Albert II, the Degenerate
(de: Albrecht II der Entartete
) (1240 – 20 November 1314) was a Margrave of Meissen, Landgrave of Thuringia and Count Palatine of Saxony. He was a member of the House of Wettin.
He was the eldest son of Henry the Illustrious, Margrave of Meissen
Henry III, called Henry the Illustrious from the House of Wettin was Margrave of Meissen and last Margrave of Lusatia from 1221 until his death; from 1242 also Landgrave of Thuringia.-Life:Born probably at the Albrechtsburg residence in Meissen, Henry was the youngest son of Margrave Theodoric I...
by his first wife, Constantia of Austria.
In 1265 Margrave Henry III granted the Landgraviate of Thuringia and the Palatinate to Albrecht and the Margraviate of Landsberg
The Margraviate of Landsberg was a march of the Holy Roman Empire that existed from the 12th to the 14th century. It was named after Landsberg Castle in present-day Saxony-Anhalt...
in the Osterland
Osterland is a historical region in Germany. It was situated between the Elbe and Saale rivers to the north of Pleissnerland which it later absorbed and it included the city of Leipzig...
to his younger brother Dietrich. Henry III kept for himself the Margraviates of Meissen
as a formal power over his sons.
In June 1255 Albrecht married Margaret of Sicily
Margaret of Sicily , was a Princess of Sicily and Germany, and a member of the House of Hohenstaufen...
, the daughter of Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...
. As a dowry the Pleissnerland was pledged to the house of Wettin
The House of Wettin is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled the area of today's German states of Saxony, the Saxon part of Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia for more than 800 years...
. They had five children:
- Henry (b. 21 March 1256 - d. 25 January/23 July? 1282), inherited the Pleissnerland in 1274.
Frederick I, called the Brave or the Bitten was margrave of Meissen and landgrave of Thuringia.-Life:...
(b. 1257 - d. Wartburg, 16 November 1323), Margrave of Meissen.
- Dietrich, called Dietzmann (b. 1260 - murdered Leipzig, 10 December 1307), Margrave of Lausitz.
- Margaret (b. 1262 - d. young, aft. 17 April 1273).
- Agnes (b. 1264 - d. September 1332), married before 21 July 1282 to Heinrich I, Duke of Brunswick-Grubenhagen.
After what was at first a happy rule and marriage, Albrecht turned away from Margaret and began a passionate love affair with Kunigunde of Eisenberg. She bore him two children: a daughter, Elisabeth in 1269, and a son, Albrecht ("Apitz") in 1270.
When she discovered the adultery and the illegitimate births, Margaret left Wartburg
The Wartburg is a castle overlooking the town of Eisenach, Germany.Wartburg may also refer to:* Wartburgkreis, a district in Germany named after the Wartburg* Wartburg , former East German brand of automobiles, manufactured in Eisenach...
on 24 June 1270 and went to Frankfurt am Main where she died on 8 August of the same year. The two younger sons, Frederick and Dietzmann were looked after by their uncle, Dietrich, Margrave of Landsberg. Henry, the oldest, disappeared in Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...
Albrecht married Kunigunde in 1274 and legitimised their children. When Albrecht intended to leave to Apitz the Landgravate of Thuringia and compensate his sons from his first marriage only with the Osterland (who included the inheritance of their mother) and the Palatinate County of Saxony, they began a war against their father. Frederick was captured by his father and was locked in Schloss Wartburg; however, he escaped one year later and continued the war against his father together with Dietzmann. During this time, in 1284, their uncle Dietrich of Landsberg died, and four years later, in 1288, Heinrich the Illustrious, Albrecht's father, also died. These deaths heightened the family disputes.
At the death of his father Albrecht became Margrave of Meissen, while his nephew Frederick Tuta - son of Dietrich of Landsberg - inherited the Margravate of Lausitz, which was lost by Albrecht's son Dietzmann in that year. Shortly after, Frederick captured his father Albrecht in battle. By the Treaty of Rochlitz (1 January 1289) Albrecht obtained his freedom after the renunciation of large parts of his lands. He retained Meissen himself, but finally sold it to Frederick Tuta. When, after his death (1291) his cousins Frederick and Dietzmann arbitrarily took possession of his lands, Albrecht -suffering financial difficulties- was compelled to sell Thuringia in 1293 to the German King Adolf of Nassau
Adolf was the King of Germany from 1292 until 1298. Though his title in his lifetime was Rex Romanorum , he is usually known as Adolf of Nassau...
; in the contract, it was stipulated that the king could take possession of the lands after Albrecht's death. In the sale, Albrecht included Meissen and Osterland as his fiefs, despite the fact they were in the hands of his sons. Thanks to this, Adolf's successor Albrecht I of Habsburg was able to take possession of these lands, claiming that the contract of sale was legitimate and lawful.
Kunigunde of Eisenberg died on 31 October 1286. Four years later, on 1 October 1290, Albrecht married thirdly Elisabeth of Orlamünde, heiress of Nordhalben
Nordhalben is a municipality in the district of Kronach in Bavaria in Germany....
and widow of Hartmann XI of Lobdeburg-Arnshaugk. The same year, Apitz, Albrecht's son by Kunigunde, was formally legitimized by the Emperor and created Herr of Tenneberg
On 11 April 1291 Apitz's younger full-sister, Elisabeth, married Heinrich III of Frankenstein; the marriage was short-lived and childless. Elisabeth died on 28 September 1293. Three years later (9 October 1296), Apitz married a sister of his brother-in-law Heinrich III, apparently also called Elisabeth. This marriage, like his sister's, was childless.
Four years later (24 August 1300) Albrecht's eldest surviving son, Frederick, married Elisabeth of Lobdeburg-Arnshaugk, daughter of his stepmother; this make the final reconciliation between father and son. Five years later (27 June 1305) Apitz of Tenneberg died, aged thirty-five. The death of his favorite son was a terrible blow to Albrecht. He never recovered from the loss.
Two years later, in 1307, Albrecht finally resigned the Landgraviate of Thuringia and the County Palatine of Saxony to his son Frederick in exchange for an annuity. He died seven years later in Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nuremberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian...
, aged seventy-four.