This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (September 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Albert the Magnanimous
Posthumous anonymous portrait of Albert, 16th century
Duke of Austria
Reign14 September 1404 – 27 October 1439
PredecessorAlbert IV
SuccessorLadislaus the Posthumous
King of Hungary and Croatia (jure uxoris)
Reign18 December 1437 – 27 October 1439
Coronation1 January 1438, Székesfehérvár
SuccessorVladislaus I
King of the Romans
Reign18 March 1438 – 27 October 1439
SuccessorFrederick III
King of Bohemia
Reign6 May 1438 – 27 October 1439
Coronation29 June 1438, Prague
SuccessorLadislaus the Posthumous
Born10 August 1397
Vienna, Duchy of Austria, Holy Roman Empire
Died27 October 1439(1439-10-27) (aged 42)
Neszmély, Kingdom of Hungary
(m. 1422)
FatherAlbert IV, Duke of Austria
MotherJoanna Sophia of Bavaria

Albert the Magnanimous KG, elected King of the Romans as Albert II (10 August 1397 – 27 October 1439), was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and a member of the House of Habsburg. By inheritance he became Albert V, Duke of Austria. Through his wife (jure uxoris) he also became King of Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, and inherited a claim to the Duchy of Luxembourg.[1]


Coronation of Albert II in 1438, by Karel Svoboda, 19th century

Albert was born in Vienna as the son of Albert IV, Duke of Austria, and Joanna Sophia of Bavaria.[2]

He succeeded to the Duchy of Austria at the age of seven on his father's death in 1404. His uncle Duke William of Inner Austria, then head of the rivaling Leopoldinian line, served as regent for his nephew, followed by his brothers Leopold IV and Ernest the Iron in 1406. The quarrels between the brothers and their continued attempts to gain control over the Albertinian territories led to civil war-like conditions. Nevertheless, Albert, having received a good education, undertook the government of Austria proper on the occasion of Leopold's death in 1411 and succeeded, with the aid of his advisers, in ridding the duchy of the evils which had arisen during his minority.[3]

In 1422 Albert married Elisabeth of Luxemburg, the daughter and heiress of the King Sigismund of Hungary (later also Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia), and his second wife, the Slovenian noblewoman Barbara of Celje.[4] Besides Hungary, Albert's marriage brought him claims to several Slavic kingdoms and principalities as well.

Albert II as Roman-German king

Albert assisted his father-in-law Sigismund in his campaigns against the Hussites, involving the Austrian duchy in the Hussite Wars. In return Sigismund designated him as his successor and granted him the title of a Margrave of Moravia in 1423. The Austrian lands were devastated several times and Albert also participated in the 1431 Battle of Domažlice where the Imperial troops suffered an embarrassing defeat. While his lands were harmed it was a showing of loyalty to the church as the church was trying to consolidate its influence and power.[5]

When Sigismund died in 1437, Albert was crowned king of Hungary on 1 January 1438, and just as his predecessor did, he moved his court to the Hungarian Kingdom from where he later oversaw his other domains. Although crowned king of Bohemia six months after ascending to the Hungarian throne, he was unable to obtain possession of the country. He was engaged in warfare with the Bohemians and their Polish allies, when on 18 March 1438, he was chosen "King of the Romans" at Frankfurt, an honor which he does not appear to have sought.[6] He was never crowned as Holy Roman Emperor.

Afterwards engaged in defending Hungary against the attacks of the Turks, he died on 27 October 1439 at Neszmély and was buried at Székesfehérvár. Albert was an energetic and warlike prince, whose short reign as a triple king gave great promise of usefulness for the Holy Roman Empire.[3]

The Hussite Wars and Widespread Persecution

Beginning with the first crusade in the year 1095 persecution against those not within the Catholic faith were deemed as heretical and were to be destroyed, or converted.[7] While the papal call for the end to heresy applied to Muslims traditionally, there was widespread violence that spread to other religious or social groups.[8] Jews and lepers were the main targets along with Muslims in the crusade to destroy "devilry."[9][10] The persecution of Jews came as no surprise in connection with the Hussite Wars. The call to arms against Heretics meant the call to arms against all who are not Christian, with the hopes of their destruction or conversion.[10] However, the crusaders saw that as an opportunity to convert all who were not Christian, the Jews and lepers included not just the intended Muslims.[9] If the heretics did not convert to Christianity they were massacred, usually burned. This would apply later in the Hussite Wars, which was a continuation of the crusades, as Albert II came to power as Duke of Austria, who was a willing participant in the fight against heresy. The Hussite Wars is a series of crusades against heresy in the Middle ages spanning from 1418-1437 and through his loyalty to the church and the persecutive works of his contemporaries, he would embark on his own persecutive journey against the Jews.[11]

Jewish persecution

Beginning in the 11th century Jews started to define themselves as a people garnering a foothold as money lenders within their communities.[5] Respectively, by the 13th century Jews in Europe and Austria had found themselves as a people with their own social identity.[5] With this newfound identity persecution followed. Jewish people were subject to plundering and land stealing beginning in the 13th century as they were regarded as outsiders.[5] However, the first major instance of Jewish persecution came with the First Crusade in the fall of 1095 and is thought of to be the beginning of a long line of Anti-Jewish persecution involving violence.[7] Summoned by Pope Urban II with the hope of conquering the Holy Land, violence against the Jewish population came with inspiration from the rumor of a papal call to use violence against non-Christians, actually meaning Muslims.[8] Pogroms were also organized to destroy Jewish communities which were highly effective.[5] Overtime, historiographical works have tended to focus on the German-Austrian massacres due to how much evidence there is present.[5] These German-Austrian massacres were arguably a great influence on Albert V and his Jewish persecutions and expulsions. The persecution of Jews would grow to encompass all of Europe for many centuries in which Albert V as Duke of Austria also took part in when he came to power.

Though the Jews in the Austrian duchy had been subject to local persecutions during the 13th and 14th century, their position remained relatively safe. Jewish communities prospered in several towns like Krems or the area around the Judenplatz at Vienna. During the confusion after the death of Duke Albert IV in 1404 their situation worsened sharply, culminating in the blaze of the Vienna synagogue on 5 November 1406, followed by riots and lootings.[citation needed]

With the ordering of campaign preparations against the Hussites by King Sigismund in the beginning of the 15th century taxes would be used to fund a crusade army.[10] Albert V of Austria would follow suit keeping his good standing with the Catholic Church while he was in power.[11] When Albert V came of age in 1411 and interfered in the Hussite Wars, he repeatedly established new taxes imposed on the Jewish community to finance his campaigns. Taxes would be established to destroy "devilry" and "imprudence".[10] Like the Hussites, Jews were seen at this point as an enemy to Christendom.[5] After the Hussites had devastated the duchy, the Austrian Jews were accused of collaboration and arms trade in favor of the enemies. The accusations of a host desecration at Enns in 1420 gave Albert pretext for the destruction of the Jewish community.[citation needed]

According to the 1463 Chronica Austriae by chronicler Thomas Ebendorfer, the duke on 23 May 1420, at the behest of the Church, ordered the imprisonment and forcible conversion of the Jews. Those that had not converted or escaped were sent off in boats down the Danube, while wealthy Jews remained under arrest, several of them tortured and stripped of their property. The forced baptism of Jewish children was stopped on intervention by Pope Martin V. On 12 March 1421 Albert sentenced the remaining Jews to death. Ninety-two men and 120 women were burned at the stake south of the Vienna city walls on 12 March 1421. The Jews were placed under an "eternal ban" and their synagogue was demolished. The persecutions in several Austrian towns are explicitly described in a 16th-century script called Vienna Gesera.[citation needed]

King Albert of Hungary as depicted in the Chronica Hungarorum

Full title

Coat of arms Albert II of Habsburg

Full titulature Albert possessed went as follows: Albert, by the grace of God elected King of the Romans, always August, King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Cumania and Bulgaria, elected King of Bohemia, duke of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, margrave of Moravia, Lord of the Wendish March and Port Naon, Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Ferrete and Kyburg, etc. Margrave of Burgau and landgrave of Alsace.

In practise he often used a shorter version: Albert, by the grace of God elected King of the Romans, always August, King of Hungary, Dalmatia and Croatia, etc. elected King of Bohemia, duke of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, Margrave of Moravia and Count of Tyrol, etc.


His children with Elizabeth of Luxembourg were:


Male-line family tree

See also


  1. ^ "Albert II (Holy Roman emperor) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Previté-Orton 1978, p. 792.
  3. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Albert II.". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 496. Endnote: see W. Altmann, Die Wahl Albrecht II. zum römische Könige (Berlin, 1886).
  4. ^ a b Jackson-Laufer 1999, p. 130.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Little, Lester K. (1978). Religious poverty and the profit economy in medieval Europe. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-1213-4.
  6. ^ Setton 1978, p. 57.
  7. ^ a b Riley-Smith, Jonathan (January 1984). "The First Crusade and the Persecution of the Jews". Studies in Church History. 21: 51–72. doi:10.1017/S0424208400007531. ISSN 0424-2084.
  8. ^ a b Smelyansky, Eugene, ed. (2020). The intolerant Middle Ages: a reader. Readings in medieval civilizations and cultures. Toronto ; Buffalo ; London: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4875-0612-4.
  9. ^ a b Nirenberg, David (1996). Communities of violence: persecution of minorities in the Middle Ages. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-03375-4.
  10. ^ a b c d Fudge, Thomas A. (2002). The crusade against heretics in Bohemia, 1418-1437: sources and documents for the Hussite crusades. Crusade texts in translation. Aldershot, Hampshire, England ; Burlington, VT, USA: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-0801-1. OCLC 49640251.
  11. ^ a b Mark, Joshua J. "The Medieval Church". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 April 2024.


Albert II of Germany House of Habsburg Born: 10 August 1397  Died: 27 October 1439 Regnal titles Preceded bySigismund King of Hungary and Croatia 1437–39 Succeeded byLadislaus VVladislaus Ias contenders King of Germany 1438–39 Succeeded byFrederick III King of Bohemia 1438–39 VacantTitle next held byLadislaus Preceded byAlbert IV Archduke of Austria 1404–39