Albert I of Germany

Albert I of Habsburg (German: Albrecht I.) (July 1255 – 1 May 1308), the eldest son of King Rudolf I of Germany and his first wife Gertrude of Hohenberg, was a Duke of Austria and Styria from 1282 and King of Germany from 1298 until his assassination.

Albert I
Albrecht I. von Habsburg
King of Germany
(formally King of the Romans)
Reign27 July 1298 – 1 May 1308
Coronation24 August 1298
Aachen Cathedral
SuccessorHenry VII
Duke of Austria and Styria
until 1283 with Rudolph II
1298–1307 with Rudolph III
Reign27 December 1282 – 1 May 1308
PredecessorRudolph I
SuccessorFrederick the Fair
BornJuly 1255
Imperial City of Rheinfelden
Died1 May 1308 (aged 52)
Windisch, Further Austria
SpouseElizabeth of Carinthia
IssueRudolph I of Bohemia
Frederick the Fair
Leopold I, Duke of Austria
Albert II, Duke of Austria
Henry the Gentle
Otto, Duke of Austria
Anna, Margravine of Brandenburg
Agnes, Queen of Hungary
Elizabeth, Duchess of Lorraine
Catherine, Duchess of Calabria
Judith, Countess of Öttingen
HouseHouse of Habsburg
FatherRudolph I of Germany
MotherGertrude of Hohenburg


From 1273 Albert ruled as a landgrave over his father's Swabian (Further Austrian) possessions in Alsace. In 1282 his father, the first German monarch from the House of Habsburg, invested him and his younger brother Rudolf II with the duchies of Austria and Styria, which he had seized from late King Ottokar II of Bohemia and defended in the 1278 Battle on the Marchfeld. By the 1283 Treaty of Rheinfelden his father entrusted Albert with their sole government, while Rudolf II ought to be compensated by the Further Austrian Habsburg home territories – which, however, never happened until his death in 1290. Albert and his Swabian ministeriales appear to have ruled the Austrian and Styrian duchies with conspicuous success, overcoming the resistance by local nobles.

King Rudolf I was unable to secure the succession to the German throne for his son, especially due to the objections raised by Ottokar's son King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, and the plans to install Albert as successor of the assassinated King Ladislaus IV of Hungary in 1290 also failed. Upon Rudolf's death in 1291, the Prince-electors, fearing Albert's power and the implementation of a hereditary monarchy, chose Count Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg as King of the Romans. An uprising among his Styrian dependents compelled Albert to recognize the sovereignty of his rival and to confine himself for a time to the government of the Habsburg lands at Vienna.

He did not abandon his hopes of the throne, however, which were eventually realised: In 1298, he was chosen German king by some of the princes, who were bothered about Adolf's attempts to gain his own power basis in the lands of Thuringia and Meissen, again led by the Bohemian king Wenceslaus II. The armies of the rival kings met at the Battle of Göllheim near Worms, where Adolf was defeated and slain. Submitting to a new election but securing the support of several influential princes by making extensive promises, he was chosen at the Imperial City of Frankfurt on 27 July 1298, and crowned at Aachen Cathedral on 24 August.[1]

Although a hard, stern man, Albert had a keen sense of justice when his own interests were not involved, and few of the German kings possessed so practical an intelligence. He encouraged the cities, and not content with issuing proclamations against private war, formed alliances with the princes in order to enforce his decrees. The serfs, whose wrongs seldom attracted notice in an age indifferent to the claims of common humanity, found a friend in this severe monarch, and he protected even the despised and persecuted Jews. Stories of his cruelty and oppression in the Swiss cantons (cf. William Tell) did not appear until the 16th century, and are now regarded as legendary. [1]

Albert sought to play an important part in European affairs. He seemed at first inclined to press a quarrel with the Kingdom of France over the Burgundian frontier, but the refusal of Pope Boniface VIII to recognize his election led him to change his policy, and, in 1299, he made a treaty with King Philip IV, by which his son Rudolph was to marry Blanche, a daughter of the French king. He afterwards became estranged from Philip, but in 1303, Boniface recognized him as German king and future emperor; in return, Albert recognized the authority of the pope alone to bestow the Imperial crown, and promised that none of his sons should be elected German king without papal consent.

Albert had failed in his attempt to seize the counties of Holland and Zeeland, as vacant fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire, on the death of Count John I in 1299, but in 1306 he secured the crown of Bohemia for his son Rudolph III on the death of King Wenceslaus III. He also renewed the claim made by his predecessor, Adolf, on Thuringia, and interfered in a quarrel over the succession to the Hungarian throne. The Thuringian attack ended in Albert's defeat at the Battle of Lucka in 1307 and, in the same year, the death of his son Rudolph weakened his position in eastern Europe. His action in abolishing all tolls established on the Rhine since 1250, led the Rhenish prince-archbishops and the Elector of the Palatinate to form a league against him. Aided by the Imperial cities, however, he soon crushed the rising.[1]

He was on the way to suppress a revolt in Swabia when he was murdered on 1 May 1308, at Windisch on the Reuss River, by his nephew Duke John, afterwards called "the Parricide" or "John Parricida", whom he had deprived of his inheritance.[1]


CoA Albert II of Habsburg
Coat of Arms as King of the Romans

Albert, by the grace of God, King of the Romans, Duke of Austria and Styria, Lord of Carniola, over the Wendish Mark and of Port Naon, Count of Habsburg and Kyburg, Landgrave of Alsace

Marriage and children

In 1274 Albert had married Elizabeth,[2] daughter of Count Meinhard II of Tyrol, who was a descendant of the Babenberg margraves of Austria who predated the Habsburgs' rule. The baptismal name Leopold, patron saint margrave of Austria, was given to one of their sons. Queen Elizabeth was in fact better connected to mighty German rulers than her husband: she was a descendant of earlier German kings, for example Emperor Henry IV, she was also a niece of the Wittelsbach dukes of Bavaria, Austria's important neighbor.

Albert and his wife had twelve children:

  1. Rudolph III (c. 1282 – 4 July 1307, Horažďovice),[2] Married but line extinct and predeceased his father.
  2. Frederick I (1289 – 13 January 1330, Gutenstein).[2] Married but line extinct.
  3. Leopold I (4 August 1290 – 28 February 1326, Strassburg).[3] Married, had issue.
  4. Albert II (12 December 1298, Vienna – 20 July 1358, Vienna).[3]
  5. Henry the Gentle (1299 – 3 February 1327, Bruck an der Mur). Married but line extinct.
  6. Meinhard, 1300 died young.
  7. Otto (23 July 1301, Vienna – 26 February 1339, Vienna).[3] Married but line extinct.
  8. Anna (1280?, Vienna – 19 March 1327, Breslau), married:
    1. in Graz c. 1295 to Herman, Margrave of Brandenburg-Salzwedel;
    2. in Breslau 1310 to Duke Henry VI the Good.
  9. Agnes (18 May 1281 – 10 June 1364, Königsfelden), married in Vienna 13 February 1296 King Andrew III of Hungary.
  10. Elizabeth (d. 19 May 1353), married 1304 Frederick IV, Duke of Lorraine.
  11. Catherine (1295 – 18 January 1323, Naples), married Charles, Duke of Calabria in 1316.
  12. Jutta von Oettingen (d. 1329), married Ludwig V, Count of Öttingen in Baden, 26 March 1319.


  1. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ a b c Previté-Orton 1960, p. 796.
  3. ^ a b c Previté-Orton 1960, p. 797.


  • Previté-Orton, Charles William (1960). The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. 2. Cambridge University Press.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Albert I." . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 496. Citations:
    • G. Droysen, Albrechts I. Bemühungen um die Nachfolge im Reich (Leipzig, 1862)
    • J. F. A. Mücke, Albrecht I. von Habsburg (Gotha, 1865)
    • A. L. J. Michelsen, Die Landgrafschaft Thüringen unter den Königen Adolf, Albrecht, und Heinrich VII. (Jena, 1860).
Albert I of Germany
Born: 1255 Died: 1308
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rudolph IV
Rudolph V
Count of Habsburg
With: Rudolph VI (1298–1307)
Succeeded by
Leopold I
Preceded by
King of the Romans
Succeeded by
Henry VII
Margrave of Meissen
With: Theodoric II (1291–1307)
Frederick I (1291–1323)
Succeeded by
Frederick II
Preceded by
Rudolph I
Duke of Austria and Styria
With: Rudolph II (1282–83)
Rudolph III (1298–1307)
Succeeded by
Frederick the Fair
Leopold I
Agnes of Austria (1281–1364)

Agnes of Austria (18 May 1281 – 10 June 1364) was a Queen consort of Hungary by marriage to Andrew III of Hungary.

Albert II, Duke of Austria

Albert II (12 December 1298 – 16 August 1358), known as the Wise or the Lame, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1330, as well as Duke of Carinthia from 1335 until his death.

Anne of Austria, Duchess of Bavaria

Anna of Austria (1318–1343) was the youngest daughter of Frederick the Fair, of Austria and his wife, Isabella of Aragon. Her paternal grandparents were Albert I of Germany and Elisabeth of Tirol. Her maternal grandparents were James II of Aragon and Blanche of Anjou.

Anne of Austria, Margravine of Brandenburg

Anna of Austria (1275–1327) was a daughter of Albert I of Germany and his wife Elisabeth of Tirol. She was a member of the House of Habsburg.

Blanche of France, Duchess of Austria

Blanche of France (German: Blanca; c. 1282 – 1 March 1305), a member of the House of Capet, was Duchess of Austria and Styria as consort to the Habsburg duke Rudolph III, eldest son of King Albert I of Germany.

Catherine of Austria, Duchess of Calabria

Catherine of Austria (1295 – 18 January 1323, Naples) was a daughter of Albert I of Germany and his wife Elisabeth of Tirol. She was a member of the powerful House of Habsburg. She was Duchess of Calabria by her marriage.

Elisabeth of Austria, Duchess of Lorraine

Elisabeth of Austria (c. 1285 – 19 May 1353), also known as Isabelle, was a duchess consort of Lorraine, and regent of Lorraine during the minority of her son from 1329 until 1331. She was a daughter of Albert I of Germany and his wife Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol. She was a member of the House of Habsburg.

Frederick the Fair

Frederick the Handsome (German: Friedrich der Schöne) or the Fair (c. 1289 – 13 January 1330), from the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1308 as Frederick I as well as King of Germany (King of the Romans) from 1314 (anti-king until 1325) as Frederick III until his death.

Gertrude of Hohenberg

Gertrude Anne of Hohenberg (c. 1225 – 16 February 1281) was German queen from 1273 until her death, by her marriage with King Rudolf I of Germany. As queen consort, she became progenitor of the Austrian House of Habsburg.

Henry the Friendly

Henry of Austria, known as Henry the Friendly (15 May 1299-3 February 1327) was the son of King Albert I of Germany and Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol.

In 1305, Henry was betrothed to his stepniece, Elizabeth of Hungary, the engagement probably being arranged by Agnes, dowager queen of Hungary, who showed great affection for Henry. However, the marriage never took place. In 1314, Duke Henry married Countess Elizabeth of Virneburg. The marriage remained childless.

Henry helped his brother, Frederick the Fair, in his fight for the German throne. After the Battle of Mühldorf on 28 September 1322, Henry, King Frederick and 1,300 other Austrian nobles were taken prisoners. Henry spent several years in the Bohemian castle Biirglitz before being released for a ransom of 3,000 ducats and the cession of his rights to Znojmo, Castell, Laa and Weitra. Exhausted by the harsh prison conditions, Henry died at the age of 28. His widow had him buried at Königsfelden Abbey, along with several members of his immediate family.

Imperial ban

The imperial ban (German: Reichsacht) was a form of outlawry in the Holy Roman Empire. At different times, it could be declared by the Holy Roman Emperor, by the Imperial Diet, or by courts like the League of the Holy Court (Vehmgericht) or the Reichskammergericht.

People under imperial ban, known as Geächtete (from about the 17th century, colloquially also as Vogelfreierei, lit. "free as a bird"), lost all their rights and possessions. They were legally considered dead, and anyone was allowed to rob, injure or kill them without legal consequences. The imperial ban automatically followed the excommunication of a person, as well as extending to anyone offering help to a person under the imperial ban.

Those banned could reverse the ban by submitting to the legal authority. The Aberacht, a stronger version of the imperial ban, could not be reversed.

The imperial ban was sometimes imposed on whole Imperial Estates. In that case, other estates could attack and seek to conquer them. The effect of the ban on a city or other Estate was that it lost its Imperial immediacy and in the future would have a second overlord in addition to the emperor.

Famous people placed under the imperial ban included:

1180 Henry the Lion, for refusing military support to Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor against the cities of the Lombard League.

1225 Count Frederick of Isenberg, for killing his uncle Engelbert II of Berg, Archbishop of Cologne.

1235 King Henry (VII) of Germany, for his rebellion against his father the Emperor Frederick II.

1276 King Ottokar II of Bohemia, for his capture of imperial lands from Rudolph I.

1309 John Parricida, for the murder of his uncle King Albert I of Germany.

1415 Frederick IV, Duke of Austria for aiding the flight of Antipope John XXIII from the Council of Constance.

1512 and 1518 Götz von Berlichingen, the first time for robbery, the second for kidnapping.

1521 Martin Luther and his supporters, for spreading heretic beliefs and for splitting the church.

1546 John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony and Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, for leading the Schmalkaldic League.

1566 Wilhelm von Grumbach, for insurgency.

1621 Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and his supporters Prince Christian I of Anhalt-Bernburg and Georg Friedrich of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein-Weikersheim, for seizing power in Bohemia.

1706 Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, and Joseph Clemens, Elector of Cologne, for supporting France in the War of the Spanish Succession (ban reversed in 1714)

1793 Georg Forster, for collaboration with the French Republic.The imperial ban imposed by the Emperor Rudolf II on the city of Donauwörth after an anti-Catholic riot was one of the incidents leading to the Thirty Years' War.

John Parricida

John Parricida (German: Johann Parricida) or John the Parricide, also called John of Swabia (Johann von Schwaben), (ca. 1290 – 13 December 1312/13) was the son of the Habsburg duke Rudolf II of Austria and Agnes, daughter of King Ottokar II of Bohemia. By killing his uncle, King Albert I of Germany, he foiled the first attempt of the Habsburg dynasty to install a hereditary monarchy in the Holy Roman Empire.

Leopold I, Duke of Austria

Leopold I (4 August 1290 – 28 February 1326) from the House of Habsburg was Duke of Austria and Styria – as co-ruler with his elder brother Frederick the Fair – from 1308 until his death. Born at Vienna, he was the third son of King Albert I of Germany and Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol, a scion of the Meinhardiner dynasty.

Otto, Duke of Austria

Otto , the Merry (German: der Fröhliche; 23 July 1301 – 17 February 1339), a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1330, as well as Duke of Carinthia from 1335 until his death. He ruled jointly with his elder brother Duke Albert II.

Rudolf I of Bohemia

Rudolf of Habsburg (Czech: Rudolf Habsburský; c. 1282 – 3/4 July 1307), a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria (as Rudolf III) from 1298 as well as King of Bohemia and titular King of Poland (as Rudolf I) from 1306 until his death.

Rudolph, Duke of Lorraine

Rudolph (1320 – 26 August 1346), called the Valiant (le Vaillant), was the Duke of Lorraine from 1329 to his death. He was the son and successor of Frederick IV and Elisabeth, daughter of Albert I of Germany. Though he was but nine years of age when his father died and he succeeded to the duchy under the regency of his mother (until 1334), he was a warrior prince, taking part in four separate wars in Lorraine, France, Brittany, and Iberia. He was killed at the Battle of Crécy.In 1337, Count Henry IV of Bar refused to do homage for a few seignories he held of the duke. Rudolph was forced to devastate Pont-à-Mousson and its environs. In a series of reprisals, Henry ravaged the west of Lorraine and Rudolph attacked the Barrois. Only by the intervention of Philip VI of France was the war ended. By that time, the ties of Lorraine to France had become very strong. They were to become stronger under the half-Habsburg Rudolph. His second marriage was to the daughter of a French lord, Guy I of Blois, and niece of the king of France. He also assisted Philip with troops to lift Edward III of England's Siege of Tournai (1340) in the opening phase of the Hundred Years' War.

During a brief Anglo-French peace, he journeyed to the Iberian Peninsula to aid Alfonso XI of Castile in the Reconquista. He battled the Moors of Granada and shone in the Battle of Gibraltar on 3 November 1340.On his return to France, he came to the aid of his French brother-in-law, Charles of Blois, in the War of the Breton Succession. He returned to Philip's side at the Battle of Crécy and was killed there, along with many illustrious French cavaliers, on 26 August 1346.

His first wife was Eleanor (Aliénor), daughter of Edward I of Bar, and Mary of Burgundy. Their marriage took place at Pont-à-Mousson in 1329, but they had no children before Eleanor's death in 1332. He was remarried to Mary (1323–1380), daughter of the aforementioned Guy and Margaret of Valois, the sister of King Philip. They had three children:

twins (died before 31 July 1343)

John (1346–1390), his successor

Schnabelburg Castle

Schnabelburg Castle (German: Schnabelburg) was a small castle erected in 1150 by the lords of Eschenbach (Switzerland, near Lucerne) on the Albis chain South-west of Zurich, Switzerland, overlooking the nearby Schnabellücken pass.

In 1309 the Schnabelburg was destroyed by the Habsburgs, in revenge for the participation of Walter von Eschenbach in the murder of Albert I of Germany. All that is left today is low ruins, reachable in about 30 minutes on foot from the Albis Pass.

The Adventures of William Tell

The Adventures of William Tell is a British swashbuckler adventure series, first broadcast on the ITV network in 1958, and produced by ITC Entertainment. In the United States, the episodes aired on the syndicated NTA Film Network in 1958–1959.William Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland, supposedly active in the early 14th century. He supposedly encouraged the population of the Old Swiss Confederacy to revolt against the regime of Albert I of Germany (reigned 1298–1308). Tell's legend is recorded in the White Book of Sarnen (1474).

William I of Berg

William I of Berg (c. 1242 – 16 April 1308) was the son of Count Adolf VII of Berg and of Margaret of Hochstaden.Upon the death of his brother, Count Adolf VIII of Berg, William succeeded as Count of Berg. Formerly serving as a monk, he was absolved of his religious vows by the pope in order to take the position. His tenure was notable due to increased and constant conflict with the Archbishop of Cologne. In 1300 he supported King Albert I of Germany against the Rhenish electors which further strengthened his position against the archbishop. During his life he started foundations for monasteries and churches, including those in Beyenburg (now part of Wuppertal) and Gräfrath. He was also served as the benefactor of the citizens of Hückeswagen.

William married Irmgard of Cleves (?–11 May 1319), widow of Conrad I of Saffenburg and daughter of Dietrich VI, Count of Cleves. William and Irmgard are buried in the Berg family vault of the Altenberg Cathedral. As William had no children, his nephew Adolf IX of Berg, son of his brother Henry of Berg, Lord of Windeck succeeded him as Count of Berg.

Ancestors of Albert I of Germany
16. Albert III, Count of Habsburg
8. Rudolph II, Count of Habsburg
17. Ida of Pfullendorf
4. Albert IV, Count of Habsburg
18. Gottfried of Staufen
9. Agnes of Staufen
2. Rudolph I of Germany
20. Hartmann III, Count of Kyburg and Dillingen
10. Ulrich, Count of Kyburg and Dillingen
21. Richenza of Lenzburg
5. Heilwig of Kyburg
22. Berthold IV, Duke of Zähringen
11. Anna of Zähringen
23. Heilwig of Frohburg
1. Albert I of Germany
24. Burckhard III, Count of Hohenburg
12. Burckhard IV, Count of Hohenburg
6. Burckhard V, Count of Hohenburg
3. Gertrude of Hohenburg
28. Rudolph I, Count Palatine of Tübingen
14. Rudolph II, Count Palatine of Tübingen
29. Mechtild of Gleiberg, Countess of Giessen
7. Mechtild of Tübingen
30. Henry, Margrave of Ronsberg
15. unnamed
31. Udilhild of Gammertingen
East Francia within the
Carolingian Empire (843–911)
East Francia (911–962)
Kingdom of Germany within the
Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)
German Confederation (1815–1848)
German Empire (1848/1849)
German Confederation (1850–1866)
North German Confederation (1867–1871)
German Empire (1871–1918)

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