Otto II (Bavaria)

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Otto II with his wife Agnes in a 16th century oil painting

Otto II the illustrious (born April 7, 1206 in Kelheim ; † November 29, 1253 in Landshut ) from the Wittelsbach family was Duke of Bavaria from 1231 to 1253 and Count Palatine of the Rhine from 1214 to 1253 . In 1248 he was governor in the Duchy of Austria and later from 1251 the last imperial governor . In expanding his position of power, Otto benefited from the extinction of other sexes, which also brought the white and blue coat of arms to his house and Bavaria. Soon after his death, the Bavarian divisions began among his descendants .


Origin and early years

Otto was the son of Duke Ludwig I of Bavaria and Ludmillas of Bohemia , the widow of Count Albert III. of arch . At the age of six, Otto was betrothed to Agnes von der Pfalz († 1267), the heiress of the Palatinate near Rhine (later Electoral Palatinate ), which his father received as a fief in 1214 and administered until Otto's sword line in 1228. As Count Palatine Otto was also imperial vicar and played a key role in the election of a king. In 1231 he succeeded his murdered father as Duke of Bavaria. The ducal suburb then moved from Kelheim to Landshut.

Duke, Count Palatine and Imperial Governor

In the fight against Frederick of Austria , Otto occupied Wels in 1233 and thus came into conflict with his ally, King Heinrich , who rebelled against his father, Emperor Friedrich II , during which Otto had to take his son Ludwig hostage. In 1234 Otto was again in a dispute, this time against Salzburg , Regensburg , Augsburg , Tölz , Hohenburg and Freising to enforce his feudal rights. Under the influence of Albert Behaim , Otto approached the Pope, which, however, led to further feuds with the imperial-minded bishops, and in 1238 he allied himself with Bohemia against the Hohenstaufen.

Due to increasing tensions with King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, distrust of the later anti-king Heinrich Raspe IV and the Mongol storm, Otto finally approached the Hohenstaufen. After the dispute with Emperor Friedrich II ended, Otto finally joined the Staufer party in 1241 . His daughter Elisabeth was married to Emperor Friedrich's younger son Conrad IV . For this reason Otto was excommunicated by the Pope. On behalf of the Hohenstaufen, Otto went against the claim of Hermann VI after the Babenbergs died out in Austria in 1246 . von Baden , who was married to Gertrud von Babenberg . Finally, in 1248, the Emperor handed over the administration of Austria to Otto, which he could not maintain against Wenzel's son, who later became King Ottokar II of Bohemia , who moved into Austria in 1251. As Count Palatinate near the Rhine, Otto also had a long dispute with the Archdiocese of Mainz in the conflict over Lorsch .

Before he moved to Sicily after the death of his father to take over his inheritance, King Conrad IV entrusted Otto with the exercise of rule in the empire at a diet in Augsburg in June 1251 , making Otto the last ever appointed imperial governor . Otto died unexpectedly while he was still under the church ban at the end of November 1253 and was buried in the Benedictine monastery in Scheyern . A memorial plaque for him was placed in the Walhalla near Regensburg.

Dynastic meaning

Under Otto's rule, territories of the dying noble families of the Counts of Bogen , the Counts of Andechs and the Ortenburgers came to the Wittelsbach family. With the Ortenburger Rapoto III. The last official Count Palatine of Bavaria died in 1248 . The dukes of Bavaria appropriated rights and property over time. When Otto von Meranien and the Counts of Andechs died out in 1248 , the former south-western part of the country did not return to Bavaria, but fell to the Counts of Tyrol . With the possessions of the Counts von Bogen, their white and blue diamond coat of arms, which is still part of the Bavarian state coat of arms, came to Bavaria in 1242 . The acquired property rights and sovereign rights were no longer issued as fiefdoms , but secured with the help of mostly ducal ministerials and a newly created administrative system. Under Otto II the establishment of a uniform legislation began, first offices, then nursing courts.


Coat of arms of Otto II.

In May 1222, Duke Otto II married Princess Agnes (1201–1267), a daughter of the Guelph Heinrich von Braunschweig and his wife, Countess Palatine Agnes bei Rhein. The marriage had five children:


predecessor Office successor
Ludwig I. Duke of Bavaria
Ludwig II. And Heinrich XIII.
Ludwig I. Count Palatine near Rhine
1214 / 1228–1253
Ludwig II. And Heinrich XIII.