BILLUNGER MARK Billung March.
In the reign of Otto the Great (936-73) two Margraves led the extension of Saxon authority over the Slav peoples to the east, Hermann Billung and Gero.
Hermann’s Mark was in the north and extended over eastern Holstein and Mecklenburg as far as the River Peene. Within the Mark there were strong places called Burgwards, probably Slav strongholds being used to German advantage. Although Bishoprics were established for the conversion of the Slavs, the main object seems to have been the exaction of tribute. Hermann Billung served as Ottto’s deputy in Saxony, and at times used the title of Duke. He died in 973, the same year as Otto.
In 983 the great Slav revolt drove back much of the German advance. The Billung Mark remained, but much smaller, more an outpost across the Elbe from the Billung lands, which lay between the Weser and the Elbe and were focussed on Lüneburg.