Albert III (German: Albrecht III.) (9 November 1414 – 11 March 1486), often known simply as Albert Achilles (Albrecht Achilles), was a Prince-elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg. He received the nickname Achilles because of his knightly qualities. He also ruled the Principality of Ansbach.
Albert was born in Tangermünde as the third son of Elector Frederick I and his wife, Elisabeth of Bavaria-Landshut. After passing some time at the court of Emperor Sigismund, Albert took part in the war against the Hussites, and afterwards distinguished himself whilst assisting the German king, Albert II, against Poland..
On the division of territory which followed his father’s death in 1440, Albert received the Principality of Ansbach. Although his resources were meager, he soon took a leading place among the German princes and was especially prominent in resisting the attempts of the towns to obtain self-government..
In 1443, Albert formed a league directed mainly against Nuremberg, over which members of his family had formerly exercised the rights of burgrave. It was not until 1448, however, that he found a pretext for attack. After initial military successes in the First Margrave War, he was defeated at the Battle of Pillenreuther Weiher, resulting in the Treaty of Bamberg (22 June 1450),which forced Albert to return all of the conquered territory and to recognize the independence of Nuremberg and its associated towns..
Albert supported Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III in his struggle with the princes who desired reforms in the Holy Roman Empire, and in return for this loyalty received many marks of favour from Frederick, including extensive judicial rights which aroused considerable irritation among neighbouring rulers..
In 1457, Albert arranged a marriage between his eldest son John, and Margaret, daughter of William III, Landgrave of Thuringia, who inherited the claims upon Hungary and Bohemia of her mother, a granddaughter of Emperor Sigismund. The attempt to secure these thrones for the Hohenzollerns through this marriage failed, and a similar fate befell Albert’s efforts to revive in his own favour the disused title of duke of Franconia.
The sharp dissensions which existed among the princes over the question of reform culminated in open warfare in 1460, when Albert was confronted with a league under the leadership of the Count Palatine, Frederick I, and Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria-Landshut. Defeated in this struggle, which was concluded in 1462, Albert made an alliance with his former enemy, George of Poděbrady, King of Bohemia, a step which caused Pope Paul II to place him under the ban..
In 1470, Albert, who had inherited Bayreuth on the death of his brother John in 1464, became Margrave of Brandenburg, owing to the abdication of his remaining brother, Elector Frederick II. He was soon actively engaged in its administration, and by the Treaty of Prenzlau in 1472 he brought Pomerania also under his supremacy. Having established his right to levy a tonnage on wines in the mark, he issued in February 1473 the Dispositio Achillea, which decreed that the Margraviate of Brandenburg should descend in its entirety to the eldest son, while the younger sons should receive the Franconian possessions of the family.
Albert with his second consort, Anna, Princess of Saxony
After treating in vain for a marriage between one of his sons and Mary, daughter and heiress of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Albert handed over the government of Brandenburg to his eldest son John, and returned to his Franconian possessions.
Albert’s main attention afterwards was claimed by the business of the empire. Soon after taking part in the election of Maximilian as King of the Romans, Albert died at Frankfurt in March 1486. He left a considerable amount of treasure.
n 1474, Albert married his daughter Barbara to Duke Henry XI of Głogów, who left his possessions on his death in 1476 to his widow with reversion to her family, an arrangement which was resisted by Henry’s kinsman, Duke Jan II of Żagań. Aided by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, Jan of Żagań invaded Brandenburg, and the Pomeranians seized the opportunity to revolt.
Under these circumstances Albert returned to Brandenburg in 1478, compelled the Pomeranians to recognize his supremacy, and, after a stubborn struggle, secured a part of Duke Henry’s lands for his daughter in 1482. .