Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia

Henry Raspe
Landgrave of Thuringia

Seal of Henry as king
Spouse(s) Elisabeth of Brandenburg
Gertrude of Babenberg
Beatrice of Brabant
Noble family Ludowingians
Father Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia
Mother Sophia of Wittelsbach
Born 1204
Died 16 February 1247(1247-02-16)

Henry Raspe (German: Heinrich Raspe) (1204 – 16 February 1247) succeeded his nephew Hermann II as Landgrave of Thuringia in central Germany in 1241; he later was elected anti-king in 1246–1247 in opposition to Conrad IV of Germany.


In 1226, Henry's brother Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia, died en route to the Sixth Crusade,[1] and Henry became regent for his under-age nephew Hermann II, Landgrave of Thuringia. He managed to expel his nephew and the boy's young mother, St. Elisabeth of Hungary, from the line of succession and ca. 1231 formally succeeded his brother as landgrave.

In 1242 Henry, together with King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, was selected by Emperor Frederick II to be administrator of Germany for Frederick's under-age son Conrad.

After the papal ban on Frederick imposed by Pope Innocent IV in 1245, Raspe changed sides, and on 22 May 1246 he was elected anti-king in opposition to Conrad.[2] The strong papal prodding that led to his election earned Raspe the derogatory moniker of "Pfaffenkönig" (priests' king).[3] Henry defeated Conrad in the Battle of Nidda in southern Hesse in August 1246, and laid siege to Ulm and Reutlingen.[4] Having suffered a mortal wound, he died February 1247 in Wartburg Castle near Eisenach in Thuringia.[4]


In 1228, he married Elisabeth (1206-1231), the daughter of Albert II, Margrave of Brandenburg. After her death, he married Gertrude (c.1210/1215 1241), the daughter of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria. After her death, he married Beatrix (1225-1288), the daughter of Henry II, Duke of Brabant.

All three of his marriages were childless.[5] After his death, the Emperor enfeoffed Thuringia to Henry III, the son of his sister Jutta.


  1. The Crusade of Frederick II, Thomas C. Van Cleve, A History of the Crusades, Vol. II, ed. Robert Lee Wolff and Harry W. Hazard, (The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 446.
  2. Eugene L. Cox, The Eagles of Savoy, ( Princeton University Press, 1974), 180.
  3. William Stubbs, Germany in the Later Middle Ages, 1200-1500, (Longmans, Green and Co., 1908), 36.
  4. 1 2 Germany:Narrative (1125-1250), Julia Knodler, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, Vol. 1, (Oxford University Press, 2010), 184.
  5. Ann Marie Rasmussen, Mothers and Daughters in Medieval German Literature, (Syracuse University Press, 1997), 63.



Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia
Born: 1204 Died: 16 February 1247
Preceded by
Hermann II
Landgrave of Thuringia
Succeeded by
Henry the Illustrious
Preceded by
Frederick II and Conrad IV
King of the Romans
1246 – 1247
Disputed by Frederick II and Conrad IV
Succeeded by
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