Hardegg (noble family)

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Family coat of arms of the Counts of Hardegg

The name of the Counts of Hardegg comes from the Lower Austrian town and castle Hardegg (Hardeck), which together with Retz at the end of the 15th century formed the immediate imperial county of Hardegg. The title Graf von Hardegg was used one after the other by different owner families, most recently since 1499 by the Barons von Prüschenk, who still bear the name Hardegg today. From 1501 to 1534 the Hardegg (Prüschenk), as imperial counts, also owned the County of Glatz .

Tribe of the Counts of Plain (1145-1260)

Hardegg Castle , the ancestral seat of the Counts of Hardegg

Otto de Hardeck was mentioned for the first time in a document in 1145, on Hardegg Castle of the same name, which dates back to the 10th century and is located on today's northern border with Lower Austria . Otto de Hardeck was probably a retainer of the Counts of Plain . Liupolt von Plain, who had taken Salzburg on behalf of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa , came from the noble family of the Counts of Plain. In 1187/88 he became Count of Hardegg, his successors therefore called themselves "Counts of Plain and Hardegg". In 1190 Liutpold is also mentioned as Vogt of Berchtesgaden . After his death in 1193 his younger brother Heinrich I († October 30, 1193/97) took over the official duties and also became Vogt of Herrenchiemsee , followed by his son Konrad I (* 1180; † April 4, 1250).

His successor Otto II (* around 1225; † June 26, 1260) is mentioned as Count von Plain (1250–1260) and from 1251 also as Count von Hardegg. His younger brother Konrad III. (* 1230; † June 26, 1260) was also Vogt von Höglwörth . In 1254, King Ottokar II of Bohemia enfeoffed Otto and Konrad with the county of Hardegg, which was directly imperial until 1383. However, both fell in 1260 in the war between King Ottokar and King Béla IV of Hungary in the battle of Staatz . With Otto and Konrad, the Count of Plain family died out in the male line in 1260.

Count Heinrich von Dewin (1262–1270) and Count Berthold von Rabenswald (1277–1312)

Wilbirg or Wilbergis († August 27, 1314), née Countess von Helfenstein , the widow of Count Otto II. Von Plain and Hardegg, who fell in 1260, had married the Thuringian Count Heinrich von Dewin († 1270) in 1261 in a second marriage named himself in 1262 "Heinricus comes de Hardecke". Their marriage was childless.

After the death of her husband Heinrich von Dewin, before March 4, 1277, Countess Wilbirg married Berthold I († August 7, 1312), Count von Rabenswalde (from the family of the Thuringian Counts of Kevernburg ), in 1276 with Rudolf von Habsburg had come to the country, and who called himself “comes de Hardegge” as early as 1277. Berthold or Berchtold is said to have been enfeoffed in 1278 by the Roman-German King Rudolf I with the imperial county of Hardegg and estates in Austria and Bohemia.

Tribe of the Burgraves of Magdeburg (1314–1481)

Since Berthold's marriage with Wilbirg probably remained childless, he was followed in 1314 by his eponymous (great) nephew Berthold († June 5, 1328), Burgrave of Maydburg / Magdeburg , a son (probably more of a grandson) of his widowed sister Gisela , born Countess von Rabenswalde and Burghard II, Burgrave of Maydburg († 1273), from the family of the nobles of Querfurt .

Katharina von Habsburg , daughter of Leopold I , married Konrad II von Hardegg (Magdeburg-Querfurt) as a second marriage in 1348.

Berthold's descendants were not only rich, but also brave and were highly regarded by the imperial court. The last representative of this third Hardegg line, Burgrave Michael († 1483), who remained childless, handed over his entire property to Emperor Friedrich III at Christmas 1481 , in exchange for an annual annuity of 1000 gold guilders and for taking over the office of forester.

Tribe of the Barons von Prüschenk (since 1493)

Play-off against Count Sigmund von Hardegk, Maximilians I tournament book, Southern German 1515-19
Epitaph of Ulrich von Reicheneck, around 1410. His daughter Margarethe was married to Stephan von Prüschenk. Their sons Sigmund and Heinrich Prüschenk received the coat of arms augmentation v. Reicheneck

The Prüschenk were an old ministerial family and have appeared in both Styria and Upper Austria since the 11th and 12th centuries. The two brothers Sigmund (Imperial Councilor and Court Marshal) and Heinrich (Imperial Supreme Field Captain) Prüschenk, Freiherr von Stettenberg , were loyal followers of Emperor Friedrich III. and later by Maximilian I , always knowing how to protect their own interests. They repeatedly helped both emperors politically and financially, giving nothing without securing themselves through lucrative pledges, and they made great fortunes for their time. After the brothers had initially bought the county and castle Hardegg in 1493, they were raised to the rank of imperial count as counts of Hardegg and in the Machlande in 1499 .

At the same time, the family pursued a targeted marriage policy. Heinrich Prüschenk, later Count zu Hardegg, married Elisabeth, a daughter of the South Bohemian aristocrat and governor of Silesia, Johann II von Rosenberg . Numerous children arose from this marriage, and Heinrich and Elisabeth became the ancestors of the members of the family who are still alive today.

1515 to Henry married younger son Ulrich von Hardegg with Sidonie / Zdeňka , a subsidiary of Munster Berger Duke Heinrich d. Ä. and granddaughter of the Bohemian King George of Podebrady . As early as 1501, his brothers had sold him the County of Glatz , which was then part of Bohemia . In 1503 the whole family was raised to Count von Glatz, and in 1507 the family was granted the silver right to mint the Glatz mint . Nevertheless, in 1512 he had a gold coin minted with a Madonna on the obverse and the Grafschafter coat of arms on the lapel . It is believed that this coin represents the statue of Mary from the high altar of the parish church in Glatz, known as the Miracle Madonna of Ernst von Pardubitz . Count Ulrich was referred to by later researchers as "an avid reminder of the coins of his neighbors". Under the coat of arms of the Counts of Hardegg there was a small "H" for Hardegg on the Hardegg pfennig.

Count Sigmund I had an almost friendly relationship with Emperor Maximilian I. This is evident from numerous letters that have still been received. To the annoyance of the great families of the time, the brothers Sigmund and Heinrich were loaded with honors, as they were in 1482 Erbtruchsessen in Styria and in 1486 to Erb mouth give appointed in Austria below the Enns. Numerous cities and castles were then owned by the family, to name only the most important: Grein, Hardegg, Weitra, Marchegg, Weitenegg , Grafenegg Castle , Kreuzenstein Castle , Persenbeug, Forchtenstein and Eisenstadt.

Johann and Julius I zu Hardegg protected the Danube bank from Turkish invasions in 1529 with their own soldiers. In addition, in the Heimatbuch Korneuburg Vol. I, essay Schmida, you can read: “In 1529 the Turks crossed the Danube in several places, but were taken over by Count Johann and Julius zu Hardegg, who had taken over the protection of the Danube bank with the Lords of Kuenring on Seefeld , destroyed. ”Heinrich's son Julius I was governor of Upper Austria from 1539 to 1543 .

The construction activities of the Counts of Hardegg

The Greinburg
Julius II Graf zu Hardegg in 1583, at the age of 36

The Hardegg family developed a great deal of construction activity. The many castles that were built by the family testify to this. These are the castles Greinburg , Juliusburg in Stetteldorf am Wagram, built in 1594 "on green Wasen", Schmida Castle , Haghof in Wolfpassing , Grafenegg Castle, Seefeld Castle and Riegersburg Castle near Hardegg.

The spacious grounds of the Greinburg Castle in Upper Austria, built from 1488 onwards, are a cultural and historical peculiarity in that, for the first time in Austria, a castle was not built primarily for military purposes, but purposefully for representational purposes. Heinrich's son Johann I, known as the Magnificent, lived in this newly built Grein Castle, then called Heinrichsburg, and there he lived the life of a medieval lord, surrounded himself with squires and damsels, had nobles to serve him, a bodyguard on foot and on horseback, truly a "princely pomp". Hence the nickname "the splendid". Greinburg remained in the family's possession until 1534.

Count Georg Friedrich Hardegg had Stetteldorf's famous palace gardens laid out in 1596 and the palace was surrounded on three sides by a moat. To the south of it he laid out the courtyard garden in 1602. According to Schweickhardt, it said, BUMB. VI a pleasure house , a hunter's house and a hermitage . There were pebbly walks, pools and fountains with statues for strolling. A wall equipped with round towers with a pointed roof and portals served as a fence. An engraving from 1672 and the fresco in the ballroom of the castle by Johann Melchior Thalmann from the first half of the 18th century still give us evidence of this. In 1675 this magnificent garden was visited by Emperor Leopold I and his wife. Count Georg Friedrich also had a very expensive stud in Schmida.

Acquisition of the dominions of Stetteldorf and Seefeld; Loss of Hardegg

In 1582, Count Julius II zu Hardegg acquired the rule and the market in Stetteldorf am Wagram , in the south-western Weinviertel , from the Starhemberg family and had Juliusburg Castle built there in 1588 .

Count Hans Wilhelm, a great-grandson of the progenitor Count Heinrich I, acquired the old Kuenringer lordship Seefeld-Groß Kadolz in 1632 , which had been a fiefdom of the burgraves of Nuremberg from the Zollern family since the end of the 13th century . It was a difficult time, because Hans Wilhelm lived in a dispute not only with his family, but above all with Emperor Ferdinand II, against whom he allegedly had instigated a rebellion. This ended with the eight being imposed on Hans Wilhelm. He was later pardoned, but died deeply in debt in 1636, but in the end he created an important fortune for the family through the purchase of the Seefeld estate with its large farms.

The connection with the lordship and Hardegg Castle came to an end with him. His son-in-law Julius III. (Hans Wilhelm's daughter married her second cousin) had to sell the estate of Burg und Herrschaft Hardegg to the Counts of Saint-Julien in 1656 to end the bankruptcy of the estate , whereby this sale was at least prepared by marriage: Julius' III. Sister Sidonia married Count Heinrich Gyard von Saint-Julien in Fronsburg in 1635, a long-time friend of Julius III.

Julius III. was born in 1594 and entered the emperor's service early on. In 1629, at a relatively young age, he became the Privy Councilor of Archduke Ferdinand and appeared as such at the homage to the Lower Austrian estates. In the same year he set up a regiment of foot soldiers and in 1631 became Colonel-Stallmeister of Albrecht Wallenstein , Duke of Friedland. That between Wallenstein and Count Julius III. There was a good relationship with Hardegg, as can be seen from the fact that the great general promised to be the godfather of a son of the count. Count Julius III. reached an old age and died in 1684. A year before that he had received and accommodated the Polish king Jan Sobieski , who had rushed to liberate Vienna against the Turks , in his Juliusburg castle . On September 4, 1683, the King of Poland, nominally in command of the relief army for Vienna besieged by the Turks, and Duke Karl of Lorraine , as the actual head of operations, held a council of war.

From his title “Count Julius III. in Hardegg, Glatz and in Machland, Obrist Erbschenk in Austria and Erbtruchsess in Styria, Lord of the Lords Schmida, Wolfpassing, Oberrußbach, Stetteldorf and Absdorf, princely Brandenburg councilor and fiefdom holder in Austria “one can see the importance of this man.

The Stetteldorf and Seefeld lines (1703)

After the death of his successor Johann Friedrich II. Von Hardegg in 1703, the Hardegg family was divided into the Stetteldorf am Wagram and Seefeld lines .

Juliusburg Castle in Stetteldorf

The founder of the Stetteldorf am Wagram line, Count Johann Julius IV., Had been married to Countess Maria Barbara von Hohenfeld since 1698. He was not only the holder of high orders and titles, but supported his villages and estates to the best of his ability. In this context it should be mentioned that after the conversion of the north front of the palace into a magnificent Renaissance facade (1703–1707), as patron saint, he also bore the brunt of the church building in Stetteldorf am Wagram (1713–1726). His wife donated 100,000 guilders for the prefabricated parish church. In 1725, Count Julius IV and his wife Barbara had the sandstone statue of St. Nepomuk erected above the Schwemme (pond) .

In 1731, on the occasion of the wedding of his son and successor Johann Karl II. With Countess Elisabeth von Sinzendorf, he had the entrance gate on the wall and, above all, the main entrance of the castle by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt each with a splendid Baroque portal with volute gable, columned portico and coat of arms with garlands . In 1716 he acquired Oberzögersdorf and Oberolberndorf . He was the highest hereditary cupbearer in Austria under the Enns and the highest hereditary trustee in Styria, kk, secret councilor, treasurer and k. Obersthof and Landesjägermeister. In 1732 he built the Meierhof and the baroque front of the grain box.

He was followed from 1746 to 1752 by his son, Count Johann Karl II. He felt compelled to have the tower of the main building of the castle, which had been badly damaged by an earthquake, removed. His widow, Countess Maria Elisabeth, née Countess von Sinzendorf, had a crucifixion group carved in stone erected in the recently consecrated cemetery in 1762.

The son Johann Karl III, who died after only two years of holding a majorate . († 1754) was followed by his brother Count Johann Franz de Paula Josef I. He was born in 1741, was pronounced of age in 1761 and died on March 17, 1808. He had the same titles as his father. From 1768 he was married to Maria Ludovica Countess von Canale . In 1791 Johann Franz de Paula Josef Graf zu Hardegg bore the brunt of the cost of building the new elementary school. The old elementary school burned down along with 20 other houses in 1791.

The next landlord was their son, Count Johann Ferdinand II, until 1818. He had been married to Countess Aloisia von Althann since 1797 . In 1829 she had the "Small Castle" (Luisenschlössel) built as a widow's residence. Johann Ferdinand II was followed by Count Franz, who was married to Pauline Countess Choiseul-D-Áillecourt.

The Hardegg family and Protestantism

Ferdinand Graf zu Hardegg
The execution of Ferdinand Graf zu Hardegg

Protestantism found its way into Lower Austria around the middle of the 16th century. Many members of the Hardegg family became adherents of this belief, not always to their advantage. Count Ferdinand Hardegg, owner of Kreuzenstein Castle and defender of Raab Fortress against the Turks, was accused of high treason due to a military intrigue and beheaded in a dramatic spectacle at court in Vienna in 1595. At that time, Kreuzenstein was lost. The family did not become definitively Catholic until 1697.

Field marshals, generals and lawyers

Prince Grand Prior Fra 'Johann Maximilian Rudolf zu Hardegg on Glatz and in the Machlande (1851–1939)

The Hardeggs provided numerous military personnel, for example during the 1st Turkish siege in 1529, Count Johann, the already well-known "Magnificent", defended the Rotenturm Gate, immortalized in the famous circular picture of the first Turkish siege by Nikolaus Meldemann (Vienna Museum Karlsplatz). Together with his brother Julius I, the two of them also had the task of defending the area above Manhartsberg (Waldviertel) against the Turks.

There have been numerous field marshals and generals through the centuries, especially during the Turkish wars. In the Thirty Years War Julius III. Colonel stable master of Wallenstein.

Particularly noteworthy are the three brothers Ignaz, Heinrich and Anton Hardegg, who were awarded the Military Maria Theresa Order as generals in the battles near Aspern and Deutsch Wagram in the fight against Napoleon . A contemporary report mentions that General Ignaz zu Hardegg “chased the French to Raasdorf”. Hardegggasse in today's 22nd district of Vienna has been named after the three brothers for more than a hundred years .

The Hardeggs were of great importance in Austrian hunting, they were twice Obersthofjägermeister. Emperor Charles VI. , Maria Theresa's father, was often hunting in Schmida.

The Hardegg family had a big right. After the Maidburger Hardeggs were chief judges in Lower Austria in the Middle Ages, the tradition was continued by the Prüschenker Hardeggs. A Johann Friedrich I was a district judge in the Margraviate of Moravia, and Heinrich Graf zu Hardegg decided at the end of the 19th century to put his assets into a charitable foundation, the proceeds of which are intended to promote the scientific training of lawyers. This foundation still exists today and distributes substantial grants every year. The foundation is currently chaired by Dr. Friedrich Hardegg. His sister Dr. Elisabeth Lovrek, née Hardegg, has been President of the Supreme Court in Vienna since 2018. Johann Rudolf Graf zu Hardegg was ambassador of the Order of Maltese Knights at the imperial court and from 1914 Prince Grand Prior of Bohemia and Austria.

Today members of the Hardegg family are successful as lawyers, farmers and foresters and in business.

Juliusburg Castle

Juliusburg Castle, completed in 1588, was the center of the older Stetteldorfer line.

Count Johann Friedrich III. was the last majorate on Stetteldorf. This fell in the Second World War in 1945 near Ibbenbüren in Westphalia. Since his marriage had remained childless, there were long inheritance negotiations after his death, whereby the Hardegger estate between the sister Johann Friedrichs, Countess Maria, who inherited the Schmida Castle , or her adopted child Constantin (Tino) Gariboldi, and Countess Mechthild Hardegg, born Freiin von Sturmfeder-Brand , Johann Friedrich's widow, who took over the Stetteldorf estate and Haghof in Wolfpassing , was divided. In 1978 Georg Stradiot (formerly Maier, adopted by a Mr. von Stradiot), grandson of Countess Maria Enzenberg, born Countess Hardegg from the Stetteldorfer line, bought an ideal half of the Stetteldorf castle and estate on a life annuity from Mechthild Hardegg, in 1994 the second half. He also acquired the Haghof and Schmida Castle from Tino Gariboldi.

The last male descendant of the older Stetteldorfer line was Count Hubert Hardegg (1901–1961).

Seefeld Castle

Seefeld Castle

The Seefeld Castle, built by Johann Jakob Castelli on the foundations of the old Kuenringerburg in Seefeld-Kadolz between 1710 and 1715 , was bequeathed by Johannes Hardegg to his childhood grandson, Maximilian Bulgarini. Today it is the center of the Hardegg estate administration , one of the largest agricultural holdings in Austria. The Schlossweingut Graf Hardegg belongs to the company, with 43 hectares it is one of the largest private wineries in Austria. In 1992 the castle was completely renovated.

Other family members

  • Julius Egghard (1834–1867), Austrian pianist and composer, is often incorrectly referred to as a pseudonym for Julius Graf Hardegg (1833–1900).

The Hardegg cave

The Hardegg cave is a through cave in the Türnitz Alps in Lower Austria. It is located in the Isbary Bioland nature resort of the Hardegg family, managed by Friedrich Hardegg. It was measured by the researchers Reinhard Fischer, Eckart Herrmann and Herman Leb on November 16, 2019 and the plan was drawn up in 2020 by E. Hermann in the State Association for Speleology. The cave is 947 meters above sea level in the Geiermäuern southeast of Schwarzenbach an der Pielach UTM (33N): 530.503 / 5.309.140 cadastral number in the cave cadastre: 1873/68 ac


  • Maximilian Weltin : The country and its law: Selected contributions to the history of the constitution , Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2006.
  • Adolf Holzhausen: Explanations of the historical atlas of the Austrian Alpine countries , Academy of Sciences in Vienna, 1917.
  • Genealogical handbook of the nobility , 2000.


Web links

Commons : Hardegg  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Franz Albert: The Glatzer coin. Archival studies on the history of minting in County Glatz . Glatz Heimatschriften, Volume XXIV, Glatz 1932.