Frederick I of Austria (Habsburg)

Frederick I of Austria (Habsburg)

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Frederick the Handsome or the Fair (c. 1289, Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 – 13 January 1330), from the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria
Duchy of Styria
The history of Styria concerns the region roughly corresponding to the modern Austrian state of Styria and the Slovene region of Styria from its settlement by Germans and Slavs in the Dark Ages until the present...

 from 1308 as Frederick I as well as King of Germany (King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

) from 1314 (antiking
An Antiking is a would-be king who, due to succession disputes or simple political opposition, declares himself king in opposition to a reigning monarch. Antikings are more often found in elected monarchies than in hereditary monarchies like those of England and France; such figures in hereditary...

 until 1325) as Frederick III until his death.


He was the second son of King Albert I of Germany
Albert I of Germany
Albert I of Habsburg was King of the Romans and Duke of Austria, the eldest son of German King Rudolph I of Habsburg and his first wife Gertrude of Hohenburg.-Life:...

 with his wife Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol, a scion of the Meinhardiner dynasty, thereby a grandson of the first Habsburg king of Germany Rudolph I
Rudolph I of Germany
Rudolph I was King of the Romans from 1273 until his death. He played a vital role in raising the Habsburg dynasty to a leading position among the Imperial feudal dynasties...


Duke of Austria

Still a minor, he and his elder brother Rudolph III
Rudolph I of Bohemia
Rudolf I of Habsburg was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1298 and King of Bohemia and titular King of Poland from 1306 until his death...

 had been vested with the duchies of Austria
Archduchy of Austria
The Archduchy of Austria , one of the most important states within the Holy Roman Empire, was the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy and the predecessor of the Austrian Empire...

 and Styria
Duchy of Styria
The history of Styria concerns the region roughly corresponding to the modern Austrian state of Styria and the Slovene region of Styria from its settlement by Germans and Slavs in the Dark Ages until the present...

 by their father in 1298. Upon Rudolph's early death in 1307 and the assassination of his father in 1308, he became the ruler of the Austrian and Styrian duchies on behalf of himself and his younger brothers. The royal title held by his father and grandfather however passed to Count Henry VII of Luxembourg
Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VII was the King of Germany from 1308 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1312. He was the first emperor of the House of Luxembourg...

, who was elected
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 by six of seven votes, contrived by the mighty Archchancellor Peter von Aspelt
Peter of Aspelt
Peter Aspelt was Archbishop of Mainz from 1306 to 1320, and an influential political figure of the period. He brought the archbishopric to its peak of power....

, Elector and Prince-Archbishop of Mainz
Archbishopric of Mainz
The Archbishopric of Mainz or Electorate of Mainz was an influential ecclesiastic and secular prince-bishopric in the Holy Roman Empire between 780–82 and 1802. In the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, the Archbishop of Mainz was the primas Germaniae, the substitute of the Pope north of the Alps...

, a fierce opponent of late King Albert. Frederick had to abjure all claims to the German crown and in turn received the official affirmation of his fiefs by King Henry.

Originally, he was a friend of his cousin Louis IV of Wittelsbach
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

, who also had been raised at the Austrian court in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. However, armed conflict arose between them when tutelage over the young sons of Louis' cousin, late Duke Stephen I of Lower Bavaria
Stephen I, Duke of Bavaria
Stephen I. was duke of Lower Bavaria from 1290 until 1310 as co-regent of his older brothers Otto III and Louis III .-Biography:...

 was entrusted to Frederick by local nobles in 1313. Frederick took the occasion to enlarge his reach of power, invaded the Bavarian lands, but was beaten by Louis at the Battle of Gammelsdorf on 9 November 1313, and had to renounce the tutelage.

Double election of 1314

Meanwhile, Henry VII had been crowned Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 by Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...

 on 29 June 1312, he nevertheless died in the following year. As his son John the Blind, King of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

 since 1310, seemed too powerful to the prince-electors, Frederick again became a candidate for the crown, while King John withdrew and backed Louis IV of Wittelsbach. On 19 October 1314 at Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen
Sachsenhausen (Frankfurt am Main)
Sachsenhausen is a part of the city of Frankfurt, Germany. Composed of two districts: Sachsenhausen-Nord and Sachsenhausen-Süd, it is part of the Ortsbezirk Süd. It is located on the South bank of the Main river, right in the city center, opposite the Old Town.Sachsenhausen was founded as...

, Frederick received four out of seven votes, by Archbishop Henry II of Cologne, by Louis' brother Elector Palatine Rudolph I of Wittelsbach
Rudolf I, Duke of Bavaria
Rudolf I of Bavaria , a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty, was Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine...

, by the deposed King Henry of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

 and Duke Rudolph I of Saxe-Wittenberg
The Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg was a medieval duchy of the Holy Roman Empire centered at Wittenberg, which emerged after the dissolution of the stem duchy of Saxony. As the precursor of the Saxon Electorate, the Ascanian Wittenberg dukes prevailed in obtaining the Saxon electoral dignity.-Ascanian...

. The next day however, a second election was held upon the instigation of Archbishop Peter von Aspelt, where Louis IV of Wittelsbach was elected with the five votes by the Mainz archbishop himself, by Archbishop Baldwin of Trier, Margrave Waldemar of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806. Also known as the March of Brandenburg , it played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe....

 as well as by Duke John II of Saxe-Lauenburg and - again - the King of Bohemia.

Louis made use of the conflict around the Bohemian throne and the rivalry over the Saxon
Duchy of Saxony
The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt and most of Schleswig-Holstein...

 electoral dignity between the Ascanian duchies of Saxe-Wittenberg and Saxe-Lauenburg. King Henry of Bohemia voting for Frederick actually only claimed the electoral power, as he had already been deposed in 1310 by late King Henry's son John the Blind voting for Louis. Duke John II of Saxe-Lauenburg in turn sought to prevail against his cousin Duke Rudolph I of Saxe-Wittenberg - which ultimately failed as the 1338 Declaration of Rhense
Declaration of Rhense
The Declaration of Rhense was a decree of the Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire issued in 1338 and initiated by the Baldwin of Luxembourg, the Archbishop of Trier and brother of the later Emperor Henry VII.-Background:...

 and the Golden Bull of 1356
Golden Bull of 1356
The Golden Bull of 1356 was a decree issued by the Reichstag assembly in Nuremberg headed by the Luxembourg Emperor Charles IV that fixed, for a period of more than four hundred years, important aspects of the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire...

 conclusively named the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg as electors.

Louis then was quickly crowned at Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral, frequently referred to as the "Imperial Cathedral" , is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, Germany. The church is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was known as the "Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen" during the Middle Ages...

 by Archbishop Peter von Aspelt, while Frederick was forced to proceed to Bonn Minster
Bonn Minster
The Bonn Minster is one of Germany's oldest churches, having been built between the 11th and 13th centuries. At one point the church served as the cathedral for the Archbishopric of Cologne...

 for his coronation on 25 November 1314 by the Cologne archbishop Heinrich von Virneburg
Heinrich II of Virneburg
Count Heinrich II of Virneburg was Archbishop of Cologne from 1304 to his death in 1332.-Life:Heinrich was the sixth son of Count Heinrich of Virneburg and his wife Ponzetta of Oberstein...

. Both tried for the support by the Imperial State
Imperial State
An Imperial State or Imperial Estate was an entity in the Holy Roman Empire with a vote in the Imperial Diet assemblies. Several territories of the Empire were not represented, while some officials were non-voting members; neither qualified as Imperial States.Rulers of Imperial States were...

s; Frederick was enfeebled by the fact that he had been crowned at the wrong place and moreover struggled with the rebellious Swiss Confederacy
Old Swiss Confederacy
The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland....

 in the Swabian
Further Austria
Further Austria or Anterior Austria was the collective name for the old possessions of the House of Habsburg in the former Swabian stem duchy of south-western Germany, including territories in the Alsace region west of the Rhine and in Vorarlberg, after the focus of the Habsburgs had moved to the...

 home territories of the Habsburgs, suffering a crushing defeat at the 1315 Battle of Morgarten
Battle of Morgarten
The Battle of Morgarten occurred on November 15, 1315, when a Swiss Confederation force of 1,500 infantry archers ambushed a group of Austrian soldiers of the Holy Roman Empire near the Morgarten Pass...

. He nevertheless was able to hold his ground against the Wittelsbach rival and after several years of bloody war, victory finally seemed to be within Frederick's grasp, as he was strongly supported by the forces of his younger brother Leopold I
Leopold I, Duke of Austria
Leopold I from the House of Habsburg was Duke of Austria and Styria – as co-ruler with his elder brother Frederick the Fair – from 1308 until his death...

. However, Frederick's army was in the end completely beaten near Mühldorf
Battle of Mühldorf
The Battle of Mühldorf was fought near Mühldorf am Inn on September 28, 1322 between the Duchy of Bavaria and Austria...

 on Ampfing Heath on 28 September 1322, and Frederick and 1,300 nobles from Austria and the allied Archbishopric of Salzburg
Archbishopric of Salzburg
The Archbishopric of Salzburg was an ecclesiastical State of the Holy Roman Empire, its territory roughly congruent with the present-day Austrian state of Salzburg....

 were captured.


Louis held Frederick captive at Trausnitz Castle in the Upper Palatinate
Upper Palatinate
The Upper Palatinate is one of the seven administrative regions of Bavaria, Germany, located in the east of Bavaria.- History :The region took its name first in the early 16th century, because it was by the Treaty of Pavia one of the main portions of the territory of the Wittelsbach Elector...

 for three years, but the persistent resistance by Frederick's brother Leopold, the retreat of King John of Bohemia from his alliance and a ban
Ban (law)
A ban is, generally, any decree that prohibits something.Bans are formed for the prohibition of activities within a certain political territory. Some see this as a negative act and others see it as maintaining the "status quo"...

 by Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

 induced Louis to release him under the Treaty of Trausnitz
Trausnitz is a municipality in the district of Schwandorf in Bavaria, Germany....

 of 13 March 1325. In this agreement, Frederick finally recognized Louis as legitimate ruler and undertook to return to captivity if he did not succeed in convincing his younger brothers to submit to Louis. As he did not manage to overcome Leopold's obstinacy, Frederick returned to Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 as a prisoner, even though the Pope had released him from his oath
An oath is either a statement of fact or a promise calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually God, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact. To swear is to take an oath, to make a solemn vow...

. Impressed by Frederick's noble gesture, Louis renewed the old friendship with Frederick and they agreed to rule the Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 jointly. Since the Pope and the prince-electors strongly objected to this agreement, another Treaty was signed at Ulm
Ulm is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at 120,000 , forms an urban district of its own and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and...

 on 7 January 1326, according to which Frederick would govern Germany as King of the Romans, while Louis would be crowned Emperor by the "people of Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

" under Sciarra Colonna
Sciarra Colonna
Sciarrillo Colonna, byname of Giacomo Colonna , was a member of the powerful Colonna family, and a strong enemy of Pope Boniface VIII. During the Outrage of Anagni, in September 1303, Sciarra reportedly slapped the pope in the face. He was brother to Stefano Colonna the Elder.The Colonna family was...

 in 1328.

After Leopold's death in 1326, Frederick actually withdrew from the regency of Germany and returned to rule only in Austria and Styria. He died on 13 January 1330, at Gutenstein
Gutenstein (Austria)
Gutenstein is a market town with 1,402 inhabitants in Wiener Neustadt-Land, Lower Austria, Austria....

 Castle in the Wienerwald
The Vienna Woods are forested highlands that form the northeastern foothills of the Northern Limestone Alps in the states of Lower Austria and Vienna. The long and wide hill range is heavily wooded and a popular recreation area with the Viennese....

 range, and was buried at Mauerbach Charterhouse, which he had founded. After the charterhouse was closed down in 1783, his remains were brought to the Ducal Crypt
Ducal Crypt (Vienna)
The Ducal Crypt is a mausoleum under the chancel of the Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria. It holds 78 containers with the bodies, hearts, or viscera of 72 members of the Habsburg dynasty.-History:...

 at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.

Frederick's gracious return to captivity inspired Friedrich Schiller
Friedrich Schiller
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

 to write his poem Deutsche Treue ("German Loyalty") and Uhland
Ludwig Uhland
Johann Ludwig Uhland , was a German poet, philologist and literary historian.-Biography:He was born in Tübingen, then Duchy of Württemberg, and studied jurisprudence at the university there, but also took an interest in medieval literature, especially old German and French poetry...

 to his tragedy Ludwig der Bayer ("Louis the Bavarian").

Marriage and issue

On 11 May 1315 Frederick had married Isabella of Aragon, daughter of King James II of Aragon
James II of Aragon
James II , called the Just was the King of Sicily from 1285 to 1296 and King of Aragon and Valencia and Count of Barcelona from 1291 to 1327. In 1297 he was granted the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica...

 with Blanche of Anjou
Blanche of Anjou
Blanche of Anjou was the second Queen consort of James II of Aragon. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, she is also known as Blanche of Naples-Family:...

, an ambitious woman with an immense dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

. They had two sons, who died early, their daughter Anna married the Wittelsbach duke Henry XV of Bavaria
Henry XV, Duke of Bavaria
Henry XV, duke of Bavaria, as duke of Lower Bavaria also called Henry III, .- Biography :...


Frederick was succeeded in Austria and Styria by his younger brothers Albert II
Albert II, Duke of Austria
Albert II of Austria , known as the Wise or the Lame, was Duke of Austria.-Life:Albert II was born at Habsburg, the son of Albert I of Germany, Rex Romanorum, and Elisabeth of Tirol...

 and Otto
Otto, Duke of Austria
Otto IV, the Merry was a Duke of Austria and the youngest son of Albert I of Germany and Elisabeth of Tirol.Otto was born in Vienna. He had two brothers, namely Frederick the Handsome and Albert II...

. It took the Habsburgs more than a century to regain the royal crown, when Albert's II great-grandson Albert V of Austria ascended to the German throne in 1438.