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The Ezzonids (German: Ezzonen, French: Ezzonides) were a dynasty of Lotharingian stock dating back as far as the ninth century. They attained prominence only in the eleventh century, through marriage with the Ottonian dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors. Named after Ezzo, Count Palatine of Lotharingia from 1015 to 1034, they dominated the politics of the middle and lower Rhine and usually represented the royal interests. Under the Salian Emperors, they even briefly held the dukedoms of Swabia, Carinthia, and Bavaria.
The Ezzonids first appear with Erenfried I (866–904), count of the Bliesgau, Keldachgau, and Bonngau, and perhaps also of the Charmois. He may have had Carolingian ancestors, although some historians prefer to link him to the former Thuringian kings. The political ascent of the Ezzonid dynasty becomes historically visible with the number of counties they acquired in the second half of the tenth century. They ruled most of the Rhenish counties and were eventually granted Palatine status over the other counts of the district. In spite of their military accomplishments in the service of the Emperors, the Ezzonids did not succeed in building a territorial entity in Lotharingia.
Counts Palatine of Lotharingia
- Hermann I, Count Palatine of Lotharingia.
- Ezzo, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (1015–1034). According to the Brauweiler chronicle, he failed to succeed to the monarchy after the death of emperor Otto III (983–1002) in a rivalry with duke Henry II of Bavaria (1002–1024). The succession war between Ezzo and Henry II continued for over ten years. The two men came to an agreement after a battle at Odernheim in 1011. Kaiserswerth, Duisburg and the surrounding imperial territories were granted as a fief to Ezzo for renouncing the throne (after 1016). When the German crown passed from the Ottonians to the Salians in 1024, the Ezzonids remained neutral, apparently after an agreement between Ezzo and Konrad II (1024–1039).
- Otto I, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (1035–1045) and Duke of Swabia (1045–1047). In 1045, after a successful campaign against the rebel count of Flanders, the margrave of Valenciennes and Ename, Otto received the duchy of Swabia, in exchange however for the cities of Kaiserswerth and Duisburg, which went back to the crown. At the same time, the palatinate of Lotharingia was passed to his nephew.
- Heinrich I, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (1045–1060, †1061), son of Count Hezzelin I (1020–1033), who was a brother of Ezzo.
- Hermann II, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (1064–1085), Count of the Ruhrgau, Zulpichgau and Brabant. His territorial power was importantly reduced by his guardian, Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne. Hermann is assumed to be the last of the Ezzonids. After his death at Dalhem on September 20, 1085, the Palatinate of Lotharingia was suspended. His widow remarried the first count palatine of the Rhine, Henry of Laach.
Other illustrious Ezzonids
- Richeza of Lotharingia, Queen of Poland (Bl. Richenza, whose Feast is celebrated in Roman Catholic Church on March 21), wife of Mieszko II Lambert King of Poland.
- Conrad I, Duke of Bavaria, heir of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, died in exile after an attempt to assassinate the Emperor and seize the throne.
- Conrad III, Duke of Carinthia.
- Hermann I, Archbishop of Cologne, Chancellor of King Zwentibold of Lotharingia.
- Hermann II, Archbishop of Cologne and Chancellor for Italy.
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