1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gleichen
|←Glee||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12
|See also Gleichen on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
GLEICHEN, two groups of castles in Germany, thus named from their resemblance to each other (Ger. gleich = like, or resembling). The first is a group of three, each situated on a hill in Thuringia between Gotha and Erfurt. One of these called Gleichen, the Wanderslebener Gleiche (1221 ft. above the sea), was besieged unsuccessfully by the emperor Henry IV. in 1088. It was the seat of a line of counts, one of whom, Ernest III., a crusader, is the subject of a romantic legend. Having been captured, he was released from his imprisonment by a Turkish woman, who returned with him to Germany and became his wife, a papal dispensation allowing him to live with two wives at the same time (see Reineck, Die Sage von der Doppelehe eines Grafen von Gleichen, 1891). After belonging to the elector of Mainz the castle became the property of Prussia in 1803. The second castle is called Mühlburg (1309 ft. above the sea). This existed as early as 704 and was besieged by Henry IV. in 1087. It came into the hands of Prussia in 1803. The third castle, Wachsenburg (1358 ft.), is still inhabited and contains a collection of weapons and pictures belonging to its owner, the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, whose family obtained possession of it in 1368. It was built about 935 (see Beyer, Die drei Gleichen, Erfurt, 1898). The other group consists of two castles, Neuen-Gleichen and Alten-Gleichen. Both are in ruins and crown two hills about 2 m. S.E. from Göttingen.
The name of Gleichen is taken by the family descended from Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg through his marriage with Miss Laura Seymour, daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour, a branch of the Hohenlohe family having at one time owned part of the county of Gleichen.