The Establishment of the Duchy of Austria;
September 17, 1156.
(Doeberl, iv. p. 88.)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Frederick, by favour of the divine mercy, august emperor of the Romans. Although a transfer of property may remain valid from the actual act of performing such transfer, and those things which are lawfully possessed can not be wrested away by any act of force: it is, however, the duty of our imperial authority to intervene lest there can be any doubt of the transaction. Be it known, therefore, to the present age and to future generations of our subjects, that we, aided by the grace of Him who sent peace for men from Heaven to earth, have, in the general court of Regensburg which was held on the nativity of St. Mary the Virgin, in the presence of many of the clergy and the catholic princes, terminated the struggle and controversy concerning the duchy of Bavaria, which has long been carried on between our most beloved uncle, Henry duke of Austria, and our most dear nephew, Henry duke of Saxony. And it has been done in this way: that the duke of Austria has resigned to us the duchy of Bavaria, which we have straightway granted as a fief to the duke of Saxony. But the duke of Bavaria has resigned to us the march of Austria, with all its jurisdictions and with all the fiefs which the former margrave Leopold held from the duchy of Bavaria. Moreover, lest by this act the honour and glory of our most beloved uncle may seem in any way to be diminished,-by the counsel and judgment of the princes, Vladislav, the illustrious duke of Bohemia, proclaiming the decision, and all the princes approving,-we have changed the march of Austria into a duchy, and have granted that duchy with all its jurisdictions to our aforesaid uncle Henry and his most noble wife Theodora as a fief; decreeing by a perpetual law that they and their children alike, whether sons or daughters, shall, by hereditary right, hold and possess that same duchy of Austria from the empire. But if the aforesaid duke of Austria, our uncle, and his wife should die without children, they shall have the privilege of leaving that duchy to whomever they wish. We decree, further, that no person, small or great, may presume to exercise any jurisdiction in the governing of that duchy without the consent or permission of the duke. The duke of Austria, moreover, shall not owe any other service to the empire from his duchy, except that, when he is summoned, he shall come to the courts which the emperor shall announce in Bavaria. And he shall be bound to go on no military expeclition, unless the emperor ordain one against the countries or provinces adjoining Austria. For the rest, in order that this our imperial decree may, for all ages, remain valid and unshaken, we have ordered the present charter to be written and to be sealed with the impress of our seal, suitable witnesses to be called in whose names are as follows: Pilgrim, patriarch of Aquileija, etc. etc.

Henderson's Note

Austria had hitherto been simply a margravate and been comprised in the duchy of Bavaria. The act was performed by Fred. Barbarossa as a compromise. There were two claimants for Bavaria-one the son of that Henry the Proud who had expected to be made king in 1137, and who had been rejected for the apparently paradoxical reason that he already was the most powerful noble in Germany. Conrad III had been made king in his stead and had soon found cause to quarrel with his powerful rival, conferring Bavaria on his own half brother the margrave Liutpold. After the death of Henry the Proud there had been concessions and reconciliations with regard to Bavaria-but at the end of Conrad's reign the young Henry the Lion still considered himself the heir, while the duchy was actually held by the king's brother Henry of Austria. Frederick Barbarossa in 1156, intent on the Italian expedition which was to gain him the imperial crown, hastened to heal the discord between his two powerful subjects. Henry the Lion received Bavaria and, in order to appease Henry Jasomirgott, a new duchy was carved out for him. As will be seen from the charter it was enriched with almost unheard of privileges. But great as these were they did not satisfy one of the later dukes of Austria; and some of the most successful of medieval forgeries distorted in the 14th century the original terms of Frederick's grant.

Henderson, Ernest F.
Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages
London : George Bell and Sons, 1896.

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