March of the Nordgau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Nordgau)
Jump to: navigation, search
"Nordgau" redirects here. For the medieval county of Nordgau, see Duchy of Alsace.
March of the [Bavarian] Nordgau
Bayerischer Nordgau
State of the Holy Roman Empire

The Bavarian North March (Nortgowe), around 1000 AD
Capital Schweinfurt
Government Principality
Historical era Early Middle Ages
 •  Acquired by Franks before 7th century
 •  Partitioned from
    Bavarian stem duchy
 •  Awarded to
    Bishopric of Bamberg
Today part of  Germany

The March of the Nordgau or the Bavarian Nordgau (German: Bayerischer Nordgau) was a margraviate in the north of the duchy of Bavaria in the High Middle Ages. It covered the region roughly covered by the modern Upper Palatinate along the river Main.[1] The chief cities of the Nordgau were the Frankish cities Nuremberg and Bamberg and, especially after 1061, Eger in the Egerland part of the Nordgau.

The Nordgau had been occupied by the Franks in Merovingian times. The great fortress of Wogastisburg was built at the insistence of Saint Boniface by Charles Martel.[2] Charlemagne entered the Nordgau through Bavaria in 788 and brought the Franks into contact with the Bohemians permanently. For this reason, the Nordgau has been called the Bohemian March on occasion, although this term is also reserved for the March of Moravia.[2]

The Nordgau was first separated from Bavaria in 938, following the death of Duke Arnulf in 937. Otto I appointed one Berthold, already empowered in the districts of Radenzgau and Volkfeld in East Franconia, to administrate the region as a distinct march. There has been some confusion over whether or not the Nordgau was separated from Bavaria at this date or only as late as 976, in consequence of the revolt of Duke Henry II.

In 1004, Henry II, Duke of Bavaria and King of Germany, deposed Henry of Schweinfurt from the Nordgau and gave the temporal authority of the region over to the Bishopric of Bamberg, which he heavily favoured throughout his career. However, the margravial title survived in a succession of families in the region. Henry's descendants used the title "Margrave of Schweinfurt" and the Ratpotonen eventually received the title by royal grant, passing it down as "Margrave of Vohburg" to their descendants.

Throughout the 11th and 12th centuries, the Nordgau was a pathway for invading armies from Bohemia and Hungary and for the countering armies of the Holy Roman Empire.[3]


  1. ^ Reuter, 54.
  2. ^ a b Thompson, 619.
  3. ^ Thompson, 609.