Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


14.8.08
  The Regenstein: the Time of Heinrich the Lion

Since the early 11th century, the Regenstein and its fellow triad castles Blankenburg and Heimburg (see this post) served to protect the ways to the palatine castles and towns of Quedlinburg, Goslar and Magdeburg, but also the ways to the iron and silver mines of the Harz.

Guard tower, based on a natural sandstone formation
(I call it that, because the platform on top provides a fine view in all directions)

The Counts of Regenstein were partisans and probably vassals (the feudal rights are not entirely clear*) of Heinrich the Lion during his quarrels with the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa. Finally in 1180, the majority of the princes of the realm followed the wishes of the Emperor and declared Heinrich, the most powerful rival among them, an outlaw. Friedrich Barbarossa then invaded Heinrich's Saxon possessions with an army to bring the rebel to task. Most of his allies abandoned Heinrich, and in 1181 he had to surrender at the Reichstag gathering in Erfurt and was condemned to exile.

* The Bishops of Halberstadt also claimed the overlordship.

One of the cliff promontories, seen from the curtain wall

The Count of Regenstein, either the aforementioned Konrad or his son, delivered the castle to Friedrich Barbarossa without resistance**, and was soon thereafter granted back the fief. In the following decades the family expanded the castle into a 100x175 square metres fortress with eight towers and about 200 metres curtain wall in addition to the natural cliffs. The St.Nicholas chapel dates from that time as well.

**An online source says the castle was destroyed, but I'm prone to believe the official guidebook, particularly since the fief seems to have been returned shortly after the surrender.

St.Nicholas Chapel, seen from the outside

With this historical background, it's no surprise I found a plotbunny hiding in one of the cellars. Since I already have a ride through the Bode Valley in the original version, the Regenstein sort of asks to be included, and the shift in loyalty when things got really bad for Heinrich (aka Conrad in the new, Fantasised version) should make for a nice element to add to the mess.
 
Comments:
Fabulous pictures as ever! I love fortifications that use the natural rock. Even when where you can't, you get dressed-stone marvels of engineering, there's nothing to beat a good location.

By the way, when you say `decenniums' I wonder if the word you were after is `decades'?
 
Thank you, Jonathan. Oops, it's 'decades', of course.
 
Wow - that view to the forests below is stunning. That place looks better and better - I'm not surprised you found a plotbunny in there - I'm more surprised you didn't find an entire dynasty of them!
 
Absolutely splendid pictures of a splendid site.
Don't see how you can avoid including it!
 
Lady D, it's at leat two. The place will feature in the Arminius novel as well (though without the Medieaval keep). And the view is stunning, esp. on a clear day.

Thank you, Bernita.
 
Gabriele,

Those are cool pix.

They remind me a lot of Les Baux-de-Provence because both fortresses are carved from the mountainside. I'm not quite ready to do a full post about my travels to that medieval site yet, but did post a few pictures of Les Baux on my blog as well as a link to yours.
 
Thank you, Linda. I've checked your blog, wow, that's another amazing castle.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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