History Files


Central Europe

Giso Counts and Castle Hollende at Treisbach (Hesse)

translated and expanded from the original German text by Trish Wilson, 31 May 2015

Part 1: The Gisones
Part 2: Giso I
Part 3: Giso II
Part 4: Giso III
Part 5: Giso IV
Part 6: Giso V

This feature is a direct translation of the German-language document entitled Grafengeschlect der Gisonen and die Burg Hollende bei Treisbach, by Kai-Hubert Weiss (KHW). While the translation is accurate, efforts have been made to correct any mistakes by the original author. Reasoning for such corrections has been provided, and extra information has been added where possible.

Who does not know of those history films and novels, of proud knights in shining armour and demure noble ladies in colourful robes strumming the lute in the tower as they wait for the return of their heroes?

This is the Middle Ages as people like to see them, with imposing castles, high towers and mighty walls, all giving a classy impression of heroism, purity and nobility and all of which has nothing to do with the reality.

Thanks to careful editing only certain historical aspects are presented to a wider public, an editing which often evades a plethora of facts or fails to make use of Latin sources.

So it ends up with anyone who really is interested being presented with certain facts, rather like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle but it's a puzzle that is never put completely together. So often one finds oneself up against contradictions and inconsistencies and yet still expects the complete picture.

Gaps and uncertainties diminish the reader's appraisal but the reader often forgets the Middle Ages cover a period between about AD 500 and 1500, a period of some thousand years.

As regards this matter, family researchers have a more realistic attitude but are nevertheless aware of the difficulties in obtaining complete data even when only looking back two or three hundred years.

Reliable sources are often lacking, particularly during the time of the Crusades, which witnessed a plethora of forged documents claiming ownership of land or legal rights to make use of such land. These rights often did not end with the death of the claimant but were inherited through the male line. [1]

It wasn't until the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich I (1125-1190) [Frederick Barbarossa] that such matters as donations and feudal contracts had to be provided with certification together with an authentic seal, thereby finally providing legal certainty. [2]

If we confine ourselves to Hesse we shall encounter the Conradines and the Saxons, the lineages of Werner and Giso, of the Ziegenhainer and the archbishopric of Mainz. We shall encounter fiefs and demesnes, doubtful successions, wars, intrigue, and assassinations. We shall discover the importance of Amöneberg, Wetter, Gudensberg, Hersfeld, Fulda and Mainz, and the old castles again.

In terms of the heart of this work we shall establish the lineage of the Gisones with particular reference to the fortress ruins of Hollende, situated within our locality, the centre of their domain, which was the so-called family seat of the counts of Oberlahngau (in the Upper Lahn valley). [3]

[1] As an example, the Crusader throne of Jerusalem was claimed by successive generations of European nobility, long after the kingdom itself had fallen.

[2] German names are shown here in their original form, even though an Anglicised version may be in use in the appropriate king list. That Anglicised version may be shown alongside the German version here at the first time of use.

[3] The alternative and earlier name of Hollende is Hohenlinden ('die Linde' meaning 'lime tree, or 'linden' in Old English, and used in place names such as Linden Lea). It's not difficult to guess how one became the other.


Main Sources

Meiborg, Christa - Die Hollende bei Wetter (Hessen)-Warzenbach. Führungsblatt zu der Burg der Grafen Giso im Kreis Marburg-Biedenkopf, Archäologische Denkmäler in Hessen, Heft 157, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Hessen, Wiesbaden, 2003

Weiss, Kai-Hubert - Grafengeschlect der Gisonen and die Burg Hollende bei Treisbach

Dietrich, Christoph von Rommel - Geschichte von Hessen, Volume 1

Weller, Tobias - Die Heiratspolitik des deutschen Hochadels im 12. Jarhundert

Wencks, Helfrich Bernhard - Hessische Landesgescichte, Volume 3

Schmidt, Johannes Ernst Chistroph - Geschichte des Grossherzogthums Hessen

Verlag, Vittorio Klostermann - Hessen und das Stammesherzogtum Sachsen

Internet Sources

Dt.wiki - Die Gisonen

www.hoeckmann.de - Geschichte der Landgraftschaft Hessen, Kassel Teil 1

www.myheritage.com - Giso von Gudensberg



This new translation and expansion of Grafengeschlect der Gisonen and die Burg Hollende bei Treisbach by Kai-Hubert Weiss copyright © Trish Wilson. An original feature for the History Files.