Robert I, Count of Nassau

Coat of Arms of the Counts of Laurenburg and Nassau (12th century)

Robert I of Nassau (German: Ruprecht; c. 1090  c. 1154) was from 1123 co-Count of Laurenburg and would later title himself the first Count of Nassau. The House of Nassau would become an important aristocratic family in Germany, from which are descended through females the present-day royals of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, while officially belonging to this House.


Robert was the eldest son of Count Dudo-Henry of Laurenburg (German: Dudo-Heinrich von Laurenburg) and Anastasia of Arnstein an der Lahn (near present-day Obernhof), daughter of Count Louis II of Arnstein. Count Dudo, considered the founder of the House of Nassau, had built the castle of Laurenburg around 1080. He had also laid the foundations of Nassau Castle in present-day Nassau, Germany, around 1100, on land belonging to the Bishopric of Worms. After 1120, Robert, ruled from Nassau Castle together with his brother Arnold I.

In 1124, Robert became the Bishopric of Worms's Vogt over the Weilburg Diocese. He inherited this position from the Hessian Count Werner IV, Count of Gröningen. Idstein, which had come under the control of Count Dudo in 1122, was also added to this fief. Through this, Robert was able to decisively expand the possessions of the House of Nassau. He gained, among other lands, the village of Dietkirchen and established himself in the Haiger Mark.

Along with numerous property and lordship rights in the Westerwald and Dill River region, Weilburg's territory included the former Königshof Nassau, which had fallen to Weilburg in 914. This did not, however, settle the dispute with the Bishop of Worms over the legality of constructing Nassau Castle. When Robert I began calling himself the Count of Nassau after the castle, the Worms Bishopric disputed the title. The title was only confirmed through the intervention of the Archbishop of Trier in 1159, about five years after Robert’s death, under his son Walram I.

In 1126, Robert endowed the Benedictine Schönau Abbey near Lipporn. The land had already in 1117 been donated by Count Dudo-Henry to Schaffhausen Abbey for construction of a monastery. Under Robert’s rule, from 1126 to 1145, the Romanesque buildings were constructed, presumably including a three-nave basilica. The Abbey included both a monastery for monks and a convent for nuns. From 1141 until her death in 1164, the abbey convent would be the home of St. Elizabeth of Schönau.

Robert had continual disputes with several of his neighbors. He was a loyal follower of the Hohenstaufen Emperors. Robert died before 13 May 1154.


Before 1135, Rupert married Beatrix of Limburg (born ca. 1115, deceased 12 July, after 1164), daughter of Walram II the Pagan, Count of Limburg and Duke of Lower Lorraine, and Jutta of Guelders (daughter of Gerard I, Count of Guelders). At least two, and possibly as many as four, children were born of this union:

The chronology of the Counts of Laurenburg is not certain and the link between Robert I and Walram I is especially controversial. It is certain that Arnold II and Robert II were sons of Robert I and Beatrix of Limburg.

Some sources consider Gerhard, listed as co-Count of Laurenburg in 1148, to be the son of Robert I's brother, Arnold I.[1] However, Erich Brandenburg in his Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen states that it is most likely that Gerhard was Robert I's son, because Gerard was the name of Beatrix of Limburg's maternal grandfather.[2]


  1. Family tree of the early House of Nassau, retrieved on 2009-01-22.
  2. Table 11, Page 23 and note on page 151, quoted at Genealogy of the Middle Ages, retrieved on 2009-01-23


External links

Preceded by
Count of Laurenburg
(and Nassau)

Succeeded by
Robert II and
Walram I
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