Rudolf II (HRR)
Rudolf II (born July 18, 1552 in Vienna , † January 20, 1612 in Prague ) was Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (1576–1612), King of Bohemia (1575–1611) and King of Hungary (1572–1608) and Archduke of Austria (1576–1608).
Rudolf was an important patron of art and science, but an overall weak ruler and, at least in recent years, in fact unable to govern . The long Turkish war and the Gregorian calendar reform fell into his time . In the Reich, his inactivity contributed to the crisis in the Reich constitution. Archduke Matthias and other members of the Habsburg dynasty finally turned openly against the emperor and gradually wrested almost all positions of power from him.
Upbringing and early years
Rudolf was the son of Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain . His younger brothers were Ernst (later in particular governor in the Netherlands ), Matthias (Kaiser), Maximilian (Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, governor of Upper Austria), Albrecht (Archbishop of Toledo, later governor of the Netherlands), Wenzel (Grand Prior of the Order of St. John in Castile) . He also had six sisters. Through the marriage of Anna he was with Philip II of Spain and through Elisabeth with King Karl IX. related by marriage to France .
He spent the first few years at the court of Emperor Ferdinand I and Maximilian II. The latter fell out of the family framework, as he was inclined to Protestantism. The artistically stimulating atmosphere at court left a lasting mark on Rudolf. In order to protect Rudolf from Protestant influences, Philip II in particular urged him to be separated from his father's court. Therefore, he lived with his brother Ernst between 1563 and 1571 at court in Spain. In addition to the concern for a Catholic upbringing, other aspects of family policy also played a role. In this way, tensions between the Austrian and Spanish branches of the Habsburgs, such as those that became apparent in Italy, were to be alleviated. Since at that time Philip II had no male heirs apart from Don Carlos , who was considered incapable of government , there was a possibility that Rudolf had to take over this inheritance. Another reason was that he was engaged to the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia at an early age .
The years in Spain left a deep mark on Rudolf for the rest of his life. The pronounced pride and the pronounced detachment came from this. All in all, Rudolf was broad-hearted, friendly, tolerant, humanistic and artistically interested. But he was also bossy, proud, and class-conscious. After his return, the father was downright appalled by the stiff dignity of the son.
In many ways Rudolf corresponded in his youth to the ideal image of a high nobility of this time. He not only mastered the knightly craft of war, which was already meaningless in military practice, but which was still used in tournaments and similar occasions, but he also spoke Latin, Spanish, French and Czech in addition to German. He also knew something about art, literature, music and painting.
At least in the first few years, Rudolf certainly had the ability to judge, the will to rule and a feeling for political processes. But this was overshadowed by shyness and depressive tendencies. This is one of the reasons for his escape from reality. In the longer term, the tendency towards political inactivity grew stronger. Mental crises combined with physical suffering. These were mainly expressed in 1578 and 1580/81. Since then he has stayed away from tournaments, hunts and court parties. He tried to avoid large crowds as much as possible. Rudolf ate alone whenever possible. His mental health deteriorated significantly around 1598. He harbored an extreme distrust, even of those closest to him. He was afraid of witches and poisoning. Rudolf abused his subordinates, had suicide plans and tried to avoid his suffering by excessive alcohol consumption.
The emperor undoubtedly had massive psychological problems. It may be a form of hereditary schizophrenia . Apparently, such a disease can be diagnosed quite well in his son Don Julio . But other clinical pictures were also mentioned. It should be noted, however, that the contemporary reports on the emperor's strange behavior also played a role in the respective political interests. The nuncio Filippo Spinelli or people close to his brother Matthias had an interest in portraying Rudolf as incapable.
The clinical picture was not fully developed from the beginning of his rule. One can distinguish at least three phases. The first lasted until around the beginning of the Long Turkish War. During this time he acted within the framework of the usual. During the war up to around 1606, there was a change between excessive self-confidence and indecision. During the last six years of his rule, he was completely incapable of governing.
His relationship with women was also very difficult. He did not marry the promised Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia. After eighteen years of engagement, she was married to his brother Albrecht, which Rudolf acknowledged with a fit of rage. Numerous possible marriages did not materialize. Rudolf II was by all means heterosexual. He had several illegitimate children (see below) whose mothers are only partially known. This included his lover Anna Maria Strada (1579–1629; often referred to as Katharina). She was an illegitimate daughter of Ottavio Strada and Maria Hofmeister and granddaughter of the builder Jacopo Strada .
Rudolf as ruler
Takeover of government
On the occasion of the wedding of his uncle Karl von Innerösterreich , Rudolf returned to Austria in 1571. His father systematically prepared him for the succession. So he was made governor of Lower Austria (the Archduchy). On September 26, 1572 he was crowned King of Hungary in St. Martin's Cathedral in Pressburg . After Maximilian II had assured the Protestants and Utraquists in Bohemia that they would freely practice their religion, Rudolf was also crowned King of Bohemia on September 22, 1575 in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague . Many German princes were initially skeptical of the Spanish archduke. Nevertheless, he was elected Roman-German King on October 27, 1575 and crowned in Regensburg on November 1, 1575. The successor as Archduke of Austria and Emperor came as a surprise because the father died during the Diet of Regensburg on October 12, 1576.
He moved his residence to Prague in the Hradschin in 1583 . It was of longer-term importance that the Bohemian nobility was tied more closely to the ruling house. Despite his loneliness, Rudolf maintained a large representative court in Prague. This was extremely expensive and showed his tendency to flee from reality into the world of beautiful appearances.
Close confidants were of great importance from the start. These included Adam von Dietrichstein and Dr. Johannes Tonner . From 1582, the chief chamberlain, Wolf Rumpf , gained great importance before the emperor dropped him in 1600. The valet Hans Popp had a strong influence. In the background people like Hieronymus Machowsky and Philipp Lang exerted influence. Of the imperial court councilors, Johann Anton Barvitius , Andreas Hannewaldt and Hans Ruprecht were important.
More recent research has put older ideas about the importance of the valet for political decisions or his psychological problems - apart from the last years of his life - into perspective. On the other hand, more emphasis was placed on his moderate personnel policy, the tolerant atmosphere at the court and decision-making with the advice of the councilors. With regard to the courtyard, three phases can be distinguished. In the first from 1576 to 1583 there was some travel activity. After that, the court remained in Prague until 1600 and was relatively constant in terms of personnel. After that, a strong fluctuation with a tendency towards dissolution of certain areas can be observed.
His role model with regard to the imperial self-image was Charles V. His motto was: Fulget caesaris astrum = The emperor's star shines.
He tried to assert the primacy of the empire over both France and Spain. So he refused Philip II the title of imperial vicar in Italy. He also emphasized the imperial rights in the Netherlands. He opposed considerable resistance to the papacy, which had strengthened politically in the course of the Counter-Reformation .
During his time, the uprising of the Dutch against the Spanish Habsburgs began. His brother Matthias got involved directly in the conflict when he made himself governor-general of the Netherlands in a single coup. His approach met not only with the disapproval of Philip II, but also with the Rudolfs. He tried in vain with the Cologne Pacification Day in 1579 to bring about a settlement of the conflicting parties. In Poland, when Heinrich von Valois left the country in 1574, the throne became vacant. The attempt of the Habsburgs to elect Archduke Ernst failed. A few years later, after the death of Stephan Báthory , the problem arose again. Archduke Maximilian III. was elected, but could not stand against Sigismund III. Wasa enforce. Rudolf II was not very active in this matter, but tried to get the brother who had been taken prisoner free.
Rudolf practiced Catholicism as it had developed in the wake of the Council of Trent , even though the papal nuncio complained in a report that the emperor showed little religious zeal and surrounded himself with heretics. The personally tolerant Rudolf had no fear of contact with followers of other denominations. He accepted Lutherans, Utraquists and even Calvinists into his service. His confessor Johannes Pistorius was a Lutheran and a Calvinist before he converted to Catholicism. At the beginning of his reign he had promoted the Jesuits , but remained suspicious. He refused to leave the University of Prague to the Order .
The Counter-Reformation was promoted mainly in the Austrian hereditary lands by his brothers and relatives, but Rudolf also issued corresponding ordinances. Protestant worship was banned in Vienna in 1577 , preachers were expelled shortly afterwards, and churches and schools were closed. At the time of the conflict between Rudolf and Matthias over rule, the pressure on the Protestants decreased, however, as both sides sought their support. This was accompanied by counter-Reformation measures, particularly in Bohemia, Hungary and Lower Austria, with the aim of breaking the power of the predominantly Protestant estates, which, however, only partially succeeded.
Rudolf had shown little initiative in imperial politics. His time was determined by the political consequences of the Reformation and the confessional division of the imperial estates. In his time there were five Reichstag, but these had little political significance. It was significant that Rudolf was only present at the first two Reichstag in Augsburg in 1582 and in Regensburg in 1594.
In contrast to his two predecessors, Rudolf did not succeed in mediating between the denominational parties. Although the emperor tended to favor the Catholic position overall, he only played a subordinate role in the major religious disputes, for example in the Strasbourg chapter dispute , in which the Catholics were able to prevail, or in the Cologne war : the conversion of Cologne Elector Gebhard Truchsess zu Waldburg to Protestantism threatened to shift the denominational and power-political map of the empire, but the Wittelsbachers played the decisive role in the fight against the apostate and were to provide Cologne's elector for the next two centuries. He did not oppose the opposition politics of the Calvinist Electoral Palatinate .
The imperial position was strengthened when denominational tensions made the Reich Chamber Court incapable of working and the imperial Reichshofrat gained in importance. In relation to the imperial cities , Rudolf emphasized his position as lord of the city.
Due to his inactivity, Rudolf increasingly lost support. A particularly negative effect was that in 1607 he left the Protestant imperial city of Donauwörth to the Catholic Maximilian of Bavaria . This strengthened the Protestant protest movement. The Electoral Palatinate, in particular, attacked the Kaiser as allegedly partisan and blew up the Reichstag in Regensburg in 1608. This was the first Reichstag at which no agreement was reached between Protestants and Catholics. This meant that another Reich organ was in fact no longer functional.
During this time, the succession dispute over the duchies of Jülich-Kleve-Berg threatened to develop into a European crisis in 1610. The emperor's failure led Protestants to lean on the Netherlands, England, and France. The Catholic estates, on the other hand, relied on Spain. Ultimately, it was the death of the French King Henry IV and not Rudolf's policy that meant that a European war did not start at this time.
Long Turkish war
There had long been relative peace with the Ottomans in the southeast . However, the war party had prevailed in Constantinople in 1592, which led to the great Turkish war since 1593. This went off with varying degrees of success for both sides. The emperor himself was never at the front, but saw himself as a Turkish winner and had himself portrayed. In particular, he had the recapture of the Gran Fortress in 1595 exploited for propaganda purposes. Numerous works of art were created on the occasion of this alleged liberation of Hungary and leaflets heralded the imperial success. The fall of the border fortress Kanisza was a heavy defeat , which was followed by successes by the imperial family. Rudolf tried to establish diplomatic relations with Persia in order to involve the Ottomans in a two-front war. A Persian embassy came to Prague in 1605 and caused a sensation. Negotiations have also started with other states. The cost of the war was immense and forced the emperor to make concessions to the estates. In particular, he had to meet them on the question of religion. The situation was made even more difficult when the uprising of Stefan Bocskay in Hungary took place in 1604 .
The emperor himself didn't really want peace. Rather, his brother Matthias concluded the Peace of Zsitvatorok in 1606 . This hardly changed the status quo. After all, the Ottoman sultan recognized the emperor from then on as a monarch with equal rights. In the Peace of Vienna in 1606 Matthias also ended the uprising in Hungary. The peace with the Ottomans in particular intensified the conflict between Matthias and Rudolf.
Austrian peasant uprisings
Serious social unrest took place in Rudolf's time. The Turkish war in particular put a strain on the population. Troops were also raised among the peasants in the border regions with the Ottomans. The Counter-Reformation also met with discontent among the population. In Upper and Lower Austria there were therefore peasant unrest in 1595 and 1597. Rudolf II reacted only in 1597 by restricting the obligation to work ( Robot ) to the property of the landowner. The peasants had an idealized image of the emperor. Negotiations started. At the same time, Archduke Matthias used brutal force against the insurgents.
Brotherly dispute in the House of Habsburg
Rudolf was increasingly confronted with the accusation of inactivity, especially since he continued to make no move to marry and thereby secure his successor. This was precisely the cause of the brotherly dispute in the Habsburg house. Archduke Ernst, with whom the emperor had a good relationship, had died in 1595. In contrast, Matthias tried to succeed him. This was strongly influenced by Bishop Melchior Khlesl , who had turned away from Rudolf. His influence was so great that later, when Matthias was Kaiser, he was derisively called "Vice Emperor". Together they vigorously pursued the Counter Reformation in Lower Austria.
In November 1600 in Schottwien a treaty between the Archdukes Matthias and Maximilian and Ferdinand against the emperor came about. However, this has not yet had any direct consequences. The political inactivity of the emperor, the ongoing Turkish war, the crisis of the imperial constitution and a gradual dissolution of the imperial court as a result of the incalculable whims of the emperor increasingly demanded a decision. In 1605 the archdukes agreed that Matthias should travel to Prague to negotiate with the emperor. This, met in his sovereign self-image, refused. In 1606 the archdukes declared the emperor to be mentally ill, installed Matthias as head of the family and began to dismiss Rudolf. Matthias made peace with the Ottomans and Hungarians without the emperor. The family thus openly opposed the emperor. The peace with the Hungarians was connected with the guarantee of extensive class rights and religious freedom.
Class opposition efforts also made themselves felt in Bohemia and the Austrian hereditary lands. The archdukes officially allied themselves in 1608 with the estates in Hungary and Austria against the emperor. The Moravian estates were forced to join the movement. Archduke Matthias even began to march on Prague. Rudolf recognized the danger of the situation, but was unable to react to it. However, Matthias did not have the estates of Bohemia, Silesia and Lusatia behind him. Against this background, the archdukes were unable to fully achieve their goals and both sides were forced to compromise. The Treaty of Lieben dated June 25, 1608 came about. In it Rudolf renounced Hungary, Austria and Moravia in favor of Matthias. The remaining areas and also the imperial dignity remained in his hand.
If the emperor had previously made promises to the estates of Bohemia, Silesia and Lusatia, he now tried to refuse to redeem them. When a rebellion threatened in Bohemia, he was forced to issue the majesty letters for Bohemia and Silesia in 1609 . Against the resistance of his highest chancellor Zdeněk Vojtěch von Lobkowicz , he assured the Protestant nobles religious freedom and important privileges. This played a role in the events of 1618 that would lead to the Thirty Years' War .
The position of the emperor towards Matthias was strengthened by the so-called Passau war people . At times there even seemed to be a comparison. Thus the "Articul of the Comparison" were concluded. The emperor refused to dismiss the Passau war people. Under the command of Leopold von Habsburg , the troops invaded Bohemia. Thereupon the Bohemian estates turned away from Rudolf. He did not succeed in persuading Leopold to retreat, whose goal it was to achieve the royal dignity of Bohemia. The Passauers penetrated Prague, but withdrew as Matthias marched up too. This, together with the Bohemian estates, occupied Prague on March 11, 1611.
Matthias was crowned King of Bohemia on May 23, 1611. Rudolf was now just an emperor without a country and was only tolerated by Matthias on the Hradschin. He died there in 1612 and his brother also succeeded Rudolf as emperor. Like his predecessors Ferdinand I and Maximilian II, Rudolf was buried in the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague .
Promoter of art and science
Rudolf was mainly interested in the arts and sciences of his time: He was in contact with Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler , who was court mathematician and director of the imperial observatory and who served the emperor as an astrologer. In Latin - edited by Johannes Kepler - the Rudolfinian tables appeared on the basis of the observations of Tycho Brahe, which were used to calculate the course of the sun , moon and planets .
He was also heavily involved in astrology, alchemy and other occult practices. Latin poetry and historiography also played an important role at his court. The Kaiser read a lot and loved reading. Poets in his circle include Šimon Lomnický z Budče , Georg Carolides , Thomas Mitis , Elisabeth Johanna von Weston .
He promoted the arts and artists in a variety of ways. Rudolf's art collection is legendary and was the largest of its time - the foundation of the Brueghel collection at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, for example, comes from him. His collecting work was also important for the painting of Mannerism . However, his special interest was the art of stone cutting. This collection was looted by the Swedes during the conquest of Prague in 1648 (see Prague Art Theft ) and is now largely scattered around the world.
Rudolf II summoned numerous artists from various disciplines to his court, which led to a flourishing of late Mannerist art in Prague, which particularly affected Germany and the Netherlands. The artists included a. Giuseppe Arcimboldo , Bartholomäus Spranger , Hans von Aachen , Joseph Heintz , Paulus van Vianen , Egidius Sadeler and Roelant Savery ; one also speaks of Rudolfine art .
Rudolf worked himself with the greatest passion as a goldsmith and art turner and spent days with his work. Rudolf II also acquired a large coin collection.
Rudolf II had a passion for the occult and especially for alchemy , with his own laboratory on the Hradschin, which had a good reputation among alchemists. His confidants, the valets Hans P. Hayden and Hans von Pürbach, worked there. Court officials such as Hans Popp, Philipp Lang and his Leibmedicus Thaddaeus Hagecius (Thaddaeus Hajek), as well as a number of other doctors from Rudolf's environment, also dealt with alchemy and often decided which foreign alchemists were allowed access to the emperor, as well as high nobility in Prague Karl von Liechtenstein , Václav z Vřesovic (1532–1583), Bavor Rodovský (1526–1591) and Jan Zbyněk Zajíc (around 1570–1616) and the Bohemian magnate Wilhelm von Rosenberg and his brother Peter Wok von Rosenberg . Also Jacobus Sinapius who brought it with drugs to prosperity and standing in imperial service because of these drugs, knew about chemistry.
Leading alchemists were in contact with Rudolf II in Prague, such as Michael Maier , Sendivogius (whom he was initially suspicious of), Sebald Schwärzer (died 1598), Oswald Croll and the couple John Dee and his medium Edward Kelley , both of whom, however, were on their first visit 1583 had to leave Prague after a few months at the urging of the papal envoy. Rudolf II had been betrayed several times by traveling goldmakers and over time he became suspicious, which some of these alchemists like Edward Kelley, Philipp Jakob Güstenhöfer and Christian Wildeck got to know. Kelley, who reappeared at his court on the recommendation of Rosenberg, was arrested in 1591 and imprisoned for at least two years. At that time, other princes were also interested in alchemy, with whom Rudolf II exchanged ideas, such as Ernst von Bayern and Friedrich I von Württemberg . A sensational affair about the arrest of Sendivogius in Württemberg in 1605 led to disputes with the latter.
Other scholars at the court of Rudolf II who also dealt with alchemy were Anselmus de Boodt and from 1610 until the death of the emperor Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel . Rudolf's most important advisers in mining and minerals were Lazarus Ercker and the Joachimsthal mining prefect Nikolaus Maius and Simon Tadeas Budeck von Lesin.
|Pedigree of Emperor Rudolf II.|
Rudolf II had numerous lovers, but most of them only had one month, with a few exceptions, such as Anna Maria Strada (1579–1629), who was his mistress from 1596 (then 13 years old) to 1603 (the emperor married in 1603 she with his long-time valet Christoph Ranft (1561–1642)). The illegitimate daughter of Ottavio Strada and Maria Hofmeister and granddaughter of the builder Jacopo Strada carried the name "native Strada von Rossberg, citizen of Rome". With her he had the sons Don Matthias (Matthias of Austria) and Don Carolus (Karl of Austria). Even in old age, the succession of his beloved did not end - a daughter was born to him shortly before his death.
He had three of his sons and three of his daughters legitimized, including:
- Julius d'Austria (* 1585, † June 25, 1609), also called Don Julius Caesar, Margrave of Austria. Nothing is known about his mother, she is said to have been a baroness (according to the ambassador Alidosi) . The son was his father's eyeball, resembled him in his debauchery and inclinations, and after he murdered his beloved and had been locked up by his father in his castle (he lived in Krumau Castle), he went mad.
- Karl of Austria (1603–1628), also called Don Karl or Don Carolus Faustus. He got involved in brawls, drank and was considered irascible and violent. There is no reliable information about his death. However, there is a rumor that he was murdered in a brawl. His ancestry is considered certain.
- Matthias of Austria (* 1594; † November 1626 in Vienna, buried in the Franciscan monastery), also called Don Matthias, married to an unknown Sicilian. After the death of his father he lived with his brother Karl in Graz and later chose a military career (defense of Gradisca in the Venetian War , in Budweis he fought under the command of Field Marshal Boucquoi ).
Other children are:
- Charlotte (* 1591; † January 12, 1662 in Mechelen ), also called Doña Carolina, Margravine of Austria. She married - probably on February 10, 1608 (some sources write 1607 or May 10, 1608) - François Perrenot de Granvelle (* 1589; † April or May 1629 in Besançon, also Marquis François Thomas d'Oiselet, Prince de Cantecroix or respectively . Called Count of Cantecroy). He was heir to Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle ; through marriage, Rudolf II tried to get hold of his art collection. The couple's son was Eugène Léopold, Prince de Cantecroix (1612–1637). When she died, Doña Carolina appointed a Nicolaus Eugen, Prince of Cantecroy, whom she referred to as her son, as heir - but he could not legitimize himself sufficiently. He was probably her (illegitimate) grandson or her husband's grandson.
Children from unknown mothers:
- Anna Dorothea (1580–1624), also called Doña Elisabeth, nun in the Königinkloster in Vienna , Austria.
- Dorothea (1612–1694), also known as Doña Dorothea, lived as a nun in Vienna or Madrid.
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- Lars Olof Larsson : For the introduction. The art at the court of Rudolf II. - A Rudolfinian art? In: Prague around 1600. Art and culture at the court of Rudolf II. Exhibition catalog, Villa Hügel, Essen. Vol. 3: Contributions. Luca, Freren 1988, ISBN 3-923641-18-4 , pp. 39-43.
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- Sapper, 1999, p. 6
- Sapper, Children of the Blood, loc.cit. P. 28
Governor of Lower Austria
King of Bohemia , etc.
Margrave of Moravia
King of Hungary , Croatia and Slavonia , etc.
Archduke of Austria , etc.
Count of Tyrol , etc.
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia and Hungary|
|DATE OF BIRTH||July 18, 1552|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Vienna|
|DATE OF DEATH||January 20, 1612|
|Place of death||Prague|