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The Deeds of Wiprecht

The Preface Begins The wise foresight of the ancients considered it fitting to commit the deeds of the most excellent men to writing for these reasons: namely, so that through the passing of time their favourable lives might not be lost to the spirits of mortals by the obliteration of old age and forgetfulness; and, preferably, so that, if they should touch on any courageous and honourable actions, the minds of their listeners might delight in them, and they might also profit from imitating them, with their continuous recollection impressed upon them. For pagans and those utterly foreign to the true faith, it was the most important of pursuits to transmit not only their own commendable deeds but also those of their predecessors to posterity in writing, for the sake of perpetual praise and edification (even though a few were invented). Why, then, should we not preferably extol the deeds of Christ’s faithful, honourable as well as fortunate, by writing and proclaiming all their praiseworthy actions? Their lives are much more commendable, the memory of their deeds is far more delightful, and the performance of their pious works shines more fruitfully. Therefore, intending to write about the foundation of the monastery of Pegau, we will open our narrative by first starting a little further back with its founder's descent from grandparents and great-grandparents. From there—having offered who was born and from whom as a brief foretaste—we will then disclose with God’s help to those wanting to know, plainly and without circumlocution: what cause provided the occasion for the establishment of this place (by divine agency, so we believe); what things its founder, namely Margrave Wiprecht, accomplished generously, vigorously, and fortunately (in the eyes of both God and the world); and how his life ended. We relate it just as we have learned it from the truthful reports of those who either heard from others or saw and were present, many of whom we see still living.
Emelric, king of Teutonia, had two brothers: Dietmar of Verden and Herlibo of Brandenburg. Herlibo fathered three sons, namely Emelric, Fridelo, and Herlibo, who were called 'the Harlongi'. Of these sons, Herlibo married a daughter of the king of Norway and extended his lineage with two sons, one of whom was named Svatobor and the other Wolf. Svatobor’s sons were Scambor and his brothers. Wolf acquired primacy over the Pomeranians but then was expelled from the province and fled to the king of the Danes. The king eagerly received this man of powerful youth, known to him beforehand by his already circulating reputation. Having frequently tested the strength of this man's body and the steadfastness of his spirit thereafter, the king called him forth more familiarly among those especially familiar to him and gave him his daughter in marriage. But a short time later, the girl’s brothers became consumed by the taint of envy because of the illustrious man’s reputation for strength and prosperous success. They fell upon him to drive him away from their borders and themselves, fearing that Wolf would do the same to them in the future, after the death of their father. Indeed, gnawing envy, which denies all things to happy people, provides them, and frequently their authors, the opportunity to lose everything. Therefore, while his father-in-law still lived, Wolf deemed it appropriate to yield to the envy of his sons. A short time later, when he learned that their father had died, he attacked them with a military force and killed them. Since everyone supported him, insofar as he was the son-in-law of the king, he alone obtained the kingdom. Thereafter, these events followed next for him: from his aforesaid wife he received three sons, namely Otto, Herman, and Wiprecht, the father of Margrave Wiprecht. Afterwards, the region of the Balsami surrendered to his rule by a warlike fate. Finally, old age and frequent battles weakened Wolf. He had earned so much goodwill from the common people, on account of his good fortune, that they thought prosperity could not follow them, either in war or in any other danger, except with him present (even doing nothing). Accordingly, they believed that, with him present, they were always about to attain victory. Having greater confidence in good fortune than, as previously, in his strength, they hoped that—through he was a man situated in the final stage of life—no adversity would be able to prevail against them. Therefore, since from the weakness of old age he was not strong enough to sit, they tied him on his horse—so that thus he preceded them in battle. When he submitted to nature, his body was taken away to the temple of the gods by barbarian custom. His familiars ran around the bier by rank, with swords drawn as if in readiness for battle, and performed the funeral rites while making mournful sounds. With Wolf dead, the uncle of those whom Wolf had killed in the province of the Danes turned his hatred of the father against the sons. Because they despaired of withstanding his invasion, they withdrew from their father’s territory. Otto, the eldest of them, departed for Greece and Herman for Russia.
Wiprecht went apart from his other brothers to the region of the Balsami, which had come to him through paternal inheritance. Thereafter, he flourished in arms and in counsel. This eminent miles kept busy with many splendid deeds of war. Through his hard work he earned the familiarity of the elder lord Goswin, count of Leinungen. When he saw that Wiprecht’s eagerness of spirit corresponded to his nobility, this Goswin gave him his daughter, elegant in appearance, named Sigena. Goswin judged, as was truly the case, that Wiprecht would be an ornament and a monument to his lineage. Goswin allocated to her dowry Morungen and Gatersleben with their lands and allods and other appurtenances. The remaining patrimony—namely Leinungen, Siebigerode and Drackenstedt—he assigned to his two remaining daughters.
Thus was Wiprecht powerful by virtue of a fortunate marriage. From his wife he fathered a son, whom he endowed with both his name and his patrimony, and whom he left behind after his death as a child far more excellent in his father’s virtues (as will be clearly evident to those wanting to know). Afterwards, he received two daughters from the lady Sigena. A certain Henry of Leinungen married one of them. The elder Werner of Veltheim married the other. Werner had two sons from her, Werner and Adelgot, later archbishop of Magdeburg. Also, the outer road of the village of Pegau had passed to this Werner by hereditary right.
Then, Wiprecht the elder, who possessed the region of the Balsami (as we already said), remembered not only his father’s excellence but the injuries he suffered when he and his brothers were driven out. So he frequently harassed the province of the barbarians by military assault, especially the town called Pasewalk—that is, the 'city of Wolf' in the barbarian language. Repeatedly carrying off unbelievable plunder from there, he distributed it to everyone in his province. In this way, he won over to himself, with respect to the grace of loyalty, the favour of both the nobles and the commoners. Then, while still a young man flourishing in the enormity of both his strength and vigour, he came to the end of his life by a premature death, while his son Wiprecht was still a little boy.
The lady Sigena, bereft of the companionship of such a great man, very reluctantly received some degree of consolation after a time, when she allowed herself to be married to Count Frederick of Lengenfeld. From him she received a son of the same name, and also a daughter, whom Count Ruotger took in marriage. He had from her Ruotger, later [arch]bishop of Magdeburg, and Count Frederick. Having taken a wife, this Frederick also fathered a daughter, who married Count-palatine Otto of Wittelsbach and bore two sons, namely Otto, the count-palatine after his father died, and Count Frederick. These things have been said, as if a digression, not only because the nobility of so great a genealogy compelled us, but also for the sake of praising the lady Sigena, who happily raised her son [i.e., Wiprecht], the founder of the monastery of Pegau. And so, let the reader who desires to know the distinguished nature of her offspring receive these things more indulgently, having relaxed his wrinkled forehead a little bit.
At the same time, the august Emperor Henry [III], the son of that Emperor Conrad [II] who succeeded Henry [II] the Pious, became master of the highest of affairs. By his hard work, with divine grace cooperating, the res publica was enjoying the security of peace. Under him, among the rest of the princes, Margrave Udo of Stade, was ruling. The adolescent Wiprecht, bereft of his father (as we said above), was sent into Udo's service by his venerable mother. Udo raised him honourably until he grew up. Then, since he was one day going to be a colleague of princes, this great prince girded him nobly with the military sword. And he was generously enfeoffed by the same margrave with the town called Tangermünde with its appurtenances. So the youth went there, growing in abilities and in bodily and spiritual strength, and ever more capable, whether in his counsel or in his deeds. Since he practiced much slaughter of his enemies with an armed band for days uninterrupted, he was now to be feared by his acquaintances and familiars no less than by his enemies. And so it was readily wont to happen that at times they guarded against offending him even slightly, because strength begot praise, and praise envy of him. Those who seemed to love his integrity considered his proximity odious. For this reason, many counseled the margrave to send Wiprecht away from himself, to whatever place agreed upon, if it could be done honourably and peacefully, in order to take precautions not only for himself and his men but also for his descendants. The margrave wisely hastened to fulfil what had been prudently suggested. Summoning the youth in a friendly fashion, he handed over into his power —in exchange for the region of the Balsami—his castle by the name of Groitzsch, situated in the Eastern region near the River Elster, with all of the appurtenances that were its by right, in estates and forests, meadows and pastures. In exchange for Tangermünde, he restored to him other benefices pertaining to the Nordmark. Wiprecht agreed to these things and withdrew to the east, that is, where the rising sun, true and rich, might visit him from on high. And if not immediately, nevertheless willingly, he took himself and his men inside the walls of the same castle [i.e., Groitzsch]. Insofar as he was unable to bear peace and was accustomed to evil deeds, he disturbed whichever nobles were staying in his neighbourhood—not without the ruin of the region.
At that time there were many nobles in this province, each one established in his own castle: namely, Betheric from the castle Teuchern, Frederick from Cutze, Vicelin from Profen and his brother from [Elster]Trebnitz, and Hageno from Döbitzschen. These men came together of one mind, and because all power was always impatient with a partner, they quickly attempted to remove Wiprecht, who had invaded both the region and their lives. Unable to oppose them and piecing together how he might not lose his things altogether, Wiprecht judged it the best advice, if, withdrawing from the region for a time, he yielded to their envy. He talked with his men. One of them, his ministerial Hartwig, and another called Peter said that they ought to give themselves to the aforesaid Betheric, together with the town of Groitzsch—as if Wiprecht did not know. Then, having gathered 100 milites, Wiprecht took himself to the duke of Bohemia, by the name of Vratislav. Honourably received by him and accepted by everyone on account of the splendour of all of his integrity and hard work, he earned the easy access of familiarity both in the presence of the duke himself and among all his best men.
After some time, just as he was becoming known to everyone—who he was and how great—so also, by contrast with others, he more frequently drew attention to all those things he was wisely considering. Among other conversations with the duke, he said, 'I confess that I cannot wonder enough that you—such a great man, of such great title and power—bear with equanimity the loss and rejection of the royal title and authority. What is apparent enough is this: that counts and magnates, endowed with great power and honour, keeping faith and homage to your predecessors under oath, refuse to be subjected to your rule. I will demonstrate how unbecoming and unsuitable this should seem. I remember that a certain one of your predecessors was called "Buogo." I would not say counts or others powerful by virtue of nobility and wealth, but rather dukes and margraves, were fighting for his principate. He, having attained the rule and royal title, extended his empire into the province of the Seringi. Thus he shone forth more famous and more excellent than other princes who were equally powerful. Wherefore, if you should desire to restore the royal title’s loss, consider now to be the opportune time. The disordered res publica will provide a useful and effective opportunity. To the extent I will be able, I too am ready with both aid and counsel.' Having followed up on these things and others, the duke made it known that he judged them advantageous and promised Wiprecht that he was ready to comply in everything.
At that time, war and the greatest dissension arose between King Henry [IV], the son of the aforesaid Emperor Henry [III], and the Saxons, such that people despaired it could not be settled without bloodshed (perish the thought!). The emperor had in mind to make an expedition into Lombardy and Italy—and to avoid the turbulent faction of Saxons at the same time. Wiprecht therefore judged this to be a convenient time to complete the business that he had in mind. He went to the emperor, taking with him a few of his own men. Wiprecht promised that he was ready to set out with him for revenge against the enemies of the res publica with sixty of his own milites and their military equipment—even fighting at their own expense—on this condition, however: if the royal magnificence and the other leading men should judge him indispensable to the res publica, the emperor by his munificence would restore to Wiprecht every loss recently incurred by him in the Eastern region and would reward his allegiance. The princes and the emperor himself joyfully accepted these things. At this, after Wiprecht had obtained everyone’s goodwill, he judged the time favourable for him to disclose the reason why he had come. He declared himself ready to do not only these things for the benefit of the res publica, but even better things if the emperor and the princes would assent to his advice. Without delay, the emperor declared himself ready to offer his assent. Wiprecht suggested to him that it would do utterly no harm to the imperial dignity, but rather benefit it, if he would allow Duke Vratislav of Bohemia [to be made] into a king and would order him crowned. The duke would also weigh out four thousand talents for the royal treasury, and moreover would send his son with three hundred armed men on the expedition to Italy with the emperor. But the emperor, because his mind was already wavering about the disorder of the state of the res publica, was debating whether to refuse these men and demand those. After Wiprecht gave an oath that he would carry out the expedition with sixty milites, all the princes stood forth as sureties of the royal promise: if Wiprecht should match his deeds to his words, he would obtain from the emperor recompense, in dignities and benefices, worthy of him in every way and as might befit imperial magnificence—both for what great labour he might do in his service (voluntarily and beyond what was owed to him) and as a reward for the loyalty he was extending verbally. Dismissed by the king and the princes with this promise and a formal farewell, Wiprecht then returned to Vratislav in Bohemia. He made known what things the duke should carry out for the recovery of his dignity and his title: that he should dispatch four thousand marks of silver to the emperor and thirty pounds to the empress, and also that he should send his son Bořivoj with three hundred milites to Italy. Wiprecht persuaded him with splendid reasoning. So Wiprecht came to the court at Würzburg. At this court, after the princes had solemnly come together from everywhere (except the Saxons), the duke of Bohemia arrived, surrounded by magnates, the most excellent he had; Wiprecht led the way with the indicated quantity of treasure. Then, with the emperor granting it and the princes' judgment agreeing, Vratislav was raised up through royal consecration by the archbishop of Mainz and the bishops of Constance and Würzburg. After that, he swore an oath that he would send three hundred milites on the expedition, as had been agreed upon. Then the duke turned to Wiprecht and vigorously begged that he travel with his son. Wiprecht responded that this was not at all new to his solemn promise, since, for his own part, he had also sworn it to the emperor. Nevertheless, Vratislav brought it about that, with the king deciding it, Wiprecht would be permitted to always be next to his son’s tents. Thus, for certain, Wiprecht would be Bořivoj’s inseparable companion and partner. The duke sought this from the king, and it was decided. Then, he obtained permission from the king to return home, not forgetting his promise after the recovery of his honour. Back home, before everyone, Vratislav summoned Wiprecht, a man loyal and familiar to him, and entrusted his son to Wiprecht’s loyalty along with three hundred milites, generously and suitably readied with all their military equipment, together with money for expenses. He sent Wiprecht with them to augment the royal army. They met up with the army at Ulm, a city in Swabia.
Hurrying more and more—and surpassing the rest of the army on the road—they were the first to cross over the summits of the Alps. Testing their strength, they devastated Lombardy in their barbaric manner; destroyed cities and castles by plunder, slaughter, and fire; and violently subjected to their servitude all the strong men they captured. They threatened death to those with local knowledge, if they did not reveal the places that were filled with riches. They forced many fortifications to surrender. Soon they had increased their army to a thousand armed men. When the emperor crossed the Alps after them, he rejoiced with not a little happiness at the things boldly discovered and accomplished by those who had preceded him. After the multitude of the whole army had come together into one and been duly arranged, from there Henry came to Milan and was received both peacefully and honourably by the consuls and leaders of the town. With additional help from them, and also from those whom the emperor had joined to himself from diverse provinces, he finally forced to surrender all the other cities, towns and castles situated roundabout—namely Cremona, Pavia and Lodi, Mantua and Crema, and other fortifications as well (except Verona)—by a four-year campaign and much labour, and not without the loss of his own men.
After he had accomplished these things and commenced along the road, he approached the regions of Italy. And since high things come crashing down on themselves, for such is the limit of growth in human affairs ordained by heaven —turbulent Rome, which always either stood open to bad men or bore the attacks of the depraved, was not yet sorry that it had now brought the emperor's displeasure upon itself too.
The emperor, trusting in the size of his Italian and German army, encircled Rome with a tight siege and held out in the same position for about three years. While this was unfolding, because the farmers were absent from their fields, food ran out for the king’s army and it suffered savage famine, just as if it were encircled by a great siege. Still there were frequent clashes between the two sides; because an uncertain fate enveloped both sides of the war to their equal detriment, neither side ceased from boldness. Therefore, scouts were sent out to discover whether there might be anywhere where they might be able to recover from their lack of food. It was announced secretly to Wiprecht by his scouts that in the mountains nearby there were provisions, concealed by some people, as well as an abundance of cattle and a flock of sheep. Since Wiprecht was energetic, unconquerable, and shrewd, he quickly flew to that place with the men attached to him, both the king’s milites and the Czechs, and found, as had been reported, that this would help even a large army for some time thereafter. Wiprecht was told, while hastily returning, that the Romans had burst forth [from the city] and challenged the king to a fight. But at that time the Feast of the Ascension was imminent. When the news was reported to Wiprecht, who was already nearby, he immediately seized the war banners. This energetic man flew into battle not sluggishly with all those likewise prepared. In a barbarian manner, three times approaching and retreating from the battle-line of Romans, bursting in to meet them as if cutting the webs of spiders, they raged without control against their adversaries in an excessive slaughter. Wiprecht saw where the king was hedged about by enemies in a narrow place. With his men, he brought himself toward the king and terrified the Romans so much with his assault that he drove them all the way to the city’s gate. The king, likewise pressing upon them manfully, dismounted after his sword was wrested away, and his right hand almost became stiff from the repeated blows. Called by the king, Wiprecht stood by; he handed over his own sword to the complaining man. And because nothing is more warlike than courage in the midst of great need, with the point of his own shield raised up, unarmed against armed men, Wiprecht savagely raved with so strong an attack that they were driven below the circuit of the wall. Thus the victors wished the fight to come to an end. And because on both sides many had been wounded, the emperor kept himself inside his camp for seven days. Meanwhile, after Wiprecht had given his limbs a rest for a time—although he had not set his mind free from the present business—he summoned one of his men by the name of Raz, who was quite industrious. Wiprecht suggested that, while traversing the circuit of the walls, Raz investigate carefully whether he could discover anywhere an access point for penetrating the walls, so that, having reconnoitred the idling of the watchmen, they might be able to ascend secretly. Raz obeyed, applying his attentiveness shrewdly, and by listening deduced that the walls were without guards. He carefully ascended. After he perceived that no one was present, he returned and secretly informed his lord. He explained that the Romans could be caught by a simple scheme, if he did not disregard it. Reckoning that nothing was to be disregarded—delay is the bane of preparedness —Wiprecht took up arms with all of his own men and a few of the Czechs. With two ladders and his miles Raz leading the way, Wiprecht ascended the walls second after him. Meanwhile, he sent a messenger to the king, [telling him] to hasten to take the gatehouse as soon as possible. Then, fourteen of his milites ascended the walls, with the rest also hurrying. The king and a multitude of men also rushed to the gates and cut down the doors with axes. Suddenly, the Romans called out to each other and attacked those who had ascended the walls with a barrage of stones and spears. Finally the king, having taken control of the urbs, punished those Romans stoutly charging him with much carnage. Some of his own quite noble and vigorous men also died courageously in this great battle. Nevertheless, they worked a greater slaughter of their enemies.
The pope therefore took flight with his uncle, Peter Leo. They were trying to get to the House of Theodoric through the mother church, but their adversaries anticipated their attempt and intercepted them. Thus, they were confined within the church, where they remained together for three days. After they had repeatedly attempted to break out through the church’s doors and to challenge those outside by some kind of a sudden assault, Wiprecht agreed with his standard-bearer that when the doors were thrown open, they two would shove in a timber of astonishing bulk, in order that those inside might not shut the doors so quickly, as they had done before, and retreat back inside. And so, when those men tried to carry out their daring in a similar attempt, Wiprecht and his standard-bearer threw the beam forward and created a gap between the adjoining doors. The Romans were now zealously defending the open doors. First among his men, Wiprecht attempted to rush the doors, in order to strike at those resisting for such a long time there. At length, they drove them inside. Wiprecht followed—although, not protected by a shield, he was actually being cut to pieces, little by little, by the enemies’ swords. Seizing a swordpoint in each hand, by both voice and example, he encouraged the multitude breaking in after him.
With them thus committing sin—oh the pain!—they engaged in a most violent battle in that same church, and much human blood was shed. To behold it was a frightful mockery of the Christian name, the ruin of a place of the most holy and apostolic honour and authority. Who, reading or hearing about it, does not shudder at so great a sacrilege: that human blood flowed like the Tiber within the sacred confines of the apostles?
Meanwhile, the pope had withdrawn into the sanctuary with Peter Leo. Apprehended there, along with those more distinguished by birth, they were handed over into Wiprecht’s custody at the king’s order. Afterwards, having considered saner counsel on both sides and after many opinions had been offered on the dispute—as to whether it was an occasion for their release or indictment—the pope was reconciled to the king. The king ordered and carried this out: after three days’ labour, the church, venerable to the whole world, was with difficulty finally cleansed of the filth of bloodshed and consecrated anew in his presence; the king was raised up through imperial consecration; and all their captives were released to the pope for free. The slaughter seemed to come to an end and a new life to begin.
At length, the emperor received the most fortified House of Theodoric into his control and stationed in it a garrison of his own supporters. Of the twenty of Wiprecht’s milites posted there, eleven died, having consumed poison, a trick executed by the Romans’ working girls. With Wiprecht announcing it, their deceit immediately became known to the emperor.
Yet everyone should take note of the active resolve and industrious effort of this man in respect to the king's service. After a period of seven years' time had been completed, only five milites from his own sixty and merely nine of the three hundred Czechs who had obeyed his will were left to him. With spirits unshaken and fully prepared for whatever danger might approach, they went headlong into death in their barbaric manner.
The emperor, therefore, lest he leave anything unfinished behind their backs, directed his army against the Veronese. At the same time, Peter Leo had confirmed by oath that he himself was ready to come to his aid, having given hostages in the meantime, as well as copious silver as payment to all the troops. While the emperor remained at the House of Theodoric [in Rome], they set their camps against Verona. The duke of Verona observed (although too late) that he did not have the strength to resist the royal majesty. Sending envoys, he sued for peace. Providing in every way reparations for everything, he deserved to be reconciled by some kind of agreement. He promised that he would show his obedience with gifts and services, so that he might at least be consulted about his power and his city. Wiprecht was therefore directed to Verona on account of the agreement concerning these reparations. The emperor awaited Wiprecht’s return at the House of Theodoric.
Standing around the emperor then were the archbishops of Mainz and Cologne, the bishops of Halberstadt and Münster, the abbots of Fulda and Hersfeld, and the other princes, along with the Czech youth. Meanwhile, men gave a speech about Wiprecht, declaring that he was a man of most extraordinary honesty, and that this had become obvious to everyone on this expedition through sure tests. Then the emperor said that he himself wanted to test this more surely. He ordered him to be recalled with speed, as if he had incompletely indicated the reasoning for his decision [i.e., to send him to Verona]. There was a lion shut up in a certain house there. To test Wiprecht’s steadfastness, the emperor ordered it let out. Released, the lion roared. The whole crowd of people present fled to safer places. Wiprecht entered, unaware of what was happening. When the lion was set loose against him, he was warned only by the Czech youth, who put him on guard. Wiprecht, seeing it rushing toward him unexpectedly, strove to take his sword quickly from his sword-bearer. But when Wiprecht seized him by the hand, he threw himself steadfastly toward the lion for the sake of his unarmed lord. However, Wiprecht bore this act indignantly. Trusting more in his own strength than that of another, he restrained the miles and-—wondrous to say!—approached the lion with his fist. The lion, his mane disordered, soon turned away from him.
In this event, I think, we can discern nothing other than divine providence, which has a care for all. Thus Wiprecht, to whom God’s mercy provided such great things in the future, was miraculously snatched away from the present danger. Next, Wiprecht approached the emperor and inquired why he had been recalled. 'For the sake of your salvation,' he said, 'since we just proved by this test that you are blessed.'
But after Wiprecht interrogated him more diligently, the emperor finally revealed to him that he had been recalled to prove his fortitude and steadfastness. Then Wiprecht also sought the truth of the matter from the bishops and the rest of the princes. When they had related the same, he immediately requested permission to return home with his men. But the emperor deferred granting this. When the emperor, more stubbornly, would not be persuaded by his request, Wiprecht resolved now to part ways from them. 'I judge,' he said, 'that for my labours and my injuries I have merited good compensation from you'—speaking to the king—'for whom I have endured great dangers. Lo, what sorts of benefices do I receive, I who—for the advantage of the whole kingdom—ran into costs in all my affairs, and especially risks to my own life and my men? I call all these princes to witness that I crossed the summit of the Alps first before everyone; that I stood out among your leading men as a champion in securing the well-being and victory of you and your men; and that I—with my men—am the principal author of everything that you accomplished successfully on this Italian expedition. If it is lawful to be said: I stood out as the one who set the tune. I think it’s enough that I uselessly squandered great labour and great expense, and have even lost milites. Therefore I will return, ready to serve others now, not you. For them it will be seen as enough to test my steadfastness in their time of need, not to expose my life to the mockery of wild animals. Indeed I was thinking it sufficient that I offered you an acceptable spectacle, when I raged with my arms and strength in the slaughter of your enemies. But it seemed more spectacular that I be demolished by the teeth of beasts!' With these and similar words, Wiprecht raved without control against the emperor, since he was energetic, passionate, unconquerable, spirited, and proud in arms. Then Wiprecht departed from him, causing fear even in the emperor on account of his high spirits. Since the emperor hoped to be able to draw Wiprecht back to him without any blandishments or promises of benefices, he judged it a better idea to appease him and soften his inflexibility of mind through other people, to whose words he might be better disposed. Therefore, the emperor exhorted the archbishop of Mainz, together with the rest of the aforesaid bishops and abbots, and other princes to go to him wisely. He entreated them earnestly that, in his stead, they each—inspired by the king’s devotion to them and with a view to a twofold reward—bestow on Wiprecht some kind of benefice out of the incomes of their churches and offices, as they might see fit. Moreover, they should not doubt him to be entirely prepared to make up, as soon as it should be convenient, whatever amount they themselves should deem worthy. They therefore followed Wiprecht and spoke with persuasive words. Although he was reluctant for a long time, they finally bent the high-spirited man—with, however, this promise introduced: that they would all return home with him, if the emperor should do other than he had promised.
In the emperor's presence, they all carried out solemnly this handing over of benefices. The archbishop of Mainz conceded to Wiprecht a benefice of 1,300 talents, the archbishop of Cologne the whole district called Orla, the bishops of Halberstadt and Münster 50 talents each, and the abbots of Fulda and Hersfeld 300 each. Finally, the emperor advanced to meet Wiprecht on his return and confessed that he had carelessly done wrong against a man so useful and most loyal to him and to the whole kingdom. Accordingly, he granted into his full possession the castle named Leisnig with its many appurtenances. Afterwards, at a gathering of the court in Allstedt, he granted him a benefice of 300 talents and Dornburg with its appurtenances. Later, he assigned him 300 talents at a court gathering held in Merseburg.
Then, having received hostages from the duke of Verona, along with the silver he had demanded —namely five hundred shallow bowls, just as many silver and gold dishes, and 4,000 marks—the emperor finally obtained the desired peace. Wiprecht, together with the king of Bohemia's son, named Bořivoj, approached him and asked for permission to leave. The emperor sought Wiprecht’s advice as to how to send off the Czech as befits imperial honour. Wiprecht said: 'In this, it will seem enough if you offer sufficient silver for his and his men’s expenses, along with two bowls and as many dishes. Also, you should bestow two dishes on each of his milites, together with two sets of clothes, as is fitting the royal munificence. In addition, by letters you should make known to his father every act of strength they accomplished in your company.' Approving his advice, the emperor inquired once more: What recompense might Wiprecht himself request as gifts out of the royal offerings? Wiprecht indicated he was ready to request nothing now, but later when it might be convenient. Nevertheless, he indicated this desire: that, with the Czech king's son mediating and interceding wisely on his behalf (as he had confidence), he be commended to Bořivoj’s father for remuneration. Thus, he might be recompensed for serving not the emperor but the Czech king, who was not unmindful of his own honour and title, recently regained by Wiprecht's faithful and wise guidance. And so indeed, what Wiprecht had prudently recommended, the emperor ordered done. Having dismissed them, he said farewell. Thereafter, departing from the king with Wiprecht, the Czech king's son saw his birthplace again. There, with a crowd of magnates gathered together and permission given to speak, they set forth the success of all of their affairs. They also displayed the emperor’s letters and the rewards they had received from him. Afterwards, Bořivoj grasped Wiprecht’s hand and said, 'Father, the lord emperor committed this man to your diligence for the attainment of this request: that you might reward with a worthy recompense his most devoted service, which he has thus far most vigorously shown to the whole kingdom, with me as a witness.' The Czech king therefore ordered that a shield of the most exquisite workmanship be brought out, perfectly decorated with gold and silver engravings, and also a bow with a quiver, which the king of Hungary had recently sent—and that they be offered to Wiprecht with a great abundance of gold and silver. But he wanted to take none of these things except the bow and quiver, saying that he could acquire much gold and silver by the hard work of his own strength. Judging therefore that Wiprecht wanted more and better things, the king had another shield again brought out, one more decorated and laden with better gifts, together with a chess board edged in gold with pieces skilfully carved of ivory and crystal. But Wiprecht did not want to take any of these things except the board and pieces. A third time the king ordered a shield to be laden with similar things, with an ivory horn placed on top; in addition, he offered twenty horses outfitted with saddles ingeniously made. But from these Wiprecht took nothing except the horn. Therefore the king’s mind began to waver: what was there of great enough value, that, having been offered, Wiprecht would not refuse to accept? The son, more privy than the father to Wiprecht’s desire, drew his father out privately and advised that he marry his daughter, now grown-up, to him. Bořivoj asserted that this would be more to his advantage for the defence of his territory than if he were to marry her to the king of the Russians or Hungarians. The joyful king assented, and had her come forth. Named Judith, she was elegant in appearance and adorned with garments woven with gold and with various jewelled ornaments . Then, calling Wiprecht forward, he handed her over to his safe-keeping. Wiprecht accepted her with not a little thanks and, with the king nodding approval, commended all those ornaments to his chamberlains to be saved, thus providing himself future advantages. But Wiprecht refused to accept the part of that province [i.e., Bohemia] which the king had assigned to his daughter for her dowry; instead, he demanded and procured in exchange two districts outside it, namely Nisen and Bautzen. Having accepted these, he built a castle by the name of Schwerzau, which would be a safe fortress for his wife.
Although prosperous things were thus following Wiprecht, he nevertheless could not endure prosperity and peace. Remembering the injuries once inflicted on him by the more noble men of this province, he frequently carried off not a little plunder from them, falling upon them unexpectedly. Therefore it happened that once, crossing the boundaries of the town called Belgern, he laid waste to the nearby villages by plundering and was on his way back, with everyone having suffered. When this became known to Margrave Henry of Meissen, he took his milites with him and pursued Wiprecht as he came away from Belgern. But Wiprecht steadfastly intercepted him. They came together in battle, and Margrave Henry’s standard-bearer died, transfixed by a lance from Wiprecht’s miles Hartwig. With others falling on both sides and Wiprecht’s adversaries ultimately forced to flee into the town, Wiprecht’s milites carried off their plunder.
At another time, Wiprecht was thinking of taking revenge against certain men, whom he was preparing to attack secretly. Therefore, in the middle of the night, he came to a village called Lippendorf, where a certain miles, one of his own familiars, lived. He hid himself there all day. On the following night he came secretly to Zeitz with this same man. Having discovered that Ekelin and Hageno, men most hostile to him, were present there, he returned to his castle of Schwerzau as quickly as possible. He joined with his most select men, and falling upon Zeitz unexpectedly, seized it. He slew Ekelin with seventeen men. Hageno and the rest were forced to flee into the church of St. James. Since he could not in any way bring about by threats that they come out—oh, the pain!— fire was cruelly thrown in, and the church was burned down. Having thus been forced to exit, they were greatly deprived of the light of their eyes because they had fled for the refuge of the church. At last, Wiprecht returned home, not without great destruction to the region.
In the year of the Lord 1079. There was a battle between Henry [IV] and Rudolf in the place that is called Flarchheim, where in the initial clash, the Saxons turned their backs. There Vratislav, duke and king of Bohemia, gained possession of Rudolf’s royal lance; thereafter, with Emperor Henry's permission, at every festivity it always preceded in procession whatever the insignia were from the duchy of that people.1 And Wiprecht, who was always prominent in warlike events, was present at this battle.
In the year of the Lord 1080. King Vratislav of Bohemia, getting set to invade the Saxons, passed through the district of Nisen with Wiprecht as guide. The Czech made a sudden incursion from Wurzen to Leipzig and laid waste to everything. He received advice from Wiprecht that he ought to wait for his coming at [Hohen]wussen, until Wiprecht had ravaged the places around Belgern. As these things were happening, news of their invasion suddenly became known to everyone in the neighborhood. Immediately giving the call to arms, many thousands quickly joined together. They approached the Czechs, who were placed in an uneasy position. Struggling against the enemy with all his men, the Czech nearly lost the vanguard. But when Wiprecht came up, they turned the Saxons to flight and killed very many of them. Thus was the returning man's skill with a sword made plain to the Czechs. Meanwhile, the emperor returned from Italy and announced to the Czech his court at Regensburg. There, he gathered an army. The Bavarians, along with the Czechs and the rest of the peoples from Germany, crossed through the territory of the town of Weida and arrived at a fortification by the name of Mölsen near the Elster River. There, the Saxons with King Rudolf, elected three years before, met the emperor. The battle was engaged, and did not drag on long. The emperor’s army began to flee and was cut down everywhere from Mölsen all the way to the village of Weiderau. While the Saxons were pursuing them zealously, King Rudolf was gravely wounded in the right arm and carried off to Merseburg. He died three days later, with great penance for so much rebellion and slaughter committed on his account. He was honourably buried in that same place. With the emperor’s army scattered everywhere, each returned home, having abandoned the king. Vratislav and Wiprecht, who had been present at the same battle, led the emperor away with a few men through Bohemia. They had not yet learned of King Rudolf’s ruin.
Meanwhile, Betheric of Teuchern came upon Wiprecht’s milites by chance. Pursued by them as he fled, he died, struck down in the village called Queisau. After his violent death, Wiprecht reminded his milites Hartwig and Peter—who (as we mentioned before) had gone over to Betheric with the town of Groitzsch—that they should be mindful of their loyalty and open the town to him. They handed it over immediately, and he erected two well fortified towers in it.
At that time, Wiprecht received in benefice from Bishop Walram of Zeitz the district Bautzen, with 1,100 mansi adjacent to the same place. Provided with these and many other estates and benefices (which it would be tedious to enumerate one by one), he gained extraordinary praise among the nobles of this province for his strength and integrity. But because praise accompanies strength and envy praise, many of the princes pursued him with manifest hatred, for all power is impatient with a partner.
Hence, his rival, Margrave Ekbert of Brunswick, slowly consumed by envy, strove to attack his lands with a large army. He soon passed by the castle at Teuchern. Having heard this, Wiprecht ordered his men to grab their arms immediately and to attack that man, who was imagining nothing of the sort. The margrave, terrified by the unexpected attack, considered the safety of flight. But with his adversaries seriously pressing upon him in pursuit, the fight was engaged near the same castle. There, a certain miles, who was most dear to Ekbert, attacked Wiprecht with a lance. He thrust through Wiprecht’s shield and knocked out two of his teeth. Wiprecht immediately pierced him with his sword and, with due retaliation, divided his forehead down the middle. Then he turned the margrave’s whole multitude to flight. In the year of the Lord 1081. In the year of the Lord 1082. In the year of the Lord 1083. In the year of the Lord 1084. In the year of the Lord 1085. In the year of the Lord 1086. In the year of the Lord 1087. In the year of the Lord 1088. In the year of the Lord 1089. In the year of the Lord 1090. Margrave Ekbert, having enlarged his army, was again thinking about attacking Wiprecht's territories. But before he drew near to them, he died dishonourably in a certain mill.
Thereafter, Wiprecht received two sons from his most noble wife by the name of Judith, the daughter of King Vratislav of the Czechs: Wiprecht the younger and his brother Henry, as well as a daughter named Bertha. And he went from day to day ever growing in stature with more fortunate successes, such that he seemed to be frightening not only to the princes of Saxony but even to Emperor Henry himself. The emperor began to harbour extreme jealousy toward him. Having forgotten justice—and not remembering that Wiprecht had been loyal to him and had been his partner up to this point in great and frequent dangers and labours—he strove to upset Wiprecht’s position of great good fortune.
When everything had at last been set up around him according to his desire, Wiprecht, so as not to misuse the tranquillity of the time granted to him by God, now pondered how he might become fortunate before God. (On account of the enormity of his worldly good fortune men were languishing from a voracious envy.) It was as if he heard the very author of his salvation threatening him, 'Transgressors, take it again to heart!' Afterwards Wiprecht, soon to be the founder of the monastery of Pegau, felt remorse in his heart—while God himself, who calls those whom He predestines, took pity. However late, Wiprecht at last turned inward toward himself, and before the eyes of his own mind he recalled which and how many bad things he had done: namely, how often he had plundered other people's things; how many men he had afflicted with slaughter, fire, and pillage; how many he had deprived not only of their resources, honours, treasures and towns but also of life itself. Oh, that I might leave out these things: how much [violence] he committed at Rome, at the threshold of the blessed apostles, and in the burning of the basilica of St. James in Zeitz.
Recalling all these things, Wiprecht groaned in his heart and in all earnestness beseeched Him, without whom human frailty has no strength at all, to guide his counsel. Oh, how effective always is the judgment pronounced from the mouths of the saints—or rather from the Holy Spirit—such that wherever iniquity is abundant, grace is more abundant. Undoubtedly summoning himself more inwardly, he was resuscitated from the deadly habit of vice. And with the divine voice penetrating the hardness of his heart of stone, Wiprecht was reminded to go forth outwardly for confession and penance. He took himself in complete devotion of spirit to [Archbishop] Hartwig of Magdeburg and [Bishop] Werner [of Merseburg]. He revealed to them the enormity of his guilt and his desire to render satisfaction. To such men, who knew how to heal the sicknesses of souls, he revealed himself as ready to render satisfaction in every way, according to their judgment and as far as he was able. These men, to be sure, although they did not lack confidence that they would be able to correct him by their authority and opinion, nevertheless, for the sake of easing for him the form of his penance a little bit—which they judged best—persuaded him with flattery to go to the threshold of the blessed apostles, Rome, and to the feet of the lord pope. Wiprecht, not delaying at all, was disinclined to go there heavily laden. Therefore, taking little with him, he arrived at Rome, as he had been counselled. There, prostrate on the ground, he watered the threshold of the apostles, which he had previously defiled with blood, with the tears of true penance. Afterwards, the opportunity granted him, he was brought to the feet of the lord pope, to whom he confessed with the highest devotion, in sequence, the reason for his journey and the enormity and the foulness of his sins. Then, by the authority of his predecessors the pope, most splendid in his knowledge of the true and salvific medicine, most insightful in showing moderation in penance, and having first offered certain words for compelling more diligently a compunction to repentance, sent him to the patriarch of the Spanish, a man of apostolic authority and admirable (even to the pope himself) on account of the merit of his life. That is to say, having consulted more privately, the pope counselled Wiprecht to mention to him the heavier labour of that trip or some need of an obstacle, with God arranging it. He also counselled Wiprecht to comply with all of the patriarch’s commands and advice. And so, Wiprecht hastened to the patriarch with ardent desire, and made fully known to him the things he had done thus far in his neighbourhood. The patriarch imposed penance on him—from ecclesiastical, not his own, judgment—measured in accordance with the magnitude of his crimes, and taking care lest by chance he run in vain. Not as a harsh overseer of a fellow servant but as a neighbour with compassion, with these salvific admonitions the patriarch instructed the spirit of the one in danger, who was hastening to race back to the harbour of salvation by his own rowing: 'Concerning those publicly penitent in our times, we indeed fear to pre-judge whether they be penitents or more like jokers—those who, after they are received in the church as reconciled, pretend to alter their former life. But because true justice lies not in beginning but in persevering, most beloved son, consider why you have travelled such a great distance. For the lord pope was able to give you—nay rather ought to give you more appropriately than I—remission of sins. But he wanted to test your patience with the labour of such a great journey, so that, having reaped the benefit of your perseverance, you may now receive from me a more relaxed measure of penance. Therefore, to your love I declare this advice most efficacious and salutary: redeem your sins through alms, which are strong enough to extinguish them completely, just like water on fire. As for the rest, if the means are abundant, construct at your own expense a temple to God, whose servant a good will ought to be, for the veneration of the blessed James, whose basilica you burned down. Also, bring together there as many servants of God as you judge yourself able, according to the Lord’s precept: make the poor your friends from the wealth of iniquity. Let these men preserve the order of the rule’s observance, so that, when you have departed from the present life, with constant prayers they will bring it about that you are worthy to be received in the heavenly abode.' To this Wiprecht said: 'If your paternity judges it sufficient, I can establish a monastic cell suitable for six brothers and can spend whatever might meet their needs.' Prudently resisting, the patriarch said to him: 'Those who sow sparingly, also reap sparingly. And he who will spend in cheerfulness and abundance, will also receive abundantly. Because maintaining the rule’s observance in every way will not be possible among so few, if you are in any way able, add the same number of others to these [i.e., six plus six]—for together they will more easily be strong in monastic order. Just as greater diseases need greater medicine, so too do greater rewards follow heavier labours.' Since Wiprecht promised himself ready to do everything he could, with God working with him and granting life, the patriarch gave him relics, namely the knee of St. James. Then he dismissed him, reconciled to the church, with the remission of his sins and a blessing.
Thus were these things happily accomplished. As Wiprecht was returning home, he detoured to his town of Leisnig, where his assembled men received him with joy. He made known to them the causes and results of his journey, in sequence, and took counsel with them as to which place under his control seemed to be suitable for constructing a monastery. And although different people offered different opinions about what might be best, nevertheless the more prudent agreed that he ought to look in the neighbourhood of his town of Groitzsch, in whatever place might be most suitable there.
Toward that end, as he was turning his mind to that same devout intention, Wiprecht passed by chance through a certain village named Eula, where there was a wooden church that had by then almost fallen apart from the old age of the wood. He withdrew into it for the sake of prayer, with his familiar named Giselher. For it was Wiprecht’s custom that he never passed a church without saying a prayer. Rising, therefore, after saying his prayer—wondrous to say!—the chest of relics, which was placed upon the altar, seemed to be opened like a book by divine agency. With the brightness from it glittering in his face, it struck the chest of this very brave man with such great terror that he was scarcely able to remain in his place. Coming out, Wiprecht asked his aforesaid familiar if he had seen anything. After Giselher said that truly he had seen nothing yet had experienced immense terror, Wiprecht described what he had seen, and said he was of a mind to restore this very church. After he had ordered that to be done immediately out of his own expenses, he resumed his journey and reached Groitzsch.
There too, he was received with not a little exultation. Impatient of delay, Wiprecht made known to more prudent men the desire and wish he was incessantly turning over in his mind. It seemed to them that it ought to be done in a certain prominent place, adjacent to the same castle [i.e., Groitzsch], called Nible in antiquity, now Old Groitzsch. But, sensibly, this displeased certain more careful men with more profound advice; they prudently contended that if the castle itself should at some time be surrounded by a siege (as will be clear, this later happened) that place would be a refuge for the enemy and a source of desolation for those staying there. Afterwards it pleased Wiprecht to designate for such a great work a place on this side of the river Elster, adjacent to the village of Pegau, where now a certain village called Wolftitz lies. For that place, quite pleasant and spacious, was then empty on this side of the nearby highway. But because the public highway created an opportunity—even a necessity—for everyone to be passing through frequently, and this would be a loss—even a catastrophe—for those ready to serve God there, that advice was also withdrawn as useless. After Wiprecht had surveyed everything all around with diligent consideration, they looked toward the region west of the village of Pegau at a place chosen for this work—so we believe—by divine agency. It was most fitting but not every part of it lay in his control, for a certain Erpo possessed a castle bordering this place; since he did not possess an heir, he was bound most closely to Wiprecht by both consanguinity and friendship. When Wiprecht had opened his mind to him, Erpo held that he was entirely in agreement with him. And so he donated that place, together with other benefices in Saxony, in order to renounce completely his ownership of it. Consequently, he ordered the place to be levelled, and the defences to be fully removed as well. In the year of the Lord 1091. Divine clemency had led the way by inspiring Wiprecht, and that same clemency also followed after by working together with him. Therefore, because the charity kindled in him by divine agency was not able to be idle, he turned this over in his most wise mind all day and all night by frequent meditation: how might he properly begin the work of his most devout intention and more properly complete it? He judged it fitting to seek advice and comfort from his father-in-law, that is, from King Vratislav of Bohemia; therefore he did not neglect to go see him. Vratislav, joyfully favouring the praiseworthy petition of the man, since he was his son-in-law, put 700 talents into Wiprecht’s hand. The king gladdened him not a little with words and promises that, in view of his help, he should act confidently and establish a work becoming to the honour of God and of St. James with his encouragement and assistance. Having returned, Wiprecht went to the lord Hartwig, archbishop of Magdeburg, entreating and inviting him to give the blessings of foundation and of cemeteries to the place under consideration. He also invited [Bishops] Walram of Zeitz and Albuin of Merseburg to come with him. Meeting together, they discharged the duties of the priestly office. After they had given the blessing, they advised Wiprecht that he should first carry on his own shoulders baskets of stones for the twelve corners of the foundation, the same number as in imitation of the deed of the most pious prince Constantine, who was the first and most powerful among the princes as a founder of Christ’s churches. Wiprecht complied readily. And he kindled so great an ardour in all his men for willing labour that, unlike the foundation of other churches laid by the labour of paid servants, the work surged eagerly from his armed band and from the perseverance of those yielding to them, such that within three years, without any break, it had risen up to the top of the towers. Meanwhile, next to the same work, he established a court for himself (in the place where a hospital is now located), in which he immediately had a chapel to God and the blessed confessor Nicholas constructed. In the year of the Lord 1092. Next, Wiprecht considered it advantageous to seek out some man of a pious way of life, who, joined with brothers, might put the finishing touch on the same work, construct workshops, and most especially introduce the divine office. Going to the monastery called [Münster]Schwarzach, well known to him since it was preeminent in piety, he obtained there the lord Bero and three other brothers, companions in such great labour. To Bero, Wiprecht commended the care of his monastery.
Once, Wiprecht gave Bero thirty marks for the use of the brothers and the expenses of the buildings. Bero lost them when going into the bathhouse, fastening the key to his belt. There was a certain man, a conversus from the laity, corrupt in character and in cunning. His abbot had not at all noticed his deceitfulness, because he was of an exceedingly simple nature—and because good men sometimes disguise what they are, while in every endeavour bad men pretend to be what they are not. Thus Bero had taken him into his employ ahead of other men. This man, like Judas, having wickedly taken advantage of benefits of this kind, finally, after a long time, stumbled (I think) upon the opportunity he had premeditated. With his abbot entering the bath, he stealthily stole the key and fled with the donated money. Wiprecht learned this, having experienced the abbot’s negligence not for the first time now. Although he considered it to have happened out of simplicity and not an evil desire, he nevertheless thought to remove the abbot from himself, because he realized that his place [i.e., Pegau] could not readily be advanced through such a man. The abbot promised to restore every loss that had occurred and returned to his monastery [Münsterschwarzach], having obtained a reprieve from Wiprecht, so that he might not incur the ill fame of such a great loss. Within a short time, he recovered from acquaintances and relatives the full amount of silver negligently lost. Then, having returned [to Pegau], for his whole life he laboured as much as he was able and yet increased the number of brothers not at all. He departed to the Lord without pastoral consecration, quite old, on the tenth Kalends of January [23 December], and was buried there.
In the year of the Lord 1093. The lord Wiprecht had exhausted nearly everything that his father-in-law, namely King Vratislav of Bohemia, had given to him. So he sent to him again and was not disappointed by the king's usual encouragement. Vratislav sent him another 300 talents toward completing the work that had been started.
In the same year, Vratislav, having fallen from his horse while hunting, died a sudden death.2 In the excellence of his honour, power and wealth he was surely a man incomparable to all his predecessors in his principate. He even struck fear in the emperor and all the German princes. Vratislav was nevertheless a most loyal joint-labourer for the kingdom, as he proved frequently in many times of need when King Henry [IV] was ruling. For that reason, the same emperor—not undeservedly—raised him up with the pre-eminence of the royal title. He was also the first among his people to be distinguished by a royal crown and the lance. He left behind five sons, one of whom was called Bořivoj; after his father died, he obtained the duchy for some time. Another son was Ulrich, who later, when Lothar was ruling, obtained the same principate.
In the year of the Lord 1094. In the year of the Lord 1095. The finishing touch was put upon the church of the monastery of Pegau. And by the industry of the lord Bero, who governed that place commended to him and was not lazy in administering it, many workshops were established for the use of the brothers. In the year of the Lord 1096. On the seventh Kalends of August [26 July], the church of the monastery of Pegau was dedicated by the venerable lord Hartwig, Archbishop of Magdeburg, working together with Bishops Albuin of Merseburg, Walram of Zeitz and Hezilo of Havelberg, in the presence of the lord Wiprecht, the founder of the same place, and with very many other nobles and his sons, Wiprecht and Henry, also present. On the same day, the lady Countess Judith, daughter of the Czech king Vratislav, came forth crowned and royally adorned in clothes woven with gold. That very day, upon the altar, she dedicated to God and Saint James these two remarkable items: a crown inlaid with gold and gems, and a robe woven with gold, resembling a dalmatic and of the most precious workmanship, which she was wearing under a cloak also woven with gold. For those wanting to know about these things—where they ended up—let him lament! For, as we have learned, the lord Abbot Windolf later used the crown advantageously as payment for possessions to be bought in Thuringia. But, as for the robe, lord Wiprecht the younger, about to travel to Italy in the service of the emperor in his father’s place, later offered it for—and promised to pay back—as much silver as it might be worth. Bishop Burchard of Münster (nicknamed 'the Red'), having inspected the robe, gave 40 marks for it. But, when Wiprecht returned from Italy, many obstacles hindered him, and he was not able to pay back the silver before his death.
This is a summary of the possessions of the church of Pegau, which the lord Margrave Wiprecht built in honour of the Holy Trinity and Saint Mary and Saint James the apostle. He endowed it with the town adjacent to it, together with all its appurtenances: woods, meadows, and pastures; rights of way (in and out); waters and watercourses; millstones and mills; vacant plots, tilled and untilled fields; fishing and hunting rights; and all uses that can be stated or named, except one of the roads, the outermost, situated toward the north. Later, to increase its endowment, he gave the same church two villages, one of which is called Hilpritz, the other Pörsten, with the adjacent vineyards and meadows and a mill, as well as 9 mansi in Stonice and in Lausick 10 solidi, with which lamps should be bought for illuminating the chapel of St. Mary. Then, as the piety and number of brothers grew over the course of time, the lord Wiprecht gave more for the brothers’ support, namely these villages: Muchelice, Bořice, Karlsdorf, Heinrichsdorf, and Lippendorf, with meadows and pastures and all their other appurtenances; and in Borkovice 4 mansi; and the church in Lausick with the tithes of 16 villages; and the church in Dietmarsdorf, plus two mansi and one mill in the same village; and the church in Cloveldechesdorf; and nine mansi in Suchsdorf. What things were handed over to our church after these, by his children and by very many other people loyal to him, we will mention in the appropriate place; now let us return to those things from which we digressed a little.
The celebration of the aforesaid dedication solemnly extended over five days, and the lady Countess Judith, to everyone’s admiration, came forth adorned with garlands of changing design, equally inlaid, one for each of the five days. Therefore, after everything was suitably arranged according to his will, the lord Wiprecht bid farewell to everyone and dismissed the whole assembled crowd. Afterwards, he gave for the adornment of the pulpit crystal and ivory chess pieces with carvings in relief.
In the year of the Lord 1097. In the year of the Lord 1098. In the year of the Lord 1099. At Aachen, on the Lord’s Epiphany [6 January], Emperor Henry made his son Henry V king.
In the year of the Lord 1100. The lord Abbot Bero, thus far looking out for this place both as much as he was able and as well as he knew, was finally ready to receive the rewards for his labours and migrated to the Lord. He was buried in the brothers' old chapter hall near the entrance of the church, on the seventh Kalends of January [December 26].
In the year of the Lord 1101. At that time, strict observance of the Rule, which laudably had begun spreading everywhere then after the custom of Hirsau, was flourishing at Corvey, a royal abbey, above all other Saxon monasteries. There, the lord Abbot Markward, a man worthy of veneration and remembrance, presided at that time. Arriving there, the lord Wiprecht laid bare to him, in sequence, all the things afflicting his mind: namely that the condition and piety of his monastery had thus far advanced less than he had hoped toward an improvement of the Rule’s observance. But the sole reason for this was the fact that, for such a great work to be begun, he did not have suitable partners in the plan. Therefore, whatever seemed best to the abbot’s prudence, Wiprecht promised himself ready to do. He promised himself wholly ready to earn it by the abundance of his compliance, if Markward would appoint from the community of that holy congregation [i.e., Corvey] whomever he judged likely to be advantageous to Pegau—with several companions in this labour alongside him. Thereupon he promised himself ready to furnish from his own estates everything needed for their use, if this alone might satisfy his request. The abbot, steadfast in piety and justice, received gladly Wiprecht’s request and desire in Christ; he asked for the advice and will of the whole community about this matter. With everyone agreeing with him on it—and in order not to disappoint such a great man in so pious a vow—that venerable monk lord Windolf was judged with their unanimous consent to be suitable and likely to be advantageous for this work. And not without merit. For, on account of his continence of life and attention to piety, he was at that time head of a certain cell belonging to the same monastery (whose heads are called priors), where he had energetically presided over the brothers entrusted to him. Previously, it is reported, he had been in charge of the students and had laudably become renowned for his knowledge of letters [i.e., at Corvey]. He had also held a canonry in the priory called Heiligenstadt. But having set it aside for Christ, conquered by the love of piety, he was received at Corvey. Therefore, since he laid the foundation for perfection from the beginning, no one doubted that he would become perfect later, advancing himself day to day by developing virtues. Concerning the rest, however, for those wanting to know, it will be set forth more clearly with light and by certain tests. Therefore, the lord Windolf was promoted as abbot, and other brothers joined with him for the easing of this great labour. One of them, Ludiger, who afterwards became abbot in Reinsdorf, was appointed his prior. And he was endowed with many necessities, among them these books: an antiphonal and a gradual, a small missal book, the Rule and a Psalter. They have remained at our house until today
. In addition, the lord Abbot Markward gave him relics of Saint Vitus the Martyr and of other saints. Bidding farewell to everyone, he dismissed them, having faithfully entrusted Windolf to the safe-keeping of the lord Wiprecht. Since not a small disagreement had arisen between royal power (regnum) and the power of the priesthood (sacerdotium) at that time, such that none of the priests of that province deigned to communicate with Emperor Henry [IV], the lord Wiprecht brought his abbot with him to Archbishop Ruothard of Mainz, who was then at Erfurt, and arranged for Windolf to be elevated by the pastoral benediction through him. At the same time on the same day an abbot of that town by the name of Burchard was consecrated with him. Afterwards, having returned home with Abbot Windolf, the lord Wiprecht handed his monastery over to Windolf’s safe-keeping, so that, in that place, he might care for his own soul to Wiprecht's advantage in all things. Windolf received the place—however undeveloped, unformed and uncultivated it had been up to this time—under his care. He was nevertheless very sure that God especially would be his partner. Like some very skilled carver of a seal, assessing the timidity of his predecessor on the basis of the very poor start to all the workshops, he consigned the previous buildings to oblivion and began to construct better ones. By the industry of his own labour and also supported through everything by the generosity of the lord Wiprecht, he brought them to perfection. Indeed, having inspected the place, Windolf had unformed and marshy places levelled and the filth from briars and other squalor eradicated. He enlarged and increased everything. And in the church commended to him—again, like on a seal—he wisely carved out an image of perfect elegance that bears witness to the accomplishment of its maker still today.
Among other things, Windolf increased the number of brothers to 40 and to a number greater than that. By their daily labour, he levelled the castle of the lord Erpo (about whom we spoke above), which was heaped together by an impregnable pile of earth with entrenchments and ramparts. He made a garden there, stuffed with a diverse abundance of fruits and herbs, which frequently gladdened that same city of God. Afterwards, along the river Wyhra on the eastern side, he began to cultivate the place still called Abtsdorf after him, that is, to completely tear out trees and shrubs all around, and, with the thickness of the forests cleared, to expand the lands ready for the plough. With a church built there and with a manor abundantly endowed for the inhabitants' use, he established that it was to be for our brothers in perpetuity. By his own labour he also established a village by the name of Wolftitz next to the village of Pegau, and increased its annual render to the value of a talent. For the use of the brothers, he also rendered a certain place toward the western side of that village profitable by an annual payment of eight solidi.
The lord Wiprecht, inspecting and attentively approving Windolf's industry and his attentiveness in the place commended to him, was a most generous partner with him in all things. He charged all his men with what most had to be done. They finished it not only when he was a witness but even devotedly afterwards, as much out of love for their lord as for the remedy of their own souls, conferring on that monastery—even beyond ordinary benefits—very many estates (which we will mention in the appropriate place).
In the year of the Lord 1104. After this, the lord Wiprecht had certain uncultivated land in the diocese of Merseburg ploughed. Then, going to the regions of Franconia —where the lady Sigena, his mother, had been married in Lengenfeld (as we remember having said before )—he transferred from there very many peasants of that province. He ordered them to cultivate the aforesaid district, having completely uprooted the forest, and to possess it thereafter by hereditary right. And (if we might insert something ridiculous) anyone of them, accompanied by his small household, could even name after his own name the village or the property planted by his own labour. Therefore, when a great many villages had been established between the rivers Mulde and Wyhra, the lord Wiprecht was not yet weary of his most devout intention. But in tireless labour, striving after a work of piety, he founded another monastery on the aforesaid uncultivated land in the village, namely, of Lausick. Desiring that a cell suitable for at least six brothers be created there, he arranged for this place to be the parish church of all the neighbouring villages, and he wanted it to be subject to the monastery of Pegau. Because he was not able to accomplish this—nor should he have been—without the consent or permission of the lord Albuin and the entire clergy of Merseburg, he himself went with a humble petition to address their will concerning this. These men, great in respect to piety and devotion, rightly granted the things he asked for and desired. They decided that the things they had conceded ought to be made unalterable by the authority of the whole church; they agreed that the bishop should grant a privilege concerning the tithes of all the villages pertaining to that parish church and also of others lying in the burgward of Groitzsch, below the Wyhra and Schnauder rivers. We transcribe a copy of it here, as an example:
In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity, Albuin, by the grace of God bishop of Merseburg. Let it be known to all the faithful both future and present, how, because of the lord Wiprecht and Abbot Windolf's intervention and for the remedy of my soul, we handed over to the monastery of Pegau, established in honour of Saint James, and to its spiritual head, Windolf, the tithes of the villages, the names of which are written below, and of others, if they are yet to be established around these places: Časlavsdorf, Ottendorf, Čadorf, Münchroth, Lausick, Suoerdorf, Sulansdorf, Bělansdorf, Milansdorf, Drogisdorf, Čazindorf, Vladsdorf, Vizecká, Eberhardsdorf, Moisdorf, Sečevice, Kosovo. These are situated in the burgward of Groitzsch, in the county of Margrave Udo, between the rivers Wyhra and Schnauder. Done in the year 1105, in the twelfth indiction, on the ninth Kalends of October [23 September], in the ninth year of his ordination [as bishop], with the canons of that church consenting: vidame Hubert, dean Dietold, Walter the master of students, and the laymen Ludiger, Henry and Giselbert and very many other clerics and laymen. I, Albuin, signed with my own hand. The land is filled with the mercy of the Lord. However, if anyone, with the devil’s urging, should be an impious violator of this act, let him know that he will be damned forever by the chain of anathema.
In the year of the Lord 1106. The lord count Wiprecht saw to the favourable conditions of his monastery not only in the present but also into the future. On the advice of the lord abbot Windolf and the rest of those most loyal to him, he decreed that he was transferring that place over to the right or power of the apostolic see in perpetuity, so that it would not come to be harassed by the lordship of any secular person in the future. Hence, he sent in his place a miles by the name Luvo (a familiar of his, diligent in dealing with business and lawsuits) to Rome, to the threshold of the apostles. Luvo was to bind that monastery to the Roman liberty by faithful representation and to bring it about that the pope give a privilege concerning this same transfer. Therefore, the lord pope Paschal, the second of this name, administering the vicarship of blessed Peter, was made aware of the reasons for Luvo's journey. Supported by apostolic authority, he sanctioned the monastery of Pegau by this confirmation of the privilege and with the impression of his seal:
Bishop Paschal [II], servant of the servants of God, to the faithful throughout Saxony, greetings and apostolic blessing. A desire that is known to pertain to pious intention and the salvation of souls, with God as its author, must be fulfilled without any delay. Accordingly Wiprecht, illustrious count of the Saxon people, built for his and his men’s salvation a monastery in the diocese of Merseburg, in a place on his own property called Pegau. With the admirable miles Luvo sent in his place, he offered this monastery upon the altar of the blessed Peter and transferred it in perpetuity into the right of the apostolic see. The lord Wiprecht nevertheless made an exception of the advocacy, which he was prepared to hold himself. After him either the first born of his posterity, if indeed he should want to preside over the church justly and beneficially, should be advocate; or if, however, his posterity should fail—may God avert it!—the abbot of that place, with the sounder advice of his brothers, should choose an advocate—whomever he will want—advantageous to him and to the church. Therefore, following up his laudable desire, we sanction by the authority of the present decree the following: both the aforesaid place and everything pertaining to it shall always remain secure and undiminished under the protection of the apostolic see, to the profit of God’s servants residing there in every kind of use. Nevertheless, we also sanction that an annual payment of one gold piece shall be paid to the Lateran palace. No man is at all permitted rashly to disturb that place, or to take away or diminish its possessions, or to appropriate them for his own uses, even for seemingly pious reasons. Truly, we have decreed that burial in that place shall be entirely free, such that no one may stand in the way of those who have resolved to be buried there as an act of devotion and a final wish—unless by chance they might be excommunicates. The brothers of that place ought to receive chrism, holy oil, the consecrations of altars and basilicas, and the ordinations of monks who are to be promoted to holy orders, from the bishop in whose diocese they are—if he should have the grace and communion of the apostolic see, and if he should wish to furnish these things freely and without impropriety. Otherwise, they should receive the sacraments of consecration from whatever catholic bishop they might choose. Furthermore, no one may be put in charge as abbot there through any secret stratagem or violence, except the man the brothers by common counsel—or a part of the brothers of sounder counsel—elect, according to the Rule of Saint Benedict and the fear of God. But if anyone—and let this not be!—should want to go against this decree of ours meant to be enduring in perpetuity, let him be struck with anathema, and let him suffer the ruin of his honour and his office, unless he corrects his presumption with suitable penance. For those observing these things, on the other hand, may peace and mercy be preserved eternally by God. Amen. BY THE WORD OF THE LORD THE HEAVENS WERE MADE.
In the same year, Emperor Henry III [IV] died. In the year of the Lord 1107. In the year of the Lord 1108.
In the year of the Lord 1109. In this year, Henry, the fourth [fifth] king of this name, arranged to celebrate Christmas at Mainz. The German princes solemnly came together there from all directions, supported by a great deal of pomp. Wiprecht too was present with his sons, Wiprecht and Henry. But for them—oh the pain!—that same feast was turned into mourning. For the lady countess Judith, worthy of everyone's veneration and remembrance, died—with God piously arranging it (as we hope and wish) on account of her most generous good will towards our monastery. Ready to sing on the nativity of her Saviour, she joined with the saints in the angelic song, 'Glory in the highest to the lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.' And ready to delight in the bosom of Abraham in the resting place for the earthly amongst the heavenly, she went the way of all flesh on her patrimony called Bautzen on the sixteenth Kalends of January [17 December]. Messengers were therefore sent quickly in both directions to report her death: not only to the lord Wiprecht and their sons, but also to the princes of Bohemia, the lady Judith's brothers. Meanwhile, everyone came together in groups for her funeral. Indeed, having received such sad news through the messengers, the lord Wiprecht, with a tearful plaint about the passing of his wife, obtained permission from the emperor to return home immediately. He sent a legate ahead as soon as possible to have the body brought in the meantime to the monastery at Pegau, where Abbot Windolf received it with honour and his brothers received it solemnly with grief and chanting. The lord Wiprecht himself very swiftly followed with his men. Finally, on Wiprecht’s arrival there and with the princes of Bohemia meeting up with him simultaneously, great lamentations were made. There was a gathering of a crowd of people, who had flocked together from all directions within four days. On account of this, the body brought to Pegau remained continuously placed on top of a bier and unburied. Besides the bishop of Meissen, who had come with everything needed for the funeral rites, the lord Wiprecht invited [Bishops] Albuin of Merseburg and Walram of Zeitz, who came surrounded by ranks of clerics. They devoutly performed the funeral office with due veneration. In the end, how do such great and festive funeral rites deserve to be distinguished or delimited? What description might satisfy the reader? A short one, to be sure. For what could be said more briefly or heard more truly from us than that dirt is consigned to dirt, ashes to ashes? But without doubt they are settled in the sole hope of resurrection and rebirth; falling blessedly asleep in the Lord, they rest in peace. May God, the redeemer of our souls, who lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit (etc.), grant this peace and the grace of rebirth to our lady Judith.
But let it be known that the body does not lie in the place where the memorial made for her is visible; instead it is at the foot of the altar of the holy Cross, a spot which still remains marked by some indication. At that time, this altar was positioned in a higher place.
With these things thus accomplished, the lord Wiprecht exercised his usual generosity toward our place and donated these things specifically listed for the remedy of his wife's soul: namely her most precious cloak, extraordinarily and quite skilfully woven with gold (from which the best chasuble was made—not however of the same size, insofar as it was cut into various pieces, both advantageously and disadvantageously; also, it is well-known that its very extensive gold-embroidery was transferred to another ecclesiastical cloak). To this he also added: a chest, very large and decorated to the utmost degree both with gold and with gems and enamel; three very large crosses also ornamented with enamel, gems and gold, and with their bases silver; and a silver pitcher fit for holy water. In addition to these things: two candelabra embellished with work that is cast and Greek; the finest covering for the main altar, which they say was from his household; and the finest cloth, that on the highest feast days is placed upon the pulpit, on which the gospel is customarily read aloud. Out of all these things, some of them are not now among us; for some were spent in time of famine, and it happened that others were broken up for the purpose of buying estates.
Besides these things, while she was still living, the lady Judith had given to this church a green chasuble with gold embroidery. But also, she endowed the basilica of St. Nicholas with the material for the preparation of both the altar and the priest and with two royal mansi in the village of Borkovice for the use, that is, of the priest who should perpetually celebrate the solemnities of the Mass there.
Who indeed may set forth in words how much—not only on the thirtieth day but also beyond it—the most generous lord Wiprecht mercifully expended in giving with largesse to the sick, the poor, orphans, and widows and in liberally relieving their hunger, nakedness, poverty, and all of their needs? Who, in the end, has the means to say or to know with what a crowd and with what generosity he performed the thirty-day anniversary of his most beloved wife’s death? Since this short report of ours is able to capture nothing worthy of such a great festivity, it seems proper to leave these things to the prudence and judgment of the reader.
In the year of the Lord 1110. After this, the lord Wiprecht, having finally received consolation concerning his wife's death, considered it necessary—although reluctantly and with difficulty—to make preparations for another wife, a mother of sorts for his household. Thus he decided to marry the widow of lord Kuno, the most noble prince of Beichlingen, by the name of Kunigunde. Because she was still turning over in her mind the subject of widowhood, at first she hesitated to assent to his request. But afterwards, having considered sounder counsel with her men, since she was not then able to withstand the many powerful invaders of her estates—of which her husband had left her an abundance—she consented to the requested union of marriage, even if not out of desire but necessity. For she was gravely harassed by the insolence of the same men, by whose deceitfulness her most noble husband (who suspected nothing evil from them since they were his own men) had been secretly killed, contrary to justice and divine law; one of them was called Elger of Ilfeld, the other Christian of Rothenburg. Therefore, when he obtained her consent, the lord Wiprecht was quite cheered. Not only did he arrange his own happy union, but indeed he persuaded her to betrothe to his own eldest son, namely Wiprecht, her daughter by the name Kunigunde, the most elegant and renowned compared with her other four daughters. After he had achieved this, together as one they—that is the father with the son and both mother and daughter—performed the wedding ceremonies generously (beyond what might be able to be said now). And they betrothed the rest of the four sisters to the most noble princes of Saxony and Thuringia. Finally, the marriage pact was strengthened by this reciprocity and by an oath from the aforesaid matron that if this countess should submit to nature first, the lord Wiprecht and his heirs would obtain her patrimony.
Among the rest of her estates she held an abbey within the borders of Saxony and Thuringia called Oldisleben, which, above everything else, she commended especially to the care and lordship of the lord Wiprecht, her husband. For its resources had been greatly squandered and its piety destroyed under the direction of Lupert, the abbot of that monastery, whose impiety had already been made known to the lord Wiprecht. After he was deservedly deposed, that place was assigned to the industry of the lord abbot Windolf, so that its condition might be restored by some means, with him providing priors and useful brothers there, and with Wiprecht working together with him. After Windolf had advantageously seen to this place for a little while to the best of his ability, he finally grew weary of the double labour, because 'a mind focused on many things derives less from any one of them.' Worrying about the failure of the monastery of Pegau as a consequence of his looking after Oldisleben, it seemed more fitting that he put someone else in charge there and lighten his own labour in the process. Toward this end he got the lord Hillin at Corvey, whose industry he had put to the test already long ago, because Hillin had distinguished himself and had administered the priorship at Pegau quite vigorously. Hillin was placed at the monastery’s head; after he had presided there for many years, he died happily on the journey to Jerusalem, when King Conrad [III] was leading the army of the Christians, in the retinue of the lord Count Bernhard of Plötzkau on the second Ides of March [14 March].
In addition to these things, an increase of power—nay rather of good fortune—came to the lord Wiprecht during this same time, because a certain Vizo of Vitzenburg, a noble and very rich man joined to him by consanguinity, reached his end and left him the heir of all his estates. From some of his estates he had established a community of nuns in that same castle. After Vizo died, the lord Wiprecht allowed his venerable mother, the lady Sigena, then widowed for the second time, to rest there in holy conversation until the end of her life; he spent as much as was proper for her needs. After some time, crossing over to the Lord on the sixth Kalends of March [24 February], she was buried in the church there with two abbesses, who had presided over that place's community.
At the same time, a certain very rich matron, granddaughter of the above-mentioned Count Frederick of Lengenfeld, gave herself to the same place with her own estates worth fifteen talents. Squandering this wealth in the freehandedness of nobility, with goods for herself and with the number of her companions, she gravely offended the lord Wiprecht, whose spirit was always restrained with respect to the pious way of life. He did not long hide his punishment of this offense. Its location seemed to bring about no small opportunity for impiety, and so he thought to change not only the very order—or rather, disorder—but even the location of the place. Therefore, under threat, he ordered the aforesaid group of virgins, since they were fools, to desert the place, so that they might not disadvantageously occupy thereafter a place that those serving God might be able to inhabit advantageously. Wiprecht took advice from the lord Bishop Otto of Bamberg, whose reputation for piety and devotion had by then spread very widely: he should found a monastery along the Unstrut River, in the vicinity of that same castle, and having brought monks together there, he should confirm for them the estates of the aforesaid place. Wiprecht did not delay at all in complying; in a place called Reinsdorf, he began again to be a founder of the pious way of life. He summoned his abbot Windolf, so that some man, industrious and advantageous for the work, might be put in charge of that place. The abbot, eager to satisfy him quickly in all things, thought to put in charge of that monastery a venerable brother, the lord Ludiger, whom we mentioned above. Ludiger had been given to him as prior but had been received back again at Corvey, where he was administering the office of dean when Windolf arranged to be given him as abbot. And so Ludiger was recalled to Pegau and elected according to the Rule. Meanwhile, the lord Wiprecht sent a messenger swiftly ahead and ordered the aforesaid sisters to give up the place as soon as possible; he demanded that they depart without any hesitation and that they not presume to wait for his arrival on any account, since he himself would be following after with the abbots and brothers.
In the year of the Lord 1110. Therefore, after the younger Henry [V] had gained hold of the kingdom, he deprived the son of King Vratislav of Bohemia, by the name of Bořivoj, of his kingdom and substituted for him a certain Svatopluk by name. This greatly pained Wiprecht. He earnestly begged the king with the highest devotion that Bořivoj might be restored. Nevertheless, he was unable to obtain this, and he frequently reproached the king on account of it. The king advised Svatopluk that he should behead all the leading men who were called Vršovici, and he obeyed. In the year 1111. Next Henry V proclaimed to his men an expedition against Poland, and commanded Wiprecht to set out at the same time. Taking two thousand men, he advanced. Since Svatopluk considered the king hostile [to Wiprecht] on account of Bořivoj, he secretly had much discussion with the king concerning Wiprecht—which was not concealed from Wiprecht's industry for long. In fact, Svatopluk quite often returned from counsels of this sort in the middle of the night, passing in front of Wiprecht’s tents on the way to his own. Finally, Wiprecht arranged with a certain miles of his that he might secretly slay the unsuspecting Svatopluk as he was passing by, just as he had yesterday and the day before. The same man diligently investigated his passing and, having launched a sharp spear into him, transfixed the duke between the shoulders. At his falling, the miles fled to Wiprecht’s camp. Thereafter, a clamour arose among the Czechs. When the duke’s death became known to them, they fled headlong without delay and left the king behind in a very anxious situation. Called forth by the king, Wiprecht presented himself. The king earnestly begged Wiprecht to lead him and his men away from Poland. This he gladly promised to do, if Henry would restore Bořivoj to his paternal principate. At length, unable to oppose his request, Henry agreed (since led by necessity) and commanded that Wiprecht return that man to his paternal seat. And so the king departed Poland in haste, with Wiprecht leading the way. But the young Wiprecht, Wiprecht’s son, on his father’s order, returned Bořivoj to Prague, seat of the principate. When the king arrived in the lands of Germany, at Naumburg, he learned that the younger Wiprecht had returned Bořivoj and was still tarrying in Bohemia. He preferred Vladislav, namely the brother of Svatopluk, whom he had deceitfully raised up to the principate from below in place of his brother, without Wiprecht knowing. With Vladislav goading him and working together with him, Henry entered Bohemia and pursued the younger Wiprecht and Bořivoj, without their knowing of his deceit. When they learned of his coming and his deceit, they fled to protection. The king besieged Bořivoj in Vyšehrad and Wiprecht in Prague [Castle]. After they had resisted most vigorously for seven days, Henry finally prevailed and led them away with him as captives. He put them under guard in Hammerstein. In the Year 1112. The elder Wiprecht, when he learned what had happened, was deeply pained. He was able to redeem his son by no other agreement, until he handed over to the king the town of Leisnig and the districts of Nisen and Bautzen, together with the town of Morungen. The king immediately granted all this in benefice to Count Hoier of Mansfeld, a man most familiar to him. The younger Wiprecht, not long after his release, arrived with the king in Thuringia. There, Henry enfeoffed him with a certain castle called Eckartsberga. In the Year 1113. Consequently, the king persecuted the elder Wiprecht with a hatred now manifest. He decided to attack Groitzsch, with Vladislav bringing him help. The younger Wiprecht too, hoping to be enfeoffed with the town of Naumburg, was a help to the king against his father. The elder Wiprecht, however, gathered together certain of his most select milites in the town's fortress, with military equipment and tools. Vladislav, when he had arrived there from the king’s army, strove to capture the town with his men by a sudden attack, but he lost more than 500 of his men. The king, giving up on its capture, departed from there after eight days and enfeoffed a certain familiar of his with the town of Naumburg. And so Wiprecht [the younger] deserted him and returned to his father. In the Year 1114. Therefore, taking precautions against the king’s coming again, Wiprecht [the elder] pledged friendship with Count-palatine Siegfried of Orlamünde and with Count Ludwig of Thuringia. They came together to talk at Warnstedt to agree upon some kind of pact. Hoier, having learned of their meeting against the king, arrived unexpectedly with thirty men. Because they were too weak in arms and in the number of their milites to make a stand, Ludwig escaped by fleeing, Count-palatine Siegfried was killed, and Wiprecht, injured by many wounds and captured, was carried away and delivered into custody in Leisnig. Then, brought before the king at the court held in Würzburg, in the presence of the princes, he was condemned by all to death. Wiprecht was therefore handed over for beheading to a certain miles of Plisna, by the name Conrad. He delayed in carrying out the orders and was putting off Wiprecht's death in the field, waiting for some other, better messenger from the king. All the princes, meanwhile, suggested to the younger Wiprecht that, in order to revoke the death sentence—that is, for the redemption of his father—he, being loyal, should offer the king Groitzsch with all his father's estates. When he had done that, the king indeed gave Wiprecht his life but ordered him kept in his most fortified town of Trifels for about three years. Having learned this, the younger Wiprecht and his brother Henry joined with the Saxons against the king. On account of this, together with Count Ludwig [of Thuringia], they were judged guilty of treason. And so, while their father was placed in captivity for three years, they protected themselves and their men in the hiding places of the forests, deprived of the comforts of men, like wild animals. In the Year 1115. Meanwhile, Emperor Henry, incapable of imposing moderation on his own insolence, violently harassed all the princes of Saxony with a previously unheard-of tax imposed on everyone. Thus, after he had captured Bishop Reinhard of Halberstadt, the count-palatine of Sommerschenburg, Frederick of Arnsberg, and Rudolf of the Nordmark, he deprived each of his dignities and replaced them with others favourable to him. Like-minded men, roused by this injury, united together with Duke Lothar of Saxony, the younger Wiprecht and his brother Henry, and others equally injured by the emperor. They held many small gatherings at the same time. Finally, crowded together next to Creuzburg, they confirmed by an oath the pact they had undertaken. Setting out from there, they built the castle called Walbeck to injure the king; from it, they harassed Count Hoier by every means. The younger Wiprecht, concealing himself in a hiding place of the forest next to Gundorf, relieved his own need by frequently attacking his adversaries. Then, in the month of November, the falling leaves illuminated the forests’ shadows. Judging that the forests’ hiding places would not be at all safe for him any longer, he sent a representative to Adelgot, his cousin, then archbishop [of Magdeburg]. Wiprecht requested that Adelgot allow him to spend the winter in some fortress under his authority together with his wife Kunigunde and a few milites, for under the open sky winter would not permit him to be hidden. The bishop, feeling sympathy for his need, sent a noble man by the name of Adalbert and arranged for Wiprecht, together with his wife, a certain Suidger, another Brun, and five of his ministerials, to be put up in a town beyond the Elbe called Loburg. The prefect of this town, by the name of Přibron, was still for the most part a pagan, because beyond the Elbe in those times it was rare for a Christian to be found. As soon as this fact became known to the emperor, he summoned the archbishop to the court announced at Goslar. The archbishop did not know that he would be treated deceitfully, contrary to his own interests. [The younger] Wiprecht sent a representative from among his own men with the archbishop to court, so that if anything should be done there concerning him, he might find out through his agent. And when it was then late in the evening on the next day after that, the emperor was ready to sit with a crowd of princes and to deal with the state of the res publica. A certain familiar of the archbishop was secretly forewarned by his own nephew, who was in the king's service, that the archbishop would be surrounded by the king’s deceptions, and not only would he be deposed the next day but he would even be captured with all his men. Having learned these things, that man brought them to the attention of his lord. Without any delay, in the darkness of that very night, with his enemies unaware and horses swiftly mounted, the archbishop fled to Magdeburg with his men before midnight. Come morning, the king learned of it and bore gravely the contempt of royal majesty. Therefore, he lodged an accusation about this before the princes, by whose favour the king’s audacity was fed, and the absent archbishop was deposed. On the spot, it was also decreed that punishment be carried out against the Saxons, as men in contempt of the res publica. An expedition was announced to all his men for forty days hence, namely for the fourth Ides of February [February 10]. Meanwhile they united the king’s army at Wallhausen, while the Saxons on the other hand struggled against him to the best of their abilities. Arriving at the appointed time and at a place called Welfesholz, the battle was put off until the next day on account of the harshness of the winter and the inconvenience of the snows there. Night passed. At the time of the first rising of the dawn, during the solemnities of the Mass, Bishop Reinhard [of Halberstadt] made a speech to the people, warning them to beg for divine clemency and sufficiently assuring them that God would never be absent from those invoking his mercy in truth. After the solemnities of the Mass were completed, they steadfastly awaited the king's arrival and manfully exhorted themselves to the defence of liberty and the fatherland. Arriving, the emperor arranged his battle lines. Hoier was placed in the first group with his men. Then, ahead of everyone, he moved a little away from his men with a certain Lutolf and, adding vainglory to audacity, leaped alone from his horse and ran headlong against the Saxons, wielding his unsheathed sword in his hand. The younger Wiprecht, accompanied by two most excellent men, the brothers Conrad and Herman, approached Hoier without delay and with a strong effort hurled a spear into his chest. Lutolf immediately extracted the spear, and Hoier, roused, attacked Wiprecht with his sword; but Wiprecht's shield protected him, and the blow was brought to naught. Immediately, Wiprecht knocked Hoier down, bouncing his sword off the centre of his head. As Hoier struggled to rise, he was left exposed at the edge of his coat of mail, and Wiprecht pierced him through with his sword. Consequently, a war cry was offered up, and the wedges of both sides' armies joined together in battle. The Saxons acted manfully for themselves and their fatherland. They approached their enemies—who were struggling without hope or fear, like sheep—with such fury that twenty or thirty died from one of the Saxons. The battle was fought all day; intervening night broke it off. And so, vanquished, the king was put to flight by the Saxons, who held out all night in that same place in dread of ambush. When the victors learned the next day that the king had fled to Bavaria, they returned home. In the Year 1116. A monastery, called Neuwerk, was founded at Halle by the venerable Archbishop Adelgot of Magdeburg. Count Ludwig [of Thuringia] was released from chains. Count Erwin was made a monk. In the city of Mainz, when the citizens assembled together with Arnold, the count of the same city, the king was compelled to release [Arch]bishop Adalbert of Mainz from chains. In the Year 1117. On the third Nones of January [3 January], before sunset, there was a great earthquake. The moon, changed into blood, seemed to vanish. In Swabia a certain terrible thing happened: the earth, bubbling up as high as houses, suddenly fell away into an abyss. The air seemed to be mixed equally with fire and blood.
The younger Wiprecht earnestly asked Dedo of Krosigk,3 who sympathized with his misery, to receive him with his men into some fortress of his. But Dedo declared himself wary of the insolence of Wiprecht’s milites, so Wiprecht urged that at least a churchyard be granted to him. Dedo agreed, and after everyone in the vicinity gathered an abundance of trees and stones for him, Wiprecht built a secure refuge for himself and his men within fourteen days. And after he had violently attacked everything all around, he divided it all among his milites in benefice. Then, almost nine weeks having passed, he occupied the town of Devin through ambushes, and he plundered such a great abundance of gold and silver, clothes, horses and other things that each of his milites relieved his poverty in that place. Accordingly, having gained control of this town, he subjugated twenty-four castles around it in a short time. Then, with Archbishop Adelgot of Magdeburg bringing help and Margravine Gertrude (that is, the mother of Queen Richinza) assisting, he besieged and obtained Groitzsch with 2,000 milites. Archbishop Adelgot, together with the bishop of Halberstadt and Count-palatine Frederick, with Wiprecht too and Ludwig [of Thuringia], surrounded Naumburg by siege and laid waste to a large part of the adjacent province of Thuringia. And because the army was running to and fro all around to plunder fodder, Henry, nicknamed 'Big Head,' inflicted many misfortunes on them through ambushes. For this reason, Wiprecht and Ludwig with other of the more noble men decided to take care of plundering fodder themselves, in order to be able to lay an ambush for that man. They encountered him, and after following the fleeing man into the castle of Arnsburg, they captured him and led him to the archbishop and the others princes. Having heard this, the townsmen handed over Naumburg. Also, when the emperor learned these things, he was finally compelled then to release from captivity the elder Wiprecht and Ludwig, as well as Burchard of Meissen, in return for the release of Henry 'Big Head.' Dismissed, therefore, [the elder] Wiprecht returned to Groitzsch. But he was kept at a distance from it by the townsmen until the emperor, having sent a legate, ordered that it be restored to him. From there, [the elder] Wiprecht fell upon Leisnig with an army. But the garrison resisted him; after he had spent much labour and much time, he finally obtained it and expelled the townsmen. At the same time, he received in benefice from Archbishop Adelgot of Magdeburg a prefecture endowed with 1,000 shields and 500 talents. Therefore, with everything of his restored, he proceeded to the court announced for Worms and rendered thanks to the emperor for the recovery of his possessions. And, having promised 2,000 talents, he begged that the emperor might distinguish him with the Lusatian march. The emperor reckoned it would be safe for him to admit a man of such great strength to the company of his familiars by means of such a benefice; so he distinguished Wiprecht with the dignity he desired. And thereafter, among the rest of the princes, the emperor considered him equal both in honour and in familiarity. But before he granted Wiprecht permission to return home, the emperor presented him with an ecclesiastical cloak, dalmatic and tunic, all quite seemly; the bishop of Münster, Burchard 'the Red,' had offered these vestments to the emperor. Thus, with prosperity following him, Wiprecht returned to his own lands, distinguished by royal largesse.In the Year 1118. Pope Paschal II died; he was the first to give to the monastery of Pegau a privilege, which was procured by Wiprecht, the founder of that monastery and afterwards margrave in Lusatia. In Paschal’s place, Gelasius (who was formerly John) was appointed. Soon expelled by heretics, he reached Gaul [i.e., France] by fleeing with his men. A great council was assembled at Cologne under Cardinal Cuno [Conrad], bishop of the city of Palestrina. And there was another council under the same man in Fritzlar. The Saxons, with the citizens of the town of Mainz, violently attacked the town of Oppenheim and destroyed it; with flames consuming it from all sides, they killed almost 2,000 of each sex. The castle Kyffhausen was also ruined, destroyed completely by the great strength and fortitude of the Saxons, though not without the death of very many and wounds to countless. Emperor Henry V returned from Italy. Poppo of Henneberg died. There occurred a flood of the rivers.
In the Year 1119. Pope Gelasius II died, and in his place Calixtus, [arch]bishop of Vienne, was appointed pope by seven cardinals and by the remaining clergy, as well as by those Romans expelled with Pope Gelasius [II] who were living in exile among the Gauls, and also by all the bishops of Gaul. There was an assembly of the king and the princes of the whole kingdom at the village of Eckstein upon the banks of the river Main. A synod was celebrated by 450 bishops and abbots under Pope Calixtus in the town of Reims. In the same year, Archbishop Adelgot of Magdeburg, acceptable to both God and men, fell asleep in the Lord. Ruotger succeeded him.
In the Year 1120. All the princes of the German kingdom proclaimed that a conference was to be held at Fulda concerning the kingdom’s dissension. Having sent messengers there, the king, at Worms with the flatterers in his party, put off dealing with the matter through every trick possible, by imploring and promising. Because a few of the Saxons returned to the king and all the rest of the princes returned to their own lands, he frustrated their plan for a meeting. Duke Welf died. Frederick, count-palatine of Saxony, died. Beatrix, the widow of Poppo of Henneberg, died.
In the Year 1121. Bishop Erlung of Würzburg died. But soon, dissension arose among both the clergy and the commoners. The king’s party favoured a certain Gebhard, but the other, no less supported by the help of Duke Frederick of Swabia and also of his brother Duke Conrad, appointed Ruotger. A short time later he abandoned the bishopric, having been expelled by the bishops of Mainz, Worms and Speyer. The sun, obscured by air full of smoke and stinking, and as if turned into blood, seemed to lack the light of its usual brightness from the ninth hour of the day until the third day. In the Year 1122. At Worms two cardinals, sent by Pope Calixtus, absolved of excommunication the king and all the supporters of his party. First, however, the king himself denied under oath every heretical depravity for which he had been excommunicated and promised faith and obedience to the Catholic Church. In the Year 1123. Bishop Reinhard of Halberstadt died, and in his place Otto was appointed. Bishop Dietrich of Zeitz was killed unexpectedly, and in his place Richwin was appointed. Count Ludwig, founder of the monastery of Reinhardsbrunn, died, having been made a monk there. Margrave Henry the younger died; in his place Emperor Henry appointed two margraves, a certain very rich Wiprecht and Count Herman of Winzenburg. But Adalbert and Conrad, counts from Saxony, supported by the help of Duke Lothar and of other Saxons, expelled those men [Wiprecht and Herman]and then assailed their lands and likewise their dignities. At almost the same time, [Arch]bishop Adalbert of Mainz demanded tithes of produce from the provincials who inhabit the march of Duderstadt, and they strongly resisted. It happened that some of them were killed by milites of the bishop, others were maimed, and several were even led away as captives. For that reason, the Thuringians, agitated and fearing something similar for themselves, came together from all parts of their territory on Tretenburg hill. Soon, they prepared to break into the city of Erfurt—where the bishop was by chance then staying—with twenty milites. And they would have accomplished what they had started by their labour, if the same bishop, since he was a man well-endowed with natural genius, had not turned them back by prudent counsel.
At the same time, near Worms, spirits in the likeness of an army, horsemen and armed, appeared and were wandering about; they were confessing themselves to be the spirits of the many milites recently killed.
In the Year 1124. In the preceding passages, we recounted to the best of our ability and knowledge the most noble lineage of the lord margrave Wiprecht, founder of the monastery of Pegau. Then, we recounted as well his hard work from boyhood in strengthening mind and body. We also recounted how, enriched above others with estates and benefices acquired in both peace and war, he eventually grew powerful in this province, which is called Sorbia, and how he obtained the princely dignity and also the principality in Lusatia, as well as the main prefecture in Magdeburg. Amongst all of this, in both his foundation of and joint labour at Pegau and other monasteries, he fervently endeavoured to render satisfaction to God and the saints for the enormity of his sins. He also put divine worship before all earthly riches. Having nevertheless omitted many things for the sake of brevity, now it remains to be said how he died a blessed death. Once during the winter, Wiprecht was spending the night in the village of Halle, where he was attending to the lawsuits of the advocacy. In the still of the night, when everyone was lost in a deep sleep from safety and happiness after the day was done, the fire from the nearby hearth set alight the straw for the milites’ beds, which was scattered about negligently here and there in the evening. After the fire had grown stronger for awhile, only the prince, awakened from sleep, was roused. Unable to bear any delay—yet silently, as he was semi-nude—he got up and set about extinguishing the straw by stomping on it with the bare soles of his feet. He accomplished this with everyone else unaware and, half-burned, returned to his blanket. On account of this fire, little by little he reached a state of such weakness that he never recovered from it. Come morning, the situation became clear from the obvious signs and moved everyone to both compassion and wonder. Ordering that he be returned from there to his home at Groitzsch, he first turned aside toward his refuge, Pegau, as had always been his custom before. There, he poured out at length a prayer from the depths of his heart; then, with his men bringing him out in their arms, he withdrew immediately for town, so that the presence of his weakness might not disturb the brothers too much. There, as his sickness grew worse all winter, finally disgusted by the unfitness of the exterior man, he turned his whole self over to God, who alone cures the infirmity of the interior man, in order to redeem his life from eternal ruin. He therefore sent for the son of his sister, Archbishop Ruotger of Magdeburg, for other neighbouring bishops (Arnold of Merseburg, Richwin of Zeitz, Gotbold of Meissen ), and for his venerable abbot Windolf. He sought from them aid and counsel for the remedy of his soul. Seeing him to be in desperate circumstances, after many speeches of compassion and consolation, they began to advise him to adopt the habit of the monastic life. How willingly and devotedly Wiprecht paid attention to such counsel can better be concluded from the following: immediately, in the presence of those same bishops, with the surrender of his sword he renounced both military and all secular affairs, thoroughly hating them. On the following day, carried to Pegau, he was received with the greatest sorrow of the brothers, and having received the habit, with great contrition of spirit he made the vow of the Rule's intention before the main altar in the brothers' presence. Then he was led away in the arms of the many. Thereafter, so it is said, he strove to practice obedience with such great attentiveness that he would consent to take nothing of either food or drink, nor to be seen or visited by any of his men, not even his son, without being given permission, very much devoting himself to silence and obedience. And so, with God calling, after a few days he was released. As bishops and laymen performed the funeral rites with a large crowd—individual bishops saying mass for him on individual days—he was honourably commended to the earth and buried between his wife and son in the middle of his church. It is well known that on the same day he handed over on behalf of his soul the estate called Karlsdorf. Wiprecht passed away on the eleventh Kalends of June [22 May].