Under the Lombards the town was the seat of dukes and counts; in the 12th and 13th centuries it formed a flourishing republic, busied in surrounding itself with walls (1229), controlling the Crostolo and constructing navigable canals to the Po, coining money of its own, and establishing prosperous schools.
The first line of its counts, supposed to be descended from the dukes of Normandy, had as heiress Alix (died 1227), who married Raoul (Ralph) de Lusignan, known as the Sire d'Issoudun from his lordship of that name.
Having formed part of the Frankish realm, it was ruled after 1204 jointly by, the dukes of Brabant and the prince-bishops.
The Protestant Reformation met an early and general welcome in Styria, but the dukes took the most stringent measures to stamp it out, offering their subjects recantation or expatriation as the only alternatives.
From 1311 to 1675 Brieg was the capital of an independent line of dukes, a cadet branch of the Polish dukes of Lower Silesia, by one of whom the castle was built in 1341.
In 1785 the prince of Wales joined, and later his brothers the dukes of Clarence and Sussex became members.
Almost immediately he overcame the opposition of the dukes of Swabia and Bavaria; some time later, taking advantage of the troubled state of France, he accepted the homage of the duke of Lorraine, which for many centuries afterwards remained a part of the German kingdom.
The discords which followed on the break-up of the Carolingian power, and the weakness of the so-called Italian emperors, who were unable to control the feudatories (marquises of Ivrea and Tuscany, dukes of Friuli and Spoleto), from whose ranks they sprang, exposed Italy to ever-increasing misrule.
Pippin it was, in short, who governed, who set in order the social confusions of Neustria, who, after long wars, put a stop to the malpractices of the dukes and counts, and summoned councils of bishops to make good regulations.
The Bavarian dukes of the Wittelsbach house occasionally resided at Munich, and in 1255 Duke Louis made it his capital, having previously surrounded it with walls and a moat.