Otto III, Duke of Bavaria

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Otto III
Béla V
Otto (Chronica Hungarorum).jpg
Duke of Lower Bavaria
Reign 3 February 1290 9 November 1312
Predecessor Henry XIII
Successor Henry XV
King of Hungary and Croatia
Reign 6 December 1305 1308
Coronation 6 December 1305 (Székesfehérvár)
Predecessor Wenceslaus
Successor Charles I
Born 11 February 1261
Died 9 November 1312(1312-11-09) (aged 51)
Burial Kloster Seligenthal
Spouse Catherine of Habsburg
Agnes of Glogau
among others...
Henry XV, Duke of Bavaria
House House of Wittelsbach
Father Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria
Mother Elizabeth of Hungary
Religion Roman Catholicism

Otto III (11 February 1261 – 9 November 1312), a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty, was the Duke of Lower Bavaria from 1290 to 1312 and the King of Hungary and Croatia between 1305 and 1307. His reign in Hungary was disputed by Charles Robert of the Angevin dynasty.

King of Hungary

The King of Hungary was the ruling head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918. The style of title "Apostolic King of Hungary" was endorsed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all Monarchs of Hungary.

Charles I of Hungary King of Hungary

Charles I, also known as Charles Robert was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1308 to his death. He was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou and the only son of Charles Martel, Prince of Salerno. His father was the eldest son of Charles II of Naples and Mary of Hungary. She laid claim to Hungary after her brother, Ladislaus IV of Hungary, died in 1290, but the Hungarian prelates and lords elected her cousin, Andrew III, king. Instead of abandoning her claim to Hungary, she transferred it to her son, Charles Martel, and after his death in 1295, to her grandson, Charles. On the other hand, her husband, Charles II of Naples, made their third son, Robert, heir to the Kingdom of Naples, thus disinheriting Charles.

Capetian House of Anjou

The Capetian House of Anjou was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct French House of Capet, part of the Capetian dynasty. It is one of three separate royal houses referred to as Angevin, meaning "from Anjou" in France. Founded by Charles I of Naples, the youngest son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century. Later the War of the Sicilian Vespers forced him out of the island of Sicily, leaving him with the southern half of the Italian Peninsula — the Kingdom of Naples. The house and its various branches would go on to influence much of the history of Southern and Central Europe during the Middle Ages, until becoming defunct in 1435.



Otto was born in Burghausen, the son of Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria, and Elizabeth of Hungary.

Burghausen, Altötting Place in Bavaria, Germany

Burghausen is the largest town in the Altötting district of Upper Bavaria in Germany. It is situated on the Salzach river, near the border with Austria. Burghausen Castle rests along a ridgeline, and is the longest castle in the world.

Henry I of Lower Bavaria, member of the Wittelsbach dynasty was Duke of Lower Bavaria. As Duke of Bavaria, he is also called Henry XIII.

Elizabeth of Hungary was a daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary and his wife Maria Laskarina. She was a member of the House of Árpad.


Otto succeeded his father in 1290 as duke of Lower Bavaria, together with his younger brothers, Louis III and Stephen I. He was in opposition to Habsburg and tried to regain Styria which Bavaria had lost in 1180. Otto supported Adolf, King of Germany against Habsburg and fought on his side in the Battle of Göllheim. The Hungarian crown was offered to Otto, a grandson of Béla IV of Hungary, in 1301 but he did not accept before 1305.

Louis III. was duke of Lower Bavaria from 1290 until 1296 as co-regnant with his brothers Otto III and Stephen I.

Stephen I. was duke of Lower Bavaria from 1290 until 1310 as co-regnant of his older brothers Otto III and Louis III.

Styria State of Austria

Styria is a state, or Bundesland, located in the southeast of Austria. In area it is the second largest of the nine Austrian federated states, covering 16,401 km2 (6,332 sq mi). It borders Slovenia and the Austrian states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Burgenland, and Carinthia. The capital city is Graz which had 276,526 inhabitants at the beginning of 2015.

In August 1305, his opponent, Wenceslaus III of Bohemia, who had inherited Bohemia from his father, renounced his claim to Hungary on behalf of Otto III. Since the Habsburg Albert I of Germany was blocking the way through Austria, Otto disguised himself as a merchant, and reached Buda in November 1305.

Wenceslaus III of Bohemia King of Bohemia and Poland

Wenceslaus III was King of Hungary between 1301 and 1305, and King of Bohemia and Poland from 1305. He was the son of Wenceslaus II, King of Bohemia, who was later also crowned king of Poland, and Judith of Habsburg. Still a child, Wenceslaus was betrothed to Elizabeth, the sole daughter of Andrew III of Hungary. After Andrew III's death in early 1301, the majority of the Hungarian lords and prelates elected Wenceslaus king, although Pope Boniface VIII supported another claimant, Charles Robert, a member of the royal house of the Kingdom of Naples.

Albert I of Germany King of Germany

Albert I of Habsburg, the eldest son of King Rudolf I of Germany and his first wife Gertrude of Hohenberg, was a Duke of Austria and Styria from 1282 and King of Germany from 1298 until his assassination.

Buda Western Historical Part of Budapest

Buda was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Hungary and since 1873 has been the western part of the Hungarian capital Budapest, on the west bank of the Danube. Buda comprises a third of Budapest’s total territory and is in fact mostly wooded. Landmarks include Buda Castle, the Citadella, and President of Hungary's residence Sándor Palace.

He was then crowned with the Holy Crown of Hungary in Székesfehérvár by the Bishops of Veszprém and Csanád on 6 December. He named himself Béla V after his grandfather. However, Otto was not able to strengthen his rule. In the course of 1306, Otto's second opponent Charles of Anjou occupied Esztergom, Szepes Castle, Zólyom and some other fortresses in the northern parts of the kingdom, and in the next year he also occupied Buda. In June 1307, Duke Otto III visited the powerful Voivode of Transylvania, Ladislaus Kán, but the latter imprisoned him. On 10 October 1307, the magnates presented at the assembly in Rákos proclaimed Charles king, but the most powerful aristocrats (Matthew III Csák, Amadé Aba and Ladislaus Kán) ignored him as well. At the end of the year, Ladislaus Kán set Otto free who then left the country, but the Voivode of Transylvania still denied to hand over the Holy Crown of Hungary to Charles, whose legitimacy could be questioned without the coronation with the Holy Crown.

Holy Crown of Hungary coronation crown in the Kingdom of Hungary

The Holy Crown of Hungary, also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence; kings have been crowned with it since the twelfth century. The Crown was bound to the Lands of the Hungarian Crown. No king of Hungary was regarded as having been truly legitimate without being crowned with it. In the history of Hungary, more than fifty kings were crowned with it, up to the last, Charles IV, in 1916.

Székesfehérvár City with county rights in Central Transdanubia, Hungary

The city of Székesfehérvár, known colloquially as Fehérvár (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈseːkɛʃfɛheːrvaːr], located in central Hungary, is the ninth largest city of the country; regional capital of Central Transdanubia; and the centre of Fejér county and Székesfehérvár District. The area is an important rail and road junction between Lake Balaton and Lake Velence.

Esztergom Town in Komárom-Esztergom, Hungary

Esztergom is a city in northern Hungary, 46 kilometres northwest of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there.

Otto abdicated the Hungarian throne in 1308. Otto's involvement in Austrian and Hungarian affairs weakened his position in Bavaria and finally led to failure due to financial problems. In Hungarian historiography he is noted as an anti-king during the interregnum of 1301–1310.


An anti-king, anti king or antiking is a would-be king who, due to succession disputes or simple political opposition, declares himself king in opposition to a reigning monarch. The term is usually used in a European historical context where it relates to elective monarchies rather than hereditary ones. In hereditary monarchies such figures are more frequently referred to as pretenders or claimants.

An interregnum is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next, and the concepts of interregnum and regency therefore overlap. Historically, the longer and heavier interregna were typically accompanied by widespread unrest, civil and succession wars between warlords, and power vacuums filled by foreign invasions or the emergence of a new power. A failed state is usually in interregnum.

During his presence in Hungary 1305–1308 Lower Bavaria was ruled by his brother Stephen I. In 1310 a new war against Habsburg devastated Burghausen. Otto died in 1312 and was succeeded in Lower Bavaria by his son Henry XV, who shared power with his cousins, Henry XIV and Otto IV, both sons of Stephen I. John I, a son of Henry XIV, was the last duke of Lower Bavaria before Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor inherited the country and reunited the duchy in 1340.

Marriages and children

In January, 1279, Otto married Catherine, a daughter of Rudolph I of Germany and Gertrude of Hohenburg. [1] Their twins, Henry and Rudolph, were born in 1280 and died the same year.

Catharine died on 4 April 1282. Otto remained a widower for twenty-three years. On 18 May 1309, Otto married his second wife Agnes of Glogau. She was a daughter of Henry III, Duke of Silesia-Glogau, and Matilda of Brunswick-Lüneburg. They had two children:

Otto died in Landshut.


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  1. Theresa Earenfight, Queenship in Medieval Europe, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 173.
Otto III, Duke of Bavaria
Born: 11 February 1261 9 November
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry XIII
Duke of Lower Bavaria
Succeeded by
Henry XV
Preceded by
King of Hungary
Succeeded by
Charles I