Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria

Last updated
Rudolf IV
Rudolf IV.jpg
The first half-frontal portrait of the Occident. It had been on display above Rudolf's grave in the Stephansdom of Vienna for several decades after his death, but can now be seen in the Museum of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna. Apart from the (invented) archducal crown, the foreshortening of which the artist did not completely master, the portrait is completely realistic. Even the duke's incipient facial palsy is shown.
Duke of Austria
Reign1358–1365
Predecessor Albert II, Duke of Austria
Successor Albert III & Leopold III
Born1 November 1339
Vienna
Died27 July 1365(1365-07-27) (aged 25)
Milan
Burial
Ducal Crypt, Vienna
Spouse Catherine of Luxembourg
House House of Habsburg
Father Albert II, Duke of Austria
Mother Joanna of Pfirt
Religion Roman Catholicism
Coffin of Rudolf and his wife in the Ducal Crypt, Vienna Wien - Stephansdom, Herzogsgruft (2).JPG
Coffin of Rudolf and his wife in the Ducal Crypt, Vienna

Rudolf IV (1 November 1339 – 27 July 1365), also called Rudolf the Founder (German : der Stifter), was a scion of the House of Habsburg who ruled as duke of Austria (self-proclaimed archduke), Styria and Carinthia from 1358, as well as count of Tyrol from 1363 and as the first duke of Carniola from 1364 until his death. After the Habsburgs got nothing from the decree of the Golden Bull in 1356, he gave order to draw up the "Privilegium Maius", a fake document to empower the Austrian rulers.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

House of Habsburg Austrian dynastic family

The House of Habsburg and alternatively 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 1438 until their extinction in the male line in 1740. The house also produced emperors and kings of Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, Portugal and Spain with their respective colonies, as well as rulers of several principalities in the Netherlands and Italy. From the 16th century, following the reign of Charles V, the dynasty was split between its Austrian and Spanish branches. Although they ruled distinct territories, they nevertheless maintained close relations and frequently intermarried.

Archduke Title of nobility in the Holy Roman Empire

Archduke was the title borne from 1358 by the Habsburg rulers of the Archduchy of Austria, and later by all senior members of that dynasty. It denotes a rank within the former Holy Roman Empire (962–1806), which was below that of Emperor and King and above that of (debatably) a Grand Duke, Duke and Prince.

Contents

Biography

The crowned portrait of Rudolf IV von Habsburg on the reverse of a 50 Schilling Silver coin. It was issued 1965 by the Republic of Austria, commemorating the 600th anniversary of the Vienna University Austria 50 Schilling 1965 Vienna University (Reverse).jpg
The crowned portrait of Rudolf IV von Habsburg on the reverse of a 50 Schilling Silver coin. It was issued 1965 by the Republic of Austria, commemorating the 600th anniversary of the Vienna University

Born in Vienna, Rudolf was the eldest son of Duke Albert II of Austria and Joanna of Pfirt. One of the third generation of Habsburg dukes in Austria, he was the first to be born within the duchy. Therefore, he considered Austria his home, a sentiment that no doubt communicated itself to his subjects and contributed to his popularity. Faced with the Habsburgs' loss of the Imperial crown upon the assassination of his grandfather King Albert I of Germany in 1308, Rudolf was one of the most energetic and active rulers of Austria in the late Middle Ages, and it was said of him that as a young man he already had the air of a king.

Vienna Capital of Austria

Vienna is the national capital, largest city, and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.

Joanna of Pfirt Duchess consort of Austria

Joanna of Pfirt was the Countess of Pfirt in her own right from 1324 and Duchess of Austria as consort of Duke Albert II from 1330 until her death.

Albert I of Germany King of Germany

Albert I of Habsburg, the eldest son of King Rudolf I of Germany and his first wife Gertrude of Hohenberg, was a Duke of Austria and Styria from 1282 and King of Germany from 1298 until his assassination.

In 1357 he was married to Catherine of Bohemia, daughter of Emperor Charles IV. [1] Eager to compete with his mighty father-in-law, who had made the Kingdom of Bohemia and its capital Prague a radiant center of Imperial culture, Rudolf desired to raise the importance of his residence Vienna to a comparable or greater height.

Catherine of Bohemia Duchess consort of Austria and Bavaria

Catherine of Bohemia was Electress of Brandenburg, the second daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and Blanche of Valois.

Kingdom of Bohemia Monarchy in Central Europe, predecessor of modern Czech Republic

The Kingdom of Bohemia, sometimes later in English literature referred to as the Czech Kingdom, was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Central Europe, the predecessor of the modern Czech Republic. It was an Imperial State in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Bohemian king was a prince-elector of the empire. The kings of Bohemia, besides Bohemia, also ruled the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, which at various times included Moravia, Silesia, Lusatia, and parts of Saxony, Brandenburg, and Bavaria.

Prague Capital of the Czech Republic

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated on the Vltava river, Prague is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate oceanic climate, with relatively warm summers and chilly winters.

The decipherment of the epitaph accompanying the cenotaph, or symbolic tomb, of Duke Rudolph IV in the Stephansdom in Vienna. The translation of the secret writing into English is "This is the sepulchre of Rudolph, by the Grace of God, Duke and Founder" and "Almighty God and great lord Jesus Christ, a shepherd." Rudolf was, in fact, never buried within the almost-solid stone structure, but in the Ducal Crypt of the Stephansdom in Vienna. The text is written using the Alphabetum Kaldeorum, a code he probably invented. Rudolph4 of Austria Epitaph.png
The decipherment of the epitaph accompanying the cenotaph, or symbolic tomb, of Duke Rudolph IV in the Stephansdom in Vienna. The translation of the secret writing into English is "This is the sepulchre of Rudolph, by the Grace of God, Duke and Founder" and "Almighty God and great lord Jesus Christ, a shepherd." Rudolf was, in fact, never buried within the almost-solid stone structure, but in the Ducal Crypt of the Stephansdom in Vienna. The text is written using the Alphabetum Kaldeorum, a code he probably invented.

For more than a century, the Habsburg dukes had chafed at the popes' failure to make Vienna the seat of its own diocese, a status that they considered appropriate for the capital of a duchy. Instead the city parish was subordinate to the bishops of Passau, who had excellent connections to the pope, apparently dooming Vienna's prospects in this regard. Rudolf, however, resorted to something which could be considered imposture: He initiated the creation of a "metropolitan cathedral chapter" at the church of St. Stephen (which, according to the name, should be assigned to a bishop), whose members wore red garments as cardinals do. The provost of the chapter received the title of an "archchancellor of Austria".

Diocese Christian district or see under the supervision of a bishop

The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis (διοίκησις) meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. Sometimes it is also called bishopric.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Passau diocese of the Catholic Church

The Diocese of Passau is a Roman Catholic diocese in Germany that is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. It should not be confused with the Prince-Bishopric of Passau, an ecclesiastical principality that existed for centuries until it was secularized in 1803. The diocese covers an area of 5,442 km².

Pope Leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Rudolf extended St. Stephen's Cathedral, with the construction of its gothic nave being started under Rudolf's rule. The construction efforts can be seen as an attempt to compete with St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. Rudolf had himself and his wife depicted on a cenotaph at the cathedral's entrance.

Gothic architecture Style of architecture

Gothic architecture is a style that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Originating in 12th-century France, it was widely used, especially for cathedrals and churches, until the 16th century.

Nave main body of a church

The nave is the central part of a church, stretching from the main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains side aisles, as in a basilica-type building, the strict definition of the term "nave" is restricted to the central aisle. In a broader, more colloquial sense, the nave includes all areas available for the lay worshippers, including the side-aisles and transepts. Either way, the nave is distinct from the area reserved for the choir and clergy.

St. Vitus Cathedral Church in Prague, Czech Republic

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert is a Roman Catholic metropolitan cathedral in Prague, the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Until 1997, the cathedral was dedicated only to Saint Vitus, and is still commonly named only as St. Vitus Cathedral.

Similarly, by founding the University of Vienna in 1365, [2] Rudolf sought to match Charles IV's founding of the Charles University of Prague in 1348. Still known as Alma Mater Rudolphina today, the University of Vienna is the oldest continuously operating university in the German-speaking world. However, a faculty of theology, which was considered crucial for a university at that time, was not established until 1385, twenty years after Rudolf's death.

University of Vienna public university located in Vienna, Austria

The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. With its long and rich history, the University of Vienna has developed into one of the largest universities in Europe, and also one of the most renowned, especially in the Humanities. It is associated with 20 Nobel prize winners and has been the academic home to many scholars of historical as well as of academic importance.

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

To improve the economy of Vienna Rudolf introduced many other measures, including the supervision by the mayor of sales of real property, instituted to prevent sales to the dead hand, i.e., to prevent economically unproductive ownership by the Church. Rudolf also managed to establish a relatively stable currency, the so-called Wiener Pfennig (Vienna Penny).

Rudolf is best known for another bluff, the forgery of the Privilegium Maius, which de facto put him on par with the seven Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, compensating for Austria's failure to receive an electoral vote in the Golden Bull of 1356 issued by Emperor Charles IV. The title of Archduke (Erzherzog), invented by Rudolf, became an honorific title of all males of the House of Habsburg from the 16th century.

In 1363, Rudolf entered into a contract of inheritance with Countess Margaret of Gorizia-Tyrol upon the death of her only son, Meinhard III. The County of Tyrol came under Austrian rule after her death in 1369 since Margraret's brother-in-law Duke Stephen II of Bavaria had invaded the country. In 1364 Rudolf declared the Carinthian March of Carniola a duchy and the next year established the town of Novo Mesto in the Windic March (in what would later be known as Lower Carniola, in present-day Slovenia), whose German name Rudolfswert was given in his honor. In the same time, he concluded another contract of inheritance with his father-in-law Emperor Charles IV, providing for mutual inheritance between the Habsburg and Luxembourg dynasties.

In spite of the high-flying (and maybe sometimes megalomaniac) character of his plans, he managed to modernize his territories and his city, the prominence of which considerably increased. Rudolf died suddenly at Milan in 1365 aged 25. [1] His and his wife's mortal remains are buried at the Ducal Crypt underneath the Stephansdom in Vienna. [1]

His untimely death without issue halted further progress, however. His younger brothers Albert III and Leopold III, who were to rule jointly under the Rudolfinische Hausordnung (Rudolfinian House Rules), began to quarrel ceaselessly and ultimately agreed to divide the Habsburg territories between them according to the 1379 Treaty of Neuberg. It was Leopold's descendant Frederick V of Austria, elected King of the Romans in 1440 and sole ruler over all Austrian lands from 1457, who reaped the fruit of Rudolf's efforts and laid the foundations of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Ancestry

Related Research Articles

Rudolf I of Germany King of Germany

Rudolf I, also known as Rudolf of Habsburg, was Count of Habsburg from about 1240 and King of Germany from 1273 until his death.

Duchy of Carinthia

The Duchy of Carinthia was a duchy located in southern Austria and parts of northern Slovenia. It was separated from the Duchy of Bavaria in 976, and was the first newly created Imperial State after the original German stem duchies.

<i>Privilegium Maius</i>

The Privilegium maius was a medieval document forged in 1358 or 1359 at the behest of Duke Rudolf IV of Austria (1358–65) of the House of Habsburg. It was essentially a modified version of the Privilegium minus issued by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in 1156, which had elevated the former March of Austria into a duchy. In a similar way, the Privilegium maius elevated the duchy into an Archduchy of Austria.

Albert II, Duke of Austria Duke of Austria and Styria

Albert II, known as the Wise or the Lame, a member of the House of Habsburg, was duke of Austria and Styria from 1330, as well as duke of Carinthia and margrave of Carniola from 1335 until his death.

Otto, Duke of Austria Duke of Austria

Otto , the Merry, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1330, as well as Duke of Carinthia from 1335 until his death. He ruled jointly with his elder brother Duke Albert II.

Albert III, Duke of Austria Duke of Austria

Albert III of Austria, known as Albert with the Braid (Pigtail), a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria from 1365 until his death.

William, Duke of Austria Duke of Inner Austria (1386-1406)

William, known as William the Courteous, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria from 1386. As head of the Leopoldian line, he ruled over the Inner Austrian duchies of Carinthia, Styria and Carniola as well as the County of Tyrol and Further Austria from 1396 until his death.

Leopold III, Duke of Austria Co-ruler of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Tyrol, then sole ruler of Styria, Carinthia and Tyrol

Leopold III, known as the Just, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria from 1365. As head and progenitor of the Leopoldian line, he ruled over the Inner Austrian duchies of Carinthia, Styria and Carniola as well as the County of Tyrol and Further Austria from 1379 until his death.

Treaty of Neuberg

The Treaty of Neuberg, concluded between the Austrian duke Albert III and his brother Leopold III on 25 September 1379, determined the division of the Habsburg hereditary lands into an Albertinian and Leopoldian line.

Inner Austria

Inner Austria was a term used from the late 14th to the early 17th century for the Habsburg hereditary lands south of the Semmering Pass, referring to the Imperial duchies of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola and the lands of the Austrian Littoral. The residence of the Inner Austrian archdukes and stadtholders was at the Burg castle complex in Graz.

Duchy of Carniola historical state, Habsburgian crown land

The Duchy of Carniola was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, established under Habsburg rule on the territory of the former East Frankish March of Carniola in 1364. A hereditary land of the Habsburg Monarchy, it became a constituent land of the Austrian Empire in 1804 and part of the Kingdom of Illyria until 1849. A separate crown land from 1849, it was incorporated into the Cisleithanian territories of Austria-Hungary from 1867 until the state's dissolution in 1918. Its capital was Ljubljana.

Leopoldian line

The Leopoldian line was a sequence of descent in the Habsburg dynasty begun by Duke Leopold III of Austria, who, after the death of his elder brother Rudolf IV, divided the Habsburg hereditary lands with his brother Albert III according to the 1379 Treaty of Neuberg.

Archduchy of Austria Fief of the Holy Roman Empire

The Archduchy of Austria was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire and the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy. With its capital at Vienna, the archduchy was centered at the Empire's southeastern periphery.

Duchy of Austria A medieval principality of the Holy Roman Empire, established in 1156 by the Privilegium Minus

The Duchy of Austria was a medieval principality of the Holy Roman Empire, established in 1156 by the Privilegium Minus, when the Margraviate of Austria (Ostarrîchi) was detached from Bavaria and elevated to a duchy in its own right. After the ruling dukes of the House of Babenberg became extinct in male line, there was as much as three decades of rivalry on inheritance and rulership, until the German king Rudolf I took over the dominion as the first monarch of the Habsburg dynasty in 1276. Thereafter, Austria became the patrimony and ancestral homeland of the dynasty and the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1453, the archducal title of the Austrian rulers, invented by Duke Rudolf IV in the forged Privilegium Maius of 1359, was officially acknowledged by the Habsburg emperor Frederick III.

County of Tyrol Former county of Austria

The (Princely) County of Tyrol was an estate of the Holy Roman Empire established about 1140. Originally a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of the Counts of Tyrol, it was inherited by the Counts of Gorizia in 1253 and finally fell to the Austrian House of Habsburg in 1363. In 1804 the Princely County of Tyrol, unified with the secularised Prince-Bishoprics of Trent and Brixen, became a crown land of the Austrian Empire in 1804 and from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary.

March of Carniola Wikimedia list article

The Marchof Carniola was a southeastern state of the Holy Roman Empire in the High Middle Ages, the predecessor of the Duchy of Carniola. It corresponded roughly to the central Carniolan region of present-day Slovenia. At the time of its creation, the march served as a frontier defense against the Kingdoms of Hungary and Croatia.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Jaschke, Karl-Ulrich (1997). "From Famous Empresses to Unspectacular Queens". In Duggan, Anne J. (ed.). Queens and Queenship in Medieval Europe. The Boydell Press. p. 102.
  2. Kann, Robert A. (1977). A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526–1918. University of California Press. p. 15.

Further reading

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Albert II
Duke of Austria,
Styria and Carinthia

1358–1365
Succeeded by
Albert III
and
Leopold III
Preceded by
Meinhard III
Count of Tyrol
1363–1365
New title Duke of Carniola
1364–1365