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Thuringia

The region of Thuringia was centred on an upland area of what is now Central Germany. It included the Harz Mountains and the River Saale. In prehistory the area had been occupied by a sequence of peoples who included Celto-Ligurians, the Urnfield culture proto-Celts, the Hallstatt culture Celts of the first wave, and the La Tène Celts of the second wave. During the first two centuries AD it was dominated by the Hermanduri. They fragmented in the early third century and were absorbed by the newly-formed Alemanni confederation. Then the Thuringians arrived in territory on the northern edge of the confederation which itself had migrated southwards during the Great Migration period of the late Roman empire.

Thuringii / Kingdom of Thuringia
AD 400 - 531

The Thuringians are thought to have been mainly of Anglian stock from what is now lower Denmark. Their kingdom was formed during the collapse of the Roman empire, when Angles migrated southwards from Angeln and settled in Central Germany between the Main and the Harz. This seems to have happened at the start of a period of Anglian and Jutish migration from the Cimbric Peninsula, when increasing pressure was being applied on them for living space by incoming Danes. The Thuringians may also have included large numbers of Hermunduri (who were broken during the Marcomannic Wars and later absorbed into both the Alemanni and Thuringians).

The 'Thuringian regna' or kingdom seems to have been recognised as existing around 400, but the independence of these Continental Angles was short-lived. Following conquest by the Huns, they became excellent horsemen and seemingly kept Hunnic women as slaves or wives after the collapse of the Hunnic empire. Archaeological evidence has revealed female skulls in Thuringii graves which were artificially elongated, a peculiar practice among the Huns. Following a brief flowering of Thuringian independence came the Franks, and much of the original Thuringian territory was subsequently lost to incursions by the Avars and Slavs in the sixth century. Some Thuringians had already left the territory to form part of the Bavarii confederation at the start of the sixth century.

late 4th century

Widephus

c.450

The Huns and Alans arrive in the territory north of the Danube and take control. The Germanic Rugii kingdom in Austria is made a client state, the Quadi are effectively destroyed, and the early Thuringian kingdom is apparently disrupted. The Huns eventually unify and only then begin to focus on the Western Roman empire as their main opponent.

Germanic Tribesmen
Not directly involved in the chaotic transfer of the Roman empire to Germanic control, the Thuringians migrated from the Cimbric Peninsula into territory to the east of the Rhine, land that had been left partially deserted by the Alemanni moving southwards

c.460s - 470s?

Bisin / Bisinus

Ruled mid to late 400s.

Baderich

487

Elements of the Boii tribe may survive in the Pannonian Plain, probably in a subjugated state in the territory that will later become Bohemia. The Germanic tribe of the Rugii, which controls the area in the fifth century, is now destroyed by the Romano-German general and emperor, Odoacer. In the void created by this destruction, a new confederation quickly forms. It is unusual in that it does not migrate from elsewhere but is made up from local elements, which include possible Boii descendants and Roman settlers, along with elements of the Germanic Alemanni, Buri, Heruli, Marcomanni, Ostrogoths (following the fall of their own kingdom), Quadi, Rugii, Scirii, and Thuringians. This confederation migrates southwards to form the Bavarii.

491

Clovis, king of the Franks, achieves victory over a small group of Thuringians who border the Franks. It is a taste of things to come for the rest of the Thuringians. Some elements of the Thuringian peoples who occupy territory farther south soon form part of the Bavarii confederation that appears at the start of the sixth century, perhaps to escape Frankish domination.

c.500?

Wod

Ruler of the Thuringians as mentioned in the Widsith list.

c.500

Describing a Europe of about AD 500, the Old English poem Widsith mentions several Germanic peoples, not all of whom can be properly identified. Wod is named as ruler of the Thuringians, but how he fits in with the other names listed here, and whether he even rules the main body of Thuringians is not known.

? - c.500

Berthachar / Berthar

c.500 - 531

Hermenefried / Hermanafrid

Killed by Theuderich of Austrasia.

Amalberga

Female co-ruler. Wife?

531

The Franks of Austrasia conquer the Thuringians and apparently rule the region directly, without appointing any sub-kings. The names of possible regional governors are unknown but, coincidentally perhaps, the first dukes of Alemannia appear shortly after this point so perhaps they govern both regions simultaneously.

Portions of territory are lost to the Saxons on the north-west border, probably to the Continental Saxons, but there also seems to be a reverse migration of Germanics from the east coast of Britain, where the recent native victory at Mons Badonicus has cut them off from the acquisition of new lands. These returning Angles and Saxons appear to be given land in Thuringia by King Theuderich of Austrasia. Warrior groups of Thuringians are soon to be found in another Frankish conquest, that of Alemannia, where they act as part of the governing Frankish authority.

Dukes of Thuringia
c.AD 634 - 888?

When the Franks of Austrasia conquered the Thuringians in 531, they appeared to rule the region directly without appointing any sub-kings. However, there is the possibility that Thuringia was governed from Alemannia which itself saw its first vassal duke appointed around 536. Some boundary changes took place, notably in regard to the Saxons on the north-western border. Angles and Saxons returning from the stalled conquest of Britain appear to have been given land in Thuringia by King Theuderich of Austrasia. Eventually, during the first half of the seventh century, formalised dukes started to appear, the earliest to have been recorded being Radulf from around 634.

Duke Radulf was a powerful regional figure, one who needed to be watched carefully. Towards the end of the life of Dagobert I of Austrasia, possibly around AD 634, he appointed one Hruodi to command the River Main region from its capital at Würzburg. For almost a century, Franks had been settling along the course of the Main, gradually securing more territory towards the east. Now they had reached the River Regnitz around the Bamberg area, at around the same time as Slavs began settling to the north-east, so Hruodi's appointment appears to have been an attempt to stabilise this eastern area of Austrasia that was gradually becoming known as Franconia. Hruodi may have been the same person Radulf, but was more likely to have been a counterbalance to him, in order to prevent him from adding to his own territory in a region in which firm borders had yet to be established. However, the lines between the early Franconia and Thuringia do seem to have been rather blurred at this time, with official authority not necessarily being limited only to one or the other. Even if Radulf was his own man and not Hruodi 'in disguise', it was Hruodi's immediate descendants who appear to have replaced him in Thuringia while still governing in Franconia.

(Additional information from Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder, Gerhard Köbler (Darmstadt 1999), from Bayern und das Deutsche Reich, Josef Kirmeier (in Politische Geschichte Bayerns, Hefte zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur No 9 - see external links), from the Passio Kiliani, St Kilian, and from External Links: Fränkische Dialekte, Alfred Klepsch (in German), and Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte (in German), and the Swabian League of Cities, Alexander Schubert (Historisches Lexikon Bayerns, in German), and Medieval Lands.)

c.634 - 642

Radulf

'Duke of Thuringia'.

c.634

Early in the seventh century, Slavs begin settling to the north-east, so Hruodi's appointment as the duke of the River Main territory of Austrasia is an attempt to stabilise this eastern area of the kingdom that is gradually becoming known as Franconia. Hruodi may be the same figure as the powerful Duke Radulf, but is more likely to be a counterbalance to him, in order to prevent him from adding to his own territory in a region in which firm borders have yet to be established. One theory equates Hruodi with Chrodebert of Alemannia (circa 615-639). There is certainly some similarity in the way the names are pronounced, but there is no evidence to support the theory.

River Main at Wurzburg
This photo shows the River Main passing under Würzburg's oldest bridge - and its only bridge until 1886 - sitting under the watchful gaze of Marienberg Fortress - but was this fortress in its original form in early Franconia also the seat of Thuringia's early dukes, men who largely appear to be one and the same as those early Franconian rulers?

636

Dervan and his Serbs have joined Samo in his battles to maintain the kingdom of Carinthian Slavs, but Dervan is now defeated by Radulf.

639

Radulf establishes the renewed independence of the Thuringians at a time when the Merovingian kings of the Franks appear to be relinquishing control to their deputies.

c.642

What happens to Radulf? Despite the possibility that Hruodi of the River Main region of Franconia may not hold any authority in Thuringia, his family certainly do have associations with Thuringia as well as with the River Main region around Würzburg. Hruodi's son, Hetan, is referred to as a duke and is placed at Castellum Wirziburc, the castle of Würzburg (this construction is replaced in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries by the Marienberg Fortress). There is simultaneously a Hetan governing as an independent duke in the neighbouring Thuringian lands, making it highly likely that they are one and the same person. This begs the question of whether Hruodi really is Radulf or does he replace him in Thuringia, expanding his own domain possibly at the behest of Dagobert's Austrasian successor, Sigisbert III.

c.642 - 687

Hetan I / Heden I (the Eldder)

Independent duke of Thuringia & Austrasia's River Main territory.

c.687 - 689

Gozbert

Son. Duke of Thuringia & Austrasia's River Main territory.

c.680s?

As recorded by the Passio Kiliani, Gozbert is 'duce... Gozberto filio Hetanis senioris qui fuit filius Hruodis' and is based at 'castellum... Wirziburc' (Duke Gozberto, son of Hetan the Elder [to differentiate him from Gozbert's own son of the same name], who is the son of Hruodi, based at the castle of Würzburg in early Franconia [and apparently also duke in Thuringia]). Gozbert cannot be a popular leader as he is killed by his own followers. His wife, Geilana, dies after being 'invaded by a malign spirit', while Hetan the Younger is expelled by the people of eastern Franconia. Hetan is also named as a duke, but his son, Thuringus, is not, suggesting that the family are removed from this office (they certainly appear to be removed from their responsibilities in Thuringia).

c.685

The Franks of the River Main are still pagan, although itinerant Anglo-Saxon monks from the church at Canterbury are just beginning to wander Germanic areas of Europe to spread the word. One of the first of these is the Irish monk, Kilian, who becomes the apostle to the Franks. Around this time he and his companions, Colman and Totnan, arrive at Würzburg to form a proto-bishopric. The populace refuse his preaching and murder all three of them, following which they become martyrs.

c.689 - 719

Hetan II / Heden II (the Younger)

Son. Duke of Thuringia & Austrasia's River Main territory.

719

Despite being occupied by a messy civil war, the Franks conquer the Thuringians for a second time and this time they are subsumed completely within the kingdom and subsequent empire. Minor Carolingian dukes emerge again from 849. This would seem to be the point at which the authority of the dukes of the River Main region is curtailed, drawing them back into early Franconia alone, with any Thuringian regions being taken out of their control.

724

St Boniface, 'Apostle of the Germans', fells the sacred oak of the Thuringians at Gaesmere (modern Geismar) to symbolise the abolition of their paganism, and they are converted to Christianity en masse. The Chatti are included amongst this group of Germans to be so converted, perhaps better known by now as Hessi.

785 - 786

Hardrad

Leader of a revolt against Charlemagne.

840 - 843

Louis the Pious wills the Frankish empire to his sons, but tries to ensure that the eldest gains the biggest share, in order to avoid the fragmentation of territory that so weakened the Merovingians. Lothar receives Middle Francia (the Rhine corridor including the kingdom of Burgundy, and Italy); Charles the Bald receives Western Francia (France and the duchy of Burgundy); and Louis the German receives Eastern Francia (Germany, including Alemannia, Bavaria, and Saxony, plus regions that are already emerging as Franconia and Thuringia). However, Lothar initially claims overlordship over all three regions and Louis and Charles have to go to war to convince him to relent. The Treaty of Verdun, signed in 843, recognises the division of the empire.

849 - 873

Thachulf

Margrave of the Sorbian March.

874 - 880

Radulf II

Son.

876

The death of Louis the German results in his territory being divided between his three sons. This is something that he had already foreseen, and portions of territory had been appointed to each of them in 865. Now in a peaceful succession, Carloman inherits Bavaria and the Ostmark, Louis the Younger gains Franconia, Saxony, and Thuringia, while Charles the Fat succeeds to Rhaetia and Alemannia (Swabia). As the oldest son, Carloman also retains de facto dominance over the Eastern Franks as a whole.

880 - 892

Poppo (II)

'Dux Thuringorum' (892). House of Babenburg. Deposed.

880

Poppo II is probably the son or grandson of Poppo I, count in the Grapfeld of Franconia until 839. The younger Poppo's brother, Egino, soon governs Thuringia alongside him. Untilately he is deposed by Arnulf of Carinthia shortly before the latter becomes emperor.

881 - 882

Charles the Fat succeeds as titular head of the Frankish empire, holding the position as Emperor Charles III. He is crowned by Pope John VIII. In the following year, 882, Louis the Younger dies and Charles, as the last remaining of the three brothers, inherits his territories of Bavaria, Franconia, Saxony, and Thuringia, thereby reuniting East Francia following its division in 876.

882 - 886

Egino

Brother.

892 - 906

Conrad the Elder

Son of Udo of Neustria. Duke of Franconia & Hesse lands.

886 - 906

Conrad the Elder, duke of Thuringia (a temporary post) and Franconia is the son of Udo of Neustria. His mother is most likely to be a daughter of Conrad I of Logenahe (832-860). Conrad also becomes a count of the Oberlahngau in 886, Hessengau in 897, Gotzfeldgau in 903, Wetterau in 905, and Wormsgau in 906. In gaining all these titles he unites all of the lands of the Hessi and their immediate neighbours under a single political control, creating a bastion of the duchy of Franconia and an entity that will evolve into the landgraviate of Hesse.

906 - 908

Burchard

Last duke. Killed.

Counts of Thuringia
AD 888 - 1130

A small stem duchy emerged from the fragmentation of the Eastern Frankish kingdom when the Germanic Roman empire was formally secured by German rulers. Initially ruled as a county, Thuringia was situated in the central north of modern Germany, sandwiched between Saxony (north and west), Franconia (south and west), and the marches (to the east). To begin with Thuringia is subject to Saxony.

The first two counts, Louis I and II, are little known, but they were members of the Lodovingians, a dynasty of nobles who emerged in the region. Louis the Bearded was also known as Louis the Salian, which betrayed a clear Salian Frankish ancestry. The Salians had merged with the Sicambri to form the bulk of Franks in the fifth century. It seems to have been the practice of the Merovingian Franks to conquer a group of Germans and then replace the ruling nobles with an imported Merovingian one. The same process seems to have occurred in nearby Hessi lands, in which the Lodovingians also ruled pockets of territory. Initially much of the Hessian regions were part of Rhenish Franconia (Western Franconia), which was the homeland of several other notable 'Salians' of the eleventh century, notably Conrad the Salian, Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II.

962

With the accession of the Saxon king, Otto I, the power of the Germanic Roman empire is confirmed. Otto is quite vigorous in establishing new counties and border areas within and without the empire's borders. The county of Ardennes under Sigfried gains the stronghold of Lucilinburhuc (the later Luxemburg), Arnulf I the Elder is restored in Flanders, and the March of Austria is formed from territory already captured from Hungary (around 960).

Map of Germany AD 962
Germany in AD 962 may have had its new emperor to govern the territories shown within the dark black line, but it was still a patchwork of competing interests and power bases, most notably in the five great stem duchies, many of which were attempting to expand their own territories outside the empire, creating the various march or border regions to the east and south (click on map to show full sized)

At the same time, Saxony gains Hermann Billung as its duke, charged with maintaining the duchy's eastern borders and expanding them further to the east, alongside the recently-created North March. Perhaps as a reaction to this or as the culmination of a process that is already heading that way, the duchy of Poland is formed around the same time.

1002

Upon the death of the German Emperor, Otto III, Bloeslaw of Poland takes over Lusatia and the march of Meissen, border territory between Poland and Thuringia.

1031 - 1056

Louis I the Bearded, 'the Salian'

A Salian by descent. First of the Ludovingians.

c.1040

Reinhardsbrunn Abbey in Friedrichroda, near Gotha in Thuringia, is founded in 1085 by Louis the Jumper. It serves as the official family monastery for the counts of Thuringia, and records much detail about their lives, some of which cannot be checked against other sources for accuracy. Working back in time with its records it notes at, around 1040, Louis the Bearded receives a fief that lays to the north of the Thuringian forest. Within it lies Schauenburg Castle, making Louis the count of Schaeuenburg.

1056 - 1123

Louis II the Jumper

Son. Count of Schauenburg.

c.1080

The sons of Louis the Bearded, Louis the Springer and Beringer of Sangerhausen, together found Kloster Schönrain Abbey in Main Franconia, in which lands their Merovingian ancestors had settled some centuries before. A deed of 1100 names both brothers as counts of Schauenburg.

1111/2 - 1030

Herman I

'Landgrave'. Count of Winzenburg. Deposed 1130. Died 1131.

1122

Most prominent amongst the Hessian nobility in the tenth and eleventh centuries are the Gisos, the counts of Gudensberg. The daughter of Giso IV, Hedwig of Gudensberg, now marries the soon-to-be Count Louis III of Thuringia.

1123 - 1130

Louis III

Son of Louis II. m dau of last Count of Gudensberg in Hesse.

1130

Louis is raised to the rank of landgrave by HRE Lothair II. The reason is unclear, but the Ludovingians have been amassing territories and becoming more powerful, and the emperor spends much of his reign in need of support. Following the death of Giso V, Louis is recognised as overlord by the Hessians, increasing his influence still further.

Landgraves of Thuringia (Ludovingians)
AD 1130 - 1247

Count Louis III was raised to the rank of landgrave as Louis I (German practice was invariably to restart numbering from the point of promotion onwards). Very soon afterwards, following the death of Giso V of Gudensberg in Hesse, Louis inherited his title and lands thanks to his marriage to Giso's sister, Hedwig, and his brother's marriage to Hedwig's mother. This united Hesse and Thuringia from 1130-1247, clearly to the detriment of Hesse's traditional link with Franconia. Louis effectively became the most powerful Hessian noble.

As Louis I he held a large number of titles, which included bailiff of Hersfeld Abbey, and territory that included a large proportion of the lordship of Bilstein; the bailiwick of Wetter and the Gisonen lands to the north of Marburg; plus the inherited territories of the counts of Werner (Lower Hesse) following the end of their line in 1121, which also included the county of Maden-Gudensberg, and the position of bailiff of the abbeys of Breitenau and Hasungen, and Fritzlar Cathedral. The numbering below shows, in parenthesis, the continuation of numbering for the counts of Thuringia, as this is sometimes mistakenly used in reference to the landgraves.

(Additional information from Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder (Historical Dictionary of German States), Gerhard Köbler, 1995, from Die Hollende bei Wetter (Hessen)-Warzenbach. Führungsblatt zu der Burg der Grafen Giso im Kreis Marburg-Biedenkopf, Christa Meiborg, Archäologische Denkmäler in Hessen, Issue 157, from Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler im Regierungsbezirk Cassel. Band VI: Kreis Cassel-Stadt, A Holtmeyer, 1923, and from Grafengeschlecht der Gisonen und die Burg Hollende bei Treisbach (Giso Counts and Castle Hollende at Treisbach), available from External Link: Wanderfreunde Treisbach.)

1130 - 1140

Louis I (III)

Formerly Count Louis III. Third of the Ludovingians of Thuringia.

1137

The rivalry for the Imperial title between Emperor Lothar and his main rival, Frederick II of Swabia, has a destabilising effect on Germany as a whole. Emperor Lothar and his Hohenstaufen successors in Franconia are supported by Louis I. The county of Württemberg is formed in western central Swabia as another step towards the total disintegration of the duchy during the general political crisis in the country.

1140 - 1172

Louis II (IV) the Iron

Son (aged 12). Also Count of Gudensberg in Hesse.

1140 - 1148

Hedwig of Gudensberg

Mother and regent. Also Count of Gudensberg in Hesse.

1148

While acting as regent for her son, Louis II, Hedwig of Gudensberg founds Ahnaberg Abbey in Kassel. Support for this act comes from her younger son, Henry Raspe II, who is managing the administration of Thuringia's holdings in Hesse.

Ahnaberg Abbey
Ahnaberg Abbey was founded in 1148 and demolished in 1878 (although one online source states the early twentieth century), with only the north wing shown here in a 1928 German language publication surviving for more secular use

1158

The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, grants Vladislav the hereditary title of king of Bohemia, but then refuses to acknowledge his successors. Vladislav has already improved his dynastic connections by marrying first Gertrude of Babenburg and then Judith of Thuringia, daughter of Louis I.

1158 - 1162

Supported as always by his brother-in-law, Louis the Iron, HRE Frederick claims direct imperial control of Italy at the Diet of Roncaglia in 1158. Frederick is attempting to restore his rights over the increasingly independent trading cities in Italy. The diet finds in his favour so the cities of northern Italy refuse to accept the decision. Frederick imposes his will by force of arms, and in 1162 razes Milan to the ground. The Italian response is to unite under the Lombard League.

1172 - 1190

Louis III (V) the Mild

Son of Louis II. Also Count of Gudensberg in Hesse.

1180

HRE Frederick comes into conflict with Henry 'the Lion' Welf, duke of Bavaria. Frederick dispossesses Henry of his lands and passes Bavaria to the Wittelsbachs. Henry's Saxon duchy is also divided, with the County Palatine of Saxony going to Louis III (he promptly passes it onto his brother, the future Landgrave Herman I, in 1881) while the vassalage of Pomerania is taken directly by the emperor.

1190 - 1216

Herman I

Brother. Also Count of Gudensberg in Hesse & Count Palatine.

1204 - 1208

The war between rival emperors, Philip Hohenstaufen of Swabia and Otto of Brunswick, lasts with varying fortunes until Hermann of Thuringia submits in 1204. Adolph of Cologne and Henry I, duke of Brabant soon follow suit, but Philip is murdered before the final peace can be agreed. Otto secures the throne for himself (and also Swabia) until 1215 when the young Frederick can finally succeed his father, Henry VI, as king and emperor of the Germans.

Philip Hohenstaufen
Philip Hohenstaufen climbed through the ranks of the nobility during his lifetime, from bishop of Würzburg, through duke of Tuscany and then Swabia, to become emperor of the Germans

 

1216 - 1227

Louis IV (VI) the Pious / Blessed Louis

Son. Count of Gudensberg in Hesse. Father of Sophie of Thuringia.

1228 - 1229

The Fifth Crusade sees Jerusalem regained. It is ceded to the Christians at Acre while the Ayyubids squabble amongst themselves. One of its intended participants, Louis the Pious, dies unexpectedly of fever on his way to the Holy Land. He is succeeded in Thuringia by his four year-old son, Herman, with the boy's uncle, Henry Raspe IV acting as regent.

1227 - 1241

Herman II

Son. Also Count of Gudensberg in Hesse. Died.

1231 - 1241

With the death of St Elizabeth of Thuringia, Louis' widow, Henry Raspe is able to assume unquestioned control of Thuringia. The young Herman II dies ten years later, never having ruled himself. Henry is numbered IV as he follows three previous uncles as (joint) count of Gudensberg with their respective brothers. While the latter had fulfilled the role of landgrave of Thuringia, the Raspes had always administered the family's Hessian lands.

1227 - 1241

Henry Raspe IV

Uncle and regent. Also Count of Gudensberg in Hesse.

1241 - 1247

Henry Raspe IV

Succeeded his nephew. Rival for HRE (1246-1247).

1247 - 1263

The line becomes extinct upon Henry's death, triggering the War of the Thuringian Succession. Henry's younger brother, Conrad, has already relinquished his own titles in Hesse to join the Teutonic Knights (in 1234) and become their head (in 1239). Henry is the brother-in-law of St Elizabeth of Thuringia, and his niece, Duchess Sophia, establishes Hesse as a separate landgraviate.

Duchess Sophia of Brabant
Duchess Sophia led the fight to secure the various Hessian lands as a unified landgraviate for her son, Henry of Brabant, otherwise known as Henry the Child due to his young age

The Hessians eventually select Henry of Brabant (Sophia's son and Elizabeth's grandson) as their landgrave, but following a heavy defeat at Besenstedt (near Wettin) in October 1263, Sophie has to admit failure in securing the remainder of Thuringia for her son. That passes to the March of Meissen under Henry III (son of Henry Raspe's sister, Jutta), and through this it eventually becomes part of the electorate Saxony when the Wettins gain the ducal title (1423).

1268

The execution of Conradin of Swabia, last of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, on 29 October 1268 triggers the gradual break-up of that duchy. The heiress of Swabia is Margaret, his father's half-sister. She has been married to Albert, landgrave of Thuringia (and later margrave of Meissen), since 1255, and their son, Frederick, claims Swabia on his mother's behalf. The claim receives little support as Swabia is already disintegrating.

1309

John is required to conquer the city of Gudensberg after Hesse's mortgaging of it to the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Duke Albert II of Brunswick-Göttingen is forced to accept John's repayment of the debt. Subsequently, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII of Luxemburg appoints him protector of the free imperial cities of Goslar, Mühlhausen, and Nordhausen, but Margrave Frederick I of Miessen views this as an intrusion into Thuringia which he now rules. Frederick goes mobilises his forces to prevent this perceived intrusion, and John is forced to retire to Kassel.