House of Babenberg

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Originally from Bamberg in Franconia, now northern Bavaria, an apparent branch of the Babenbergs or Babenberger went on to rule Austria as counts of the march and dukes from 976 - 1248, before the rise of the house of Habsburg.


One or two families

The Babenberg family can be broken down into two distinct groups: 1) The Franconian Babenbergs, the so called Older Babenbergs, or Popponen out of which came the Hennebergs and the Counts of Schweinfurt. 2) Austrian Babenbergs which ruled Austria. The second group claimed to have originated from the first but scholars have not been able to verify that claim.

Early history of the family

´╗┐Like the Capetian dynasty (kings of France etc.), the Babenbergs descended from the Robertians. The earliest known Babenberg was one Poppo, who early in the 9th century was count in Grabfeld, in the area between modern Hesse and Thuringia. One of his sons, Henry, sometimes called margrave and duke in Franconia, fell fighting against the Normans in 886; another, Poppo, was margrave in Thuringia from 880 to 892, when he was deposed by the German Carolingian king Arnulf of Carinthia. The family had been favoured by Emperor Charles the Fat, but Arnulf reversed this policy in favour of the rival family of the Conradines.

The leaders of the Babenbergs were the three sons of Duke Henry, who called themselves after their castle of Babenberg on the upper Main, around which their possessions centred. The city of Bamberg was built around the ancestral castle of the family.

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