Sigfried, Count of the Ardennes

Sigfried (or Siegfried) (c. 922 – 28 October 998) was Count of the Ardennes, and is wideley remembered as being the person who founded the Castle of Luxembourg in 963 AD, thus being the founder and first person to rule Luxembourg.[1] He was also an advocate of the abbeys of St. Maximin in Trier and Saint Willibrord in Echternach. Sigfried is the founder and the ancestor of the first House of Luxembourg, the so-called House of Ardenne-Luxembourg, and his descendants would become the Counts of Luxembourg.[2]

Sigfried
Siegfried I of Luxembourg.jpg
Sigfried, Count of the Ardennes and founder of Luxembourg
Bornc. 922
Died(998-10-28)28 October 998
Noble familyHouse of Ardenne
House of Ardenne-Luxembourg
Spouse(s)Hedwig of Nordgau
FatherWigeric of Lotharingia
MotherCunigunda of France

AncestryEdit

Through his mother Cunigunde, who was a granddaughter of Louis II, King of West Francia, Sigfried was a sixth-generation descendant of Charlemagne.[3]

His father is most likely Count Palatine Wigeric of Lotharingia, the ruler of Lotharingia, which was a successor state of Middle Francia.[4] Wigeric is also considered the founder of the House of Ardennes, and his sons, including Sigfried, would all create their own respective branches and become important rulers in Upper and Lower Lotharingia. Thus, while Sigfried became founder of the House of Ardenne-Luxembourg and his descendants would become the Counts of Luxembourg, his brothers Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine and Gozlin, Count of Bidgau and Methingau became founders of their own branches known as House of Ardennes-Bar and House of Ardennes-Verdun respectively. Their descendants would become the rulers of the Duchy of Lorraine and Upper Lorraine, the Duchy of Bar, as well as become counts or bishops of many surrounding cities like Arlon, Bastogne, Metz, Trier, Verdun, and Laon among others.[5]
Another one of Sigfried's brothers was Adalbero I, Bishop of Metz.[6]

LifeEdit

As the youngest son, Sigfried had inherited, unlike his brothers, only a few possessions from his father in the Duchy of Lorraine. He is first mentioned in around 950 AD as having been an advocate of the abbeys of St. Maximin in Trier and Saint Willibrord in Echternach.[7] Since at least 982 he held title of "count in the Moselgau".[8][9] From 958, he sought to acquire the territories of Count Warner in the region of Bodeux near the Benedictine Abbey of Stavelot. However, the Abbot of Stavelot, Werinfried, reluctant to have an ambitious landowner as his neighbor, acquired the village of Bodeux himself in 959.[9]
As Siegfried's ambitions to expand towards the Meuse River had failed, and as he was unwilling to confront the powerful episcopal cities of Trier or Metz which ruled out expanding towards the Moselle River, he turned his attention towards the Alzette valley.[9]

Acquisition and foundation of "Lucilinburhuc" (Luxembourg)Edit

See also: The folkloric legend of Melusina

In the mid-10th century, Siegfried acquired the rocky promontory known as Lucilinburhuc and its immediate surrounding area, as well as usage rights for the river from the Abbey of Saint-Maximin in Trier in exchange for land he owned near Feulen.[9] The deed for the exchange was not drawn up until 987 and although the plots of land involved were tiny, the transaction was evidently a significant one, for the document bears the seals of Bruno, archbishop of Cologne and brother of emperor Otto I, Henry I, archbishop of Trier and Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine, Siegfried's brother.[10]

In 963 Siegfried built a stronghold, castellum Lucilinburhuc on top of the Bock rock. The structure may have been a refurbishment of an older existing building, presumably the ruins of an abandoned roman castellum.[10] The site chosen for the construction of the castle of Luxembourg was not only located on an easily defendable rock, but it was also not far from the intersection of the old roman road Reims-Trier and a prehistoric path leading from Metz to Liège.[11] A marketplace soon arose at this intersection around which a town started to grow. Siegfried then gradually extended his territory towards the west, avoiding the Abbey's lands and those of the emperor.[10] This act is generally regarded as the foundation of Luxembourg City and ultimately of what would become the County of Luxembourg.[12]
Although Siegfried constantly used the title of count, the first written evidence of the title "count of Luxembourg" is attributed to Conrad I some 120 years later.[13]

Servant of the Holy Roman EmperorsEdit

In 964, Sigfried also laid the foundations for the construction of the castle of Saarburg.[14]

As the Duchy of Lorraine was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, Sigfried always remained a loyal servant of the Holy Roman Emperors. From 966 to 972 Sigfried joined emperor Otto I during the third Italian expedition to Rome.[15] In 982 he sent troops to southern Italy to support Otto II in his war against the Saracens at the Battle of Stilo.[16] Sigfried also served Otto II during the wars against West Francia, in 983 he served as mediator on behalf of the emperor and met with Hugh Capet, Duke of the Franks.[17] At the death of Otto II in 983, Siegfried fought at the side of the widowed Empress consort and regent Theophanu against the ambitions of king Lothair of France.[10] In 985 he was briefly captured and imprisoned by the king.[18]

When Sigfried died in 998, his son Henry I, followed him as Count of Luxembourg.

Family and descendantsEdit

Around 950, Sigfried married Hedwig of Nordgau (c. 922–993),[4] daughter of Eberhard IV of Nordgau. They had the following children:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 27
  2. ^ Gilbert Trausch, Histoire du luxembourg p. 102
  3. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 26
  4. ^ a b c d e Pixton 2001, p. 478.
  5. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 26
  6. ^ Gilbert Trausch, Histoire du Luxembourg p. 92
  7. ^ Werner, S. 471
  8. ^ Brandenburg, Tafel 5 S. 10, Anmerkung S. 123; Werner S. 471
  9. ^ a b c d Kreins 2007, p. 19.
  10. ^ a b c d Kreins 2007, p. 20.
  11. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 28
  12. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 28
  13. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 28
  14. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 28
  15. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 27
  16. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 27
  17. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 27
  18. ^ Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs p. 27

SourcesEdit

  • Kreins, Jean-Marie (2007). Histoire du Luxembourg: des origines à nos jours (in French). Presses universitaires de France. ISBN 978-2-13-056367-9.
  • Pixton, Paul B. (2001). "Luxemburger". In Jeep, John M. (ed.). Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia. Routledge.
Sigfried, Count of the Ardennes
Born: 922 Died: 28 October 998
Preceded by
Title created
Count of Luxemburg
963-998
Succeeded by
Henry I