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MAXIMILIAN II.

Maximilian’s grandson Charles was betrothed to Claude, daughter of Louis XII., and Louis, invested with the duchy of Milan, agreed to aid the king of the Romans to secure the imperial crown. A succession difficulty in Bavaria-Landshut was only decided after Maximilian had taken up arms and narrowly escaped with his life at Regensburg. In the settlement of this question, made in 1505, he secured a considerable increase of territory, and when the king met the diet at Cologne in 1505 he was at the height of his power. His enemies at home were crushed, and their leader, Berthold, elector of Mainz, was dead; while the outlook abroad was more favourable than it had been since his accession.

It is at this period that Ranke believes Maximilian to have entertained the idea of a universal monarchy; but whatever hopes he may have had were shattered by the death of his son Philip and the rupture of the treaty of Blois. The diet of Cologne discussed the question of reform in a halting fashion, but afforded the king supplies for an expedition into Hungary, to aid his ally Ladislaus, and to uphold his own influence in the East. Having established his daughter Margaret as regent for Charles in the Netherlands, Maximilian met the diet at Constance in 1507, when the imperial chamber (Reichskammergericht) was revised and took a more permanent form, and help was granted for an expedition to Italy. The king set out for Rome to secure his coronation, but Venice refused to let him pass through her territories; and at Trant, on the 4th of February 1508, he took the important step of assuming the title of Roman Emperor Elect, to which he soon received the assent of pope Julius II. He attacked the Venetians, but finding the war unpopular with the trading cities of southern Germany, made a truce with the republic for three years. The treaty of Blois had contained a secret article providing for an attack on Venice, and this ripened into the league of Cambray, which was joined by the emperor in December 1509. He soon took the field, but after his failure to capture Padua the league broke up; and his sole ally, the French king, joined him in calling a general council at Pisa to discuss the question of Church reform. A breach with pope Julius followed, and at this time Maximilian appears to have entertained, perhaps quite seriously, the idea of seating himself in the chair of St Peter. After a period of vacillation he deserted Louis and joined the Holy League, which had been formed to expel the French from Italy; but unable to raise troops, he served with the English forces as a volunteer and shared in the victory gained over the French at the battle of the Spurs near Thérouanne on the 16th of August 1513. In 1500 the diet had divided Germany into six circles, for the maintenance of peace, to which the emperor at the diet of Cologne in 1512 added four others. Having made an alliance with Christian II., king of Denmark, and interfered to protect the Teutonic Order against Sigismund I., king of Poland, Maximilian was again in Italy early in 1516 fighting the French who had overrun Milan. His want of success compelled him on the 4th of December 1516 to sign the treaty of Brussels, which left Milan in the hands of the French king, while Verona was soon afterwards transferred to Venice. He attempted in vain to secure the election of his grandson Charles as king of the Romans, and in spite of increasing infirmity was eager to lead the imperial troops against the Turks. At the diet of Augsburg in 1518 the emperor heard warnings of the Reformation in the shape of complaints against papal exactions, and a repetition of the complaints preferred at the diet of Mainz in 1517 about the administration of Germany. Leaving the diet, he travelled to Wels in Upper Austria, where he died on the 12th of January 1519. He was buried in the church of St George in Vienna Neustadt, and a superb monument, which may still be seen, was raised to his memory at Innsbruck.

Maximilian had many excellent personal qualities. He was not handsome, but of a robust and well-proportioned frame. Simple in his habits, conciliatory in his bearing, and catholic in his tastes, he enjoyed great popularity and rarely made a personal enemy. He was a skilled knight and a daring huntsman, and although not a great general, was intrepid on the field of battle. His mental interests were extensive. He knew something of six languages, and could discuss art, music, literature or theology. He reorganized the university of Vienna and encouraged the development of the universities of Ingolstadt and Freiburg. He was the friend and patron of scholars, caused manuscripts to be copied and medieval poems to be collected. He was the author of military reforms, which included the establishment of standing troops, called Landsknechte, the improvement of artillery by making cannon portable, and some changes in the equipment of the cavalry. He was continually devising plans for the better government of Austria, and although they ended in failure, he established the unity of the Austrian dominions. Maximilian has been called the second founder of the house of Habsburg, and certainly by bringing about marriages between Charles and Joanna and between his grandson Ferdinand and Anna, daughter of Ladislaus, king of Hungary and Bohemia, he paved the way for the vast empire of Charles V. and for the influence of the Habsburgs in eastern Europe. But he had many qualities less desirable. He was reckless and unstable, resorting often to lying and deceit, and never pausing to count the cost of an enterprise or troubling to adapt means to ends. For absurd and impracticable schemes in Italy and elsewhere he neglected Germany, and sought to involve its princes in wars undertaken solely for private aggrandizement or personal jealousy. Ignoring his responsibilities as ruler of Germany, he only considered the question of its government when in need of money and support from the princes. As the “last of the knights” he could not see that the old order of society was passing away and a new order arising, while he was fascinated by the glitter of the medieval empire and spent the better part of his life in vague schemes for its revival. As “a gifted amateur in politics” he increased the disorder of Germany and Italy and exposed himself and the empire to the jeers of Europe.

Maximilian was also a writer of books, and his writings display his inordinate vanity. His Geheimes Jagdbuch, containing about 2500 words, is a treatise purporting to teach his grandsons the art of hunting. He inspired the production of The Dangers and Adventures of the Famous Hero and Knight Sir Teuerdank, an allegorical poem describing his adventures on his journey to marry Mary of Burgundy. The emperor’s share in the work is not clear, but it seems certain that the general scheme and many of the incidents are due to him. It was first published at Nuremberg by Melchior Pfintzing in 1517, and was adorned with woodcuts by Hans Leonhard Schäufelein. The Weisskunig was long regarded as the work of the emperor’s secretary, Marx Treitzsaurwein, but it is now believed that the greater part of the book at least is the work of the emperor himself. It is an unfinished autobiography containing an account of the achievements of Maximilian, who is called “the young white king.” It was first published at Vienna in 1775. He also is responsible for Freydal, an allegorical account of the tournaments in which he took part during his wooing of Mary of Burgundy; Ehrenpforten, Triumphwagen and Der weisen könige Stammbaum, books concerning his own history and that of the house of Habsburg, and works on various subjects, as Das Stahlbuch, Die Baumeisterei and Die Gärtnerei. These works are all profusely illustrated, some by Albrecht Dürer, and in the preparation of the woodcuts Maximilian himself took the liveliest interest. A facsimile of the original editions of Maximilian’s autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works has been published in nine volumes in the Jahrbücher der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Kaiserhauses (Vienna, 1880–1888). For this edition S. Laschitzer wrote an introduction to Sir Teuerdank, Q. von Leitner to Freydal, and N. A. von Schultz to Der Weisskunig. The Holbein society issued a facsimile of Sir Teuerdank (London, 1884) and Triumphwagen (London, 1883).

See Correspondance de l’empereur Maximilien I. et de Marguerite d’Autriche, 1507–1519, edited by A. G. le Glay (Paris, 1839); Maximilians I. vertraulicher Briefwechsel mit Sigmund Prüschenk, edited by V. von Kraus (Innsbruck, 1875); J. Chmel, Urkunden, Briefe und Aktenstücke zur Geschichte Maximilians I. und seiner Zeit. (Stuttgart, 1845) and Aktenstücke und Briefe zur Geschichte des Hauses Habsburg im Zeitalter Maximilians I. (Vienna, 1854–1858); K. Klüpfel, Kaiser Maximilian I. (Berlin, 1864); H. Ulmann, Kaiser Maximilian I. (Stuttgart, 1884); L. P. Gachard, Lettres inédites de Maximilien I. sur les affaires des Pays Bas (Brussels, 1851–1852); L. von Ranke, Geschichte der romanischen und germanischen Völker, 1494–1514 (Leipzig, 1874); R. W. S. Watson, Maximilian I. (London, 1902); A. Jäger, Über Kaiser Maximilians I. Verhältnis zum Papstthum (Vienna, 1854); H. Ulmann, Kaiser Maximilians I. Absichten auf das Papstthum (Stuttgart, 1888), and A. Schulte, Kaiser Maximilian I. als Kandidat für den päpstlichen Stuhl (Leipzig, 1906).  (A. W. H.*) 


MAXIMILIAN II. (1527–1576), Roman emperor, was the eldest son of the emperor Ferdinand I. by his wife Anne, daughter of Ladislaus, king of Hungary and Bohemia, and was born in Vienna on the 31st of July 1527. Educated principally in Spain, he gained some experience of warfare during the campaign of Charles V. against France in 1544, and also during the war of the league of Schmalkalden, and soon began to take part in imperial business. Having in September 1548 married his