Siegfried I the Older, Count of Walbeck

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Siegfried I the Older (Siegfried der Ältere von Walbeck) (d. 15 March 990 [1] ), Count of Walbeck and Möckerngau, son of Lothar II the Old, Count of Walbeck, and Mathilde von Arneburg. He succeeded his father as Count of Walbeck upon his death.

Counts of Walbeck

The Counts of Walbeck ruled a medieval territory with its capital Walbeck northeast of Helmstedt in the present town Oebisfelde-Weferlingen in Saxony-Anhalt. The foundation of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg established the region as firmly in the oversight of Otto the Great, Holy Roman Emperor. The first Count of Walbeck, Lothar I, was great-grandfather of Thietmar, Prince-Bishop of Merseburg, chronicler of the Ottonian dynasty of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. Two of Thietmar’s great-grandfathers, both named Lothar, were killed in the Battle of Lenzen, pitting the forces of Henry the Fowler against the Slavs. The early Margraves of the Nordmark were descended from the House of Walbeck.

Lothar II the Elder, Count of Walbeck, son of Lothar I, Count of Walbeck.

Siegfried is first mentioned as an ally of Odo I, Margrave of the Saxon Ostmark, in his conflict with Mieszko I, Duke of Poland. In particular, Siegfried fought in the Battle of Cedynia (Zehden), as reported in the Chronicon of Siegfried’s son Thietmar of Merseburg. Both Siegfried and Odo escaped the ensuing slaughter. As an interesting sidebar, Mieszko married Oda of Haldensleben, daughter of Dietrich, Margrave of the Nordmark, who was the predecessor of Siegfried’s brother Lothar I as margrave.

OdoI was margrave in the Saxon Eastern March of the Holy Roman Empire from 965 until his death.

In the Battle of Cedynia or Zehden, an army of Mieszko I of Poland defeated forces of Hodo or Odo I of Lusatia on 24 June 972, near the Oder river. Whether or not the battle actually took place near the modern-day town of Cedynia is disputed in modern scholarship.

Thietmar of Merseburg German bishop and historian

Thietmar, Prince-Bishop of Merseburg from 1009 until his death, was an important chronicler recording the reigns of German kings and Holy Roman Emperors of the Ottonian (Saxon) dynasty. Two of Thietmar's great-grandfathers, both referred to Liuthar, were the Saxon nobles Lothar II, Count of Stade, and Lothar I, Count of Walbeck. They were both killed fighting the Slavs at the Battle of Lenzen.

In 979, he and his brothers were appointed regents of the County of Möckerngau by Emperor Otto II. Siegfried consolidated his position as sole count in 983. Later that year, he fought with the Saxon army against the Great Slav Rising revolt against the empire.

Great Slav Rising

The Great Slav Rising in 983 was an uprising of the Polabian Slavs (Wends), mainly Lutici and Obotrite tribes living east of the Elbe River in modern north-east Germany. They were revolting against Christianization and their subjugation to the German realm of the Holy Roman Emperor.

In 990, he supported the Empress Theophanu in her war against Boleslaus II, Duke of Bohemia. He then moved against the rebellious Lutici who were threatening Brandenburg. He fell from his horse on 15 March 990 and died.

Boleslaus II, Duke of Bohemia Duke and Prince of Bohemia

Boleslaus II the Pious, a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Duke of Bohemia from 972 until his death

Lutici Lutici, the medieval Slavic people

The Lutici were a federation of West Slavic Polabian tribes, who between the 10th and 12th centuries lived in what is now northeastern Germany. Four tribes made up the core of the federation: the Redarians, Circipanians (Circipani), Kessinians and Tollensians (Tholenzi). At least in part, the Lutici were a continuation of the Veleti. In contrast to the former and the neighboring peoples, the Lutici were not led by a Christian monarch or duke, rather power was asserted through consensus formed in central assemblies of the social elites, and the Lutici worshipped nature and several deities. The political and religious center was Radgosc.

Brandenburg State in Germany

Brandenburg is a state of Germany.

Siegfried married Kunigunde von Stade daughter of Henry I the Bald, Count of Stade. Siegfried and Kunigunde had five sons:

Henry I the Bald was Count of Stade. He was son of Lothar II, Count of Stade, and Swanhild of Saxony. Henry is recorded as a cousin of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, but their exact relationship remains a mystery. Henry was also appointed Count of Heilangau, the ancient capital of Stade, in 959.

Henry, Count of Walbeck, son of Siegfried I the Older, Count of Walbeck, and Kunigunde von Stade, daughter of Henry I the Bald, Count of Stade. Virtually all that is known about Henry was provided in the chronicle of his brother Thietmar of Merseburg.

Upon his death, Siegfried was succeeded as Count of Walbeck by his son Henry.

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Lothar II (874-929), Count of Stade, son of Lothar I, Count of Stade, and Oda of Saxony, daughter of Liudolf, Duke of Saxony. Lothar was the great-grandfather of Thietmar of Merseburg, and is frequently confused in genealogical sources with Thietmar’s other great-grandfather of the same name who was Count of Walbeck.

Lothar I (902-929), Count of Walbeck, of unknown parentage. Lothar was the great-grandfather of Thietmar of Merseburg, and is frequently confused in genealogical sources with Thietmar’s other great-grandfather of the same name who was Count of Stade.

Henry II the Good (946–1016), Count of Stade, son of Henry I the Bald, Count of Stade, and his wife Judith von der Wetterau, granddaughter of Gebhard, Duke of Lorraine.

Lothair Udo I, Count of Stade, son of Henry I the Bald, Count of Stade, and his wife Judith von der Wetterau, granddaughter of Gebhard, Duke of Lorraine. Lothair is frequently confused with his nephew Lothair Udo II, son of his brother Siegfried II, who was Margrave of Nordmark as Lothair Udo I.

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Friedrick (974-1018), Count of Walbeck and Viscount (Burggraf) of Magdeburg, son of Siegfried I the Older, Count of Walbeck, and Kunigunde von Stade daughter of Henry I the Bald, Count of Stade. He was brother to Thietmar of Merseburg, whose Chronicon was the main source of information on him, and his predecessor Henry, Count of Walbeck.

Conrad (1018-1073), Count of Walbeck and Viscount (Burggraf) of Magdeburg, son of Friedrick, Count of Walbeck and Thietburga. There is little known about Conrad’s reign.

The Udonids (Udonen) were a German noble family, ruling as both the Counts of Stade and Margraves of the Nordmark, or Northern March, from the 9th to the 12th century. The first formal member of this family was Henry I the Bald, who took his seat in Harsefeld, part of the Duchy of Franconia, where he built a castle in 965. He was the grandson of the first Count of Stade, Lothar I, who was killed by the Great Heathen Army in the Battle of Ebstorf, and was recognized as one of the Martyrs of Ebsdorf by the Catholic Church.

Gero, Count of Alsleben, conjectured to be the son of Siegfried and therefore grandson of Gero the Great. If so, his mother was Hedwig, daughter of Wichmann the Elder. Gero was the brother of Tetta, who established a monastery at Alsleben in his name. Thietmar of Merseburg, whose Chronicon is the major source of information here, refers to Gero as a Count in Northern Thuringia and Morzani.

References

  1. Grosse, Walther (1952). "Die Grafen von Walbeck". Harz-Zeitschrift (4).

Sources

Warner, David A., Ottonian Germany: The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2001

Grosse, Walther, Die Grafen von Walbeck. In: Harz-Zeitschrift, 1952

Medieval Lands Project, Grafen von Walbeck