09.11.

1456: Broken Skull of the Last Count of Celje

1456: Broken Skull of the Last Count of Celje
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Ulrich_II._of_Cilli.JPG

Story Highlights

  • historical event: Prince Ulrich of Celje had vast estates in the area of present-day Slovenia and southern Austria. He even wanted to become Bosnian king, and in the end it was his power that cost him his life. His skull with its gaping hole can be seen today in a museum in Celje

On this day the last male member of the Counts of Celje dynasty was killed. His name was Ulrich II of Celje and he was the son of Frederick II, known for his affair with Veronika of Desinić. Namely, before falling in love with Veronika, Frederick II married Elizabeth Frankopan, who was a member of another rich and powerful Croatian family. Elizabeth gave birth to little Ulrich, but her marriage to Frederick was not happy. One morning she was found dead in a castle in Krapina. There exists a possibility that she was killed by her husband Frederick.

Young Ulrich was ambitious and wanted to be involved in European politics. When he was 30 years old (1436,) he won the high title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire. This gave him an opportunity to even run for the Emperor, so he became equal to Habsburg dynasty. The estates of Celje and the Habsburgs were greatly intertwined, especially in the area of present-day Slovenia and southern Austria. This made them competitors for power in these countries.

Prince Ulrich of Celje even wanted to become Bosnian king after the death of Tvrtko II Kotromanić. However, the Hunyadi dynasty, then very powerful in Hungary, opposed that. Namely, Prince Ulrich also had large estates is in Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom, especially in Croatia. This, in turn, led to the mentioned conflict with the Hunyadis.

Ulrich reached peak of his power when he became the guardian of the infant Hungarian King Ladislaus. Because of his influence on the king, Ulrich actually became the effective ruler of the kingdom. But his power cost him his life. Namely, on this day in 1456, the Hunyadis killed Ulrich in Belgrade, probably by smashing his head with a sharp weapon. His skull with its gaping hole can be seen today in a museum in Celje.

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