County of Katzenelnbogen

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County of Katzenelnbogen

Grafschaft Katzenelnbogen
Blason Eberhard VI de Katznellenbogen.svg
Coat of arms
Katzenelnbogen country.jpg
The County of Katzenelnbogen shown on an early 18th-century map
Roman Catholicism
 1095 (first)
Dieter I
 1444–79 (last)
Philip I
Historical era Middle Ages
 First mentioned
 Comital line extinct,
    to Hesse-Marburg
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Frankenrechen.svg Rhenish Franconia
Landgraviate of Hesse COA family de Landgrafen von Hessen.svg

The County of Katzenelnbogen (named after Chatti Melibokus ) was an immediate state of the Holy Roman Empire. Chatti Melibokus is a very old tribe who stayed on a high hill in the Bergstraße region of Hesse (the part that lies south), in Germany. [1] [2] It existed between 1095 and 1479, when it was inherited by the Landgraves of Hesse.

Chatti proto-historic Germanic tribe

The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They lived in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of that river and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder and Fulda regions, a district approximately corresponding to Hesse-Kassel, though probably somewhat more extensive. They settled within the region in the first century B.C. According to Tacitus, the Batavians and Cananefates of his time, tribes living within the empire, were descended from part of the Chatti, who left their homeland after an internal quarrel drove them out, to take up new lands at the mouth of the Rhine.

Melibokus mountain

The Melibokus is at 517 metres (1696 feet), the highest hill in the Bergstraße region of southern Hesse, central Germany. It was also the name of a hill in Germania described by classical sources. But the two are probably not the same.

Imperial immediacy was a privileged constitutional and political status rooted in German feudal law under which the Imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire such as Imperial cities, prince-bishoprics and secular principalities, and individuals such as the Imperial knights, were declared free from the authority of any local lord and placed under the direct authority of the Emperor, and later of the institutions of the Empire such as the Diet, the Imperial Chamber of Justice and the Aulic Council.


The estate comprised two separate territories. The main parts were the original Untergrafschaft ("lower county") with its capital at Katzenelnbogen in the Middle Rhine area and the Obergrafschaft ("upper county") south of the Main River around Darmstadt, predecessor of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Katzenelnbogen Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Katzenelnbogen is the name of a castle and small town in the district of Rhein-Lahn-Kreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Katzenelnbogen is the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde Katzenelnbogen.

Middle Rhine landscape of Rhine valley between Nahe mouth and Bonn

Between Bingen and Bonn, Germany, the river Rhine flows as the Middle Rhine through the Rhine Gorge, a formation created by erosion, which happened at about the same rate as an uplift in the region, leaving the river at about its original level, and the surrounding lands raised. This gorge is quite deep, about 130 metres (430 ft) from the top of the rocks down to the average water-line.

Main (river) right tributary of Rhine river in Germany

The Main is a river in Germany. With a length of 525 kilometres (326 mi), it is the longest right tributary of the Rhine. It is also the longest river lying entirely in Germany. The largest cities along the Main are Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg.


Katzenelnbogen Castle Katzenelnbogen.jpg
Katzenelnbogen Castle

One Diether I (circa 1065–95) of Katzenelnbogen (literally cat's elbow), then serving as Vogt of Prüm Abbey, was first mentioned about 1070 in a deed issued by Archbishop Anno II of Cologne. From 1094 onwards, Diether and his son Henry I built Katzenelnbogen Castle in the Taunus mountain range; in 1138, King Conrad III of Germany vested his grandson Henry II with the comital title, when the Kraichgau was bequeathed to him. The counts also built Burg Rheinfels and Auerbach Castle in the 13th century and finished Burg Katz in 1371, they rebuilt the Marksburg purchased from the Lords of Eppstein and acquired highly lucrative customs rights on the Rhine River. Over nearly four centuries, the county grew bit by bit, from the Neckar to the Moselle Rivers.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Vogt</i> title of overlordship or nobility in the Holy Roman Empire

A Vogt in the Holy Roman Empire was a title of a reeve or advocate, an overlord exerting guardianship or military protection as well as secular justice over a certain territory. The territory or area of responsibility of a Vogt is called a Vogtei. The term also denotes a mayor of a village.

Prüm Abbey abbey

Prüm Abbey is a former Benedictine abbey in Prüm, Lorraine, now in the diocese of Trier (Germany), founded by the Frankish widow Bertrada the elder and her son Charibert, Count of Laon, on 23 June 720. The first abbot was Angloardus.

Taunus low mountain range in Germany

The Taunus is a mountain range in Hesse, Germany located north of Frankfurt. The tallest peak in the range is Großer Feldberg at 878 m; other notable peaks are Kleiner Feldberg and Altkönig.

Berthold II of Katzenelnbogen became a leader in the Kingdom of Thessalonica in the first decades of the 13th century.

Kingdom of Thessalonica

The Kingdom of Thessalonica was a short-lived Crusader State founded after the Fourth Crusade over conquered Byzantine lands in Macedonia and Thessaly.

The counts founded many cities, and for centuries or decades, they owned others, such as Offenbach, Gießen, Diez and Limburg. They also contributed to the enlargement of Eberbach Abbey, which became their family tomb in the 14th century. After the early death of Count Philipp's only son in 1453, he called himself Count of Katzenelnbogen-Diez. When Philipp died in 1479, the male line of the Katzenelnbogens became extinct. The Obergrafschaft was passed to the Landgraves of Hesse by virtue of the 1458 marriage of Henry III of Upper Hesse to Count Philipp's daughter Anna of Katzenelnbogen. Thereafter, the Landgraves of Hesse added to their title "Count of Katzenelnbogen".

Offenbach am Main Place in Hesse, Germany

Offenbach am Main is a city in Hesse, Germany, located on the left bank of the river Main and part of the Frankfurt Rhein-Main urban area. Offenbach has a population of 126,934.

Diez, Germany Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Diez an der Lahn is a town in Germany's Rhein-Lahn district in Rhineland-Palatinate, on the borders of Hesse. Diez is the administrative seat of the municipality of Diez.

Limburg an der Lahn Place in Hesse, Germany

Limburg an der Lahn is the district seat of Limburg-Weilburg in Hesse, Germany.

With the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806, the County of Katzenelnbogen was annexed to the French Empire as the first of its trans-Rhine territories, and this was held until the overthrow of Emperor Napoleon I in 1814. The territory was attached to the Duchy of Nassau by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

Confederation of the Rhine confederation of client states of the First French Empire

The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria and Russia at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, which lasted from 1806 to 1813.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Napoleon 18th/19th-century French monarch, military and political leader

Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

William III of England a Prince of Orange had the title Katzenelnbogen in his reign from 1689-1702 and today, both the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and the King of the Netherlands have the title "Count of Katzenelnbogen" as part of their style.

History of wine

In 1435, Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen was building his last castle in Rüsselsheim, where he ordered the famous Riesling variety should be grown. This is the first documentation of the grape in history. Hundreds of vineyards were documented, many of which still exist: among them the famous rock Loreley documented in 1395.

Vogts (Vögte) of Katzenelnbogen

Counts of Katzenelnbogen

Original line

The county was divided in 1260 and ruled by two lines of counts.

Senior branch

Junior branch

Eberhard IV was succeeded by Diether VIII, reuniting the junior branch.

The whole county was reunited in 1402 by Johann IV, son of Diether VIII, who had married his cousin Anna, daughter and heiress of Eberhard V, in 1385.

Reunited county

Anna married Henry III, Landgrave of Upper Hesse, and the county passed to the House of Hesse.

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Auerbach Castle

Auerbach Castle is one of several fortresses along the Bergstrasse in southern Hesse, Germany. The castle was originally built by King Charlemagne and rebuilt by Count Diether IV of the Katzenelnbogen dynasty in the second quarter of the 13th century. Today it remains standing atop a hill known as Urberg above the town of Bensheim-Auerbach.

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  1. "Chatti" . Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  2. "Melibocus" . Retrieved 21 December 2018.

Coordinates: 50°16′N7°58′E / 50.267°N 7.967°E / 50.267; 7.967