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Fief flag ( coat of arms banner ) of the Eppensteiner

The Eppensteiners were a medieval noble family that provided a few dukes of Carinthia and are considered the first local ducal family . Two margraves of the Kärntnermark also come from this family. The Austrian Bindenschild originally goes back to the red-white-red fiefdom of this family , because when the family died out in 1122, it bequeathed its own property and Friulian fiefs including its fiefdom to the Styrian Traungau , who in turn passed it on to the Austrian Babenbergs when they died out in 1192 , Dukes of Austria .


The family is named after the Eppenstein Castle near Obdach in Styria , which monitored the important route through the Granitzenbach valley and was first mentioned in a note from 1130 . The Eppensteiners originally came from Bavaria and settled near Judenburg . Markwart III. (before 970 to around 1000) was the first margrave of the Mark an der Mur , which was in what is now Styria and with which four Upper Styrian counties were connected.

Adalbero von Eppenstein was able to secure large property in the cleared area. Around 1000 he became Margrave in the Mark an der Mur and finally Duke of Carinthia in 1012 . He was deposed in 1035 and died four years later. His son Markwart IV († 1076) managed to keep the rich possessions and de facto rule in Carinthia. His son Liutold von Eppenstein († 1090) was enfeoffed again in 1077 by King Henry IV with the Duchy of Carinthia and the Mark of Verona . Together with his brother Heinrich , he wanted to expand his power at the expense of Bamberg , Salzburg and Aquileia . Between 1076 and 1103, father Markwart and Heinrich founded St. Lambrecht Abbey in what is now Styria, which was supposed to secure their power as a spiritual center and also to serve as a burial place.

With Heinrich's death in 1122, the Eppenstein family died out. Heir to the allodial property in Upper Styria was his brother-in-law, Otakar II from Traungau († 1122) or his son Leopold . The ducal dignity in Carinthia went to the Counts of Spanheim , with whom the Eppensteiners were related by marriage.

Tribe list of the Eppensteiners

Eppenstein coat of arms in the Zurich coat of arms roll (approx. 1340)

The Eppensteiners are sometimes also called Markwarte or Viehbacher .

Markwart I., Count im Viehbachgau 916


  • Josef Heinzelmann: Beatrix and Adalbero. Carinthian dukes and Salierhaus . In: Archives for family history research. Vol. 7, 2003, ISSN  1867-5999 pp. 31-39.


  1. ^ Hermann Wiesflecker : Austria in the age of Maximilian I: the union of the countries to form an early modern state; the rise to world power , Vienna / Munich 1999, p. 138 f. And there further: “[…] So the binding shield came from the Duchy of Swabia via Carinthia to Friuli and from there with the legacy of the Eppensteiner and Otakare family from Cordenons-Pordenone via Styria to Austria. [...] "
  2. Heinzelmann