Margravate of Istria
The Margravate (or March) of
Istria was originally a Carolingian frontier march (a border
region similar to a frontier) covering the Istrian
peninsula and surrounding territory conquered by Charlmagne's son Pepin of Italy
in 789. The margravate was created in 799. After 1364 it was the name of the Istrian province of the Habsburg Monarchy,
the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary.
|The Istrian Margravate (Mark Istrien)
in the time of the
Emperor Otto I (912-973). It is in the lower left, hatched alongside the other
Bavarian marches. [Click image to see full map.)
Carolingian Istria was incorporated into the Carolingian Duchy of Friuli in
eastern Italy, de facto a march with a merely titular ducal dignity. The
Istrian margravate itself was first created following the death of Duke Eric of
Friuli in the 799 Siege of Trsat. He was the margrave who had thitherto guarded
the Pannonian plain which led into Italy and the heart of the Empire. The march
was enfeoffed (enfeoffment, under the European feudal system, was
the deed by which a person was given land in exchange for a pledge of service)
to the Frankish count Hunfrid, who also bore the title of a dux Foroiulanus.
The original Carolingian march covered the Julian Alps and the Kras (Carso)
Plateau down to the Gulf of Kvarner. It was one of three marches, along with
Friuli and Carantania, guarding eastern Lombardy from the Avars, Slavs, and
In the first decade of the ninth century, Istria
was ruled by a Duke John, nominally according to its ancient Byzantine customs,
but in fact as a Frankish duchy. His name comes up with regards to Istria in the
Placito del Risano
of 804 A.D. The region at that time had nine cities, Trieste
foremost among them. Under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 812, by which the
Byzantine Empire recognized the Frankish emperor Charlemagne, Istria,
along with Dalmatia and Venetia, was returned to Byzantine
control. The original Carolingian margravate
covered the Julian Alps and the Kras (Carso) Plateau down to the Gulf of
Kvarner. It was one of three margravate, along with Friuli and Carniola,
guarding eastern Lombardy from the Avars, Slavs, and
After the deposition of Duke Baldric, Emperor Louis the Pious at the 829
Reichstag in Worms finally divided the vast duchy into four counties, with
Istria and Friuli ruled from Aquileia by Margrave Eberhard and his Unruoching
descendants. It became part of Middle Francia after the 843 Treaty of Verdun,
and was allotted to Emperor Louis II's Italian kingdom in 855.
After the German king Otto I had campaigned northern Italy under King
Berengar II, in 952 he granted the margrates of Verona and Istria to
his brother Henry I of Bavaria, who already controlled the adjacent March
(and Carniola?). After the deposition of Henry's son and successor Duke Henry
the Wrangler in 976, Emperor Otto II separated Carinthia from the Bavarian stem
duchy as a duchy in its own right, ruled by Duke Henry the Younger who was given
suzerainty (a more powerful feudal entity controlling the foreign affairs of
tributary vassal states) over the southeastern Bavarian marches, including
Counts of Istria appear late in the tenth
century, but Istria, together with the March of Carniola, was separated in 1040
from the Carinthian Duchy when both were bestowed on the Thuringian Count Poppo
of Weimar, heir by marriage to the last known Friulian margrave Weriand.
The Carniolan margraves gradually acquired the eastern territories, while the
western and southern coast was gradually occupied by the Republic of Venice. The
German king Henry IV nominally assigned the remaining march to the Patriarchate
of Aquileia, the margravial title and the Istrian territories were however
retained by Carniola.
In 1173 the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick Barbarossa enfeoffed the Bavarian
noble House of Andechs, who attached Istria to their Duchy of Merania.
regained Istria in 1209, when the Andechs margraves were banned due to alleged
entanglement in the assassination of the German king, Frederick Barbarossa's son
Philip of Swabia. In 1209, the march was
granted to the Patriarchate of Aquileia.
1250 - 1918
By 1250, most of the Istrian coast had been conquered by Venice and the march of Istria effectively ceased to exist.
The patriarchs had ceased appointing margraves and had given the remaining
interior of the peninsula into the direct control of their Vogt
officials, the Counts of Görz (Gorizia). The Görz territories were finally
acquired by the Habsburg archdukes of Austria in 1374, who since 1335 had held
the Carniolan march. In 1382 they also gained control over the City of
After the secular territory of the Patriarchs of
Aquileia had been completely
conquered by Venice in 1420, most of Istria belonged to La Serenissima.
The Austrian House of Habsburg only held a small territory in the interior of
the peninsula around Pazin (Mitterburg,
Pisino), which it administered from its
Carniolan duchy. The Habsburg rulers nevertheless added the title of a "Margrave
of Istria" to their other titles, persisting until the dissolution of the
Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918.
Venetian Istria fell to the Habsburg Monarchy according to the 1797 Treaty of
Campo Formio, was seized by Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1805 Peace of Pressburg as
part of the Kingdom of Italy and the Illyrian Provinces and with the Kingdom of
Illyria all of Istria was finally allotted to the Austrian Empire by the 1815
Congress of Vienna.
| Austrian Littoral, 1955
After the partition of the Illyrian kingdom in 1849, the Margravate of Istria
became a subdivision of the crown land (Kronland) known as the
Littoral (Österreichisches Küstenland in
German; Litorale Austriaco in Italian) or
Küstenland within the Austrian
Empire from in 1813 until 1867, receiving considerable autonomy with the
establishment of the Diet of Istria at Poreč (Parenzo) granted by the "Imperial
Constitution of 1861" (February Patent), adopted from a letters patent issued by
Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I in February 1861.
Littoral included the Imperial Free City of
Trieste and its
suburbs, the Margraviate of Istria, and the Princely County of Gorizia and
Gradisca, which each had independent administrations, but were all subject to
the Imperial Governor in Trieste, the capital of the Littoral.
Trieste had strategic importance as Austria-Hungary's primary seaport and the
coast of the Littoral was a resort destination, the Austrian Riviera. The region
was a multi-national one with Italians, Slovenes, Croats, Germans, Friulians,
and Istriots being the main ethnic groups. In 1910, it had an area of 7,969
square kilometres (3,077 sq. mi.) and a population of 894,287.
In 1867, the Austrian
Littoral became a crown land of Austria-Hungary
which lasted until 1918. An area of similar extent under the name of Adriatic
Littoral (Adriatisches Küstenland) was one of the operational zones of
German forces during World War II after the capitulation of Italy in September
1943 until the end of the war.
Margraves (Marchesi) of Istria
[Note: this is work-in-progress which is derived solely from online sources
containing discrepancies in names, titles and dates.]
||c. 799, died
808 or later
||Margrave of Istria
and, according to some sources, Duke of Friuli from 799 to circa 804, when a
Duke John is found ruling Istria. He was the founder of the family called the
Hunfrid first appears in Istria as marchio in 799, the
same year that Eric of Friuli died. He was an Aleman and a count in (or of) Rhaetia, where he is found in 806 and 808. Based on his
presence in a list of personages in the libri memoriales of Reichenau
and Sankt Gallen, he is presumed to have married Hitta (Hidda), an Udalriching
and probably the niece or granddaughter of Gerold of Vinzgouw and thus a
cousin or niece of Hunfrid's predecessor in Italy, Eric. Based on the same
memorial books, he is probably the father of Adalbert, his successor in
Rhaetia, Odalric, who became Count of Barcelona in another part of the Empire,
and Hunfrid II, who became dux super Redicam (duke over Rhaetia) and
father of the later Hunfriding Dukes of Swabia.
|John of Istria,
of Istria in the early years of the 9th century, soon after its conquest
In 804, the denizens of the nine cities of Istria
complained to Charlemagne that John was ignoring their ancient privileges
[Placito del Risano]. John had
taken away the privileges of sea-fishing and pasturing in public forests. He
had abolished the old hierarchy and either abolished the offices of
hypatus or filled them Franks. He seized lands and confiscated the
taxes (344 "solidi
mancusi" annually from the cities) for himself. He forced many to serve in
the army personally, alongside their slaves, and to demand
corvée labour. John explained that he had been ignorant of the customs
of Istria and promised to make amends and ceased exacting corvées. It is
unknown if he did. [Source: Wickham, Chris. Early Medieval Italy: Central
Power and Local Society 400-1000. MacMillan Press: 1981.]
He was made
Count of Friuli and Istria (large estates that were then part of the
Carinthian duchy) from the hands of Emperor Otto III. He married Willibirg of Sieghardinger (b.
after 1040) who was the daughter of Ulrich, Count of Carniola
(Sieghardinger), and Richgardis of Viebach (Eppensteiner), and sister of
Eberhard Marchese di Carniola and Graf von Ebersberg, who died without
surviving issue. Weriand and his wife had two children - Liutgard and
Hadamut [Azica] (after 1040), the latter of whom inherited his titled
estates in Istria.
Countess of Friuli and Istria, she was the daughter of Count Weriand and
Wilbirg of Sieghardinger. She married Poppo I who became Margrave of
Istria through her inheritence. She was mother
(before 1045) of Ulrich I, Count of Istria and Carniola.
|COUNTS OF WIEMAR
I of Carniola
13 July, before
Margrave of Istria and Carniola from 1012 to his death, Poppo
was the son of a noble family of
Thuringia. His father was either William II or
William III of Weimar, the son of a comital family from Weimar in
the Imperial Landgraviate of Thuringia. His mother was probably Oda,
daughter of the Saxon margrave Thietmar. He married Hadamut, the daughter of
Weriand, Count of Istria, and thus inherited a claim to the Istrian
peninsula. She gave him one son, Ulric I, who succeeded his father in 1045.
After King Henry III of Germany inherited Carinthia, he established the
Margrave of Istria and Carniola in 1040. As his wife's mother was related
to the Bavarian Counts of Ebersberg, who held possessions in Carniola,
Poppo was also appointed Carniolan margrave in 1040.
|Ulric I of Carniola
(a.k.a. Ulrich, Odalric[o], or Udalrich)
before 1045, died
Margrave of Carniola and Carinthia from 1045 and
Margrave of Istria from 1060. He was the son and successor of Poppo I
and Hadamut of Friuli and Istria. He married Sophie, princess of Hungary, and
they had two children: Poppo II, Count of Weimer, and Rickart (Ricardis)
Emperor Henry IV donated land "in pago Histrie... in comitatu Odalrici
marchionis" ("in the country of Istria... in the county of Margrave Ulric")
to "prefato Odalrico marchioni" ("the prefect Ulric, margrave"). Again on
1067, Henry donated land "in pago Istria in marcha Odalrici marchionis"
("in the country of Istria in the march of Margrave Ulric"), this time to the
Freising. Ulric was recorded as "Odalricus marchio Carentinorum"
("Ulric, margrave of the Carinthians") on his death. Ulric married Sophia,
Bela I of Hungary and his first wife, Ryksa or Richeza, daughter of
Casimir I of Poland. Alternatively, it has been suggested that she was
the daughter of Bela and his second wife, Tuta von Formbach. Sophia was a
Ladislaus I of Hungary. Another alternateive hypothesis makes Sophia
the daughter of Tuta and
Peter of Hungary, but that seems highly unlikely. Sophie gave her first
husband four children:
|Henry I of Istria
||1077-1090 (died 1127)
|HOUSE OF SPONHEIM
[or Engelbert II?]
of Sponheim, governed Istria until his death on
(a.k.a. Burchard II or
II, and Purcard)
Margrave of Istria sometime before 1093, when he first appears in a
charter of the
Emperor Henry IV along with other nobles of his native land of Bavaria.
He was the son of
Burchard I of Moosburg and elder brother of Burchard III.
He was appointed
Aquileia in 1101. He died between 1106 and
1107. He left by his wife Acica a daughter named Matilda. His
son-in-law Conrad exercised his authority in Aquileia after his death.
|HOUSE OF WEIMAR-ORLAMÜNDE
|Poppo II of Carniola
Margrave of Carniola from 1070 and
Margrave of Istria from 1096 to his death in 1098. Her was the
son and successor of Ulrich I. His mother was Sophia, a
Bela I of Hungary. He was thus of royal blood. He married Richgard,
daughter of Engelbert II of Sponheim, who governed Istria until his death on
1096. Poppo and Richgard had two daughters according to the "Historia
Welforum": Sophia, married
Berthold I of Andechs and Hedwige, married firstly Herman I of
Windberg and secondly Adalbert II of Bogen. Because of his lack of surviving
sons, he was succeeded by his younger brother Ulric II.
|Ulric II of Carniola
(a.k.a. Ulrich, Odalric[o], Oudalricus and Udalrich)
Margrave of Istria from 1098 until circa 1107 and Carniola from 1098
until his death. He was the second son of Ulric I and Sophia, daughter of
Bela I of Hungary. He was thus of royal blood. Ulric was created
Count of Weimar when still a child in 1067. He inherited both of his
father's marches on the death of his brother Poppo II in 1098, but was
divested of Istria sometime between 1101 and 1107, when it went to
Engelbert II of Sponheim, whose father had preceded Ulric's brother in
the march. Ulric was described as "de Saxonie principus". He married Adelaide
(d.1146), daughter of
Louis II, Count of Thuringia, but left no children. His sister Adelaide
passed on the Carniolan inheritance to her grandson
Conrad I, Duke of Merania.
|HOUSE OF SPONHEIM
|Engelbert II of Istria
||1107-1124, died 1141
||The son of
Engelbert I. He succeeded in 1107 as
Engelbert I Marchese di Istria. The documents dated Feb
1111 relating to the coronation of Heinrich V King of Germany as emperor
name "Fridericum filium sororis suæ, marchionem Engilbertum,
marchionem Thiebaldus, comitem Hermannum, Fridericum palatinum comitem
de Saxonia, Berlingarium de Bavaria, Godefridum comitem, Fridericum
Saxonum, Albertum cancellarium, Cononem fratri Berengarii, Sigebot de
Bavaria, Henricum ducem Carinthie, Bertoldum filium ducis Bertoldi"
as the emperor's guarantors.
UTA von Passau, daughter of ULRICH Graf von Passau [Ratpotonen] and
his wife Adelheid von Lechsgemünd (-16 Apr ----). The
Fundatio Monasterii Baumburgensis names "in Bawarie provincia
comes…Cuno…filiam Adilheit" as founder of Kloster Baumburg, naming
her second husband "comes Udalricus de Pactavia" and her only
daughter by her second marriage "Utam [wife of] Eingelperto duci de
"Ota ducissa de Chreiburch" donated property donated to Baumburg
by charter dated to [1135/40]. The necrology of Baumburg records the death "XVI Kal May" of "Uta
The necrology of Seonense records the death "XVI Kal May" of "Uta
ductrix" and her donation.
|Engelbert III of Istria
Margrave of Istria [In contemporary documents "marchio Ystrie" and
"marchio de Hystria".] and Carniola [In contemporary documents "marchio
de Chreiburch".] in 1124 until his death in 1173, and was Duke of
Carinthia from 1124 until 1135. He was the eldest son of Engelbert II and Uta of Passau. He
succeeded his father in Istria and Carniola when his father was raised to the
Duchy of Carinthia. He is sometimes numbered Engelbert II of Istria.
From 1135 to 1137 Engelbert was
Margrave of Tuscany. In 1156, he witnessed the granting of the "Privilegium
Minus" creating the
Duchy of Austria. Engelbert married Matilda, youngest daughter of
Berengar I of Sulzbach. He was thus a brother-in-law of Gertrude, wife
Conrad III of Germany, and Irene, wife of
Manuel I Comnenus. Matilda died late in 1165. They had four children:
Richgard, married Eckard, Count of
Scheyern; Adelaide, married firstly Frederick,
Regensburg, and secondly Udalschalk, Count of
Lurngau; Henry, who inherited Carinthia from his grandfather in 1144.
|HOUSE OF ANDECHS
He was also Margrave of Carniola.
von Andechs, son of BERTOLD [I] Graf von Andechs & his first
wife Sophia of Istria (-14 Dec 1188, bur Diessen). "Berhtolfus Comes
de Diezzen" donated serfs to Diessen monastery, in the presence of "uxore
sua Sophia et filiis suis Poppone et Bertolfo". His parentage is confirmed by the Notæ Diessenses which record
the death "1188 XIX Kal Ian" of "Berhtoldus marchio de
Andehs…filius Berhtoldi comitis fundatoris nostre ecclesie".
Graf von Andechs 1147. A charter dated to  records that "Poppo
comes de Gieche" donated property to Admont before leaving for
Jerusalem for the soul of "filio suo Heinrico", but that after he
died on his expedition "frater eius Perchtoldus comes" reduced
the amount of the donation. Graf von Plassenburg [1158/61]. Graf am unteren Inn 1162. Graf im
Norital and Vogt von Brixen 1166. He succeeded in 1173 as BERTOLD I
Marchese di Istria. The Notæ Diessenses record the death "1188
XIX Kal Ian" of "Berhtoldus marchio de Andehs…filius Berhtoldi
comitis fundatoris nostre ecclesie" specifying that he was buried "in
capitolio". He married twice:
1153) HEDWIG, daughter of ---
(-16 Jul 1174, bur Diessen). The Notæ Diessenses record the
death "XVII Kal Aug" of "Hadewic comitissa", specifying
that she was buried "in capitolio". The De Fundatoribus Monasterii Diessenses records the death in
1176 of "Hiadwigis uxor eius [=Pertoldi marchio Ystrie]". The necrology of Diessen records the death "1176 Kal Aug XVII" of
"Hadewic com sepulta in capitolio…uxor Berhtoldi marchionis". Her origin is less clear. Wegener refers to the testament of Friedrich
Pfalzgraf von Wittelsbach which names Berthold [II] Graf von Andechs as
his near relative and concludes that Hedwig must therefore have been
Hedwig von Wittelsbach, daughter of Otto [II] Pfalzgraf von
Wittelsbach & his wife Heilika von Lengenfeld-Hopfenohe-Pettendorf. However, there must be other possibilities.
Marchese Bertold and his first wife had four
children: Bertold (-12 Aug 1204, bur Diessen), Sophia
(-2 Jan 1218), Kunigunde (-10 Feb after
1207) and Mathilde (-17 Jan 1245).
LUITGARD of Denmark, daughter of SVEND III "Grade"
King of Denmark & his wife Adelheid von Meissen. The Genealogia
Wettinensis names "Lucardem quam duxit Bertoldus marchio de
Bavaria" as daughter of "Adela [von Meissen] [et] regi
Danorum Suenoni", noting that they were separated with episcopal
consent because of adultery.
12 August 1204)
The son of Berthold I, he was the
Count of Andechs from 1172, and was raised to margraviate of
Istria in 1175. In 1183 (or 1185?), as Berthold IV, he became the
first Duke of Merania - that is, the seacoast of Dalmatia and Istira.
Merania encompassed the same area as the old
margraviate, but its ruler now gained much prestige from his new title. In
1186, he accompanied the
Emperor Henry VI to the
Kingdom of Sicily.
In 1189, he led the third division of the imperial army and was its
standard-bearer on the
Third Crusade. In 1195, he appeared as the
Tegernsee Abbey. After Henry's death in 1197, he sided
with the claimant
Philip of Swabia. At this juncture, the duke of
Merania was at the height of his power and influence. He possessed lands from
Franconia to the Adriatic. Berthold died in 1204 and was buried in
Marriage and issue: Berthold married
Rochlitz, and they had the following:
Hedwig (St. Hedwig), married
Henry I the Bearded, duke of Silesia;
Andrew II of Hungary;
Philip II of France; Otto I, who succeeded his
||The son of Berthold II, he
was also Margrave of Carniola.
||The son of Berthold II and
brother of Henry II whom he socceeded, he was also Margrave Carniola and
Duke of Merania. In 1204, he became Count Palatine of Burgundy since
1211 (as Otto II)
||He was also
Margrave of Carniola, Duke of Merania and Count Palatine of Burgundy (as
mancusi - http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/258679