Siegfried von Westerburg

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Coat of arms of the Lords of Westerburg

Siegfried von Westerburg (also: Sigfrid or Sifrid ; * unknown; † April 7, 1297 in Bonn ) was Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cologne from 1275 to 1297 .


Siegfried came from the wealthy noble family von Runkel / Lahn and Westerburg, who lived in the Westerwald and the Lahn .

Probably since the 1250s years Cologne Cathedral canons , he served from 1259 as the Mainz Cathedral Provost (his family has always been in church more strongly to Mainz as oriented to Cologne). On April 3, 1275, Siegfried was ordained (probably in Lyon ) by Pope Gregory X personally as Archbishop of Cologne. This happened against the will of the committee of the Cologne canons , which on November 15, 1274 had voted for the provost Konrad von Mariengraden , who came from the von Berg family . At the end of April 1275, Siegfried was invested with the regalia by King Rudolf von Habsburg in Bruchsal .

The city of Cologne had been banned from church since 1268 and was therefore unsuitable as a place for his episcopal ordination. In July 1275, as the new archbishop, he lifted the interdict against Cologne and signed a friendship treaty with the city.

On September 15, 1279, Siegfried von Westerburg granted Lechenich , located about 20 km southwest of Cologne on Bonn-Aachener Heerstraße , urban privileges . On October 14, 1279 closed Siegfried of Westerburg with the counts of Jülich in Pingsheim the peace Pingsheim . Around 1283 Siegfried took the side of Count Rainald von Geldern in the Limburg succession dispute . In July 1287, following an oath of allegiance by the citizens, he freed the city of Cologne from tariffs to finance his war costs in the Limburg succession dispute. On 27 April 1285 he gave the southern Cologne Brühl the city and market rights .

His interference in the Limburg succession dispute led to the Battle of Worringen on June 5, 1288 . Siegfried lost the battle, in which Cologne citizens also took part with Gerhard Overstolzen at the head and a Bergische department led by Walter Dodde, was captured by Duke Johann I of Brabant and handed over to Count Adolf V. von Berg . After he was initially locked in the rogue tower in Monheim for one night , he was then taken to Burg Castle . He was released on July 6, 1289, but fell seriously ill during his captivity. Before that, on May 19, 1289, he had to conclude peace treaties with the victors of Worringen: he had to pay 12,000 marks (approx. Three tons of silver) in reparations to the Count of Berg and cede areas (including Lünen with all episcopal rights, Westhofen, Brackel , Werl, Menden, Isenberg and Raffenberg, plus the [lower] bailiwick of the Essen monastery to Count Eberhard II von der Mark , who thus benefited most from the victory at Worringen), the city of Deutz and some castles, including the Lechenich Castle pledged, other castles such as Worringen , Zons and Volmarstein were "broken". The Duchy of Limburg occupied Duke John I of Brabant.

As a result of his defeat, he had to recognize the sovereignty of Cologne on June 18, 1288 in a contract with the city . On January 18, 1290, however, Pope Nicholas IV released him from all promises he had to make to the people of Cologne. On January 31, the Pope even asked the Archbishops of Mainz and Trier to help Siegfried to regain possession of the Electorate of Cologne.

Since his release, Siegfried had preferred to build his residence in Bonn . The archbishop's mint in Cologne came to a standstill and Siegfried made Bonn a mint. As a challenge to Cologne, he chose the name Verona for Bonn and had his coins minted with the inscription "Beata Verona vinces - you, happy Verona will win". In 1286 Siegfried introduced the first council constitution in Bonn, which stipulated that the respected citizens - oppidani maiores - should elect twelve men who were suitable to promote the best of the city. Their resolutions should be binding for the entire citizenry.

In the upcoming king's election in 1292, Siegfried favored Count Adolf von Nassau , his brother-in-law and ally in the Worring Battle of 1288, because he expected him to make far-reaching concessions. In the Treaty of Andernach on April 27, 1292, Siegfried was able to have Adolf approve all demands, including the transfer of imperial cities such as Dortmund and Duisburg, imperial castles and courts and the Essen bailiwick to the archbishopric. On May 5, 1292, Adolf von Nassau was elected German king , but Siegfried was not present. Siegfried crowned Adolf on June 24, 1292 in Aachen's Mariendom as Roman-German king.

Siegfried's territorial and restoration policy was doomed to failure because of the resistance of the “Coalition von Worringen”. The connection between the Rhenish and Westphalian possessions could not be re-established, nor could the city of Cologne be integrated into the archbishopric. The kingship of Adolf von Nassau then also perished when the demands of the Andernach Treaty were not met.

Siegfried died on April 7, 1297 in Bonn and was buried in the Bonn Minster Church, as the Cologne city population opposed a burial in the archbishopric cathedral. In 1652 his grave was desecrated and looted by robbers, and again in 1794 by French revolutionary troops. In 1947 Siegfried's resting place was subjected to a scientific investigation and opened again.


  • Richard Knipping: The Regests of the Archbishops of Cologne in the Middle Ages , Volume III / 2, Bonn 1913, No. 2591-3538.


  • Franz-Reiner Erkens : Siegfried von Westerburg (1274–1297). The imperial and territorial policy of a Cologne archbishop in the late 13th century (= Rhenish archive. Publications of the Institute for Historical Regional Studies of the Rhineland at the University of Bonn. Volume 114). Röhrscheid, Bonn 1982, ISBN 3-7928-0448-4 (also: Passau, University, dissertation, 1980).
  • Franz-Reiner Erkens: The trial of the Archbishop of Cologne Siegfried von Westerburg with the Count Florens of Holland. In: Annals of the Historical Association for the Lower Rhine , Vol. 185 (1982), pp. 25-38.
  • Franz-Reiner Erkens: Siegfried von Westerburg (around 1235–1297). In: Rheinische Lebensbilder , Vol. 9 (1982), pp. 79-99.
  • Franz-Reiner Erkens: Territory and Empire in Politics and Presentation of the Archbishop of Cologne Siegfried von Westerburg. In: Nassauische Annalen , Vol. 94 (1983), pp. 25-46.
  • Franz-Reiner Erkens:  Siegfried von Westerburg. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-428-11205-0 , p. 344 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Franz WachterSigfrid von Westerburg . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 34, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1892, pp. 252-256.


  1. Historical Archive of the City of Cologne, holdings Domstift deed No. 2/392
  2. On the power constellation before the battle of Worringen see Irmgard Hantsche: Atlas zur Geschichte des Niederrheins. Bottrop et al. a. P. 32f.
  3. Richard Knipping: The Regests of the Archbishops of Cologne in the Middle Ages. Volume III No. 3220
predecessor Office successor
Engelbert II of Falkenburg Archbishop of Cologne
Wigbold from Holte