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Goes to show you that name-calling and bullies have been around for a LONG time.

Margaret, not-so-fondly known as Margaret Maultasche (translates to whore), was the last Countess of Tyrol. Her father, Duke Henry of Carinthia, had no surviving male heirs, so he reached an agreement with Emperor Louis IV that allowed Margaret to take over his estates.

At the time, there was quite a feud going on for control of Tyrol. Duke Henry arranged for Margaret to Marry John Henry, Margave of Moravia, in a typical-of-the-times move to ensure his political power. The two were married in Tyrol. Margaret was 12 and John Henry was 8. This decision proved to be a mistake for many reasons. One of which was that John Henry was a tool. Everyone in Tyrol despised him.

After a hunting trip, the haughty John Henry returned to Tirol Castle (where the two resided). Margaret refused to let him in! Forced to find a place to live, John Henry was turned away at almost every door. He eventually found shelter in Italy as a refugee.

Now, here’s where things get fishy.

From what I gather, Margaret was a smart and strategic woman. Yes, she played to both sides of the rivalries going on between the Wittelsbachs and the Hapsburgs, and yes she “technically” married her second husband while still married to her first… but it all seems to be fueled by the need to survive and to protect her lands. Maybe I’m wrong. Reading through the articles is like reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- I get a little hung up on pronunciations.

As I mentioned, Margaret married a second husband- Margrave Louis I of Brandenburg, the eldest son of Emperor Louis IV. She had not been granted a divorce from John Henry. As you can imagine- this was the ultimate scandal. Louis and Margaret were excommunicated by Pope Clement VI- however, Louis, with the support of the Tyrolean nobles, declared her first marriage null and void under the pretense that the marriage was never consummated. Louis seems like a cool guy.

John Henry’s brother, Charles IV, didn’t take the news well, and tried to siege Tirol Castle, he failed, and in a total temper tantrum, burned down a few cities nearby. Brat.

There’s a lot more to this story, but in the end, the noble’s disdain for Margaret’s second marriage and shifting loyalties spurred horrible propaganda to destroy her reputation. Although she was described as exceptionally beautiful by some, she was nicknamed the Ugly Duchess, amongst other things. There were supposed affairs with peasants and rumors of witchcraft, tales of her “gaping” mouth, and poison bottles but methinks these were all lies about a woman who was treated like a pawn by misogynistic vultures. Just my humble opinion.

Tirol Castle is pretty fascinating. Check out the website- I want to go visit! http://www.schlosstirol.it/en/schloss-museum/kernburg/

 

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