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Frederick the Fair.

Frederick the Handsome or the Fair (c. 1289 – January 13, 1330), from the House of Habsburg, was the Duke of Austria as Frederick I and King of Germany as Frederick III.

Frederick was the son of Albert I of Germany and Elisabeth of Tirol. After the death of his elder brother Rudolf and the assassination of his father in 1308, he became the ruler of Austria on behalf of himself and his younger brothers.

Originally, he was a friend of his cousin, Louis the Bavarian, with whom he had been raised. However, armed conflict arose between them when tutelage over the Dukes of Lower Bavaria was entrusted to Frederick.

On November 9, 1313, Frederick was beaten by Louis at Gamelsdorf and had to renounce the tutelage. After the death of Henry VII, Frederick became a candidate for the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, but in Frankfurt upon Main Louis was elected in October 1314 upon the instigation of Peter of Aspelt, the Prince-elector and Archbishop of Mainz with five of the seven votes, to wit Archbishop-Elector Baldwin of Trier, the legitimate King-Elector John of Bohemia, Duke John II of Saxe-Lauenburg, rivallingly claiming the Saxon prince-electoral power, Peter of Aspelt, and Prince-Elector Waldemar of Brandenburg.

Frederick received in the same election four of the seven votes, with the deposed King-Elector Henry of Bohemia, illegitimately assuming electoral power, Archbishop-Elector Henry II of Cologne, Louis's brother Prince-Elector Rudolph I of the Electoral Palatinate, and Duke Rudolph I of Saxe-Wittenberg, rivallingly claiming the Saxon prince-electoral power.[1]

Louis then was quickly crowned in Aachen by Peter of Aspelt, while Frederick was crowned in Bonn by Prince-Elector Henry II of Cologne. After several years of bloody war, victory finally seemed to be within Frederick's grasp, as he was strongly supported by his brother Leopold. However, Frederick's army was in the end completely beaten near Mühldorf on the Ampfing Heath on September 28, 1322, and Frederick and 1,300 nobles from Austria and Salzburg were captured.

Louis held Frederick captive on Trausnitz Castle in the Upper Palatinate for three years, but the persistent resistance by Frederick's brother Leopold, the retreat of the King of Bohemia from his alliance and the Pope's ban induced Louis to release him under the Treaty of Trausnitz of March 13, 1325. In this agreement, Frederick finally recognized Louis as legitimate ruler and undertook to return to captivity if he did not succeed in convincing his brothers to submit to Louis.

As he did not manage to overcome Leopold's obstinacy, Frederick returned to Munich as a prisoner, even though the Pope had released him from his oath. Impressed by Frederick's noble gesture, Louis renewed the old friendship with Frederick and they agreed to rule the Empire jointly.

Since the Pope and the electors strongly objected to this agreement, another Treaty was signed at Ulm on January 7, 1326, according to which Frederick would govern Germany as King of the Romans, while Louis would be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Italy.

After Leopold's death in 1326, however, Frederick withdrew from the regency of the Empire and returned to rule only Austria. He died on January 13, 1330 on Castle Gutenstein in the Wienerwald, and was buried at Mauerbach in a Monastery he had founded. After the latter was closed down in 1783, his remains were brought to St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.

Frederick's sons by Isabella of Aragon, a daughter of King James II of Aragon and Blanche of Anjou, died early. Frederick's gracious return to captivity inspired Friedrich Schiller to write his poem "Deutsche Treue" (German Loyalty) and Uhland to his tragedy "Ludwig der Bayer" (Louis the Bavarian).



  1. ^ The Golden Bull of 1356 then conclusively named the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg as electors.
Preceded by
Henry VII
German King
(formally King of the Romans)

first in opposition to and then jointly with
Louis IV the Bavarian
Succeeded by
Louis IV the Bavarian alone
Preceded by
Albert I
Duke of Austria and Styria
Succeeded by
Albert II


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