Ulrich III, Duke of Carinthia

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Ulrich III, Duke of Carinthia
Part of a seal used by Ulrich III
Spouse(s) Agnes of Merania
Agnes of Baden-Austria
Noble family House of Sponheim
Father Bernhard von Spanheim
Mother Judith of Bohemia
Born c. 1220
Died 27 October 1269(1269-10-27)
Cividale del Friuli

Ulrich III, Duke of Carinthia, also known as Ulrich III of Spanheim (c. 1220 – 27 October 1269) was a German nobleman. He was a member of the House of Sponheim (sometimes spelled Spanheim). From c. 1249 until his death, he was the ruling Lord of Carniola; from 1256 until his death, he was also the ruling Duke of Carinthia.


Ulrich III was the eldest son of Duke Bernhard and his wife, Judith, a daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia. He acquired Carniola by marrying Agnes of Merania, the widow of Duke Frederick II of Austria. From 1251, he was co-ruler of Carinthia with his father; in 1256 he succeeded his father as Duke of Carinthia.

In 1260, he completed the foundation of the Charterhouse Freudenthal in Vrhnika, which his father had begun. He also founded the Canons Regular monastery in Völkermarkt.

He had differences of opinion about his father's inheritance with his brother Philip, who was elected Bishop of Salzburg in 1247. Nevertheless, Ulrich and Philip concluded a treaty of mutual protection and inheritance. After Philip was deposed as Bishop in 1257 by the cathedral chapter, Ulrich and Philip fought together against Philip's successor, Ulrich of Seckau.

Later version of his seal, with his coat of arms

When it became clear in 1267 that Philip would no be able to regain Salzburg, he asked Ulrich III to divide their inheritance. He also proposed that he could be Ulrich's heir, as Ulrich's son from his first marriage had died young, and his second marriage was still childless. However, on 4 December 1268 in Poděbrady, Ulrich secretly concluded a treaty with his cousin, King Ottokar II of Bohemia, in which the King was made his sole heir. In 1269, Philip was elected Patriarch of Aquileia. However, his election was never confirmed by the Pope.

Ulrich III died in Cividale del Friuli on 27 October 1269. Both Philip and Ottokar II claimed his inheritance. Ottokar won the resulting struggle and in 1272, Philip surrendered and returned to the ancestral homeland of the Spanheim dynasty in Franconia. This was the end of the rule of the Spanheim dynasty in Carinthia.

Marriages and issue[edit]

Ulrich III was married twice:

  1. to Agnes of Merania, the widow of Duke Frederick II. This marriage produced a son, who died young.
  2. to Agnes of Baden-Austria, a daughter of Margrave Herman VI of Baden and Duchess Gertrude of Austria. This marriage remained childless.



  • Franz von Krones (1895), "Ulrich III. (Herzog von Kärnten)", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German) 39, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 222–225 
  • Friedrich Hausmann: Die Grafen zu Ortenburg und ihre Vorfahren im Mannesstamm, die Spanheimer in Kärnten, Sachsen und Bayern, sowie deren Nebenlinien, in the series Ostbairische Grenzmarken — Passauer Jahrbuch für Geschichte Kunst und Volkskunde, vol. 36, Passau, 1994
  • Dr. Eberhard Graf zu Ortenburg-Tambach: Geschichte des reichsständischen, herzoglichen und gräflichen Gesamthauses Ortenburg, part 1: Das herzogliche Haus in Kärnten, Vilshofen, 1932

External links[edit]

  • Ulrich III in the thesaurus maintained by the Consortium of European Research Libraries
Ulrich III, Duke of Carinthia
Born: c. 1220 Died: 27 October 1269
Preceded by
Duke of Carinthia
Succeeded by