The Battle on the Marchfeld at Dürnkrut and Jedenspeigen took place on 26 August 1278 and was a decisive event for the history of Central Europe for the following centuries. The opponents were a Bohemian army led by the Přemyslid king Ottokar II of Bohemia and the German army under the German king Rudolph I of Habsburg in alliance with King Ladislaus IV of Hungary. Although both sides also had infantry in their armies, the battle itself was primarily a great collision of heavy knights, though the Cuman horse archers in the Hungarian army played a vital role. The battle was finally won by an ambush attack of the united German-Hungarian forces.
The deposition of Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen by Pope Innocent IV in 1245 created a grave crisis for the Holy Roman Empire, as in the following decades several nobles were elected as Rex Romanorum and Emperor-to-be, none of whom were able to gain actual governing power upon the Emperor's death in 1250. That same year, Ottokar II, son of king Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, moved into the princeless Duchies of Austria and Styria. The last Babenberg duke Frederick II of Austria had been killed at the 1246 Battle of the Leitha River, in a border conflict he had picked with King Béla IV of Hungary. Ottokar II gained the support of the local nobility and was proclaimed Austrian and Styrian duke by the estates one year later.
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