The Loyal Women of Weinsberg

In southern Germany is located a town with no more than a few thousands inhabitants: Weinsberg. Well, what to do in Weinsberg? The few recommendations on the web say the medieval castle ruins are great, and having some glasses of wine there would be worth it too. (Actually, Weinberg means vineyard in German.)

Weinsberg_Burgberg_20060905
Weinsberg: ruins among grapevines. (Photo : Peter Fischer via Rurality)

The city origins date back the Roman era, but a medieval legend got it famous: in 1140, King of Germany Konrad III laid siege to the city. It was in the hands of the House of Welf, a rival dynasty to the King’s House of Hohenstaufen. Thus, battles, clink-clink, swords and shields, and siege of Weinsberg.

In December the same year, following a failed campaign aimed at rescuing the city on the Welf side, the locals knew they had to surrender. Which they did under two conditions: first, the women shall be set free, and second, they could take whatever they wanted as long as they could carry it on their backs. The King agreed.

Finally, on December 21st, the fortress drawbridge was put down and the women of Weinsberg got out… Carrying their husbands on their backs.

csm_Weiber_von_Weinsberg_Zacharias_Dolendo_16_Jhdt_gemeinfrei_700x360_1368c88723
Engraving by Zacharias Dolendo, 16th c. (Source: baden-wuerttemberg.de)

Although Konrad’s men wanted to step in, the monarch kept his word, stating that “A King should always stand by his word.”

Today, the castle ruins are still named Weibertreu, which can be translated as “the wives’ loyalty”.

Who said chivalry is dead?

 


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