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Illustration: Carl Ritter, Gmunden City Archives, manuscript 129, OÖLA

7. The nobility - protector of Christianity

Geschichte Kloster Traunkirchen
Traunkirchen, Austria

A society under devinely ordained ruling

The Christian value system of a world created and controlled by God, a world of faith, was omnipresent in the Middle Ages. Castles, churches and monasteries represented worldly and ecclesiastical demonstrations of power of the social order wanted by God. The power given by God was inherited by birth. Kings, dukes, noble bishops, counts with their ministerials (officials) administered the country and the people.

Peers - guardians of religion

Emperors, kings, knights and representatives of the church saw themselves as keepers and protectors of the Christian faith. However, they also defended their countries, which they had taken possession of after the war with the Avars, often with high blood tolls and with the dedication of their own lives. They fortified their castles and monasteries and fought with their weapons in their hands next to their subjects, mostly peasants, the enemies of Christianity, the Pope and the King. The non-Christians embodied the evil, the devil. From the 7th to the 9th century these were the Avars and Slavs.

The Magyars - a scourge of God

Like the Avars, the Magyars, also horsemen coming from the Hungarian lowlands, brought horrors and devastation in the 10th century. Countless robberies, murders and pillaging of castles, villages, farmsteads and monasteries brought misery, not only decimated the population, but also destroyed missionary work and the colonization work of Charlemagne. Many nobles and bishops fell in the defense of the Magyars (Hungarians). But also internal struggles for supremacy weakened the imperial association. The Carolingian mark fell apart, the power of the king was weakened, the dukes and counts strengthened their power.
902 according to the legend victorious battle against the Magyars in the Siegesbach valley near Traunkirchen
907 the Bavarians were severely beaten near Pressburg
945 Berthold von Baiern struck the Magyars near Wels
955 the Magyars were finally defeated under Emperor Otto I in the Battle of Lechfeld.

Resettlement and reconstruction

In the ensuing period of rest, the mark, like the still largely Bavarian Traunviertel, was redistributed and rebuilt by the king's followers. In the Traungau these were families of counts who already had possessions in the Traunviertel, at the lakes and in the “Ischllande”. These were the Wilhelms, the family of Raschenberg-Reichenhall, the Arnolds of Wels-Lambach and, as their heirs, the Chiemgau Otakare.
People tried to reach heaven by all means. A life pleasing to God and the ruler, a monastic life only for God, veneration of saints and relics, pilgrimage, donations and foundations should secure and also buy the heavenly life after death. Money went to the church treasury. The result was a wave of reconstructions and the foundings of monasteries.

© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH