Leopold VI, Duke of Austria
|Duke of Austria, Duke of Styria|
Leopold the Glorious as mediator for Pope and Emperor, Babenberger Stammbaum, Klosterneuburg Monastery, 1489–1492
|Noble family||House of Babenberg|
|Mother||Helena of Hungary|
|Died||28 July 1230
Leopold VI (German: Luitpold, 1176 – 28 July 1230), known as Leopold the Glorious (German: Luitpold der Glorreiche), was the Duke of Styria from 1194 and the Duke of Austria from 1198 to his death in 1230. He was a member of the House of Babenberg.
Leopold VI was the younger son of Duke Leopold V and his wife, Helena of Hungary (daughter of Géza II of Hungary and Euphrosyne of Kiev). In contravention of the provisions of the Georgenberg Pact, the Babenberg reign was divided after the death of Leopold V: Leopold VI's elder brother, Frederick I, was given the Duchy of Austria (corresponding roughly to modern Lower Austria and eastern Upper Austria), while Leopold VI himself, while he was in Italy with Emperor Henry VI, became Duke of Styria in 1194. During the Hungarian Civil War of 1197-1199, Leopold joined Andrew II of Hungary's side and provided him with support against King Emeric of Hungary. It was during this time that the Austrian and Styrian duchies were reunified under Leopold VI when Frederick died while returning from the German Crusade of 1197 in 16 April 1198. Meanwhile, during the late 1198 Reichstags for a new Emperor, Leopold stood against the ruling to divide the Empire between Otto IV of Brunswick and Philip of Swabia, even though he presented himself on the side of Philip, receiving Philip's recognition. Then when the Hungarian civil war ended in 1199, Leopold remained in good relations with King Emeric to the end of Emeric's days.
In 28 May 1200, Leopold attended his girding ceremony of the ducal sword at Vienna with the Archbishop of Salzburg Eberhard II of Regensburg and the Archbishop of Mainz Conrad of Wittelsbach present. Leopold was originally engaged to a daughter of Ottokar I of Bohemia and Adelheid of Meissen, but after Ottokar divorced Adelheid, Leopold withdrew from the marriage and in 1203 married Theodora Angelina in Vienna. It's possible Walther von der Vogelweide was present at the wedding.
In 1204, King Emeric of Hungary died, making his 5 year old son Ladislaus III king of Hungary, with Emeric's brother Andrew regent, who made the boys life so hard, he and his mother, Constance of Aragon, fled to Leopold where Andrew threatened Leopold with war if he did not return Ladislaus. The boy died in Austria unexpectedly on 7 May 1205, possibly from overexhaustion and abuse from Andrew.
In the winter of 1206-7, Leopold sent an embassy to Rome to support his request for the foundation of a bishopric in Vienna to meet the requirements the Diocese of Passau could not meet; such as ordinations, confirmations, dedication of churches, plus other episcopal functions and to combat the rise of the Waldensian and Pataria heresies in his lands.
Leopold VI participated in the Reconquista in Spain and in two crusades, the Albigensian Crusade in 1212 and the failed Fifth Crusade from 1217 to 1221. Like his predecessors, he attempted to develop the land by founding monasteries. His most important foundation is Lilienfeld in the Lower Austrian valley of the Traisen river, where he was buried after his death. Besides that, he supported the then highly modern Mendicant Orders of the Franciscans and Dominicans. He elevated Enns to the status of a city in 1212, and Vienna in 1221, the territory of which was nearly doubled.
Under Leopold's rule, the Gothic style began to reach Austria - the Cappella Speciosa in his temporary residence of Klosterneuburg is known as the first building influenced by it in the Danube area - a reconstruction of it can be seen today in the palace gardens of Laxenburg.
Babenbergian Austria reached the zenith of its prestige under Leopold's rule. Evidence of this is given by his marriage to the Byzantine princess Theodora Angelina and his attempt to mediate between Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX, which he was working on when he died in 1230 in Italy.
Leopold's court is known as a center of the Minnesang, e.g., Walther von der Vogelweide, Neidhart von Reuental and Ulrich von Liechtenstein were active here. Also, the Nibelungenlied may have been written in his court.
On 10 June 1229 Emperor Frederick II landed once more in Apulia. This in turn caused the Pope, Gregory IX, to give Leopold a vehement appeal to join him on avenging on the Emperor for his crimes against Christendom. Leopold gave no such response, for he was unmoved by the invasion of Frederick II's son, Henry, of Ludwig I, Duke of Bavaria's dominion. Emperor Frederick II had so much influence, even many Austrian monasteries sided with him. So Leopold, together with the Patriarch of Aquileia, the Archbishop of Salzburg, the Duke of Merania, and others, welcomed the Emperor's invitation to arbitrate the quarrel with the Pope. He arrived in Italy by Easter 1230. After protracted negotiations, on 23 July 1230, the Pope and the Emperor swore to uphold the peace of San Germano, with Leopold and other princes pledging to the Emperor's observance of it. Leopold died at San Germano in 28 July 1230. The peace of San Germano was Leopold's last official act.
His life had been a symbol of chivalry for generations to be inspired from. No truer testimony is given than those of his contemporaries.
The Emperor wrote of him as "a man who loved peace and was zealous for harmony."
The Pope, Gregory IX, wrote to Leopold's widow:"We had such confidence in his uprightness that in the peace negotiations we followed his counsels."
Pope Gregory IX wrote again to Frederick II of Austria four years later in 1234:"We are convinced that he attained the crown of everlasting life, because he was a mirror and pattern of the virtues, by his integrity found favor with the Roman Church, gloriously obeyed the commands of the Redeemer to protect the Holy Land, honored the reverend German Order, and by his pious donations made plenty."
Even the Austrian monasteries to whom he lavishly donated to united to sing in praise of Leopold, calling him "Patrie decus, unicum cleri solacium" -- (Ornament of his Fatherland, Unique Solace of the Clergy).
Leopold and Theodora Angelina had seven children:
- Margaret, Duchess of Austria (1204 – 28 February 1266), married Henry, elder son and presumptive heir of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, then after he died, married King Ottokar II of Bohemia.
- Agnes of Austria (19 February 1205 – 29 August 1226), married Albert I, Duke of Saxony
- Leopold of Austria (1207–1216)
- Henry of Austria (1208 – 28 November 1228), Duke of Mödling, married Agnes of Thuringia; their only daughter, Gertrudis, was the general heiress of the House of Babenberg after the death of her uncle
- Gertrude of Austria (1210–1241), married Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia
- Frederick II, Duke of Austria (25 April 1211 – 15 June 1246)
- Constantia of Austria (6 April 1212 – 5 June 1243), married Henry III, Margrave of Meissen
|Ancestors of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria|
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Leopold VI, Duke of AustriaBorn: 1176 Died: 1230
|Duke of Austria
|Duke of Styria