Berthold, Duke of Merania

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Berthold IV of Andechs
Duke of Merania
Bertold and Agnes of Andechs Meran.jpg
Berthold and Agnes with their daughter Matilda, Hedwig Codex, 1353
Spouse(s) Agnes of Rochlitz
Noble family House of Andechs
Father Berthold I of Istria
Mother Hedwig of Wittelsbach
Died 12 August 1204(1204-08-12)
Buried Dießen Abbey

Berthold IV (died 12 August 1204),[1] a member of the House of Andechs, was Margrave of Istria and Carniola (as Berthold II). Already from about 1180/82 he bore the title of a Duke of Merania, that is, the Adriatic seacoast of Dalmatia and Istria.


Berthold was the son of Count Berthold III of Andechs and his wife Hedwig of Wittelsbach. His father had been a loyal liensman of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and in turn was enfeoffed with the Istrian march upon the death of the Sponheim margrave Engelbert III.

Young Berthold IV first appeared in 1170 and was mentioned as Count of Andechs in a 1172 deed. In 1175 he served as co-ruler in the March of Istria. After Emperor Frederick deposed Duke Henry the Lion in 1180, his mother's relative Otto of Wittelsbach received the Duchy of Bavaria, while Berthold was appointed Duke of Merania. The rule over "Merania", named after the Adriatic Sea (mare is Latin for "sea") of Istria, Rijeka, Croatia, and Dalmatia, actually encompassed the same area as the old Istrian margraviate, but its ruler now gained much prestige from his new title and the comital House of Andechs was elevated to Princes of the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1186, he accompanied Emperor Frederick's son Henry VI to Italy and his marriage with Constance of Sicily. In 1189, he led the third division of the imperial army and was its standard-bearer on the Third Crusade. In 1195, he appeared as Vogt (reeve) of Tegernsee Abbey in Bavaria. Berthold committed himself to join the Crusade of 1197, however, he did not participate until Henry's death in the same year. Though he had opposed the emperor's Erbreichsplan, he backed the claims of Henry's younger brother Philip of Swabia against the politics of Pope Innocent III who supported Philip's Welf rival Otto IV. At this juncture, the House of Andechs was at the height of its power and influence, with extended possessions stretching from Franconia down to the Adriatic.

Berthold died in 1204 and was buried at the Andechs private monastery in Dießen, Bavaria.

Marriage and issue[edit]

Berthold, Agnes and their family, Hedwig Codex, 1353

About 1180, Berthold married Agnes of Rochlitz[1] (died 25 March 1195), a daughter of Margrave Dedi III of Lusatia from the Saxon House of Wettin. They had the following children:[1]


Berthold, Duke of Merania
Died: 12 August 1204
Preceded by
Conrad II
Duke of Merania
Succeeded by
Otto I
Preceded by
Berthold I
Margrave of Istria and Carniola
Succeeded by
Henry II