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From The Emperor’s Desk: I generally am not too interested in wars and battles but this was an important battle in the History of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Battle of Mühldorf (also Battle of Ampfing) was fought near Mühldorf am Inn on September 28, 1322 between the Duchy of (Upper) Bavaria and Austria. The Bavarians were led by the Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig IV of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach, while the Austrians were under the command of his cousin, Friedrich the Fair from the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1308 as Friedrich I as well as King of Germany (King of the Romans) from 1314 (anti-king until 1325) as Friedrich III until his death.


picture: Friedrich I of Austria


The early 14th century had the powerful dynasties of Habsburg, Luxembourg, and Wittelsbach rivaling for the rule over the Holy Roman Empire, while the Prince-Electors were anxious not to allow one noble family to install their dynasty permanently turning the Holy Roman Empire into a hereditary monarchy.

After the death of Emperor Heinrich VII of the House of Luxembourg in 1313, the Electoral Collage denied the succession of his son Johann, (1296 – 1346) who was the Count of Luxembourg from 1313 and King of Bohemia from 1310 and titular King of Poland.

Instead the Electoral Collage accorded its favor to Ludwig of Wittelsbach and Friedrich of Habsburg, but were split over the question of whom to choose. I’ve already mentioned the credentials of Friedrich the Fair, here is some background on Ludwig of Wittelsbach.

He was the son of Ludwig II, Duke of Upper Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine, and Matilda of Austria, a daughter of King Rudolph I of Germany, of the House of Habsburg. Ludwig (III) was Duke of Upper Bavaria from 1294/1301 together with his elder brother Rudolf I, served as Margrave of Brandenburg until 1323, and as Count Palatine of the Rhine until 1329, and he became Duke of Lower Bavaria.

Therefore, because the Electoral Collage was split in 1314, a double election took place at Frankfurt. Cologne, the Electorate of the Palatinate, Bohemia, and the Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg voted for Friedrich of Habsburg as Rex Romanorum.

Mainz, Archbishopric of Trier, Brandenburg and Elector Johann II of Saxe-Lauenburg (whose electoral dignity was denied by their Saxe-Wittenberg cousins) adopted Ludwig of Bavaria.

The draw resulted in a protracted conflict with violent fights, in which both sides tried to gain the support of the Imperial estates. In addition, Ludwig had to settle the domestic dispute with his brother Count Palatine Rudolf I (who had voted against him), which finally ended with Rudolf’s death in 1319.

Meanwhile, Friedrich continued his campaigns into Bavaria, devastating Ludwig’s’ duchy several times without meeting much resistance.

The battle

In 1322, Friedrich, encouraged by his previous expeditions, allied with the Bishop of Passau and the Salzburg Archbishopric. Their armed forces met on September 24 near Mühldorf on the Inn River, where Friedrich expected the arrival of further troops from Further Austria, led by his brother Leopold.

The battle did not go well for the Austrians. Ludwig had forged an alliance with King Johann of Bohemia and Burggrave Friedrich IV of Nuremberg (of the House of Hohenzollern) and on September 28 reached Mühldorf with a sizable army, including 1,800 knights and 500-600 mounted Hungarian archers.

Meanwhile, Leopold’s relief troops were barred from reaching the battlefield in time. Despite this unfavorable situation Friedrich agreed to meet Ludwig’s knights at once.

Friedrich’s army was defeated by Ludwig’s army outnumbering forces under high losses on both sides. More than 1,000 noblemen from Austria and Salzburg were captured, as was Friedrich himself and his younger brother, Heinrich the Friendly.


Though Emperor Ludwig IV had prevailed, his Imperial title remained contested, especially by Pope John XXII and Friedrich’s brother Leopold, who remained a fierce opponent.

After three years Emperor Ludwig IV had to release Friedrich from captivity and reconcile with him, even offering him a joint rule and the Rex Romanorum title in return for his support to receive the Imperial crown.

Neither the House of Wittelsbach nor the Habsburgs were able to defend their claims to the royal title, which after Ludwig IV’svdeath in 1347 again passed to Charles IV from the House of Luxembourg.