Sonnberger (noble family)

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The Sonnbergers were Austrian ministerial aristocrats who settled in the Hollabrunn area in what is now Lower Austria from 1066 onwards.

Their sphere of activity in political, social and economic terms extended to the area between the rivers Kamp , Danube , Thaya and March and thus to today's Weinviertel and parts of the Waldviertel .


Time of the Babenbergs

Liutwin de Sunnberg , who was the fief of the Margraves of Cham-Vohburg , can be regarded as the first known Sonnberger . He was mentioned in a document with which King Henry IV in 1066 gave him a fiscal estate in loco Thern with an area of ​​two manses . This royal donation existed in built-up land or land with at least a rudimentary infrastructure and, since the Ottonians , was bound by the principle that only servientes regis ( German  servant of the king ) or the church should be taken into account.

Fords that were easy to master and favorable soil conditions, which enabled productive arable and viticulture, led to the construction of Sunnenberg Castle , which dominated the way into the Schmidatal and in the east the valley to Ernstbrunn . In the 11th and 12th centuries Hollabrunn and the surrounding area along the Göllersbach was administered by the Margraves of Cham-Vohburg, whose servants and heirs to the property were the Lords of Sonnberg. The Sonnbergers quickly acquired extensive property in the area through inheritance, fiefdoms and purchases. For example, in a Göllersdorf document from 1269, the purchase of goods in Oberhollabrunn that Hadmar von Sonnberg and his wife Katerina acquired from Otto von Russbach is certified.

Liutwin's descendants also include side lines of the Sonnbergs, who were settled in and around Hainburg in the area where the March flows into the Danube. The Sonnbergers were related to other ministerial families. Indeed, for instance Hadmar II. Of Kuenring married to Gisela von Sonnberg, which was for the social position of Sonnberger beneficial. The name Hadmar also appears several times in the Sonnberg genealogy , which can be seen as a reverence to the prominent relatives.

By the middle of the 12th century at the latest, the Sonnbergers, like the Kuenringers, were followers of the Babenbergs . Whether the Sonnbergers, whose environment was in the battle area, took part in the Battle of Mailberg on May 12, 1082 on the side of the Babenbergs is not known, they were at least indirectly affected by the devastation and famine that followed.

After 1144 the Sonnbergers took part in the founding of Altenburg Abbey and thus received the right to be buried within the monastery walls. The last Sonnbergers found their burial place in the 14th century in the collegiate church of Altenburg.

At the latest with the beginning of the reign of Frederick the Arguable in 1230, there were differences of opinion between the ministerials and the Babenbergers, in which the Kuenringers and the Sonnbergers were involved. In a document dated November 30, 1230 about an objection by the ministers Livtoldus and Chunradus von Altenburg about the border line of a foundation of the Altenburg monastery, the name Hadmar I. von Sonnberg appears next to that of Heinrich III. and Hadmar III. from Kuenring on. In the following fighting in the first months of the year 1231, the two Kuenringers and the Sonnberger were involved as allies, whereby the Sonnberger castle was destroyed.

The uprising ended in April 1231 and was accompanied by reparations. The Sonnberger built on the banks of a creek Göller Wasserburg and built in the following years, a large manorial system of goods in the area and possessions in Asparn an der Zaya and Schauenstein am Kamp on. Several documents prove that Hadmar I. von Sonnberg was to be found again in the duke's entourage in 1234. In 1236 opposition groups were again formed among the ministerials in the Babenberg countries, in which the Sonnbergers again played a decisive role alongside the Kuenringers. This change of front - unlike in 1231 - had no negative consequences for Hadmar von Sonnberg. He died in 1241. His successor was his presumed son Hadmar II, who was first mentioned on July 5, 1248.

Interregnum and duchy under Ottokar II Přemysl

The rule of the Babenbergs ended with the death of Frederick the Arguable in the Battle of the Leitha on June 15, 1246, and the Austrian Interregnum , which lasted until 1251, followed , during which the landlords gained significant political power. Around 1248 Hadmar von Sonnberg can be found in the vicinity of the imperial administrator for Austria and Styria appointed by Emperor Friedrich II , while Albero von Kuenring had taken over princely monastery bailiffs out of his own power.

During the subsequent reign of Ottokar II. Přemysl as Duke of Austria, part of the political influence of the nobles was lost because Ottokar entrusted his own confidants with key positions. Elisabeth, Hadmar II's sister von Sonnberg, was married to the district judge Otto von Maissau , whom Ottokar had imprisoned. This fact suggests that there were similarly close ties to the Maissauers as to the Kuenringers and that Hadmar II von Sonnberg was part of an opposition group.

Period of the Habsburgs

With the election of Rudolf von Habsburg as Roman-German King on October 1, 1273 against the will of Ottokar, the smoldering conflicts between the nobility and the ruling house, which had intensified in the second half of the sixties of the 13th century, subsided significantly.

Hadmar II. Of Sonnberg was in the eighties royal counselor and appears several times as a witness to several measures of the king and his son Albert I on. The importance of the Sonnberg family at the turn of the 13th to the 14th century becomes clear through Hadmar II's participation with 70 armed men in the Güssing feud of 1289/90. Hadmar II was mentioned in a document for the last time in 1297.

For the landlord it was beneficial in the 14th century, from the farmers to tithe not in kind or work performance , but in the form of cash payments to demand. For this, the farmers had to be able to sell their products, which is probably the reason why the Sonnbergers declared Hollabrunn a market in the course of the 14th century .

By Hadmar III. von Sonnberg, the fortress Falkenstein with court, toll, gülten , tithe and all other accessories came into the possession of the Sonnbergers for a short time until they sold his daughter again shortly after his death.

Vivianz, the last Sonnberger, endeavored to expand his Hollabrunn rule in the second half of the 13th century and acquired land and vineyards in the area. He was socially committed and designated a house near the Hollabrunn parish church to care for the needy. In 1392 he ran into financial difficulties and was forced to sell part of his property.

A will in which Vivianz was given German books, and his own works, which are related to the time of his ancestor Hadmar III. von Hornsburg and Asparn show that he had the appropriate education. The Sonnberger family died out with the death of Vivianz on April 26, 1400. The last Sonnberger was probably buried in the Minorite Monastery in Vienna .


Individual evidence

  1. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits p. 1 accessed on September 22, 2014
  2. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits p. 21 accessed on September 22, 2014
  3. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits p. 24 accessed on September 22, 2014
  4. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits p. 29 accessed on September 22, 2014
  5. ^ Heide Dienst: Regionalgeschichte p. 98ff.
  6. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits p. 18 accessed on September 22, 2014
  7. a b Festschrift 2010 of the Sonnberg prison, p. 6
  8. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits, pp. 39–40, accessed on September 22, 2014
  9. thesis Josef Sziderits pp 44-45 Retrieved on September 22, 2014
  10. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits p. 50 accessed on September 22, 2014
  11. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits pp. 54–56 accessed on September 22, 2014
  12. Diploma thesis Josef Sziderits p. 68 accessed on September 22, 2014