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Henry II, Duke of Austria

Henry II, Duke of Austria

Duke of Austria from 1156 to 1177
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Duke of Austria from 1156 to 1177
A.K.A. Henry II, Jasomirgott, Henry XI
Gender male
Birth 1107
Death 13 January 1177 (Vienna, Austria)
Residence Vienna
Mother: Agnes of Germany
Father: Leopold IIIMargrave of Austria
Siblings: franzingxxx klindix Conrad III of GermanyLeopoldDuke of BavariaOtto of FreisingFrederick IIDuke of SwabiaKonrad II. von BabenbergAdalbert II von BabenbergBerta of BollAgnes of BabenbergGertrude of BabenbergDuchess of BohemiaJudith of Babenberg
Spouse: Gertrude of SüpplingenburgTheodora KomneneDuchess of Austria
Children: Leopold VDuke of AustriaAgnes of AustriaQueen of HungaryHenry I of MödlingRichardis of Babenberg
The details

Henry II (German: Heinrich, 1112 – 13 January 1177), called Jasomirgott, was the Count Palatine of the Rhine from 1140 to 1141, the Margrave of Austria from 1141 to 1156, the Duke of Bavaria from 1141 to 1156 as Henry XI, and the Duke of Austria from 1156 to 1177. He was a member of the House of Babenberg.


As the son of Margrave Leopold III, he first became Count Palatine of the Rhine until being appointed Duke of Bavaria and Margrave of Austria when his brother Leopold IV unexpectedly died.

In the course of the dispute between the Welfen and Staufen dynasties in the Holy Roman Empire, the duchy of Bavaria had been taken away from the Welf Henry the Proud by the emperor and given to the Babenberg dynasty. The new Emperor, Frederick I, tried to reach a compromise with the Welfs and endowed the son of Henry the Proud, Henry the Lion, with Bavaria in 1156. A replacement had to be found for the Babenberg family, namely the Privilegium Minus, by which Austria was elevated to a duchy and gained complete independence from Bavaria.

Unlike his father, who resided in Klosterneuburg most of the time, Henry moved his residence to Vienna in 1145. Only by this act could the modern Austrian capital surpass cities such as Krems, Melk or Klosterneuburg. Since then, it has remained the capital of the country. Also in 1147, St. Stephen's Cathedral was completed, which became a visible landmark of the city, showing its prominence. In 1155, Henry founded the Schottenstift monastery in Vienna, in the courtyard of which a statue of him stands to this day.

Until 1143, he was married to Gertrude of Süpplingenburg, the daughter of Emperor Lothair III. In 1148 he married Theodora Comnena, a niece of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I. Both marriages strongly show the importance of the House of Babenberg in Central Europe in that period.

Henry's brother was the important chronicler Otto of Freising. His sister Judith was the wife of William V of Montferrat.

Henry's nickname, Jasomirgott, was first documented during the 13th century in the form of Jochsamergott, the meaning of which is unclear. According to one theory, it is derived from an Arab word bearing a connection to the Second Crusade where Henry participated in 1146. According to a popular etymology, it is derived from the formula Ja so mir Gott helfe (meaning: "Yes, so help me God").

He was buried in Schottenstift, Vienna.

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