HENRY RASPE (c. 1202-1247), German king and landgrave of Thuringia, was the second surviving son of Hermann L, landgrave of Thuringia, and Sophia, daughter of Otto L, duke of Bavaria. When his brother the landgrave Louis IV. died in Italy in September 1227, Henry seized the government of Thuringia and expelled his brother's widow, St Elizabeth of Hungary, and her son Hermann. With some trouble Henry made good his position, although his nephew Hermann II. was nominally the landgrave, and was declared of age in 1237. Henry, who governed with a zealous regard for his own interests, remained loyal to the emperor Frederick II. during his quarrel with the Lombards and the revolt of his son Henry. In 1236 he accompanied the emperor on a campaign against Frederick II., duke of Austria, and took part in the election of his son Conrad as German king at Vienna in 1 237. He appears, however, to have become somewhat estranged from Frederick after this expedition, for he did not appear at the diet of Verona in 1238; and it is not improbable that he disliked the betrothal of his nephew Hermann to the emperor's daughter Margaret. At all events, when the projected marriage had been broken off the landgrave publicly showed his loyalty to the emperor in 1239 in opposition to a plan formed by various princes to elect an anti-king. Henry, whose attitude at this time was very important to Frederick, was probably kept loyal by the influence which his brother Conrad, grand-master of the Teutonic Order, exercised over him, for after the death of this brother in 1241 Henry's loyalty again wavered, and he was himself mentioned as a possible anti-king. Frederick's visit to Germany in 1242 was successful in preventing this step for a time, and in May of that year the landgrave was appointed administrator of Germany for King Conrad; and by the death of his nephew in this year he became the nominal, as well as the actual, ruler of Thuringia. Again he contemplated deserting the cause of Frederick, and in April 1246 Pope Innocent IV. wrote to the German princes advising them to choose Henry as their king in place of Frederick who had just been declared deposed. Acting on these instructions, Henry was elected at Veitshochheim on the 22nd of May 1246, and owing to the part played by the spiritual princes in this election was called the Pfa/enkonig, or parsons' king. Collecting an army, he defeated King Conrad near Frankfort on the sth of August 1246, and then, after holding a diet at Nuremberg, undertook the siege of Ulm. But he was soon compelled to give up this enterprise, and returning to Thuringia died at the Wartburg on the 17th of February 1247. Henry married Gertrude, sister of Frederick II., duke of Austria, but left no children, and on his death the male line of his family became extinct.
See F. Reuss, Die Wahl Heinrich Raspes (Ludenschcid, 1878); A. Rubesamen, Landgraf Heinrich Raspe von Thuringen (Halle, 1885); F. W. Schirrmacner, Die letzten Hohenstaufen (Gottingen, 1871); E. Winkelrnann, Kaiser Friedrich II. (Leipzig, 1889), and T. Knochenhauer, Geschichte Thiiringens ztir Zeit des ersten ' Landgrafenhauses (Gotha, 1871).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)