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Hermann I

HERMANN I (d. 1217), landgrave of Thuringia and count palatine of Saxony, was the second son of Louis II. the Hard, landgrave of Thuringia, and Judith of Hohenstaufen, sister of the emperor Frederick I. Little is known of his early years, but in 1 1 So he joined a coalition against Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony, and with his brother, the landgrave Louis III., suffered a short imprisonment after his defeat at Weissensee by Henry. About this time he received from his brother Louis the Saxon palatinate, over which he strengthened his authority by marrying Sophia, sister of Adalbert, count of Sommerschenburg, a former count palatine. In 1190 Louis died and Hermann by his energetic measures frustrated the attempt of the emperor Henry VI. to seize Thuringia as a vacant fief of the Empire, and established himself as landgrave. Having joined a league against the emperor he was accused, probably wrongly, of an attempt to murder him. Henry was not only successful in detaching Hermann from the hostile combination, but gained his support for the scheme to unite Sicily with the Empire. In 1197 Hermann went on crusade. When Henry VI. died in 1198 Hermann's support was purchased by the late emperor's brother Philip, duke of Swabia, but as soon as Philip's cause appeared to be weakening he transferred his allegiance to Otto of Brunswick, afterwards the emperor Otto IV. Philip accordingly invaded Thuringia in 1204 and compelled Hermann to come to terms by which he surrendered the lands he had obtained in 1198. After the death of Philip and the recognition of Otto he was among the princes who invited Frederick of Hohenstaufen, afterwards the emperor Frederick II., to come to Germany and assume the crown. In consequence of this step the Saxons attacked Thuringia, but the landgrave was saved by Frederick's arrival in Germany in 1212. After the death of his first wife in 1195 Hermann married Sophia, daughter of Otto I., duke of Bavaria. By her he had four sons, two of whom, Louis arid Henry Raspe, succeeded their father in turn as landgrave. Hermann died at Gotha on the 25th of April 1217, and was buried at Reinhardsbrunn. He was fond of the society of men of letters, and Walther von der Vogelweide and other Minnesingers were welcomed to his castle of the Wartburg. In this connexion he figures in Wagner's Tannhauser.

See E. Winkelmann, Phttipp von Schwaben und Otto IV. von Braunschweig (Leipzig, 18731878); T. Knochenhauer, Geschichte Thiiringens (Gotha, 1871); and F. Wachter, Thuringische und obersdchsische Geschichte (Leipzig, 1826).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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