House of Griffins

The House of Griffins or House of Pomerania (German: Greifen; Polish: Gryfici), also known as House of Greifen; was a dynasty of dukes ruling the Duchy of Pomerania from the 12th century until 1637. The name "Griffins" was used by the dynasty after the 15th century and had been taken from the ducal coat of arms, which had depicted a griffin since the late 12th century: The first verifiable use of the griffin as the dynasty's heraldic emblem occurred in a seal of Casimir II, Duke of Pomerania, which showed the imaginary beast within a shield, and was attached to a document dated 1194. After vassalage to Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland from 1121 to 1135, the dynasty entered Henry the Lion's Duchy of Saxony in 1164, and passed to the Holy Roman Emperor in 1181; they remained vassals of the Emperor thereafter, except for a Danish period from the late 1180s to 1227. The margraves of Brandenburg claimed suzerainity over the Griffins for centuries.

Wartislaw I was the first known non-legendary member of the family. As Pomerania's neighbors often sought to dethrone the Griffins, the dynasty was in constant need of allies, leading to various intermarriages with other noble houses, especially those of neighboring Denmark, Rügen, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and Poland. The most prominent Griffin was Eric of Pomerania, who became king of the Kalmar Union in 1397. Another Griffin, Casimir IV, the grandson of the last Piast Polish king Casimir III the Great, was a candidate for the throne of Poland in the 14th century. Euphemia of Pomerania and Sophie of Pomerania married Danish kings, Elizabeth of Pomerania married Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, and her daughter Anne married King Richard II of England. The last Griffin duke of Pomerania was Bogislaw XIV, who died during the Thirty Year's War, which led to the division of Pomerania between Brandenburg-Prussia and Sweden. Duchess Anna von Croy, daughter of Duke Bogislaw XIII, died in 1660.

Read more about House Of Griffins:  Origins and Branches, Wartislaw I To Bogislaw IV and Otto I, Bogislaw IV To Bogislaw X (Pomerania-Wolgast, -Barth, and -Stolp), Otto I To Otto III (Pomerania-Stettin), Bogislaw X To Bogislaw XIV, Griffins To Become Kings or Queens, Sources

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