Leopold III. of Habsburg

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Duke Leopold III. of Habsburg

Leopold III. the Just (born November 1, 1351 in Vienna , † July 9, 1386 in Sempach ) from the House of Habsburg was Duke of Austria , Styria , Carinthia and Carniola .


Leopold was born the son of Duke Albrecht II the Wise (Lame) and Johanna , daughter of Ulrich II (Count von Pfirt).

With regard to his successor, Albrecht II had already issued Habsburg house rules in 1355 , according to which the sons should have run government affairs together and with equal rights. When he died on July 20, 1358, due to the minority of the three younger sons, the eldest, Rudolf IV the founder , took over the government alone. In 1364 he decided to issue the Rudolfinische Hausordnung , according to which the Habsburg lands are the common property of all brothers. A document that shows the signatures of all three brothers (the second oldest, Friedrich III , died in 1362) is the famous founding letter of the Vienna University in 1365.

Just a few months later, however, Rudolf IV died surprisingly at the age of 26, and the two brothers Albrecht III. the business of government was shared with the braid (15 or 16 years old) and Leopold (14 years old). The formal enfeoffment was made by Emperor Charles IV. Due to the older age, Albrecht assumed the leading role in the joint government activity, which was soon to be attributed to the traditional differences in the temperament of the two brothers, Leopold is described as ambitious and thirsty for action, Albrecht, however, as level-headed increased tensions.

With the Treaty of Schärding in 1369, the Habsburg possession of Tyrol was recognized by the Wittelsbach family . In 1373 the brothers divided the administration of the property between themselves: Leopold became regent of Tyrol and the foothills . Finally, probably also to prevent an open fight, both the government and the possession of the Habsburg lands were divided:

Through the Neuberg partition contract of September 25, 1379, Leopold was awarded the duchies of Styria (with Wiener Neustadt ), Carinthia , Krain , the Windische Mark , Görz and goods in Friuli as well as the county of Tyrol and Upper Austria west of the Arlberg .

This also resulted in the momentous division of the House of Habsburg into the Leopoldine and Albertine lines .

In 1368 Freiburg im Breisgau voluntarily submitted to Leopold after the city had been abandoned by Egino III. had bought free. In 1374 Leopold inherited the Görzer property in Istria and the Windischen Mark with Möttling . Feldkirch was added in 1375, and Trieste in 1382 . In the 1380s, Leopold tried to promote trade in Tyrol through specific privileges of the cities (e.g. Meran and 1381 council privilege and awarding of the seal for Bolzano ). This contributed to the rise of the bourgeoisie in the cities. On April 27, 1386 he acquired the town and rule of Laufenburg from his cousin Johann IV for 12,000 guilders .

Epitaph with the coat of arms of the Habsburgs in the collegiate church of St. Paul in Lavanttal

Leopold tried to expand his position in the west. So he received the imperial bailiwick over Basel and was able to bring the city under Habsburg dominance for a decade after the evil carnival of 1376. However, in 1386 he suffered a sensational defeat against the Confederates in the Battle of Sempach and fell himself in the battle. He had already had a crypt chapel built for himself in the castle in Wiener Neustadt , but was buried in the church of the monastery of Königsfelden near Brugg. Through the solemn translation of the imperial-royal-also-ducal-Austrian highest corpses , he and the others first came to the St. Blasien Cathedral and after the abolition of the St. Blasien monastery in the collegiate church crypt of the St. Paul monastery in Lavanttal in Carinthia.

Franz Ludwig Haller , who kept the well-preserved skeleton of Leopold III. Examined in 1769, 1770 and again in 1806, described frontal and right-temporal cut and stab injuries to the skull.


Leopold was married to Viridis Visconti (* around 1350 in Milan, † before March 1, 1414 in Milan), daughter of the Lord of Milan, Bernabò Visconti , and his wife Princess Beatrix della Scala, in Vienna since 1365 .

Guardian for the death of Leopold III. Brother Albrecht, who is the actual “successor” of Leopold, is still underage sons and thus sole ruler of all Habsburg territories. After Albrecht's death (1395), his son Albrecht IV took over the reign, but Leopold's sons soon succeeded in participating in the government again.

These descendants of Leopold and their descendants form the Leopoldinische line of the Habsburgs, who, after the extinction of the primogeniture of Albertiner after his brother Ladislaus the Posthumous 1457, later than I Emperor Maximilian (1459-1519), the House Austria produces. After the death of Emperor Charles VI. the male Habsburgs died out in 1740. With the marriage of the Duke of Lorraine, Franz I Stephan , to Maria Theresa , the heiress of the House of Habsburg, the House of Habsburg-Lothringen was created in 1736 and continues to this day.


Virtuti nil invium 'The path of virtue' (literally: 'nothing impassable for virtue')


Web links

Commons : Leopold III. von Habsburg  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hannes Obermair : Bozen Süd - Bolzano Nord. Written form and documentary tradition of the city of Bozen up to 1500 . tape 1 . City of Bozen, Bozen 2005, ISBN 88-901870-0-X , p. 397-398, No. 838 .
  2. ^ Fridolin Jehle : History of the City of Laufenburg , 1979
  3. ^ Franz Ludwig Haller: Representation of the strangest Swiss battles from 1298 to 1499. Wallis, 1826, note 60 on p. 205.
predecessor Office successor
Rudolf IV, the founder Count of Habsburg
(until 1379 together with Albrecht III )
Wilhelm and Albrecht IV.
until 1379 together with Albrecht III. Duke of Carinthia
Rudolf IV. Count of Tyrol
Albrecht III.