Maximilian III (Upper Austria)

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Archduke Maximilian III, called the German Master

Archduke Maximilian III. , called the Deutschmeister (born  October 12, 1558 in Wiener Neustadt ; † November 2, 1618 in Vienna ) was the fourth eldest son of Emperor Maximilian II from the House of Austria .


Grand Master's coat of arms of Maximilian III.

Archduke Maximilian in 1558, the son of the future Emperor Maximilian II. (1,527 to 1,576) and the Spanish Infanta Maria (1528-1603), a daughter of Emperor Charles V was born. Unlike his older brothers Rudolf and Ernst , as well as his younger brothers Albrecht (1559–1621) and Wenzel (1561–1578), he was not sent to Spain to be raised strictly Catholic. Like his subsequent brother Matthias , he grew up at the more "open" Viennese court. On May 4, 1585 he was appointed as the successor to the aged coadjutor Heinrich von Bobenhausen and, from 1590, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and Administrator of Prussia .

In December 1586, the Polish King Stephen Bathory died , and the Archduke applied for the vacated crown in 1587. Archduke Ernst had already applied for the Polish throne in 1573, but Heinrich von Valois was chosen . Maximilian III was elected as King of Poland in 1587 , but was subject to Sigismund III. Wasa , who also became King of Sweden in 1592. When he tried to solve the question militarily, his troops were defeated by the soldiers of the Polish Crown Field Lord Jan Zamoyski in the Battle of Pitschen (January 24, 1588). He was captured and brought to Krasnystaw south of Lublin . He was only released through the intervention of Pope Sixtus V after the papal cardinal legate Ippolito Aldobrandini negotiated the Treaty of Bytom (March 9, 1589). Maximilian finally renounced the Polish crown and was allowed to leave Poland on September 8th. The inactivity of his brother Rudolf II in this affair contributed to his bad reputation (and the subsequent fraternal dispute).

From 1593 to 1595 he was regent in Inner Austria for the still underage Archduke Ferdinand , and then in Upper Austria (Tyrol) , where he appeared as a consistent supporter of the Counter Reformation . In 1618 he also overthrew the powerful Cardinal Khlesl and succeeded Ferdinand on the imperial throne.

In 1606 he brought out a revised code of law for the Teutonic Order, as many things were out of date and the income had been greatly reduced due to multiple defensive battles against Turks and the loss of several Balleien. After many years, another Reichstag was held in 1613 by the new Emperor Matthias , at which, since Maximilien did not appear in person, his deputies in the order ( Johann Eustach von Westernach , Johann Konrad Schutzbar , Christoph Thum and Karl Freiherr von Wolkenstein ) took his place with a feudal letter and received regalia.

His best-known legacy is the baroque archducal hat , which is kept in the treasury of Klosterneuburg Abbey and was used for hereditary homage until 1835 . The tomb of Maximilian III. is located in the Cathedral of St. Jakob in Innsbruck .


The fate of Archduke Maximilian III. processed Franz Grillparzer (1791–1872) in his tragedy Ein Bruderzwist in Habsburg (first performance: 1872) literarily in the figure of Max.


Web links

Commons : Maximilian III. (Vorderösterreich)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Johannes Voigt : History of the Teutonic Knight Order in its twelve balles in Germany . tape 2 , 1859, renewed imperial enfeoffment of the order administrator with Prussia , p. 295 f . ( Google eBook - with the original text of the feudal letter of Emperor Mathias , dated Regensburg 23 August 1613).
  2. The grave of Maximilian III.
predecessor Office successor
Ernst [III.] Regent (governor) of Inner Austria
(for Archduke Ferdinand )
Ferdinand [III.]
(As Archduke)
Ferdinand II. Regent (governor) of Tyrol
Leopold V.