Ritterkanton Gebürg

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Codex diplomaticus equestris cum continuatione, or Reichs-Ritter-Archiv, 1721
Of the Holy Roman Empire without knight = Freyer knight creates the six place in Francken, 1720

A community of knightly noble families who had risen to the ministerial level as servants of various imperial princes since the high Middle Ages and until the mediatization of the knighthood or the regional principalities at the beginning of the 19th century, the feudal lordship over numerous localities and territories is referred to as the knightly canton of Gebürg (or mountains ) Held goods. The knight canton of Gebürg encompassed the landscape of Franconian Switzerland (former name: Muggendorfer Gebürg) and the Fichtelgebirge . The imperial knighthood territories and thus also the knight canton of Gebürg were dissolved in 1806.

Spatial expansion

Franconian Switzerland and the Franconian Forest were among the core areas of the canton of Gebürg ; in the 16th century this also included the Vogtland and the Fichtelgebirge. In the north of Lichtenfels, all manors north of the Main belonged to the canton; in the west and south the Regnitz and the Pegnitz formed the dividing line to the cantons of Steigerwald and Altmühl.

Structure of the knight circles

Since the 16th century, the free imperial knighthood in Germany was divided into a Rhenish , a Franconian and a Swabian knight circle, which in turn consisted of different cantons. The knight canton of Gebürg belonged to the Franconian knight circle and had its office in Bamberg . In 1700 Kunreuth Castle became the seat of the law firm.


During the whole of the 15th century, there was evidence of supraterritorial and territorial unification efforts of the knight nobility in Franconia in a variety of forms and mostly on a case-by-case basis. The forerunner was certainly the Würzburg monastery knighthood, which united as a cooperative and opposed the territorialization efforts of the Würzburg bishops .

The knightly families in the vicinity of the bishopric of Bamberg and the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach found special conditions, as both principalities were spatially closely interlinked and politically only attempted the territorial integration of "their" knighthood with a delay. At least the leading knightly noble families in this region, who had been in close contact with both principalities for at least two centuries, saw themselves primarily as "civil knighthood" and appeared - sporadically - as such. The "Bamberg Mountains" belonged to the landscape subdivisions of the all-German Knight League in 1431 during the Hussite Wars . In 1464, 134 aristocrats "of the knighthood in the mountains" wrote a letter to the Bishop of Würzburg. Among other things, they protested against the ungracious treatment of their peers and called on him to accept the Bamberg bishop's peace bid.

Resignation of the Vogtland knighthood

Letter of invitation and tax collector lists from the early 16th century as well as the knight's registers from 1580 clearly show that the Vogtland nobility in the 16th century belonged to the imperial knighthood movement, to the canton of Gebürg, just like other Franconian noble families. However, the Vogtland nobility became the subject of heated discussions during the knight days of the canton in the 1580s. This must be attributed to the aggressive policy of Margrave Georg Friedrich von Brandenburg-Kulmbach (r. 1557–1603), which did not shy away from arrests . Above all, he wanted to push aristocratic lords in the Hofer and Wunsiedler area into the countryassiat and thus into the vassalage . At the Knights' Days of the canton of Gebürg, despite the special situation, it was decided not to give the Vogtland nobility a special role. The statement on a knight's day in 1593 that the majority of the Vogtland nobility had apparently lost their ties to the canton of Gebürg shows how successful the margravial policy was.

In 1615, the Vogtland nobility submitted contractually (Submissions-Agnitions-Rezess) to the sovereign rulers of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach , for which the sovereign sanctioned their corporate merger to form the Vogtland Knighthood and gave it its own constitutional status. In addition, he granted the individual rulers special privileges such as freedom of religion and taxation as well as the retention of previous jurisdictions and immunities. The fact that this policy was crowned with success "with carrot and stick" can only be attributed to the special location of the Vogtland goods within the relatively closed domain of the margraves in the north and east of the margraviate, which in this region also bordered principalities with also local knighthood, be explained. This resulted in a partly completely different social and political profile of the families than that in the "Gebürg" or in the Bamberg and Forchheim area, which is reflected in the lack of participation in the cathedral chapter posts in Bamberg and Würzburg, the possibilities of connubium or the lack of ties to the Bamberg Lehenhof.

The Vogtland knighthood of the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Bayreuth-Kulmbach was organized in a Hofer ( Landeshauptmannschaft Hof ) and a Wunsiedler district ( Amtshauptmannschaft Wunsiedel ). In 1663 parts of the former imperial nobility of the Bayreuth area joined the corpus of the Vogtland nobility by means of an "association recess" and thus weakened the canton of Gebürg again. This was preceded by other economic benefits granted by the margrave for his land nobility.

End of the canton

After the takeover of rule in the bishopric of Bamberg at the end of November 1802, troops from the Electorate of Bavaria forcibly occupied the imperial knighthood goods located in or in the conglomerate between the bishopric of Bamberg and the principality of Bayreuth . Possession patents were attached to the manors and violence was used in the event of resistance. An attempt was made through economic and legal measures to decisively weaken the imperial knights and to turn their subjects against them. In November 1803 they were sent formulas of homage and asked to take the oath of subjects, as it was believed that the imperial knights had completely wrongly acquired their sovereignty. This led to major protests throughout the knighthood. Numerous aristocratic families returned the forms of homage with a reference to their immediate position within the empire. One last time, the emperor successfully stood up for his imperial knights under threat of imperial execution. Elector Max IV. Joseph (r. 1799–1825, king from 1806) had to repeal all ordinances against the imperial knighthood in February 1804, release the individual knights from their oaths and remove the goods placed under sequester (compulsory administration by the canton).

Noble families in the canton of Gebürg

Up until 1806, the following noble families belonged to the knightly canton of Gebürg over the years:

Knight captains

As knight captains have been handed down:

  • 1496 Kunz von Wirsberg
  • 1562 Hans Joachim Stiebar
  • 1596 the seat of Streitberg
  • 1598 Albrecht Eitel von Wirsberg
  • 1607 Achatz von Guttenberg
  • 1610 Hans Dietrich Marschalk
  • 1612 Wolf Endres Stiebar von Buttenheim
  • 1617–1621 Hans Adam von Wirsberg
  • 1623 Wolf Wilhelm von Rabenstein
  • 1635 Hans Philipp Geuder
  • 1639 vacant
  • 1652 Christian Friedrich von Rabenstein
  • 1660 Georg Enoch von Guttenberg
  • 1678, 1684–1695 Karl Christian von Giech
  • After 1684, 1692 Karl Ludwig von Rußwurm on Greifenstein
  • Before 1718 Christoph Friedrich von Rabenstein
  • 1721–1733 Karl Maximilian von Egloffstein
  • ? –1742 Peter Johann Albrecht von und zu Rabenstein
  • 1742 Karl Siegmund Philipp von Redwitz
  • 1743 Philipp Friedrich von Aufsess
  • 1743–1749 Marquard Karl Ludwig von Guttenberg
  • 1750–1779 Karl Anton von Pölnitz
  • 1779–1790 Johann Franz Schenk von Stauffenberg
  • 1790–1797 Adam Friedrich Alois Franz Georg Schenk von Stauffenberg
  • 1797–1802 Adam Friedrich Schenk von Stauffenberg

Individual evidence

Imperial chivalrous Franconian canton calendar, Hornberg Castle archive . Engraving, 167 × 85 cm
  1. Information on the name Muggendorfer Gebürg
  2. a b c d e f g Klaus Rupprecht: Imperial Knighthood, Canton Mountains in: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns
  3. Information about Kunreuth - point 13. Chancellery building ( Memento from May 9, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. VII. "Einigungsadel": The unifications of the Würzburg monastery knighthood in: Cords Ulrich p. 153
  5. ^ Compatriot entry in Pierer's Universal Lexikon 4th edition 1857–1865 at Zeno.org
  6. ^ Gerhard Pfeiffer: Studies on the history of the Frankish imperial knighthood; Special print from: Yearbook for Franconian State Research, Volume 22, 1962, pp. 196,197.


  • Johann Gottfried Biedermann : Gender register of the Reichs-Frey immediate knighthood Landes zu Francken, praiseworthy locality Gebürg . Bamberg 1747. ( digitized in the Google book search) and complete digitized at MDZ
  • Johann Gottfried Biedermann: Gender register of the honorable knights in Voigtlande , Neustadt an der Aisch 2000 (unchanged reprint of the edition from 1752)
  • Richard Winkler: Margrave versus Imperial Knighthood. Noble gentlemen in the Bayreuth area . In: Local supplement to the Upper Franconian School Gazette . No. 267.Bayreuth 2000.
  • Cord Ulrichs: From feudal court to imperial knighthood - structures of the Franconian lower nobility at the transition from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period (list of the canton of Gebürg from 1529, StAM GHA II. No. 211 aE) . Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-515-07109-1 , Google Book

P. 213.

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