Privilegium Minus

Privilegium Minus

Privilegium Minus

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The Privilegium Minus (as opposed to the later Privilegium Maius, which was a forgery) is a document issued by Emperor Frederick I on September 17, 1156. It included the elevation of the Margraviate of Austria to a Duchy, which was given as an inheritable fief to the House of Babenberg. Its recipient was Frederick's paternal uncle Margrave Henry II Jasomirgott. In addition to that, inheritance should also be possible through the female line of the ducal family. In the absence of children, the duke was allowed to designate a successor (Libertas Affectandi). The duke's duty to attend the Reichstag was limited to those cases where it convened in Bavaria. Also, Austria was henceforth only required to provide troops to the emperor in wars in its vicinity.

The issue of the Privilegium Minus document is to be seen before the backdrop of the conflict between the Hohenstaufen and Welfen dynasties in the Holy Roman Empire, which the then young emperor (who was descended from both houses) desired to end. The Duchy of Bavaria was returned to Henry the Lion of the Welfen dynasty, which the Babenbergs had ruled since 1139. To make up for the loss, Austria was raised to the status of a duchy. This was then seen as a loss for Duke Henry II Jasomirgott. Only much later, the document turned out to be founding act for what was to become a nation. Because of it, 1156 is sometimes given as Austria's date of independence, which it then gained from Bavaria.

In succession crisis of the 13th......

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