Austria, Bezeichnung für Österreich
Austria, regularly used official name since 1147, first used in the title of the Margrave and (from 1156) the Duke. Earlier mention of the name (1136 in the "Heiligenkreuzer Stiftungsurkunde", most probably not genuine) is questionable. Among the Franks and Langobards, Austria signified a part of the empire or country located to the east. Hybrid word formation: the Germanic root "austar", in Old High German "ostar", was given a Latinised suffix, analogous to Francia, Gotia etc. The Frankish Austria in the 6th and 7th centuries described an area with the centres of Reims and Metz, and the Langobardian region in the 1st half of the 8th century. The Frankish name Austria then migrated into the Main-Frankish culture, from which the Babenberg family line originated. The Latin name of the land (possibly regarded as more noble) may have come into use in the course of correspondence in preparation for the marriage of Heinrich II Jasomirgott with the Byzantine Princess Theodora (the niece of Manuel Komnenos). The new name took the place of the older Latin names for Austria and consequently also became the name of the country in Italian, Spanish and English. The prerequisite for this was the extension of the name's meaning to include "dominium Austriae" (Domain of Austria) and "domus Austriae" (House of Austria), both documented since the early 14th century, as a collective term for territories under Habsburg rule and as a term for the Habsburg family. The subsequent names Casa d´Austria, Casa de Austria and Maison d´Autriche are derived from this source.
Further reading: E. Zöllner, Der Österreich-Begriff, 1988.