Leopold V (1157 – December 31, 1194), the Virtuous, was a Babenberg duke of Austria from 1177 to 1194 and Styria from 1192 to 1194. Leopold was the son of Henry II Jasomirgott and his Byzantine wife, Theodora Comnena. Theodora Comnena was a daughter of Andronicus Comnenus (the second eldest son of the Byzantine Emperor, John II Komnenos) and Eirene (?Aineiadissa).
Duke of Austria
Leopold succeeded his father as Duke of Austria upon that man's death on 13 January 1177. Soon after becoming Duke, Leopold lent his support to Frederick of Bohemia in his struggle against Duke Sobeslaus II, who had campaigned in the Austrian duchy, and in 1179, Leopold reached a peace agreement with Bohemia. On 17 August 1186, he negotiated the Georgenberg Pact with Ottokar IV of Styria, by which Styria and the central part of Upper Austria were amalgamated into the Duchy of Austria after 1192. This was the first step towards the creation of modern Austria.
Third Crusade and aftermath
Leopold is mainly remembered outside Austria for his participation in the Third Crusade. He arrived to take part in the siege of Acre in spring 1191, having sailed from Zadar on the Adriatic coast. He took over command of what remained of the imperial forces after the death of Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia in January. According to legend his tunic was blood-soaked after the fights and when he doffed his belt, a white stripe appeared. Emperor Henry VI granted him the privilege to adopt these colours as his new banner, that later would become the flag of Austria.
After Acre had surrendered, the banners of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Richard I of England, Philip II of France and Leopold's ducal flag were raised in the city by Leopold's cousin, Conrad of Montferrat. However, Richard removed Leopold's colours and the duke wrathfully left for his Austrian home, where he arrived by the end of 1191. Richard was also suspected of involvement in the murder of Conrad, shortly after his election as King of Jerusalem in April 1192.
On his journey back that winter, Richard, travelling in disguise, shortly before Christmas 1192 had to stop near Vienna, where he was recognized (supposedly because of his signet ring) and arrested in Erdberg (modern Landstraße district). For some time the king was imprisoned in Dürnstein, and in March 1193 was brought before Emperor Henry VI at Trifels Castle, accused of Conrad's murder. Leopold's share of the immense ransom, supposedly six thousand buckets - about 23 tons - of silver, became the foundation for the mint in Vienna, and was used to build new city walls for Vienna, as well as to found the towns of Wiener Neustadt and Friedberg in Styria. However, the duke was excommunicated by Pope Celestine III for having taken a fellow crusader prisoner.
Marriage and children
In 1172, Leopold married Helena, a daughter of King Géza II of Hungary. By her, Leopold had at least two children (both sons):
- Frederick I (d. 16 April 1198)
- Leopold VI (d. 28 July 1230)
- ↑ Necrologium Monasterii S Crucis Recentius, Passau Necrologies (II), p. 112
- Cawley, C.; Austria in Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, see .
- Fastlinger, M. (ed.); Passau Necrologies (II) (Berlin, 1920)
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