The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Frederick I of Austria (Habsburg)

Frederick the Handsome (born 1286; died January 13, 1330), from the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria as Frederick I and King of the Romans as Frederick (III).


Frederick was the son of Emperor Albert I and Elisabeth of Carinthia . After the death of his eldar brother Rudolf and the assassination of his father in 1308, he became the ruler of Austria on behalf of himself and his younger brothers.

Orginally, he was a friend of his cousin, Louis the Bavarian, with whom he had been raised. However, armed conflict arose, when the tutelage over the Dukes of Lower Bavaria was entrusted to Frederick.

On November 9, 1313, Frederick was beaten by Louis at Gamelsdorf and had to renounce the tutelage. After the death of Henry VII, Frederick became a candidate for the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, but Louis was elected in October 1314 upon the instigation of the Archbishop of Mainz with four of the seven votes. Louis was then quickly coronated in Bonn by the Archbishop of Cologne, instead of in Aachen.

After several years of bloody war, victory finally seemed to be within Frederick's grasp, who was strongly supported by his brother Leopold. However, Frederick's army was in the end completely beaten near Mühldorf on the Ampfing Heath on September 28, 1322, where Frederick and 1300 nobles from Austria and Salzburg were captured.

Louis held Frederick captive on Castle Trausnitz in the Upper Palatinate for three years, but the persistent resistance by Frederick's brother Leopold, the retreat of the King of Bohemia from his alliance and the Pope's ban induced Louis to release him in the Treaty of Trausnitz of March 13, 1325. In this agreement, Frederick finally recognized Louis as legitimate ruler and undertook to return to captivity if he would not succeed in convicing his brothers to succumb to Louis.

As he did not manage to overcome Leopold's obstinacy, Frederick returned to Munich as a prisoner, even though the Pope had released him from his oath. Louis, who was impressed by such nobleness, renewed the old friendship with Frederick and again shared his quarters with Frederick whe both agreed to rule the Empire jointly.

Since the Pope and the electors strongly objected to this agreement, another Treaty was signed at Ulm on January 7, 1326, according to which Frederick should administer Germany as King of the Romans, while Louis should be crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in Italy.

However, after Leopold's death in 1326, Frederick withdrew from the regnancy of the Empire and returned to rule only Austria. He died on January 13, 1330 on Castle Gutenstein in the Wienerwald, and was buried at Mauerbach in a Monastery he had founded. After the latter was closed down in 1783, his remains were brought to the Cathedral of St. Stephan in Vienna.

Frederick's sons with Elisabeth (originally Isabella), the daughter of King James II of Aragon, died early. Frederick's gracious return to captivity inspired Schiller to write his poem "Deutsche Treue" (German Loyalty) and Uhland to his tragedy "Ludwig der Bayer" (Louis the Bavarian).

|- | width="30%" align="center" | | width="40%" align="center" | King of Germany | width="30%" align="center" | Co-regent to :
Louis IV |- | width="30%" align="center" | preceded by
Albert I | width="40%" align="center" | Duke of Austria | width="30%" align="center" | succeeded by
Albert II |}

Last updated: 05-15-2005 06:25:25