before he could deal with the new situation created by the outbreak of the war with Denmark he died suddenly at Munich, on the 10th of March 1864.
Maximilian was a man of amiable qualities and of intellectual attainments far above the average, but as a king he was hampered by constant ill-health, which compelled him to be often abroad, and when at home to live much in the country. By his wife, Maria Hedwig, daughter of Prince William of Prussia, whom he married in 1842, he had two sons, Louis II., king of Bavaria, and Otto, king of Bavaria, both of whom lost their reason.
See J. M. Söltl, Max der Zweite, König von Bayern (Munich, 1865); biography by G. K. Heigel in Allgem. Deutsche Biographie, vol. xxi. (Leipzig, 1885). Maximilian’s correspondence with Schlegel was published at Stuttgart in 1890.
MAXIMILIAN I. (1459–1519), Roman emperor, son of the emperor Frederick III. and Leonora, daughter of Edward, king of Portugal, was born at Vienna Neustadt on the 22nd of March 1459. On the 18th of August 1477, by his marriage at Ghent to Mary, who had just inherited Burgundy and the Netherlands from her father Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, he effected a union of great importance in the history of the house of Habsburg. He at once undertook the defence of his wife’s dominions from an attack by Louis XI., king of France, and defeated the French forces at Guinegatte, the modern Enguinegatte, on the 7th of August 1479. But Maximilian was regarded with suspicion by the states of Netherlands, and after suppressing a rising in Gelderland his position was further weakened by the death of his wife on the 27th of March 1482. He claimed to be recognized as guardian of his young son Philip and as regent of the Netherlands, but some of the states refused to agree to his demands and disorder was general. Maximilian was compelled to assent to the treaty of Arras in 1482 between the states of the Netherlands and Louis XI. This treaty provided that Maximilian’s daughter Margaret should marry Charles, the dauphin of France, and have for her dowry Artois and Franche-Comté, two of the provinces in dispute, while the claim of Louis on the duchy of Burgundy was tacitly admitted. Maximilian did not, however, abandon the struggle in the Netherlands. Having crushed a rebellion at Utrecht, he compelled the burghers of Ghent to restore Philip to him in 1485, and returning to Germany was chosen king of the Romans, or German king, at Frankfort on the 16th of February 1486, and crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle on the 9th of the following April. Again in the Netherlands, he made a treaty with Francis II., duke of Brittany, whose independence was threatened by the French regent, Anne of Beaujeu, and the struggle with France was soon renewed. This war was very unpopular with the trading cities of the Netherlands, and early in 1488 Maximilian, having entered Bruges, was detained there as a prisoner for nearly three months, and only set at liberty on the approach of his father with a large force. On his release he had promised he would maintain the treaty of Arras and withdraw from the Netherlands; but he delayed his departure for nearly a year and took part in a punitive campaign against his captors and their allies. On his return to Germany he made peace with France at Frankfort in July 1489, and in October several of the states of the Netherlands recognized him as their ruler and as guardian of his son. In March 1490 the county of Tirol was added to his possessions through the abdication of his kinsman, Count Sigismund, and this district soon became his favourite residence.
Meanwhile the king had formed an alliance with Henry VII. king of England, and Ferdinand II., king of Aragon, to defend the possessions of the duchess Anne, daughter and successor of Francis, duke of Brittany. Early in 1490 he took a further step and was betrothed to the duchess, and later in the same year the marriage was celebrated by proxy; but Brittany was still occupied by French troops, and Maximilian was unable to go to the assistance of his bride. The sequel was startling. In December 1491 Anne was married to Charles VIII., king of France, and Maximilian’s daughter Margaret, who had resided in France since her betrothal, was sent back to her father. The inaction of Maximilian at this time is explained by the condition of affairs in Hungary, where the death of king Matthias Corvinus had brought about a struggle for this throne. The Roman king, who was an unsuccessful candidate, took up arms, drove the Hungarians from Austria, and regained Vienna, which had been in the possession of Matthias since 1485; but he was compelled by want of money to retreat, and on the 7th of November 1491 signed the treaty of Pressburg with Ladislaus, king of Bohemia, who had obtained the Hungarian throne. By this treaty it was agreed that Maximilian should succeed to the crown in case Ladislaus left no legitimate male issue. Having defeated the invading Turks at Villach in 1492, the king was eager to take revenge upon the king of France; but the states of the Netherlands would afford him no assistance. The German diet was indifferent, and in May 1493 he agreed to the peace of Senlis and regained Artois and Franche-Comté.
In August 1493 the death of the emperor left Maximilian sole ruler of Germany and head of the house of Habsburg; and on the 16th of March 1494 he married at Innsbruck Bianca Maria Sforza, daughter of Galeazzo Sforza, duke of Milan (d. 1476). At this time Bianca’s uncle, Ludovico Sforza, was invested with the duchy of Milan in return for the substantial dowry which his niece brought to the king. Maximilian harboured the idea of driving the Turks from Europe; but his appeal to all Christian sovereigns was ineffectual. In 1494 he was again in the Netherlands, where he led an expedition against the rebels of Gelderland, assisted Perkin Warbeck to make a descent upon England, and formally handed over the government of the Low Countries to Philip. His attention was next turned to Italy, and, alarmed at the progress of Charles VIII. in the peninsula, he signed the league of Venice in March 1495, and about the same time arranged a marriage between his son Philip and Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Castile and Aragon. The need for help to prosecute the war in Italy caused the king to call the diet to Worms in March 1495, when he urged the necessity of checking the progress of Charles. As during his father’s lifetime Maximilian had favoured the reforming party among the princes, proposals for the better government of the empire were brought forward at Worms as a necessary preliminary to financial and military support. Some reforms were adopted, the public peace was proclaimed without any limitation of time and a general tax was levied. The three succeeding years were mainly occupied with quarrels with the diet, with two invasions of France, and a war in Gelderland against Charles, count of Egmont, who claimed that duchy, and was supported by French troops. The reforms of 1495 were rendered abortive by the refusal of Maximilian to attend the diets or to take any part in the working of the new constitution, and in 1497 he strengthened his own authority by establishing an Aulic Council (Reichshofrath), which he declared was competent to deal with all business of the empire, and about the same time set up a court to centralize the financial administration of Germany.
In February 1499 the king became involved in a war with the Swiss, who had refused to pay the imperial taxes or to furnish a contribution for the Italian expedition. Aided by France they defeated the German troops, and the peace of Basel in September 1499 recognized them as virtually independent of the empire. About this time Maximilian’s ally, Ludovico of Milan, was taken prisoner by Louis XII., king of France, and Maximilian was again compelled to ask the diet for help. An elaborate scheme for raising an army was agreed to, and in return a council of regency (Reichsregiment) was established, which amounted, in the words of a Venetian envoy, to a deposition of the king. The relations were now very strained between the reforming princes and Maximilian, who, unable to raise an army, refused to attend the meetings of the council at Nuremberg, while both parties treated for peace with France. The hostility of the king rendered the council impotent. He was successful in winning the support of many of the younger princes, and in establishing a new court of justice, the members of which were named by himself. The negotiations with France ended in the treaty of Blois, signed in September 1504, when