Palatinate of the Rhine




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Electorate of Mainz

Palatinate of the Rhine

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The former Celtic region was conquered by the Roman Empire under Emperor Augustus about 12 BC, whereafter it was part of the Germania Superior province.Important landmarks were erected by the Romans in the form of piles crested with a rider slaying his enemy. These landmarks probably meant to be border stones or monuments for roman generals or –emperors symbolizing the (roman-) conquest of the region. They are the predecessors of the christian statues of St. George which became widely dispersed over Europe. Probably the idea was imported from ancient Egypt or the Middle East. Both in France and in Germany the figure is called ‘Jupiter’ because it sometimes has a thunderbolt in his hand.


Jupiter Taranis’

Rider slaying a man with serpent legs

From Seltz (Alsace). Musée Historique Haguenau.


During the decay of the Empire, Alamanni tribes settled here; their territory was conquered by Francia under King Clovis I about 496. From 511 onwards the area belonged to the eastern part of Frankish Austrasia, that - as Rhenish Franconia - became part of East Francia according to the 843 Treaty of Verdun.


A palatinate, as the region was called, was a domain of the crown governed by a representative of the Frankish king and later of the Roman- and Holy Roman Emperor. The Palatinate of the Rhine is the continuation of the Palatinate of Lorraine at first settled in Aachen.

From 989 the office of Count Palatine of Lorraine was held by the Ehrenfriede family (Hermann and his son Ezzo) owning properties in Bonngau, Eifelgau, Zülpichgau and Auelgau and important guardianships of churches and monasteries on the Rhine and the Mosel. The main centres of power were the roman Castrum Bonna (Bonn) and Zülpich, and also Siegburg, Tomburg bei Rheinbach and the castles Cochem and Klotten in the valley of the Mosel. Count palatine Ezzo and his wife Mathilde founded Brauweiler monastery around 1023. The Lotharingian palatines out of the Ezzonian dynasty were important commanders of the imperial army and were often employed during internal and external conflicts (e.g. to suppress rebelling counts or dukes, to settle frontier disputes with the Hungarian and the French kingdom and to lead imperial campaigns).

After the death of Ezzo in 1043 the office of count palatine of Lorraine came to his nephew Henry. During his term of office and of his son Hermann their possessions were ceded for the main part to the church of Cologne. The successor of Hermann, Henry of Luxemburg-Gleiburg changed the name of the office of Count Palatine of Lorraine to Count Palatine of the Rhine in 1085. The Count Palatine of the Rhine has developed territorial authority mainly at the middle Rhine after 1156 when a member of the Imperial family of the Hohenstaufen was made count palatine and Heidelberg had become the centre of his power.

In the late 12th century the Counts palatine achieved the status of a Prince-elector (Kurfürst), i.e. one of the seven nobles with the privilege of electing the Emperor, confirmed by the Golden Bull of 1356. In 1214 the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach was enfeoffed with these estates, which they ruled until 1918, together with the collateral branch of Palatinate-Zweibrücken from 1410, until the re-unification with Bavaria under Elector Charles Theodore in 1777. The office of  Counts Palatine of the Rhine existed until 1806 when the Holy Roman Empire was dissoluted.

The major ecclesiastical territory in the region was the Bishopric of Speyer. The Imperial city of Landau to preserve its status joined the Alsacien Décapole in 1521. Nevertheless, it was seized by France after the Thirty Years' War.

Other larger entities of the region were the Duchy of Zweibrücken and the Prince-Bishopric of Speyer. The Prince-Bishopric also had possessions on both sides of the Rhine. For centuries, Electoral Palatinate and Bavaria had had dynastic links through the Wittelsbach family.


Counts Palatine of Lorraine and of the Rhine


Wigeric Count Palatine of Lotharingia and Count in the Bidgau

915 – before 922

Gottfried Count Palatine of Lotharingia and Count in the Jülichgau

c. 905 – after 949

From 985, the Ezzonids held the title:


Herman I Count Palatine of Lotharingia and Count in the Bonngau, the Eiffelgau, the Zülpichgau and the Auelgau

† before 996

Ezzo son of Herman I, Count in the Auelgau and the Bonngau, Count Palatine of Lotharingia from 1020, married Mathilda of Saxony, the daughter of Emperor Otto II


Otto son of Ezzo, Count Palatine of Lotharingia from 1035 to 1045, then Duke of Swabia as Otto II from 1045 until his death


Henry I son of Ezzo's brother Hezzelin I, Count Palatine of Lotharingia from 1045 to 1060


Herman II , son of Henry I, Count Palatine of Lotharingia from 1061 to 1085 (until 1064 under the guardianship of Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne), also Count in the Ruhrgau and the Zülpichgau and Count of Brabant



Herman II's widow Adelaide of Weimar-Orlamünde remarried to Henry of Laach, who inherited the County Palatine, but changed the title to Count Palatine of the Rhine [1]


Henry II of Luxemburg-Gleiberg


Count Palatine of the Rhine 1085/87-1095


After the death of the last of the Ezzones, count palatine Herman II in 1085, Henry of Luxemburg-Gleiberg, a partisan of emperor Henry IV, married his widow Adelheid of Weimar-Orlamünde (†1100), who brought him the palatinate as a dowry. This was confirmed by emperor Henry IV as a reward for his loyalty. It was also the beginning of the move of the palatinate to the south and Henry was the first calling himself Count Palatine of the Rhine. In 1090 he was the imperial regent for the emperor who was in Italy at the time.


There can not be any doubt that Henry was buried in Maria Laach Abbey, founded by him in about 1093. His tomb is in the middle of the munster now. [2]

A problem however is posed by the figure on top of the tomb which was placed there at any time. This is said to represent Henry II and consequently is called of the “Stifters Pfalzgraf Heinrich II” (of the founder count palatine Henry II). Most certainly it isn’t but who can it possibly be then?



The statue dates from the first half of the 13th century and has a model of the abbey church in his hand. [3] This model shows the chuch after the addition of the western part by abbot Albert (1195-1216) but without the narthex added by abbot Gregor (1216-‘35). On the dalmatica are medallions showing the western façade of the church encircled by a golden ring charged with litlle leaves, all on a white background. This is the emblem preceding the coat of arms of the Abbey of Maria Laach which shows: Azure, three towers Argent dimidiating the arms of the king of Germany.

We therefore opt for the opinion that the statue represents the (lay) abbot of Maria Laach, Albert.  [4]


Present achievement of Maria Laach Abbey


Siegfried von Ballenstedt

1099 - 1142

Gottfried von Calw



Henry II Jasomirgott Babenberg



There is no seal of Henry II Jasomirgott from the time he was a count palatine.


Equestrian seal, 1149-’56 


Arms: Arabesk (thunderbolt?).



Hermann von Stahleck



Konrad von Hohenstaufen




Posessions of Agnes, daughter of Emperor Henry IV, in the Worms- and Nahe districts came in the posession of Frederick I Barbarossa who gave them to his half-brother Konrad when receiving the Palatinate of the Rhine


Of Konrad there is, amongst other portraits, a good portrait in the Exultation roll of Montecassino where he is portrayed sitting on the left side of the Emperor. There is a striking resemblance of him with his half-brother because he has the same kind of beard.


Count Palatine Konrad on his throne

Miniature in the Exultation roll of Montecassino (1170-’90) [6]

Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Barb.Lat. 592, fragment 5c (detail).


Seal of Konrad von Hohenstaufen., 1163

Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart


Seal: (Very damaged) The count Palatine (standing?) with cap (?)

Legend:  X CVN ............


On a document of Count Palatine Konrad confirming the ceding of the Court of Elfing to Maulbronn Monastery in exchange for an estate in Brachheim by his predecessor Hermann von Stahleck and Louis of Württemberg. Dated Maulbronn 7 June 1157.


The Palatinate from the Hohenstaufen to the Wittelsbachs

In 1195 the Palatinate was given to the son in law of Konrad, the Welf Henry the Tall whose son Henry the Young was allowed to take the side of Frederick II after his election in 1212 to secure the Welf rule in the Palatinate. After his death in 1214 the palatinate was given to his brother in law Otto of Wittelsbach  the regency during his minority being executed until 1228 by his father Louis I.


Henry I the Tall of Brunswick 

*1173 ca - † Brunswick 28.04.1227

¥ 1. Agnes heiress of the Palatinate 1193

¥ 2. Agnes of Wettin 1211

Count Palatine of the Rhine 1195-1212

Count of Brunswick etc. 1195


Oldest son of Henry the Lion of Bavaria-Saxony


He accompanied his father in exile in England and was a hostage of emperor Henry VI in Italy in 1190/’91. He was the leader in the struggle for the remains of the possessions of the Welfs since 1191. After the division of the heritage of his father who died 6 August 1195, he became Count of Brunswick,  Northeim, Eichsfeld, Dithmarschen and Stade. He secured Ditmarschen against Danmark and occupied for a time Hamburg. He became a count palatine of the Rhine in 1195 by right of his marriage with Agnes who was the daughter of Konrad and then immediatley changed sides to the Hohenstaufen party. In 1196 his vote was decisive in the election of king Frederick II. By his marriage the office of count palatine became for once and for all a hereditary domain causing a decisive infringement of the Welfs into the Hohenstaufen positions at the middle Rhine. He was 1196 with emperor Henry VI in Italy and was 1197-’98 in Palestina which prevented him of being a candidate for kingship in the double election of 1198.

In 1212 he renounced from the palatinate to the benefit of his son Henry the Young.



At first Henry used an eagle to symbolize his office of a count palatine. Also  he used a single lion passant also used by his father. After the election of his brother Otto IV as a roman king two lions appeared for sure meaning a position independent from his office as a count palatine. When Otto IV had come into troubles and Henry had abandoned him for the Hohenstaufen party he continued the use of the two lions until his death in 1227. It was inherited by his nephew Otto the Child (†1252) together with the Welf possessions for which he was promoted to duke in 1235.


Comes Palatinus Rheni


1. Eagle

In his quality of a royal and imperial official the emblem of a count palatine became an eagle. This, at least is documented for the Counts Palatine of Saxony and Bavaria. For the Count Palatine of the Rhine the documentation is scarce


According to Seyler there was a rider with a banner with an eagle on the first seal of Henry the Tall used 1196-’97. [7] This matches with a coin with an eagle of him. 


Coin with eagle of Henry the Tall.  [8]



2. Lion

A lion was on his banner on his seal used 1199-1205. [9] This matches with another coin of him:


Coin with lion of Henry the Tall [10]


3. Eagle and Lion

Two coins of unknown origin. [11] These coins are attributed to Henry the Lion but may better be attributed to his son because there is no reason to suppose that Henry the Lion ever bore an eagle. His son however was a count and a count palatine to which the lion and the eagle fitted very well.


Coin with eagle and lion

attributed to Henry the Lion [12]

Coin with eagle and lion

attributed to Henry the Lion [13]


4. Two Lions

Dux Saxonie Comes Palatinus Rheni

On the same seal of him used 1199-1205 however, he has a shield with two lions passant. [14] This matches with several other documents related to him. The oldest of these show the lions rampant and rampant adossed.

Coin attributed to the sons of Henry the Lion [15]

Sceptre and orb supported by two lions


In the war of succession of 1198-1204 after the double election of 1198 he at first supported his brother Otto IV. In July 1203, quarreling with his brother about their heritage he joined king Philip. He was rewarded with the Imperial guardianship of Goslar. In 1209 after the murder of king Philip he supported his brother again and was rewarded with the office of Imperial Regent in Rhineland.

In this time he introduced two lions for heraldic emblem. The idea could have been borrowed from the Plantagenets who supposedly bore two lions respecting and two lions passant as a successor of the throne or regent of the realm.

A piece of silk representing two lions rampant adossed may have been given to Henry by king Philip who still had close relations with Sicily. This, in any case, meant a promotion for Henry because the two lions in that time were a badge of office for a megas dux or a megas domestikos, the highest official in Byzantine hierarchy. [16] The emblem also matches the position of Count Palatine which was somewhat higher than that of a simple count.


Fragment of silk cloth. Palermo 1200 ca.

H. 23,5 cm, B. 38 -38,5 cm.


Silk background of rose weft and blue and purple warp. Pattern in rose weft and brocade warp and purple, white and rose silk. Outlines in brown silk.

From the large pattern only half of the medallion with a circular inscription has been preserved. Within the medallion two lions rampant adossed. The inscription OPERATUM IN REGIO ERGAST(ERIO) (made in the royal workshop) repeated four times, two of them reversed. In the corners birds (eagles?) adossed.

The fragment originates from the collection of Friedrich Culemann, owner of a printing offce in Hannover who, in the 19th century, had an important collection of medieval applied art, very likely from the list of the closed down monasteries of Niedersachsen. [17]


Photo H.d.V. 2017

Fragment of a silk-cloth

Spain, 1st half of the 13th cent.. Coll. Museum Lüneburg.


This piece of cloth originates from the Johanniskirche in Lüneburg. Other fragments are in museums in Hamburg and Berlin.

The two lions addorsed have their counterparts in the silk-fragment above. The two-headed eagle may symbolize the office of Imperial Regent of the Rhineland, which, in all, make the cloth a fragment of the official dress of Henry I, the Tall and can more exactly be dated 1209-‘11.


Coat of arms with two lions rampant addorsed

In Heinrich von Veldeke’s Eneït (1170/ 1210-’20): Eneas kills Lausus in a duel

Coin attributed to the sons of Henry the Lion [18]


The two lions had evoluated to two lions passant guardant on the the arms on the bridal chest of Quedlinburg and on his seal used 1213-’27 and have remained the heraldic emblem of Brunswick ever since.


Arms: Gules, two lions passant guardant Or.


The arms of Henry the Tall

As on the bridal chest of Quedlinburg, 1208 [19]



Equestrian seal of Henry the Tall 1209 -´24

Dark bron wax hanging on a strip of parchment  Æ 8cm. StA. Wolfenbüttel 22 Urk. 41


Arms:  Two lions guardant passant

Legend: X HENRICVS • DI • GRA • DVX • SAXONIE    PALATINUS • COMES • RENI. (Seyler G. p. 246)


This seal is dated 1224 and announced: Bei diesem Siegel Pfalzgraf Heinrichs, des ältesten Sohnes Heinrichs des Löwen, handelt es sich um einen mit dessen drittem Typar ausgeprägten Siegelabdruck, das ungefähr seit 1213 in gebrauch war.


Other contemporary arms with two lions passant are the arms of the duke of Normandy, the duke of Jutland and of  the count of Hohenlohe.


Henry VI the Younger

*1196 ca-† 14.04/01.05.1214

¥ Mathilde von Brabant 1212

Count of Brunswick and Count Palatine of the Rhine 1212-1214


Henry II was a true partisan of the Hohenstaufen and consequenrly an adversary of his father and uncle  Otto IV. He supported his cousin emperor Frederick II who gave the palatinate after his death to Otto II of Wittelsbach. The regent for Otto II during his minority became his father Louis I.


After the death of Henry the Young the House of Wittelsbach was enfeoffed with the territories of the Palatinate. For this fief they maintained the title Count Palatine of the Rhine which meant a somewhat higher rank than merely a count but did not imply the office of administrator or governor of the realm. Therefore the eagle, being the badge of a royal official was abandoned and replaced by a lion.


Louis I the Kelheimer (Wittelsbach)


Regent 1214-1227


The Palatinate of the Wittelsbachs

The first counts palatine from the House of Wittelsbach were Dukes of Bavaria and considered the Palatinate only as a part, although an important part, of their possessions. Only in the debate between Rudolf II and Ruprecht I who, as the heirs of their father Rudolf I, exacted the palatinate from their uncle by the Treaty of Pavia in 1329, there grew a ‘rhenian’ family interest.


Louis I at first bore an eagle. After the murder of King Philip in 1208 he changed his arms into a fess dancetty which is supposed to have been the arms of the Scheyern-family from which he was descended. These arms are documented from 1214 until 1230 and were used in Bavaria as well as in the Palatinate of the Rhine

Equestrian seal, 1224

Arnheim, Rijksarchief Gelderland (Gelders Charters, nr. 7a. May 1224)


Arms:  [Azure] a fess dancetty [Or].



Otto II



Duke of Bavaria 1231-1253

¥ Agnes, dau of Agnes and Henry, heiress of the Palatinate. 1214


Otto II bore Sable, a lion rampant Or in Bavaria as well as in the Palatinate.


Seal of Otto II, 1230

Bayer. Hauptstaatsarchiv, Hochstift Passau. Urk. 72 [21]


Arms: Lion




Its colours are known from the Clipearius Teutonicorum (1244-’47) where is written:


vs. 20 Bavarici ducis est in nigro ferre leonem,

Gilvium sicque sui signi dare cognitionem [23]


That is: It suits the duke of Bavaria to bear a yellow lion in black to make known his arms  (= Sable a lion Or).


Louis II, the Severe


Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine 1253-1255

Duke of Upper Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine 1255-1294


In 1242 Louis II introduced the famous arms fusely Argent and Azure which are the arms of the Wittelsbach family which developed to the arms of Bavaria.

These are the arms of the Bogen family whose possessions were inherited by the Wittelsbachs in 1242. The arms fusely are on a seal of count Berthold III of Bogen dated 1209.





Seal and arms of Duke Louis II, 1247

Wiesbaden, Hessische Hauptstaatsarchiv (Urk. 22.155:1249, Aug.11)


Arms: Fusely Argent and Azure



On his later seals the arms of the Ortenburg family for the Palatinate of Bavaria being Argent, a pantel Azure were introduced.


Seal of Louis II, 1294

Æ 9,2 cm. Bayrisches Hauptstaatsarchiv (Kloster Fürstenfeld Urk. 75).


Seal: Rider in full armory,

Arms: on his shield Wittelsbach, on his horseclothes a shield with a pantel (Palatinate of Bavaria) and a shield with a lion (Palatinate of the Rhine).

Crest:  A pair of horns decorated with sticks with pending lime-leaves.



Tomb of Louis II, about 1300

Sandstone. Excavated 1912 in the northern wall of the choir of the former Augustine Abbey  Church

Coll. Kurpfälzisches Museum der Stadt Heidelberg inv. Nr. PIG 10



Louis II died 1294 in Heidelberg in the room where he was born. According to his will he was buried in Fürstenfeld Cistercian Abbey which was an establishment of his. Because the corpse had to be transported to Upper Bavaria it was boiled to separate the bones from the flesh, a custom followed when corpses had to be transported over long distances. The bones were transported to Langenfeld indeed and the flesh was buried in a small wooden casket in front of the main altar of the Augustine Church in Heidleberg. Over it a tomb was built covered with the gravestone.


The gravestone is only partly preserved, the upper part missing. At the feet of the statuette is a lion, symbol of power and resurrection. On the shield is the lion of the count Palatine. The head of the statuette may have lain on a cushion carried by angels. This may be conluded from parts of the satuette of an angel also excavated in 1912

On the left arm of the statue are the arms of Louis: [Sable] a crowned lion rampant [Or].



Å Arms of Louis II, count Palatine. On his tomb

Photo: HdV.2016

Rudolf I the Stammerer



Duke Louis II left two sons after his death in 1294. By absence of a will they were both entitled to succession. They were Rudolf, born in 1274, and Louis, born in 1283. Louis, who would later be Roman King and Emperor, could only realize his claims with the help of his mother Mechthild and her Habsburg family, his seal is documented already in 1295. Apparently soon after the death of their father two almost identical seals were made for the brothers. These differ only in minor details, the background of the seal of Louis decorated with plants, the field of the seal of Rudolf empty.


Equestrian seal of Count Palatine  Rudolf I. 1296

Æ 9 cm. Generallandesarchive Karlsruhe 43/3415

Seal: Rider in full armory,

Arms: on his shield: Wittelsbach, on his horseclothes a shield with a lion (Palatinate of the Rhine) and a shield with a pantel (Palatinate of Bavaria).

Crest:  A pair of horns decorated with sticks with pending lime-leaves.


The Seven Electors in the Codex Balduini Trevirensis 

(Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz, Bestand 1 C Nr. 1 fol. 3b)


From left to right: The archbishops of Cologne, Mayence and Treves, Count Palatine of the Rhine, the duke of Saxony, the markgrave of Brandenburg and the king of Bohemia.

The Count Palatine  of the Rhine is represented with the lion-arms Sable, a lion rampant Or, crowned Gules.


Rudolf II



Under the House Treaty of Pavia (04.08.1329), Emperor Louis IV granted the Electorate of the Palatinate including the Bavarian Upper Palatinate to the descendants of his brother Duke Rudolph, Rudolph II, Rupert I and Rupert II. Louis himself kept Upper Bavaria and inherited also Lower Bavaria in 1340. According to the treaty, the electoral rights should alternate between the Wittelsbachs of the Palatinate and of Bavaria but with the Golden Bull of 1356 only the Palatinate line was invested with the electoral dignity.


Seal of Rudolf, 22 February 1336

Coll. Heidelberg University Library [25]


After the Treaty of Pavia of 1329 the Count Palatine of the Rhine quartered the arms with the lion with the arms of Wittelsbach.


Foto H.d.V.

Rudolf II as an elector. 1330 ca

Mainzer Kurfürstenzyklus. Mainz, Mitterheinisches Landesmuseum


Arms ¼ of the Palatinate and Wittelsbach.

Crest: Lion.


Rupert I


Arch-steward 1356


From the Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV of 1356 it follows that the Counts Palatine of the Rhine were Arch-stewards (Erztruchsess). Their rights and prerogatives are minutely described in that document (Chaper 1.§11; Chapter 5; Chapter 27)


The arms of the Count Palatine and his vassals

From the Armorial de Gelre(KB. Brussel Ms. 15652-56 fol 34.)


Arms: ¼ of the Palatinate and Wittelsbach

Crest: The lion from the arms, sejant, between two trunks fusely Argent and Azure.


Leaf with the arms of Count palatine Rupert I

Konrad von Gelnhausen, Epistolae concordiae. Paris 1380/81

Cod. Pal. Lat. 592, Fol 2r.


Rupert II



Rupert III


Roman King 1400


Roman King Rupert III and his arms

On the vault of the choir of  the Collegiate Church in Neustadt a/d Weinstraße


Arms: Courtesy: ¼: 1. Roman King.; 2. Count Palatine; 3. Wittelsbach; 4. Elector.

Crest: A crown and an eagle sejant Sable.


Louis III



Arms of Louis III

On the vault of the choir of  the Collegiate Church in Neustadt a/d Weinstraße


Arms:  ¼: 1&4: Count Palatine, the lion crowned Gules; 2&3: Wittelsbach.

Crest: The lion of the arms.


Making a pair with the arms of King Rupert on the same vault.


Louis IV



There are representations of the arms of the count palatine in the Codex Bergshammar (Riksarkivet, Stockholm s.n.) 1440 ca..

N° 35: Arms: ¼ of  the Palatinate and Wittelsbach. Crest: A lion sejant Or between two trunks Sable

N° 88: Arms: ¼ of  the Palatinate and Wittelsbach. Crest: A lion sejant Or between two trunks fusely Argent and Azure

N° 3047: As n° 88 with the legend : die paelsgreve [26]


Frederick I



Page with the arms of Frederick I of the  Palatinate.

Vergil. Heidelberg, 1473/1474. Cod. Pal. Lat. 1632, Fol. 2 v.


Arms of the Count Palatine  surrounded by the arms of the electors

in a roll of arms of the  middle of the 15th cent.


On this leaf is demonstrated that the personal arms of the Count Palatine was different from his arms for his office of  elector. These were the arms of the Count Palatine until 1329.

The inscription reads: Paltsgafe by dem rin der sol des keyssers truchsess sin / ein kurfürst aller mystekeit  ann römischen hopt sein bereit.





In the Golden Bull of Charles IV, 1356, Ch. 27 is written:

........The count palatine of the Rhine shall likewise enter on horseback, having in his hands four silver dishes filled with food, of which each one shall be worth three marks; and, descending from his horse, he shall carry them and place them on the table before the emperor or king.


A silver (or golden) dish covered with another dish and a linen scarf, is made the emblem of the Arch-steward by Conrad Güneberg in his Wappenbuch (1483) on the page with the coats of arms and the emblems of four of the electors. Below this emblem are the arms of the Count Palatine: Sable, a lion rampant Or, crowned Gules, crested with the lion of the arms sejant.. [27]


The dish-emblem is represented only by Conrad Grüneberg and we may suppose that it was an invention of himself. About fifty years later an orb with a cross on top was introduced as a badge of the Arch-steward


Arms of the count palatine

by Conrad Grüneberg, 1483


Arms of the count palatine (courtesy with the arms of Bohemia),

In Cologne Cathedral,  Epiphany window, 1508


Louis V




Arms of Louis V on a bronze medal, 1526

By Hans Schwarz. Ø 44 mm


Arms: Alliance: D. Palatinate (courtesy); S. Wittelsbach. C.: Gules (Electorate)

Crest: A lion sejant (the trunks missing)



Frederick II


Knight of the Fleece n° 131, 1516


On the diet of Speyer of 1544 Emperor Charles V granted to Frederick II the right to bear the badge of his office, that is the orb,  in his arms.


“[Carolus V] diem Principi [Friderico II.] indixit, qua eum investiret; qua adueniente Princeps in praesentia omnium Electorum in verba eius solenniter iuravit. Ut autem Imperator de nova dignitate ei gratificaretur, potissimum quia non solet libenter aurum argentumve, vel quid pretiosi, dare, ad illum inquit: “Friderice, volo, quod non meum est, nec habeo, tibi dare. Dono mundum, quem insculptum tu et posteritas tua, Electores, in signis vestris deferatis, quemadmodum vobis antiquo iure, et a prima Electorum institutione solennibus curiae imperialis festis, manu gestare competis “Pomum est cum crucis signo, quod ab eo die Elector suis signis in medio rubri scuti insculpi fecit, et nunc gestat” [28]


The grant dated Speyer 5 May 1544 reads:


“nachdem in dem Römischen Reiche auch sonst gemainlich in allen landen khund und offenbar ist, welcher massen vom ursprung und anfang des stammen und namen der erleuchten Pfalntzgrauen bey Rhein die eere und würden der Chur und Ertzdruchsassen ambt sambt andern mher herlichkaiten vnd freyhaiten auch ain wohlgezierdt wappen under anderm ain rotten schildt, der die Chur bedeuten thut, loblichen und wol herbracht, von wellichs eerlichen hohen ambts wegen inen den Pfalntzgrauen bey Rhein die des hailigen Romischen Reichs Ertzdruchsass und Churfursten sein geburt, wan und so offt ain kaiserlkicher oder konig hofe gehalten wirdet, da kaiser oder konig in iren maiesteten sitzen, geen oder steen, in sachen, da man die kaisserliche und konigliche gezierde, cron klaiding und clainat gebrauchen thut, das loblichst und furnemest kaiserlich vnd königlich cleynat des guldin apffels mit ainem aufgesetzten guldin creutzlin, dabey die gantz welt zu versteen, zu halten und tragen zustedt ...  Haben wir erwogen, dass umb merer ansehens unser und unserer nachkommen, der kaiserlichen und königlichen hochait und preeminentz, auch fürnemblich dess willen, dieweill die andern unser und des Reichs weltliche churfürsten ir yeder das kaiserlich und koniglich claynat, so seinem churfürstlichen ambt zugeaignet ist, in iren wappen inverleibt haben vnd furen, dass dergleichen die Pfalntzgrauen bey Rheyn, so des hailigen Romischen Reichs ertzdruchsses und churfürsten sein, das zaichen des guldin apfels mit dem creutzlin vorgemelt in dem rotten schild billich auch haben und furen.” [29]


Achievement of Frederick II after 1544[30]


Arms: ¼ Palatinate and Wittelsbach. In nombril point: Arch steward

Crown:  Electors’ cap

Crest:   D.: A crowned lion sejant between two trunks of Wittelsbach decorated with sticks bearing lime leaves. S.: A crowned lion sejant Or between two wings os Wittelsbach

Order: Of the Fleece.

S.: Supporters: Two Lions.


Arms of Frederick II, Heidelberg Castle.


Arms: Alliance: D. : Palatinate (courtesy); S.: Bavaria; C.: Arch-Steward:

Crest: A  lion sejant guardant

Order: around C.:  Of the Fleece.


Stall plate of Frederick II, 1559

 St. Baaf Cathedral, Gent inv. n°. 433


Arms: ¼ Palatinate and Wittelsbach; in nombril point: Arch-steward

Crown: 14 pearls and a leaf.

Order: Of the Fleece


NB. At each chapter the stall plates of the members deceased were presented, their arms however without their crests.


Otto Henry




Arms of Ottheinrich on a silver medal, 1558

By Dietrich Schro (Master of the Ottheinrichgroup) Ø ca. 45mm


Arms: Alliance: D. : Palatinate (courtesy); S.: Bavaria; C.: Arch-steward

Crest: D.: A crowned lion sejant between two trunks; S. A crowned lion sejant between two wings; C.: A  lion sejant guardant




From: A bibliographical antiquarian and picturesque tour in France and Germany. By the reverend Thomas Frognall Dibdin, d.d. member of the Royal Academy at Rouen, and of the Academy of Utrecht. Second edition. Volume III.  DEI OMNIA PLENA. London: published by Robert Jennings, and John Major. 1829.




Frederick III 



Arms of Frederick III and his wife Mary of Brandenburg-Kulmbach [31]


Arms: Alliance: D. ¼ Palatinate and Wittelsbach, in nombil point: elector arch-steward; S. ¼ Brandenburg, Pomerania, Neurenberg, Hohenzollern, in nombril point  elector arch-chamberlain.


Louis VI



Achievement of Louis VI by Jost Amman 1579 [32]


Arms: Alliance: D. : Palatinate; S.: Wittelsbach; C.: Arch-steward

Crest: A  lion sejant guardant between two trunks of Wittelsbach

Supporters: Two lions


Frederick IV



Heraldic emblem in three categories of Frederick IV:


On a taler of him, 1608


Arms of Frederick IV

In: Stammbuch Kurfürst Friedrich IV. von der Pfalz. Univ. Bibl. Heidelberg  Cod. Pal. germ. 601 fol. 6


On a gulden of him, 1610


Frederick V Casimir




KG nr. 408, 1612

¥ Elizabeth Stuart 1613

King of Bohemia 1619-1620

Loss of the electorate and of the office of Arch-steward 1622


Achievement of Frederick V Casimir and his wife Elizabeth Stuart

By Simon van de Passe, 1604 – ‘47 (Coll. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)



Arms: Alliance:

D: (Courtesy) ¼ Palatinate and Wittelsbach, in nombril point arch-steward. Order: Of the Garter.

S.: ¼: 1&4: ¼ of France and England; 2. Scotland; 3. Ireland.

Crest: Crowned lion sejant Or between two trunks of Wittelsbach

Supporters: Two Lions

Motto: SUPERATA TELLUS SYDERA DONAT (Earth Overcome, Grants you the Stars). [33]


Arms as a king of Bohemia

On an engraving


Arms: 1|2 of Bohemia and the Palatinate; 1|4: of Moravia, Silesia, Upper Lusatia and Lower Lusatia.

Crown: A royal Crown

Order: Of the Garter


Achievement of Frederick V as a king of Bohemia and his signature

In the album amicorum of the The Hague Burgomaster Quirijn van der Maes, 1631

K.B. Den Haag


Arms: 1/6: 1. Bohemia; 2. Palatinate; 3. Moravia; 4. Silesia; 5. Upper Lusatia; 6. Lower Lusatia

Crown: A royal crown

Order: The strap of the Garter

Supporters: Two lions royally crowned


Bavarian Occupation


Maximilian I of Bavaria       



Frederick was put under the ban of the Empire in 1623 and his territories and his Electorate were transferred to the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I of a distantly related branch of the House of Wittelsbach. Although technically Elector Palatine, Maximilian was known as the Elector of Bavaria. From 1648 he ruled in Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate alone, but retained all his Electoral dignities and the seniority of the Palatinate Electorate.



By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Frederick V's son, Charles Louis was restored to the Lower Palatinate, and given a new electoral title, also called "Elector Palatine", but lower in precedence than the other electorates.


Charles I Louis



KG nr 432, 1633

New electorate created in 1649


After the office of arch-steward had been transferred in the 30-years war to the dukes of Bavaria, the counts palatine received at the Peace of Westfalia (1648) together with an eighth electorate, the office of Arch-treasurer with the Imperial crown as its badge on a red field. The office was held until 1706 when the Counts Palatine were restored in their office of Arch-steward and the office of Arch-treasurer was transferred to the dukes of Brunswick-Luneburg.


Achievement of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine,

by the grace of God, Count  Palatine of the Rhine,

Archtreasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, Duke of Bavaria.

On his portrait by Anselm van Hulle (1601–after 1674) (Coll. Peace Palace Library).



Arms: Alliance: D. Palatinate; S. Wittelsbach; C. Elector. Supported by a helmeted lion crested with the lion from the arms.

Order: The strap of the Order of the Garter

Supporters: Two lions, the dexter one keeping the Imperial Crown, the sinister one holdingg a sword.


Charles II



Achievement of Charles II

Along the footpath to Heidelberg Castle




Philip William


Knigh of the Fleece n° 435, 1653



Achievement of Philip William

Stenglin, Christoph: Fortifikation - BSB Cgm 3702 [Cgm 3702], [S.l.] 18. Jh. [34]


Arms of Philip William in Neuburg Castle


Arms: 1/8:  1. Wittelsbach, 2. Julich, 3. Kleve; 4. Berg; 5. Veldenz; 6. Mark; 7. Ravensberg; 8. Mörs. In nombril point: Palatinate.

Crown: Ducal hat

Order: Of the Fleece


John Francis



Knight of the Fleece n° 536, 1686


Arms of John Francis until 1706

On a portrait of his successor Charles III Philipp by C.H Müller & J.M.Diehl


Arms: 1/9: 1. Palatinate, 2. Wittelsbach, 3. Julich, 4. Kleve; 5. Berg; 6. Veldenz; 7. Mark; 8. Ravensberg; 9. Mörs. In nombril point: Elector arch-treasurer: Gules, the Imperial Crown Or

Crown: Ducal hat


Arms of John Francis [35]


Arms: 1/9: 1. Palatinate, 2. Wittelsbach, 3. Julich, 4. Kleve; 5. Berg; 6. Veldenz; 7. Mark; 8. Ravensberg; 9. Mörs. In nombril point: Elector arch-treasurer

Crest: Alternating: 1. Palatinate; 2. Jülich; 3. Kleve; 4. Wittelsbach; 5. Berg.


Some of the few representations with the arms with the Imperial Crown for the Elector Arch-treasurer (1648-1706).


Photo H.d.V. May 2016

Arms of John William of the Palatinate-Neuburg 1701/’03

On the town hall of Heidelberg


Arms: 1/9:  1. Palatinate; 2. Wittelsbach; 3. Jülich, 4. Kleve; 5. Berg; 6. Veldenz; 7. Mark; 8. Ravensberg; 9. Mörs. In nombril point: Gules.

Crest: Alternating: 1. Palatinate; 2. Jülich; 3. Kleve; 4. Wittelsbach; 5. Berg.

Order: Of the Fleece


In 1706 the Count Palatine of the Rhine was restored in the office of arch-steward because Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria had taken the side of Philip V in the War of Spanish Succession and had been dismissed from the electorate. In 1714, at the Peace of Rastatt the Bavarian duke was restored as an elector and for that reason claimed the office of arch-steward. The negotiations with Bavaria about the office of arch-steward and with Hannover about the office of arch treasurer ended with the Treaty of the House of Wittelsbach in 1726.  The dissatisfatcion about who was rightly entitled to the office came to an end when count palatine Charles IV Theodore inherited Bavaria in 1777. 


Arms of John William, 1713


Arms: Alliance: D.: ¼ Wittelsbach, Julich, Kleve, Berg, in nombril point Palatinate S.: ¼ 1. Mòrs, Veldenz, Mark, Ravensberg. C.: Arch steward.

Crown: An electors´cap

Orders: Of St Hubertus, of the Fleece.




Charles III Philip


Knight of the Fleece n° 580, 1694


Arms of Charles III Philip

From the old town hall in Lengfeld, 1717






Charles IV Theodore



Kight of the Fleece n° 814, 1778


Achievement of Charles IV Theodore

Above the gate of  the electoral stable 1750-‘60


Arms: 1/10:: 1. Palatinate; 2. Wittelsbach; 3. Jülich; 4. Kleve; 5. Berg; 6. Mörs; 7. Bergen op Zoom; 8. Veldenz; 9. Mark; 10. Ravensberg. In nombril point Gules for the electorate.

Crown: An electoral cap.

Order: Of St. Hubertus

Supporters: Two lions

Compartment: Armaments and banners


Arms of Charles IV Theodor

On the Karlstor in Neckargemünd, 1788


Arms of Charles IV Theodor

On the Old Bridge in Heidelberg, 1788


Arms: 1/9: 1. Kleve; 2. Jülich; 3. Berg; 4. Mörs; 5. Bergen op Zoom; 6. Mark; 7. Veldenz; 8. Sponheim  9. Ravensberg. In nombril point: ¼ of the Palatinate and Wittelsbach charged with an escutcheon of the Elector arch-steward: Gules, an orb Or.

Crown: An electoral cap

Order: Of the Fleece, of St. Hubertus, St. Georg and of the Lion of the Palatinate.


Smaller arms with crown and garland


French rule


In 1794, the Left Bank of the Rhine, including the Palatinate, was occupied by French revolutionary troops. As a result of the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797) the First French Republic annexed the region and introduced a new administrative system in 1798 with the establishment of departments. Basically, the area of the Palatinate became the Département of Mont Tonnerre laying the corner stone for today's regional idendity. Minor parts of today's region belonged to the neighbouring departements of Sarre and Bas-Rhin. The French further subdivided the department into cantons, mayoralties and municipalities and introduced their legal system (Napoleonic Code).


Seal of the Département Mont Tonnerre

representing Liberty within a legend

On an undated envelope


Bavarian rule


Following the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 and the capture of the Left Bank of the Rhine by the Allies in January 1814, from 2 February 1814 the region was initially under the provisional authority of the General Government of the Middle Rhine, but, from 16 June that same year, it was placed under the administration of the Imperial-Royal ("k.k.") Austrian and Royal Bavarian Joint Land Administration Commission (k.k. östreichischen und k. bairischen gemeinschaftliche Landes-Administrations-Kommission).

In the main treaty agreed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and dated 9 June 1815, Article 51 stated that (inter alia) on the Left Bank of the Rhine the former departements of the Sarre and Mont Tonnerre, except where stated in the same treaty, were to go "with full sovereignty" and ownership rights under the overlordship of the Emperor of Austria (Herrschaft Sr. Maj. des Kaisers von Oesterreich). The joint Austro-Bavarian administration was initially retained, however.

On 14 April 1816, a treaty was signed between Austria and Bavaria, in which the various territorial changes were agreed. According to Article 2 of the treaty, Emperor Francis I of Austria ceded various regions to King Maximilian I of Bavaria. These included, in addition to various regions east of the Rhine, the following regions west of the Rhine:

In the Departement of Mont Tonnerre (Donnersberg):

the districts of Zweibrücken, Kaiserslautern and Speier; the latter with the exception of the cantons of Worms and Pfeddersheim;

the canton of Kirchheim-Bolanden, in districts of Alzei.

In the Sarre Departement:

the cantons of Waldmohr, Blieskastel and Kusel, the latter with the exception of several villages on the road from St. Wendel to Baumholder, which were to be compensated, by another territorial transfer, with the agreement of the assembled plenipotentiaries of the allied powers at Frankfurt.

In the Departement of Bas Rhin:

the canton, town and fortress of Landau, the latter as a federal fortress in accordance with the regulations of 3 November 1815;

the cantons of Bergzabern. Langenkandel and the whole part of the Departement of Bas Rhin on the left bank of the Lauter, which had been ceded in the Paris Tractat of 20 November 1815.

The effective date for these changes was stated as 1 May 1816.


In 1837 the Rheinkreis was renamed Pfalz. The name Rheinpfalz was also common. Often the name Rheinbayern, Bayrische Pfalz or Bayern jenseits des Rheins (Bavaria beyond the Rhine) was used. The region, without the the present Saarpfalz-Kreis which was separated in 1920, remained bavarian until the creation of Rheinland-Pfalz on 30 August 1946.


Until the end of the monarchy the arms with the lion were covered with the royal bavarian crown.


Arms of Kreis Rheinpfalz

By Kaffee Hag 1930 ca


In the head of this article the arms of Rheinpfalz by Otto Hupp, 1928




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 © Hubert de Vries 2016-06-06. Updated 2017-01-06




[1] From wikipedia

[2] P. Basilius Sandner OSB:  Das Laacher Stiftergrab (internet)

[3] Such a chain closing the mantle can also be seen on the statue of King Henry IV in Bamberg, the so-called Bamberger Reiter.  Æ http://www.hubert-herald.nl/Deu1220HenryVII.htm

[4] Further study: Germania Sacra. Historisch-statistische Beschreibung der Kirchen des Alten Reiches. Herausgegeben vom Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte. Redaktion Irene Crusius. Neue Folge 31. Die Bistümer der Kirchenprovinz Trier. Das Erzbistum Trier. 7. Die Benediktinerabtei Laach. 1993 Walter de Gruyter, Berlin. New York. Äbte

[5] Mitis, O. von & Franz Gall: Urkundenbuch zur Geschichte der Babenberger in Oesterreich. Bd. III: Die Siegel. Wien, 1954. n° 11.

[6] Die Zeit der Staufer, Stuttgart 1977. N°31

[7] Seyler G.: Geschichte der Heraldik. Nürnbeg, 1885-’89,  p. 246

[8] Die Zeit der Staufer op. cit.:  196.15 Pfalzgf. Heinrich V. 1195-1211/ Buchenau 14a / 0,79 g wlms mk 1969/1374 Abb. 116.11 /Heraldischer Adler in zwei Perlkreisen; am Rand zusammenhanglose Buchstaben.

[9] Seyler, G. op.cit. p. 246

[10] Die Zeit der Staufer op. cit.: Münzstatte Heidelberg / 196.16 Pfalzgf. Heinrich V. 1195-1211 /Buchenau 14b /0,72 g wlms mk 1969/1375 Abb. 116.12 /Stehender, nach links gerichteter, leopardisierter Löwe in Perlkreisen; am Rand zusammenhang-lose Buchstaben.

[11] Die Zeit der Staufer op. cit.  Abb. 111.12. & 111.13

[12] Die Zeit der Staufer op cit. 190.17 HZ Heinrich (d.Löwe? 1142-’80)  / Archiv II 52 0.75 g wlms mk 1969/2863 Abb. 111.12. / A low vault between two towers, in chief an eagle and in base a lion passant. Legend:: SATIANO VIOVDAS

[13] Die Zeit der Staufer op cit. 190.18 HZ Heinrich (d.Löwe? 1142-’80)  / Freckl. 91a 0.89 g kmh Tewes 1262 Abb. 111.13 / A low vault between two towers, in chief an eagle and in base a lions’mask: Legend: S. NIMO ORIIVDPA.

[14] Seyler, G. op.cit. p. 246

[15] Die Zeit der Staufer op. cit.:  189.83 Söhne Heinrichs d. Löwen. Fiala I Taf. II, 6 / 0,72 g. kmh 1947, 12 Abb. 110.15 / Unter einer von Türmen besetzten Bogenarchitektur zwei symmetrisch zu seiten eines Kreuzstabes aufsteigende Löwen. /Münzstatte Braunschweich

[16] Æ See: The Sicilian Coronation Mantle: The Lions.

[17] Die Zeit der Staufer op. cit. N° 780, Abb. 571. + Lit Compare also: Tissu au nom du sultan Allah al-Dîn Kaykobad. Lyon Musée des Tissus Inv. n° 23475. And the portrait of Grand admiral Apocaucos (ca 1342) in the Manuscrit d’Hippocrate cod. gr. 2144, Paris. Bibl. Nationale.

[18] Die Zeit der Staufer op. cit.:  189.84 Söhne Heinrichs d. Löwen. Fiala II, 54 / 0.59 g. kmh 1924, 105 Abb. 110.16 / Unter einer Bogen-verzierten und Fahnenbesteckten Dopplearkade zwei liegende, leopardisierte Löwen. Umschrift verstummelt aus : brvnswick heinricvs leo. Münzstatte Braunschweich. In fact there are two lions supporting a staff and a square cross on these two coins.  These may be interpreted as a sceptre and an orb and supported by lions as the achievement of the King of Rome (!). The achievement is within a building with two towers resembling the building on the golden seals of Henry IV, Otto IV and Frederick II. More interpretations may be possible.

[19] Schwineköper, B.: Eine unbekannte heraldische Quelle zur Geschichte Kaiser Ottos IV. und seine Anhänger. In: Festschrift für H. Heimpel zum 70. Geburtstag am 19. Sept. 1971. II, Göttingen 1972. Pp. 959-1022. Also: Kruppa, Nathalie: Neue Gedanken zum Quedlinburger Wappenkästchen. (2001) https://cma.gbv.de/dr,cma,004,2001,a,06.pdf

[20] Glaser, Hubert (ed.): Wittelsbach und Bayern. Katalog der Ausstellung auf der Burg Trausnitz in Landshut 1980 Nr. 114; Also: Seyler, Gustav A.: Geschichte der Heraldik. [Wappenwesen, Wappenkunst, Wappenwissen­schaft]. J. Siebmacher's grosses Wappenbuch Band A. Nürnberg 1885-1889nr 245 dd. 1224).

[21] Die Pfalzgrafen bei Rhein und Herzoge von Bayern, Ludwig I. und Otto II., beurkunden am 22. Februar 1230, daß der Bischof von Passau dem Grafen Albert von Bogen einen Teil der Grafschaft Windberg zu Lehen gegeben habe.

[22]. Glaser, op.cit 1980 N° 115

[23] Ganz, P.: Geschichte der heraldischen Kunst in der Schweiz im 12. und 13. Jahrh. Frauenfeld 1899. P. 176-177

[24] Glaser, op.cit. 1980 N°324

[25] http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/lehm42/0005

[26] Raneke, Jan: Bergshammar Vapenboken - En Medeltidsheraldisk Studie. Lund, 1975.

[27] http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/-db/bsb00035320/images/indexhtml? P. 28.

[28] Hubert Thomas Leodius: Leodii Annales de vita et rebus gestis Friderici II. Elect Palat. P. 259

[29] A. Lamey, de isignium Palatinorum origine (part) P. 418. This section cited by: Seyler, Gustav A.: op.cit. 1885. P. 437

[30] Hund, Wigelaus: Beschreibung Etlicher Adelicher ... Geschlechter, n.d.. In: Der Deutsche Herold, 1882 pp. 18 & 23

[31] 17th cent. copy of the Rüxnerschen Turnierbuch.

[32] Amman, Jos:t: Stamm und Wappenbuch. Frankfurt a/Main, 1579 & 1589. Neu herausgegeben und geordnet von Friedrich Warnecke. Görlitz 1877. Berlin, J.A. Star­gardt. Id. Liebhaber Bibliothek alter Illustratoren in Facsimile Reproduction. Hirth, G.: Meister Holzschnitte aus vier Jahrhunderten.

[33] Boethius Consolation of Philosophy, VI. vs. 34-35

[34] Digitalisierung gefördert durch die Deutsche Forschungsgemeenschaft

[35] From: Weigel: Durchlauchtigten Welt neu-vermehrter und verbesserter Curieuser Geschichts- und Geschlechts- und Wappen-Calender auf das Jahr nach der Heil-bringenden Geburt Jesu Christi um 1725) Verlag: Christoph Weigel, Nürnberg, 1725