Heinrich Raspe IV.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Seal of Heinrich Raspes

Heinrich Raspe (* 1204 ; † February 16, 1247 on the Wartburg ) was as Heinrich Raspe IV. From 1241 Landgrave of Thuringia and 1246/47 anti -king to Emperor Friedrich II. And his son Conrad IV. Raspe was the last Landgrave and only King from the house of the Thuringian Ludowingers . Until well into the 20th century he was known as the “priest king”. This approach has been modified in more recent research papers.


Heinrich Raspe was born in 1204 as the third son of Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia and his second wife Sophia , daughter of Duke Otto I of Bavaria .


In 1227 Heinrich followed his brother Ludwig IV , who died on the way to the Holy Land that same year , as regent of the Landgraviate of Thuringia; his youngest brother Konrad Raspe administered the Hessian parts of the country from 1231.

Heinrich initially ruled in place of Ludwig and Elisabeth's underage son Hermann II , who was only five years old in 1227 and died unexpectedly in 1241 at the age of 19. Some later historians tried to blame or complicit Heinrich for poisoning his nephew. However, there is no evidence of this in the contemporary and up-to-date sources. In view of the fact that Hermann himself issued documents from 1234 onwards, i.e. in fact ruled as a Landgrave, and since there are no inconsistencies between uncle and nephew, this suspicion has no real basis.

In 1241 Heinrich took part in the fighting against the Mongols who broke into Europe , but did not take part in one of the great battles against the Mongols.

Relationship with Elisabeth of Thuringia

There was evidently a tense relationship with Elisabeth, his brother's young widow and later saint . Later legends attributed the expulsion of Elisabeth from the Wartburg to Heinrich; It is more likely that Elisabeth left the Landgrave of her own volition, since she could not live there in the imitatio Christi , as she had promised.

After Elisabeth died in Marburg in November 1231 , Heinrich and his brother Konrad settled the Teutonic Order in Marburg through generous donations . In the summer of 1234, when Konrad Raspe joined the order, the German rulers also took over the St. Francis Hospice, which Elisabeth had donated. The efforts continued by Konrad for the canonization of Elizabeth by Pope Gregory IX. certainly did not take place against Heinrich's will. When Elisabeth's bones were raised on May 1, 1236, Henry and the Staufer Emperor Friedrich II were also present.


Grave monument of Archbishop of Mainz Siegfried III. von Eppstein: Siegfried (center) puts the crown on Heinrich Raspe and Wilhelm von Holland

After the previous incumbent, Archbishop of Mainz Siegfried III. Eppstein was surprisingly changed into anti-Staufer camp, Henry was in 1242 together with Wenzel I of Frederick II. to Reichsgubernator for his minor son Conrad IV. ordered. This was to prevent an impending war among the rival German princes.

Opposing king

Heinrich Raspe's certificate for Hermann I von Lobdeburg , Bishop of Würzburg, and his church, issued on May 23, 1246. Munich, Bavarian Main State Archives, Kaiserselekt 777

After the deposition of Frederick and Conrad in 1245 by Pope Innocent IV , Heinrich Raspe changed sides and, at the urging of the Pope and with the support of the Archbishops of Mainz and Cologne , was Siegfried III. and Konrad I von Hochstaden , elected king on May 22, 1246 by a minority of German princes in Veitshochheim near Würzburg . Because of this electoral assistance and additional donations from Rome, he soon received the nickname rex clericorum ("priest king").

His kingship remained controversial, because neither Frederick II - who was staying in the Kingdom of Sicily - nor Conrad IV recognized their deposition. In the Battle of the Nidda (also known as the Battle of Frankfurt ) on August 5, 1246, Heinrich defeated his former protégé Konrad, because Count Hartmann II. Von Grüningen and Ulrich I von Württemberg , with around 2000 followers, switched to Heinrich's side before the battle began. Heinrich forced two court days in Frankfurt and Nuremberg , but in view of the growing resistance against his kingship, he was forced to take to the field against the Staufer Swabians. In the winter of 1246 he had Ulm and Reutlingen besieged. When he was injured in a skirmish off Reutlingen, he surprisingly gave up his war plans and retired to the Wartburg, where he died on February 16, 1247.

He was buried next to his parents in St. Catherine's Monastery near Eisenach , but his heart was buried in the Dominican preacher church that he founded in 1235 in honor of St. Elisabeth .



Since Heinrich's third marriage also remained sonless, he obtained the contingent mortgage of his Wettin nephew Heinrich , son of his half-sister Jutta von Thuringia and the Margrave Dietrich von Meißen, with the Landgraviate of Thuringia from Emperor Friedrich .

With Heinrich Raspe, the Ludowingers died out in the male line. In the subsequent War of Succession , Heinrich's niece Sophie von Brabant , daughter of Ludwig and Elisabeth and wife of Duke Heinrich II. Von Brabant , succeeded in winning the Hessian possessions of the Ludowingers for their son Heinrich , while the Landgraviate of Thuringia passed on to Heinrich Raspe's nephew Heinrich III. from Meissen and thus to the Wettins .




  • Steffen Raßloff , Lutz Gebhardt : The Thuringian Landgraves. History and legends . Ilmenau 2017, ISBN 978-3-95560-055-6 .
  • Werner Mägdefrau : Thuringia and the Thuringian Landgraviate of the Ludowingers from the accession of Hermann I (1190) to the death of Heinrich Raspe (1247). In: Werner Mägdefrau et al .: Schmalkalden and Thuringia in German history: Contributions to medieval and modern history and cultural history. Museum Schloss Wilhelmsburg 1990.
  • Hans Patze : The emergence of sovereignty in Thuringia (= Central German research. Vol. 22). Part 1, Böhlau, Cologne and others 1962.
  • Jürgen Petersohn : Heinrich Raspe and the heads of the apostles or: The costs of the Rome politics of Emperor Friedrich II. (= Meeting reports of the Scientific Society at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Vol. 40.3). Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-515-08211-5 . ( Digitized version ).
  • Hans Martin SchallerHeinrich Raspe. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 8, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1969, ISBN 3-428-00189-3 , pp. 334-336 ( digitized version ).
  • Friedrich Wilhelm SchirrmacherHeinrich Raspe . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1880, pp. 439-443.
  • Hilmar Schwarz: The Ludowingers. The rise and fall of the first Thuringian landgrave family (= small series of publications by the Wartburg Foundation. Vol. 6). Wartburg Foundation, Eisenach 1993.
  • Matthias Werner (ed.): Heinrich Raspe - Landgrave of Thuringia and Roman King (1227–1247). Princes, kings and empires in the late Staufer period (= Jena contributions to history. Vol. 3). Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-631-37684-7 .


Web links

Commons : Heinrich Raspe IV.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. The oldest brother, Hermann, had already died in 1216, before his father.
  2. She is said to have motivated her to change sides with a lot of money and the prospect of inheriting the Staufers as dukes in Swabia.
predecessor Office successor
Hermann II. Landgrave of Thuringia
Henry the Illustrious
Ludwig IV. Count Palatine of Saxony
Henry the Illustrious