Matthias with the Imperial Crown
| Holy Roman Emperor |
King of Germany
|Reign||13 June 1612 – 20 March 1619|
|Coronation||26 June 1612, Frankfurt|
|King of Bohemia|
|Reign||11 March 1611 – 16 May 1617|
|Coronation||23 May 1611, Prague|
|Archduke of Austria|
|Reign||25 June 1608 – 20 March 1619|
|King of Hungary and Croatia|
|Reign||25 June 1608 – 1 July 1618|
|Coronation||19 November 1608, Pressburg|
|Born||24 February 1557|
|Died||20 March 1619 62) (aged|
Imperial Crypt, Vienna
(m. 1611;died 1618)
|Mother||Maria of Austria|
Matthias of Austria, a member of the House of Habsburg (* February 24, 1557 in Vienna, † March 20, 1619 ibid) was Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria (1612 – 1619), king of Hungary (as Mátyás II) and Croatia (as Matija II) since 1608 and king of Bohemia (also as Matyáš II) since 1611. His personal motto was Concordia lumine maior ("Unity is stronger than light").
He played a significant role in the familial opposition of the Habsburgs against his brother Emperor Rudolf. After gaining power, he showed little political initiative of his own. The course of his politics was determined by Cardinal Klesl until his fall in 1618. As a consequence of his failed religious and administrative policies the Bohemian Revolt, the initial theatre of the Thirty Years War set off during the final year of his reign.
Matthias was born in the Austrian capital of Vienna as the fourth son of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria of Spain. His brothers were Rudolph II (The Later Emperor) Ernest of Austria, Maximilian (from 1585 Grand Master of the Teutonic Order), Albrecht (archbishop of Toledo, later governor of the Netherlands) and Wenceslaus (Grand Prior of the Order of Malta in Castile). He also had six sisters. Through the marriage of his sister Anna, he was related to Philip II of Spain and his sister Elisabeth to King Charles IX of France.Almost nothing is known about his upbringings. One of his teachers was the writer and historian Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq. Upon Maximilian II's death the royal estates and property were completely transferred to Rudolf, his brothers - including Matthias - received compensations, like cash pensions and appointments of church or state positions. Matthias married Archduchess Anna of Austria, daughter of his uncle Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria, whose successor in Further Austria Matthias became in 1595. Their marriage did not produce surviving children.
In 1578, Matthias was invited to the Netherlands by the States-General of the rebellious provinces, who offered him the position of Governor-General. Matthias had come into contact with Gautier von der Gracht, the envoy of the Dutch provinces, at the Regensburg Reichstag in 1576. Philippe III de Croÿ, Duke of Aarschot and other representatives of a rather moderate party agreed with Matthias to make him the governor of the Netherlands against the will of his uncle, Philip II of Spain, the hereditary ruler of the provinces and without the knowledge of Emperor Rudolf II. Matthias accepted the appointment, although the position was not recognized by Philip II. He set down the rules for religious peace within most of the United Provinces. His work is noted in Article 13 of the 1579 Union of Utrecht, which established freedom of religion as a locally determined issue.Matthias continued as titular governor for the rebels until they deposed Philip II and declared full independence in 1581, at which point he returned home to Austria.
He returned to Austria in 1583, where he settled in Linz with a small household. He made several unsuccessful attempts to get elected as bishop (Münster, Liège, Speyer). In 1586 negotiations for the succession of the Polish king Stephen Báthory were equally unsuccessful. He also applied for the regency in Tyrol and Further Austria. It was only when his brother Ernest was appointed General Governor in the Netherlands in 1593 (ruled from 1594) that Matthias was able to secure governance over Austria.
He was immediately confronted with the vigorous advocacy of their religious rights among the Protestant estates. The problems were exacerbated by the high taxes and the troops raised as a result of the Long Turkish War.In the years 1595 and 1597 the farmers in Lower and Upper Austria revolted in the hope to negotiate with the emperor. Matthias forced the insurgents into submission with mercenary troops.
After the uprising had been quelled, Matthias' policies on religion changed. If there had previously been Protestants at his court, he now went on a strict Counter-Reformation course. His chancellor had been Melchior Khlesl, bishop and administrator of Wiener Neustadt, since 1599 and supporter of the Counter-Reformation. The emperor appointed him in 1594/95 and again in 1598/1600 as nominal commander in chief in the Turkish war and as his representative to the Hungarian Reichstag.
With great concern observed the Habsburgs the increasing psychological decline of the ageing emperor. After Ernest's death in 1595, Matthias became the oldest among the Archdukes. From 1599 onwards Matthias in vain urged the childless emperor to arrange his succession as Matthias was rejected. The crisis carried on in 1604 during the uprising under Stephen Bocskai in Hungary. Matthias initially avoided an argument with the emperor. But Bishop Klesl urged him to take command in the conflict with Rudolf. In November 1600 at Schottwien the Archdukes Matthias, Maximilian and Ferdinand signed an agreement of concerted opposition against the emperor, in 1606 declared Rudolf insane (document dated April 25), appointed Matthias as the head of the family, and began to oust Rudolf. It was Matthias and not the emperor who had brokered the Peace of Zsitvatorok with the Ottomans and in 1606 had ended the conflict in Hungary by granting freedom of religion in Hungary and guaranteed the right of Transylvanians to elect their own independent princes in the future..
As unrest resurfaced in Hungary and spread into parts of Moravia and Austria, Matthias attempted to utilize this opposition in the power struggle against the emperor. He joined the rebellious Diet of Hungary and the Lower and Upper Austrian estates in Bratislava in 1608 and in Moravia shortly later. In April 1608 Matthias marched on Prague and besieged the city. Although unable to fully win over the Bohemian estates, he forced Rudolf to negotiate and sign a peace treaty in June 1608. This, unsurprisingly, resulted in the redistribution of power. Rudolf kept Bohemia, Silesia and Lusatia and Matthias received Hungary, Austria and Moravia.
However, the takeover of power did not proceed according to customary protocol. Matthias, as the new sovereign had not guaranteed the privileges of the estates before they officially paid homage to him. He tried to reverse the order, which led to the so-called Homage dispute. As the majority of the estates were Protestant in Austria and Moravia their nobles then formed the powerful Horner Confederation (Horner Bund) and paid homage only against a guarantee of their religious rights. The Horner Confederation continued to exist until the beginning of the Thirty Years War.
Matthias was crowned King of Bohemia on May 23, 1611 and was, after Rudolf's death on January 20, 1612, elected Emperor. On December 4, 1611, he married his cousin Archduchess Anna of Austria, yet the union failed to produce children. Matthias allegedly fathered an illegitimate son named Matthias of Austria with an unknown mother.
The court and administration were gradually moved from Prague to Vienna after 1612. The new emperor was less interested in art than Rudolf II and most court artists soon turned their backs on his court. Matthias maintained however a close relationship with the painter Lucas van Valckenborch. For the private crown of his brother Rudolf II, he had a sceptre and an orb made. The Emperor's wife founded the Capuchin Church and the Imperial Crypt in Vienna as the future burial site of the Habsburg family. Matthias has allegedly found a spring in the area of today's Schönbrunn Palace. It is said that it became the eponymous name of the area and the palace from his remark: "Look, what a beautiful spring" (beautiful=schön, spring=Brunn[en]).
After Matthias's imperial accession, his kingship was dominated by Klesl, who hoped to bring about a compromise between Catholic and Protestant states within the Holy Roman Empire in order to strengthen it. Matthias had already been forced to grant religious concessions to Protestants in Austria and Moravia, as well as in Hungary, when he had allied with them against Rudolf. Matthias imprisoned Georg Keglević who was the Commander-in-chief, General, Vice-Ban of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia and since 1602 Baron in Transylvania, but soon left him free again. At that time the Principality of Transylvania was a fully autonomous area of Hungary, but under the nominal suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, where it was the time of the Sultanate of Women.
Matthias's conciliatory policies were opposed by the more intransigent Catholic Habsburgs, particularly Matthias's brother Archduke Maximilian, who hoped to secure the succession for the inflexible Catholic Archduke Ferdinand (later Emperor Ferdinand II). The Protestant Bohemians, concerned about their religious freedom, fiercely opposed all Catholic officials, appointed by Matthias and the Habsburg Archduke (elected King of Bohemia in May 1618) in particular. The dispute came to a head in the Bohemian Protestant revolt. This provoked Maximilian to imprison Klesl and revise his policies. However, old and ailing, he was unable to prevent a takeover by Maximilian's faction. Ferdinand, who had already been crowned King of Bohemia (1617) and of Hungary (1618), succeeded Matthias as Holy Roman Emperor.
As the Imperial Crypt at Vienna was not yet completed, Anna († in 1618) and Matthias († in 1619) were temporarily buried in St. Maria's Queen's Monastery. Not until 1633 were they transferred to the Imperial Crypt at the Capuchin Church. Emperor Matthias is one of the 41 people who received a "separate burial", as their bodies are distributed among all three traditional Viennese burial sites of the Habsburgs (Imperial Crypt, Herzgruft, Ducal Crypt).
Names in other languages:
|Ancestors of Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor|
Matthias, by the grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King in Germany, of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Cumania and Bulgaria, 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.
The House of Habsburg, also officially called the House of Austria, was one of the most influential and distinguished royal houses of Europe. The throne of the Holy Roman Empire was continuously occupied by the Habsburgs from 1440 until their extinction in the male line in 1740 and after the death of Francis I from 1765 until its dissolution in 1806.
Maximilian II, a member of the Austrian House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor from 1564 until his death. He was crowned King of Bohemia in Prague on 14 May 1562 and elected King of Germany on 24 November 1562. On 8 September 1563 he was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in the Hungarian capital Pressburg. On 25 July 1564 he succeeded his father Ferdinand I as ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.
Ferdinand II, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor (1619–1637), King of Bohemia, and King of Hungary and Croatia (1618–1637). He was the son of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria, and Maria of Bavaria. His parents were devout Catholics, and in 1590, they sent him to study at the Jesuits' college in Ingolstadt, because they wanted to isolate him from the Lutheran nobles. In July that same year (1590), when Ferdinand was 12 years old, his father died, and he inherited Inner Austria—Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and smaller provinces. His cousin, the childless Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, who was the head of the Habsburg family, appointed regents to administer these lands.
Ferdinand III was from 1621 Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary from 1625, King of Croatia and Bohemia from 1627 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1637 until his death in 1657.
The Emperor of Austria was the ruler of the Austrian Empire and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A hereditary imperial title and office proclaimed in 1804 by Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, and continually held by him and his heirs until Charles I relinquished power in 1918.
The Imperial Crypt, also called the Capuchin Crypt (Kapuzinergruft), is a burial chamber beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 1618 and dedicated in 1632, and located on the Neuer Markt square of the Innere Stadt, near the Hofburg Palace. Since 1633, the Imperial Crypt serves as the principal place of entombment for the members of the House of Habsburg. The bones of 145 Habsburg royalty, plus urns containing the hearts or cremated remains of four others, are here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses. The visible 107 metal sarcophagi and five heart urns range in style from puritan plain to exuberant rococo. Some of the dozen resident Capuchin friars continue their customary role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt, along with their other pastoral work in Vienna. The most recent entombment was in 2011.150
Melchior Klesl was an Austrian statesman and cardinal of the Roman Catholic church during the time of the Counter-Reformation. Klesl was appointed Bishop of Vienna in 1598 and elevated to cardinal in 1616.
The Lands of the Bohemian Crown, sometimes called Czech lands in modern times, were a number of incorporated states in Central Europe during the medieval and early modern periods connected by feudal relations under the Bohemian kings. The crown lands primarily consisted of the Kingdom of Bohemia, an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire according to the Golden Bull of 1356, the Margraviate of Moravia, the Duchies of Silesia, and the two Lusatias, known as the Margraviate of Upper Lusatia and the Margraviate of Lower Lusatia, as well as other territories throughout its history.
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, younger brother of Emperor Ferdinand III, was an Austrian soldier, administrator and patron of the arts.
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Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Tyrol, was by birth Archduchess of Austria and member of the Tyrolese branch of the House of Habsburg and by marriage the second spouse of her first cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III. As such, she was Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, German Queen and Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia. She died in childbirth.
The First Congress of Vienna was held in 1515, attended by the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, and the Jagiellonian brothers, Vladislaus II, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia, and Sigismund I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Previously, Vladislaus and Maximilian had agreed on a Habsburg-Jagiellon mutual-succession treaty in 1506. It became a turning point in the history of central Europe. After the death of Vladislaus, and later his son and heir, the childless King Louis II at the Battle of Mohács against the Ottomans in 1526, the Habsburg-Jagellion mutual succession treaty ultimately increased the power of the Habsburgs and diminished that of the Jagiellonians.
The Oñate treaty of 29 July 1617 was a secret treaty between the Austrian and Spanish branches of the House of Habsburg.
Maximilian of Liechtenstein was a nobleman from the House of Liechtenstein. He was a senior military officer in the imperial Habsburg service, eventually promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. In 1623, he was raised to Imperial Prince.
The Austrian–Hungarian War was a military conflict between the Kingdom of Hungary under Mathias Corvinus and the Habsburg Archduchy of Austria under Frederick V. The war lasted from 1477 to 1488 and resulted in significant gains for Matthias, which humiliated Frederick, but which were reversed upon Matthias' sudden death in 1490.
Maximilian, Prince of Dietrichstein, was a German prince member of the House of Dietrichstein, Imperial Count (Reichsgraf) of Dietrichstein and owner of the Lordship of Nikolsburg in Moravia; since 1629 2nd Prince (Fürst) of Dietrichstein zu Nikolsburg, Baron (Freiherr) of Hollenburg, Finkenstein and Thalberg, was a diplomat and minister in the service of the House of Habsburg. He was a Kämmerer, Lord Chamberlain (Obersthofmeister), Conference Minister (Konferenzminister) and Privy Councillor of Emperors Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III, Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece since and ruler over Nikolsburg, Polná, Kanitz, Leipnik, Weisskirch and Saar.
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Matthias .|
Matthias, Holy Roman EmperorBorn: 24 February 1557 Died: 20 March 1619
| King of Bohemia |
| King of Hungary and Croatia |
| King in Germany |
| Holy Roman Emperor |
| Archduke of Austria |
| Archduke of Further Austria |