Count Gerhard IV von Rieneck was even traded as king

Who rides so late through night and wind? Is it the father with his child? ?? Oh no, now I recognize him by the strange bird on his helmet, the swan. It is the Count von Rieneck.

The emergence of the nobility is a very complex matter. Up to the 12th century, the nobles only appear in the sources with their “first name”, a gender name and “from”. as a designation of the origin does not exist. That is why it is difficult to clearly determine the origin of the noble families, for example in Franconia the Castell, Henneberg, Hohenlohe, Wertheim and the Counts of Rieneck.

?? Resourceful ?? Historians sometimes go and construct family tables, but they are walking on very thin ice. Too few sources are available, too many people are never named, too few marriages are attested. And even if you can make a clan or family association halfway likely, that doesn’t say much. Because how the formation of power and distribution works in these associations can hardly be proven.

These clans can be called ?? clans ?? denote that work with one another on the one hand, but also against each other on the other. The early nobility acquired their property through more or less violent accumulation, and not infrequently through marriage into other clans. In addition, there are functions in the service of the empire, the church and the high aristocracy. A ?? count ?? is mostly a public official, and he usually uses this office to get hold of as much inheritable property as possible: between an official and a ?? warlord ?? there is only a very thin border.

The later Counts of Rieneck created their power base

And so you don’t know how far back the power of the later Counts of Rieneck in the area between Aschaffenburg and Würzburg went back in time. But one can assume that ?? the clan ?? a very long time, in connection with the kingship, the archbishops of Mainz and the bishops of Würzburg, created a power base. Around 1050 ?? part and finally acquired the Landgraviate in Thuringia.

Center of the ?? Rienecker ?? is from the beginning the North Spessart and the area around Lohr. A ?? comes Gerhardus ?? appears here around 1100, to whose family association ?? administrative tasks ?? in connection with the imperial and church property on the Main and in the Spessart had been transferred. Gerhard himself reached the climax of his career in royal service when he was entrusted with the office of burgrave and high bailiff of the Archdiocese of Mainz.

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He thus functions as the ruler ‘s control over one of the most important cities in the empire. Whether Gerhard is (very) closely related to the other nobility sitting in this room or ?? from the outside ?? comes, maybe married, must remain open. Ultimately, it also plays a relatively minor role how and how closely the individual noble families were related to one another.

At the end of his life, however, Gerhard has the problem of who he can pass on his county to, because his descendants only exist? in a daughter. Since female succession is often not yet possible or difficult due to the feudal rights of this time, the need arises to find an adequate son-in-law. He eventually became Count Arnold von Loon. His county in what is now the Belgian province of Limburg, the main town of Borgloon northwest of Liège, is far from the Franconian countryside (409 kilometers by road Lohr-Borgloon), but this is in the loon’s interest in marrying Gerhard’s daughter (her name is not known ) no termination.

Was this daughter asked? Was it love at all? There is no answer to that. When Gerhard dies around 1106, Arnold succeeds him in the Mainz offices as well as in the ruling area on the Main. Arnold’s son, Arnold II., And his grandson Ludwig I also rule both counties and also officiate in Mainz.

Rieneck, named after a castle on the Rhine

Around 1156/57 something new occurs: Ludwig adds to his designation as? Count von Loon ?? another one added, he is now also called “Graf von Rieneck”. The reasons for this action are very diverse and complicated; the name itself goes back to an aristocratic family that had died out in 1150, i.e. only a few years earlier, and was probably related to the Looners, even if there is no clear documentary evidence for this. This was named after its castle on the Rhine near Bad Breisig ?? von Rheineck ??; the distinction ?? Rieneck ?? and ?? Rheineck ?? is only possible in the New High German language, while in Middle High German the names were spelled the same (in many variants) and had the same meaning.

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Count Ludwig gives the rulership in Franconia, which he married from his grandfather, its own name, it is also called “Grafschaft Rieneck”. Very special is ?? Rieneck ?? also transferred to a castle and the settlement connected with it (both of which probably existed long before under different names): to Rieneck an der Sinn. The central place, however, was always Lohr, only no hilltop castle fit there.

Around 1200, the sex began to separate the two parts of the county. Too many sons, too long distances. Ludwig II receives Loon in 1196/97, Gerhard III. becomes Count of Rieneck. Gerhard as well as his grandson Ludwig III. expand their property with the same method that Count Arnold von Loon had already brought to power on the Main: They marry daughters of ?? dying out ?? Dynasty families.

Gerhard III. marries Kunigunde von Zimmer and Lauda, ​​Ludwig III, around 1200. after 1243 married Udelhilt, the heiress of Grumbach and Rothenfels. The profit consists in a considerable property complex southeast of Tauberbischofsheim, with the central town Grünsfeld, and in an even more important one in the area between the Main Triangle and Mainviereck with the castles Rothenfels and Burggrumbach. With these acquisitions, the County of Rieneck roughly doubles its “territory”.

The new gentleman on Rothenfels in particular has great ambitions, and he puts them not only in his head, but also on it: His ancestors were already promoters of literature, supported the poet Heinrich von Veldeke, author of the “Aeneasromans”. His coat of arms in the Manessian song manuscript clearly shows the connection to the Counts of Loon. Ludwig promotes the star author of his time, Konrad von Würzburg, for which he then inserts in his adaptation of the story of the Swan Knight Lohengrin that the Rieneckers would descend from him. And so the swan comes on the helmet, before there were only wind turbines, buffalo horns and a kind of antler with feather bushes. Did the Rieneckers actually believe in this parentage?

Because of these ambitions, the counts were often involved in feuds and wars, especially in the second half of the 13th century. The Hochstift Würzburg defends itself against the fact that Ludwig III. the inheritance of the Lords of Grumbach and Rothenfels takes over in full, and the conflict erupts in the form of violent clashes.

The count brothers Ludwig III., Gerhard IV. And Heinrich II. Also try to expand their county against the power, which at the same time tries to bring the Spessart under their control: Mainz. Lengthy battles 1260-71 determine the entire space. They end with the defeat of the Rieneckers, or better: with their non-victory. Because they fail to realize their territorial plans, but this only limits, does not diminish or even destroy their power.

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Far-reaching county

One can also gradually come to an arrangement with the Bishop of Würzburg, so that towards the end of the 13th century there is a secure and extensive county. A large part of the Spessart is considered to be Rieneckisch, including almost the entire area of ​​the plateau between the Main Triangle and Quadrangle, parts of the Main Triangle and the area around Grünsfeld and Lauda, ​​and there is also free float from the Nahe to the Steigerwald. Of course, it must be taken into account that in most places there are also property and rights of other rulers. There is no “closed territory” at this time.

With not too much (to endanger the neighboring high nobility) and not too little power: this is how the Rieneckers were at the end of the 13th century. This gives them the ideal conditions to rise to the highest position in the empire: to become king. Count Gerhard IV., Died in 1295, was, possibly as early as 1256, or in the troubled times after the death of Rudolf von Habsburg (1291), like others, was treated as a candidate for king, and some of the princes voted for him.

Of course, he was not really the successor to the Habsburgs: The crown fell to Count Adolf von Nassau in May 1292. The memory of a Rienecker being elected king understandably remained in the tradition of the house and it contributed to his fame.

About the author: Dr. Theodor Ruf is the district home nurse for the Altlandkreis Lohr, he wrote numerous articles on the history of the Main-Spessart region. The historian wrote his dissertation on the “Counts of Rieneck”.

Literature: As part of this series, a second part about the Counts of Rieneck will follow. If you would like to know more now, visit the website of the History and Museum Association Lohr (http: gmv-lohr.de) under ?? full texts on city and regional history ?? the history of the county.

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