Otto II, Duke of Bavaria

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Otto II Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria
Otto II Wittelsbach.jpg
Portrait from Die Chronik Bayerns
Born (1206-04-07)7 April 1206
Kelheim
Died 29 November 1253(1253-11-29) (aged 47)
Landshut
Buried Crypt of Scheyern Abbey
Noble family Wittelsbach
Spouse(s) Agnes of the Palatinate
Father Louis I Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria
Mother Ludmilla of Bohemia
Otto II with his wife Agnes

Otto II of Bavaria (German: Otto II der Erlauchte, Herzog von Bayern, Pfalzgraf bei Rhein, 7 April 1206 in Kelheim – 29 November 1253) known as Otto the Illustrious was the Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine (see Electorate of the Palatinate). He was the son of Ludwig I and Ludmilla of Bohemia and a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty.

Biography[edit]

Early Years[edit]

Otto was born at Kelheim. At the age of sixteen, in 1222 at Worms, he was married to Agnes of the Palatinate, a granddaughter of Duke Henry the Lion and Conrad of Hohenstaufen. With this marriage, the Wittelsbach inherited the Palatinate and kept it as a Wittelsbach possession until 1918. Since that time also the lion has become a heraldic symbol in the coat of arms for Bavaria and the Palatinate.

According to the Year-Book of Hermann of Altach, on Pentecost, that is 14 May 1228, Otto was present at Straubing with his father and King Henry (VII), along with a list of other princes and bishops. There he was knighted and give the Palatine County of the Rhine by King Henry (VII) and his father, with his seat of power in Heidelberg.[1][2] With the murder of his father in 1231 Otto also became Duke of Bavaria. There were rumors that the murderer had been bribed by the Hohenstaufen so Otto had a distanced relationship with Emperor Frederick II.

The Bavarian Wars of 1231-1234[edit]

His first years of government began with war on the Babenbergs and Andechs in 1231, who demanded formerly Andechs territory be returned. He seized Neckarau in 1232 from the Diocese of Worms, their ally.[3] This brought him and his house in dispute with Henry II, Bishop of Worms and his diocese for decades.

During his conflict with Frederick II, Duke of Austria Otto occupied Wels and Upper Austria in 1233. This caused the hostility of King Henry who was in rebellion against his father Emperor Frederick II and allied with Frederick of Austria. However, according to the Annales Scheftlarienses Maiores, in that same year, Henry and various German princes conspired in rebelling against the Emperor, to divide the realm, yet when Duke Otto refused to join in, Henry declared war and laid waste to Bavaria.[4] As a result, Otto had to extradite his son Ludwig as a hostage. But the incident improved his relationship to the emperor who fearing the discontent of the German princes ordered to release Ludwig.

Duke Otto in 1234 then had to war against the bishops of Salzburg, Regensburg, Augsburg, Tölz, Hohenburg and Freising, who refused to acknowledge his feudal lordship.

The Restored Sovereignty[edit]

In early July 1235, Duke Otto met with a surrendering Henry (VII) at Heidelberg, where he was imprisoned. Then he was later moved to Apulia.[5]

In late 1236, Duke Otto had joined Emperor Frederick against Frederick II of Austria, along with a large host of other princes, in laying siege to Vienna, after Frederick had refused multiple times to meet with the Emperor. The army was welcomed into the city by its citizens where they wintered. As a result, Frederick of Austria fled to Wiener Neustadt, where he consolidated his power.[6]

But only in 1241 after a dispute with emperor Frederick II was finally ended, Otto joined the Hohenstaufen party. The previously unsteady Otto then remained true to the Emperor. Reasons were also the threat of the Mongol invasion of Europe and increasing frictions with Wenceslaus I of Bohemia. Finally, after 50 years of hostility with the house of Bogen, the last heir, Albert IV, Count of Bogen, died in 1242, passing all their estates, including Niederaltaich Abbey, over to Duke Otto.[7] With acquiring the County of Bogen, the Wittelsbach acquired also the white and blue coloured lozenge flag which since that time has been the flag of Bavaria (and of the Palatinate). Not all were happy with the arrangement, when two former Bogen ministeriales, Albert and Werhard of Moos, broke the landfrieden law and were decapitated by Duke Otto at the market-place in Hengersberg.[8]

In the civil wars after 1245, Duke Otto's procurator in the Rhineland, Conrad of Alzey, was taken captive by Papal supporters and sent to the city of Conrad I, Burgrave of Nuremberg at Nuremberg. The Duke requested his release, but Conrad refused by counsel of Siegfried III, Archbishop of Mainz, who called Alzey an outlaw.[9] In 1246, Frederick II of Austria had died, and both Otto and Wenceslaus went to the Emperor's court to contest the Austrian inheritance.[10] There was also suspiciousness against Henry Raspe. Otto's daughter, Elizabeth, was married to Frederick's son Conrad IV in that same year. Because of this, Otto was excommunicated by Pope Innocent IV.

Final Years[edit]

An incident had occurred in Worms in 16 August 1249, while the Duke's son, Ludwig II, Count Palatine of the Rhine, was staying in the house of the Cistercians. The men of Duke Otto's marshal, Zurno of Alzey, quarreled with Philip of Hohenfels' men. A fight broke out and the "common rabble" of the city, as the Annales Wormatienses calls them, joined in. They stole horses, wounded many Bavarians and even killed one. Marshal Zurno and Ludwig II were escorted to different lodgings for their safety. The next day, Ludwig II publicly reconciled with the citizens of Worms, setting aside all the injuries and damages that he and his household had suffered. He received a letter signed by King Conrad, Duke Otto, Herman VI, Margrave of Baden and a few other lesser nobles, acknowledging that neither Ludwig II nor Marshal Zurno nor anyone else should attempt to avenge these injuries. And that attempting to do so, would bring these nobles against them. These same Ludwig, Zurno and their retinue were not to leave Worms until they satisfied the citizens from the harm done. On 17 August 1249, these men made the oath.[11]

He was finally convinced by Bertold of Regensburg to repent in 1250. But when Otto died in Landshut in 1253 only 12 years later, at the request of the widow and the sons, his body was given an ecclesiastical burial. Pope Clement IV declared that the Duke had given unmistakable signs of repentance. Like his forefathers, Otto was buried in the crypt of Scheyern Abbey.

Otto acquired the rich regions of the Andechs, Wasserburg in 1247 and Ortenburg in 1248 as possessions for the Wittelsbach and extended his power base in Bavaria this way.

Family and children[edit]

Otto married Agnes, the daughter of Henry V, Count Palatine of the Rhine (a son of Henry the Lion) and Agnes of Hohenstaufen, in Worms in 1222. Their children were:

  1. Ludwig I, Duke of Upper Bavaria (13 April 1229, Heidelberg – 2 February 1294, Heidelberg).
  2. Henry I, Duke of Lower Bavaria (19 November 1235, Landshut – 3 February 1290, Burghausen.
  3. Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Germany (c. 1227, Landshut – 9 October 1273), married to:
    1. September 1246[12] in Vohburg to Conrad IV of Germany;
    2. 1259 in Munich to Count Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol, Duke of Carinthia.
  4. Sophie (1236, Landshut – 9 August 1289, Castle Hirschberg), married 1258 to Count Gerhard IV of Sulzbach and Hirschberg.
  5. Agnes (c. 1240–c. 1306).

Ancestors[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Wieland 1898, pp. 28
  2. ^ Orlop 1979, pp. 194
  3. ^ Bachrach 2016, pp. 152
  4. ^ Weiler 2007, pp. 55
  5. ^ Weiler 2007, pp. 8
  6. ^ Wieland 1898, pp. 30
  7. ^ Arnold 1991, pp. 201
  8. ^ Arnold 1985, pp. 245
  9. ^ Arnold 1985, pp. 134
  10. ^ Holzfurtner 2005, pp. 34
  11. ^ Bachrach 2016, pp. 139-140
  12. ^ Bachrach 2014, pp 138
Bibliography
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  • Bachrach, David S. (2016). The Histories of a Medieval German City, Worms c. 1000-c.1300. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781472436412. 
  • Holzfurtner, Ludwig (2005). Die Wittelsbacher: Staat und Dynastie in acht Jahrhunderten (Urban-Taschenbucher). Kohlhammer. ISBN 978-3170181915. 
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  • Peltzer, Jörg (2013). Die Wittelsbacher und die Kurpfalz im Mittelalter: Eine Erfolgsgeschichte?. Schnell & Steiner. ISBN 978-3795426453. 
  • Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim (2013). Die Wittelsbacher am Rhein. Die Kurpfalz und Europa: 2 Bände. Schnell & Steiner. ISBN 978-3795426446. 
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  • Vogel, Susanne (2012). Die Wittelsbacher: Herzöge - Kurfürsten - Könige in Bayern von 1180 bis 1918. Biografische Skizzen. Staackmann. ISBN 978-3886752485. 
Otto II, Duke of Bavaria
Born: 1206 Died: 1253
German royalty
Preceded by
Ludwig I
Duke of Bavaria
1231-1253
Succeeded by
Ludwig II and Henry XIII
Count Palatine of the Rhine
1228–1253
Succeeded by
Ludwig II