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Ulrich II of Celje

Ulrich II ( , ) (1406 – 9 November 1456), also known as Ulrich Cillei, was Count of Celje.

Ulrich II. was the son of Frederick II, Count of Celjemarker, and Elizabeth Frankopan. Little is known of his youth. About 1432 he married Catherine, daughter of Đurađ Branković, despot of Serbiamarker.

His influence in the affairs of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire early overshadowed that of his father, together with whom he was made a prince of the Empire by Emperor Sigismund (1436). Hence feuds with the Habsburgs, wounded in their rights as overlords of Celje, ending, however, in an alliance with the Habsburg King Albert II, who made Ulrich for a short while his lieutenant in Bohemia. After Albert's death (1439) Ulrich took up the cause of his widow Elizabeth, and presided at the coronation of her infant son Ladislaus V Posthumus (1440).

A feud with the Hunyadis followed, embittered by John Hunyadi's attack on Đurađ Branković of Serbia (1444) and his refusal to recognize Ulrich's claim to Bosnia on the death of Stephen Tvrtko II (1443). In 1446 Hunyadi, now regent of Hungary, harried the Celje territories in Croatiamarker-Slavoniamarker; but his power was broken at the Second Battle of Kosovo (1448), and Count Ulrich was able to lead a successful crusade, nominally in the Habsburg interest, into Hungary (1450). In 1452 he forced Emperor Frederick III to hand over the boy king Ladislaus V to his keeping, and became thus practically ruler of Hungary. In 1454 his power was increased by his succession to his father's vast wealth; and in 1456 after the death of his rival he was named by Ladislaus Captain General of Hungary, an office previously held by John Hunyadi.

Young king Ladislus and in Ulrich of Celje, oil 1870

On the 8th of November, he entered Belgrademarker with the king; the next day he was killed by László Hunyadi's men in unknown circumstances. With him died the male line of the Counts of Celje.

Ulrich's ambition was criticized by Aeneas Sylvius (the later Pope Pius II), although his writings were politically-minded.

Marriage and children

On 20 April, 1434, Ulrich married Catherine Cantakuzina. She was a daughter of Đurađ Branković and Eirene Kantakouzene. They had three children:


  1. Enciklopedija Slovenije II, 1988, f. 14
  2. The Chronicles of Celje
  3. Profile of Ulrich II in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley

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