to join him with reinforcements from Germany, but died unexpectedly in January 1002.
Otto was only 21 at the time of death and had left no children and no instructions for the Imperial succession. In the Ottonian dynasty, succession to the throne had belonged to the Saxon branch, not the Bavarian line of which Henry was a member. Rival candidates for the throne, includ
House of Henneberg
Henneberg was a medieval German comital family which from the 11th century onwards held large territories in the Duchy of Franconia. Their county was raised to a princely county in 1310. Upon the extinction of the line in the late 16th century, most of the territory was inherited by the Saxon House of Wettin and subsequently incorporated into the Thuringian estates of its Ernestine branch; the distant origins of this family are speculative yet seem to originate in the Middle Rhine Valley, east of modern-day France. Charibert, a nobleman in Neustria is the earliest recorded ancestor of the family, dating before 636. Five generations pass between the next descendant of note, Robert III of Worms. Both the Capetian dynasty and the Elder House of Babenberg are direct male lineal descendants of Count Robert I and therefore referred to as Robertians; the denotion Babenberger, named after the castle of Bamberg, was established in the 12th century by the chronicler Otto of Freising, himself a member of the Babenberg family.
The House of Babenberg, which ruled what became the Duchy of Austria, claimed to come of the Popponid dynasty. However, the descent of the first margrave Leopold I of Austria remains uncertain. In the 11th century, the dynasty's estates around the ancestral seat Henneberg Castle near Meiningen belonged to the German stem duchy of Franconia, they were located southwest of the Rennsteig ridge in the Thuringian Forest forming the border with the possessions held by the Landgraves of Thuringia in the north. In 1096 one Count Godebold II of Henneberg served as a burgrave of the Würzburg bishops, his father Poppo had been killed in Battle in 1078. In 1137 he established Vessra Abbey near Hildburghausen as the family's house monastery; the counts lost their position as the bishops were raised to "Dukes of Franconia" in the 12th century. In the course of the War of the Thuringian Succession upon the death of Landgrave Henry Raspe, Count Herman I of Henneberg in 1247 received the Thuringian lordship of Schmalkalden from the Wettin margrave Henry III of Meissen.
After the extinction of the Bavarian House of Andechs upon the death of Duke Otto II of Merania in 1248, the Counts of Henneberg inherited their Franconian lordship of Coburg. In 1274 the Henneberg estates were divided into the Schleusingen, Aschach-Römhild and Hartenberg branches. Count Berthold VII of Henneberg-Schleusingen was elevated to princely status in 1310, his estates comprised the towns of Schmalkalden and Coburg. In 1343 the Counts of Hennberg purchased the Thuringian town of Ilmenau; the Coburg lands passed to the Saxon House of Wettin upon the marriage of Countess Catherine of Henneberg to Margrave Frederick III of Meissen in 1347. After the Imperial Reform of 1500, the County of Henneberg formed the northernmost part of the Franconian Circle, bordering on the Upper Saxon Ernestine duchies and the lands of the Upper Rhenish prince-abbacy of Fulda in the northwest. A thorn in the side remained the enclave of Meiningen, a fief held by the Bishops of Würzburg, not acquired by the counts until 1542.
Whereas the male line of the House of Babenberg became extinct in 1246, the Counts of Henneberg lived on until 1583. In 1554 William IV of Henneberg-Schleusingen had signed a treaty of inheritance with Duke John Frederick II of Saxony. However, when the last Count George Ernest of Henneberg died, both the Ernestine and the Albertine branch of the Wettin dynasty claimed his estates, that were divided in 1660 among the Ernestine duchies of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Gotha and the Albertine duke Maurice of Saxe-Zeitz; the Lordship of Schmalkalden fell to Landgrave William IV of Hesse-Kassel, according to an inheritance treaty of 1360. After the Congress of Vienna, the former Albertine parts around Schleusingen and Suhl fell to the Prussian province of Saxony. King Frederick William III of Prussia assumed the title of a Princely Count of Henneberg, which his successors in the House of Hohenzollern have borne since. Bertold von Henneberg-Römhild, Prince-elector and archbishop of Mainz, son of George, count of Henneberg-Römhild.
Count Otto von Henneberg, known as Otto von Botenlauben from 1206 born in 1177 in Henneberg, died in Reiterswiesen near Bad Kissingen before 1245, was a German minnesinger and founder of Frauenroth Abbey. Herman I, Count of Henneberg Catherine of Henneberg William II, Princely count of Henneberg-Schleusingen William III, Princely count of Henneberg-Schleusingen William IV, Princely count of Henneberg-Schleusingen Bishopric of Würzburg Vessra Abbey Aura Abbey Römhild Sondheim Münnerstadt Irmelshausen Bad Kissingen Poppo William II, German Emperor/Scraps Schmalkalden-Meiningen Wartburgkreis Hildburghausen List of states in the Holy Roman Empire Schwennicke, Detlev. Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge. BAND II, Tafel 10:Die Robertiner I und die Anfänge des Hauses Capet, 922-923 König der Westfranken, Verlag von J. A. Stargardt Historische Landkarte: Grafschaft Henneberg 1755 mit den Ämtern Schleusingen, Suhl, Kühndorf mit Bennshausen, Reprint 2003, Verlag Rockstuhl, ISBN 3-936030-15-4 Johannes Mötsch: Regesten des Archivs der Grafen von Henneberg-Römhild.
Volumes 1 und 2. Böhlau, Köln etc. 2006, ISBN 978-3-412-35905-8 Media related to Henneberg at Wikimedia Commons Henneberg Genealogy Direct male descent of Babenberger from Robertiner family, in the German Wikipedia Early Babenberger genealogy, in the German Wikipedia
Saxe-Gotha was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia. The ducal residence was erected at Gotha; the duchy was established in 1640, when Duke Wilhelm von Saxe-Weimar created a subdivision for his younger brother Ernest I the Pious. Duke Ernest took his residence at Gotha, where he had Schloss Friedenstein built between 1643 and 1654. At the same time, the Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach was created for the third brother Albert IV. Albert died in 1644, Ernest inherited large parts of his duchy, though not the core territory around the residence at Eisenach and the Wartburg, which fell to his elder brother Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar. Ernest could incorporate several remaining estates of the extinct House of Henneberg in 1660, vacant since 1583. In 1672 he received the major part of Saxe-Altenburg through his wife Elisabeth Sophie, after Altenburg's last duke Frederick William III had died without heirs. Ernest would be called Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.
When Ernest died in 1675, he left his seven sons a enlarged territory. The eldest, Frederick I at first ruled jointly with his brothers until in 1680 the duchy was divided; the area around Gotha and Altenburg passed to Frederick I, who retained the title of a Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. For history of the duchy, see Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Ernest I the Pious, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg from 1672 Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, jointly with his brothers until 1680: Albert V, became Duke of Saxe-Coburg Bernhard I, became Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Heinrich, became Duke of Saxe-Römhild Christian, became Duke of Saxe-Eisenberg Ernest, became Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen John Ernest IV, became Duke of Saxe-SaalfeldWhen the house of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg became extinct in 1825, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was split. Saxe-Gotha passed to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld; the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen received Saxe-Altenburg, gave the district of Hildburghausen to Saxe-Meiningen. After the abolition of German monarchies at the end of the First World War it became a part of the newly created state of Thuringia in 1920.
Saxe-Gotha, Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Columbia University Press, accessed January 27, 2007
Nuremberg is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, its 511,628 inhabitants make it the 14th largest city in Germany. On the Pegnitz River and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it lies in the Bavarian administrative region of Middle Franconia, is the largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia. Nuremberg forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring cities of Fürth and Schwabach with a total population of 787,976, while the larger Nuremberg Metropolitan Region has 3.5 million inhabitants. The city lies about 170 kilometres north of Munich, it is the largest city in the East Franconian dialect area. There are many institutions of higher education in the city, most notably the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, with 39,780 students Bavaria's third and Germany's 11th largest university with campuses in Erlangen and Nuremberg and a university hospital in Erlangen. Nuremberg Airport is the second-busiest airport of Bavaria after Munich Airport, the tenth-busiest airport of Germany.
Staatstheater Nürnberg is one of the five Bavarian state theatres, showing operas, operettas and ballets, plays, as well as concerts. Its orchestra, Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg, is Bavaria's second-largest opera orchestra after the Bavarian State Opera's Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich. Nuremberg is the birthplace of Johann Pachelbel. Nuremberg was the site of major Nazi rallies, it provided the site for the Nuremberg trials, which held to account many major Nazi officials; the first documentary mention of the city, in 1050, mentions Nuremberg as the location of an Imperial castle between the East Franks and the Bavarian March of the Nordgau. From 1050 to 1571 the city expanded and rose in importance due to its location on key trade-routes. King Conrad III established the Burgraviate of Nuremberg, with the first burgraves coming from the Austrian House of Raab. With the extinction of their male line around 1190, the last Raabs count's son-in-law, Frederick I from the House of Hohenzollern, inherited the burgraviate in 1192.
From the late 12th century to the Interregnum, the power of the burgraves diminished as the Hohenstaufen emperors transferred most non-military powers to a castellan, with the city administration and the municipal courts handed over to an Imperial mayor from 1173/74. The strained relations between the burgraves and the castellans, with gradual transferral of powers to the latter in the late 14th and early 15th centuries broke out into open enmity, which influenced the history of the city. Nuremberg is referred to as the "unofficial capital" of the Holy Roman Empire because the Imperial Diet and courts met at Nuremberg Castle; the Diets of Nuremberg played an important role in the administration of the empire. The increasing demands of the Imperial court and the increasing importance of the city attracted increased trade and commerce in Nuremberg. In 1219 Emperor Frederick II granted the Großen Freiheitsbrief, including town rights, Imperial immediacy, the privilege to mint coins, an independent customs policy - wholly removing the city from the purview of the burgraves.
Nuremberg soon became, with Augsburg, one of the two great trade-centers on the route from Italy to Northern Europe. In 1298 the Jews of the town were falsely accused of having desecrated the host, 698 of them were killed in one of the many Rintfleisch massacres. Behind the massacre of 1298 was the desire to combine the northern and southern parts of the city, which were divided by the Pegnitz; the Jews of the German lands suffered many massacres during the plague years of the mid-14th century. In 1349 Nuremberg's Jews suffered a pogrom, they were burned at the stake or expelled, a marketplace was built over the former Jewish quarter. The plague returned to the city in 1405, 1435, 1437, 1482, 1494, 1520 and 1534; the largest growth of Nuremberg occurred in the 14th century. Charles IV's Golden Bull of 1356, naming Nuremberg as the city where newly elected kings of Germany must hold their first Imperial Diet, made Nuremberg one of the three most important cities of the Empire. Charles was the patron of the Frauenkirche, built between 1352 and 1362, where the Imperial court worshipped during its stays in Nuremberg.
The royal and Imperial connection grew stronger in 1423 when the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg granted the Imperial regalia to be kept permanently in Nuremberg, where they remained until 1796, when the advance of French troops required their removal to Regensburg and thence to Vienna. In 1349 the members of the guilds unsuccessfully rebelled against the patricians in a Handwerkeraufstand, supported by merchants and some by councillors, leading to a ban on any self-organisation of the artisans in the city, abolishing the guilds that were customary elsewhere in Europe.
Principality of Bayreuth
The Principality of Bayreuth or Margraviate of Brandenburg-Bayreuth was an immediate territory of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by a Franconian branch of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Since Burgrave Frederick VI of Nuremberg was enfeoffed with the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1415/17, the Hohenzollern princes transferred the margravial title to their Franconian possessions, though the principality never had been a march; until 1604 they used Plassenburg Castle in Kulmbach as their residence, hence their territory was called the Principality of Kulmbach or Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach until the Empire's dissolution in 1806. The Kulmbach-Bayreuth principality arose from the northern uplands of the former Burgraviate of Nuremberg, while the southern lowlands formed the Principality of Ansbach; the final border demarcation was settled by the 1541 House Treaty of Regensburg, adding some smaller Unterland territories to Bayreuth, however not connected with the Oberland core territory stretching up to the Franconian Forest and the Fichtel Mountains.
Mountainous and densely wooded, most of the lands were of less agricultural use mineral resources, predominantly ore deposits led to the construction of numerous mines. Beside the residence Bayreuth, the separate Oberland and Unterland territories were administrated from Hof and Neustadt an der Aisch respectively; the principality arose upon the death of the Hohenzollern burgrave Frederick V of Nuremberg on 21 January 1398, when his lands were partitioned between his two sons: the elder, Burgrave John III received Kulmbach-Bayreuth and the younger, Frederick VI, received the Principality of Ansbach. The two principalities were once again united under the younger son, after John's death on 11 June 1420. At the Council of Constance in 1415, Emperor Sigismund vested Frederick with the hereditary title of an Elector of Brandenburg. Frederick sold his burgravial title to the citizens of the Imperial City of Nuremberg. On his death in 1440, his territories were again divided between his sons: the eldest, John the Alchemist had waived his right of primogeniture and succeeded his father in Kulmbach-Bayreuth, while the second, Frederick Irontooth, received the Brandenburg electorate.
Ansbach passed to the third son Albert Achilles. As John the Alchemist had no male heirs, he renounced his rights in 1457, whereupon Kulmbach-Bayreuth fell to his brother, Albert Achilles; when the eldest brother, the Brandenburg elector Frederick Irontooth abdicated in 1470, Albert united all Hohenzollern territories under his rule. After Albert's death in 1486 the Franconian principalities were partitioned according to his Dispositio Achillea disposition, passing to the younger sons of his second marriage with Anna of Saxony, Margrave Siegmund and his brother Frederick II. While the Brandenburg electorate became the power base for the rising Hohenzollern dynasty, the Principality of Kulmbach-Bayreuth was held by Frederick's descendants, temporarily in personal union with Ansbach; the rulers were known as the Margraves of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. Kulmbach-Bayreuth became part of the Franconian Circle in 1500. After in 1541 the ambitious Margrave Albert Alcibiades assumed the rule over Kulmbach-Bayreuth, he barged onto the battlegrounds of the Schmalkaldic War, several times switching sides between Emperor Charles V and the Lutheran princes of the Schmalkaldic League.
In 1552 he sparked the Second Margrave War against Nuremberg and the neighbouring Prince-bishoprics of Würzburg and Bamberg. His soaring plans to re-establish the medieval Duchy of Franconia under his rule ended with his utter defeat and an Imperial ban in 1554. Albert was succeeded by his cousin Margrave George Frederick in 1557, who from 1577 als ruled in the Duchy of Prussia as regent for his incapable Hohenzollern relative Duke Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia. With George Frederick's death in 1603, the elder Bayreuth line became extinct, he left his successor, Margrave Christian, younger son of the Brandenburg elector John George, an orderly and functioning state. Margrave Christian took his residence in Bayreuth. In 1705 his son Prince George William founded the Ordre de la Sincerité, predecessor to the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle. Margrave Frederick, ruling from 1735, his wife Wilhelmine of Prussia, both patrons of arts and sciences, had the Bayreuth residence rebuilt in a distinct Baroque style, including the erection of the Margravial Opera House finished in 1748.
A university was relocated to Erlangen the next year. The younger line of the Brandenburg-Bayreuth margraves died out in 1769 with the death of Frederick Christian, whereafter Bayreuth and Ansbach were once again ruled in personal union by Margrave Charles Alexander. On 2 December 1791, Charles Alexander signed a treaty with King Frederick William II of Prussia, whereby he ceded his principalities to the Prussian state against a lifelong annuity, he married socialite Elizabeth Craven and retired to private life in England, while Bayreuth and Ansbach were governed by the Prussian minister Karl August von Hardenberg. Occupied by French troops during the War of the Fourth Coalition, Prussia had to cede Bayreuth according to the 1807 Treaty of Tilsit. At the 1808 Congress of Erfurt, the French emperor Napoleon offered it for sale to the newly established Kingdom of Bavaria. 1398: John III of Nuremberg 1420: Frederick I of Brandenburg 1440: John IV the Alchemist 1457: Albert I
Saxe-Weimar was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringia. The chief town and capital was Weimar; the Weimar branch was the most genealogically senior extant branch of the House of Wettin. In the late 15th century much of what is now Thuringia, including the area around Weimar, was held by the Wettin Electors of Saxony. According to the 1485 Treaty of Leipzig, the Wettin lands had been divided between Elector Ernest of Saxony and his younger brother Albert III, with the western lands in Thuringia together with the electoral dignity going to the Ernestine branch of the family. Ernest's grandson Elector John Frederick I of Saxony forfeited the electoral dignity in the 1547 Capitulation of Wittenberg, after he had joined the revolt of the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League against the Habsburg emperor Charles V, was defeated and banned. According to the 1552 Peace of Passau he was pardoned and allowed to retain his lands in Thuringia. Upon his death in 1554, his son John Frederick II succeeded him as "Duke of Saxony", residing at Gotha.
His attempts to regain the electoral dignity failed: in the course of the 1566 revolt instigated by the robber baron Wilhelm von Grumbach, the duke was banned and imprisoned for life by Emperor Maximilian II. John Frederick II was succeeded by his younger brother John William at Weimar, who in short time fell out of favour with the emperor by his alliance with King Charles IX of France. In 1572 Maximilian II enforced the Division of Erfurt, whereby the Ernestine lands were divided among Duke John William and the two surviving sons of imprisoned John Frederick II. John William retained the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar, while his minor nephews received the southern and western territories around Coburg and Eisenach; this division was the first of numerous partitions. As a result, the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar grew more than once; the Thuringian states throughout this period consisted of several non-contiguous parcels of territory of various sizes. Facing their lack of political power, the rulers of these petty states built up splendid monarchical households at their residences and pursued greater cultural achievements.
Duke John William, chafing under the loss, died in 1573, succeeded by his son Frederick William I. Upon his death in 1602 Saxe-Weimar was again divided among his younger brother John II and Frederick William's minor son John Philipp, who received the territory of Saxe-Altenburg. John's son Duke Johann Ernst I of Saxe-Weimar on occasion of the burial of his mother Dorothea Maria of Anhalt in 1617 established the literary Fruitbearing Society. At the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, Duke Johann Ernst I supported the Protestant Bohemian estates under the "Winter King" Frederick V of the Palatinate, who were defeated at the 1620 Battle of White Mountain. Stripped of his title by Emperor Ferdinand II, he remained a fierce opponent of the Catholic Habsburg dynasty and died on Ernst von Mansfeld's Hungarian campaign in 1626, his younger brother Wilhelm, regent since 1620, assumed the dignities upon his death. At first an advocate of Protestant concerns, after the death of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden he chose to accord with the 1635 Peace of Prague his Albertine cousins had negotiated with the emperor - against the opposition of his younger brother General Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, who entered into the French service under Cardinal Richelieu.
Like many German estates, the Weimar lands were devastated by combat actions as well as by plague epidemics. When in 1638 the Ernestine Saxe-Eisenach and Saxe-Coburg branch became extinct upon the death of Duke John Ernest, Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar inherited large parts of his estates. In 1640 however he had to involve his younger brothers Ernest I and Albert IV, thereby establishing the Duchies of Saxe-Gotha and short-lived Saxe-Eisenach, again dissolved upon Duke Albert's death in 1644. Another rearrangement of the Ernestine lands took place in 1672 after Duke Frederick William III of Saxe-Altenburg, descendant of Duke John Phillip, had died without heirs and his cousin Duke Johann Ernst II of Saxe-Weimar inherited parts of his duchy, split off the Saxe-Weimar territory in 1602. Johann Ernst II divided the enlarged Saxe-Weimar lands between himself and his younger brothers John George I and Bernhard II, who received the Duchies of Saxe-Eisenach and Saxe-Jena, which reverted to Saxe-Weimar upon the death of Bernhard's son Duke Johann Wilhelm in 1690.
Upon the death of John George's descendant Wilhelm Heinrich in 1741, Duke Ernest Augustus I of Saxe-Weimar inherited the Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach. He ruled both duchies in personal union and decisively forwarded the development of his estates by the implementation of the primogeniture principle, his son Ernest Augustus II, who succeeded him in 1748, died in 1758, whereafter Empress Maria Theresa appointed his young widow, Duchess Anna Amalia, regent of the country and guardian of her infant son, Charles Augustus. The regency of energetic Anna Amalia and the reign of Charles Augustus, raised by the writer Christoph Martin Wieland, formed a high point in the history of Saxe-Weimar. Both intelligent patrons of literature and art, Anna Amalia and Charles Augustus attracted to their court the leading German scholars, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller and Johann Gottfried Herder, made their residence Weimar an important cultural center in an era referred to as Weimar Classicism.
In 1804 Duke Charles Augustus entered in
Rhenish Franconia or Western Franconia denotes the western half of the central German stem duchy of Franconia in the 10th and 11th century, with its residence at the city of Worms. The territory located on the banks of Rhine river corresponded with the present-day state of Hesse and the adjacent Palatinate region in the south; the Franconian stem duchy, part of former Frankish Austrasia, was seized by King Otto I of Germany after the unsuccessful revolt of the Conradine duke Eberhard had shattered at the 939 Battle of Andernach. With the advancement of Count Conrad the Red, Rhenish Franconia became the heartland of the Imperial Salian dynasty, which provided four emperors in the 11th and 12th centuries: Conrad II, Henry III, Henry IV, Henry V, it contained the ancient cities of Mainz and Worms, the latter two being the administrative centres of countships within the hands of the Salian descendants of Conrad the Red. These counts were sometimes referred to informally, on account of the great power in the region, as dukes of Franconia.
Emperor Conrad II was the last to bear the ducal title. When he died in 1039, Rhenish Franconia was governed as a constellation of small states, like the cities of Frankfurt and Worms, the Prince-bishoprics of Mainz and Worms, as well as the Landgraviate of Hesse part of Thuringia. Alongside these powerful entities there were many petty states. In 1093, Emperor Henry IV gave the Salian territories in Rhenish Franconia as a fief to Henry of Laach, the Count palatine of Lower Lorraine at Aachen, his lands would evolve into the important principality of the Electoral Palatinate. While Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1198 granted the ducal title to the Prince-Bishops of Würzburg in Eastern Franconia, Rhenish Franconia was divided and extinguished, its territories became part of the Imperial Upper Rhenish Circle in 1500. The following are the most important of the states that had formed on the territory of Western Franconia by the 13th century: The eastern half of the historic duchy of Franconia on the Main river around the city of Würzburg and Nuremberg forms the modern Franconian region of northern Bavaria, the Würzburg bishops retained the title of a "Duke of Franconia".
Meyers Konversationslexikon. S. 902f. Leipzig 1897 Herzogtümer Ost- und Rheinfranken. Article in: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4. Aufl. 1888–1890, Bd. 6, S. 491 f