Intrigued by the mystery of the trunk's contents, we eagerly purchased it and took it back to our home. As we dusted off the years of neglect, a treasure lay hidden within its depths – an ancient tome titled "Dragons of Antiquity and Medieval Europe and their Legends." The pages of this remarkable book were filled with tales and descriptions of dragons that had once roamed the European continent, shaping history, and leaving behind enigmatic legends.
Our curiosity led us to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of history and lore, and the evidence we uncovered was nothing short of astonishing. The more we researched, the more compelling the case became, and soon, we began to wonder, could it be possible that these magnificent creatures, these dragons of old, were more than mere myth? Could they have existed and played a significant role in shaping our world?
Our quest for answers became an all-encompassing passion. We embarked on a journey into the heart of Swabia, tracing the footsteps of the Counts of Württemberg, exploring the castle lands, and unraveling the intricate web of history intertwined with these mythical beings.
As a family of four, we've devoted ourselves to unearthing the forgotten stories of European dragons and the remarkable men and women who harnessed their power. We've crisscrossed Europe, seeking out the hidden clues, and are excited to share our discoveries with you. Together, we'll unlock the secrets of ancient dragons and reveal the profound impact they may have had on the world we know today.
Join us on this extraordinary adventure into the realms of history, legend, and the unknown. Together, we'll explore the DragonQuest, and who knows what wonders and revelations lie ahead.
The Helfenstein family's rise to prominence under the Hohenstauffen Emperors is described. However, their fortunes take a downturn after the fall of the Hohenstaufens, leading to debt and the loss of their lands and castles.
Around the year 1200, Eberhard II, a younger member of the family, marries the daughter of Count Ludwig IV of Spitzenberg, an area to the north. After the last living Spitzenberg passes away in 1226, all the lands of the Helfenstein and Spitzenberg families are merged under Ludwig (Lewis) I of Helfenstein.
Ludwig I is depicted as an ambitious leader who took part in the third crusade under Frederick Barbarossa. Following a minor injury during sparring practice in Bulgaria in 1188, Ludwig is said to have received care at a pagan church from a Zirnitra, or Dragon Wizard, named Dusan. Dusan worships the pagan god Kresnik, associated with rebirth and awakening from a mountain cavern. Ludwig's journal entries become sparse after this encounter, and military chronicles show his return to the crusade in 1191.
As the Count of Helfenstein, Ludwig I embarks on a 25-year period of rapid and ruthless territorial expansion. The texts suggests that the Helfenstein family possessed a female dragon named Pozar Daha, referred to as the "Fire Lady," and utilized her to safeguard their wealth and expand their lands.
Research alludes to the tumultuous times in southern Germany, particularly Swabia, following the collapse of the House of Hohenstauffen in 1268. During the Interregnum, nobles engaged in prolonged conflicts, with Pozar Daha being involved in an aerial battle against Vu-tha-ver-thi-cha, known as the Black Mountain, as the Counts of Württemberg pursued power in the region.
Here, we delve into the history of the Lords of Gundelfingen, the strategic Count Eberhard I of Württemberg, and their quest for justice and vengeance in a world where dragons soar and medieval power struggles are the backdrop.
The Lords of Gundelfingen played a crucial role in the conflict between King Rudolf of Habsburg and Count Eberhard I of Württemberg during their alliance with Count Ulrich I of Württemberg at the Battle of Hausbergen in 1262. This battle and the events leading up to it shaped their early history and formed their alliance with the Counts of Habsburg and Württemberg.
During the Interregnum, a period marked by the absence of a Holy Roman Emperor, the Lords of Gundelfingen joined forces with the Habsburgs and Württembergs to strengthen their influence in Swabia and Austria. They prospered during this tumultuous time, amassing significant land and castles.
However, when Rudolf Habsburg became King in 1273, he betrayed Count Ulrich I and Eberhard I, ordering the return of lands and properties acquired during their partnership, including those of the Lords of Gundelfingen. Count Ulrich II, unable to resist the king's orders, passed away, and Eberhard I, just 11 years old, inherited the title of Count of Württemberg.
Under the cunning regency of Count Hartmann I of Grüningen, Eberhard was advised to continue surrendering Württemberg's lands and properties while protecting the regent's own interests. However, Eberhard uncovered Hartmann's deceit and imprisoned him.
Eberhard I, an intelligent and strategic leader, plotted revenge against King Rudolf, who believed him to be a loyal subject. After Rudolf's death in 1291, Eberhard seized the opportunity to reclaim his lost land, coming to the aid of the Lords of Gundelfingen, his loyal allies.
We explore the construction and sale of the Lords of Gundelfingen's castle, which was sold to the Habsburg family at a fraction of its true value after Rudolf's confiscation order.
With Eberhard I as an accomplished dragon rider and assisted by Swigger VI "the long," they hatched a daring plan to regain their lost properties. Eberhard, riding the Black Mountain, and his sister, Irmengard, on Druke, the Clever, embarked on a mission to reclaim their castle.
Eberhard's parlay attempt at the castle turned into a breathtaking display of dragon might. The Castellan's disbelief in dragons sealed his fate, and Eberhard and the Black Mountain reclaimed the castle in a powerful demonstration of dragon fury.
Join us to immerse yourself in this gripping saga of betrayal, vengeance, and the might of dragon riders. Discover the rise and fall of the Lords of Gundelfingen, their alliance with the cunning Count Eberhard I, and the awe-inspiring tale of their quest for justice.
In the wake of our unexpected visit to Rotteln Castle, an astonishing revelation awaited us. Amidst the castle's historic stones and stories, we unearthed compelling evidence of a formidable dragon, a creature known as Vuthaverthicha, or The Black Mountain. This dragon was no ordinary beast; it was a colossal, fire-breathing behemoth, equipped with enormous wings and razor-sharp claws on each of its four feet.
But the story doesn't revolve solely around the dragon; it's intertwined with the intricate history of the Geroldseck family. These noble lords were deeply entrenched in the mining of ores, especially the precious metal, silver.
The stage was set in 1260 when Walter of Geroldseck ascended to the position of Bishop of Strasbourg. His brother, Hermann, secured a bailiwick within the region. However, their ambitions led to conflict, particularly with the towns of Basel and Strasbourg. The turning point arrived in 1262, culminating in the Battle of Hausbergen.
As the clash unfolded, the exact strength of the Strasbourger militia remains shrouded in mystery, but it's known to have included 300 crossbowmen and a limited number of cavalry. Bishop Geroldseck, on the other hand, led a formidable force of over 300 horsemen and at least 5,000 infantry.
The odds appeared insurmountable, and it seemed that the Strasbourger militia would be swiftly overcome. Yet, a group armed with spears and axes summoned immense courage to advance and confront the knights' mounted forces.
In a desperate attempt to stave off the advancing infantry, 300 Strasbourg crossbowmen took positions at the flank of the battle, relentlessly firing at the bishop's oncoming troops. The relentless volley of arrows failed to deter the infantry's advance, and the cavalry continued to fight valiantly.
The question loomed: How did this small group summon such unwavering courage? Did they know something the others did not? The answer arrived as suddenly as the sun disappeared behind a dark veil. Flames erupted from the sky, engulfing the battlefield in fire, setting the grass ablaze. In the midst of this inferno, men from both sides frantically retreated, their formations broken.
Later, when the Strasbourger militia returned to the scene to recover their dead, a chilling sight awaited them. They discovered charred and burned corpses of men and horses, with hundreds dead and scores severely burned but still alive. The survivors could only describe the scene as a field of fire that consumed them, surrounded by smoke and darkness, and accompanied by winds akin to a tempest.
Some among them believed it was none other than Count Ulrich I, riding atop The Black Mountain, who had unleashed this cataclysmic display of fire and fury.
Following this awe-inspiring battle, the City of Strasbourg emerged as a free imperial city, no longer under the yoke of the Bishopric of Strasbourg. The use of a dragon in this conflict aligned seamlessly with the Wurttembergs' relentless pursuit of land and power, as they sought to rule the Duchy of Swabia. The legend of The Black Mountain would forever be etched into the annals of history, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of Swabia.