Monday, July 1, 2013

Maximilian I

Maximilian I, 1519, painting by Albrecht Durer

Maximilian I, by the grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King of Germany, of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, etc. Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Lorraine, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Limburg, Luxembourg, Gelderland, Landgrave of Alsace, Prince of Swabia, Count Palatine of Burgundy, Princely Count of Habsburg, Hainaut, Flanders, Tyrol, Gorizia, Artois, Holland, Seeland, Ferrette, Kyburg, Namur, Zutphen, Margrave of the Holy Roman Empire, the Enns, Burgau, Lord of Frisia, the Wendish March, Pordenone, Salins, Mechelen, etc., etc.

Maximillian I (1459-1519), emperor-elect of Germany, died at the age of sixty. He was described by Machiavelli as "a wise, prudent, God-fearing prince, a just ruler, ..." He loved music, literature, and art. He spoke Latin, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Walloon, Flemish, and English. He married Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482) the daughter and only child of Charles the Bold. She died in 1482 at the age of 25, while falconing with Maximilian near Brugges. Her horse tripped, threw her, and landed on top of her breaking her back. Their son Philip the Handsome married the future Queen Joanna of Castile in 1498, and established the Habsburg dynasty in Spain.

Max was a contemporary of King Henry XVIII. He lived in an age of discovery. Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama ventured forth to discover new worlds and new ways to the Orient. Johannes Gutenberg invention of the printing press in Europe began the age of mass communication. The printing press in large measure made possible the Protestant Reformation that shook Europe at the end of Maximilian's reign.

"Earth possesses no no joy for me," Max concluded near the end of his life. The things that matter are not of this world.

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