Gregory Brown
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Department of Philosophy
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004

Heinrich II. Jasomirgott
(Henry II. Jasomirgott)
(ca. 1114-1177)

First Duke of Austria

born c. 1114
died Jan. 13, 1177, Vienna

The first duke of Austria, a member of the House of Babenberg who increased the dynasty's power in Austria by obtaining the Privilegium Minus (a grant of special privileges and a reduction of obligations toward the empire) from the Holy Roman emperor Friedrich I. Barbarossa (1123-1190) when Austria was raised to a duchy.

Henry received the rank of count palatine from the German king Konrad III. (1093-1152), his half brother, in 1140, and, after the death of his brother Leopold IV. in 1141, he was granted the margravate of Austria in fief. In 1142 Konrad negotiated Henry's marriage with Gertrude, widow of Heinrich the Proud, the Welf duke of Bavaria and Saxony, and in 1143 Heinrich was granted the duchy of Bavaria.

On Gertrude's death in April of that year, Henry the Lion, son of Henry the Proud, resumed the Welf claim to Bavaria. Lonrad III. supported Heinrich Jasomirgott's cause, but Friedrich I. Barbarossa, who became German king in 1152, sided with Heinrich the Lion and in 1154 awarded Bavaria to him. Heinrich Jasomirgott (who, in the meantime, had married the Byzantine princess Theodora) refused to cede the duchy.

A compromise was reached in 1156, when, in return for the surrender of Heinrich Jasomirgott's claim to Bavaria, Austria was raised to the status of a duchy, and, in addition, the ducal house of Austria (by the terms of the Privilegium Minus) was granted a number of special privileges. These included succession in either the male or the female line and the right of the duke to appoint his own successor if there was no heir. In addition, the Austrian duke was obliged to attend diets only when they were held in Bavaria and was liable for military service only in campaigns against Austria's neighbours.

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