, Agnes Of Babenberg

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Agnes of Babenberg
b: 1108/1113
d: 24/25 JAN 1163
Agnes of Babenberg (German: Agnes von Babenberg, Polish: AgnieszkaBabenberg; b. ca. 1108/13 – d. 24/25 January 1163), was a Germannoblewoman, a scion of the Franconian House of Babenberg and by marriageHigh Duchess of Poland and Duchess of Silesia.

She was a daughter of Leopold III, Margrave of Austria, by his secondwife, Agnes, second but eldest surviving daughter of Emperor HenryIV.[1][2]

Through her mother, Agnes was a descendant of the Salian Dynasty, whichruled the Holy Roman Empire since 1024 until her maternal uncle, EmperorHenry V, died without issue in 1125. She was the half-sister of FrederickII, Duke of Swabia, and Conrad III, King of Germany since 1138 (both bornfrom her mother''s first marriage with Frederick I, Duke of Swabia). Ofher full-siblings, one sister Judith married Marquess William V ofMontferrat and one brother was Bishop Otto of Freising, a renown medievalchronicler.

According to Wincenty Kadlubek, Polish chronicler and Bishop of Kraków(and this opinion is shared by other sources), Agnes was a veryambitious, energetic woman, and proud of her origins. It is no wonder theBishop called her in the pages of his Polish Chronicle, "Tigress"(Polish: tygrysica).

The ruler of Poland, Duke Boleslaw III Wrymouth, in order to hold hisground against the Empire wanted to obtain a powerful ally againstLothair III of Supplinburg, who in 1125 had been elected King of theRomans against Duke Frederick II of Swabia. He therefore forged analliance with the Babenbergs and the Hohenstaufen families, who, asrelatives of the extinct Salian dynasty, were the natural rivals ofLothair. In order to seal this alliance, a marriage between BoleslawIII''s eldest son Wladyslaw and Agnes was agreed. The wedding took placearound 1125; according to some historians, the couple had alreadyreceived the Duchy of Silesia from Boleslaw III as a gift.

Boleslaw III died on 28 October 1138. In his will, he divided Polandbetween his sons. As the oldest son, the supreme authority in the countrywas assigned to Wladyslaw II with the title of High Duke (Princeps). Inaddition to Silesia, he received the Seniorate Province (which includedLesser Poland, eastern Greater Poland and western Kuyavia) and theauthority over Pomerania. His half-brothers Boleslaw IV, Mieszko III andHenry received hereditary fiefs as Junior Dukes. In addition, WladyslawII would also receive the lands of Leczyca, then granted by Boleslaw IIIto his widow Salomea of Berg for life as her Oprawa wdowia and to revertto the Seniorate Province upon her death.

Almost immediately, the High Duke began his efforts to unify the countryunder his rule. Wincenty Kadlubek stated that the confrontation betweenWladyslaw II and his half-brothers was mainly instigated by Agnes, whobelieved that her husband, as the eldest son, had the right to be thesole ruler of the whole country.

In order to strengthen the authority of the High Duke, it is believedthat Agnes took part in the downfall of one of the most powerful noblesin the country, the voivode Piotr Wlostowic, who supported the JuniorDukes. According to a legend, the capture of Wlostowic was thanks toAgnes, because she sent her own retainers to his castle and they capturedhim during the night. This event was recorded in German contemporaryhistoriography; however, since this story is not confirmed, it notgenerally accepted by modern historians. Agnes demanded Wlostowic''sdeath, but her husband decided instead to make an example of him.Wlostowic was blinded, muted and sentenced to exile.

The tyrannical rule of Wladyslaw II and Agnes led to many of theirsubjects switching their allegiance to the Junior Dukes. In early 1146the High Duke''s forces were finally defeated near Poznan. Wladyslaw IIescaped to Bohemia, while Agnes and her children remained in Kraków,where for some time they maintained resistance against the Junior Dukesfrom the Wawel Castle. However, the attempts to defend the city wereunsuccessful and, in the end, the whole family was reunited in exile.

After a short time at the Bohemian court of Duke Vladislaus II, Agnes''half-brother, King Conrad III of Germany, offered his hospitality to thePolish royal family, who settled at the Kaiserpfalz of Altenburg. Atfirst, it seemed that Wladyslaw II would soon regain power in Poland. AGerman expedition against the Junior Dukes was launched in 1146, but dueto flooding of the Oder River and the pressures on the German king by themargraves Albert the Bear and Conrad of Meissen, the campaign failed.

The failure of the expedition did not discourage Agnes, who continuedwith her attempts to restore her husband. She asked for the interventionof Pope Eugenius III, who decided to raise the question in the 1148Council of Reims, and sent his legate Guy to Poland to obtain thesubmission of the Junior Dukes. However, they refused to accept thereturn of Wladyslaw II, and the Pope declared a ban over Poland. ThePope''s actions had few repercussions thanks for the united support of thePolish church hierarchy for the Junior Dukes.

In 1152 King Conrad III died and was succeeded by his nephew FrederickBarbarossa. With the accession of this energetic ruler, the hopes ofAgnes and Wladyslaw II of returning to Poland were rekindled. With theencouragement of his aunt, the new German King launched an expeditionagainst Poland in 1157. The campaign was a success but unexpectedlyBarbarossa did not restore Wladyslaw II to the Polish throne. InsteadHigh Duke Boleslaw IV was declared a vassal of Emperor Frederick and wascompelled to pay tribute to him. In compensation to Wladyslaw II, heforced Boleslaw to promise the restitution of the Silesian duchy toWladyslaw''s sons.

Both Agnes and Wladyslaw II knew that their battle was finally lost. Theyremained in Altenburg, where Wladyslaw II died on 30 May 1159. Agnes'' dayof death is generally placed by sources between 24 and 25 January, butthe year remained disputed among historians and sources. Certainly shesurvived her husband,[3] and it is known that she did not return toSilesia with her sons when they were finally restored in their heritagein 1163. Thus, it is believed that Agnes died between 1160 and 1163. Shewas buried in the Cistercian abbey of Pforta near Naumburg on the Saaleriver.

Agnes and Wladyslaw had the following children:
Boleslaw I the Tall (1127 – 8 December 1201).
Mieszko I Tanglefoot (1131 – 16 May 1211).
Richeza (1140 – 16 June 1185), married firstly in 1152 to Alfonso VII,King of Galicia, Castile and León, secondly in 1162 to Ramon BerenguerII, Count of Provence and thirdly by 1167 to Count Albert III ofEverstein.
Konrad Spindleshanks (1146/57 – 17 January 1180/90).
Albert (c. 1156 - c. 1168/78) (some historians claimed that Albert wasson of Zbigniew and cousin of Wladyslaw II).
  • 1108/1113 - Birth -
  • 24/25 JAN 1163 - Death - ; Altenburg, Holy Roman Empire
Agnes of Babenberg
1108/1113 - 24/25 JAN 1163
Agnes of Germany
1072/1073 - 24 SEP 1143
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Leopold III, Margrave of Austria
Marriage1105to Agnes of Germany
FatherLeopold II, Margrave of Austria
MotherIda of Formbach-Ratelnberg
PARENT (F) Agnes of Germany
Death24 SEP 1143 Klosterneuburg
Marriage1086to Frederick I, Duke of Swabia
Marriage1105to Leopold III, Margrave of Austria
FatherHenry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
MotherBertha of Savoy
FAgnes of Babenberg
Death24/25 JAN 1163Altenburg, Holy Roman Empire
MarriageABT 1125to Władysław II the Exile
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Władysław II the Exile
MarriageABT 1125to Agnes of Babenberg
FatherBolesław III Wrymouth
PARENT (F) Agnes of Babenberg
Death24/25 JAN 1163 Altenburg, Holy Roman Empire
MarriageABT 1125to Władysław II the Exile
FatherLeopold III, Margrave of Austria
MotherAgnes of Germany
FRicheza of Poland, Queen of Castile
Marriage1152to Alfonso VII of León and Castile
Descendancy Chart
Agnes of Babenberg b: 1108/1113 d: 24/25 JAN 1163
Alfonso VII of León and Castile b: 1 MAR 1105 d: 21 AUG 1157
Alfonso II of Aragon b: MAR 1157 d: 25 APR 1196
Alfonso II, Count of Provence b: 1174 d: 1 DEC 1209
Edward III b: 13 NOV 1312 d: 21 JUN 1377
Henry III b: 1 OCT 1207 d: 16 NOV 1272
Edward I b: 17 JUN 1239 d: 7 JUL 1307
Eleanor of Castile b: ABT 1245 d: 1290
Edward II b: 25 APR 1284 d: 21 SEP 1327
Edward III b: 13 NOV 1312 d: 21 JUN 1377
10 John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster b: 6 MAR 1340 d: 3 FEB 1399
Edward III b: 13 NOV 1312 d: 21 JUN 1377
Edward II b: 25 APR 1284 d: 21 SEP 1327
10 Edward III b: 13 NOV 1312 d: 21 JUN 1377
Marie of Brabant, Queen of France b: 13 MAY 1254 d: 12 JAN 1321
Edward I b: 17 JUN 1239 d: 7 JUL 1307
Edward III b: 13 NOV 1312 d: 21 JUN 1377
10 John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster b: 6 MAR 1340 d: 3 FEB 1399
Edward II b: 25 APR 1284 d: 21 SEP 1327
Edward III b: 13 NOV 1312 d: 21 JUN 1377
10 John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster b: 6 MAR 1340 d: 3 FEB 1399