Henry II Count of Gorizia (1266-1323) 

16/03/2020

Born in 1266, Henry II of Gorizia took over the county from his father Albert II in 1304. If Mainardo IV had marked the quality leap of the Counts of Gorizia towards a real seigniory, identifying it in the Tyrol, Henry II was the creator of a similar project projected towards the southern borders of his possessions, to strengthen and consolidate the relations of Gorizia with the realities south of the Alps. He thus shifted the interests of the family towards the Italian territories, with which he sensed the need to deal, through political alliances or military campaigns. His efforts were crowned with success, and the influence of Gorizia on Friuli, of which the count was captain general, and on the Venetian plain began to be a reality.

Henry II married Beatrice da Camino, whose father, Gherardo, is mentioned by Dante - and Dante's stay in Gorizia was talked about for a long time, though without any precise foundation - and at the death of this one, in his second marriage, another Beatrice: Beatrice of Bavaria. Unlike many Counts of Gorizia, who habitually used only the German language, she spoke perfect Italian. It was in good relations with the Republic of Venice, which granted him Venetian citizenship and allowed him, which was quite exceptional, to enter the city accompanied by the men of his escort without them or the count being obliged to lay down their arms. He also tried to form an alliance with Cangrande della Scala, but the interests of the two noble lords were at odds and it was not possible to reach an agreement, and the Count of Gorizia conquered Treviso (1313) and Padua (1314) in quick succession. Henry II died suddenly on 23 April 1323, in Gorizia, during the banquet for the wedding of his natural daughter, Elisabetta. There was a rumour that he had been poisoned, and suspicions naturally fell on his antagonist, Cangrande della Scala. With his death and with the regency of the county on behalf of the infant heir, all plans of influence in the Veneto of the Gorizians, who had to withdraw from the conquered territories, were interrupted.