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Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
(German: Heinrich der Löwe; 1129/1131[1] – 6 August 1195[1]) was a member of the Welf dynasty and Duke of Saxony, as Henry III, from 1142, and Duke of Bavaria, as Henry XII, from 1156, the duchies of which he held until 1180. He was one of the most powerful German princes of his time, until the rival Hohenstaufen dynasty succeeded in isolating him and eventually deprived him of his duchies of Bavaria and Saxony during the reign of his cousin Frederick I Barbarossa and of Frederick's son and successor Henry VI. At the height of his reign, Henry ruled over a vast territory stretching from the coast of the North and Baltic Seas to the Alps, and from Westphalia
to Pomerania. Henry achieved this great power in part by his political and military acumen and in part through the legacies of his four grandparents.


1 Biography 2 Family

2.1 Ancestry

3 Legacy 4 Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
in folklore and fiction 5 References 6 Sources 7 External links

Biography[edit] Born in Ravensburg, in 1129 or 1131,[1] he was the son of Henry the Proud,[1] Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria
and Saxony, who was the son of Duke Henry the Black and an heir of the Billungs, former dukes of Saxony. Henry's mother was Gertrude,[1] only daughter of Emperor Lothair III and his wife Richenza of Northeim, heiress of the Saxon territories of Northeim
and the properties of the Brunones, counts of Brunswick.[1] Henry's father died in 1139, aged 32, when Henry was still a child. King Conrad III had dispossessed Henry the Proud of his duchies in 1138 and 1139, handing Saxony to Albert the Bear
Albert the Bear
and Bavaria to Leopold of Austria. This was because Henry the Proud had been his rival for the crown in 1138. Henry III, however, did not relinquish his claims to his inheritance, and Conrad returned Saxony to him in 1142.[1] A participant in the 1147 Wendish Crusade,[1] Henry also reacquired Bavaria by a decision of the new Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1156. However, the East Mark was not returned, which became Austria.[1]

Contemporary depicition of Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
from the Historia Welforum

Henry is the founder of Munich
(1157; München)[1] and Lübeck (1159);[1] he also founded and developed numerous other cities in Northern Germany and Bavaria, a.o. Augsburg, Hildesheim, Stade, Kassel, Güstrow, Lüneburg, Salzwedel, Schwerin
and Brunswick. In Brunswick, his capital, he had a bronze lion, his heraldic animal, erected in the yard of his castle Dankwarderode
in 1166 — the first bronze statue north of the Alps. Later, he had Brunswick Cathedral built close to the statue.

Wedding of Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
and Matilda of England (1188)

In 1147, Henry married Clementia of Zähringen, thereby gaining her hereditary territories in Swabia. He divorced her in 1162, apparently under pressure from Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who did not cherish Guelphish possessions in his home area and offered Henry several fortresses in Saxony in exchange. In 1165, Henry married Matilda (1156–1189), the daughter of King Henry II of England
Henry II of England
and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine
and sister of King Richard I of England.[1] Henry faithfully supported his older cousin, Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa), in his attempts to solidify his hold on the Imperial Crown and his repeated wars with the cities of Lombardy
and the Popes, several times turning the tide of battle in Frederick's favor with his Saxon knights. During Frederick's first invasion of northern Italy, Henry took part, among the others, in the victorious sieges of Crema and Milan. In 1172, Henry took a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (June–July), meeting with the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
and Knights Hospitaller,[2] and spending Easter of that year in Constantinople.[3] By December 1172, he was back in Bavaria[3] and in 1174, he refused to aid Frederick in a renewed invasion of Lombardy
because he was preoccupied with securing his own borders in the East. He did not consider these Italian adventures worth the effort, unless Barbarossa presented Henry with the Saxon imperial city Goslar: a request Barbarossa refused. Barbarossa's expedition into Lombardy
ultimately ended in failure. He bitterly resented Henry for failing to support him. Taking advantage of the hostility of other German princes to Henry, who had successfully established a powerful and contiguous state comprising Saxony, Bavaria and substantial territories in the north and east of Germany, Frederick had Henry tried in absentia for insubordination by a court of bishops and princes in 1180. Declaring that Imperial law overruled traditional German law, the court had Henry stripped of his lands and declared him an outlaw. Frederick then invaded Saxony with an Imperial army to bring his cousin to his knees. Henry's allies deserted him, and he finally had to submit in November 1181 at a Reichstag in Erfurt. He was exiled from Germany in 1182 for three years, and stayed with his father-in-law in Normandy
before being allowed back into Germany in 1185. He was exiled again in 1188. His wife Matilda died in 1189. When Frederick Barbarossa
Frederick Barbarossa
went on the Crusade of 1189, Henry returned to Saxony, mobilized an army of his faithful, and conquered the rich city of Bardowick
as punishment for her disloyalty. Only the churches were left standing. Barbarossa's son, Emperor Henry VI, again defeated the Duke, but in 1194, with his end approaching, he made his peace with the Emperor, and returned to his much diminished lands around Brunswick, where he finished his days as Duke of Braunschweig, peacefully sponsoring arts and architecture. Family[edit]

Henry's duchies Saxony and Bavaria

Henry had the following known children:

By his first wife, Clementia of Zähringen (divorced 1162),[4] daughter of Conrad I, Duke of Zähringen
Conrad I, Duke of Zähringen
and Clemence of Namur:

Gertrude of Bavaria (1155–1197), married firstly to Frederick IV, Duke of Swabia, and then secondly to King Canute VI of Denmark. Richenza of Bavaria (c. 1157 – 1167) Henry of Bavaria, died young.

by his second wife, Matilda of England (married 1168), daughter of King Henry II of England
Henry II of England
and Eleanor of Aquitaine:[5]

Matilda (or Richenza) (1172–1204), married firstly to Godfrey, Count of Perche,[6] and secondly to Enguerrand III, Lord of Coucy. Henry V, Count Palatine of the Rhine
Henry V, Count Palatine of the Rhine
(c. 1173–1227)[5] Lothar of Bavaria (c. 1174–1190) Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
and Duke of Swabia
(c. 1175–1218)[5] William of Winchester, Lord of Lüneburg

Three other children are listed, by some sources, as having belonged to Henry and Matilda:

Eleanor of Bavaria (born 1178); died young Ingibiorg of Bavaria (born 1180); died young Infant Son (b. & d. 1182)

And by his lover, Ida von Blieskastel, he had a daughter:

Matilda, married Henry Borwin I, Lord of Mecklenburg


Ancestors of Henry the Lion

16. Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan

8. Welf I, Duke of Bavaria

17. Kunigunde of Altdorf

4. Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria

18. Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders

9. Judith of Flanders

19. Eleanor of Normandy

2. Henry X, Duke of Bavaria

20. Ordulf, Duke of Saxony

10. Magnus, Duke of Saxony

21. Wulfhild of Norway

5. Wulfhilde of Saxony

22. Béla I of Hungary

11. Sophia of Hungary

23. Richeza of Poland

1. Henry the Lion

24. Bernhard of Süpplingenburg, Count of Harzgau

12. Gebhard of Supplinburg

25. Ida of Querfurt

6. Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor

26. Frederick, Count of Formbach

13. Hedwig of Formbach

27. Gertrude of Haldensleben

3. Gertrude of Süpplingenburg

28. Otto of Nordheim, Duke of Bavaria

14. Henry of Northeim, Margrave of Frisia

29. Richenza of Swabia

7. Richenza of Northeim

30. Egbert I, Margrave of Meissen

15. Gertrude of Brunswick

31. Irmgard of Susa

Legacy[edit] The Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
Bible is preserved in near mint condition from the year 1170; it is located in the Herzog August Library
Herzog August Library
in Wolfenbüttel, a town in Lower Saxony. Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
remains a popular figure to this day.[7] During World War I, a nail man depicting Henry the Lion, called Eiserner Heinrich, was used in Brunswick to raise funds for the German war effort. Nazi propaganda later declared Henry an antecessor of the Nazi's Lebensraum
policy[8] and turned Brunswick Cathedral
Brunswick Cathedral
and Henry's tomb into a "National Place of Consecration".[9]

Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
on the coat of arms of Schwerin.

Order of Henry the Lion, order of merit of the Duchy of Brunswick (awarded from 1834 to 1918).

Henry the Lion's Fountain (1874), Brunswick.

Eiserner Heinrich (1915), Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, Brunswick.

Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
Monument in front of the Dom. Schwerin.

Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
in folklore and fiction[edit]

Henry and his lion (title page illustration from Karl Joseph Simrock's retelling of the folktale Geschichte des großen Helden und Herzogen Heinrich des Löwen und seiner wunderbaren höchst gefährlichen Reise (1844)).

Shortly after his death, Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
became the subject of a folktale, the so-called Heinrichssage.[10] The tale was later also turned into the opera Enrico Leone
Enrico Leone
by Italian composer Agostino Steffani.[11] The Heinrichssage details a fictional account of Henry's pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A popular part of the tale deals with the Brunswick Lion. According to legend, Henry witnessed a fight between a lion and a dragon while on pilgrimage. He joins the lion in its fight and they slay the dragon. The faithful lion then accompanies Henry on his return home. After its master's death, the lion refuses all food and dies of grief on Henry's grave. The people of Brunswick then erect a statue in the lion's honour.[12][13][14] The legend of Henry the Lion also inspired the Czech tale of the knight Bruncvík, which is depicted on a column on Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
in Prague. Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
appears in Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings in the Barbarossa campaign. He appears in the second and fourth missions initially as an ally to Barbarossa, but betrays him both times, which is historically inaccurate. The first time, he was spared and allowed to serve Barbarossa again. The second time, he was exiled to Britain. It is revealed at the end that he was the narrator of the campaign. References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Emmerson 2013, p. 320. ^ The Teutonic Knights in the Crusader States, Indrikis Sterns, A History of the Crusades: The Impact of the Crusades on the Near East, Vol. V, ed.Norman P. Zacour and Harry W. Hazard, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 319. ^ a b Peter Lock, The Routledge Companion to the Crusades, (Routledge, 2013), 151. ^ C. W. Previte Orton, The Early History of the House of Savoy: 1000-1233, (Cambridge University Press, 1912), 329 note3. ^ a b c Helen Nicholson, Love, War, and the Grail, (Brill, 2001), 129. ^ John W. Baldwin, Aristocratic Life in Medieval France, (Johns Hopkins University, 2002), 46. ^ Matthias Heine. "Barbarossas Staatsfeind Nummer eins" (in German). Die Welt. Retrieved 9 May 2013.  ^ Heinrich der Löwe (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2013. ^ About the Cathedral. Retrieved 9 May 2013. ^ Brothers Grimm. "Heinrich der Löwe" [ Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
- The Brothers' Grimm version]. Deutsche Sagen
Deutsche Sagen
(in German). Projekt Gutenberg-DE. Retrieved 10 May 2013.  ^ Enrico Leone
Enrico Leone
(Heinrich der Löwe). Retrieved 9 May 2013. ^ Combellack, C. R. B. (1955), "Die Sage von Heinrich dem Löwen. Ihr Ursprung, Ihre Entwicklung und Ihre Überlieferung by Karl Hoppe", Comparative Literature, 7 (2): 160–162, doi:10.2307/1769130, JSTOR 1769130  ^ Jäckel, Dirk (2006), Der Herrscher als Löwe: Ursprung und Gebrauch eines politischen Symbols im Früh- und Hochmittelalter (in German), Cologne / Weimar: Böhlau Verlag, pp. 163–164  ^ Pollach, Günter (2011), Kaleidoskop der Mächtigen: Randglossen zu überlieferten Mythen und Episoden der Geschichte (in German), pp. 64–67 


Benjamin Arnold, " Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
and His Time", Journal of Medieval History, vol. 22, pp. 379–393 (1996) Emmerson, Richard K. (2013). Key Figures in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 978-1136775185.  Karl Jordan, Henry the Lion. A Biography, ISBN 0-19-821969-5 Heinrich der Löwe und seine Zeit. Katalog der Ausstellung. Bd. 2. Braunschweig, 1995. Leila Werthschulte, Heinrich der Löwe in Geschichte und Sage (Heidelberg, Universitätsverlag Winter, 2007).

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henry the Lion.

Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
on Encyclopedia.com Henry the Lion. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition The fall of Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
(from Germany) -- Encyclopædia Britannica Deposition of Henry the Lion. (from Frederick I) -- Encyclopædia Britannica MSN Encarta - Multimedia - Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
(Archived 2009-10-31) Charter given by Henry to monastery Volkenroda, 31.1.1174. Photograph taken from the collections of the Lichtbildarchiv älterer Originalurkunden at Marburg University
Marburg University
showing Henry's seal.

Henry the Lion House of Welf Born: 1129/1131 Died: 1195

Regnal titles

Preceded by Albert the Bear Duke of Saxony 1142–1180 Succeeded by Bernard III

Preceded by Henry XI Duke of Bavaria 1156–1180 Succeeded by Otto I

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 803717 LCCN: n50066850 ISNI: 0000 0000 6629 3097 GND: 118548336 SELIBR: 189317 SUDOC: 027324788 BNF: cb13757949b (data) BIBSYS: 90740906 NLA: 3556