Meinhard, Duke of Carinthia

Meinhard II of Tyrol, founder of Stams monastery, 18th century depiction

Meinhard II (c. 1238 – end of October 1295) from the House of Meinhardin was ruling Count of Gorizia (as Meinhard IV) from 1258 until 1271 and Count of Tyrol from 1258 until his death. In 1286 he also acquired the Duchy of Carinthia with the March of Carniola.

He was the son of Count Meinhard I of Gorizia-Tyrol and Countess Adelheid of Tyrol (died 1275/79). His younger son Henry VI succeeded him as Carinthian duke and in 1307 was elected King of Bohemia; his eldest daughter Elisabeth by marriage with Albert I of Habsburg became Queen of the Romans in 1298.

In 1259, young Meinhard emerged from the custody of the Archbishop of Salzburg to claim his heritage. When the inheritance rights to, and properties of, Gorizia and Tyrol were divided in 1271 between him and his younger brother Albert I, he received Tyrol, starting the Tyrolean line of the Meinhardiner dynasty. He struggled to acquire the lordship over the Bishoprics of Trento and Brixen and also acquired several territories in the Inn valley. He is therefore known as the creator of Tyrol as an independent territory. Meinhard also had roads built and coins minted, especially the silver coin "Zwainziger" (twenty). The type was copied elsewhere in Europe and became widely known as Groschen.

As a supporter of German king Rudolph of Habsburg in his conflict with King Ottokar II of Bohemia, he received Carinthia and Carniola as a pledge in 1276 and finally as a fief in 1286, thus becoming the first Duke of Carinthia in his dynasty. As far as can be ascertained, he had no ancestry in earlier Carinthian ducal families, whereas he was a distant descendant of some early Meranian lords of Istria and Carniola. His investiture of the duchy included a provision that in extinction of his male line, the Habsburgs would be its heirs. This materialized in 1335 upon the death of his son Henry.

Meinhard died in 1295 at Greifenburg, Carinthia.

Marriage and children

Meinhard's wife from 1258 was Elisabeth of Bavaria (c 1227-73), the daughter of Duke Otto II and widow of King Conrad IV, King of the Romans. Thus he was the stepfather of Conrad III of Jerusalem, Duke of Swabia and claimant of the Kingdom of Sicily who was killed in 1268. With Elisabeth he had the following children:

  1. Elisabeth (1262-1312), wife of Albert I, Duke of Austria (1248-1308), became queen-consort of the Romans in 1298
  2. Otto of Gorizia-Tyrol (d 1310), father of Elisabeth of Carinthia, queen-consort of Sicily as wife of Peter II of Sicily
  3. Albert of Carinthia, died 1292
  4. Louis of Gorizia-Tyrol, died 1305
  5. Henry VI (c 1270-1335), married Anna Přemyslovna, daughter of King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, elected King of Bohemia 1306 and 1307-10, Duke of Carinthia 1310-35, Count of Tyrol, father of Countess Margaret Maultasch of Tirol
  6. Agnes of Carinthia (died 1293), wife of Frederick I, Margrave of Meissen (1257-1323), grandson of Emperor Frederick II; her only son Frederick of Meissen predeceased his father.
Preceded by:
Rudolph I
Duke of Carinthia
Succeeded by:
jointly with Otto and Louis
Duke of Carniola
Preceded by:
Meinhard I
Count of Tyrol
jointly with Albert I 1258–1271
Count of Gorizia
jointly with Albert I
Succeeded by:
Albert I


  • Hermann Wiesflecker, Meinhard der Zweite. Tirol, Kärnten und ihre Nachbarländer am Ende des 13. Jhs. (Schlern-Schriften 124), Innsbruck: Wagner 1955, Reprint 1995.
  • Eines Fürsten Traum. Meinhard II. - Das Werden Tirols, Catalogue, Dorf Tirol/Innsbruck 1995.

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