Thankmar (c. 908 – 28 July 938) was the eldest (and only) son of Henry I of Germany
Henry I of Germany
Henry I the Fowler was the Duke of Saxony from 912 and German king from 919 until his death. First of the Ottonian Dynasty of German kings and emperors, he is generally considered to be the founder and first king of the medieval German state, known until then as East Francia...

 by his first wife, Hatheburg (or Liutgard). His mother had been previously married and widowed, after which she entered a convent. Because she left the convent to marry Henry, her second marriage was considered invalid and the couple split. Thankmar's legitimacy was, therefore, in question.

In 929, Henry I arranged for his succession and had the arrangement ratified by an assembly at Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nuremberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian...

, just before his death. After his death, his lands and wealth were divided between his four sons: Thankmar, Otto, Henry, and Bruno
Bruno I, Archbishop of Cologne
Bruno the Great was Archbishop of Cologne, Germany, from 953 until his death, and Duke of Lotharingia from 954. He was the brother of Otto I, king of Germany and later Holy Roman Emperor....

. Otto, however, was designated by his father to receive the crown. The only succession dispute was between Otto and his younger full brother Henry, who was kept under house arrest in Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 during Otto's coronation.

After the death of Siegfried, Count of Merseburg
Siegfried, Count of Merseburg
Siegfried was the Count and Margrave of Merseburg from an unknown date before 934 until his death. He does not appear with the title of margrave in contemporary royal charters and diplomas, so the title was informal and never official....

 in 937, Thankmar claimed Merseburg. Otto, however, appointed Gero
Gero I , called the Great , ruled an initially modest march centred on Merseburg, which he expanded into a vast territory named after him: the marca Geronis. During the mid-10th century, he was the leader of the Saxon Drang nach Osten.-Succession and early conflicts:Gero was the son of Count...

, Siegfried's brother. During this dispute, Eberhard of Franconia and Wichmann the Elder
Wichmann the Elder
Wichmann I the Elder was a member of the Saxon House of Billung. He was a brother of Amelung, Bishop of Verden, and Herman, Duke of Saxony....

 revolted against Otto and Thankmar joined them. Later, Thankmar was besieged in Eresburg and killed by Maginzo at the altar of the church of Saint Peter. Maginzo was consequently punished with a cruel death by Otto.


  • Reuter, Timothy
    Timothy Reuter
    Timothy Alan Reuter , grandson of the former mayor of Berlin Ernst Reuter, was a German-British historian who specialized in the study of medieval Germany, particularly the social, military and ecclesiastical institutions of the Ottonian and Salian periods .Reuter received his D.phil from Oxford in...

    . Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056. New York: Longman, 1991.
  • Bernhardt, John W. Itinerant Kingship and Royal Monasteries in Early Medieval Germany, c. 936–1075. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
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