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Wettin

WETTIN, the name of a family from which several of the royal houses of Europe have sprung, derived from a castle which stood near the small town of that name on the Smile. Attempts to trace the descent to the Saxon chief Widukind or Wittekind, who died about 807, or to Burchard, margrave of Thuringia (d. 008), have failed, and the earliest known ancestor is one Dietrich, who was count of Hassegau or Hosgau, a district on the left bank of the Saale. Dietrich was killed in 982 fighting the Hungarians, and his sons Dedo I. (d. 1009) and Frederick (d. 1017) received lands taken from the Wends, including the county or Gau of Wettin on the right bank of the Saale. Dedo's son Dietrich II. inherited these lands, distinguished himself in warfare against the Poles, and married Matilda, daughter of Ekkard 1., margrave of Meissen. Their son Dedo II. obtained the Saxon east mark and lower Lusatia on the death of his uncle Ekkard II., margrave of Meissen, in 1046, but in 1069 he quarrelled with the emperor Henry IV. and was compelled to surrender his possessions. He died in 1075, ar d his lands were granted to his son Henry I., who in 1089 was invested with the mark of Meissen. In 1103 Henry was succeeded by his cousin Thimo (d. 1104), who built a castle at Wettin, and was called by this name. Henry II., son of Henry I., followed, but died childless in 1123; his cousin, Conrad I., son of Thimo, claimed Meissen, of which he secured possession in 1130, and in 1135 the emperor Lothair II. added lower Lusatia to his possessions. Abdicating in 1156, Conrad's lands were divided between his five sons, when the county of Wettin fell to his fourth son Henry, whose family died out in 1217. Wettin then passed to the descendants of Conrad's youngest son Frederick, and in 1288 the county, town and castle of Wettin were sold to the archbishop of Magdeburg. They were retained by the archbishop until the peace of Westphalia in 1648, when they passed to the elector of Brandenburg, and afterwards became incorporated in the kingdom of Prussia.

Conrad I. and his successors had added largely to their possessions, until under Henry I., the Illustrious, margrave of Meissen, the lands of the Wettins stretched from the Oder to the Werra, and from the Erzgebirge to the Harz mountains. The subsequent history of the family is merged in that of Meissen, Saxony and the four Saxon dukedoms. In June 1889 the Sooth anniversary of the rule of the Wettins in Meissen and Saxony was celebrated with great splendour at Dresden.

See G. E. Hofmeister, Das Haus Wettin (Leipzig, 1889); C. W. Bottiger, Geschichte des Kurstaates und Konigreichs Sachsen (Gotha, 1867-1873); O. Posse, Die Markgrtfen von Meissen und das Haus Wettin (Leipzig, 1881) ; K. Wenck, Die Weltiner im I4len Jahrhtmdert (Leipzig, 1877); Kammel, Festschrift zur 800 jahrigen Jubtlfeier des Houses Wettin (Leipzig, 1889); and H. B. Meyer, Hof- und Zentralvenvaltung der Weltiner (Leipzig, 1902).

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

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