House of Schwarzburg

Schwarzburg is one of the oldest noble families of Thuringia. Upon the death of Prince Friedrich Günther in 1971, a claim to the headship of the house passed under Semi-Salic primogeniture to his elder sister, Princess Marie Antoinette of Schwarzburg who married Friedrich Magnus V, Count of Solms-Wildenfels.[1][2] Reigning over the County of Schwarzburg and founded by Sizzo I of Schwarzburg (died 1160), the family split in the 16th century into the lines of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, with the Sondershausen dying out in 1909.

CountrySchwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Founded12th century
FounderSizzo I, Count of Schwarzburg
Final rulerPrince Günther Victor
TitlesCount, Prince

Family history

The County of Schwarzburg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire from 1195 to 1595, when it was partitioned into Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. It was ruled by counts from the House of Schwarzburg. Schwarzburg Castle was first mentioned in a 1071 deed. In 1123 Count Sizzo III of Käfernburg (Kevernburg), mentioned by the medieval chronicler Lambert of Hersfeld and according to the Annalista Saxo a grandson of Prince Yaropolk Izyaslavich of Turov by his mother, rebuilt the castle calling himself a "Count of Schwarzburg". Sizzo also established Georgenthal Abbey and in 1157, he accompanied Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa during his campaign against High Duke Bolesław IV the Curly of Poland.

In 1197, Sizzo's grandson Henry II divided the common heritage with his brother Günther III and made Schwarzburg Castle his residence. His territory then also comprised the nearby castle of Blankenburg.

The most famous family member is Günther XXI von Schwarzburg. In 1349, he was elected as German king by the majority of electors. But, due to waning support, he renounced some months later and died shortly after.

The Schwarzburg lands were again divided among his successors until in 1538 when Count Günther XL the Rich was able to unite the territories including Frankenhausen and Rudolstadt under his rule. He was succeeded by his eldest son Günther XLI. However, after his death in 1583, his younger brothers again divided the county: John Günther I received the territory around Arnstadt, later called Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, while Albrecht VII inherited the lands of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. The partition was finally confirmed by the 1599 Treaty of Stadtilm.

Counts of Schwarzburg and Käfernburg

  • Sizzo I (1005)
  • Sizzo II (1075)
  • Günther I (1109), married Mechthild, daughter of Prince Yaropolk Izyaslavich of Turov
  • Sizzo III (11091160)
  • Günther II (11601197)
  • Henry II (11971236), Count of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg
  • Günther VII (12361274), Count of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg
  • Günther IX (12741289)
  • Günther XII (12891308)
  • Heinrich VII (13081324), Count of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg

County divided

County divided again in 1571

Counts and Princes of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt

Counts and Princes of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

See also


  1. The House of Schwarzburg on
  2. James, John Almanach de Gotha, Volume I, 2013.
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