Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

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Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 (1576–1612), 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...

 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...

 (1572–1608), King of Bohemia (1575–1608/1611) and Archduke of Austria (1576–1608). He was a member of the House of Habsburg.

Rudolf's legacy has traditionally been viewed in three ways: an ineffectual ruler whose mistakes led directly to the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

; a great and influential patron of Northern Mannerist art; and a devotee of occult arts and learning which helped seed the scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

.

Biography


Rudolf was 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...

 on 18 July 1552. He was the eldest son and successor of Maximilian II
Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II was king of Bohemia and king of the Romans from 1562, king of Hungary and Croatia from 1563, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from 1564 until his death...

, Holy Roman Emperor, 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 Hungary 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...

; his mother was 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:...

, a daughter of Charles V
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...

.

Rudolf spent eight formative years, from age 11 to 19 (1563–1571), in Spain, at the court of his maternal uncle Phillip II
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....

. After his return to Vienna, his father was concerned about Rudolf's aloof and stiff manner, typical of the more conservative Spanish court, rather than the more relaxed and open Austrian court; but his Spanish mother saw in him courtliness and refinement. Rudolf would remain for the rest of his life reserved, secretive, and largely a homebody who did not like to travel or even partake in the daily affairs of state. He was more intrigued by occult learning such as astrology and alchemy, which was mainstream in the Renaissance period, and had a wide variety of personal hobbies such as horses, clocks, collecting rarities, and being a patron of the arts. He suffered from periodic bouts of "melancholy" (depression), which was common in the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 line. These became worse with age, and were manifested by a withdrawal from the world and its affairs into his private interests.

Like his contemporary, Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, Rudolf dangled himself as a prize in a string of diplomatic negotiations for marriages, but never in fact married. It has been proposed by A. L. Rowse
A. L. Rowse
Alfred Leslie Rowse, CH, FBA , known professionally as A. L. Rowse and to friends and family as Leslie, was a British historian from Cornwall. He is perhaps best known for his work on Elizabethan England and his poetry about Cornwall. He was also a Shakespearean scholar and biographer...

 that he was homosexual. During his periods of self-imposed isolation, Rudolf reportedly had affairs with his court chamberlain, Wolfgang von Rumpf, and a series of valets. One of these, Philip Lang, ruled him for years and was hated by those seeking favour with the emperor. Rudolf was known, in addition, to have had a succession of affairs with women, some of whom claimed to have been impregnated by him. He had several illegitimate children with his mistres Catherina Strada. Many artworks commissioned by Rudolf are unusually erotic. The emperor was the subject of a whispering campaign by his enemies in his family and the Church in the years before he was deposed. Sexual allegations may well have formed a part of the campaign against him.

Historians have traditionally blamed Rudolf's preoccupation with the arts, occult sciences, and other personal interests as the reason for the political disasters of his reign. More recently historians have re-evaluated this view and see his patronage of the arts and occult sciences as a triumph and key part of the Renaissance, while his political failures are seen as a legitimate attempt to create a unified Christian empire, which was undermined by the realities of religious, political and intellectual disintegrations of the time.

Although raised in his uncle's Catholic court in Spain, Rudolf was tolerant of Protestantism and other religions including Judaism. He largely withdrew from Catholic observances, even in death denying last sacramental rites. He had little attachment to Protestants either, except as counter-weight to repressive Papal policies. He put his primary support behind conciliarists, irenicists and humanists. When the papacy instigated the Counter-Reformation
Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

, using agents sent to his court, Rudolf backed those who he thought were the most neutral in the debate, not taking a side or trying to effect restraint, thus leading to political chaos and threatening to provoke civil war.

His conflict with the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 was the final cause of his undoing. Unwilling to compromise with the Turks, and stubbornly determined that he could unify all of Christendom with a new Crusade, he started a long and indecisive war with the Turks in 1593. This war lasted till 1606, and was known as "The Long War
Long War (Ottoman wars)
The Long War took place from 1591 or 1593 to 1604 or 1606 and was one of the numerous military conflicts between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire that developed after the Battle of Mohács.- History :The major participants of this war were the Habsburg Monarchy ,...

". By 1604 his Hungarian subjects were exhausted by the war and revolted, led by Stephen Bocskay
Stephen Bocskay
Stephen Bocskai or István Bocskai Stephen Bocskai or István Bocskai Stephen Bocskai or István Bocskai (or Bocskay, (1 January 1557 – 29 December 1606) was a HungarianCalvinist nobleman, Prince of Transylvania (1605–06), who defended Hungarian interests when Hungary was divided into Ottoman...

. In 1605 Rudolf was forced by his other family members to cede control of Hungarian affairs to his younger brother Archduke 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...

. Matthias by 1606 forged a difficult peace with the Hungarian rebels (Peace of Vienna
Treaty of Vienna (1606)
The Treaty of Vienna was signed on June 23, 1606 between Stephen Bocskay, a Hungarian noble, and Archduke Matthias. Based on the terms of the treaty, all constitutional and religious rights and privileges were granted to the Hungarians in both Transylvania and Royal Hungary...

) and the Turks (Peace of Zsitvatorok). Rudolf was angry with his brother's concessions, which he saw as giving away too much in order to further Matthias' hold on power. So Rudolf prepared to start a new war with the Turks. But Matthias rallied support from the disaffected Hungarians and forced Rudolf to give up the crowns of Hungary, Austria, and Moravia to him. Matthias imprisoned Georg Keglević
House of Keglević
The House of Keglević is a Croatian noble family originally from Dalmatia, their members were pointed out in public life, also as soldiers...

 who was the Commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

, General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

, Vice-Ban
Ban (title)
Ban was a title used in several states in central and south-eastern Europe between the 7th century and the 20th century.-Etymology:The word ban has entered the English language probably as a borrowing from South Slavic ban, meaning "lord, master; ruler". The Slavic word is probably borrowed from...

 of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia and since 1602 Baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

 in Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

, but soon left him free again. At that time was the Principality of Transylvania a fully autonomous, but only semi-independent state under the nominal suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 of the Ottoman Empire
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...

, where it was the time of the Sultanate of Women
Sultanate of Women
The Sultanate of Women was the near 130-year period during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire exerted extraordinary political influence. Many of the Sultans during this time were minors and it was their mothers, leaders of the Harem, who...

. At the same time, seeing a moment of royal weakness, Bohemian Protestants demanded greater religious liberty, which Rudolf granted in the Letter of Majesty in 1609. However the Bohemians continued to press for further freedoms and Rudolf used his army to repress them. The Bohemian Protestants appealed to Matthias for help, whose army then held Rudolf prisoner in his castle in Prague, until 1611, when Rudolf was forced to cede the crown of Bohemia to his brother.
Rudolf died in 1612, nine months after he had been stripped of all effective power by his younger brother, except the empty title of Holy Roman Emperor, to which Matthias was elected five months later. He died unmarried. In May 1618 with the event known as the Defenestration of Prague, the Protestant Bohemians, in defence of the rights granted them in the Letter of Majesty, began the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 (1618–1648).

Patron of arts


Rudolf moved the Habsburg capital from Vienna to Prague in 1583. Rudolf loved collecting paintings, and was often reported to sit and stare in rapture at a new work for hours on end. He spared no expense in acquiring great past masterworks, such as those of Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

 and Brueghel
Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a Flemish renaissance painter and printmaker known for his landscapes and peasant scenes . He is sometimes referred to as the "Peasant Bruegel" to distinguish him from other members of the Brueghel dynasty, but he is also the one generally meant when the context does...

. He was also patron to some of the best contemporary artists, who mainly produced new works in the Northern Mannerist style, such as Bartholomeus Spranger
Bartholomeus Spranger
Bartholomeus Spranger was a Flemish Northern Mannerist painter, draughtsman, and etcher. He was born in Antwerp in the Habsburg Netherlands .-Biography:...

, Hans von Aachen
Hans von Aachen
Hans von Aachen , was a German mannerist painter.-Biography:He was born in Cologne, but his name is derived from the birthplace of his father, Aachen in Germany...

, Giambologna
Giambologna
Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne, incorrectly known as Giovanni da Bologna and Giovanni Bologna , was a sculptor, known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.- Biography :...

, Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books – that is, he painted representations of these objects on the canvas arranged in such a way that the whole collection of...

, Aegidius Sadeler
Aegidius Sadeler
The Sadeler family were the largest, and probably the most successful of the dynasties of Flemish engravers that were dominant in Northern European printmaking in the later 16th and 17th centuries, as both artists and publishers...

, Roelant Savery
Roelant Savery
Roelant Savery , was a Flanders-born Dutch Golden Age painter.-Life:Savery was born in Kortrijk...

, and Adrian de Vries, as well as commissioning works from Italians like Veronese
Paolo Veronese
Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi...

. Rudolf's collections were the most impressive in the Europe of his day, and the greatest collection of Northern Mannerist art ever assembled.

Rudolf's love of collecting went far beyond paintings and sculptures. He commissioned decorative objects of all kinds and in particular mechanical moving devices. Ceremonial swords and musical instruments, clocks, water works, astrolabes, compasses, telescopes and other scientific instruments, were all produced for him by some of the best craftsmen in Europe.

He patronized natural philosophers
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

 such as the botanist Charles de l'Ecluse
Charles de l'Écluse
Charles de l'Écluse, L'Escluse, or Carolus Clusius , seigneur de Watènes, was a Flemish doctor and pioneering botanist, perhaps the most influential of all 16th century scientific horticulturists....

, and the astronomers Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe , born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations...

 and Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican...

 both attended his court. Tycho Brahe developed the Rudolfine tables (finished by Kepler, after Brahe's death), the first comprehensive table of data of the movements of the stars. As mentioned before, Rudolf also attracted some of the best scientific instrument makers of the time, such as Jost Buergi, Erasmus Habermel and Hans Christoph Schissler. They had direct contact with the court astronomers and, through the financial support of the court, they were economically independent to develop scientific instruments and manufacturing techniques.


The poetess Elizabeth Jane Weston
Elizabeth Jane Weston
Elizabeth Jane Weston was mostly known for her Neo-Latin poetry, and she had the unusual distinction for a woman of that time of having her poetry published. The full works, published in two volumes in 1608, were entitled Parthenica...

, a writer of neo-Latin poetry, was also part of his court and wrote numerous odes to him.

Rudolf kept a menagerie of exotic animals, botanical gardens, and Europe's most extensive "cabinet of curiosities
Cabinet of curiosities
A cabinet of curiosities was an encyclopedic collection in Renaissance Europe of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined. They were also known by various names such as Cabinet of Wonder, and in German Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer...

" (Kunstkammer) incorporating "the three kingdoms of nature and the works of man". It was housed at Prague Castle
Prague Castle
Prague Castle is a castle in Prague where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Czech Crown Jewels are kept here...

, where between 1587 and 1605 he built the northern wing to house his growing collections.

By 1597, the collection occupied three rooms of the incomplete northern wing. When building was completed in 1605, the collection was moved to the dedicated Kunstkammer. Naturalia (mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s and gemstone
Gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

s) were arranged in a 37 cabinet display that had three vaulted chambers in front, each about 5.5 metres wide by 3 metres high and 60 metres long, connected to a main chamber 33 metres long. Large uncut gemstones were held in strong boxes.

Rudolph's Kunstkammer was not a typical "cabinet of curiosities" - a haphazard collection of unrelated specimens. Rather, the Rudolfine Kunstkammer was systematically arranged in an encyclopaedic fashion. In addition, Rudolf II employed his polyglot court physician, Anselmus Boetius de Boodt
Anselmus de Boodt
Anselmus de Boodt was a Belgian mineralogist and physician from the city of Brugge during the European Renaissance. Along with the "Father of Mineralogy", the German known by his nom de plume Georgius Agricola, Anselmus is responsible for establishing the modern geological earth science study of...

 (c. 1550-1632), to curate
Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 the collection. De Boodt was an avid mineral collector. He travelled widely on collecting trips to the mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 regions of Germany, 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 Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

, often accompanied by his Bohemian naturalist
Naturalist
Naturalist may refer to:* Practitioner of natural history* Conservationist* Advocate of naturalism * Naturalist , autobiography-See also:* The American Naturalist, periodical* Naturalism...

 friend, Thaddaeus Hagecius. Between 1607 and 1611, de Boodt catalogued the Kunstkammer, and in 1609 he published Gemmarum et Lapidum, one of the finest mineralogical treatises of the 17th century.

As was customary at the time, the collection was private, but friends of the Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

, artists, and professional scholars were allowed to study it. The collection became an invaluable research tool during the flowering of 17th-century European philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, the "Age of Reason
Age of reason
Age of reason may refer to:* 17th-century philosophy, as a successor of the Renaissance and a predecessor to the Age of Enlightenment* Age of Enlightenment in its long form of 1600-1800* The Age of Reason, a book by Thomas Paine...

".

Rudolf's successors did not appreciate the collection and the Kunstkammer gradually fell into disarray. Some 50 years after its establishment, most of the collection was packed into wooden crates and moved to 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...

. The collection remaining at 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...

 was looted during the last year of the Thirty Years War, by Swedish troops who sacked Prague Castle on 26 July 1648, also taking the best of the paintings, many of which later passed to the Orléans Collection
Orleans Collection
The Orleans Collection was a very important collection of over 500 paintings formed by the French prince of the blood Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans, mostly acquired between about 1700 and his death in 1723...

 after the death of Christina of Sweden
Christina of Sweden
Christina , later adopted the name Christina Alexandra, was Queen regnant of Swedes, Goths and Vandals, Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia and Karelia, from 1633 to 1654. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora...

. In 1782, the remainder of the collection was sold piecemeal to private parties by Joseph II
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

, who was a lover of the Arts rather than the Sciences. One of the surviving items from the Kunstkammer is a "fine chair" looted by the Swedes in 1648 and now owned by the Earl of Radnor
Earl of Radnor
Earl of Radnor is a title which has been created two times. It was first created in the Peerage of England in 1679 for John Robartes, 2nd Baron Robartes, a notable political figure of the reign of Charles II. He was made Viscount Bodmin at the same time. Robartes was the son of Richard Robartes,...

 at Longford Castle, United Kingdom; others survive in museums.

Occult sciences


Astrology and alchemy were mainstream science in Renaissance 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...

, and Rudolf was a firm devotee of both. His lifelong quest was to find the Philosopher's Stone
Philosopher's stone
The philosopher's stone is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals into gold or silver. It was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal...

 and Rudolf spared no expense in bringing Europe's best alchemists to court, such as Edward Kelley
Edward Kelley
Sir Edward Kelley or Kelly, also known as Edward Talbot was an ambiguous figure in English Renaissance occultism and self-declared spirit medium who worked with John Dee in his magical investigations...

 and John Dee
John Dee (mathematician)
John Dee was an English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy....

. Rudolf even performed his own experiments in a private alchemy laboratory. When Rudolf was a prince, Nostradamus
Nostradamus
Michel de Nostredame , usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties , the first edition of which appeared in 1555...

 prepared a horoscope which was dedicated to him as 'Prince and King'.

Rudolf gave Prague a mystical reputation that persists in part to this day, with Alchemists' Alley on the grounds of Prague Castle a popular visiting place.

Rudolf is also the ruler in many of the legends of the Golem of Prague, either because of or simply adding to his occult reputation.

Ancestors





See also

  • Kings of Germany family tree; he was related to every other king of Germany
  • Moldavian Magnate Wars
    Moldavian Magnate Wars
    The Moldavian Magnate Wars refer to the period at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century when the magnates of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth intervened in the affairs of Moldavia, clashing with the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire for domination and influence over the...

     for the background on southern wars (with Ottoman Turkey and its allies)
  • Vespasiano I Gonzaga
    Vespasiano I Gonzaga
    thumb|250px|Vespasiano I Gonzaga.Vespasiano I Gonzaga was an Italian nobleman, diplomat, writer, military engineer and condottiero...

    , a friend of Rudolf who built a Renaissance "Ideal city" in Sabbioneta
    Sabbioneta
    Sabbioneta is a town and comune in the province of Mantua, Lombardy region, northern Italy. It is situated about 30 km north of Parma, not far from the northern bank of the Po River...

    , Italy

External links

  • Rudolf II, from Encyclopædia Britannica
    Encyclopædia Britannica
    The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

    , latest edition online, full-article.
  • Rudolf II and Prague, 1997 official exhibition.
  • Prague during the reign of Rudolf II, by Jacob Wisse, in Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

    , 2000.
  • Rudolf II, by Edward Einhorn
    Edward Einhorn
    Edward Einhorn is an American playwright, theater director, and novelist, noted for the comic absurdism of his drama and the imaginative richness of his literary works....

    , tells the story of the latter part of Rudolf II's life.