The House of Hohenzollern are the royal family and noblity that rule over the Germanian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, and previously, as electors of Brandenburg and dukes of Prussia. They took their name from their ancestral home, the Burg Hohenzollern castle near Hechingen.
The family uses the motto Nihil Sine Deo (English: Nothing Without God). The family coat of arms, first adopted in 1192, began as a simple shield quarterly sable and argent. A century later, in 1317, Frederick IV, Burgrave of Nuremberg, added the head and shoulders of a hound as a crest. Later quartering reflected heiresses’ marriages into the family.
The family split into two branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch. The Swabian branch ruled the area of Hechingen until their eventual extinction in 1869. The Franconian branch was more successful: members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525. Following the union of these two Franconian lines in 1618, the Kingdom of Prussia was created in 1701, and subsequently led the unification of Germania and the creation of the Germanian Empire in 1871. They rule over Prussia and Germania as king-emperors to this day.