Otto I. (Bavaria)

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Equestrian monument, Hofgarten in Munich
Equestrian statue, Wittelsbacherbrücke in Munich, created in 1905 by the sculptor Georg Wrba

Otto I. der Rotkopf (* around 1117 probably in Kelheim ; † July 11, 1183 in Pfullendorf ) from the Wittelsbach family was the son of Count Palatine Otto V. von Scheyern († 1156) and his wife Heilika von Lengenfeld . He was in 1156 as Otto VI. Count Palatine of Bavaria and Duke of Bavaria from 1180 until his death . With him began the rule of the Wittelsbacher over Bavaria, which lasted 738 years until 1918.

Dynastic meaning

With his rise to Duke, the Wittelsbach rulership began over Bavaria, which only ended in 1918. However, since Otto, the rule of the Bavarian dukes extended over a significantly reduced Bavaria. The Duchy of Carinthia had already been split off in 976, the Duchy of Merania in 1153 and the Duchy of Austria in 1156 . In 1180, shortly before Otto's enfeoffment, the Duchy of Styria was also separated. The duchy , which had shrunk to today's Old Bavaria in 1180 , thus increasingly acquired the character of the late medieval territorial state since Otto . After Otto von Schwaben and Otto von Northeim , he was the third Duke of Bavaria with this name, but he is the first Duke of the Wittelsbach family in Bavaria to be listed as Otto I.


Otto was also Vogt of Freising , Weihenstephan , Geisenfeld and Ensdorf . He was married to Agnes , a daughter of Ludwig I of Loon and Rieneck . His brother Konrad I von Wittelsbach was Archbishop of Mainz from 1161 to 1165 and from 1183 to 1200 , and Archbishop of Salzburg from 1177 to 1183 . In 1180 another brother became Otto VII. Count Palatine of Bavaria.

Otto I was a close ally of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and worked diplomatically for him. He stormed and conquered in 1155 with 200 selected soldiers the position that exalted and dominated the Veronese hermitage, thus creating the conditions for Barbarossa's march back to Germany over the Alps . Because of his partisanship, which he also made clear with drawn sword at the court conference of Besançon in 1157, he was enfeoffed with the Duchy of Bavaria as a long-time supporter of the Hohenstaufen after the deposition of the Welf Henry the Lion on September 16, 1180 in Altenburg . Duke of Styria , which, like Traungau , was separated from the Duchy of Bavaria , became Ottokar IV . The lending came relatively late after the deposition of Heinrich the Lion, which had already been carried out in Würzburg in January, probably because the redesign of the southeast was not as easy to organize as in Saxony , which was divided up in April of the same year. In June, at the Reichstag in Regensburg, the deposition was confirmed on Bavarian soil.

Otto established the Wittelsbachers as the dominant power in Bavaria, even if the duchy could not be secured in the three years of his rule: only a few representatives of the Bavarian aristocracy appeared at the homage state parliament in Regensburg in November 1180. The Andechser with the recently as successor to the late Wittelsbach Conrad II. Duke of Meranien raised Berthold IV. , The Counts of Bogen who Ortenburgers or Ebersberger were the Wittelsbachs in wealth and power at least equal, if not superior. While the tribal nobility was largely hostile to the new duke, the Bavarian episcopate under the leadership of Otto's brother Konrad von Salzburg was loyal. With the help of the emperor, the church and his brothers, especially the new Count Palatine Otto, Otto I was able to enforce the ducal authority in Bavaria.

On his return from Constance, where the Peace of Constance had been authenticated shortly before , Otto died on July 11, 1183 in the imperial castle Pfullendorf. Otto's successor was his underage son Ludwig .

Otto I is buried in the Scheyern Monastery. In the White Hall of the Munich Residenz there are tapestries depicting his deeds. A memorial plaque for him was placed in the Walhalla near Regensburg .


Otto I married Countess Agnes von Loon (* 1150; † March 26, 1191) in Kelheim around 1169 , daughter of Count Ludwig I von Loon. The marriage had ten children:

  • Otto (* (1169); † August 7 (1178))
  • Ulrich († May 29 ...)
  • Agnes († January 13th ...)
  • Heilica (* (1171); October 9 (1200)); ∞ (before 1178) Count Dietrich von Wasserburg and Viechtenstein (1142-25 January (1206))
  • Agnes (* (1172); † (1200)); ∞ (before 1177) Count Heinrich I of Plain († October 30 (1196))
  • Daughter (* (1176)); ∞ (1190) Count Adelbert III. von Dillingen († February 15, 1214)
  • Richardis (* (1173); † September 21, 1231); ∞ (1186) Count Otto I of Geldern and Zütphen († October 22, 1207)
  • Elisabeth (* (1178); † (1189/1190)); ∞ Margrave Berthold II of Vohburg († May 25, 1204)
  • Ludwig the Kelheimer (* December 23, 1173; † September 15, 1231); ∞ (October 1204) Princess Ludmilla of Bohemia (around 1170 - August 4, 1240), widow of Count Albert III. of arch
  • Sophie (1170; † July 10, 1238); ∞ (1196) Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia (around 1155 - April 25, 1217)


Web links

Commons : Otto I. (Bayern)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Otto V. Count Palatine of Bavaria
Otto VII.
Heinrich XII. Duke of Bavaria
Ludwig I.