Siege of Weinsberg

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Siege of Weinsberg
Weiber von Weinsberg Zacharias Dolendo 16 Jhdt.jpg
16th-century depiction of the "loyal wives" episode
Date December 21, 1140[1][2]
Location Weinsberg, Germany
Result Raised peacefully in December;
Settlement, imposed at the Diet of Frankfurt of 1142[3]
Arms of Swabia.svg House of Hohenstaufen Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svg House of Welf
Commanders and leaders
Conrad III of Germany Welf VI

Siege of Weinsberg, within the then-Holy Roman Empire, was a decisive battle between Welfs and Hohenstaufen. During it the Welfs for the first time changed their war cry 'Kyrie Eleison' for their party cries.[4][5] The Hohenstaufen used the 'Strike for Gibbelins' war cry.[clarification needed][6]

On the death of Lothar II in 1137, the Welf Henry the Proud, heir of the patrimony of his deceased father-in-law, and possessor of the crown jewels, stood boldly forward as a candidate for the imperial dignity. But the local princes, opposing him, elected the Hohenstaufen Conrad III in Frankfurt, on February 2, 1138.[5] When Conrad gave the Duchy of Saxony to Count Albert the Bear, the Saxons rose in defence of their young prince, and Count Welf of Altorf, the brother of Henry the Proud, began the war.[5]

The partly ruined castle "Weibertreu" as it stood in 1515 (drawn after a sketch by Hans Baldung Grien).

Exasperated at the heroic defence of Welfs, Conrad III had resolved to destroy Weinsberg and imprison its defenders.[7] He however suspended the last assault, after negotiating a surrender which granted the women the right to leave with whatever they could carry on their shoulders. The women eschewed their possessions, and carried their husbands on their shoulders. When the king saw what was happening he laughed and accepted the women's clever trick, saying that a king should always stand by his word.[8] This became known as the "Loyal Wives of Weinsberg" (Treue Weiber von Weinsberg) episode.[5] The castle ruins are today known as Weibertreu ("wifely loyalty") in commemoration of the event.


  1. ^ Dallas, Eneas Sweetland (1864). Once a Week. Bradbury and Evans. p. 390. 
  2. ^ Женская верность (in Russian). Historico-artistic journal Solnechny veter. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  3. ^ A History of Europe - Volume I. - Europe in the Middle Ages 843 - 1494. READ BOOKS. 2008. pp. 186–187. ISBN 1-4437-1897-1. 
  4. ^ Menzel, Wolfgang (1859). The History of Germany. H. G. Bohn. p. 446. 
  5. ^ a b c d Køppen, Adolph Ludvig; Karl Spruner von Merz (1854). The World in the Middle Ages. D. Appleton and company. p. 131. 
  6. ^ Kohlrausch, Friedrich (1845). A History of Germany: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. D. Appleton & Company. p. 158. 
  7. ^ Keen, Maurice Hugh (1999). Medieval Warfare. Oxford University Press. p. 80. 
  8. ^ Ashliman, D. L. "The Women of Weinsberg". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 

Coordinates: 49°09′18″N 9°16′59″E / 49.1550°N 9.2830°E / 49.1550; 9.2830