Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia

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Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia
Ludwig III. (Thüringen).jpg
Grave plate of Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia
Spouse(s) Margaret of Cleves
Sophia of Minsk
Noble family Ludowingians
Father Louis II, Landgrave of Thuringia
Mother Judith of Hohenstaufen
Born 1151 or 1152
Died 16 October 1190(1190-10-16)
Eastern Mediterranean Sea, near Cyprus
Buried Reinhardsbrunn

Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia, nicknamed Louis the Pious or Louis the Mild (1151/2 – 16 October 1190, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, near Cyprus) was a German nobleman. He was a member of the Ludowingians dynasty and was the ruling Landgrave of Thuringia from 1172 until his death.


He was the eldest son of Landgrave Louis II and his wife Judith of Hohenstaufen. In 1172, he succeeded his father as Landgrave of Thuringia. His younger brother Henry Raspe III (not to be confused with the later anti-king Henry Raspe IV) inherited Hesse and the possessions on the Rhine.

Louis III by and large continued his father's policies. He fought feuds with the noble families in Thuringia and the rulers of neighbouring territories (including the House of Schwarzburg and the House of Ascania) and with the Archbishopric of Mainz. He was a nephew of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and supported his policies. He stood initially on the side of Henry the Lion of the House of Welf. When Henry fell out with the Hohenstaufens in 1179, Louis sided with Henry's Saxon opponents. In 1180, he received the County Palatine of Saxony as a reward for this from the emperor. However, he gave the County Palatine to his brother Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia in 1181.

Louis III was wounded in the Erfurt latrine disaster of 1184. Unlike most of the victims, he survived.

He participated in the Third Crusade. When the main army took the land route via the Balkans and Asia Minor, Louis III and his contingent embarked in Brindisi and sailed to Tyre. After arriving in the Holy Land, he participated in the siege of Acre. However, before Barbarossa arrived with the main army, Louis III fell ill and decided to return home. He died on a ship sailing to Cyprus. His entrails were buried on the island; his bones were transferred to the Reinhardsbrunn monastery. In the 14th century, his bones were reburied in the Church of St. George in Eisenach.



  • Walter Heinemeyer (1987), "Ludwig III. der Fromme, Landgraf von Thüringen", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German) 15, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 421–422 
  • Karl Robert Wenck (1884), "Ludwig III. der Fromme, Landgraf von Thüringen", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German) 19, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 593–594 
  • Helga Wäß: Die Figurengrabplatte für Landgraf Ludwig III. Form und Wahrnehmung mitteldeutscher Gedächtnisskulptur im 14. Jahrhundert, vol. 2: Katalog ausgewählter Objekte vom Hohen Mittelalter bis zum Anfang des 15. Jahrhunderts, Tenea Verlag, Berlin, 2006, ISBN 3-86504-159-0. Luois' grave plate is described in vol.2, p 531-542 and fig. 798
  • Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen: Des Landgrafen Ludwig's des Frommen Kreuzfahrt. Heldengedicht der Belagerung von Akkon am Ende des zwölften Jahrhunderts, F.A. Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1854, reprinted: Elibron Classics, 2005, ISBN 1-4212-0687-0
  • Knochenhauer, Theodor (1871). Geschichte Thüringens Zur Zeit Des Ersten Landgrafenhauses (1039-1247). Gotha. 
  • Galletti, Johann Georg A. Geschichte Thüringens. 
  • Mägdefrau, Werner (2010). Thüringen im Mittelalter 1130-1310 Von den Ludowingern zu den Wettinern. Jena: Rockstuhl. ISBN 978-3-86777-152-8. 

External links[edit]

Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia
Born: 1151 or 1152 Died: 16 October 1190
Preceded by
Louis II
Landgrave of Thuringia
Succeeded by
Herman I
Preceded by
Count Palatine of Saxony