Thuringian Counts' War

Last updated

The Thuringian Counts' War (German : Thüringer Grafenkrieg), or Thuringian Counts' Feud (Thüringer Grafenfehde) was a conflict between several ancient aristocratic families and the House of Wettin for supremacy in Thuringia. The war lasted from 1342 to 1346. [1] The conflict is also called by various other names in English sources including War of the Thuringian Counts and Thuringian Comital War.

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 in 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.

House of Wettin German noble and royal family

The House of Wettin is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The dynasty is one of the oldest in Europe, and its origins can be traced back to the town of Wettin, Saxony-Anhalt. The Wettins gradually rose to power within the Holy Roman Empire. Members of the family became the rulers of several medieval states, starting with the Saxon Eastern March in 1030. Other states they gained were Meissen in 1089, Thuringia in 1263, and Saxony in 1423. These areas cover large parts of Central Germany as a cultural area of Germany.

Thuringia State in Germany

Thuringia, officially the Free State of Thuringia, is a state of Germany.

In 1247, the last Thuringian landgrave from the House of the Ludovingians, Henry Raspe, died without a male heir. During the war of succession that followed, Henry the Illustrious, Margrave of Meissen, finally won the landgraviate for the House of Wettin, whilst the Hessian territories went to Henry I of Hesse and formed the new Landgraviate of Hesse. The grandson of Henry the Illustrious, Frederick I, the Brave, and his son, Frederick II, the Serious, tried to secure the suzerainty of the Wettins over Thuringia and thus fell inevitably into opposition with the other princes in the land.

Ludovingians noble family

The Ludovingians or Ludowingians were the ruling dynasty of Thuringia and Hesse during the 11th to 13th centuries.

Landgraviate of Hesse landgraviate

The Landgraviate of Hesse was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire. It existed as a single entity from 1264 to 1567, when it was divided between the sons of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse.

On 1 September 1342, the various counts and lords of Thuringia of sealed a pact in Arnstadt which effectively allied them against Frederick the Serious. [2] The parties to the alliance included the counts of Schwarzburg, Weimar-Orlamünde and Hohnstein and the advocates of Gera and Plauen. Conflict broke out in October. The Electoral Mainz archbishop, Henry III of Virneburg, who was already in dispute with the citizens of Erfurt over city rights, supported the counts and so the citizens of Erfurt took the side of Frederick the Serious.

Arnstadt Place in Thuringia, Germany

Arnstadt is a town in Ilm-Kreis, Thuringia, Germany, on the river Gera about 20 kilometres south of Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia. Arnstadt is one of the oldest towns in Thuringia, and has a well-preserved historic centre with a partially preserved town wall. The town is nicknamed Das Tor zum Thüringer Wald because of its location on the northern edge of that forest. Arnstadt has a population of some 27,000. The city centre is on the west side of Gera. The municipality has absorbed several neighbouring municipalities: Angelhausen–Oberndorf (1922), Siegelbach (1994), Rudisleben (1999) and Wipfratal (2019). The neighbouring municipalities are Amt Wachsenburg, Alkersleben, Dornheim, Bösleben-Wüllersleben, Stadtilm, Ilmenau, Plaue and Geratal.

<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.

Electorate of Mainz archdiocese

The Electorate of Mainz, previously known in English as Mentz and by its French name Mayence, was one of the most prestigious and influential states of the Holy Roman Empire. In the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz was the Primate of Germany, a purely honorary dignity that was unsuccessfully claimed from time to time by other archbishops. There were only two other ecclesiastical Prince-electors in the Empire: the Electorate of Cologne and the Electorate of Trier.

By 14 December 1342 the first peace treaty, brokered by the Emperor, was signed. Because the counts and advocates were bound to pay a very high sum - 338,000 Marks of Erfurt silver - for "breaking the peace", [2] however, the peace did not hold and fighting soon flared up again. Frederick now sought to weaken the opposing allies by agreeing separate treaties with his enemies: first on 6 September 1343 with the advocates of Gera and Plauen, on 28 July 1345 with the Schwarzburgs, and finally on 11 April 1346 in the Treaty of Dresden with the Count of Weimar-Orlamünde. Each of the allies had to turn their main territories into fiefs of the Wettins and so lost their imperial immediacy and their political independence.

Treaty of Dresden

The Treaty of Dresden was signed on 25 December 1745 at the Saxon capital of Dresden between Austria, Saxony and Prussia, ending the Second Silesian War.

Fief system of economic and politic governance for the land concessed by a lord to a vassal during the Middle Age in Europe

A fief was the central element of feudalism. It consisted of heritable property or rights granted by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the personal ceremonies of homage and fealty. The fees were often lands or revenue-producing real property held in feudal land tenure: these are typically known as fiefs or fiefdoms. However, not only land but anything of value could be held in fee, including governmental office, rights of exploitation such as hunting or fishing, monopolies in trade, and tax farms.

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 Holy Roman Emperor, and later of the institutions of the Empire such as the Diet, the Imperial Chamber of Justice and the Aulic Council.

The outcome of the comital war strengthened the position of the Wettins in Thuringia, although were unable to finally drive the Schwarzburgs and the advocates out of Thuringia and these vassals continued to play an important role until the end of the monarchy in Thuringia in 1918 (c.f. Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Reuß). However, after the counts' war they could not further expand their territories, but were restricted to their homelands and therefore no longer in a position to threaten the dominance of the Wettins in Thuringia. For the counts of Weimar-Orlamünde the result of the war meant the end of their imperial immediacy. A short while later, Weimar fell to Wettin as an agreed fief and became an important residenz of the Ernestine branch of the Wettins (c.f. Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach).

Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt principality

Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt was a small historic state in present-day Thuringia, Germany, with its capital at Rudolstadt.

Schwarzburg-Sondershausen principality

Schwarzburg-Sondershausen was a small principality in Germany, in the present day state of Thuringia, with its capital at Sondershausen.

Weimar Place in Thuringia, Germany

Weimar is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately 80 kilometres southwest of Leipzig, 170 kilometres north of Nuremberg and 170 kilometres west of Dresden. Together with the neighbour-cities Erfurt and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, whereas the city itself counts a population of 65,000. Weimar is well known because of its large cultural heritage and its importance in German history.

Related Research Articles

Gera Place in Thuringia, Germany

Gera is the third-largest city in Thuringia, Germany, with 96,000 inhabitants, located 55 kilometres south of Leipzig, 75 km east of Erfurt and 120 km west of Dresden.

Gotha is a Kreis (district) in western central Thuringia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis, Sömmerda, the Kreis-free city Erfurt, Ilm-Kreis, Schmalkalden-Meiningen and the Wartburgkreis.

Saalfeld Place in Thuringia, Germany

Saalfeld is a town in Germany, capital of the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district of Thuringia. It is best known internationally as the ancestral seat of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha branch of the Saxon House of Wettin, which was renamed the House of Windsor during their British reign in 1917.

Saxe-Weimar Former duchy in Thuringia, Germany

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.

Albert II, Margrave of Meissen Margrave of Meissen, Landgrave of Thuringia and Count Palatine of Saxony

Albert II, the Degenerate was a Margrave of Meissen, Landgrave of Thuringia and Count Palatine of Saxony. He was a member of the House of Wettin.

Saxe-Eisenach duchy in Central Europe until 1809

Saxe-Eisenach was an Ernestine duchy ruled by the Saxon House of Wettin. The state intermittently existed at three different times in the Thuringian region of the Holy Roman Empire. The chief town and capital of all three duchies was Eisenach.

Margravate of Meissen medieval principality in the area of the modern German state of Saxony

The Margravate of Meissen was a medieval principality in the area of the modern German state of Saxony. It originally was a frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire, created out of the vast Marca Geronis in 965. Under the rule of the Wettin dynasty, the margravate finally merged with the former Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg into the Saxon Electorate by 1423.

Ernestine duchies A set of related states in Germany

The Ernestine duchies, also known as the Saxon duchies, were a changing number of small states that were largely located in the present-day German state of Thuringia and governed by dukes of the Ernestine line of the House of Wettin.

House of Henneberg noble family

Henneberg was a medieval German comital family (Grafen) which from the 11th century onwards held large territories in the Duchy of Franconia. Their county was raised to a princely county in 1310.

Coat of arms of Thuringia coat of arms

The coat of arms German state Thuringia was introduced in 1990. Like the 1949 coat of arms of Hesse it is based on the Ludovingian lion barry, also known as the "lion of Hesse", with the addition of eight mullets.

Thuringian states

The Thuringian states refers to the following German federal states within the German Reich:

Großheringen–Saalfeld railway railway line in Germany

The Großheringen–Saalfeld railway, also known as the Saalbahn, is a 153 kilometre-long double-track main line in the German state of Thuringia. It connects the Thuringian Railway at Großheringen with the Franconian Forest Railway at (Frankenwaldbahn) at Saalfeld and is part of the north-south main line, Munich–Nuremberg–Halle / Leipzig–Berlin. It is electrified at 15 kV. 16.7 Hz.

Thuringian Railway Company company

The Thuringian Railway Company was a company that existed from 1844 to 1886 for the construction of railways in the Thuringian states.

The Duchy of Thuringia was an eastern frontier march of the Merovingian kingdom of Austrasia, established about 631 by King Dagobert I after his troops had been defeated by the forces of the Slavic confederation of Samo at the Battle of Wogastisburg. It was recreated in the Carolingian Empire and its dukes appointed by the king until it was absorbed by the Saxon dukes in 908. From about 1111/12 the territory was ruled by the Landgraves of Thuringia as Princes of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Treaty of Weißenfels was a treaty signed on 1 July 1249 at Weißenfels Castle in the wake of the War of the Thuringian Succession.


  1. Die Saale aus der Luft by Bogner, Franz Xaver. Retrieved 23 Dec 2014
  2. 1 2 Langhof, Peter (1995). Die Thüringer Grafenfehde und die Schwarzburger, pdf. Retrieved 23 Dec 2014.