Henry Raspe

Henry Raspe
Landgrave of Thuringia
Heinrich Raspe.jpg
Seal of Henry as king
Born 1204
Died 16 February 1247(1247-02-16) (aged 42–43)
Noble family Ludovingians
Spouse(s) Elisabeth of Brandenburg
Gertrude of Babenberg
Beatrice of Brabant
Father Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia
Mother Sophia of Wittelsbach

Henry Raspe (German: Heinrich Raspe) (1204 – 16 February 1247) was the Landgrave of Thuringia from 1231 until 1239 and again from 1241 until his death. In 1246, with the support of the Papacy, he was elected King of Germany in opposition to Conrad IV, but his contested reign lasted a mere nine months.


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] The papal legate in Germany was Filippo da Pistoia.[4] Henry defeated Conrad in the Battle of Nidda in southern Hesse in August 1246, and laid siege to Ulm and Reutlingen.[5] Having suffered a mortal wound, he died February 1247 in Wartburg Castle near Eisenach in Thuringia.[5]


In 1228, he married Elisabeth (1206-1231), the daughter of Albert II, Margrave of Brandenburg.[6] After her death, he married Gertrude (c. 1210/1215 – 1241),[7] the daughter of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria. After her death, he married Beatrix (1225-1288),[7] the daughter of Henry II, Duke of Brabant.

All three of his marriages were childless.[8] After his death, the Emperor enfeoffed Thuringia to Henry III, the son of his sister Jutta.


  1. ^ Van Cleve 1969, p. 446.
  2. ^ Cox 1974, p. 180.
  3. ^ Stubbs 1908, p. 36.
  4. ^ Van Cleve 1972, p. 494.
  5. ^ a b Knodler 2010, p. 184.
  6. ^ Lyon 2013, p. 241.
  7. ^ a b Lyon 2013, p. 243.
  8. ^ Rasmussen 1997, p. 63.


  • Cox, Eugene L. (1974). The Eagles of Savoy. Princeton University Press.
  • Knodler, Julia (2010). "Germany:Narrative (1125-1250)". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. 1. Oxford University Press.
  • Lyon, Jonathan R. (2013). Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100-1250. Cornell University Press.
  • Rasmussen, Ann Marie (1997). Mothers and Daughters in Medieval German Literature. Syracuse University Press.
  • Stubbs, William (1908). Germany in the Later Middle Ages, 1200-1500. Longmans, Green and Co.
  • Van Cleve, Thomas C. (1969). "The Crusade of Frederick II". In Wolff, Robert Lee; Hazard, Harry W. (eds.). A History of the Crusades. II. The University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Van Cleve, Thomas C. (1972). The Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen: Immutator Mundi. Clarendon Press.
Henry Raspe
Born: 1204 Died: 16 February 1247
Preceded by Landgrave of Thuringia
Succeeded by
Preceded by — DISPUTED —
King of Germany
1246 – 1247
Disputed by Frederick II and Conrad IV
Succeeded by