Ludwig the Strict

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Stone portrait of Ludwig the Strict in the Munich Imperial Castle
Duke Ludwig the Strict in the Fürstenfeld Monastery ( Roman Anton Boos , 1765/66)

. Ludwig II , the severity (* 13. April 1229 in Heidelberg , † 2. February 1294 ibid), from the sex of the Wittelsbach was 1253-1294 Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine . Since the division of the country in 1255 , he ruled the Duchy of Upper Bavaria . Ludwig owes his euphemistic nickname to the execution of his first wife that he ordered. In a time of transition and great interregnum, he played an important role as elector for many decadesin the Empire. Under his rule, Munich first became a residential city, where Ludwig ruled in the Old Court . In addition, Ludwig often resided in Heidelberg.


Origin and early years

The eldest son of Duke Otto II gained war experience at a young age, for example with King Conrad IV against Heinrich Raspe in 1246 and against Bishop Albert von Regensburg in 1251 . Ludwig II entered the government as Duke of Bavaria in 1253. The Wittelsbach family also inherited their territory like a private property. There was no inheritance preference for the firstborn. The sons of a duke could either rule a country together or they had to divide it. The first two Wittelsbach dukes each had only one surviving son. Otto II, on the other hand, owned two: Ludwig II. And Heinrich XIII . On March 28, 1255, Ludwig shared the government with his brother Heinrich XIII. Heinrich received Lower Bavaria , Ludwig Upper Bavaria - where he made Munich his residence - and the Palatinate . The alleged conflicts between the two were rather disputes between followers of both sides.

Ludwig's nickname of austerity comes from the fact that he had his first wife Maria of Brabant executed in 1256 because he wrongly suspected her of adultery. The cause of the matter was a mistaken or wrongly interpreted letter to the Palatine knight Raugraf Heinrich I († 1261), the brother of the Worms bishop Eberhard I ; his grave slab is preserved in the Rosenthal monastery ruins . As atonement for this act, Ludwig donated the Fürstenfeld monastery (in Fürstenfeldbruck ). The act subsequently weighs on Ludwig as a flaw, who was never considered for the royal elections either. In his second marriage he was married to Anna von Glogau (around 1240-1271).

Duke and Count Palatine

Conradin's document for Ludwig the Strict, issued on January 10, 1268 in Verona. Munich, Bavarian Main State Archives, Kaiserselekt 821

Ludwig was the guardian of his nephew Konradin , who gave him the Duchy of Swabia . Konradin received the Staufer inheritance not only in Swabia, but also in Franconia and in the Bavarian Nordgau , which Ludwig administered for him. Ludwig tried several times to get Konradin's election as king. When he realized that his project had no chance, he decided on January 13, 1257 after financial donations in favor of Richard of Cornwall , also because he was less endangering the Staufer's claim to Sicily than the throne rival Alfonso of Castile . When Richard got involved in problems in his English homeland and was also taken prisoner in 1264, Ludwig again became active in favor of Konradin and accompanied him on his Italian expedition to Verona in 1267 . He withdrew in time and was not involved in the downfall of Konradin, who was executed in Naples in 1268 . Materially he benefited from his death, as Konradin appointed him as heir and ceded properties in the Upper Palatinate , around Sulzbach , in southwest Bavaria but also in Bavarian Swabia in the Conradin donation . Ludwig von Rudolf von Habsburg received confirmation of these acquisitions as a prize for his support in the election of a king in 1273 . In addition, Ludwig, who was now a widower again, received the hand of Rudolf's daughter Mathilde . Because of this connection, Ludwig became a partisan of the Habsburgs , supported his brother-in-law against the Bohemian King Ottokar II , received his electoral dignity for Bavaria in 1276 and took part in the battle on the Marchfeld in 1278 , in which Ottokar was killed.

After the death of his father-in-law Rudolf von Habsburg in 1291, Ludwig could not enforce the election of his brother-in-law Albrecht von Habsburg against Adolf von Nassau as king, whom he then only half-heartedly supported, as he remained firmly in the camp of the Habsburgs. The Electorate of the Palatinate was Ludwig indeed claim the Bavarian Electorate but fell already in 1289 in Bohemia back. However, this was primarily directed against Ludwig's brother Heinrich, who had participated in the election in 1273 in place of Ottokar.

Ludwig II gained considerable new possessions for his duchy - also in the Palatinate - and greatly expanded the ducal power. In his parts of the country he devoted himself to the territorial development and internal consolidation, pursued new ownership as well as an intensive alliance, fiefdom and peace policy, he also created a centralized administration and a fixed circle of advisors.

In 1290 Ludwig the Strict suffered a severe blow of fate. Ludwig, his oldest, still childless son, received a fatal wound at a tournament in Nuremberg. Ludwig the Strict himself died on February 2, 1294 in his Palatinate residence in Heidelberg . In his will he had chosen the Fürstenfeld monastery , which he had founded, as the burial place . He was buried in the local church. The exact location of his grave is no longer known due to the various alterations to the church, but a baroque memorial statue is dedicated to him in the church.

His successor was initially his son Rudolf I from his third marriage to Mathilde von Habsburg.

In the collegiate church in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse , built as a memoria by the House of Wittelsbach , there is an "eternal mass commemoration" for Duke Ludwig the Strict and several of his descendants.

Dynastic meaning

Ludwig II the Strict ruled as the last Wittelsbacher during his entire government until 1294 both over the Palatinate and in Bavaria and is the common progenitor of both lines. In the House Treaty of Pavia 1329, these lands were divided among the lines established by his sons Rudolf and Ludwig. On the other hand, his brother Heinrich's Lower Bavarian line died out in 1340 and was inherited by his son Ludwig. All Wittelsbachers since 1340 are therefore descendants of Ludwig the Strict.


Ludwig the Strict with his first two wives Maria von Brabant (center) and Anna von Schlesien-Glogau (right), 16th century

Duke Ludwig II married Duchess Maria (1226–1256, executed) in Landshut on August 2, 1254 , daughter of Duke Heinrich II of Brabant-Lorraine and his wife Maria of Swabia. The marriage remained childless.

In his second marriage, Ludwig II married Anna (1240–1271), daughter of Duke Conrad II of Silesia-Glogau and his wife Salome of Poland on August 24, 1260 in Heidelberg . From this connection three children emerged:

In his third marriage, Ludwig II married Mathilde von Habsburg (1253–1304), daughter of the Roman-German King Rudolf I and his wife Gertrud von Hohenberg, on October 24, 1273 in Aachen . Five children emerged from this connection:


Web links

Commons : Ludwig der Strenge  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. ^ According to the Regensburg Chronicle by Carl Theodor Gemeiner , quoted in: Adolph Köllner: Geschichte der Herrschaft Kirchheim-Boland and Stauf , Wiesbaden, 1854, p. 89; (Digital scan)
  2. To the Duke's burial place
predecessor Office successor
Otto II. Duke of Bavaria
Otto II. Count Palatine of the Rhine
Rudolf I and Ludwig IV.
- Duke of Upper Bavaria
Rudolf I and Ludwig IV.