Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
92
BABER

troubled reign of the German king, Louis the Child. Two of the Babenberg brothers were killed, and the survivor Adalbert was summoned before the imperial court by the regent Hatto I., archbishop of Mainz, a partisan of the Conradines. He refused to appear, held his own for a time in his castle at Theres against the king's forces, but surrendered in 906, and in spite of a promise of safe-conduct was beheaded. From this time the Babenbergs lost their influence in Franconia; but in 976 Leopold, a member of the family who was a count in the Donnegau, is described as margrave of the East Mark, a district not more than 60 m. in breadth on the eastern frontier of Bavaria which grew into the duchy of Austria. Leopold, who probably received the mark as a reward for his fidelity to the emperor Otto II. during the Bavarian rising in 976, extended its area at the expense of the Hungarians, and was succeeded in 994 by his son Henry I. Henry, who continued his father's policy, was followed in 1018 by his brother Adalbert and in 1055 by his nephew Ernest, whose marked loyalty to the emperors Henry III. and Henry IV. was rewarded by many tokens of favour. The succeeding margrave, Leopold II., quarrelled with Henry IV., who was unable to oust him from the mark or to prevent the succession of his son Leopold III. in 1096. Leopold supported Henry, son of Henry IV., in his rising against his father, but was soon drawn over to the emperor's side, and in 1106 married his daughter Agnes, widow of Frederick I., duke of Swabia. He declined the imperial crown in 1125. His zeal in founding monasteries earned for him his surname “the Pious,” and canonization by Pope Innocent VIII. in 1485. He is regarded as the patron saint of Austria. One of Leopold's sons was Otto, bishop of Freising (q.v.). His eldest son, Leopold IV., became margrave in 1136, and in 1139 received from the German king Conrad III. the duchy of Bavaria, which had been forfeited by Duke Henry the Proud. Leopold's brother Henry (surnamed Jasomirgott from his favourite oath, “So help me God!”) was made count palatine of the Rhine in 1140, and became margrave of Austria on Leopold's death in 1141. Having married Gertrude, the widow of Henry the Proud, he was invested in 1143 with the duchy of Bavaria, and resigned his office as count palatine. In 1147 he went on crusade, and after his return renounced Bavaria at the instance of the new king Frederick I. As compensation for this, Austria, the capital of which had been transferred to Vienna in 1146, was erected into a duchy. The second duke was Henry's son Leopold I., who succeeded him in 1177 and took part in the crusades of 1182 and 1190. In Palestine he quarrelled with Richard I., king of England, captured him on his homeward journey and handed him over to the emperor Henry VI. Leopold increased the territories of the Babenbergs by acquiring Styria in 1192 under the will of his kinsman Duke Ottakar IV. He died in 1194, and Austria fell to one son, Frederick, and Styria to another, Leopold; but on Frederick's death in 1198 they were again united by Duke Leopold II., surnamed “the Glorious.” The new duke fought against the infidel in Spain, Egypt and Palestine, but is more celebrated as a lawgiver, a patron of letters and a founder of towns. Under him Vienna became the centre of culture in Germany and the great school of Minnesingers (q.v.). His later years were spent in strife with his son Frederick, and he died in 1230 at San Germano, whither he had gone to arrange the peace between the emperor Frederick II. and Pope Gregory IX. His son Frederick II. followed as duke, and earned the name of “Quarrelsome” by constant struggles with the kings of Hungary and Bohemia and with the emperor. He deprived his mother and sisters of their possessions, was hated by his subjects on account of his oppressions, and in 1236 was placed under the imperial ban and driven from Austria. Restored when the emperor was excommunicated, he treated in vain with Frederick for the erection of Austria into a kingdom. He was killed in battle in 1246, when the male line of the Babenbergs became extinct. The city of Bamberg grew up around the ancestral castle of the family.

See G. Juritsch, Geschichte der Babenberger und ihrer Länder (Innsbruck, 1894); M. Schmitz, Oesterreichs Scheyern-Wittelsbacher oder die Dynastie der Babenberger (Munich, 1880).

BABER, or Babar (1483-1530), a famous conqueror of India and founder of the so-called Mogul dynasty. His name was Zahir ud-din-Mahomet, and he was given the surname of Baber, meaning the tiger. Born on the 14th of February 1483, he was a descendant of Timur, and his father, Omar Sheik, was king of Ferghana, a district of what is now Russian Turkestan. Omar died in 1495, and Baber, though only twelve years of age, succeeded to the throne. An attempt made by his uncles to dislodge him proved unsuccessful, and no sooner was the young sovereign firmly settled than he began to meditate an extension of his own dominions. In 1497 he attacked and gained possession of Samarkand, to which he always seems to have thought he had a natural and hereditary right. A rebellion among his nobles robbed him of his native kingdom, and while marching to recover it his troops deserted him, and he lost Samarkand also. After some reverses he regained both these places, but in 1501 his most formidable enemy, Shaibani (Sheibani) Khan, ruler of the Uzbegs, defeated him in a great engagement and drove him from Samarkand. For three years he wandered about trying in vain to recover his lost possessions; at last, in 1504, he gathered some troops, and crossing the snowy Hindu Kush besieged and captured the strong city of Kabul. By this dexterous stroke he gained a new and wealthy kingdom, and completely re-established his fortunes. In the following year he united with Hussain Mirza of Herat against Shaibani. The death of Hussain put a stop to this expedition, but Baber spent a year at Herat, enjoying the pleasures of that capital. He returned to Kabul in time to quell a formidable rebellion, but two years later a revolt among some of the leading Moguls drove him from his city. He was compelled to take to flight with very few companions, but his great personal courage and daring struck the army of his opponents with such dismay that they again returned to their allegiance and Baber regained his kingdom. Once again, in 1510, after the death of Shaibani, he endeavoured to obtain possession of his native country. He received considerable aid from Shah Ismael of Persia, and in 1511 made a triumphal entry into Samarkand. But in 1514 he was utterly defeated by the Uzbegs and with difficulty reached Kabul. He seems now to have resigned all hopes of recovering Ferghana, and as he at the same time dreaded an invasion of the Uzbegs from the west, his attention was more and more drawn towards India. Several preliminary incursions had been already made, when in 1521 an opportunity presented itself for a more extended expedition. Ibrahim, emperor of Delhi, had made himself detested, even by his Afghan nobles, several of whom called upon Baber for assistance. He at once assembled his forces, 12,000 strong, with some pieces of artillery and marched into India. Ibrahim, with 100,000 soldiers and numerous elephants, advanced against him. The great battle was fought at Panipat on the 21st of April 1526, when Ibrahim was slain and his army routed. Baber at once took possession of Agra. A still more formidable enemy awaited him; the Rana Sanga of Mewar collected the enormous force of 210,000 men, with which he moved against the invaders. On all sides there was danger and revolt, even Baber's own soldiers, worn out with the heat of this new climate, longed for Kabul. By vigorous measures and inspiriting speeches he restored their courage, though his own heart was nearly failing him, and in his distress he abjured the use of wine, to which he had been addicted. At Kanwaha, on the 10th of March 1527, he won a great victory and made himself absolute master of northern India. The remaining years of his life he spent in arranging the affairs and revenues of his new empire and in improving his capital, Agra. He died on the 26th of December 1530 in his forty-eighth year. Baber was above the middle height, of great strength and an admirable archer and swordsman. His mind was as well cultivated as his bodily powers; he wrote well, and his observations are generally acute and accurate; he was brave, kindly and generous.

Full materials for his life are found in his Memoirs, written by himself (translated into English by Leyden and Erskine (London, 1826); abridged in Caldecott, Life of Baber (London, 1844). See also Lane-Poole, Baber (Rulers of India Series), 1899.