Franconian Circle

Last updated
Franconian Circle
Fränkischer Reichskreis
Flag of Franconia.svg Flag
Location of Frankischer Reichskreis Locator Franconian Circle.svg
Location of Fränkischer Reichskreis
The Franconian Circle as at the beginning of the 16th century within the Holy Roman Empire
Historical era Early modern period
Today part of Flag of Germany.svg Germany
The Franconian Circle as at 1789, before the French Revolutionary Wars and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. FRK 1789 en.png
The Franconian Circle as at 1789, before the French Revolutionary Wars and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Franconian Circle (German : Fränkischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle established in 1500 in the centre of the Holy Roman Empire. It comprised the eastern part of the former Franconian stem duchy — roughly corresponding with the present-day Bavarian Regierungsbezirke of Upper, Middle and Lower Franconia — while western Rhenish Franconia belonged to the Upper Rhenish Circle. The title of a "Duke of Franconia" was claimed by the Würzburg bishops.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Imperial Circle

During the Early Modern period the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Imperial Circles, administrative groupings whose primary purposes were the organization of common defensive structure and the collection of imperial taxes. They were also used as a means of organization within the Imperial Diet and the Imperial Chamber Court. Each circle had a Circle Diet, although not every member of the Circle Diet would hold membership of the Imperial Diet as well.

Holy Roman Empire Varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.



The circle was made up of the following states:

NameType of entityComments
Wappen Landkreis Ansbach.png Ansbach Margraviate Established in 1398, held by the House of Hohenzollern, acquired by Prussia in 1791
Wappen Bistum bamberg.svg Bamberg Prince-Bishopric Diocese established in 1007 by King Henry II, Prince-Bishopric since about 1245
Wappen von Bayreuth.svg Bayreuth MargraviateEstablished in 1398 at Kulmbach, held by the House of Hohenzollern, personal union with Ansbach from 1769, acquired by Prussia in 1791
Wappen Nellingen auf den Fildern.svg Castell County Imperial counts since 1202
Wappen Bistum Eichstatt.gif Eichstätt Prince-BishopricEstablished in 741 by Saint Boniface
Wappen Grafschaft Erbach.svg Erbach CountyImperial counts from 1532
Den tyske ordens skjold.svg Franconia Teutonic bailiwick Seated in Bad Mergentheim
Wappen von Hausen.png Hausen Lordship Held by Bamberg since 1007, condominium with Bayreuth and Nuremberg from 1538
Wappen-Ufeld.gif Henneberg Princely CountyPrincipality since 1310, line extinct in 1583, acquired by Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Gotha in 1660
Wappen Grafschaft Hohenlohe.png Hohenlohe CountyImmediate counts since 1450, raised to principality in 1744
Limpurg2.PNG Limpurg LordshipTerritory around Limpurg Castle near Schwäbisch Hall, held by the Schenken von Limpurg, hereditary cup-bearers of the Empire for the Bohemian kings
Lowenstein-Wertheim-count.PNG Löwenstein CountyImperial immediacy since 1494, Löwenstein-Wertheim from 1574, raised to principality in 1711
Wappen von Nurnberg.svg Nuremberg Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1219
CoA Reichelsberg Lordship, Franconia.svg Reichelsberg LordshipTerritory around Reichelsberg Castle near Aub, originally a fiefdom granted by Bamberg to Hohenlohe, since 1401 a fief of Würzburg
RieneckGrafen.jpg Rieneck CountyTerritory around Rieneck Castle, established in 1168, claimed as a fief by Mainz from 1366, line extinct in 1559, acquired by the Imperial counts of Nostitz in 1673
Wappen von Rothenburg ob der Tauber.png Rothenburg ob der Tauber Imperial CityReichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg 1274
Blason fam de Schwarzenberg 2.svg Schwarzenberg LordshipEstablished in 1429 by the Lords of Seinsheim, territory around Schwarzenberg Castle near Scheinfeld, Imperial county from 1599, principality from 1670
DEU Schweinfurt COA.svg Schweinfurt Imperial CitySince 1254
Wappen Seinsheim.png Seinsheim LordshipHeld by the Counts of Schwarzenberg from 1655
DEU Weissenburg COA.svg Weißenburg Imperial CitySince 1296
Wappen Welzheim.svg Welzheim LordshipFiefdom of Württemberg, from 1379 to 1713 in possession of the Schenken von Limburg
Wappen Wertheim.png Wertheim CountyEstablished in 1132, acquired by Löwenstein in 1574
DEU Wiesentheid COA.svg Wiesentheid LordshipImperial county from 1678, acquired by the Counts of Schönborn in 1701
Wappen Bad Windsheim.png Windsheim Imperial CitySince 1248
Wurzburg-stift.PNG Würzburg Prince-BishopricEstablished in 741 by Saint Boniface, prince-bishopric since 1168, titular "Duke in Franconia"


German Wikipedia German language edition of Wikipedia

The German Wikipedia is the German-language edition of Wikipedia, a free and publicly editable online encyclopedia.

Related Research Articles

Franconia Cultural region of Germany

Franconia is a region in Germany, characterised by its culture and language, and may be roughly associated with the areas in which the East Franconian dialect group, colloquially referred to as "Franconian", is spoken. There are several other Franconian dialects, but only the East Franconian ones are colloquially referred to as "Franconian".

West Central German language

West Central German belongs to the Central, High German dialect family in the German language. Its dialects are thoroughly Franconian and comprise the parts of the Rhinelandic continuum located south of the Benrath line isogloss, including the following sub-families:

Conrad, called the Red, was Duke of Lorraine from 944 until 953. He became the progenitor of the Imperial Salian dynasty.

Bavarian Circle imperial circle of the Holy Roman Empire

The Bavarian Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire.

Lower Saxon Circle imperial circle of the Holy Roman Empire

The Lower Saxon Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire. It covered much of the territory of the medieval Duchy of Saxony, and was originally called the Saxon Circle before later being better differentiated from the Upper Saxon Circle by the more specific name.

Upper Saxon Circle former circle

The Upper Saxon Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, created in 1512.

Electoral Rhenish Circle imperial circle of the Holy Roman Empire

The Electoral Rhenish Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, created in 1512.

Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle administrative unit in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation

The Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire. It comprised territories of the former Duchy of Lower Lorraine, Frisia and the Westphalian part of the former Duchy of Saxony.

Swabian Circle imperial circle of the Holy Roman Empire

The Circle of Swabia or Swabian Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1500 on the territory of the former German stem-duchy of Swabia. However, it did not include the Habsburg home territories of Swabian Austria, the member states of the Swiss Confederacy nor the lands of the Alsace region west of the Rhine, which belonged to the Upper Rhenish Circle. The Swabian League of 1488, a predecessor organization, disbanded in the course of the Protestant Reformation later in the 16th century.

Upper Rhenish Circle Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire

The Upper Rhenish Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1500 on the territory of the former Duchy of Upper Lorraine and large parts of Rhenish Franconia including the Swabian Alsace region and the Burgundian duchy of Savoy.

Duchy of Franconia

The Duchy of Franconia was one of the five stem duchies of East Francia and the medieval Kingdom of Germany emerging in the early 10th century. The word Franconia, first used in a Latin charter of 1053, was applied like the words Francia, France, and Franken, to a portion of the land occupied by the Franks.

Franconian languages language family

Franconian includes a number of West Germanic languages and dialects possibly derived from the languages and dialects originally spoken by the Franks from their ethnogenesis in the 3rd century AD. A famous likely speaker was Emperor Charlemagne. Linguists have different views about whether these languages and dialects have descended from a single Franconian proto-language, also known as Istvaeonic.

Imperial Knight

The Free Imperial knights were free nobles of the Holy Roman Empire, whose direct overlord was the Emperor. They were the remnants of the medieval free nobility (edelfrei) and the ministeriales. What distinguished them from other knights, who were vassals of a higher lord, was the fact that they had been granted Imperial immediacy, and as such were the equals in most respects to the other individuals or entities, such as the secular and ecclesiastical territorial rulers of the Empire and the Free Imperial cities, that also enjoyed Imperial immediacy. However, unlike all of those, the Imperial knights did not possess the status of Estates (Stände) of the Empire, and therefore were not represented, individually or collectively, in the Imperial Diet.They tended to define their responsibilities to the Empire in terms of feudalized obligations to the Emperor, including personal service and strictly voluntary financial offerings paid to the Emperor himself.

Franconia (wine region) wine-producing region

Franconia is a region for quality wine in Germany situated in the north west of Bavaria in the district of Franconia, and is the only wine region in the federal state of Bavaria. In 2014, vines were grown on 6,176 hectares of land in the region.

Rhenish Franconia

Rhenish Franconia or Western Franconia (Westfranken) 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 roughly corresponded with the present-day state of Hesse and the adjacent Palatinate region in the south.

Swabian-Franconian Forest upland region in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The Swabian-Franconian Forest is a mainly forested, deeply incised upland region, 1,187 km² in area and up to 586.4 m above sea level (NHN), in the northeast of Baden-Württemberg. It forms natural region major unit number 108 within the Swabian Keuper-Lias Land. Its name is derived from the fact that, in medieval times, the border between the duchies of Franconia and Swabia ran through this forested region. In addition, the Swabian dialect in the south transitions to the East Franconian dialect in the north here.

Franconian Rake

The Franconian Rake is the name given to the coat of arms of the region of Franconia in Germany. It is described heraldically as per fess dancetty of three points argent and gules. The points represent a stylised heraldic rake.

History of Franconia

Franconia is a region that is not precisely defined, but which lies in the north of the Free State of Bavaria, parts of Baden-Württemberg and South Thuringia and Hesse in Germany. It is characterised by its own cultural and linguistic heritage. Its history began with the first recorded human settlement about 600,000 years ago. Thuringii, Alemanni and Franks, who gave the region its name, settled the area in the Early Middle Ages. From the mid-9th century, the Stem Duchy of Franconia emerged as one of the five stem duchies of the Empire of East Francia. On 2 July 1500, during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I, as part of the Imperial Reform, the empire was divided into Imperial Circles. The Franconian Circle, which was formed as a result of this restructuring, became decisive in the creation of a Franconian national identity. A feature of Franconia in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period was its Kleinstaaterei, an extreme fragmentation into little states and territories. In the 19th century under Napoleon, large parts of Franconia were incorporated into the newly created Kingdom of Bavaria.