Leopold V, Duke of Austria
|Duke of Austria, Duke of Styria|
Leopold the Virtuous receiving the banner from Emperor Henry VI, Babenberger Stammbaum, Klosterneuburg Monastery, 1489–1492
|Spouse||Helena of Hungary|
|Noble family||House of Babenberg|
|Died||31 December 1194
Leopold V (German: Luitpold, 1157 – 31 December, 1194), known as Leopold the Virtuous (German: Luitpold der Tugendhafte), was the Duke of Austria from 1177 and the Duke of Styria from 1192 until his death in 1194. He was a member of the House of Babenberg, the son of Henry II Jasomirgott and his Byzantine wife, Theodora Comnena, a daughter of Andronicus Comnenus, the second eldest son of the Emperor John II Komnenos.
Leopold succeeded his father as Duke of Austria upon his death on 13 January 1177. Soon after becoming Duke, Leopold lent his support to Frederick of Bohemia in his struggle against Duke Soběslav II, who had campaigned in the Austrian duchy, and in 1179, Leopold reached a peace agreement with Bohemia. On 17 August 1186, he negotiated the Georgenberg Pact with Ottokar IV of Styria, by which Styria and the central part of Upper Austria were amalgamated into the Duchy of Austria after 1192. This was the first step towards the creation of modern Austria.
Leopold is mainly remembered outside Austria for his participation in the Third Crusade. He arrived to take part in the siege of Acre in spring 1191, having sailed from Zadar on the Adriatic coast. He took over command of what remained of the imperial forces after the death of Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia in January. According to legend, his tunic was blood-soaked after the fights and when he doffed his belt, a white stripe appeared. Emperor Henry VI granted him the privilege to adopt these colours as his new banner, that later would become the flag of Austria.
After Acre had surrendered, the banners of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Richard I of England, Philip II of France and Leopold's ducal flag were raised in the city by Leopold's cousin, Conrad of Montferrat. However, Richard removed Leopold's colours (see Siege of Acre) and the duke wrathfully left for his Austrian home, where he arrived by the end of 1191. Richard was also suspected of involvement in the murder of Conrad, shortly after his election as King of Jerusalem in April 1192.
On his journey back that winter, Richard, travelling in disguise, shortly before Christmas 1192 had to stop near Vienna, where he was recognized (supposedly because of his signet ring) and arrested in Erdberg (modern Landstraße district). For some time the king was imprisoned in Dürnstein, and in March 1193 was brought before Emperor Henry VI at Trifels Castle, accused of Conrad's murder. Leopold's share of the immense ransom, supposedly six thousand buckets—about 23 tons—of silver, became the foundation for the mint in Vienna, and was used to build new city walls for Vienna, as well as to found the towns of Wiener Neustadt and Friedberg in Styria. However, the duke was excommunicated by Pope Celestine III for having taken a fellow crusader prisoner.
In 1194, Leopold's foot was crushed when his horse fell on him at a tournament in Graz. While advised by his surgeons to have the foot amputated, none declared competence to do so. He ordered his servants to chop it off with an axe, after three swings succeeding. Nonetheless he succumbed to gangrene, still an excommunicate, and was buried at Heiligenkreuz Abbey.
Marriage and children
|Ancestors of Leopold V, Duke of Austria|
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Leopold V, Duke of AustriaBorn: 1157 Died: 31 December 1194
|Duke of Austria
|Duke of Styria