March of Lusatia
|Margraviate of Lusatia
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
The March of (Lower) Lusatia within the Marca Geronis, 965
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
Dietrich II of Wettin
|-||Death of Henry IV||1288|
|-||Sold to Brandenburg||1303|
The March or Margraviate of Lusatia (German: Mark(grafschaft) Lausitz) was a border march of the Holy Roman Empire at its eastern Bober border with Poland and the later duchies of Silesia from the 10th century until the 14th century AD.
The area east of the former limes Sorabicus of East Francia, settled by the Slavic Veleti and Milcenian tribes, was gradually conquered until 963 by the Saxon Count Gero of Merseburg. He added the territory between the Saale and Bóbr rivers to his Marca Geronis, which the Saxon duke and German King Otto I had established in 937. After Gero's death in 965 and the loss of the Northern March in the course of the 983 Slavic uprising, Lusatia became the heartland of the remaining Saxon Eastern March (Ostmark) under Margrave Odo I.
While the term Ostmark stayed in use for centuries, the Lusatian March appeared as a separate administrative unit from at least as early as 965 with the concurrent establishments of the Marches of Meissen, Merseburg and Zeitz. The division between Lower Lusatia and the adjacent Milceni lands around Bautzen and Görlitz (later Upper Lusatia), then part of Meissen, was also apparent even that early.
In 1002, the Marches of Lusatia and Meissen were conquered by Duke Bolesław I Chrobry of Poland during King Henry II's campaign against revolting Henry of Schweinfurt. Henry's successor Conrad II waged two campaigns, in 1031 and 1032, which reconquered both Lower Lusatia and Upper Lusatia from Mieszko II of Poland.
By the reign of King Henry IV from 1056, Lusatia had been reincorporated into the Holy Roman Empire and it formed one of the four divisions of Upper Saxony along with Meissen, the Ostmark, and Zeitz. These regions were not always ruled by separate margraves, but were mainly administrative divisions. Lusatia and the Ostmark were ruled together and eventually the Ostmark was reduced to little more than Lower Lusatia. Under Henry IV, Upper Lusatia was detached from the Lusatian march and granted as a fief to Bolesław II of Poland.
The first "Margrave of Lusatia" is only known from 1046. Under Emperor Lothair III, Upper and Lower Lusatia were once again reunited in 1136. The terms "Ostmark" and "Lusatia" were interchangeable into the 12th century, though in 1128 Count Henry of Groitzsch is recorded as Margrave of the Ostmark, but as not receiving the Lusatian march until 1131. While in 1156 Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa invested Vladislaus II of Bohemia with Upper Lusatia, the territory of the Margraviate of (Lower) Lusatia was further reduced by the establishment of the Margraviate of Landsberg, the County of Anhalt and the Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg.
From 1210 on Lower Lusatia was held by the Margraves of Meissen from the House of Wettin. When the last Lusatian margrave Henry IV died in 1288, the Lusatian lands fell to his grandson Margrave Frederick Tuta of Landsberg. His successor Dietrich (Diezmann) sold it to Otto IV, Margrave of Brandenburg in 1303. It was finally acquired by Emperor Charles IV in 1367 and incorporated into the Lands of the Bohemian Crown.
Margraves of (Lower) Lusatia or (Saxon) Ostmark
- Dedi I, 1046–1075
- Dedi II, fl. 1069
- Henry I, 1075–1103
- Henry II, 1103–1123
- Wiprecht, 1123–1124
- Albert the Bear, 1123–1128
- Henry III of Groitzsch, 1124–1135
- Conrad of Wettin, 1136–1156, also Margrave of Meissen since 1123
- Dietrich I, 1156–1185, son of Conrad, titular Margrave of Landsberg
- Dedi III, 1185–1190, brother
- Conrad II, 1190–1210, son
Margraves of Meissen
- Dietrich II the Oppressed, 1210–1221, also Margrave of Meissen since 1198
- Henry IV the Illustrious, 1221–1288, last Margrave of Lusatia
Margraves of Landsberg
- The Margraviate of Lusatia (Ostmark) was acquired by Brandenburg in 1303 and became a Bohemian crown land in 1367.
- Barański, pp. 75-6
- Barański, Marek Kazimierz. Dynastia Piastów w Polsce. Warszawa; Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2005.
- Reuter, Timothy. Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056. New York: Longman, 1991.
- Thompson, James Westfall. Feudal Germany, Volume II. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1928.