First mentioned as Arnestati in 704 and chartered in 1266, Arnstadt was bought in 1306 from the abbey of Hersfeld by the counts of Schwarzburg.
The arms show a canting eagle (Adler/Arend). The eagle already appears on the coins of the Hersfeld Abbey, struck in Arnstadt in 1200. On slightly younger seals the eagle is seen between two towers of a city gate. The eagle itself is canting, from Adlerstadt or eagle-city
In 726 Arnstadt came in possession of the monastery of Echternach in Luxembourg and later passed to the abbey of Hersfeld. The eagle appears on the coins of the Hersfeld Abbey, struck in Arnstadt in 1200.
In 925 the Counts of Käfernburg founded a monastery, which was first mentioned in 1196. The election of Philipp of Swabia as German King took place in Arnstadt in 1198. The first mention of Arnstadt as a 'civitas', a town, dates from 1220. The formal rights of a town were granted in 1266. In 1290 one part of Arnstadt came in possession of the counts of Käfernburg, while the other part remained with the abbey of Hersfeld. After the line of the counts of Käfernburg became extinct in 1302, their part of Arnstadt in 1306 passed to the counts of Schwarzburg, who lived there until 1716 (The remaining, larger, part of Arnstadt was bought in 1332) Their palace, Monplaisir (1703-07), survives, and the 12th-14th-century Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) has a number of Schwarzburg graves.
After the advance of Attila the Hun through Gaul was stopped the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in AD 451, two Roman legions were stationed near Arnstadt to protect the ancient trade route known as the via regia.
The legendary found of Arnstadt is Merovech, who was guided by two eagles. Merovech was the leader of the Franks in the coalition against Attila the Hun led by the Roman general Flavius Aëtius.
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