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The Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg () was a medieval duchy of the Holy Roman Empire centered at Wittenberg, which emerged after the dissolution of the stem duchy of Saxony. As the precursor of the Saxon Electorate, the Ascanian Wittenberg dukes prevailed in obtaining the Saxon electoral dignity.


Ascanian struggle for Saxony

The Eastphalian count Otto of Ballenstedt (d. 1123), ancestor of the House of Ascania, had married Eilika, a daughter of Duke Magnus of Saxony from the House of Billung. As the Billung male line became extinct upon Magnus's death in 1106, Otto hoped to succeed him, however King Henry V of Germany enfeoffed Count Lothair of Supplinburg. During the following long-term dispute between Henry and Lothair, Otto was able to gain the title of a Saxon (anti-)duke, though only for a short time in 1122.Lothair was elected King of the Romans in 1125 and in 1134 he vested Otto's son Albert the Bear with the Saxon Northern March. Upon his death in 1137, Albert once again strived for the Saxon duchy, which however fell to Lothair's son-in-law Henry the Proud from the Bavarian House of Welf. Albert concluded a deal with the rising House of Hohenstaufen: He backed the succession of Conrad of Hohenstaufen as German king, who in turn deprived his rival Henry the Proud of the Saxonian Duchy in 1138 and gave it to Albert. His rule was however strongly contested by the local nobility and in 1142 Albert finally had to resign as duke in favour of Henry the Proud's son......
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