Esico of Ballenstedt
|Esico of Ballenstedt|
Coat of arms of the Counts of Ballenstedt
|Noble family||House of Ascania|
|Spouse(s)||Matilda of Swabia|
|Father||Adalbert of Ballenstedt (?)|
Esico of Ballenstedt (died around 1060) is the progenitor of the House of Ascania, i.e., the oldest known member of the dynasty, and during his life was the count of Ballenstedt. Esico's possessions became the nucleus of the later Principality of Anhalt.
Parents and siblings
Esico is also known as Esiko and Hesicho. His father is sometimes assumed to have been one Adalbert of Ballenstedt, who had married Hidda, a daughter of Margrave Odo I of the Saxon Eastern March, but there is no hard evidence for this. Thereby, Esico would have been a brother of Uta von Ballenstedt, the consort of Margrave Eckard II of Meissen, and of Hazecha, abbess of Gernrode. He may have also had a brother named Dietrich.
Esico was first mentioned in a 1036 deed issued by Emperor Conrad II and also appeared in the 12th century chronicle of Annalista Saxo. He is assumed to have inherited large properties in the Saxon Eastern March from his maternal grandfather Margrave Odo I. He was the count of Ballenstedt from at least about 1036 until his death in about 1060. He successfully increased his property by marrying Matilda (988/89–1032), a daughter of Duke Herman II of Swabia and sister-in-law of the emperor.
In about 1043, he likely founded a collegiate church dedicated to Pancras of Rome and Abundius near his castle, castle Ballenstedt. He was among the founders of Naumburg Cathedral, of which his sister, Uta was a major donor. It is occasionally stated that Esico built the first buildings of Anhalt Castle in 1050, but other sources consider that castle to have been built by Esico's grandson, Otto, Count of Ballenstedt, in about 1123.
When Uta and Eckard died childless in 1045 and 1046 respectively, their property was to revert to Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, but Esico ensured that major parts of their inheritance were given to the control of the Gernrode Abby, where their sister, Hazecha, had been abbess since 1043.
- Schlenker 2012 p29-30
- Feicker 2012, p16
- Feicker 2012, p15
- Schlenker 2012 p32
- Schmarsow, August. Die Bildwerke des Naumburger Domes. Ev Flottwell, 1892. p21
- Elke Haan, Kompass Wanderführer Harz: 50 Touren. Mair Dumont DE, May 15, 2015 p104
- Peter Feist: Burg Anhalt - Der Ort, der dem Land den Namen gab. Kai Homilius Verlag, Berlin 1997
- Feicker 2012, p16
- Schlenker, Gerlinde, Kloster Ballenstedt - das Hauskloster der aelteren Grafen von Anhalt, in Harz-Zeitschrift für den Harz-Verein für Geschichte und Altertumskunde e.V., Lukas Verlag (2012)
- Feicker, Bernd, Das Vorwek des Reichsstiftes Gernrode und das Kuechengut der Blankenburger, in Harz-Zeitschrift für den Harz-Verein für Geschichte und Altertumskunde e.V., Lukas Verlag (2012)