Berthold IV, Duke of Merania

Intro Duke of Merania and Margrave of Istria
A.K.A. Istrien, Markgraf Berthold IV, Graf von Andechs, Herzog von Kroatien, …
Was Noble Aristocrat
From Germany
Type Royals
Gender male
Birth 1153
Death 12 August 1204, Dießen am Ammersee, Germany (aged 51 years)

Berthold IV (c. 1159 – 12 August 1204), a member of the House of Andechs, was Margrave of Istria and Carniola (as Berthold II). By about 1180/82 he already bore the title of Duke of Merania, that is, the Adriatic seacoast of Dalmatia and Istria.


Berthold was the son of Count Berthold III of Andechs and his wife Hedwig of Wittelsbach. His father had been a loyal vassal of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and in turn was enfeoffed with the Istrian march upon the death of the Sponheim margrave Engelbert III. Young Berthold IV first appeared in 1170 and was mentioned as Count of Andechs in an 1172 deed. In 1175 he served as co-ruler in the March of Istria. After Emperor Frederick deposed Duke Henry the Lion in 1180, his mother's relative Otto of Wittelsbach received the Duchy of Bavaria, while Berthold was received the Duchy of Merania. The rule over "Merania" actually encompassed the same area as the old Istrian margraviate, but its ruler now gained much prestige from his new title and the comital House of Andechs was elevated to Princes of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1186, he accompanied Emperor Frederick's son Henry VI to Italy and his marriage with Constance of Sicily. In 1189, he led the third division of the imperial army and was its standard-bearer on the Third Crusade. In 1195, he appeared as Vogt (reeve) of Tegernsee Abbey in Bavaria. Berthold committed himself to join the Crusade of 1197, however, he did not participate until Henry's death in the same year. Though he had opposed the emperor's Erbreichsplan, he backed the claims of Henry's younger brother Philip of Swabia against the politics of Pope Innocent III who supported Philip's Welf rival Otto IV. At this juncture, the House of Andechs was at the height of its power and influence, with extended possessions stretching from Franconia down to the Adriatic. Berthold died in 1204 and was buried at the Andechs private monastery in Dießen, Bavaria.

Marriage and issue

About 1180, Berthold married Agnes of Rochlitz (died 25 March 1195), a daughter of Margrave Dedi III of Lusatia from the Saxon House of Wettin. They had the following children: Otto I (d. 1234), succeeded his father as Duke of Merania, married Beatrice II of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Count Otto I of Burgundy, became Count palatine of Burgundy in 1211 Ekbert (d. 1237), Bishop of Bamberg from 1203, guardian of his nephew Otto II from 1234 Henry (d. 1228), Margrave of Istria and Carniola from 1204, married Sophia of Weichselburg, heiress of the estates in Windic March and Metlica Hedwig (1174–1243), married Henry I the Bearded, Duke of Silesia, became High Duchess of Poland in 1232, canonized by the Catholic Church in 1267 Gertrude (d. 1213), married Andrew II, brother of King Emeric of Hungary, became Queen of Hungary in 1205, murdered Agnes (d. 1201), married King Philip II of France and became French consort in 1196, repudiated in 1200 Berthold (d. 1251), Archbishop of Kalocsa from 1206, Patriarch of Aquileia from 1218 Matilda (Mechtild, d. 1254), wife of Engelbert III, Count of Gorizia. While passing through Serbia on the Third Crusade, Frederick Barbarossa met the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja in Niš on 27 July 1189. There it was negotiated that a daughter of Berthold would marry Tohu, son of Prince Miroslav of Zahumlje on the feast of Saint George next (24 April 1190). This marriage does not seem to have taken place and the Historia de Expeditione Friderici Imperatoris does not name the daughter. Scholars are divided over whether it was one of Berthold's known daughters or else a fifth daughter not otherwise recorded.

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