Henry I, Count of Anhalt

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Portrait of Henry I in the Codex Manesse.

Henry I, Count of Anhalt (c. 1170 – 1252) was a German prince of the House of Ascania and Count of Anhalt.

He was the oldest son of Bernhard III, Duke of Saxony and Count of Anhalt, by his wife Brigitte, a daughter of Canute V of Denmark. After the death of his father in 1212, the surviving sons of the late duke divided his lands according to the laws of the House of Ascania: Henry received Anhalt and the younger Albert the Saxon duchy. In 1218 Henry was raised to the rank of prince (German: Fürst).

Henry's most famous ministerialis (bondsman) was Eike von Repgow from Reppichau, who compiled the Sachsenspiegel, the most important legal code of the German Middle Ages.

Henry also was a renowned Minnesänger. At the beginning of 14th century, five of his Minnelieder (love songs) were copied into the Codex Manesse, an exceptionally beautiful collection. In this source, he is erroneously referred to as a "duke".

Before his death, Henry divided Anhalt between his sons: Henry inherited Aschersleben, Bernhard received Bernburg, and Siegfried took Zerbst. His other surviving sons, Hermann and Magnus, were ordained priests.

Marriage and issue

Ca. 1211 Henry married Irmgard (b. ca. 1197 – d. ca. 1244), daughter of Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia and second cousin of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor through her paternal grandmother Judith of Swabia. They had eleven children:

  1. Henry II, Prince of Anhalt-Aschersleben (b. 1215 – d. 12 June 1266)
  2. Judith (d. aft. 14 May 1277), married by 10 March 1233 to Lord Nicholas I of Werle
  3. Sophie (d. 23 November 1272), first married to Duke Otto I of Merania, secondly to Count Siegfried of Regenstein, and thirdly to Otto of Hadmersleben
  4. Bernhard I, Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg (b. ca. 1218 – d. 1287)
  5. Albert (d. ca. 1245), a Franciscan monk
  6. Hermann (d. 1289), a canon in Halberstadt
  7. Magnus (d. aft. 18 June 1264), a canon in Magdeburg
  8. Otto (d. aft. 19 July 1246), a canon in Magdeburg
  9. Siegfried I, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst (b. ca. 1230 – d. Köthen, 25 March 1298)
  10. Hedwig (d. 21 December 1259), married on 8 May 1242 to Duke Boleslaw II of Silesia and Liegnitz-Glogau
  11. Gertrud (d. 1275), Abbess of Gernrode (1260–1275).
Henry I of Anhalt
Born: ca. 1170 Died: 1252
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Count of Anhalt
County elevated to principality
Anhalt elevated to principality Prince of Anhalt
Succeeded by
Henry II
as Prince of Anhalt-Aschersleben
Succeeded by
Bernhard I
as Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg
Succeeded by
Siegfried I
as Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst