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Louis IV was born in Munich on 1 April 1282, the son of Louis II, Duke of Upper Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine, and Matilda, a daughter of King Rudolph I. Though partly educated in Vienna, Louis became co-regent of his brother Rudolf I in Upper Bavaria in 1301. After defeating Frederick the Fair, his cousin, in the Battle of Gammelsdorf forced him to renounce his tutelage; this created quite a stir within the Holy Roman Empire and also increased the reputation of the Bavarian Duke.
On 19 October 1314, Archbishop Henry II of Cologne chaired an assembly of four electors at Sachsenhausen, south of Frankfurt. Participants were Louis’ brother, Rudolph I of the Palatinate, who objected to the election of his younger brother, Duke Rudolph I of Saxe-Wittenberg, and Henry of Carinthia, whom the Luxembourgs had deposed as King of Bohemia. These four electors chose Frederick the Fair as King. However, the Luxembourg party did not accept this election and the next day held a second election. Convening in Frankfurt, Archbishop Peter, Archbishop Baldwin of Trier, and King John of Bohemia – both of the House of Luxembourg – Margrave Waldemar of Brandenburg and Duke John II of Saxe-Lauenburg, elected Louis as King.
Two coronations quickly filled this double election: Louis was crowned at Aachen – the customary site of coronations – by Archbishop Peter of Mainz, while the Archbishop of Cologne, who by custom had the right to crown the new king, crowned Frederick at Bonn. In the following conflict between the kings, Louis recognized in 1316 the independence of Switzerland from the Habsburg dynasty.
After several years of bloody war, victory finally seemed within the grasp of Frederick, who was strongly supported by his brother Leopold. But to his dismay, Frederick’s army was decisively defeated in the Battle of Mühldorf on 28 September 1322 on the Ampfing Heath, where Frederick and 1300 nobles from Austria and Salzburg were captured.
Louis held Frederick captive in Trausnitz Castle (Schwandorf) for three years, but the determined resistance by Frederick’s brother Leopold, the retreat of John of Bohemia from his alliance, and a ban by Pope John XXII, who excommunicated Louis on 23 March 1324, induced Louis to release Frederick in the Treaty of Trausnitz on 13 March 1325. In this agreement, Frederick recognized Louis as the legitimate ruler and undertook to return to captivity should he not succeed in convincing his brothers to submit to Louis.
Frederick returned to Munich a prisoner, even though the Pope released him from his oath. Impressed by such humility, Louis renewed his old friendship with Frederick, and they agreed to jointly rule the Empire. Since the Pope and the electors strongly objected to this agreement, another treaty was signed at Ulm on 7 January 1326, according to which Frederick would administer Germany as King of the Romans, while Louis would be crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in Italy. After the death of Leopold in 1326, Frederick withdrew from the regency of the Empire and returned to rule only Austria. He died on 13 January 1330.
- Martin Clauss (22 May 2014). Ludwig IV. der Bayer: Herzog, König, Kaiser. Verlag Friedrich Pustet. ISBN 978-3-7917-6013-1.
- Walter Friedensburg (1877). Ludwig IV. der Baier und Friedrich von Oesterreich von dem vertrage zu Trausnitz bis zur zusammenkunft in Innsbruck. Druck von Pontt & v. Döhren.
- John Powell (2001). Magill’s Guide to Military History: Cor-Jan. Salem Press. p. 588. ISBN 9780893560164.
- S. C. Rowell (6 March 2014). Lithuania Ascending. Cambridge University Press. pp. 189–. ISBN 978-1-107-65876-9.
ALSO ON THIS DAY
1542 – Sebastian Castellio is appointed rector of the Collège de Genève.. He ran afoul of Calvin over personal disagreements and a dispute over the interpretation of the Song of Solomon. Expelled from Geneva, Castellio suffered eight years of poverty before he was hired to teach at Basel. Calvin also rejected Castellio’s arguments for freedom of conscience advanced in Concerning Heretics.
1685 – Johann Sebastian Bach, the youngest in a family of German musicians, was baptized on this day, at two days old, in Eisenach.
1943 – In a letter that he hand-delivers to the German occupiers of Greece, Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens denounced the deportation of Jews to concentration camps, quoting the Scripture that teaches that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek.” When Nazis threaten to shoot him, he replied sarcastically (alluding to an incident in which a Turkish mob lynched a former Patriarch), “According to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hanged, not shot. Please respect our traditions!”