Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia

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Louis IV of Thuringia, liber depictus, Český Krumlov, 14th century

Ludwig IV or Louis IV (28 October 1200 – 11 September 1227) was the Landgrave of Thuringia from 1217 to 1227.


Louis was born in Creuzburg to Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia, and Duchess Sophia, a daughter of Otto of Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria.[1] Upon his father's death in 1216, Louis ascended the Thuringian throne at the age of sixteen. On the Feast of St. Kilian in 1218 at age eighteen, he was armed as a knight in the Church of St. George in Eisenach.

At Wartburg Castle in 1220 at age twenty, Louis married 14-year-old Elisabeth of Hungary,[2] with whom he had three children: Hermann II, Landgrave of Thuringia, Sophie of Thuringia, and Gertrud, later abbess at Altenberg. He set up court in Eisenach.

In 1226, Louis was called to the Diet in Cremona, where he promised Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, to take up the cross and accompany him to the Holy Land. He embarked for the Sixth Crusade in 1227, partly inspired also by the tales of his uncle, who had been to the Levant with the Holy Roman Emperor. Fellow-travellers were five counts, Louis von Wartburg, Gunther von Kefernberg, Meinrad von Mühlberg, Heinrich von Stolberg, and Burkhard von Brandenberg; Louis left his pregnant wife behind, who had a premonition that they would never meet again.

In August 1227 Louis traversed the mountains between Thuringia and Upper Franconia, through Swabia and Bavaria, crossing the Tyrolian Alps. He fell ill of plague after reaching Brindisi and Otranto.[3] He received extreme unction from the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Bishop of Santa Croce. He died before reaching Otranto in 1227.[3] A few days after his death, his daughter Gertrude was born. Louis's remains were buried in Reinhardsbrunn in 1228.

After his death, Elizabeth left the court, made arrangements for the care of her children, and in 1228, renounced the world, becoming a tertiary of St. Francis of Assisi. She built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death at the age of 24 in 1231. She was officially proclaimed a saint only four years after her death. While Louis was never formally canonized, he became known among the German people as Louis the saint (German: Ludwig der Heilige). He is known elsewhere as Blessed Louis of Thuringia.

Family and children[edit]

He and Elizabeth of Hungary had the following children:

  1. Hermann II, Landgrave of Thuringia (1222–1241/42).
  2. Sophie of Thuringia (20 March 1224 – 29 May 1275).
  3. Gertrude (1227–1297), abbess at Altenberg near Wetzlar.


  1. ^ Remy, Arthur F.J. "Hermann I." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 13 Dec. 2012
  2. ^ St. Elizabeth of Hungary, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. Frank Leslie Cross, Elizabeth A. Livingstone, (Oxford University Press, 2005), 543.
  3. ^ a b The Crusade of Frederick II, Thomas C. Van Cleve, A History of the Crusades, Vol. II, ed. Robert Lee Wolff and Harry W. Hazard, (The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 446.


  • Walter Heinemeyer: Ludwig IV the Saint, Landgrave of Thuringia and Count Palatine of Saxony. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6, S. 422 f. (digitized).
  • Helga aq: Ludwig IV, the Holy, in: shape perception and memory medium German sculpture in the 14th century. A contribution to medieval grave monuments, epitaphs and curiosities in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, North Hesse, North-Rhine Westphalia and southern Lower Saxony. Volume 2. Catalog of selected objects from the High Middle Ages to the early 15th century. Tenea Verlag, Berlin 2006, S. 538 f. with Fig. 799 f. ISBN 3-86504-159-0.
  • Karl Robert Wenck: Louis IV, Holy, Landgrave of Thuringia. In: General German Biography (ADB). Volume 19, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1884, S. 594-597.


  • Mägdefrau, Werner (2010). Thüringen im Mittelalter 1130-1310 Von den Ludowingern zu den Wettinern. Jena: Rockstuhl. ISBN 978-3-86777-152-8. 
  • Knochenhauer, Theodor (1871). Geschichte Thüringens Zur Zeit Des Ersten Landgrafenhauses (1039-1247). Gotha. 
  • Galletti, Johann Georg A. Geschichte Thüringens. 

External Links[edit]


Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia
Born: 28 October 1200 Died: 11 September 1227
Preceded by
Hermann I
Landgrave of Thuringia
Succeeded by
Hermann II