This post will (1) Analyze the rise of the Franks which was highly influenced by their relationship with the Romans which gave the Franks a strategic and military advantage over less equipped barbarian tribes (2) Analyze the Rise of the Este-Younger House of Welf Dynasty (direct ancestors to the British crown) and its relations and ties to the Franks. The Este-Welf branch dates back to era of the Western Roman Empire in the conflicts between Goths, Lombard, Franks and Germanic Tribes in Northern Italy (3) Analyze the diverse Frankish blood ties within the British Royal Family’s Este-Young House of Welf heritage which includes Charlemagne and many others from the original Frankish realm before the Franks annexed the The Kingdom of the Lombards in Italy and later Germany and (4) The relationship of the famous Western Esoteric Giovanni Pico della Mirandola family’s, ties to the House of Este, Borgia Popes, etc.
Introduction: The British Royal Family is arguable the penultimate royal blood line that bares the strains of Charlemagne’s blood from multiple entries over time. The modern British Royals via Germany not only fall under the Saxon House of Wettin (Saxe Coburg Gotha) but also the House of Hanover. The House of Hanover is The Young House of Welf which is the a branch of the House of Este and they all descend from a blend tracing far back roots to Frankish or Frankish-Lombard families from Italy but before this they were highly from the Frankish homelands in modern day Northern France (Auxerre in Frankish times and later from Aquitaine), Belgium, and Luxembourg. A mix of Frankish, Frankish-Lombard, Italian-Bavarian, Luxembourgish, Belgian, German, Norman Viking, Scandinavian, and more. The British Royal Family through blood-ties, distant relative’s marriages, etc., has ties to historical characters spanning Godfrey of Bullion (via House Ardennes), Giovanni Mirandola (via House Este), the Borgia Popes (via House Este), etc.
- UNDERSTANDING THE FRANKS
Before I get started, I’m going to summarize my thoughts on the Franks, which are part my own ideas but this beginning section regarding the background of the Franks was highly influenced by the research done by James L. Kelley (2013), in his piece, Frankish Civilization and origins of anti-worker sentiments. In addition, I enjoyed the the discussion titled, The Kingdom of the Lombards: Migration and Integration (The Lombards with Mike Carradi of A History of Italy Podcast), by The Study of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, dated November 22, 2019. https://youtu.be/ky0S3gAALcI
The easiest way to really wrap my head around the Franks (Salian Franks) was that they were a Germanic tribe from modern day Belgium (Belgcia in Roman), likely from the Walloon Region, and Northern France with some sets in Germany, but in the wake of the fall of the Western Roman Empire after the Goths sacked Rome, they mobbed up and took over this Belgian and the Northern France area. The Salian Franks were Belgian and the Ripen Franks were more towards German. The Franks were both allies and enemies to the Romans but Maximian in 287-288 forced them to submit and this seems to have launched the eventual quasi-assimilation of the Franks into Roman culture.
(Quick Timeline) Last of the Western Roman Emperors as the Franks were gaining power.
Theodosius I (379-395) Last emperor of united Roman Empire. Divided it to his sons; Honorius (West) and Arcadius (East); upheld the Nicene Creed first formulated in 325 under Constantine at the Council of Nicaea; fought the Goths, Vandals and other tribes and then made peace; persecuted pagans and Roman polytheist, and defeated usurpers in Gaul and Britain to preserve the West.
Honorius (395-423) Rome was sacked by Alaric but the Visigoths kept moving
** Goths sack Rome in 410 led by Alaric I
** Vandals sack Rome in 455
Libius Severus (461-465)
Olybrius (472-472) A puppet Emperor put on the throne by the powerful Roman-German General Ricimer and his nephew Gundobad, the King of the Burgundians
Glycerius (473-474) Abdicated and became a Bishop of Salona
Julius Nepos (474-475 in Italy, but 475-480 in Croatia as a Ruler in Exile) Assassinated in 480
Romulus Augustulus (474-480) Defeated by Odoacer, effectively ending Roman rule in the Roman homeland of Italy and imposing full Gothic rule. The Ostrogoth sect would stay in Italy while the Visigoth sect would setting in Spain near the German barbarian tribe, the Suebi’s Kingdom, and Southern France (Aquitaine, Gascony, Vasconia) which also comprised the lands of the Basque.
According to James Kelley (2017), after the fall of Rome, it wasn’t simply the Dark Ages but rather Roman culture and settlements still persisted, yet, there was big drop in organization, literacy, etc., and this made the peasant class more easy to indoctrinate with religion.
The Battle of Soissons (486) Less than 6 years after the Goths destroyed the Western Empire, the Franks didn’t take long to conquer the Roman rump state of Soissons in France (Paris, Orleans, etc.) under Clovis I of the Merovingians. Clovis I converted to Catholicism for political reasons and at the behest of this hyper Catholic wife. Essentially, the Franks were much more formidable and weren’t simple barbarians but were exposed to Western Roman culture, tactics, etc., and probably saw themselves as the successors of the Romans (they had a chip on their shoulder).
Clovis I converts to Catholicism in 496 AD
The Battle of Voille (507) the Franks under Clovis I beat Visigothic Commander Alaric II (great-grandson of Alaric I) and acquired Aquitania (Southern France), though the region wasn’t officially conquered since there were various Dukes of Gascony, etc., that rebelled against the Franks. The region of Gascony wouldn’t be fully acquired by France until the 1300-1400s.
The Franks soon started a conquest of annexation of the Germans.
Last Germanic Tribal Kings before Frankish Annexation:
Gibuld (of the Alamanni,Confederation which included Suebi elements, i.e., what could be considered the proto-Northern Swiss, defeated in 496);
Hermanafrid (tribe was the Thuringii, conquered in 531 AD);
Godomar II of Burgundians (conquered in 534);
Poppo (of the Frisians, conquered in 734),
Daufer known as Desiderius (last King of the Lombards, conquered in 774 AD),
Widukind, (of the Saxons, conquered 785 AD)
The Battle of Roncevaux Pass pass in 778 saw Charlemagne’s attempted invasion of Spain through the Spanish Marches (Duchy of Gascony/Vasconia) were defeated by Basques and this epic defeat inspired the Song of Roland, for Roland, a FrankishKnight (Paladin), who wasa type of “warden” for the Franks regarding the Bretons and possible veteran of the Saxon Wars who stood their ground against attacks but were killed. The Franks may have been tricked into coming to Spain by part of the Muslim factions in Spain who appeared to be in conflict but really weren’t.
Tassilo (of the Bavarii. Gave up in 794 AD to Charlemagne),
Charlemagne never conquered Denmark, likely for fear of sparking invasions of the Northern Barbarians, i.e., the Vikings. He made mutual peace with Danish King Hemming at the Treaty of Heiligen (811) which established the Eider River as a border.
2. ARGUING AGAINST THE MYTH THAT THE FRANKS WERE MERE BARBARIANS
The Franks had been exposed enough to Roman war techniques as seen in the figure of the Frankish commander Richomeres in the mid-to-late 300s who served Rome during the times of Gratian, Julian, Valens, Valentinian and Theodosius. Theodosious as the Roman Empire would split the Empire into Western and Eastern. This period of time was hectic for the Empire with barbarian sacks but also usurpers trying to carve out parts of the empire such as the pretender Eugenius around 394 in Gaul and Magnus Maximus in England. Theodosius I was successful at stopping these pretenders but also saving Christianity from slipping back to Roman polytheism, such as Theodosius defeating Eugenius who supported paganism with his Frankish ally, Arbogast. Richomeres was Arbogast’s uncle and helped Theodosius defeat him. Frankish training by the Romans as soldiers is seen in the previously mentioned, Arbogast, a General in the Roman Army who was Frankish, as was General Claudius Silvanus who served Constantine II (his father Bontius fought with Constantine), Mallobaudes, etc. Note: The words Count comes from comes domesticorum (count).
This is interesting because due to the nature of Frankish service to the Roman Empire, the Frankish soldiers were sent abroad (think of them as GIs being sent overseas on a tour of duty) as ordered by the Emperors to fulfill their duties. This means that Franks were more exposed to the various cultures of the Empire more so than other Germanic groups. For example, Richomeres served in Turkey, Britain, and other Franks possibly as far as Africa and the Middle East. This exposure to Roman culture, early Christianity (despite the Franks still being overwhelmingly pagan), Roman military culture and tactics, and building a reputation for themselves means the Franks were not simply barbarians but had the exposure to Western Roman ideals which gave them a competitive advantage over their tribal Germanic neighbors (military structure, cavalry tactics, and possibly systems of maintaining contracts or deeds which would be vital for their feudalist system which came).
The Franks weren’t simple barbarians but were assimilated barbarians who absorbed and merged elements of the Western Roman Culture, so the rise of the Franks wasn’t a pure barbarian takeover but the Franks likely saw themselves as the true successors of the Romans, largely considering that in the Era of the Last Western Roman Emperors, many had been privy to key Imperial intrigues such as attempts at preserving the Empire and campaigns of secession. Therefore, similarly to the Lombards in the East who were in a similar relationship with Rome (exposure to their culture, warfare tactics), both the Lombards and Franks would eventually be on a collision course, yet, the Franks were more tenacious.
The Franks had adopted Roman customs from their settlements in Gaul but kept their pagan religion until Clovis I of the Merovingian Dynasty converted to Roman Catholicism in 496. The Franks made a huge power move led by Clovis I (Merovingian) during the power-vacuum left in the fall of the Western Roman Empire after Odoacer (The Goth) deposed the last Western Emperor Romulus Augustulus by conquering the Roman “rump state” in Gaul called The Kingdom of Soissons in 486 by defeating Syagrius. Soissons was previously created by Emperor Majorian (457-461) who put up one of the last great fights to preserve Rome as the West was falling a part. This era was complex because by this time the Romans had relied on assimilated tribal peoples, somewhat akin to “private military contractors”, to help fight wars and barbarians were migrating from the German interior, Scandinavia, and The Steppes deeper into Western Europe. Regardless, the Franks won Soissons and renamed it Neustria under the Merovingian. This area won the Franks the cities of Orleans, Angers, Paris, Reims, and Soissons.
From this time onward the Franks became a radically militant Catholic machine operating like a privately-held corporation based on the concept of franchise, i.e., freedom versus those not free and those who were free were those now a part of the Frankish noble bloodline, i.e., the creators, owners, etc. Feudal politics was essentially mob politics mixed with a level of communal arrangements.
According to Kelley (2017), building off the concept of the Roman villa, they likely established the idea of what we consider villain, meaning those not free. Effectively the Franks were a type of hereditary blood-kin corporation of land-lords/military force (knights) from France & Belgium who charged rent and operated a mafia style protection racket, and using modern warfare tactics they were able to bully the barbarian tribes the Romans often had a hard time with such as the forest peoples of Germany such as the Saxons, Suebi, Alemanni (the Swiss), Frisians, Burgundians, and eventually punked out the Bavarians and conquered the Lombards (Italians).
Since land was the money back then, land stayed in the top managerial classes through inheritance and calculated marriages between family, absorbing tribal Chieftains and their families that the Franks had conquered, or being overlords to chieftains who paid suzerainty. Noble women (the supermodels of their day) were thus traded and married off in order to seal deals and calculate down the road land acquisition. According to James Kelley (2017), after the fall of Rome, it wasn’t simply the Dark Ages but rather Roman culture and settlements still persisted, yet, there was big drop in organization, literacy, etc., and this made the peasant class more easy to indoctrinate with religion.
The Franks operated a pyramidal corporation based on a rent, Catholicism, and protection rackets, but classes were hereditary, meaning power would always stay centralized to the blood Franks. The Franks had Holy Decree by the Catholic Church who owed the Franks a big one for defeating the rival Lombards who swept into Italy after the Goths and Byzantines annihilated themselves trying to maintain or reacquire Italy. This Frankish system was so efficient, that the modern royal families are essentially Franks without thrones but still have power and estates.
The Lombards were a Viking culture who migrated into Eastern Europe before setting up shop in what is now parts of Ausrtia, Slovenia, etc., and served the Huns, but eventually came to speak a form of Vulgar Latin after dropping their Germanic tongue. They worshiped an Arian form of Christianity (non-Triad form considered heresy), feuded constantly, set up camps in urban centers as well as rural ones. They ruled over the pre-existing Roman population after the fall of the Goths in Italy during the Byzantine Wars.
Yet, the Lombards (which means Long Beards) probably weren’t a bad people objectively speaking. In a way, they were migrants looking for a home who found Italy a nice place to live and were tired of warring with other tribes such as Avars, Gepids, etc.
In an alternate universe, I wonder what would’ve happened in history if the Lombards had came out as victorious. The history of Europe and the West would’ve been much different considering the Lombards practiced a form of Arian Christianity which was at odds with the Nicene form of the Papacy and that of the Eastern Romans in Byzantium. They also would’ve faced a growing Islamic threat that would come from Spain. It also means that Europe may have been weaker since the Franks operated like a machine whereas the Lombards in Italy had adapted to something me might consider a mafia, more urban based, ritualistic beefs (disputes), etc.
Essentially, the Franks beat the Lombards for a reason and it’s possible that the Lombards once defeated were discriminated against and associated with “snails”, being “greasy” or serpentine, or being reduced to owning what we consider today as pawn-shops. The last statement was spoken about by Vox (2017) in their video, titled, Why Knights fought snails in Medieval Art, published on March, 29, 2019. https://youtu.be/6ISOK-XtvYs
The Franks were the Knight Class and Ruling Class, in something equivalent to officers over enlisted and today many of our modern ranks come from Old French, i.e., Lieutenant, Sergeant, etc.
So being knights by blood and the owners-landlords with Holy Decree they were able to consolidate power by monopolizing military technology such as mounted knights on horses. They buffered themselves with what we might misconstrue as knights with a warrior class who were really citizen-soldiers most the time who had to provide their own weapons if called to do so.
The general public, the villains or renters, were under something probably akin to modern day gun-control in that they couldn’t probably have weapons to protect themselves by themselves, and this is something common in feudal systems such as that of feudal Japan restricting peasants from having swords.
By bribing lower counts and their goon squads, this further consolidated power on the mid-management level, and all at the expense of the lower classes. Since lands would often be fractured in order to share with sons – if they were lucky – this land-based society gave the central authority more power since central edict would settle disputes and the King and Pope needed each other, so they often enforced outcomes mutually. To manage such as vast territory of competing fief lords, the Franks used marriage but also favoritism and pitting count against count, so the paranoia alone of possibly loosing title and status, was a psychological weapon to maintain power. War was costly but always a possibility in something akin to elite prep school backstabbing politics.
3. ASPECTS OF FRANKISH CULTURE
(A) Polygamy was acceptable in the upper classes such as Clovis I and his son Chlothar I having multiple wives, so the Frankish nobility were womanizers and patriarchs
(B) Knights were all a part of the noble class originally and long-hair was a sign of honor amoung the nobility (having one’s head shaved as a serious offense/insult/punishment)
(C) Capital punishment was cruel such as Brunhilda of Austrasia being pulled apart by four horses, executions were public, and people believed in witchcraft.
(D) The notion of nation-states didn’t exists yet, and the HRE was more of a realm of power held by firm central authority, so when the Holy Roman Empire was re-established under the Saxon Ottonian Dynasty you have to view the HRE was one singular body full of counties, principalities, dukedoms, and military frontiers. So you could be in Italy but your follow Germans, Belgians, Swiss, Flemish, and Czechs (and later Spaniards) were all common citizens and to this day there’s overlapping culture in Bavaria and Italy and Switzerland.
(E) The first true university was the University of Bologna in Italy at 1088 and it seems there was something akin to “study abroad” by the Middle Ages where groups of students from lets say Germany would study in Italy
(F) Important cities included Aachen, Pavia, Rome, Milan, Turin, Paris, Regensburg, Toulouse, Tours, Verona, Venice, etc.
4.. NOTABLE FRANKISH FAMILIES BEFORE AND AFTER THE SCHISM OF THE CAROLINGIAN COLLAPSE AND REEMERGENCE OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
This next section is comprised of Frankish families to help give context. The Franks were essentially French and Belgian’s who migrated and set up shop in new lands based on their business model of warfare, intermarrying, protection rackets, a close bond with the Catholic Church, and set up Castles. The ideas of castles according to James L. Kelley weren’t simply for protecting those in a manor but could be seen as military bases/franchise businesses.
- Arnulfings (Pippnids) who were to become the Carolingian Dynasty. The were Mayors of the Palace to the Merovingians, similar to Secretary of State but took over. We know Charlemagne was the most illustrious but to give a better context of Frankish Civilization and its lasting influence, particularly relating the confusing foundation of Italy, where there the British Royal Family’s Este and Welf heritage derives, we have to under the fracture of Charlemagne’s Empire. (A) Louis the Pious, Charlemagne’s son, divides the Frankish realm into three parts for his sons with West going to Charles the Bald (France, Normandy, Aquitaine), Middle to Lothair (Netherlands, Lorraine, i.e., the German French borders, Burgundy, Provence and Italy), and East to Louis (Ludwig) the German in Saxony, Bavaria, Franconia, and Switzerland, and parts of Austria. (B) Lothair died and he divided the lands of Mid Francia to his children based in Italy, Provence, Upper Lotharingia (Lorraine, where Wigeric of Lotharingia is from – he will be important to this text), and Lower Lotharingia in Belgium and the Netherlands. His brothers however, Charles the Bald and Louis the German, basically fought over the Middle Kingdoms in something akin to a Civil War (C) Carolingians faded from power (though their blood still flowed) in West Francia as the Robertians (Capetians) took over; faded from East Francia when Ludwig’s bloodline died out and the Conradin Dynasty took over, before the Ottonian Dynasty reestablished the Holy Roman Empire (minus West Francia, which was on its course of being France. Otto the Great couldn’t get full power of his nephew, Hugh Capet), and faded from Italy during the rise of the Bosonid’s who crowned themselves Kings of Italy before Carolingian-kin, Benegar of Fruili took over (grandson of Louis the Pious meaning Ludwig The German and Charles the Bald were his uncles. He witnessed his uncles and cousins in Germany & France get replaced and his family’s disputes destroy Charlemagne’s Empire). Italy for a moment was an independent Kingdom similar to West Francia (France) during the collapse of central imperial control. However, Benegar I was able to save the Empire in part, not entirely, and was King of Italy and Crowned emperor. His mother was the daughter of Louis the Pious whereas his father was of the Frankish Uruochings Dynasty, Margraves of the frontier march of Friuli, and watched his uncles and cousins war with each other and destroy the empire. Benegar II organized the marches where the Este-Younger House of Welf Clan of the British Royal Family bears roots in Lucca, Milan, Tuscany, Fererra, Este, Emilia Rogmana, etc (D) Italian Kingship in the power-vacuum in the collapse of Imperial centrality was contested by Widonids from Spoleto, Bosonids and Arnscarids of Burgundy and Provence areas and the Carolingian leftovers in the Uruochings in Fruili, but the Saxon Ottonians conquered Italy by beating Arduin of Ivera of the Anscarids, effectively reviving the Holy Roman Empire under German rule. (E) From this point onward the Holy Roman Empire was German in nature before the later Habsburgs monopolize power by using calculated marriages and inbreeding. (F) Before the Habsburg monopoly, the Golden Era of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire as far as Emperor was always ethnically German. These Germanic dynsasties are as follows: Ottonians from 962-1024 were Saxons; Salians from 1027-1125 from Franconia in Central Germany; the Supplinburg’s from Saxony; The Hohenstaufen from Swabia in the Southwest; The Welf (Este) from Bavaria though the roots trace to Italy and Altdorf near modern Wurttemberg; The House of Luxembourg from Luxembourg, falling under the larger House of Ardennes but would help include Bohemia, i.e., the Czechs and Slovaks, Hungarians and Croatians into the Empire; The Wittelsbach of Bavaria who got Bavaria after the Welf were stripped of it, and then the Hapsburgs of Austria who were originally from modern day Switzerland and France. Habsburgs would rule until WW1 though by then they had already lost Germany when the fellow-Swiss descended house of Hohenzollern who became rulers in Prussia led the German causes of independence. Kaiser Wilhelm of House Hohenzollern (Protestant side), was a cousin to British King George and Czar Nicholas (and most other monarchs of the time such as the Kings of Romania via the Catholic branch of the Hohenzollern).
- Etichonids who are likely the progenitors of the powerful Habsburg Dynasty which monopolized the Holy Roman Empire up until its fall in World War 1. The originated likely in the Frankish areas near Switzerland before setting up shop in Switzerland before making Austria their power-base and through calculated marriages came to acquire the Netherlands and Spain thus all of Spain’s vast colonies during the Age of Discovery.
- Uruochings were Franks originally from Tournai in Walloon Region of Belgium who were set up as Margraves in Fruili in Italy and were interrelated with the Carolingian. Unruoch II was a witness to Charlemagne’s will and a friend.
- Udalriching were a Frankish Family from France who were the counts of Orleans in the 800s and served in roles such as ambassadors for the Franks to the Vikings, Saxons, etc. They married into the Carolingian via Hildegard of Vinzgouw’s marriage to Charlemagne. Hildegard’s dad, Gerold married Emma of the Alamannia (Swiss) family of Agilolfing Family (of Bavaria)
- Agilolfings were of the Bavarii tribe in Germany but were under the suzerainty of the Merovingians going back to the 500s who were de facto Dukes of Bavaria. Tassilo III of Bavaria was the nephew of Pepin the Short (father of Charlemagne). The Agilofings were close to the Lombards, such as Tassilo marrying Liutperga the daughter of Lombard King Desiderius, creating the basis for Italian-Bavarian relations. Through marriage with the Lombards they became kings of Italy known as the Bavarian Dynasty in the Lombard Era before the Frankish takeoever. Tassilo was betrayed by Charlemagne on possibly false accusations and the Pope sided with Charlemagne and forced Bavaria to be handed over. King Desiderius of the Lombards and King Tassilo of Bavaria were the last rulers until Charlemagne won the Iron Crown and annexed Italy. This acquisition by the Franks shows how they used marriage, war, and the papacy to get what they wanted. The Carolingians held Italy from 774-887 with last two direct Carolingian Kings being Carloman (Bavaria) and Charles the Fat (Alamannia), sons of Ludwig the German, King of East Francia. Carloman’s bastard son, Arnulf, overthrew Charles the Fat, resulting in the continued fracture of the Empire, and in Italy there were multiple pretenders but Berengar I (cousins to Carloman, Charles, etc.) won out, became Emperor and this stayed in his family’s line via marriages to the House of Ivera which spawned Berengar II who played an important role in elevating the Bonifaci-Orbertenghi (Este, later Younger House of Welf) to Margraves of Milan.
- Robertians who evolved into the French House of Capet
- Luipoldings who ruled over Bavaria
- Ramnulfids of Toulouse who through marriage entered the English bloody line via Henry II of England’s marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine thus starting the age of English (Angevin) and French disputes. This is interesting because the modern British Royal Family has a major chuck here because Henry the Lion of the House of Welf (Este) [great-granddad was Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan; he’s also a descendant of Charlemagne via the maternal bloodline] married Eleanor’s and Henry’s daughter, Matilda. One of Matilda and Henry the Lion’s kids, William of Winchester had a son, Otto the Child would be given a piece of his granddad’s (Henry the Lion) left over estate in what is Brunswick Luneberg which evolved into the House of Hanover.
- The Ardennes, progenitors of the House of Luxembourg, Bar, Limburg, Arlon, Salm, and Verdun (Belgium, Luxembourg, Northern France near Belgium, Lorraine borders) and closely related the House of Flanders who trace roots back to Wigeric of Lotharinga and his children with Cunigunda of France (great x 3 grand-dad was Charlemagne) such as Siegfried of Luxembourg and Gozlin of the Ardennes. Famous Crusader Knight, Godfrey of Bullion is from a house within the House of Ardennes-Verdun (cousin the Luxembourg branch) on his mother’s, Ida’s side, whereas he was of the House of Flanders on his father’s (Eustace II) side. line who held titles such as the Lords of Bullion, Counts of Verdun, Dukes of Lower Lorraine. Yet, The British Royal Family pops up in this branch because Imiza of Luxembourg (granddaughter of Siegfried of Luxembourg and a 6x granddaughter of Charlemagne) married into the Elder House of Welf and her daughter of Kunigudne married Albert Azzo II Margrave of Milan, where in turn they had one son, Welf IV, whom would be elevated as Welf the I of the Younger House of Welf, when Kunigune’s brother died without issue. Welf IV (I) had a half-brother through their father, named Fulco. Welf IV (I) received Bavaria and lands North of the Alps whereas Fulco kept their father’s blood-line’s property in Este in Italy. The British royal family comes from this source. The German Welf (Este) would go to rule Bavaria, Saxony, and Carinthia but were deprived of their lands under Hohenstaufen rule, only to be given back the area of Brunswick in Germany, and be Holy Roman Emperor for one time, whereas the Italian Este maintained power in the Reggio Emilia region and where the Margraves of Milan, counts of Lucca, rulers of Ferrara, Modena, etc.
- Anscarids, from Burgundy who were counts near modern Ivera in Italy. Aldabert I of Ivera married Gisela of Fruilia, the daughter of Carolingian Benagar I of Italy and Bertilla of Spoleto. Gisela of Friuli’s and Aldabert’s son, Benegar II, was King of Italy who reorganized the northern Italian Marches and he elevated the Orbetenghi Family (Este-Young House of Welf) to Margraves of Milan, meaning he played a role in elevated the family that would one day be British Kings.
- Orbertenghi, the basis for the House Este (Young House of Welf, i.e., Brunswick Luneburg, i.e., House of Hanover), was a sub-house of the House of Bonifaci, who ruled the March of Milan after given the area by Benegar II of Italy. Other Obertenghi Houses included the Malaspina, Pallavicini, and Fieschi, but also were in the same area as the Vicini, Pinelli, Della Torre and Visconti.
- The Bonifaci, originally counts in Lucca, they were appointed governors of Italy by Charlemagne and Margraves of Tuscany in the 800s. The Este-Young House of Welf branch of the Orbetenghi Line branches from Otbert (Orberto) II, a grandson of Adalberto the Margrave, i.e., Aldabert III, whose great-grandad was Boniface the II.
- The Elder Welfs, from Auxerre, France but set up shop in Altdorf, Germany and this Altdorf sect would marry into the Italian Este Clan (descendants of the Bonifaci of Lucca), and House of Luxembourg under House Ardennes.
- Widonids or Guidonids (Lambertiner) from Nantes, France but came to rule the Duchy of Spoleto and Benevento
- Reginarids who evolved into the House of Brabant which came to rule modern Belgium, Hainaut, Limburg, Antwerp. This evolved into the House of Hess
- Bosonids of Frankish origins, via the Bivinids (name after Bivin of Gorze) who played a powerful part in Italy but were also prominent in Southern France in Burgundy and Provence. In the wake of Carolingian Civil Wars, they managed to become Kings of Italy before being replaced by Carolingian-kin, Benegar of Friuli (the last person crowned emperor before the Ottonian Revival)
- Aleramici founded by Aleram who ruled in Piedmont and Liguria in the March of Montferrat in Italy after being given the eras by Benegar II
- Arduinici who ruled the March of Turin and Marquis of Susa after being given the area by Benegar II. Their possession laid the foundation for the House of Savoy
- The Normans Founded by Rollo the Viking and household of the later William the Conqueror. William the Conqueror’s wife was Matilda of Flanders (House Flanders), daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders and Adela of France. Adela of France was the daughter of Constance of Arles and Robert II of France. Robert II of France was the son of Hugh Capet and Adelaide of Aquitaine, and Adelaine’s mother, also named Adelaide (of Normandy) was the daughter of famous Viking, Rollo of Normandy who received lands from Charles the Simple (Carolingian) in exchange for him stopping his attacks. William and Matilda were actually related (3rd cousins) since Rollo the Viking was both their descendant. Rollo was William the Conqueror’s and Matilda’s great-great grandfather (Rollo > William Longsword > Richard I > Richard II > William the Conqueror) (Rollo > Adelaide of Normandy > Adelaide of Aquitaine + Hugh Capet, his uncle was Otto the Great of Germany > Robert II of France > Adela of Flanders > Matilda of Flanders). The House of Flanders in this line, actually ties to the Welf-Este clan in that Judith of Flanders of the House of Luxembourg via Frederick, a son of Siegfried of Luxembourg, had married Welf I of Bavaria (Welf IV in the Elder House chronology), meaning this is another spot where the British Royal Family appears. Judith’s mother, was Rozala of Italy of the House of Ivera, a child of Benegar II, who was a grandson of Holy Roman Emperor Benegar I of the Unruoching and Carolingian Dynasty. Benegar II played an important role in reorganizing the Northern Italian marches (territories or frontiers) and the Bonifaci sect known as the Orbertenghi (Counts of Luca) were given the Margave of Milan and this Orbentengi Clan evolved in the Este who thus married into the Welf (forerunners of the House of Hanover). The House of Flanders had Carolingian blood traced back to Judith of Flanders’ (daughter of Charles the Bald) marriage to Baldwin I (The Iron Arm) but also English via the House of Wessex. The House of Flanders almost were the Kings of France since Baldwin II was a grandson to Charles the Bald and dispute with the Robertine Dynasty which evolved in the House of Capet.
So in essence if we summarize, a large chunk of the British Royal Family can be traced to the Frankish Era and Frankish Civil Wars which resulted in the death of the last direct Carolingian Emperor to Germany via Altdorf by way of the Frankish homeland (Belgium, Northern France, Luxembourg) via the maternal bloodline (Kunigunde of Welf, her great grand dad, Siegfried, founded House Luxembourg, and her great x6 grandfather was Charlemagne ), and Italy through the paternal line (Alberto Azzo II of Este) who were elevated by Holy Roman Emperor Benegar II to “Governors” of Northern Italy, i.e., the Bonifaci and Obertenghi Clan of Lunigiana and Lombardy, who were the Margraves of Milan and Tuscany, Counts of Lucca, Este, Emilia Romagna, etc. With the later ascent of Welf I of the Young House of Welf (Welf IV in the Elder’s chronology), this Franco-Germanic Italian line would largely become German over time by way of Bavarian and Saxon acquisitions (such as that of Henry the Lion as Duke of Bavaria and Saxony) but ended up only keeping a Saxon concession near Brunswick during the reign of Otto of Child. Otto’s grandmother – wife of Henry the Lion – was Matilda of England, daughter of Henry II, a Plantagenet King from Anjou and son of the King of Jerusalem, who was a descendent of Elias I, Count of Maine, who was cousin to Welf and his younger half-brothers Fulco I and Hugh V, since Fulco I’s and Hugh V’s mother was Gersenda on Maine (Alberto Azzo’s second wife), who was sister of Paula of Maine – the mother of Elias. Thus, these ties link the Welf Este to England, i.e., Henry the Lion and Matilda of England were likely distant blood-cousins, or cousins by marriage. However, Welf I’s younger brother, Fulco’s, line remained in Italy under the Este title and this played a role in Imperial politics as the Italian Este kin to the Germanic Welfs fought as the Guelphs (Italian for Welf) against the Ghibellines (those loyal to the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Hohenstaufen), and this conflict is an early example of Italian/Papal independence from Imperial rule. The older brother Welf line in Germany never gave up their Italian rights until Henry the Lion. Separately, elsewhere, intrigues in France with the Normans (Vikings) and the Anglo-Saxons in England would set the basis for the other half of the modern British family (such as Plantagenet line spoken above which involved the War of the Roses between their cadet branches of York and Lancaster resulting in the rise of Tudor and Elizabethan England), and this half would be later infused with the Frankish-Germanic Italian line during the Hanoverian Period (Este Welf) and another German family, The Wettins of the Ernestine Branch, via Saxe-Coburg Gotha (Victorian Dynasty and the modern Windsors with the latter being a Anglicized name chosen to distant German ties during the World Wars).
3. NEOPLATONIC CONNECTIONS TO THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY’S WELF ANCESTRY VIA THE HOUSE OF ESTE AND MIRANDOLA IN RENAISSANCE ITALY.
Now to get to the premise of the paper (sorry I had nerd out), I was reading about Neoplatonism, things of the Occult, etc., for a separate paper I will post soon and found an interesting side note that Giovanni Mirandola’s (a father of Western Esoteric thought) family (the Pico) were related to other notable powerful Italian, Frankish, German, families such as the Este via Giovanni’s brother, Galeotto I’s marriage into the Este Family.
This is interesting because the Este are a the junior branch of the Young House of Welf, and the Welf Dynasty, following the descendants of Welf I (or, IV in the Elder House of Welf genealogy which died out), would go to inherit Duchy of Brunswick Luneburg, which would later evolve into the House of Hanover, i.e., the Kings of the England during the Georgian period. Technically, the Younger House of Welf is sub to the House of Este, but older brother Welf I inherited the Elder House of Welf after his uncle died, but his young brother Fulk or Fulco received their father’s Italian House of Este.
Welf I was the son of Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan. Alberto Azzo II’s great-grandfather was Adalberto the Margrave, i.e., Aldabert III, of the Obertenghi Family, whose family was granted large swaths of land during the time of Benegar II of the Italy, a descendant of Charlemagne, through his mother Gisela, the daughter of Louis the Pious. The Orbertenghi Family fell under the House of Boniface founded by Boniface the I who was appointed governor of Italy by Charlemagne himself after Charlemange’s son, Pepin of Italy died, and his grandson, Bernard of Italy, rebelled again Charlmange’s son, then-emperor Louis the Poius. Boniface also was the Count of Lucca. The Este Branch of the Orbetenghi Line branches from Odbert II, a grandson of Adalberto the Margrave, i.e., Aldabert III, whose great-grandad was Boniface the II.
An interesting note is that famous Crusader, Godrey of Bullion, was a distant relative to the this Welf and Este Clan. Godfrey’s granddad on his mother’s side was Godfrey the Bearded who was the descendant of Gozlin (branch: House of Ardenne-Verdun), a son of Wigeric. Wigeric’s other kids include Siegfried of Luxembourg (branch: Ardenne-Luxembourg) and Welf I who will be key to the post, was descended from from this line from his mom Kunigunde. . It seems this clan arose in the wake of the Lombard wars with the Franks and the Franks elected nobles who were probably loyal to the Carolingian and then Franks married into blood lines though arranged marriages. We know the maternal line of the Welf can be traced to Altdorf in Germany and then back to what is now Belgium/France, but the paternal side could’ve been Frankish settlers appointed rule, but were likely Lombards intermarried with Franks before becoming Frankish overall, yet, when you mix the maternal and paternal, it becomes Frankish.
Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan married Kunigunde of Altdorf, so think of it as Kunigunde Welf marrying Alberto Azzo Este. Kunigunde’s mother was Imiza of Luxembourg, the daughter, Frederick of Luxembourg, the son of House of Luxembourg scion and member of the house of Andennes-Luxembourg, Siegfried (born. 922), whom lastly was the son of Frankish duke, Wigeric of Lotharingia (areas in modern day Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of Northern France, Southern Netherlands, and the Lorraine borders of Germany and France). Her father was Welf II of the Elder House, whose ancestors came from France near Auxerre but owned property in what’s now Switzerland near Lake Constance.
The British Royal Family has direct Carolingian ties via Wigeric whose second wife was Cunigunda, granddaughter of Charlemagne’s direct descendant, Louis the Stammerer, i.e., Louis II of the West Francia, son of Charles the Bald, son of Louis the Pious, son Charlemange, son of Pepin the Short, son of Charles Martel, son of Pepin of Herstal, son of Ansegisel, son of Arnulf of Metz. The Arnuflings whom would evolve into the Carolignians were in the service of the Merovingian.
Relating back to the Giovanni connection to all of this, as stated the Mirandola House married into the Este (Italian Welf) House. Welf IV (I of the Younger House) inherited his mother’s uncle’s (also named Welf) rights to Bavaria, i.e., elevating him to Welf the I of the Younger House. He had a younger brother, Fulco, who retained power in the family’s Italian seat via their father in the areas he owned in Veneto, around Mantua, Padua, Treviso and Verona. When Fulco and Welf’s dad died, Fulco kept Este and his brother kept Bavaria.
Way later, Galeotto I, Signore of Mirandola, brother to Giovannai Mirandola, married the daughter of a descendant of Niccole III d’Este. Later down the line, Alfonso d’Este (21 July 1476 – 31 October 1534), Duke of Ferrara, married into the Papal Family via his marriage to Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI. Pope Alexander VI was one of the most notorious Popes known for his infamous, Joust of the Whores. “When we think of the popes who have presided over Catholicism in recent decades, it’s difficult to imagine them inviting 50 dancers to slowly strip while they ate dinner. It’s even harder to picture one of them throwing chestnuts on the floor for these dancers to snatch up, before handing out prizes for the guy who could have sex with the most women in one sitting. But Alexander VI was a Borgia before he was a pope, so his turn in the cassock was always going to be debauched.” (Cubis, 2017).
Welf I’s son Welf II had married the powerful Matilda of Tuscany and the Mirandola (Pico) family nearby had been vassals of Matilda, insinuating this possibly where the Mirandola line became associated more so with the Welf Este line. Welf I’s descendent, the famous Henry the Lion, settled the disputes between the Bavarian Welfs and the Italian Estes, giving up claims to his familial Italian possessions, yet, these Italian and Germany blood ties would be crucial during the Guelph (Italian for Welf) versus Ghibellines (those loyal to the Holy Roman Emperor) during Italy’s struggle to retain autonomy away from the Germanic, House Hohenstaufen (interrelated with the Welf’s, e.g. Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Henry the Lion were cousins). The Guelph factions, siding with the Papacy, in Italy fought those loyal to the Emperor, and the conflict started during the Investiture Controversy as the Pope and Emperor battled over who had more power. Essentially, the Guleph factions commanded in part by Este Nobles, used the tensions between their cousin German Welf family, to help fight the Hohenstaufen imperial overlords (Frederick Barbarossa, i.e., the Frederick the I, and Frederick the II).
Henry the Lion, Duke of Bavaria and Saxony (of the Welf Clan related his Este cousins in Italy) married Matilda of England the daughter of Richard II, thus interlinking the Welf-Este Clan to England when they finally ascended the throne of England as the Hanoverian kings. Yet, during the times of Hohenstaufen rule of the Holy Roman Empire, the Welfs and Hohenstaufens fought viciously over ruler-ship, and Henry the Lion had been stripped of his Saxon lands and Bavarian lands, but later after reconciliation obtain some lands back such as those around Brunswick. Henry the Lion’s son, Otto IV, would become the Holy Roman Emperor but was excommunicated by Pope Innocent III. Otto IV died without issue, so his brother, living in England due their mom’s English royal ties, named William of Winchester, took over, but his son, Otto the Child officially came to the rule Brunswick Luneburg.
To rewind a bit, an interesting fact is that Henry the Lion went on crusade in 1172 and met with the Knight Templars and Knights Hospitallers. Another interesting fact is that as already stated the British nobility has Hanoverian blood (Welf-Este) but the during the Victoria area a nearby German family in Saxony based in Gotha married into the British family, meaning the British family is highly German, but with a vast diversity spanning Italy (arguably back to the fall of the Rome during the Gothic invasions), Viking French (Norman Conquests), Scandinavian, etc. Think about this if you were to pull out the themes: royal blood lines, the Franks, Knight Templars, Occult practicing relatives, etc.
The House of Este still exists, directly speaking, today in Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este and the house of Welf exists today in Prince Ernst August of Hanover, meaning these people are distant relatives to the current British royal family. The British nobility during the times of Queen Elizabeth had John Dee as an adviser to Elizabeth and he was into Hermeticism, Rosicrucian ideas, etc. So, the heritage of the occult and esoteric thought goes back much further and John Dee coined the terms British Empire.
5. MIRANDOLA CONNECTIONS TO THE ESTE-WELF (BRUNSWICK LUNEBURG, I.E., HOUSE HANOVER)
GALEOTTO I, Signore della Mirandola e Conte di Concordia 8.11.1467, *Mirandola 1442, +by malaria Mirandola 7.4.1499, bur San Francesco, Mirandola; m.Ferrara 1468 Bianca Maria, natural and legitimate daughter of Niccole III d’Este, Lord of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio by Caterina de Taddeo (*18.12.1440, +Mirandola 12.1.1506) [Source: http://genealogy.euweb.cz/italy/pico1.html]
Margherita, +1461; m.1442 Taddeo d’Este, Lord of Este, Venetian General Governor of Friuli (+near Brescia 21.6.1448 [Source: http://genealogy.euweb.cz/italy/pico1.html]
Kelley, J. L. (2015, February 8). James L. Kelley, “Frankish Civilization and the Origins of Anti-Worker Sentiment in the West”. Retrieved February 4, 2020, from https://romeosyne.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/james-l-kelley-frankish-civilization-and-the-origins-of-anti-worker-sentiment-in-the-west/