The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Henry II of Austria

Heinrich (Henry) II, (born 1107, died January 13, 1177), Count Palatine of the Rhine 1140-1141, Margrave of Austria from 1141 to 1156, Duke of Bavaria from 1143 to 1156, Duke of Austria 1156-1177, was a prince from the dynasty of Babenberg.

As the son of Markgrave Leopold III, he first became Count Palatine of the Rhine until being appointed Duke of Bavaria and Margrave of Austria after the unexpected death of his brother Leopold IV. In the course of the dispute between the Welfen and Staufen dynasties in the Holy Roman Empire, the duchy of Bavaria had been taken away from the Welf Henry the Proud by the emperor and given to the Babenberg dynasty. The new Emperor Friedrich I tried to reach a compromise with the Welfen and endowed the son of Henry the Proud, Henry the Lion, with Bavaria in 1156. A replacement had to be found for the Babenberg family, namely the Privilegium Minus, by which Austria gained complete independence from Bavaria as a duchy.

Other than his father, who resided in Klosterneuburg for most of the time, Henry moved his residence to Vienna in 1145. Only by this act, the modern Austrian capital could surpass cities such as Krems, Melk or Klosterneuburg. Since then, it has remained the capital of the country. Also in 1147, the Cathedral of Saint Stephan was completed, which became a visible landmark of the city, showing its prominence. In 1155, Henry founded the Schottenstift monastary in Vienna, in the courtyard of which there is a statue of him to this day

Until 1143, he was married to Gertrud, a niece of Emperor Lothar II, from 1148 to Theodora Kommnena, a niece of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I. Both marriages strongly show the importance of the House of Babenberg in Central Europe in that time.

Henry's brother was the important chronicler Otto of Freising.

Henry's surname Jasomirgott is first documented during the 13th century in the form of Jochsamergott, the meaning of which is unclear. According to one theory, it is derived from an Arab word bearing a connection to the Second Crusade, in which he participated in 1146. According to a popular etymology, it is derived from the formula Ja so mir Gott helfe (="so help me God).

Last updated: 06-02-2005 17:31:22
Last updated: 08-19-2005 09:56:59