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Neuss in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Northwestern Germany, is located on the west bank of the Rhein river opposing Düsseldorf. It is known for its historic Roman sites, as well as the annual Neusser Bürger-Schützenfest, a fun fair. Neuss and Trier share the title of “Germany’s oldest city” – in 1984, Neuss celebrated its 2000 year anniversary since its founding in 16 BCE.

It was founded by the Romans in 16 BC as a military fortification. Legio XVI Gallica (“Gallic 16th Legion”) of the Roman army was stationed here in 43-70 AD. It was disbanded after surrendering during the Batavian rebellion. Later a civil settlement was founded in the area of today’s town center during the 1st century AD.

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https://youtu.be/0ZR9B2KIJBI

Docu on the history of Germany, in English, 56 mins.

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Coat of arms of the Princes of Thurn and Taxis

The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis (German: Fürstenhaus Thurn und Taxis) is a family of German nobility that is part of the Briefadel — persons who have been ennobled by letters patent. The oldest known such letters patent were issued in the mid-14th century. Briefadel can be contrasted with Uradel, whose nobility predates issuance of letters patent.

The House of Thurn und Taxis was a key player in the postal services of Europe from the 1500s to the end of the Holy Roman Empire (1806), and became well- known for its breweries and the building of castles. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany and has resided at St. Emmeram Castle in Regensburg since 1748.

The Tasso family (from the Italian word for “badger”) was a Lombard family in the Bergamo area of Northern Italy. The earliest records place them in Almenno around 1200. Around 1290, after Milan had conquered Bergamo, Omodeo Tasso organized 32 of his relatives into the Company of Couriers and linked Milan with Venice and Rome. The recipient of royal and papal patronage, his post riders were so efficient that they became known as bergamaschi throughout Italy.

Ruggiero de Tassis was named to the court of the Habsburg emperor Frederick the Peaceful in 1443. He organized a postal system between Bergamo and Vienna by 1450; from Innsbruck to Italy and Styria around 1460; and Vienna with Brussels around 1480. Upon his success, he was knighted and made a gentleman of the Chamber. Jannetto de Tassis was appointed Chief Master of Postal Services at Innsbruck in 1489. Philip of Burgundy elevated his brother Francisco to captain of his post in 1502. Owing to a payment dispute with Philip, Francisco opened his post to public use in 1506. By 1516, Francisco had moved the family to Brussels in the Duchy of Brabant, where they became instrumental to Habsburg rule, linking the rich Habsburg Netherlands to the Spanish court. The normal route passed through France, but a secondary route across the Alps to Genoa was available in times of hostility.

The name Thurn und Taxis arose from the translation into German of the family’s French title (de La Tour et Tassis or de Tour et Taxis). Charles V named Giovanni Battista de Tassis as master of his post in 1520; Maximilian I expanded their network throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In 1624, the family were elevated to Grafen (“counts”). They formally adopted the German form of their name in 1650. They were named “princely” in 1695 at the behest of Emperor Leopold I. The family operated the Thurn-und-Taxis Post, successor to the Imperial Reichspost, between 1806 and 1867. Their postal service was gradually lost over the centuries, with the Spanish network being bought by the crown in the 1700s and the German post being purchased by Prussia after the fall of the Free City of Frankfurt in 1866. The family seat was established in Regensburg, Bavaria, Southern Germany, and has remained at St. Emmeram Castle since 1748.

The current head of the house of Thurn and Taxis is HSH Albert II, son of Johannes and Gloria. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany. The family brewery was sold to the Paulaner Group of Munich in 1996, but it still produces beer under the brand of Thurn und Taxis.

Family website: https://www.thurnundtaxis.de/

Die Burg Hohenzollern in Hechingen, Baden-Würt…

Die Burg Hohenzollern in Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Southwestern Germany

Zollern, from 1218 Hohenzollern, was a county of the Holy Roman Empire. Later its capital was Hechingen. The Hohenzollern Castle lies on a 855 m high hilltop and still belongs to the family today. The dynasty was first mentioned in 1061. The Zollerns received the comital title from Emperor Henry V in 1111. Read about the history:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Hohenzollern

Till Eulenspiegel is the protagonist of a Germ…

Till Eulenspiegel is the protagonist of a German chapbook from 1515 (a first edition of circa 1510/12 is preserved fragmentarily) with a possible background in earlier Middle Low German folklore.

Eulenspiegel is a native of Braunschweig (Brunswick) whose picaresque career takes him to many places throughout the Holy Roman Empire. He plays practical jokes on his contemporaries, especially scatological in nature, exposing vices at every turn. His life is set in the first half of the 14th century, and the final chapters of the chapbook describe his death from the plague of 1350. His name translates to “owl mirror”, and the frontispiece of the 1515 chapbook, as well as his alleged tombstone in Mölln, Schleswig-Holstein, display the name in rebus writing, by an owl and a hand mirror. Retellings of the Eulenspiegel tradition have been published in modern literature, since the later 19th century. Notably, The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak by Charles De Coster (1867) transfers the character to the context of the Protestant Reformation and the Dutch Revolt. The Ulenspiegel (modern Dutch: Tijl Uilenspiegel) from this novel became a symbol of Flemish independence. Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till_Eulenspiegel

The Holy Roman Empire, circa 1000 Ein Stammhe…

The Holy Roman Empire, circa 1000

Ein Stammherzogtum (stem duchy, as in „Stamm“ for tribe in reference to the Germanic tribes of the Franks, Saxons, Bavarians & Swabians) was a constituent duchy of the Kingdom of Germany at the time of the extinction of the Carolingian dynasty (the death of Louis the Child in 911), and the transitional period leading to the formation of the Holy Roman Empire later in the 10th century.

The Carolingians had dissolved the original tribal duchies of the Frankish Empire in the 8th century. As the Carolingian Empire declined, the old tribal areas assumed new identities as the subdivisions of the realm. The 5 stem duchies are: Bavaria, Franconia, Lotharingia, Saxony, and Swabia/Alemannia. They were retained as the major divisions of Germany under the Salian dynasty, and became increasingly obsolete during the early high medieval period under the Hohenstaufen dynasty. They were finally abolished in 1180 by Frederick Barbarossa in favour of more numerous territorial duchies.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_duchy

The Holy Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 13th century…

The Holy Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 13th century under the German Hohenstaufen dynasty (1155-1268).

The Staufer, aka House of Hohenstaufen, were a dynasty of German kings (1138–1254). They also ruled the Kingdom of Sicily. In Italy, they’re known as the Svevi (Swabians) as they were successive dukes of Swabia from 1079. Three members of the dynasty – Frederick I, Henry VI, and Frederick II – were crowned Holy Roman Emperors. The dynasty is named for their seat at Hohenstaufen Castle, which was in turn named for a conical hill of the Swabian Jura with the name Hohenstaufen in what is now Göppingen, Baden-Württemberg, Southwestern Germany. Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohenstaufen