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Eberhard I (11 December 1445, Urach – 24 February 1496, Tübingen). From 1459 till 1495 he was count as Eberhard V. From July 1495 he was the first Duke of Württemberg. He is also known as Eberhard im Bart (Eberhard the Bearded).

Monument of Eberhard I in the Altes Schloss in Stuttgart
Eberhard im Bart, 1492
Coat of arms adopted by Eberhard I in 1495 on the occasion of the exaltation of Württemberg to a duchy



He was the son of count Ludwig I and his wife Mechthild of the Palatinate, born as countess palatine by the Rhine. He was first buried in the collegiate church Saint Peter auf dem Einsiedel, later in the collegiate church of Tübingen.

Count Eberhard V officially took charge of government of Württemberg-Urach as an underage. Württemberg was divided since 1442. At first he had a legal guardian, a respected nobleman who had mentored his father as a youth, Rudolph von Ehingen of Kilchberg. In 1468 he travelled to Jerusalem and became a knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. To commemorate this he chose the palm as his symbol.

In Urach on 12 April[1] (or 4 July[2]) 1474 he married a prestigious bride, Barbara, daughter of Ludovico II Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua and member of a very rich and respected Italian family. The only daughter out of this marriage, Barbara, was born in Urach on 2 August 1475 and died on 15 October of that year[3].

In 1477, count Eberhard, whose motto was "attempto" (I dare), founded the University of Tübingen. He invited the Brethren of the Common Life and the community of devotia moderna to his country and founded collegiate churches in Urach, Dettingen an der Ems, Herrenberg, Einsiedel near Tübingen and Tachenhausen. He took interest in reforms of the church and monasteries. Despite not being able to speak Latin he held education in high esteem and had a great number of Latin texts translated into German. Parts of his large library have been preserved. Finally on December 14, 1482, he achieved the re-unification of the two parts of Württemberg, Württemberg-Urach and Württemberg-Stuttgart, with the Treaty of Münsingen. He moved the capital to Stuttgart and ruled the re-united country. In the same year Pope Sixtus IV awarded him the Golden Rose. In 1492 he was awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece, by Maximilian I, then King of Germany. On July 21, 1495 count Eberhard V was declared duke of Württemberg Reichstag on the Reichstag in Worms by Maximilian I.

Johannes Nauclerus, a humanist and historian, served at his court.


Already his contemporaries admired his intellectual strength. In the 19th and 20th century the patriotic historiography transfigured him. A bust of him was erected in Walhalla. In the Swabian anthem "Preisend mit viel schönen Reden" by Justinus Kerner, he is praised as: "Eberhard the one with the beard, Württembergs beloved ruler." In this so-called song of the Württembergians, he is praised as the richest prince amongst the German princes, as he is able to rest his head on the lap of every one of his subjects without having fear for his life or property. He is considered one of the greatest rulers of Württemberg.


  • Württembergische Landesmuseum Stuttgart (Hg.): Eberhard im Bart, der erste Herzog von Württemberg, Stuttgart 1990.
  • Hans-Martin Maurer (Hg.): Eberhard und Mechthild. Untersuchungen zu Politik und Kultur im ausgehenden Mittelalter. Untersuchungen zu Politik und Kultur im ausgehenden Mittelalter. (Lebendige Vergangenheit. Zeugnisse und Erinnerungen. Schriftenreihe des Württembergischen Geschichts- und Altertumsvereins, Band 17). Stuttgart 1994.
  • Dieter Mertens: Eberhard V./I. im Bart. In: Das Haus Württemberg. Ein biographisches Lexikon, hg. von Sönke Lorenz/Dieter Mertens/Volker Press. Stuttgart 1997. S. 92-95.
  • Dieter Mertens: Eberhard im Bart als Stifter der Universität Tübingen. In: Sönke Lorenz u.a. (Hg.): Attempto - oder wie stiftet man eine Universität. Die Universitätsgründungen der sogenannten zweiten Gründungswelle im Vergleich (Contubernium Band 50). Stuttgart 1999. S. 157-173.
  • Fritz Ernst: Eberhard im Bart. Die Politik eines deutschen Landesherrn am Ende des Mittelalters. Stuttgart 1933.

External links


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  • "The Diary of Jörg von Ehingen" / translated and edited by Malcolm Letts, F. S. A., Oxford, 1929
Eberhard I, Duke of Württemberg
Born: 11 December 1445 Died: 24 February 1496
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ludwig II
Count of Württemberg
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Duke of Württemberg
Succeeded by
Eberhard II


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