[Pagus:- 1. Moselgau (fragment) 966-c.1080. 2. Maienfeld 966-c. 1080. 3. Trechirgau 966-c. 1080. 4. Maingau (fragment) c. 1025-c.1080. 5. Niddagau 1036-c. 1080. 6. Wetterau 1036-c. 1080. 7. Ahrgau 1065-c. 1080. Numbering convention:- Sequence of four Bertholds treats Bezelin as Berthold II.]

Count Berthold IV of Stromburg, who died in 1075/81, was a man of great power and influence, but little or no historical profile. Some of his family connections are easily reconstructed. There is no doubt that he had a sister Kunigunde who married Count Emicho IV of Nahegau. A jurisdictional sphere in Hessen, based on the pagi of Niddagau and Wetterau, passed to their son, Berthold I of Nürings, whose dynasty became extinct towards the end of the twelfth century. It is also clear that some jurisdiction on the Middle Rhine, deriving from the pagi of Maienfeld and Trechirgau, passed to the counts of Sponheim, making it likely that another of Berthold IV’s sisters married Stephen I of Sponheim. In addition to those spheres, Berthold IV appears to hold a county in Ahrgau, which must have passed from the Ezzoner consanguinity and back to them at his death. The chances are very good that his mother came from that consanguinity.

In Maienfeld and Trechirgau, and on the middle Mosel, we can trace Stromburg origins back to the 960s. Berthold I took up a position in consequence of the forfeiture of Udo of Maienfeld in 966. His inherited right was based on his wife’s relationship as granddaughter of Eberhard (II) of Maienfeld († c. 944) and on her descent from the Matfridinger once powerful in Moselgau. It can be reconstructed that his wife was Alberada, whose sister Imiza married Count Heribert of Wetterau. The latter’s grandfather Gebhard was Eberhard (II)’s brother. Heribert died in 992 leaving sons as minors, which presented a fine opportunity for the Bertholds to expand their power into Hessen. They completed their domination of southeastern Hessen at the death of Otto of Hammerstein, Heribert’s son, in 1036.

No affiliations in the house of Stromburg are explicitly provided, but the basic genealogy holds few secrets. Only with jurisdiction on the middle Mosel does confusion arise, and this merely because Berthold II († 1010) documents so religiously with the diminutive name-form Bezelin that one is apt to assume, wrongly, that no Berthold can be a Bezelin. Thus documentations on the middle Mosel can all be ascribed to the Bertholds; and if they continue after Berthold IV’s death, one can assume a branch of the house of Sponheim. Berthold of Ham († 1101), advocate of Prüm, also uses the Vianden cognomen, and it is known that the counts of Vianden, likewise advocates of Prüm, were a Sponheim branch.

More interesting are the associations of Berthold III († 1043?), who appears as witness to a charter for a Wetterau monastery shortly before Otto of Hammerstein’s death in 1036. After him an Udo and an Ezzo are named as witnesses. Udo emerges later as count, in 1040, but of an unknown jurisdiction. Ezzo, conversely, appears as count of Niddagau in 1048, and this jurisdiction later passed to Berthold IV. There is no appreciable doubt, therefore, that Udo and Ezzo were Berthold IV’s brothers, and it cannot be disputed that the rare name Ezzo delivers us a connection to the Ezzonen of the lower Rhine. The charter of 1036, incidentally, clearly shows that Berthold was designated as Otto’s comital successor even before Otto died. For Otto’s only son had already died two years previously.

We can also identify a brother of Berthold II, namely Gerlach, count of Lower Lahngau. In 1013 Gerlach held a Maingau county in a narrow strip opposite Wetterau; in 1064 Berthold IV held a county in the same region. Gerlach may be regarded as founder of the house of Diez. It can be shown how that county formed as a Konradiner inheritance along the same lines as the Hessian county of the Bertholds. As to the Maingau fragment, it is likely to have passed from Gerlach’s line to Berthold’s as a consequence of Gerlach’s connivance in the fall of Otto of Hammerstein.

In terms of agnatic descent the Stromburgs appear to belong to the Ernestiner, who held jurisdiction in Sualafeld in southernmost Franconia; they were clearly a junior branch of the Liutpoldinger dukes of Bavaria. We assign Berthold I as a son of Ernst (IV) and an Ezzoner woman, whom we assign in turn as sister of that Erenfried of the mid-tenth century who amassed Ripuarian counties to a considerable extent in inheritance from the Konradiner. The connection of Berthold I to the Ernestiner is deduced primarily from the list of contingents sent to Italy in 982 and the list of those fallen at Cotrone the following year.



Sources: Mainzer UB I. – MGH, Diplomata. – Urkundenbuch der Stadt und Landschaft Zürich I. Ed. J. Escher and P. Schweizer. Zurich, 1888. – UB Niederrhein I. – Urkundenbuch zur Geschichte der Herren von Hanau und der ehemaligen Provinz Hanau I. Ed. H. Reimer. Hessisches Urkundenbuch II/1. Publikationen aus den k. Preussischen Staatsarchiven 48. Leipzig, 1891. – UB Mittelrhein. – Vita Adelheidis abbatissae Vilicensis auct. Bertha (MGH, Scriptores XV/2).

Literature:Baldes, Salier und ihre Untergrafen. – Draudt, K. “Die Grafen von Nüring.” Forschungen zur Deutschen Geschichte 23 (1883) 365-480. – Hlawitschka, Anfänge. – Jackman, “Castle Cognomens.” – Jackman, Criticism. – Kropat, W.-A. Reich, Adel und Kirche in der Wetterau von der Karolinger- bis zur Stauferzeit. Schriften des Hessischen Landesamts für geschichtliche Landeskunde 28. Marburg, 1965. – Mötsch, “Grafen von Sponheim.” – Toussaint, Grafen von Leiningen. – Tyroller, F. “Die Ahnen der Wittelsbacher zum anderen Male.” Jahrbuch für fränkische Landesforschung 15 (1955) 129-56. – Wagner, “Comitate in Franken.” – Wagner, “Comitate in Hessen.” – Wagner, W. Das Augustiner-Chorherrenstift Ravengiersburg. Schriftenreihe des Hunsrücker Geschichtsvereins 12. Simmern, 1977. – Witte, H. “Über die älteren Grafen von Sponheim und verwandten Geschlechter.” ZGO N.F. 11 (1896) 161-229.



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