Rudolf II., * 1552
Emperor Rudolf II, painting by P. Soutman
Rudolf II, b. Vienna, July 18, 1552, d. Prague (Czech Republic), Jan. 20, 1612, Emperor (from 1576), from 1572 King of Hungary, from 1575 King of Bohemia, from 1576 Emperor, son of Emperor Maximilian II. 1563-1571 educated at the Spanish court, moved the administration of the empire to Prague in 1583, where he resided almost exclusively, he concentrated on his interests on the arts, sciences and magic (alchemy and astrology). R. was the most important art collector of his time, the Habsburg crown was made on his order and was to become the crown of the Austrian empire in 1804. In Austria the Counter Reformation was carried out in his name. Because he was inactive as a regent and careless in preparing defence against the Turks (Turkish Wars), the other archdukes conspired against him from 1600 ("Bruderzwist" - strife between brothers for the succession) and forced him to renounce Austria, Hungary and Moravia in 1608 as well as to give up Bohemia in favour of his brother Matthias in 1611.
Literature: R. J. W. Evans, R. Ohnmacht und Einsamkeit, 1980; K. Vocelka, R., 1985; Prag um 1600. Kunst und Kultur am Hofe R., 2 vols., exhibition catalogue, Vienna 1988; J. Dauxois, Der Alchimist von Prag. R. v. Habsburg, 1997.
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