Austria, Name

   In German, the word for Austria is Österreich. It first appears as Ostarrichi in charters issued in 996 and 998 by German Emperor Otto III. It may actually have been applied to the Carolingian Danubian march even earlier; a ninth-century German–Latin glossary gives Ostarrichi as the equivalent of oriens (Eng.: east), though no specific territory was associated with the term. Indeed, during this period the word seems to have referred to the entire complex of Carolingian eastern marches. Moreover, during the High Middle Ages, the German Reich (MHG: riche, richi), or empire, did not have the complex and expansive connotations that it does today. Rather, it merely denoted a general area under a specific ruler’s control. In Latin documents, the word Austria crops up in a certificate of Emperor Conrad III from 1147. This was probably derived from usages among the Franks and Lombards, for whom the words Auster, Austria, and Austrasia referred generally to lands in east central Europe.
   See also Babenberg, House of.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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