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earning himself the moniker ¡®Rudolf the Founder¡¯.
The distended lower jaw and lip, a family trait of the early Habsburgs, is discreetly downplayed in official portraits.
Keeping it Habsburg Marriage, not muscle, was the historic key to Habsburg land gains.
The Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus (1443¨C90) once adapted lines from Ovid when he wrote: ¡®Let others wage war but you, lucky Austria, marry! For the empires given to others by Mars are given to you by Venus.
¡¯ The age of the convenient wedding began in earnest with Maximilian I (1459¨C 1519), whose moniker was the Last Knight because of his outdated predilection for medieval tournaments.
His other loves were Renaissance art, his own grave (which he commissioned during his lifetime) and Albrecht D¨¹rer (1471¨C1528), whom Maximilian commissioned to work on the very same grave before he stepped into it.
It is now in Innsbruck¡¯s Hofkirche.
But it was Maximilian¡¯s affection for Maria of Burgundy (1457¨C82) that had the greatest influence on the fortunes of the Habsburgs.
The two married, and when Maria fell from a horse and died as a result of a miscarriage in 1482, Burgundy, Lorraine and the Low Countries fell into Habsburg hands.
In their day, these regions were the last word in culture, economic prosperity and the arts.
However, this began a difficult relationship with France that stuck to the Habsburg shoe for centuries.
The ¡®Spanish Marriage¡¯ in 1496 was another clever piece of royal bedding.
When Maximilian¡¯s son Philipp der Sch?ne (Philip the Handsome) married Juana la Loca (Johanna the Mad; 1479¨C55), Spain and its resource -rich overseas territories in Central and South America became Habsburgian.
When their son, Ferdinand I (1503¨C64) married Anna of Hungary and Bohemia (1503¨C47), fulfilling a deal his grandfather Maximilian I had negotiated with King Vladislav II (1456¨C1516), Bohemia was also in the Habsburg fold.
In the same deal, Maria von Habsburg (1505¨C58) married into the Polish-Lithuanian Jagiellonen dynasty, which traditionally purveyed kings to Poland, Bohemia and Hungary at that time.
By 1526, when her husband Ludwig II (1506¨C26) drowned in a tributary of the Danube during the Battle of Moh¨¢cs against Turks, Silesia (in Poland), Bohemia (in the Czech Republic) and Hungary were all thoroughly Habsburg.
Under Karl V (1500¨C58), the era of the universal monarch arrived, and the Habsburgs had added the kingdom of Naples (southern Italy, including Sicily).
That was about as good as it got.
Really mad or really handsome? Johanna the Mad kissed the feet of husband Philip the Handsome when his coffin was opened five weeks after his death in 1506.
Reformation & the Thirty Years¡¯ War The 16th century was a crucial period in Austria during which the country came to terms with religious reformation brought about by Martin Luther, Counter- Reformation aimed at turning back the clock on Luther¡¯s Church reforms, and a disastrous Thiry Years¡¯ War that saw the Habsburgs¡¯ German territories splinter and slip further from their grasp.
In the German town of Wittenberg in 1517, theology professor Martin Luther (1483¨C1546) made public his 95 theses that questioned the papal practice of selling indulgences to exonerate sins.
Threatened with excommunication, Luther refused to recant, broke from the Catholic Church, was banned by the Reich, and whilst in hiding translated the New Testament into German.
Except in Tyrol, almost the entire population of Austria had become Protestant.
In 1555 Karl V signed the Peace of Augsburg, which gave the Catholic and Protestant churches equal standing and allowed each local prince to decide the religion of their principality.
The more secular northern principalities of the German lands adopted Lutheran teachings, while the clerical lords in the south, southwest and Austria remained Catholic or adopted Catholicism.
Not only does this explain the patchwork of Protestant and Catholic religions today in many regions that used to be part of the Holy Roman Empire, but it also made a mess of one Habsburg vision: Emperor Karl V had dedicated his life to creating a so-called ¡®universal Catholic monarchy¡¯.
Seeing the writing clearly on the wall, he abdicated in 1556 and withdrew to a monastery in Spain to lick his wounds and die.
The spoils were divided up among Habsburgs.
The brother of Karl V, Ferdinand I, inherited Austria as well as Hungary and Bohemia, and Karl V¡¯s only legitimate son, Philip II (1527¨C98) got Spain, Naples and Sicily, the Low Countries, and the overseas colonies.
To bolster Catholicism in Austria, Ferdinand I invited the Jesuits to Vienna in 1556; in contrast, his successor Maximilian II was extremely tolerant of Protestantism and the ideas of the Reformation.
When the fanatically Catholic Ferdinand II took the throne in 1619 and put his weight behind a Counter -Reformation movement, the Protestant nobles in Bohemia finally rebelled in an armed conflict that quickly spread and developed into the pan-European Thirty Years¡¯ War; Sweden and France had joined this by 1635.
In 1645 a Protestant Swedish army marched to within sight of Vienna but did not attack.
Calm was restored with the Peace of Westphalia (1648) but it left the Habsburgs¡¯ Reich ¨C embracing more than 300 states and about 1000 smaller territories ¨C a nominal, impotent state.
Switzerland and the Netherlands gained formal independence, and the Habsburgs lost territory to France.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HABSBURGS? They¡¯re still around ¨C about 500 of them, some 280 of whom still live in Austria.
The current family head is Karl Habsburg-Lothringen (b 1961).
He recently took on the job of heading Europe¡¯s most famous family after the death of his father Otto von Habsburg (1912¨C2011).
Famous for his bon mots, Otto von Habsburg renounced his claims to the Habsburg lands in 1961, a step that allowed him to re-enter Austria and launch a career in European politics.
Once asked why his name never surfaced in the tabloids, the aged ¡®monarch¡¯ had replied: ¡®I¡¯ve not once attended a ball.
I prefer to sleep at night.
And if you don¡¯t go to nightclubs, you don¡¯t run into the gossip columnists¡¯.
He was something of a sporting man, too: when quizzed about who he thought would win an Austria¨CHungary football match, Otto reportedly replied, ¡®Who are we playing?¡¯ Most poignant is perhaps a comment by German President Paul von Hindenburg to Otto von Habsburg in 1933 (the year Hitler seized power in Germany): ¡®You know, your majesty, there¡¯s only one person with hostile feelings towards the Habsburgs, but he¡¯s an Austrian.
¡¯ Turks & the Siege of Vienna The Ottoman Empire viewed Vienna as ¡®the city of the golden apple¡¯, but it wasn¡¯t Apfelstr¨¹del they were after in their great sieges.
The first, in 1529 during the reign of Karl V, was begun by S¨¹leyman the Magnificent, who advanced into Hungary and took Budapest before beginning an 18-day siege to capture Vienna.
This was the meeting of two powers almost at the peak of their power, but ¨C for reasons that are unclear today ¨C the Ottomans suddenly withdrew back to Hungary.
The Turkish sultan died at the siege of Szigetv¨¢r, yet his death was kept secret for several days in an attempt to preserve the morale of his army.
The subterfuge worked for a while.
Messengers were led into the presence of the embalmed body, which was
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