Emperor Maximilian I with his son Philipp the Handsome, his wife Mary of Burgundy, his grandsons Ferdinand I and Karl V as well as his adopted son Ludwig II of Hungary. Painting by B. Strigel, 1516 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).
Maximilian I, b. Wiener Neustadt (Lower Austria), March 22, 1459, d. Wels (Upper Austria), Jan. 12, 1519, Emperor, son of Emperor Friedrich III, father of Philipp I (the Handsome). After his marriage to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 lived in the Netherlands, where he secured the Burgundy patrimony for his children (Peace of Senlis, 1493). 1486 was elected Roman King, he purchased Tyrol and the forelands from Archduke Sigmund in 1490 (by adoption and renunciation), reoccupied Lower Austria after Matthias Corvinus' death, 1493 inherited the rest of the Habsburg countries from his father and united them all. Had himself proclaimed "Elected Roman Emperor" in Trento. Also claimed Bohemia and Hungary under the Treaty of Inheritance of 1463 and secured his possessions at the Vienna Conference of Princes in 1515 by marriages. From the counts of Gorizia he inherited East Tyrol in 1500; conquered Kufstein in the Bavarian Palatine War of Succession in 1504, won the towns of Rattenberg and Kitzbühel in 1505 as well as the towns of Mondsee, St. Wolfgang, Neuhaus and Rannariedl in Upper Austria in 1506. After a war against Venice 1508 to 1516 he held Rovereto, Riva and Ala (the southern border of Tyrol until 1918). Was not successful against the Swiss, who left the Empire in 1499, and was defeated by the French in Upper Italy.
M. introduced an administration through local princes for the first time, which divided the countries into 2 groups. The Upper Austrian countries, with their centre in Innsbruck, included Tyrol, Vorarlberg and the forelands, Gorizia, Istria with Trieste as well as Friuli. The Lower Austrian countries with their authorities in Vienna, Wiener Neustadt and Linz, comprised what was then called "Austria", (today's Upper Austria and Lower Austria), Styria, Carinthia and Carniola. He also set up financial and judicial authorities. In order to accommodate the Estates, M. held a Diet in Innsbruck in 1518. For the extraction of silver and copper in Schwaz M. had to turn to the Fugger family, who granted him credit against security. His aspiration to be the most powerful Emperor since Charlemagne had to be financed by the Austrian countries since his attempts to reorganize the Empire were unsuccessful.
M. was very religious, spoke 7 languages, was humorous, skilled in the production of arms, loved tournaments and hunting. He was an important patron of the sciences and arts, but also insisted on demonstrating his and his dynasty's power and influence (triumphal procession and arc of honour, portraits by A. Dürer etc.). He dictated autobiographical works "Weißkunig" (story of his father and his youth) and "Theuerdank" (about his journey to Burgundy to take Mary for his wife and the fight for her heritage). M. employed scholars to investigate his genealogy and had several magnificent manuscripts made - was a true Renaissance Prince. He had his tomb built during his lifetime (Maximilian, Tomb of) which was not set up at Wiener Neustadt, as initially intended, but in the Hofkirche church in Innsbruck. He was buried according to his wish in St.George's church in Wiener Neustadt.
Literature: H. Wiesflecker, Ks. M., 5 vols., 1971-1986; Ks. M., 1992.
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