Agnes of Austria (1281–1364)

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Agnes of Austria (1281–1364)

Hungarian queen and German princess. Born in 1281 (some sources cite 1280); died on June 11, 1364, in Konigsfelden; daughter of German king Albert I of Habsburg (1255–1308), Holy Roman emperor (r. 1298–1308), and Elizabeth of Tyrol (c. 1262–1313); sister of Frederick the Handsome, king of Germany, Anna of Habsburg (d. 1327), Rudolf III, king of Bohemia and Poland, and Elizabeth of Habsburg (1293–1352); married Andrew III, king of Hungary (r. 1290–1301), in 1296.

Agnes of Austria was the wife of Andrew III, king of Hungary, who began his reign in 1290. When Andrew died young without an heir in 1301, it was the end of Hungary's Arpad dynasty and the nation was thrown into turmoil. Seven years later, Agnes' father Albert I, whose harsh rule gave rise to the legend of William Tell (a legendary Swiss patriot forced by the Austrian governor to shoot an apple off his son's head with a bow and arrow), was murdered by a nephew (May 1, 1308), not far from his Habsburg domain. Around the same time, Meister Eckhart, the European mystic, wrote one of his best known tracts, Book of Divine Consolation (1308–11), for Agnes.

Following her father's death, Agnes pursued all connected with his murder. She also backed her brother, Frederick the Handsome, in his long war with Ludwig of Bavaria for the imperial crown, until Frederick's death in 1330.

Elizabeth of Tyrol (c. 1262–1313)

Queen of Germany. Name variations: Elizabeth of Carinthia; Elisabeth of Gorz-Tyrol. Born in 1262 or 1263; died on October 10 or 28, 1313, in Konigsfelden (Aargau, Switzerland); married Albrecht also known as Albert I of Habsburg (1255–1308), king of Germany (r. 1298–1308), Holy Roman emperor (r. 1298–1308, but not crowned); children: Rudolf III (1281–1307), king of Bohemia and Poland (r. 1306–1307); Agnes of Austria (1281–1364); Friedrich also known as Frederick I (III) the Fair of Austria (1289–1330), king of Germany (r. 1314–1322), (co-regent) Holy Roman emperor (r. 1314–1325); Elizabeth of Habsburg (1293–1352, who married Frederick IV of Lorraine); Leopold I (1293–1326), duke of Austria and Styria; Catherine (1295–1323); Albrecht also known as Albert II of Austria (1298–1358), duke of Austria; Heinrich also known as Henry (1298–1327); Anna of Habsburg (d. 1327, who married Hermann of Brandenburg); Otto (1301–1339), duke of Austria, Steiermark and Karten; Guta, also known as Jutta, Jutha, Jeutha, or Bonitas (1302–1329).

As a widow, Agnes lived with her mother Elizabeth of Tyrol in Vienna, acting as her secretary, adviser and deputy. After Elizabeth's death, Agnes continued her mother's charities from the convent Elizabeth had founded at Königsfelden. Agnes resided at the convent for the last 50 years of her life. One of the richest German princesses of her day, Agnes lived simply while heaping gifts on the church and the poor. She also directed a successful peace campaign, as Friedrich Heer tells us in The Holy Roman Empire: "Nearly all the arbitrations agreed to in the Swabian possessions of the house of Austria between 1314 and 1360 can be traced to her influence." Agnes brought an end to the war over Laupen (1340), and concluded alliances for the house of Austria with Berne (1341) and Strassburg, Basel, and Freiburg (1350).

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Agnes of Austria (1281–1364)

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