|The Archbishops of Salzburg
|Archbishops and Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, 798-1803
|Noricum was bounded by the Danube on the north, Raetia and Vindelicia on the west, Pannonia on
the east and by Pannonia and Italy on the south, corresponding to the greater part of today's
Carinthia, Styria and part of Austria, Bavaria and Salzburg. From about 200 BC, the Noricans had
relative independence as a part of the first Celtic Kingdom in Europe, an alliance of thirteen Celtic
tribes who had conquered the native Illyrians in the land of present day Austria.
They carried on commerce with the Romans and enjoyed the status of hospitum publicum, or
friendship with Rome. When threatened by migrating German tribes in the 2nd Century BC, the
Celts called upon Rome for help, but the Roman army suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of
these tribes in 113 BC. The strong German tribes continued to move west through Gaul and posed a
serious threat to Rome by 103 BC., however the Romans defeated them in 102BC, and Roman
superiority would be established. From that point on, Noricum formed a border state of Rome, and
friendship and strong ties between the two survived through the rest of the Roman Empire's history.
In 16 BC, Noricum became a full province of Rome under the Emperor Claudius.
In the first century AD., the Noricans, even with full Latin citizenship, never had to give up their own
elected officials. Noricum was a buffer zone against the German tribes for two centuries, but by the
early fifth century, mountainous Noricum was finally conquered. Since the soil was poor in this area,
it derived its revenue from iron, which supplied northern Italia. The people here were among the
ancient world's first steel smiths, and their steel was famous throughout the Roman empire.
Gold and salt were also found in large quantities. Along with the mining industry, there was also
cattle breeding and production of perfume made from a native plant called saliunca, or wild nard,
which grew in abundance and the wine-loving Romans also encouraged wine grape cultivation.
The last representative of Roman civilization in Noricum was St. Severus around 475AD. He visited
Hallein and Salzburg (Juvavum) where he found an already established church. The abbot- bishop
St. Maximus was martyred, the bishopric abandoned, and barbarian tribes soon devastated the entire
area. It wasn't until 700AD that Christianity again made its appearance when Duke Theodore of
Bavaria, at the behest of St. Rupert, erected a church at Waldersee in honour of St. Peter, and made
Juvavum his episcopal seat. The cathedral monastery was also named St. Peter, and the convent of
Nonnberg was founded at this time.
|Above: Old Salzburg from Hartmann Schedel: Weltchronik. Nürnberg 1493
|The archbishops lacked for nothing and lived a life of pomp and luxury even during hard
times for the local population. The Cathedral and rooms at Hohensalzburg fortress (click)
|St. Boniface completed the work of St. Rupert, and placed the Diocese of Salzburg under the
Primatial See of Mainz, substituting the Benedictines for the Irish monks in St. Peter's. The
abbot-bishop Virgil was succeeded by Arno, who enjoyed the respect of Charlemagne, who, after
overthrowing the Avars, assigned him the missionary territory which included all of the land between
the Danube, the Raab, and the Drave. While Arno was at Rome attending to some business for
Charlemagne, Pope Leo III appointed him Archbishop over the bishops of Bavaria. When a dispute
concerning the delimitation of their ecclesiastical provinces broke out between Aquileia and Salzburg,
Charlemagne declared the Drave the boundary. The dignity of the archbishops as territorial
sovereigns can therefore be traced to the great Charlemagne. The oldest library in Austria was
formed when Arno, at the court of the great emperor, had manuscripts copied in 150 volumes.
|Ruprecht of Salzburg (c.660-710), Frankish founder of Salzburgis,
was a scion of a Frankish royal Merovingian family. A contemporary
of Childebert III, king of the Franks, he was a bishop of Worms until
697, at which point he became a missionary to Regensburg where he
baptized a number of nobles. After considerable success, he moved
on to Altötting and converted the locals and went on to convert a
large area of the Danube where he introduce education and social
reforms. He promoted the salt mines in the ruined Roman town of
Juvavum and renamed the place "Salzburg." He is the Catholic patron
saint of salt miners. The Salzburg Cathedral is dedicated to him.
|Festung Hohensalzburg's Nasty Sister
|The archbishops enjoyed more than one mighty castle. Burg Hohenwerfen stands high above the
Austrian town of Werfen in the Salzach valley, approximately 25 miles south of Salzburg, surrounded
by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the adjacent Tennengebirge mountain range. The fortification was
built between 1075 and 1078 during the Imperial Investiture Controversy by the order of Archbishop
Gebhard of Salzburg as a strategic bulwark atop a 509 foot high rock. Gebhard had three major
castles extended to secure the Salzburg archbishopric, but Gebhard himself was expelled in 1077 and
could not return to Salzburg until 1086, only to die at Hohenwerfen two years later.
In the following centuries, Hohenwerfen served the archbishops as a military base, a prison, a
residence and hunting retreat. The fortress was extended in the 12th century and to a lesser extent
again in the 16th century during the German Peasants' War, when in 1525 and 1526 riotous farmers
and miners moving towards Salzburg set fire to the castle, severely damaging it. After their
unsuccessful siege of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the farmers were forced to surrender and Prince
Archbishop Matthäus Lang ordered those of them he didn't have murdered to re-built the castle.
The great castle imprisoned and occasionally tortured many people, from the lowliest Protestant
farmer to various noblemen and even some of the archbishops aside from Gebhard. Archbishop
Adalbert III, arrested by his own ministeriales in 1198, Count Albert of Friesach (in 1253), the
Styrian governor Siegmund von Dietrichstein, captured by insurgent peasants in 1525, and
Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau, who died there, were among its guests.
Prince Archbishop Johann Kuen-Belasy ordered a massive re-modelling of Hohenwerfen in 1563.
Prince Archbishop Johann Jakob ordered the construction of a large, central keep for the castle in
1573. Adaptations were made to the fortress during the Thirty Years War and a gunpowder tower
was erected during the reign of Prince Archbishop Paris Lodron in 1623.