Heinrich the lion

coronation/culmination of Heinrich the lion and Mathilda. (from the Evangeliar Heinrichs of the lion, around 1188)

Heinrich the lion (* 1129 probably in Ravensburg; † 6. August 1195 in Braunschweig), from the sex of the Welfen, was duke of Saxonia (1142-1180) and Bavaria (1156-1180). It was one of the most powerful realm princes 12. Century and stood repeated in the conflict with the king house this time, pilotfar from.

Table of contents


Family integration

Heinrich der Löwe und seine Gemahlin Mathilde, Deckplatte ihres Grabmales im Braunschweiger Dom
Heinrich the lion and its wife Mathilde, cover plate of their tomb in the Braunschweiger cathedral

Heinrichs father was Heinrich pride, from 1126 to 1138 as Heinrich X. Duke of Bavaria and from 1137 to its sudden deathat the age of not even 32 years 1139 also duke of Saxonia as well as duke of Tuszien. Its nut/mother was Gertrud of Süpplingenburg, the hereditary daughter emperor Lothars III.

1147 married Heinrich the lion Clementia of tough rings, whereby he areas of Baden around the castle Badenweiler acquired. Its common daughter Gertrud married late Knut IV. of Denmark. 1162 it separated from Clementia, probably on pressure from emperor Friedrich I. (Barbarossa), that it the castles heart mountain and Scharzfeld at the resin as well as the king yard to Pöhlde in the exchange against Badenweiler offered. Heinrich accepted, in order to secure its for Saxonian master country, particularly in the continuous conflict with the Askanier Albrecht the bear and its sons.

At the 1. February 1168 married Heinrich in Cathedral to Minden again, this time those only twelve-year-old boy Mathilde, daughter of the English king Heinrich II. and the Eleonore of Aquitanien and sister of smelling pool of broadcasting corporations lion heart. Thus it justified the close relations between the house of the Welfen and that English crown.

argument with Konrad III.

1139 extracted III. Konrad.Heinrichs father in the context of the arguments between pilotfar from and Welfen the duchies Bavaria and Saxonia. Thus was not the Welfen howeverstruck. Heinrich pride maintained ground in Saxonia in fights against the Askanier, its brother Welf VI. in Bavaria against the Babenberger. After Heinrichs in October 1139 Richenza, the widow Lothar III. transferred proud death.,the guidance of the Welfenpartei in Saxonia and the guardianship over Heinrich the lion. It died in June 1141. At this time Konrad seems III. to have seen that it the Welfen also by the withdrawal not defeat could and therefore its balance politics began. Within their frameworks Heinrich the lion received 1142 in Frankfurt that extracted duchy Saxonia von Albrecht the bear to its father back. The second component of the balance politics was marrying of Heinrichs nut/mother Gertrud with thatBabenberger Heinrich II. Jasomirgott, which was belehnt 1143 with Bavaria.

Heinrich the lion operated intensively the Ostkolonisation and incorporated formerly wendische and other slawische areas the duchy Saxonia. 1147 forced it the princes of Vorpommern, its leaning ruleto recognize. In the same year it prevented an attempt of Konrad to subordinate the woman Mrs. Kemnade and Fischbeck of the realm abbey Corvey and to increase thus the royal influence in Saxonia.

Also Heinrich did not give up the requirement on Bavaria. As preparation upthe participation in the second crusade wanted Konrad III. in March 1147 on Reichstag in Frankfurt its son Heinrich (VI.) to its successor as a king to select leave. During Reichstag Heinrich the lion raised however complaint and required the RückerstattungBayerns. There this complaint the choice Heinrichs (VI.) postponed and the crusade date moved, Heinrich the lion Konrad thereby closer under pressure had set. Finally Heinrich was satisfied with the promise of the king that over Bavaria after the end of theCrusade to be again negotiated should. However the floating complaint loaded starting from this time of Konrad claim to power, beyond that refused Heinrich participating in the crusade into the holy country but sat down to the point of a Saxonian aristocracy quantity, to a parallelTurning crusade against the Slawen between Elbe and or applied. In this period Heinrich married also Clementia of tough rings. This acknowledgment by the influential house of the Zähringer represented a further revaluation of Heinrichs claim to power.

During and after the failedWelfs VI. rose. against Konrad Heinrich the lion expanded its sphere of influence starting from 1149 increasingly also after Bavaria. In the autumn 1151 an assault of Konrad on Braunschweig, the rule center Heinrichs failed.

reconciliation with Barbarossa

Friedrich Barbarossa said Heinrichprobably already in the context of its choice promise politics during the Thronvakanz 1152 the Belehnung with Bavaria too. However final clarifying of this question delayed oneself, among other things also, because Heinrich had to fight also in Saxonia with problems. Thus became on thatMerseburger Reichstag in June 1152 a controversy between the lion and that of Bremen archbishop hard TIG negotiates. It concerned the requirement of the archbishop to missionieren as Metropolit in the areas conquered during the turning crusade between Elbe and Peene. ThisHeinrich did not want to permit, since he saw therein an interference into his territory and for itself the right stressed to insert bishops again into that to creating dioceses of the region. Only on the Goslarer Reichstag of 1154 spoke Barbarossa Heinrich of thisQuite too and lent to it the Bavarian duke title, which Heinrich accepted immediately, although he received the territory only to 1156. In the meantime Barbarossa Austria von Bayern separated and left it to the Babenbergern, which limited the territorial gain Heinrichs anda latch plate for its expansionist tendencies forward toward the south put. The same function fulfilled also the occupation of several South German bishop chairs with staufertreuen office-holders. Heinrich became nevertheless the lion with the Belehnung with Bavaria the most powerful territorial prince in the realm.

Founder statue Heinrichs in Braunschweiger cathedral

also after the seizure of power in Bavaria concentrated Heinrich its power politics on the east and the north. In the arguments around the Danish succession to the throne it had intervened already before. Starting from 1154 it made besides from the right to diocese andthe associated town foundations in the Baltic Sea area use, since it functioned there officially only as a Mark count, only in the name of the king, in fact however with far claim to power going beyond it. 1154 arranged Heinrich the lion the diocese Ratzeburg, 1160 that Diocese Schwerin . The diocese of Oldenburg in Holstein was shifted lion city establishment of competition specified 1158 into after the miss of a its own , Luebeck acquired, where it donated also the Lübecker cathedral. Besides the Welfe with Luebeck controlled an important junctionthe Baltic Sea trade, it gave the up to then important commercial town up Bardowick for this increase. Beyond that Heinrich let base 1158 Munich and 1159 Landsberg at the Lech as well as to secure the travel route over the burner. This particularly on economic national development arrangedActions in Bavaria were the reaction to the territorial expansion possibilities pinched off effectively by Barbarossa in the south.1160 conquered Heinrich Mecklenburg. 1164 he became leaning gentleman over Eastern Pomerania.

Between 1154 and 1156 the front positions in the realm shifted. Heinrich steppedin this phase no more than opponents do not pilotfish emperor up, which was expressed among other things in its divorce of Clementia 1162, whose family, which had stepped Zähringer, because of arguments around Burgund in the meantime into opposition to Barbarossa. 1165 mediated Rainald of Dassel the engagement of two daughters of the English king Heinrich II. with Barbarossa and Heinrich the lion. Heinrich was thereby in pilotfishes marriage politics merged. 1168 married the Welfe in the Mindener cathedral Mathilde, while the engagement Barbarossas alsotheir sister Eleonore was dissolved shortly thereafter.

As indication of its claim to power Heinrich Braunschweig (Brunswick) converted to its Residenzstadt (yard) and let around 1166 the Braunschweiger lion and the castle thank being the desert establish there. Also was its influence on thoseLiterature of its time immensely. Examples are expresshard the Evangeliar Heinrichs of the lion , the German Lucidarius and from Oberg.

Heinrich undertook 1172 a Pilgerreise into the holy country. Of this journey it - so a legend - is oneLions as gift of the eastRoman emperor in Byzanz bring along. 1173 it let the building of the Braunschweiger of cathedral begin. And the Byzantine emperor Manuel 1164 interprets historian marriage-sing-offered these enterprises as well as the independent “foreign policy” in Scandinavia as reference to it,that Heinrich understood itself the realm princes remaining as far standing over and that it aimed at a privileged position of its territory within the realm; in approximately comparably with the kingdom Böhmen.

A further enlargement of its rule range strove Heinrich the lion throughthe 1175 or 1176 closed hereditary contract with its uncle Welf VI. on. Therefore Heinrich should become inheriting Welfs Ländereien.

the fall of the lion

Grabmal (um 1230) Heinrichs im Braunschweiger Dom
tomb (around 1230) Heinrichs in the Braunschweiger cathedral

Heinrichs claim to power and of Barbarossa consistently operated territorial house power politics in South Germany let the staufisch welfischen conflict flash again. The first clear expression of this renewed front position was Heinrichs refusal, 1176 on that 5. Italy course in Chiavenna before putting nano military support without appropriate returns for the order tooplace. Heinrich required the city Goslar rich by the silver dismantling, what for Barbarossa was unacceptable. On the other side Barbarossa Welf VI. had. around Christmas 1178 of its areas north the alps bought and it again as Lehen returned, whichan interference into the hereditary contract between Welf VI. and Heinrich the lion represented.

Besides Barbarossa Heinrich extracted the support in its arguments with the aristocracy of its territories. Heinrich was at this time particularly in conflict with the archbishopsof Bremen and Magdeburg, the bishop von half and Albrecht the bear. Barbarossa proceeded finally legally against the lion. However he raised complaint on the yard day in Worms in January 1179 not even against Heinrich, but leftthe opponents of the duke because of breaches of law complain, on which Heinrich answered with a counter suit because of devastations by the troops Cologne archbishop in the area of Hameln from the year 1178. On the yard day of Magdeburg in June 1179 Barbarossa finally announcedbecause of breach of the peace and disregarding of several charge requirements the realm eight against Heinrich.

In the gel houses document of the yearly 1180 the assignment of a part of the Saxonian duchy was fixed to Cologne archbishop. It is the most important source document, that at the same time the first phaseHeinrichs to the deprivation of power describes. However also document numerous detail questions leaves the gel houses open for the exact process of the deprivation of power Heinrichs of the lion. So it must have given a phase after announcing the eight, to the Heinrich the opportunity to the penaltyhad had, because one imposed to the leaning withdrawal preceding upper eight only in January 1180 in peppering castle. Unusually fast in April 1180 on gel houses Reichstag the Saxonian duchy was already spent again, before the upper eight had become valid. Historiansee therein the effect of the efforts of the Saxonian aristocracy, which wanted to get rid of fast of its duke. Bavaria was only spent in September, after the upper eight was regularly valid, again.

The rule range Heinrichs was divided as follows: By the duchy Bavaria the Steiermark and the andechsische Mark county Istrien were separated. The remainder fell to the Wittelsbacher. With the duchy Saxonia was belehnt after the separation by Westphalia to the ore diocese Cologne the son Albrechts of the bear , Bernhard.

By thosethus effected smashing of the last two large master duchies Bavaria and Saxonia wore the development of the transformation of the realm of the old, large and only loosely developed power blocs into smaller principalities closed in itself, besides by the leaning right more closelythe king bound were, their conclusion found. These events apply in the research therefore as break, which completed the conclusion of the realm prince conditions in such a way specified.

Heinrich wanted to the judgement not to be subjected and carried out already after the farm servant citizen yard day 1179Resistance.1180 began the realm war against it. In the same year his strongly fastened castle Lichtenberg 20 km was conquered southwest from Braunschweig. In August 1181 Luebeck was conquered from the realm army and raised to the realm city as well as besieged Braunschweig. Large parts of Saxoniawere devastated. The predominant majority of the Saxonian aristocracy changed from the welfischen into the imperial camp. In Luebeck Barbarossa belehnte as a new leaning gentleman Herzog Bogislav Ith, which had been subordinate up to then Heinrich, with the duchy Pommern. In November 1181Heinrich was subjected to the emperor on Reichstag von Erfurt. Only at this time Bernhard from Saxonia beside the territory kept also the Saxonian duke title awarded. This and the arguments around the exact pronouncement of judgement against Heinrich the lion interpretHistorian as an indication of tensions between the aristocracy and Barbarossa. The latter could have drawn in Saxonia also as single royal Lehen become, seems thereby however because of the resistance of the north German prince to have failed. The princes put a relatively mild onbanishing Heinrichs as well as its claim to its direct house property limited three years around Braunschweig through, which made a foreseeable return for this possible, but regaining its old position of power made more difficult. The variant preferred by Barbarossa would have an unlimited banishing and thatLoss of all goods intended. However Heinrich thereby would have had a legal claim on pardon and Rückerstattung of its entire territories, which would have renewed the leaning obligation opposite the emperor and Barbarossa would have strengthened. By the finally expressed rigid banishing period the re-allocation of the possessions could Heinrichs thereafter as being certain legal status to be regarded. Above all the Askanier and the Cologne archbishop Philipp of Heinsberg profited from this judgement. The latter replaced Heinrich the lion as a most powerful realm prince of Northern Germany.

exile and return

1182 spokethe emperor finally banishing out. Heinrich went in the exile to his father-in-law king Heinrich II. of England. At the latest 1184 began however the negotiations around the return of the lion. Background was an alliance Barbarossas with Balduin V. ofHen gau against the French king, for that the emperor the support Heinrichs II. searched. The alliance failed in the long run briefly before the planned campaign of the emperor son Heinrich VI. against France, yet Heinrich was the lion in October 1185 into its possessionsaround Lueneburg and Braunschweig returned. On the Mainzer yard day of 1188 refused Heinrich participating in the third crusade and committed itself to the return to the exile. After the departure of the cross driver army and the death of his Mrs. Mathilde Heinrich turned 1189 prematurelyfrom the exile back and laid claims on its old territories. First the archbishops of Cologne and Mainz obtained a comparison. Heinrich received half of the incomes from Luebeck, had for it however the attachments of Braunschweig and Luebeck to sharpen as well as itsSons with Heinrich VI. send on Italy travel. After death Friedrich Barbarossas 1191/1192 flashed the welfische opposition again. However Heinrichs of sons were already their crucial leaders. They schleiften among other things those at that time rich city Bardowick at that Ilmenau. 1192 ignored also Bernhard of Saxonia on the welfische side. 1194 referred Heinrich the lion after its reconciliation with Heinrich VI. again his goods around Braunschweig and died there to 6. August 1195.


  • from a connection to the left hand had Heinrich with a in particular not well-known Konkubine, daughter of theCount Gottfried von Blieskastel, still another further daughter:
    • Mathilde (* approx. 1155/1156; † 1219 ago) - marries after 1167 with boron vienna I. (Mecklenburg)


Sarkophage Heinrichs, Mathildes und der Brunonen (im Hintergrund)
Sarkophage Heinrichs, Mathildes and the Brunonen (in the background)

afterits death became Heinrich the lion before the high choir of the Braunschweiger of cathedral in a Gruft beside its 2. Wife Mathilde buried. This is delivered by Arnold of Luebeck:

„About ipsos this mortuus est famosus ille dux Heinricus in Bruneswich et... nihil est consecutus nisi memorabilem satis sepulturam una cum conjuge sua domina Mechthilde in ecclesia beati Blasii episcopi et martyris. ”
(To the same time the famous duke Heinrich in Braunschweig died. It has by all its work, which it underthe sun had had, nothing as a quite see-worthy grave, in which he was buried with his wife Mechthilde in the church of the holy bishop and martyr Blasius.)

the burial place Heinrichs and its wife Mathilde became reached in the summer 1935 opened by the national socialists from political calculation and fundamentally changes. A detailed description of these measures is here.

Its Büste was set up to it in honours in the Walhalla.


standing and thinking marks

Der Löwe
the lion


  • Gerd Biegel: Heinrich the lion. Emperor grandchild, emperor friend, emperor enemy, Braunschweig 1996 ISBN 3-926701-26-9
  • Joachim Ehlers: Heinrich the lion. European principality in the high Middle Ages, Goettingen 1997 ISBN 3-7881-0149-0
  • Karl Jordan: Heinrich the lion. A biography, 4. Aufl., Munich 1996 ISBN 3-423-04601-5
  • Robert Slawski: In the indication of the lion, 3. revised and extendedEdition, Braunschweig 2004 ISBN 3-931727-00-9

Web on the left of

  • {{#if:
| | * Literature of and over Heinrich the lion in the catalog of the DDB


see also


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