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Philip of Swabia
Vad-0321 040 Philipp von Schwaben.jpg
Philip of Swabia depicted in a medieval manuscript (about 1200)
Spouse(s) Irene Angelina
Noble family House of Hohenstaufen
Father Frederick I
Mother Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy
Born 1177
Died 21 June 1208(1208-06-21)
Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

Philip of Swabia (German: Philipp von Schwaben; August 1177 – 21 June 1208) was a prince of the House of Hohenstaufen. He was elector-Bishop of Würzburg in 1190 and 1191, Margrave of Tuscany from 1195 to 1197, Duke of Swabia from 1196 to 1208, and King of the Germans from 1198 to 1208. He was the first King of the Germans to be assassinated.

Biography[edit]

Philip was the fifth and youngest son of Emperor Frederick I and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy, daughter of Renaud III, count of Burgundy, and brother of the emperor Henry VI. He entered the clergy, was made provost of Aix-la-Chapelle, and in 1190 or 1191 was chosen bishop of Würzburg. Having accompanied his brother Henry to Italy in 1191, Philip forsook his ecclesiastical calling, and, travelling again to Italy, was made duke of Tuscany in 1195 and received an extensive grant of lands. In his retinue in Italy was the Minnesinger Bernger von Horheim.

In 1196 Philip became duke of Swabia, on the death of his brother Conrad; and in May 1197 he married the Dowager Queen of Sicily, Irene Angelina, daughter of the Byzantine emperor Isaac II and widow of King Roger III of Sicily, a lady who is described by Walther von der Vogelweide as "the rose without a thorn, the dove without guile".

Philip enjoyed his brother's confidence to a very great extent, and appears to have been designated as guardian of the Henry's young son Frederick, afterwards the emperor Frederick II, in case of his father's early death. In 1197 he had set out to fetch Frederick from Sicily for his coronation as King of the Germans when he heard of the emperor's death and returned at once to Germany. He appears to have desired to protect the interests of his nephew and to quell the disorder which arose on Henry's death, but was overtaken by events. The hostility to the kingship of a child was growing, and after Philip had been chosen as defender of the empire during Frederick's minority he consented to his own election. He was elected German king at Mühlhausen on 8 March 1198 and was crowned at Mainz on 8 September of the same year.

Meanwhile, a number of princes hostile to Philip, under the leadership of Adolph, Archbishop of Cologne, had elected an anti-king in the person of Otto, second son of Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony. In the war that followed, Philip, who drew his principal support from south Germany, met with considerable success. In 1199 he received further accessions to his party and carried the war into his opponent's territory, although unable to obtain the support of Pope Innocent III, and only feebly assisted by his ally Philip Augustus, king of France. The following year was less favourable to his arms; and in March 1201 Innocent took the decisive step of placing Philip and his associates under the ban, and began to work energetically in favour of Otto.

Also in 1201, Philip was visited by his cousin Boniface of Montferrat, the leader of the Fourth Crusade. Although Boniface's exact reasons for meeting with Philip are unknown, while at Philip's court he also met Alexius Angelus, Philip's brother-in-law. Alexius convinced Boniface, and later the Venetians, to divert the Crusade to Constantinople and restore Isaac II to the throne, as he had recently been deposed by Alexius III, Alexius and Irene's uncle.

The two succeeding years were still more unfavourable to Philip. Otto, aided by Ottokar I, king of Bohemia, and Hermann I, landgrave of Thuringia, drove him from north Germany, thus compelling him to seek by abject concessions, but without success, reconciliation with Innocent. The submission to Philip of Hermann of Thuringia in 1204 marks the turning-point of his fortunes, and he was soon joined by Adolph of Cologne and Henry I, Duke of Brabant.

On 6 January 1205 he was crowned again with great ceremony by Adolph at Aix-la-Chapelle, though it was not until 1207 that his entry into Cologne practically brought the war to a close. A month or two later Philip was loosed from the papal ban, and in March 1208 it seems probable that a treaty was concluded by which a nephew of the pope was to marry one of Philip's daughters and to receive the disputed dukedom of Tuscany. Philip was preparing to crush the last flicker of the rebellion in Brunswick-Lüneburg when he was murdered at Bamberg, on 21 June 1208, by Count Otto VIII of Wittelsbach, count palatine in Bavaria. Otto, already known for his unstable character, fell into a rage when he learned of the dissolution of his betrothal to Gertrude of Silesia by her father, Duke Henry I the Bearded of Lower Silesia. Henry was apparently informed of the Wittelsbach's cruel tendencies and in an act of concern for his young daughter decided to terminate the marriage agreement. Otto proceeded to blame Philip, without grounds, for another spurned marriage alliance (the first being to Philip's own daughter, Beatrice) and swore revenge on the German King, culminating in the murder at Bamberg.[1]

Philip was a brave and handsome man, and contemporary writers, among whom was Walther von der Vogelweide, praise his mildness and generosity.

Family[edit]

Philip of Swabia married Irene Angelina, daughter of Isaac II Angelus on 25 May 1197. Their four daughters were:

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Zientara, pp. 169-171.

References[edit]

  • Peter Csendes. Philipp von Schwaben. Ein Staufer im Kampf um die Macht, 2003.
  • Zientara, Benedykt. Henryk Brodaty i jego czasy. Wydawnictwo TRIO, 1997.
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Philip of Germany". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Philip of Swabia
Born: 1177 Died: 1208
German royalty
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry VI
King of Germany
(formally King of the Romans)

1198–1208
(contested by Otto IV)
Succeeded by
Otto IV
Preceded by
Conrad II
Duke of Swabia
1196–1208
Succeeded by
Frederick VI


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