The principality of Anhalt evolved from a division of the estate of the House of Ascania. Prince Henry I of Anhalt chose the term for his line in order to set it apart from other Ascanian lines. The name "Anhalt" originates from the Ascanian ancestral castle: Castle Anhalt near Harzgerode. The name Ascania derives from Aschersleben (Latin: Ascania or Ascaria). Furthermore, the princedom arose from the medieval shire Schwabengau (Suavia) and the shire Serimunt which were in possession of the House of Ascania. Moreover, the principality of Anhalt was part of the Holy Roman Empire.