Louis of Teck

Louis, the last male descendant of the dukes of Teck in Swabia, was born about in 1375 from Frederick and Anne of Helfenstein. At the latest in 1394 he matriculated the Studium of Padua, where Francesco Novello da Carrara awarded him the citizenship. The occasion for his appointment to patriarch occurred in 1411 when Antonio Pancera was appointed cardinal and the army of emperor Sigismund occupied the Patriarchate. After that communes and noblemen had sworn their loyalty to the imperial vicar Frederick of Ortenburg, who was Louis’ brother-in-law, and the council of the Friulian parliament had asked Sigismund to think about a new patriarch, on 6 July 1412 the chapter of Aquileia proceeded to the election of Louis of Teck, given his princely lineage and education. Even though he had received only minor order and had not been yet confirmed by John XXIII, Louis was universally recognized in Friuli. It seems that Teck had started his ruling activity only after the departure of the royal troops. On 25 April 1413 a parliament was indeed held under his chairmanship. Since then he regularly summoned the parliament, or the council, mostly in the castle of Udine, which had become his main residence. In the circa seven years’ period of his direct ruling of the Patriarchate, mainly characterized by the conflict between the emperor Sigismund and Venice, which was supported by the Friulian faction headed by Tristano Savorgnan, he turned out to be more interested in temporal than in spiritual matters: indeed his actions were more of a temporal prince than of a prelate. When in January 1420 the Venetian troops got closer, the patriarch fled from Friuli following the Hungarians who had invaded the country. Venice subjected Udine on 6 June, which was followed by the subjection of the whole territory of the patriarchate in Friuli and Istria. From then on Teck’s domain of competence was reduced to the part of the diocese of Aquileia beyond the Alps: he could only exert the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over southern Carinthia and the Carniola, corresponding with current Slovenia. That also meant a radical decrease of his financial revenues. After that on 4 June 1433, thanks to the mediation of pope Eugene IV, Sigismund had come to an agreement with the Republic of Venice, Louis of Teck, deprived of the imperial support for his claims over the patriarchate, sought aid from the Council of Basel that he started to attend since the beginning of 1434. His contemporaries report Teck’s full hatred against the Venetian who had ascended to the papal throne, whom he contemptuously defined a shopkeeper and heretic in July 1438. The more the Council’s fathers kept on leaving Basel over the years and took the part of Eugene IV, the more Teck’s political weight got increased inside the Council: more times he presided the general synod, his deputation and the German nation; besides, he received full support to his request for the restitution of the patriarchate, also through the provision of 21 May 1439. His attitude towards the council evidences how temporal power and diplomacy were much more congenial to him than spiritual office. Louis of Teck died in an epidemy of plague on 19 August 1439, after one week’s disease.

For further information see the entry Teck (di) Ludovico, patriarca d’Aquileia written by Dieter Girgensohn, in Nuovo Liruti, Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 1, Il Medioevo, edited by C. Scalon, Udine, Forum, 2006, 811-821.

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