- Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV (
1 April 1282– 11 October 1347), called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the Duke of Bavariafrom 1294/1301 together with his brother Rudolf I, Count Palatine of the Rhine until 1329, King of Germanyfrom 1314, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1328. Louis died from a strokesuffered during a bear-hunt in Puchnear Fürstenfeldbruck. He is buried in the Frauenkirche in Munich.
Early reign as Duke of Upper Bavaria
Though Louis was partly educated in
Viennaand became co-regent of his brother Rudolf I in Upper Bavariain 1301 with the support of his Habsburgmother Mechthild and her brother King Albert I, he quarrelled with the Habsburgs from 1307 over possessions in Lower Bavaria. A civil war against his brother Rudolf due to new disputes on the partition of their lands was ended in 1313, when peace was made at Munich.
In the same year Louis defeated his Habsburg cousin Frederick the Handsome. Originally, he was a friend of Frederick, with whom he had been raised. However, armed conflict arose when the tutelage over the young Dukes of
Lower Bavaria(Henry XIV, Otto IV and Henry XV) was entrusted to Frederick.On November 9, 1313, Frederick was beaten by Louis in the Battle of Gamelsdorfand had to renounce the tutelage.
Election as German King and conflict with Habsburg
After the death of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII, the Luxemburg party among the prince electors set aside Henry's son, the Bohemian king John of Luxemburg, because of his youth and chose Louis as rival king to Frederick the Handsome. Louis was elected in October 1314 upon the instigation of
Peter of Aspelt, the Archbishop of Mainz, with four of the seven votes. Louis then was quickly crowned by the Archbishop of Cologne, in Bonninstead of Aachen. In the following conflict between both kings Louis recognized in 1316 the independence of Switzerlandfrom Habsburg.
After several years of bloody war, victory finally seemed within the grasp of Frederick, who was strongly supported by his brother Leopold. However, Frederick's army was in the end decisively beaten in the
Battle of Mühldorfon September 28, 1322on the Ampfing Heath, where Frederick and 1300 nobles from Austria and Salzburg were captured.
Louis held Frederick captive in Trausnitz Castle for three years, but the determined resistance by Frederick's brother Leopold, the retreat of the King of
BohemiaJohn of Luxembourg from his alliance, and the Pope's ban induced Louis to release Frederick 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 did not succeed in convincing his brothers to submit to Louis.
As he did not manage to overcome Leopold's obstinacy, Frederick returned to
Munichas a prisoner, even though the Pope had released him from his oath. Louis, who was impressed by such nobility, renewed the old friendship with Frederick and they both agreed to rule the Empire jointly.
Since the Pope and the electors strongly objected to this agreement, another treaty was signed at
Ulmon January 7, 1326, according to which Frederick would administer Germanyas King of the Romans, while Louis would be crowned as Holy Roman Emperorin Italy.
However, after Leopold's death in 1326, Frederick withdrew from the regency of the Empire and returned to rule only Austria. He died on
January 13 1330.
Coronation as Holy Roman Emperor and conflict with the Pope
Despite Louis' victory,
Pope John XXIIstill refused to ratify his election, and in 1324 he excommunicated Louis, but the sanction had less effect than in earlier disputes between emperors and the papacy.
After the reconciliation with Habsburg in 1326, Louis marched to Italy and was crowned King of Italy in
Milanin 1327. Already in 1323 Louis had sent an army to Italy to protect Milan against the Kingdom of Napleswhich was together with France the strongest ally of the papacy.
In January 1328 Louis entered
Romeand had himself crowned emperor by the aged senator Sciarra Colonna, called "captain of the Roman people". Three months later Louis published a decree declaring "Jacque de Cahors" (Pope John XXII) deposed on grounds of heresy. He then installed a Spiritual Franciscan, Pietro Rainalduccias Antipope Nicholas V, who was deposed after Louis had left Rome in early 1329. In fulfilment of an oath, on his return from Italy Louis founded Ettal Abbeyon April 28, 1330. Philosophers such as Michael of Cesena, Marsilius of Paduaand William of Ockhamwere now protected at the emperor's court in Munich.
The failure of later negotiations with the papacy led in 1338 to the
declaration at Rhenseby six electors to the effect that election by all or the majority of the electors automatically conferred the royal title and rule over the empire, without papal confirmation.
Louis also allied in 1337 with Edward III of
Englandagainst Philip VI of France, the protector of the new Pope Benedict XIIin Avignon. Philip had prevented any agreement between the emperor and the pope. In 1338 Edward III was the emperor's guest at the Imperial Dietin the Kastorkirche at Coblence. In 1341 Louis deserted Edward but came only temporarily to terms with Philip. The expected English payments were missing and Louis intended to reach an agreement with the pope one more time.
Louis IV was a protector of the
Teutonic Knights. In 1337 he allegedly bestowed upon the Teutonic Order a privilege to conquer Lithuaniaand Russia, although the Order had only petitioned for three small territories. [Urban, William. "The Teutonic Knights: A Military History". Greenhill Books. London, 2003, p. 136. ISBN 1-85367-535-0] Later he forbade the Order to stand trial before foreign courts in their territorial conflicts with foreign rulers.
Louis concentrated his energies also on the economic development of the cities of the empire, so his name can be found in many city chronicles for the privileges he granted.
In 1323 Louis gave Brandenburg as a fiefdom to his eldest son Louis V. With the Treaty of Pavia the emperor returned the Palatinate to his nephews Rudolf and Rupert in 1329. The duchy of Carinthia was released as an imperial
fiefon May 2, 1335in Linzto his Habsburg relatives Albert II, Duke of Austriaand Otto, Duke of Austria.
With the death of duke John I in 1340 Louis inherited Lower Bavaria and then reunited the duchy of Bavaria. John's mother, a member of the Luxemburg dynasty, had to return to Bohemia. In 1342 Louis also acquired
Tyrolfor the Wittelsbach by voiding the first marriage of Margarete Maultaschwith John Henry of Bohemia and marrying her to his own son Louis V, thus alienating the house of Luxemburg even more.
In 1345 the emperor further antagonized the lay princes by conferring Hainaut,
Holland, Zeelandand Frieslandupon his wife Margaret of Holland. The hereditary titles of Magaret's sisters, one of them was the queen of England, were ignored. Due to the dangerous hostility of the Luxemburg Louis had increased his power base ruthlessly.
Conflict with Luxemburg
The acquisition of these territories and his restless foreign policy had earned Louis many enemies among the German princes. In the summer of 1346 the Luxemburg Charles IV was elected rival king, with the support of Pope Clement VI. Louis himself obtained much support from the Imperial Free Cities and the
knighthood and successfully resisted Charles, who was widely regarded as a papal puppet ("rex clericorum" as William of Ockhamcalled him). Also the Habsburg dukes stayed loyal to Louis. In the Battle of CrécyCharles' father John of Luxemburg was killed; Charles himself also took part in the battle but escaped.
Louis' sudden death in October 1347 avoided a longer civil war. The sons of Louis supported
Günther von Schwarzburgas new rival king to Charles but finally joined the Luxemburg party after Günther's early death in 1349 and divided the Wittelsbach possessions among each other again.
Family and children
He was first married to
Beatrix of Silesia-Glogau. Their children were:
# Mathilde (aft.
June 21, 1313– July 2, 1346, Meißen), married at Nürnberg July 1, 1329 Friedrich II, Markgraf of Meißen(d. 1349)
# a child (b. September 1314)
# Anna (c. 1316 –
January 29, 1319, Kastl)
Louis V the Brandenburger(1316–1361), duke of Upper Bavaria, margrave of Brandenburg, count of Tyrol
# Agnes (b. c. 1318)
# Stephen II (1319–1375), duke of
In 1324 he married
Margaret of Holland, countess of Hainaut and Holland.Their children were:
# Margarete (1325–1374), married:
## in 1351 in
Ofen Stephen, Duke of Slavonia(d. 1354);
Gerlach von Hohenlohe.
# Anna (c. 1326 –
June 3, 1361, Fontenelles) married John I of Lower Bavaria (d. 1340)
Louis VI the Roman(1328–1365), duke of Upper Bavaria, elector of Brandenburg.
# Elisabeth (1329 –
August 2, 1402, Stuttgart), married with:
Cangrande II della Scala, Lord of Verona(d. 1359) in Veronaon November 22, 1350;
## Count Ulrich of
Württemberg(died 1388 in the Battle of Döffingen) in 1362.
# William V of Holland (1330–1389), as William I duke of Lower Bavaria, as William III count of Hainaut
# Albert I of Holland (1336–1404), duke of Lower Bavaria, count of Hainaut and Holland
Otto V the Bavarian(1340–1379), duke of Upper Bavaria, elector of Brandenburg
Beatrix of Bavaria(1344 – December 25, 1359), married bef. October 25, 1356 Eric XII of Sweden
# Agnes (
Munich, 1345 – November 11, 1352, Munich)
# Louis (October 1347 – 1348)
Kings of Germany family tree. He was related to every other king of Germany.
* [http://www.rootsweb.com/~deubadnw/history/maps/d1347.jpgThe Holy Roman Empire 1347]
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