All the family of King Rudolph ran to confessors, arranged their affairs, forgave their enemies, and received the communion, for a mortal danger seemed to hang over them.”
Continuing Hapsburg Dynasty Founded,
our selection from History of the House of Austria. by William Coxe published in 1807. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in six easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Hapsburg Dynasty Founded
Place: Prague and Vienna
Ottocar was obliged to submit to these humiliating conditions, and on the 25th of November, the day appointed for doing homage, crossed the Danube with a large escort of Bohemian nobles to the camp of Rudolph, and was received by the King of the Romans, in the presence of several princes of the empire. With a depressed countenance and broken spirit, which he was unable to conceal from the bystanders, he made a formal resignation of his pretensions to Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, and, kneeling down, did homage to his rival, and obtained the investiture of Bohemia and Moravia, with the accustomed ceremonies.
Rudolph, having thus secured these valuable provinces, took possession of them as fiefs reverted to the empire, and issued a decree placing them under the government of Louis of Bavaria as vicar-general to the empire, in case of his death or during an interregnum. He at the same time established his family in the Austrian dominions, by persuading the Archbishop of Salzburg and the bishops of Passau, Freising, and Bamberg to confer on his sons, Albert, Hartman, and Rudolph, the ecclesiastical fiefs held by the dukes of Austria. His next care was to maintain the internal peace of those countries by salutary regulations; and he gained the affection of the nobles by confirming their privileges and permitting them to rebuild the fortresses which Ottocar had demolished. To superintend the execution of these regulations he fixed his residence at Vienna, where he was joined by his Queen and family.
In order to reward his retainers he was, however, compelled to lay considerable impositions on his new subjects, and to obtain free gifts from the bishop and clergy; and the discontents arising from these measures probably induced Ottocar to attempt the recovery of the territories which he had lost.
Although the King of Bohemia had taken leave of Rudolph with the strongest professions of friendship, and at different intervals had renewed his assurances of unalterable harmony, yet the humiliating conditions which he had subscribed, and the loss of such valuable provinces, filled him with resentment; his lofty spirit was still further inflamed by his queen Cunegunda, a princess of an imperious temper, who stimulated her husband with continual reproaches. He accordingly raised obstacles to the execution of the treaty, and neglected to comply with many of the conditions to which he had agreed.
Rudolph, desirous to avoid a rupture, dispatched his son Albert to Prague, Ottocar received him with affected demonstrations of friendship, and even bound himself by oath to fulfil the articles of the peace. But Albert had scarcely retired from Prague before Ottocar immured in a convent the daughter he had promised to one of the sons of Rudolph, and sent a letter to the King of the Romans, filled with the most violent invectives, and charging him with a perfidious intention of renewing the war.
Rudolph returned a dignified answer to these reproaches, and prepared for the renewal of the contest which he saw was inevitable. He instantly reoccupied that part of Austria which he had yielded to Ottocar as a pledge for the portion of his daughter. He also obtained succors from the Archbishop of Salzburg, the bishops of Passau, Ratisbon, and the neighboring prelates and princes, and collected levies from Austria and Styria for the protection of Vienna. In an interview at Hainburg, on the frontiers of Austria, with Ladislaus, King of Hungary, he adopted that Prince as his son, and concluded with him an offensive and defensive alliance. Unwilling, however, to trust his hopes and fortune to his new subjects, many of whom were ready to desert him, or to allies whose fidelity and attachment were doubtful, he applied to the princes of the German empire, but had the mortification to be disappointed in his expectations. He was joined by a few only of the inferior princes; but many who had not taken part in the former war were still less inclined to support him on the present occasion; several gained by Ottocar either remained neutral or took part against him; those who expressed an inclination to serve him delayed sending their succors, and he derived no assistance even from his sons-in-law the Electors of Palatine and Saxony.
On the other hand, he was threatened with the most imminent danger, for Ottocar, who during the peace had prepared the means of gratifying his vengeance, had formed a league with Henry of Bavaria, had purchased either the neutrality or assistance of many of the German princes, had drawn auxiliaries from the chiefs of Poland, Bulgaria, Pomerania, and Magdeburg, and from the Teutonic hordes on the shores of the Baltic. He had also excited a party among the turbulent nobles of Hungary, and spread disaffection among his former subjects in Austria and Styria. In June he quitted Prague, effected a junction with his allies, directing his march toward the frontiers of Austria, carried Drosendorf, after a short siege, by storm, and, descending along the banks of the Taya, invested the fortress of Laa.
Rudolph, convinced that his cause would suffer by delay, waited with great impatience the arrival of a body of troops from Alsace, under the command of his son Albert. But as these troops did not arrive at the appointed time he was greatly agitated and disturbed, became pensive and melancholy, and frequently exclaimed that there was not one in whom he could confide or on whose advice he could depend. His household and attendants partook of his despondency. To use the words of a contemporary chronicle, “All the family of King Rudolph ran to confessors, arranged their affairs, forgave their enemies, and received the communion, for a mortal danger seemed to hang over them.” The citizens of Vienna caught the contagion and began to be alarmed for their safety. Seeing him almost abandoned by his German allies, and without a sufficient army to oppose his adversaries, they requested his permission to capitulate and choose a new sovereign, that they might not be involved in his ruin. Roused from his despondency by this address, Rudolph prevailed on the citizens not to desert their sovereign; he confirmed their privileges, declared Vienna an imperial city, animated them with new spirit, and obtained from them a promise to defend the ramparts to the last extremity.
We want to take this site to the next level but we need money to do that. Please contribute directly by signing up at https://www.patreon.com/history