Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor

Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor

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Maximilian II was king of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 and king of the Romans (king of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

) from 1562, king of Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and Croatia
Kingdom of Croatia (Habsburg)
The Kingdom of Croatia was an administrative division that existed between 1527 and 1868 within the Habsburg Monarchy . The Kingdom was a part of the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen, but was subject to direct Imperial Austrian rule for significant periods of time, including its final years...

 from 1563, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from 1564 until his death. He was a member of the House of Habsburg.

Biography



Born in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, he was a son of his predecessor Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

 and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
Anna of Bohemia and Hungary, also sometimes known as Anna Jagellonica was, by marriage to Ferdinand I, King of the Romans and later Holy Roman Emperor, Queen of the Romans.-Family:She was the elder child and only daughter of king Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his third...

 (1503–1547). Anne was a daughter of King Ladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his wife Anne de Foix.

Educated principally in Italy, he gained some experience of warfare during the campaign of his paternal uncle Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 against France in 1544, and also during the War of the league of Schmalkalden, and soon began to take part in imperial business. Having in September 1548 married his cousin Maria, daughter of Charles V, he acted as the emperor's representative in Spain from 1548 to 1550, returning to Germany in December 1550 in order to take part in the discussion over the imperial succession.

Charles V wished his son Philip
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 (afterwards king of Spain) to succeed him as emperor, but his brother Ferdinand
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

, who had already been designated as the next occupant of the imperial throne, and Maximilian objected to this proposal. At length a compromise was reached. Philip was to succeed Ferdinand, but during the former's reign Maximilian, as king of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

, was to govern Germany. This arrangement was not carried out, and is only important because the insistence of the emperor seriously disturbed the harmonious relations which had hitherto existed between the two branches of the Habsburg family; an illness which befell Maximilian in 1552 was attributed to poison given to him in the interests of his cousin and brother-in-law, Philip of Spain.

About this time he took up his residence in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, being engaged mainly in the government of the Austrian dominions and in defending them against the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The religious views of the king of Bohemia, as Maximilian had been called since his recognition as the future ruler of that country in 1549, had always been somewhat uncertain, and he had probably learned something of Lutheranism in his youth; but his amicable relations with several Protestant princes, which began about the time of the discussion over the succession, were probably due more to political than to religious considerations. However, in Vienna he became very intimate with Sebastian Pfauser, a court preacher with strong leanings towards Lutheranism, and his religious attitude caused some uneasiness to his father. Fears were freely expressed that he would definitely leave the Catholic Church, and when Ferdinand became emperor in 1558 he was prepared to assure Pope Paul IV
Pope Paul IV
Pope Paul IV, C.R. , né Giovanni Pietro Carafa, was Pope from 23 May 1555 until his death.-Early life:Giovanni Pietro Carafa was born in Capriglia Irpina, near Avellino, into a prominent noble family of Naples...

 that his son should not succeed him if he took this step. Eventually Maximilian remained nominally an adherent of the older faith, although his views were tinged with Lutheranism until the end of his life. After several refusals he consented in 1560 to the banishment of Pfauser, and began again to attend the Masses of the Catholic Church.

In November 1562 Maximilian was chosen king of the Romans, or German king, at Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, where he was crowned a few days later, after assuring the Catholic electors of his fidelity to their faith, and promising the Protestant electors that he would publicly accept the confession of Augsburg when he became emperor. He also took the usual oath to protect the Church, and his election was afterwards confirmed by the papacy. In September 1563 he was crowned king of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 by the Archbishop of Esztergom, Nicolaus Olahus
Nicolaus Olahus
Nicolaus Olahus ; January 10, 1493, Sibiu-January 15, 1568, Trnava/Nagyszombat) was the Archbishop of Esztergom, Primate of Hungary, and a distinguished Roman Catholic prelate.-Early life:...

, and on his father's death, in July 1564, he succeeded to the empire and to the kingdoms of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia.

The new emperor had already shown that he believed in the necessity for a thorough reform of the Church. He was unable, however, to obtain the consent of Pope Pius IV to the marriage of the clergy, and in 1568 the concession of communion in both kinds to the laity was withdrawn. On his part Maximilian granted religious liberty to the Lutheran nobles and knights in Austria, and refused to allow the publication of the decrees of the council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

. Amidst general expectations on the part of the Protestants he met his first Diet of Augsburg in March 1566. He refused to accede to the demands of the Lutheran princes; on the other hand, although the increase of sectarianism was discussed, no decisive steps were taken to suppress it, and the only result of the meeting was a grant of assistance for the Turkish War, which had just been renewed. Collecting a large army Maximilian marched to defend his territories; but no decisive engagement had taken place when a truce was made in 1568, and the emperor continued to pay tribute to the sultan as the price of peace in the western and northern areas of the Hungarian kingdom still under Habsburg control.

Meanwhile the relations between Maximilian and Philip of Spain had improved; and the emperor's increasingly cautious and moderate attitude in religious matters was doubtless because the death of Philip's son, Don Carlos, had opened the way for the succession of Maximilian, or of one of his sons, to the Spanish throne. Evidence of this friendly feeling was given in 1570, when the emperor's daughter, Anna
Anna of Austria (1549-1580)
Anna of Austria , was Queen consort of Spain and Portugal by virtue of her marriage to King Philip II of Spain.-Family:She was the eldest daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain...

, became the fourth wife of Philip; but Maximilian was unable to moderate the harsh proceedings of the Spanish king against the revolting inhabitants of the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. In 1570 the emperor met the diet of Speyer
Diet of Speyer (1570)
The Diet of Speyer or the Diet of Spires was a diet of the Holy Roman Empire in 1570 in the Imperial City of Speyer . The diet condemned the results of the Diet of Speyer of 1526 and prohibited future reformation...

 and asked for aid to place his eastern borders in a state of defence, and also for power to repress the disorder caused by troops in the service of foreign powers passing through Germany. He proposed that his consent should be necessary before any soldiers for foreign service were recruited in the empire; but the estates were unwilling to strengthen the imperial authority, the Protestant princes regarded the suggestion as an attempt to prevent them from assisting their co-religionists in France and the Netherlands, and nothing was done in this direction, although some assistance was voted for the defense of Austria. The religious demands of the Protestants were still unsatisfied, while the policy of toleration had failed to give peace to Austria. Maximilian's power was very limited; it was inability rather than unwillingness that prevented him from yielding to the entreaties of Pope Pius V to join in an attack on the Turks both before and after the victory of Lepanto
Battle of Lepanto (1571)
The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece...

 in 1571; and he remained inert while the authority of the empire in north-eastern Europe was threatened.

In 1575, Maximilian was elected by the part of Polish and Lithuanian magnates to be the King of Poland in opposition to Stephan IV Bathory
Stefan Batory
Stephen Báthory was a Hungarian noble Prince of Transylvania , then King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania . He was a member of the Somlyó branch of the noble Hungarian Báthory family...

, but he did not manage to become widely accepted there and was forced to leave Poland.

Maximilian died on 12 October 1576 in Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 while preparing to invade Poland. On his deathbed he refused to receive the last sacraments of the Church. He is buried in St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral
Saint Vitus' Cathedral is as a Roman Catholic cathedral in Prague, and the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. The full name of the cathedral is St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral...

 in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

.

By his wife Maria he had a family of nine sons and six daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Rudolf
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Hungary and Croatia , King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria...

, who had been chosen king of the Romans in October 1575. Another of his sons, Matthias
Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor
Matthias of Austria was Holy Roman Emperor from 1612, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1608 and King of Bohemia from 1611...

, also became emperor; three others, Ernest
Archduke Ernest of Austria
Archduke Ernest of Austria was an Austrian nobleman, the son of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria of Spain....

, Albert
Albert VII, Archduke of Austria
Archduke Albert VII of Austria was, jointly with his wife, the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands between 1598 and 1621, ruling the Habsburg territories in the southern Low Countries and the north of modern France...

 and Maximilian, took some part in the government of the Habsburg territories or of the Netherlands, and a daughter, Elizabeth, married Charles IX of France
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

.

Religious policies


Maximilian's policies of religious neutrality and peace in the Empire afforded its Roman Catholics and Protestants a breathing-space after the first struggles of the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

.

He disappointed the German Protestant prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

s by his refusal to invest Lutheran administrators of prince-bishoprics with their imperial fiefs. Yet on a personal basis he granted freedom of worship to the Protestant nobility and worked for reform in the Roman Catholic Church, including the right of priests to marry. This failed because of Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 opposition.

Maximilian II was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Order of the Golden Fleece
The Order of the Golden Fleece is an order of chivalry founded in Bruges by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy in 1430, to celebrate his marriage to the Portuguese princess Infanta Isabella of Portugal, daughter of King John I of Portugal. It evolved as one of the most prestigious orders in Europe...

.

Marriage and children



On 13 September 1548, Maximilian married his first cousin Maria of Spain
Maria of Spain
Archduchess Maria of Austria was the spouse of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia and Hungary. She was the daughter of Emperor Charles V and twice served as regent of Spain.-Life:...

, daughter of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 and Isabella of Portugal
Isabella of Portugal
Isabella of Portugal was a Portuguese Princess and Holy Roman Empress, Duchess of Burgundy, and a Queen Regent/Consort of Spain. She was the daughter of Manuel I of Portugal and Maria of Aragon. By her marriage to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Isabella was also Holy Roman Empress and Queen...

. They had sixteen children:
  • Archduchess Anna of Austria
    Anna of Austria (1549-1580)
    Anna of Austria , was Queen consort of Spain and Portugal by virtue of her marriage to King Philip II of Spain.-Family:She was the eldest daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain...

     (1 November 1549 – 26 October 1580). Married Philip II of Spain
    Philip II of Spain
    Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

    , her uncle. She was the mother of Philip III of Spain
    Philip III of Spain
    Philip III , also known as Philip the Pious, was the King of Spain and King of Portugal and the Algarves, where he ruled as Philip II , from 1598 until his death...

    .
  • Archduke Ferdinand of Austria (28 March 1551 – 25 June 1552).
  • Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
    Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
    Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Hungary and Croatia , King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria...

     (18 July 1552 – 20 January 1612).
  • Archduke Ernest of Austria
    Archduke Ernest of Austria
    Archduke Ernest of Austria was an Austrian nobleman, the son of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria of Spain....

    , (15 July 1553 – 12 February 1595). He served as Governor of the Low Countries
    Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands
    The Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands ruled the Habsburg Netherlands as a representative of the Duke of Burgundy .- Habsburg Netherlands :...

    .
  • Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria (5 June 1554 – 22 January 1592). Married Charles IX of France
    Charles IX of France
    Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

    .
  • Archduchess Marie of Austria (27 July 1555 – 25 June 1556).
  • Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor
    Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor
    Matthias of Austria was Holy Roman Emperor from 1612, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1608 and King of Bohemia from 1611...

     (24 February 1557 – 20 March 1619).
  • A stillborn son (born and deceased on 20 October 1557).
  • Archduke Maximilian of Austria (12 October 1558 – 2 November 1618). Elected king of Poland, but never crowned. He served as grandmaster of the Teutonic Order and Administrator of Prussia
    Prussia
    Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

    .
  • Archduke Albert of Austria
    Albert VII, Archduke of Austria
    Archduke Albert VII of Austria was, jointly with his wife, the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands between 1598 and 1621, ruling the Habsburg territories in the southern Low Countries and the north of modern France...

     (15 November 1559 – 13 July 1621). He served as Governor of the Low Countries.
  • Archduke Wenceslaus of Austria
    Archduke Wenceslaus of Austria
    Archduke Wenceslaus of Austria , was a German prince member of the House of Habsburg and since 1577 Grand Prior of the Order of Malta in Castile.He was the son of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor by his wife Maria of Spain....

     (9 March 1561 – 22 September 1578).
  • Archduke Frederick of Austria (21 June 1562 – 16 January 1563).
  • Archduchess Marie of Austria (19 February 1564 – 26 March 1564). Named after her deceased older sister.
  • Archduke Charles of Austria (26 September 1565 – 23 May 1566).
  • Archduchess Margaret of Austria (25 January 1567 – 5 July 1633). A nun.
  • Archduchess Eleanor of Austria (4 November 1568 – 12 March 1580).

Titles


Emperor's full titulature went as follows: Maxilimian II, by the grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King in Germany, of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, etc. Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Luxemburg, Württemberg, the Upper and Lower Silesia, Prince of Swabia, Margrave of the Holy Roman Empire, Burgau, Moravia, the Upper and Lower Lusatia, Princely Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Ferrette, Kyburg, Gorizia, Landgrave of Alsace, Lord of the Wendish March, Pordenone and Salins, etc. etc.

Ancestors





External links