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Twilight of the Kings

The Thuringian Empire

AD 455 to 531

The kingdom of the Thuringii lasted barely 80 years. Nevertheless, it laid the foundations for the state structures of the following centuries in central Germany. This is what the ›Twilight of the Kings‹ alludes to. While the centre of the empire lay in the Erfurt-Weimar area, an eastern sub-kingdom with its own royal court is documented in the area of southern Saxony-Anhalt. This was presumably located in what is now Stößen, the findspot of one of the special highlights of this section of the exhibition: the gilded spangenhelm (clasp helmet) from the first half of the 6th century came from the grave of a man who had been buried with rich grave goods in a wooden burial chamber. Probably made in northern Italy, it testifies to the high rank of the deceased as well as the connections of the Thuringians to the Ostrogothic Empire under Theodoric the Great.

Soon after Theodoric's death (AD 526), the Thuringians succumbed to the Franks in the Battle of the Unstrut in AD 531 - the first empire in central Germany had come to an end.

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