You are here

The Deeds of Wiprecht

Young Wiprecht

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.