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Henry III, der Erlauchte or Henry the Illustrious (c. 1215, probably in Meissenmarker–15 February 1288, Dresdenmarker), Margrave of Meissen; the last Margrave of Lusatia as Henry IV; and Landgrave of Thuringia, son of Dietrich, Margrave of Meissen and Jutta of Thuringia.

Henry was the youngest son of Dietrich of Meissen and Jutta of Thuringia. In 1221 he succeeded his father, as Margrave of Meissen of the Wettin dynasty, under guardianship of his maternal uncle, Ludwig the Saint, and after his death in 1227, under that of Albert II, Duke of Brandenburg.

In 1230 he was legally proclaimed an adult and in 1234 married with Constantia, the daughter of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria.

He experienced his first armed combat in 1237 in the Prussian Crusade against the Old Prussians. In 1245 after many years of conflict he was forced to cede Köpenickmarker and Teltowmarker in Brandenburg but won the area of Schiedlo where he founded Fürstenberg.

In the struggle between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope Henry took the side of the Emperor. In consideration, the Emperor Frederick II in 1242 gave him Thuringiamarker and the Palatinate of Saxonymarker and in 1243 betrothed his daughter Margaret to Henry's son Albert.

Only after the departure of Conrad IV from Germanymarker did Henry recognise the opposing king, William of Holland. After the death of Heinrich Raspe in 1247, Henry enforced his rights in Thuringia by military means against his cousin Sophie of Brabant, the daughter of Ludwig the Saint, and Count Siegfried of Anhalt. After a long drawn-out war he ceded Hessemarker to Henry I of Hesse but kept Thuringia, which he granted to his son Albert with the Palatinate of Saxony. These acquisitions significantly increased the Wettin territorial possessions, which now reached from the Oder up to the Werramarker, and from the Erzgebirgemarker up to the Harzmarker.

From 1273 Heinrich was an important support to king Rudolf I. Against Bohemia he won, among other places, Saydamarker and Purschenstein, and was known throughout the whole empire as a glittering prince, famous as a patron of the arts and a model knight, and as a significant Minnesinger , poet and composer. He was patron of many tournaments and singing competitions, in which he also took part himself, and commissioned the famous Christherre-Chronik. He set to music religious hymns to be sung in the churches, by express permission of the pope.

As early as 1265 he granted Pleissnerland, which he had acquired in 1243, the county of Thuringia and Landsberg to his sons Albert II, Margrave of Meissen, otherwise Albrecht the Degenerate, and Dietrich, Margrave of Landsberg, keeping for himself only Meissen and a formal power of oversight. Only domestic disorders, caused by the unworthiness of his son Albrecht, clouded the later years of his reign and indeed, long after his death in 1288, were to bring his house to ruin.

After the death of Constantia in 1243 he took as his second wife Agnes of Bohemia, and in his third marriage the daughter of a ministerialis, or serving knight, Elisabeth von Maltitz, who bore him Friedrich Clem and Hermann the Long.


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