Albert I, Duke of Saxony

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This article is about the 13th century duke. For the 15th century duke, see Albert, Duke of Saxony.
Albert I, Duke of Saxony
Albrecht-I-von-Sachsen.jpg
Woodcut of Albert I c.  1550
Spouse(s) Agnes of Austria
Agnes of Thuringia
Helene of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Noble family House of Ascania
Father Bernard III, Duke of Saxony
Mother Brigitte of Denmark
Born c.  1175
Died 7 October 1260(1260-10-07)
Buried Lehnin Abbey

Albert I (German: Albrecht I.) (c. 1175 – 7 October 1260) was a Duke of Saxony, Angria, and Westphalia; Lord of Nordalbingia; Count of Anhalt; and Prince-elector and Archmarshal of the Holy Roman Empire. Even though his grandfather Albert the Bear had held the Saxon dukedom between 1138 and 1142, this Albert is counted as the first.[1]

Biography[edit]

A member of the House of Ascania, Albert was a younger son of Bernard III, Duke of Saxony, and Brigitte of Denmark, daughter of Canute V of Denmark. After his father's death in 1212, the surviving sons of the late duke divided his lands according to the laws of the House of Ascania: The elder Henry received Anhalt and the younger Albert the Saxon duchy. Albert supported Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor, in his wars against the Hohenstaufen.

In 1218 Albert's maternal uncle Prince-Archbishop Valdemar of Denmark, who had been deposed from his Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, found refuge in Saxony, before he joined the Loccum Abbey as monk.

On 22 July 1227 Albert I asserted as fellow victor in the Battle of Bornhöved, commanding the Holy Roman left flank, his earlier disputed rank as liege lord of the Counts of Schauenburg and Holstein, a privilege, however, lost by his successor John V in 1474.[2] After Bornhöved Albert reinforced and extended his fortress and castle in Lauenburg upon Elbe, which his father Bernard had erected in 1182.[3]

Albert came into conflict with Ludolph I, Prince-Bishop of Ratzeburg, and duly imprisoned Ludolph, where he was badly beaten, and later sent into exile.

After Albert's death at Lehnin Abbey, his sons, the elder John I and the younger Albert II, ruled together as Dukes of Saxony, with John succeeded by his three sons Albert III, Eric I and John II, until before 20 September 1296 they split Saxony into Saxe-Lauenburg and Saxe-Wittenberg, with the brothers jointly ruling the former, and Albert II ruling the latter.[4]

Marriages and issue[edit]

In 1222 Albert married Agnes of Austria (*1206–before 29 August 1238*) daughter of Duke Leopold VI of Austria

  • Bernard (d. after 1238)
  • Judith of Saxony, (1) ∞ 17 November 1239 King Eric IV of Denmark (*1216–1250*); and (2) ∞ Burchard VIII of Querfurt-Rosenburg, Burgrave of Magdeburg (1273–1313 recorded)
  • Ann Mary (Anna Marie; d. 7 January 1252), ∞ Duke Barnim I of Pomerania
  • Bridget (Brigitte Jutta) (d. 4 April 1266), fiancée of Otto of Brunswick and Lunenburg, ∞ before 1255 Margrave John I of Brandenburg [founder of the Johannean line Brandenburg-Stendal]
  • Mathilde (Mechthild) (d. 28 July 1266), ∞ ca. 1241 Count John I of Schauenburg and Holstein-Kiel

In 1238 Albert married Agnes of Thuringia (*1205–1246*), daughter of Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia

In 1247 Albert married Helene of Brunswick-Lüneburg (*1231–6 September 1273*), daughter of Duke Otto the Child

Ancestors[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Different counting traditions developed, following the arguments, that with Albert I's father Bernard ascending to dukedom, this was either (1) a successor of the old stem duchy of Saxony, with its two prior dukes named Bernard or (2) the sharply belittled territorial rest of Saxony remaining after the carve-up of the old duchy in 1180 formed the so-called Younger Duchy of Saxony, whose first duke of this name was then Albert I's father Bernard I (or III). Both traditions compete, more so with Bernard sometimes counted I or III, less so with Albert, usually counted I, but with his grandfather of the same name also having ruled as Saxon duke.
  2. ^ Cordula Bornefeld, "Die Herzöge von Sachsen-Lauenburg", in: Die Fürsten des Landes: Herzöge und Grafen von Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg [De slevigske hertuger; German], Carsten Porskrog Rasmussen (ed.) on behalf of the Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2008, pp. 373-389, here pp. 373seq. ISBN 978-3-529-02606-5
  3. ^ Cordula Bornefeld, "Die Herzöge von Sachsen-Lauenburg", in: Die Fürsten des Landes: Herzöge und Grafen von Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg [De slevigske hertuger; German], Carsten Porskrog Rasmussen (ed.) on behalf of the Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2008, pp. 373-389, here p. 383. ISBN 978-3-529-02606-5
  4. ^ Cordula Bornefeld, "Die Herzöge von Sachsen-Lauenburg", in: Die Fürsten des Landes: Herzöge und Grafen von Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg [De slevigske hertuger; German], Carsten Porskrog Rasmussen (ed.) on behalf of the Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2008, pp. 373-389, here p. 375. ISBN 978-3-529-02606-5
Albert I, Duke of Saxony
Born: ca. 1175 Died: 7 October 1260 in Lehnin
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Bernard I
Duke of Saxony
1212–1260
Succeeded by
John I and
Albert II

as Dukes of Saxony