Nobility is a social class ranked under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society; the privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be honorary, vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", nobles can carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is hereditary. Membership in the nobility has been granted by a monarch or government, unlike other social classes where membership is determined by wealth, lifestyle, or affiliation. Nonetheless, acquisition of sufficient power, military prowess, or royal favour has enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility. There are a variety of ranks within the noble class.
Legal recognition of nobility has been more common in monarchies, but nobility existed in such regimes as the Dutch Republic, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Old Swiss Confederacy, remains part of the legal social structure of some non-hereditary regimes, e.g. Channel Islands, San Marino, the Vatican City in Europe. Hereditary titles and styles added to names, as well as honorifics distinguish nobles from non-nobles in conversation and written speech. In many nations most of the nobility have been un-titled, some hereditary titles do not indicate nobility; some countries have had non-hereditary nobility, such as the Empire of Brazil or life peers in the United Kingdom. The term derives from the abstract noun of the adjective nobilis. In ancient Roman society, nobiles originated as an informal designation for the political governing class who had allied interests, including both patricians and plebeian families with an ancestor who had risen to the consulship through his own merit.
In modern usage, "nobility" is applied to the highest social class in pre-modern societies, excepting the ruling dynasty. In the feudal system, the nobility were those who held a fief land or office, under vassalage, i.e. in exchange for allegiance and various military, services to a suzerain, who might be a higher-ranking nobleman or a monarch. It came to be seen as a hereditary caste, sometimes associated with a right to bear a hereditary title and, for example in pre-revolutionary France, enjoying fiscal and other privileges. While noble status conferred significant privileges in most jurisdictions, by the 21st century it had become a honorary dignity in most societies, although a few, residual privileges may still be preserved and some Asian and African cultures continue to attach considerable significance to formal hereditary rank or titles. Nobility is a historical and legal notion, differing from high socio-economic status in that the latter is based on income, possessions or lifestyle.
Being wealthy or influential cannot ipso facto make one noble, nor are all nobles wealthy or influential. Various republics, including former Iron Curtain countries, Greece and Austria have expressly abolished the conferral and use of titles of nobility for their citizens; this is distinct from countries which have not abolished the right to inherit titles, but which do not grant legal recognition or protection to them, such as Germany and Italy, although Germany recognizes their use as part of the legal surname. Still other countries and authorities allow their use, but forbid attachment of any privilege thereto, e.g. Finland and the European Union, while French law protects lawful titles against usurpation. Although many societies have a privileged upper class with substantial wealth and power, the status is not hereditary and does not entail a distinct legal status, nor differentiated forms of address. Not all of the benefits of nobility derived from noble status per se. Privileges were granted or recognised by the monarch in association with possession of a specific title, office or estate.
Most nobles' wealth derived from one or more estates, large or small, that might include fields, orchards, hunting grounds, etc. It included infrastructure such as castle and mill to which local peasants were allowed some access, although at a price. Nobles were expected to live "nobly", that is, from the proceeds of these possessions. Work involving manual labour or subordination to those of lower rank was either forbidden or frowned upon socially. On the other hand, membership in the nobility was a prerequisite for holding offices of trust in the realm and for career promotion in the military, at court and the higher functions in the government and church. Prior to the French Revolution, European nobles commanded tribute in the form of entitlement to cash rents or usage taxes, labour or a portion of the annual crop yield from commoners or no
Free imperial city
In the Holy Roman Empire, the collective term free and imperial cities worded free imperial city, was used from the fifteenth century to denote a self-ruling city that had a certain amount of autonomy and was represented in the Imperial Diet. An imperial city held the status of Imperial immediacy, as such, was subordinate only to the Holy Roman Emperor, as opposed to a territorial city or town, subordinate to a territorial prince – be it an ecclesiastical lord or a secular prince; the evolution of some German cities into self-ruling constitutional entities of the Empire was slower than that of the secular and ecclesiastical princes. In the course of the 13th and 14th centuries, some cities were promoted by the emperor to the status of Imperial Cities for fiscal reasons; those cities, founded by the German kings and emperors in the 10th through 13th centuries and had been administered by royal/imperial stewards gained independence as their city magistrates assumed the duties of administration and justice.
The Free Cities were those, such as Basel, Cologne or Strasbourg, that were subjected to a prince-bishop and progressively gained independence from that lord. In a few cases, such as in Cologne, the former ecclesiastical lord continued to claim the right to exercise some residual feudal privileges over the Free City, a claim that gave rise to constant litigation until the end of the Empire. Over time, the difference between Imperial Cities and Free Cities became blurred, so that they became collectively known as "Free Imperial Cities", or "Free and Imperial Cities", by the late 15th century many cities included both "Free" and "Imperial" in their name. Like the other Imperial Estates, they could wage war, make peace, control their own trade, they permitted little interference from outside. In the Middle Ages, a number of Free Cities formed City Leagues, such as the Hanseatic League or the Alsatian Décapole, to promote and defend their interests. In the course of the Middle Ages, cities gained, sometimes — if — lost, their freedom through the vicissitudes of power politics.
Some favored cities gained a charter by gift. Others purchased one from a prince in need of funds; some won it by force of arms during the troubled 13th and 14th centuries and others lost their privileges during the same period by the same way. Some cities became free through the void created by the extinction of dominant families, like the Swabian Hohenstaufen; some voluntarily placed themselves under the protection of a territorial ruler and therefore lost their independence. A few, like Protestant Donauwörth, which in 1607 was annexed to the Catholic Duchy of Bavaria, were stripped by the Emperor of their status as a Free City — for genuine or trumped-up reasons. However, this happened after the Reformation, of the sixty Free Imperial Cities that remained at the Peace of Westphalia, all but the ten Alsatian cities continued to exist until the mediatization of 1803. There were four thousand towns and cities in the Empire, although around the year 1600 over nine-tenths of them had fewer than one thousand inhabitants.
During the late Middle Ages, fewer than two hundred of these places enjoyed the status of Free Imperial Cities, some of those did so only for a few decades. The military tax register of 1521 listed eighty-five such cities, this figure had fallen to sixty-five by the time of the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. From the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 to 1803, their number oscillated at around fifty. Unlike the Free Imperial Cities, the second category of towns and cities, now called "territorial cities" were subject to an ecclesiastical or lay lord, while many of them enjoyed self-government to varying degrees, this was a precarious privilege which might be curtailed or abolished according to the will of the lord. Reflecting the extraordinarily complex constitutional set-up of the Holy Roman Empire, a third category, composed of semi-autonomous cities that belonged to neither of those two types, is distinguished by some historians; these were cities whose size and economic strength was sufficient to sustain a substantial independence from surrounding territorial lords for a considerable time though no formal right to independence existed.
These cities were located in small territories where the ruler was weak. They were the exception among the multitude of territorial towns and cities. Cities of both latter categories had representation in territorial diets, but not in the Imperial Diet. Free imperial cities were not admitted as own Imperial Estates to the Imperial Diet until 1489, then their votes were considered only advisory compared to the Benches of the electors and princes; the cities divided themselves into two groups, or benches, in the Imperial Diet, the Rhenish and the Swabian Bench. The following list contains the 50 Free imperial cities that took part in the Imperial Diet of 1792, they are listed according to their voting order on the Swabian benches. These same cities were among the 85 free imperial cities listed on the Reichsmatrikel of 1521: the federal civil and military tax-schedule used for more than a century to assess the contributions of all the Imperial Estates in case
Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the deliberative body of the Holy Roman Empire. It was not a legislative body in the contemporary sense, its members were the Imperial Estates, divided into three colleges. The diet as a permanent, regularized institution evolved from the Hoftage of the Middle Ages. From 1663 until the end of the empire in 1806, it was in permanent session at Regensburg; the Imperial Estates had, according to feudal law, no authority above them besides the Holy Roman Emperor himself. The holding of an Imperial Estate entitled one to a vote in the diet. Thus, an individual member might have multiple votes in different colleges. In general, members did not attend the permanent diet at Regensburg, but sent representatives instead; the late imperial diet was in effect a permanent meeting of ambassadors between the Estates. The precise role and function of the Imperial Diet changed over the centuries, as did the Empire itself, in that the estates and separate territories gained more and more control of their own affairs at the expense of imperial power.
There was neither a fixed time nor location for the Diet. It started as a convention of the dukes of the old Germanic tribes that formed the Frankish kingdom when important decisions had to be made, was based on the old Germanic law whereby each leader relied on the support of his leading men. For example under Emperor Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars, the Diet, according to the Royal Frankish Annals, met at Paderborn in 777 and determined laws concerning the subdued Saxons and other tribes. In 803, the Frankish emperor issued the final version of the Lex Saxonum. At the Diet of 919 in Fritzlar the dukes elected the first King of the Germans, a Saxon, Henry the Fowler, thus overcoming the longstanding rivalry between Franks and Saxons and laying the foundation for the German realm. After the conquest of Italy, the 1158 Diet of Roncaglia finalized four laws that would alter the constitution of the Empire, marking the beginning of the steady decline of the central power in favour of the local dukes.
The Golden Bull of 1356 cemented the concept of "territorial rule", the independent rule of the dukes over their respective territories, limited the number of electors to seven. The Pope, contrary to modern myth, was never involved in the electoral process but only in the process of ratification and coronation of whomever the Prince-Electors chose. However, until the late 15th century, the Diet was not formalized as an institution. Instead, the dukes and other princes would irregularly convene at the court of the Emperor. Only beginning in 1489 was the Diet called the Reichstag, it was formally divided into several collegia; the two colleges were that of the prince-electors and that of the other dukes and princes. The imperial cities, that is, cities that had Imperial immediacy and were oligarchic republics independent of a local ruler that were subject only to the Emperor himself, managed to be accepted as a third party. Several attempts to reform the Empire and end its slow disintegration, notably starting with the Diet of 1495, did not have much effect.
In contrast, this process was only hastened with the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, which formally bound the Emperor to accept all decisions made by the Diet, in effect depriving him of his few remaining powers. From to its end in 1806, the Empire was not much more than a collection of independent states; the most famous Diets were those held in Worms in 1495, where the Imperial Reform was enacted, 1521, where Martin Luther was banned, the Diets of Speyer 1526 and 1529, several in Nuremberg. Only with the introduction of the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg in 1663 did the Diet permanently convene in a fixed location; the Imperial Diet of Constance opened on 27 April 1507. Since 1489, the Diet comprised three colleges: The Electoral College, led by the Prince-Archbishop of Mainz in his capacity as Archchancellor of Germany; the seven Prince-electors were designated by the Golden Bull of 1356: three ecclesiastical Prince-Bishops, the Prince-Archbishop of Mainz as Archchancellor of Germany the Prince-Archbishop of Cologne as Archchancellor of Italy the Prince-Archbishop of Trier as Archchancellor of Burgundy four secular Princes, the King of Bohemia as Archcupbearer the Elector of the Palatinate as Archsteward the Elector of Saxony as Archmarshal the Margrave of Brandenburg as ArchchamberlainThe number increased to eight, when in 1623 the Duke of Bavaria took over the electoral dignity of the Count Palatine, who himself received a separate vote in the electoral college according to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, including the high office of an Archtreasurer.
In 1692 the Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg became the ninth Prince-elector as Archbannerbearer during the Nine Years' War. In the War of the Bavarian Succession, the electoral dignities of the Palatinate and Bavaria were merged, approved by the 1779 Treaty of Teschen; the German Mediatisation of 1803 entailed the dissolution of the Cologne and Trier Prince-archbishoprics, the Prince-Archbishop of Mainz and German Archchancellor received—as compensation for his lost territory occupied by Revolutionary France—the newly establ
Margaret of Austria, Queen of Bohemia
Margaret of Austria, a member of the House of Babenberg, was German queen from 1225 until 1235, by her first marriage with King Henry, Queen of Bohemia from 1253 to 1260, by her second marriage with King Ottokar II. Margaret was the eldest daughter of Duke Leopold VI of Austria and his wife Theodora Angelina, a member of the Byzantine Imperial Angelus dynasty. Since 1198 Duke Leopold, according to the Georgenberg Pact, ruled over both the duchies of Austria and Styria, his court in Vienna became known as a centre of medieval Minnesang and he played an important rule in the Empire's policies, acting as an arbitrator in the struggle between the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX. In the Imperial City of Nuremberg, on 29 November 1225, the 21-year-old Margaret was married to the 14-year-old Henry, eldest son of Emperor Frederick II and elected King of the Romans since 1222. Frederick's counsellor Archbishop Engelbert of Cologne had planned for a bride from the English royal Angevin dynasty, the attempt failed, as did Henry's former engagement with the Přemyslid princess Agnes, daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia.
Margaret's coronation as Queen of the Romans took place on 23 March 1227 in Aachen Cathedral. King Henry and Queen Margaret had two short-lived sons and Frederick. In 1228, Henry took over the rule in the German kingdom and tried to limit the powers of the princes, thereby disturbing the Imperial policies of his father who made him pay homage under the threat of excommunication. In 1235, Henry allied with the princely opposition and rebelled against the emperor, was defeated by his father's forces and dethroned. Frederick had him confined in several castles in Apulia, where he died on 12 February 1242 after a fall from his horse in an attempted suicide. In the meanwhile, his wife Margaret retired to the Dominican monastery in Trier and in 1244 moved to Würzburg, where she lived in seclusion in St Marcus Abbey. In 1246 Margaret's brother Duke Frederick II of Austria, last scion of the Babenberg dynasty, died childless in the Battle of the Leitha River, leaving a succession crisis; the two principal claimants over the succession in the duchies of Austria and Styria were two women: Margaret and her niece Gertrude, who claimed primogeniture, as the only daughter of Henry of Mödling, the eldest brother of the late Duke Frederick II, who had predeceased their father Duke Leopold VI.
As King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia wanted to take control over the duchies south of his realm, he arranged for the wedding of his eldest son and heir, Margrave Vladislaus III of Moravia, with Gertrude. The couple was proclaimed Duke and Duchess of Austria, but Vladislaus died in the following year; the next ruler of Austria was Gertrude's second husband, Margrave Herman VI of Baden, who died in 1250, leaving Austria and Styria princeless again. The Austrian aristocracy offered the government of the duchies to King Wenceslaus' second son and new heir apparent Ottokar II. However, one condition was imposed by the nobles: Ottokar could only take control of Austria and Styria if he married one of the Babenberg heiresses. Ottokar refused to marry his brother's widow, such marriage being prohibited by the Book of Leviticus, decided to marry Margaret, 26 years his senior; the ceremony took place on 11 February 1252 in the Castle Chapel of Hainburg an der Donau. Ottokar acquired the imperial privileges sealed with a Golden Bull on the basis of the Privilegium Minus, acknowledged by Emperor Frederick II, which legitimized his claim over Austria and Styria, since Margaret was the heiress of the last duke by proximity of blood.
Thereby she transferred the government of the duchies to Styria to her husband. Pope Innocent IV, who had changed sides several times between Gertrude and Margaret, confirmed the lawful government of Ottokar over both duchies on 6 May 1252. Bohemian administrators ruled the duchies in his name. One year on 23 September 1253, King Wenceslaus I died, Ottokar and Margaret became King and Queen of Bohemia. Once he had obtained the Babenberg duchies, it was evident to Ottokar that Margaret 50 years old, would not bear children; the king tried to gain from the Pope the recognition of the illegitimate son whom he had with Agnes of Kuenring, one of Margaret's ladies-in-waiting, as his lawful successor. After the Pope refused this, in 1261 Ottokar obtained the annulment of his marriage with Margaret. While Ottokar married Kunigunda of Halych, a grand-daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary, the repudiated Queen Margaret left Bohemia and returned to her Austrian homeland, she took her residence in Krumau am Kamp.
After the annulment she was called Romanorum quondam Regina. In 1266 she changed her title to quondam filia Livpoldi illustris ducis Austrie et Stirie et Romanorum Regina as a reference to her father. Prior to her death in Krumau, she chose Lilienfeld Abbey as her burial place, next to her father; the date of her death is controversial. Some sources state 1266. King Ottokar II kept Styria, he stood as a candidate for the Imperial Crown several times, until he was deposed by King Rudolf I of Germany in 1276 and killed in the Battle on the March
Theodore I Laskaris
Theodoros I Komnenos Laskaris was the first Emperor of Nicaea. Theodore Laskaris was born. 1174, to the Laskaris, a noble but not renowned Byzantine family of Constantinople. He was the son of wife Ioanna Karatzaina, he had four older brothers: Manuel Laskaris, Michael Laskaris, Georgios Laskaris and Constantine Laskaris, Emperor of Byzantium. William Miller identified the wife of Marco I Sanudo as the sister of Theodore, based on his interpretation of the Italian sources. However, Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza rejected this identification in his Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople, based on the silence of Byzantine primary sources; the historian George Akropolites left a description of Theodore: "In body he was small, moderately dark, with a long beard, divided at the ends", "His eyes differed from one another". In 1198/9, Theodore married Anna Angelina, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos and Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera.
Soon after this, he was raised to the rank of despotēs. Theodore distinguished himself during the sieges of Constantinople by the Latins of the Fourth Crusade, he remained in Constantinople until the Latins penetrated into the city, at which point he fled across Bosphorus together with his wife. At about the same time his brother Constantine Laskaris was unsuccessfully proclaimed emperor by some of the defenders of Constantinople. In Bithynia Theodore established himself in Nicaea, which became the chief rallying-point for his countrymen. At first Theodore did not claim the imperial title because his father-in-law and his brother were both still living because of the imminent Latin invasion, or because there was no Patriarch of Constantinople to crown him Emperor. In addition, his own control over the Anatolian domains of the Byzantine Empire was challenged, by David Komnenos in Paphlagonia and Manuel Maurozomes in Phrygia, it was only after defeating the latter two in 1205 that he was proclaimed Emperor and invited Patriarch John X Kamateros to Nicaea.
But John died in 1206 before crowning Theodore. Theodore appointed Michael IV Autoreianos as the new Patriarch and was crowned by him in March 1208. In the meantime, Theodore had been defeated by the Latins at Adramyttion, but soon afterwards the Latins were themselves defeated by Kaloyan of Bulgaria at the Battle of Adrianople; this temporarily stalled the Latin advance, but it was renewed by Emperor Henry of Flanders in 1206. Theodore entered into an alliance with Kaloyan and took the offensive in 1209; the situation was complicated by the invasion of Sultan Kaykhusraw I of Rum at the instigation of the deposed Alexios III in 1211. Although the danger from Rum and Alexios III was thus neutralized, Emperor Henry defeated Theodore in October of the same year, established his control over the southern shores of the Sea of Marmara. In spite of this defeat, Theodore was able to take advantage of the death of David Megas Komnenos, the brother of Emperor Alexios I of Trebizond in 1212 and to extend his own control over Paphlagonia.
In 1214 Theodore concluded a peace treaty with the Latin Empire at Nymphaion, in 1219 he married Marie de Courtenay, a niece of now deceased Emperor Henry and daughter of the current regent, Yolanda of Flanders. In spite of predominantly peaceful relations, Theodore attacked the Latin Empire again in 1220, but peace was restored. Theodore was succeeded by his son-in-law John III Doukas Vatatzes, he was buried in the Monastery of Hyakinthos in Nicaea. At the end of his reign he ruled over a territory coterminous with the old Roman provinces of Asia and Bithynia. Though there is no proof of higher qualities of statesmanship in him, by his courage and military skill he enabled the Byzantine nation not to survive, but to beat back the Latin invasion. Theodore married three times, his first wife was Anna Komnene Angelina, whom he married in 1199. With Anna, Theodore had three daughters and two sons who died young: Nicholas Laskaris John Laskaris Irene Laskarina, who married first the general Andronikos Palaiologos and John III Doukas Vatatzes Maria Laskarina, who married King Béla IV of Hungary Sophia Eudokia Laskarina, engaged to Robert of Courtenay, married firstly and divorced Frederick II, Duke of Austria, secondly Anseau de Cayeux, Governor of Asia MinorAfter Anna Angelina died in 1212, Theodore took Philippa of Armenia as his second wife.
She was a niece of King of Armenia. Gardiner mentions the theory that Leo wanted to marry his daughter to another, sent his niece in her place. Theodore's third wife was Maria of Courtenay, whom he married in 1219, she was the daughter of Emperor Peter II of Courtenay and Empress Yolanda of Flanders, but they had no children
Margraviate of Austria
The Margraviate of Austria was a southeastern frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire created in 976 out of the territory on the border with the Principality of Hungary. Under the overlordship of the Dukes of Bavaria, it was ruled by margraves of the Franconian Babenberg dynasty, it became an Imperial State in its own right, when the Babenbergs were elevated to Dukes of Austria in 1156. In contemporary Latin, the entity was called the marcha Orientalis, marchia Austriae, or Austrie marchionibus; the Old High German name Ostarrîchi first appeared on a famous deed of donation issued by Emperor Otto III at Bruchsal in November 996. The phrase regione vulgari vocabulo Ostarrîchi, that is, "the region called Ostarrîchi" only referred to some estates around the manor of Neuhofen an der Ybbs; the march was called the Margraviate of Austria or the Bavarian Eastern March to differentiate it from the Saxon Eastern March in the northeast. During the Anschluss period of 1938–45 the Nazi authorities tried to replace the term "Austria" with Ostmark.
The march comprised the lands north and south of the Danube river, with the Enns tributary in the west forming the border with the Traungau shire of the Bavarian stem duchy. The eastern frontier with the Hungarian settlement area in the Pannonian Basin ran along the Morava and Leitha rivers, with the Gyepű borderland beyond. In the north, the march bordered on the Bohemian duchy of the Přemyslids, the lands in the south belonged to the Dukes of Carinthia newly instated in 976; the early march corresponded to the modern region of Lower Austria. The initial Babenberger residence was at Pöchlarn on the former Roman limes, but maybe Melk, where subsequent rulers resided; the original march coincided with the modern Wachau, but was shortly enlarged eastwards at least as far as the Wienerwald. Under Margrave Ernest the Brave, the colonisation of the northern Waldviertel up to the Thaya river and the Bohemian march of Moravia was begun, the Hungarian March was merged into Austria; the margraves' residence was moved down the Danube to Klosterneuburg until in 1142 Vienna became the official capital.
The Babenbergs had a defense system of several castles built in the Wienerwald mountain range and along the Danube river, among them Greifenstein. The surrounding area was colonized and Christianized by the Bavarian Bishops of Passau, with ecclesiastical centres at the Benedictine abbey of Sankt Pölten, at Klosterneuburg Monastery and Heiligenkreuz Abbey; the early margraviate was populated by a mix of Slavic and native Romano-Germanic peoples who were speaking Rhaeto-Romance languages, remnants of which remain today in parts of northern Italy and in Switzerland. In the Austrian Alps some valleys retained their Rhaeto-Romance speakers until the 17th century; the first marches covering the territory that would become Austria and Slovenia were the Avar March and the adjacent March of Carantania in the south. Both were established in the late 8th century by Charlemagne upon the incorporation of the territory of the Agilolfing dukes of Bavaria against the invasions of the Avars; when the Avars disappeared in the 820s, they were replaced by West Slavs, who settled here within the state of Great Moravia.
The March of Pannonia was set apart from the Duchy of Friuli in 828 and set up as a march against Moravia within the East Frankish regnum of Bavaria. These march called marcha orientalis, corresponded to a frontier along the Danube from the Traungau to Szombathely and the Rába river including the Vienna basin. By the 890s, the Pannonian march seems to have disappeared, along with the threat from Great Moravia, during the Hungarian invasions of Europe. Upon the defeat of Margrave Luitpold of Bavaria at the 907 Battle of Pressburg, all East Frankish lands beyond the Enns river were lost. In 955 King Otto I of Germany had started the reconquest with his victory at the 955 Battle of Lechfeld; the obscurity of the period from circa 900 until 976 leads some to posit that a Pannonian or Austrian march existed against the Magyars, alongside the other marches, incorporated into Bavaria by 952. However, much of Pannonia was still conquered by the Magyars. In 976, during a general restructuring of Bavaria upon the insurrection of Duke Henry II the Wrangler, Otto's son and successor Emperor Otto II had a new marcha orientalis erected on the territory of the former Pannonian march.
He appointed the Babenberg count Leopold the Illustrious from the House of Babenberg margrave in turn for his support. Leopold replaced one Burchard, whose status is not well known but may represent a continual margravial authority in the region during the interval 900–976. Margravial Austria reached its greatest height under Leopold III, a great friend of the church and founder of abbeys, he developed a great level of territorial independence. In 1139, Leopold IV inherited Bavaria; when his successor, the last margrave, Henry Jasomirgott, was deprived of Bavaria in 1156, Austria was elevated to a duchy independent from Bavaria by the Privilegium Minus of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. From 1192 the House of Babenberg ruled over the neighbouring Duchy of Styria; the line became extinct with the death of Duke Frederick II of Austria at the
Klosterneuburg Monastery is a twelfth-century Augustinian monastery of the Roman Catholic Church located in the town of Klosterneuburg in Lower Austria. Overlooking the Danube, just north of the Vienna city limits at the Leopoldsberg, the monastery was founded in 1114 by Saint Leopold III of Babenberg, the patron saint of Austria, his second wife Agnes of Germany; the abbey church, dedicated the Nativity of Mary, was consecrated in 1136 and remodeled in the Baroque style in the seventeenth century. The impressive monastery complex was constructed between 1730 and 1834, its foundations, including a castle tower and a Gothic chapel, date back to the twelfth century. Other older buildings still extant within the complex include the chapel of 1318 with Saint Leopold's tomb. From 1634 on, the Habsburg rulers had the facilities rebuilt in the Baroque style, continued by the architects Jakob Prandtauer and Donato Felice d'Allio; the plans to embellish the monastery on the scale of an Austrian Escorial were resumed by the Neoclassical architect Joseph Kornhäusel, though only small parts were carried out.
In 1879, the abbey church and monastery were restored according to plans by Friedrich von Schmidt, the neo-Gothic twin steeples were erected. Klosterneuburg Monastery contains the Verduner Altar, made in 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun, its three parts comprise 45 gilded copper plates modeled on Byzantine paragons, similar to the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral. The monastery contains a museum with a collection of Gothic and Baroque sculpture and a gallery of paintings, including fifteen panel paintings by Rueland Frueauf from 1505, four Passion paintings from the backside of the Verduner Altar from 1331, the Babenberg genealogical tree. During the Investiture Controversy in the early twelfth century, Margrave Leopold III of Babenberg sided with the Papacy against Emperor Henry IV. In 1106, the emperor's son, Emperor Henry V, who sided with the Papacy against his father, rewarded Leopold's loyalty by offering him his sister Agnes' hand in marriage, in recognition of his services. Agnes was the widow of Duke Frederick I of Swabia.
Leopold, widowed from his first wife, accepted the hand of this daughter of the Imperial Salian dynasty. With this new connection to two imperial families, Leopold's status was elevated by the marriage, which brought with it a large dowry of royal possessions. Following his marriage, Leopold initiated plans to build a castle on Leopoldsberg for his new residence, at Gars am Kamp and Tulln an der Donau, he named the new castle Niwenburc. According to legend, Leopold was standing with his wife on the balcony of their new castle when Agnes' veil was carried away by a strong gust of wind; the area was searched. Years Leopold was out hunting when he became attracted by a brilliant radiance coming from the foliage of an elderbush; the source of the light was the undamaged veil, entangled in the foliage. From the light emerged a vision of the Virgin Mary, who directed Leopold to build a church and monastery in her honour at that location. In 1113, Leopold founded a monastery for secular canons next to his castle, providing it with generous donations of land.
The cornerstone ceremony for the new abbey church took place on 12 June 1114. Leopold's younger son, the chronicler Otto of Freising, prepared for his ecclesiastical career at Klosterneuburg and became provost in 1126. In 1133, Leopold handed the monastery over to the Augustinians after repossessing it from the secular canons. Leopold sought to create an private monastery next to his residence. On 29 September 1136, the abbey church was consecrated after 22 years of construction; the form of that original basilica has survived for nine centuries, despite many subsequent modifications and reconstructions. Most the two side aisles had lofts, the middle aisle was most higher, above the crossing there was a tower. Two months after the consecration, Margrave Leopold III died on 15 November 1136. Agnes survived him by seven years. In 1156, Duke Henry II of Austria moved his residence from Klosterneuburg to Vienna after receiving the ducal title. Despite the change, the monastery continued to develop as a cultural institution.
In 1220, Duke Leopold VI of Austria selected a Burgundian master architect to build the Capella Speziosa chapel beside the convent. This chapel, considered among the most beautiful sacred buildings of its time, was demolished in the eighteenth century. On 13 September 1330, the town and monastery were damaged in a fire; the monastery and abbey church were renovated, new works of art were commissioned by provost Stephan of Sierndorf. In 1394, construction began on the south tower of the early-Gothic abbey church, it would take two centuries before the tower was completed in 1592. On 6 January 1485, Leopold III was canonized by Pope Innocent VIII; as a result, Klosterneuburg soon became an important pilgrimage site. Throughout the fifteenth century, the Augustinian canons had devoted themselves to humanistic studies and the sciences geography and astronomy. During the various wars of that period the Ottoman sieges of Vienna in 1529 and 1679, the monastery suffered severe damage. In the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformation posed another threat to the monastery, as its influence led to reduced numbers—at one point leaving the monastery in the care of only seven canons.
The success of the Counter-Reformation during the seventeenth century strengthened and renewed the monastery. Between 1634 and 1645, the first phase of remodeling the abbey church in the Baroque style took place. Artists from northern Italy were brought in to work on the pr