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Holy Roman Empire
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The Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy of Alexander VI
|Foreign Relations: Holy Roman Empire|
The Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy of Alexander VI
The Holy Roman Empire a decade after the papacy of Alexander VI
The Holy Roman Empire
Officially the successor of the ancient Roman empire, the Holy Roman Empire (described with some justification by the French writer Voltaire as 'neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire') was a loose confederation of states mainly situated in and around what is now Germany. The states included free cities, dukedoms, lordships and bishoprics, over which the Emperor was the lord, at least nominally. In practice, the constituent parts had considerable freedom of action, and the Emperor's powers were limited. He was elected by seven hereditary electors - the King of Bohemia, the Duke of Saxony, the Margrave of Brandenburg. the Count of the Rhine, and the Archbishops of Mainz, Trier and Cologne. Being elected was a costly business - the electors expected to be bribed handsomely in return for their votes. The prospective Emperor was first elected King of the Romans, and was not officially Emperor until crowned by the Pope. In practice, however, most Emperors were not so crowned but simply took the title.
Frederick the Third (reigned 1452 to 1493) re-established the Habsburg dynasty of emperors, and thereafter, only members of the family were elected. The Habsburgs' own lands were centred on Austria and the Tyrol. Frederick made a costly journey to Rome in 1453 in order to be crowned by Pope Nicholas V. He took very little part in the politics of Italy, however, and spent much of his reign at war with his brother Albert. He was successful in marrying his son Maximilian to the great heiress Mary, Duchess of Burgundy
Maximilian I (1459 - 1519), de facto Emperor from 1493, and his first wife Mary of Burgundy (1457 - 1482)
During the years after his wife's death, Maximilian spent most his time battling France and the pro-French Burgundian lords. He was forced to make peace with France and to send his young daughter Margaret to France as the fiancee of the young King Charles VIII. He attempted to marry Anne of Brittany, but was thwarted when Charles married her instead, jilting the Archduchess Margaret.
Following his father's death in 1493, Maximilian turned his attention to Italy. He was the surezain (overlord) of some territory in northern Italy, and in 1493, he made an agreement with Ludovico (il Moro) of Milan whereby he would marry the latter's niece, Bianca Maria in return for a large dowry and his recognition of Ludovico as Duke of Milan.
Maximilian and Bianca
The marriage of Maximilian and Bianca was not a success, either politically or personally. Her uncle Ludovico was expelled from his duchy by the French and imprisoned. With some justification, Maximilian regarded Bianca as empty-headed and extravagent, and he compared her unfavourably to his first wife. They frequently quarrelled over money: Maximilian was always short of cash and he narrowly avoided bankrupcy on several occasions, and Bianca loved spending and shopping. On one occasion, Maximilian rather ungallantly left Bianca behind in Innsbruck when he fled to escape his creditors. The couple often lived apart and marriage was childless.
Maximilian and Italy
Following his marriage, Maximilian played a greater part in Italian affairs. He joined the Holy League in 1495 to expel the French from Naples. In 1496, he agreed to invade the north of the country to aid Ludovico of Milan, but his army was very small and he left after an unsuccessful attempt to capture Livorno, 'having demonstrated his weakness to all Italy' (Guicciardini). He also contracted syphilis from one of the local prostitutes.
Generally anti-French in policy, Maximilian reluctantly agreed to confirm France's ally Cesare Borgia as lord of Pisa, Siena and Lucca in 1503 in return for some much-needed cash from Alexander VI.
Maximilian was party to the League of Cambrai in 1508, along with Pope Julius II, Ferdinand of Spain and Louis of France. Although its ostensible purpose was to oppose the Turk, the real aim was to defeat Venice. He aimed to conquer significant portions of Venetian territory which bordered his own Tyrolean lands, but his gains were characteristically short-lived. He also wanted to travel to Rome to be crowned by Pope Julius, but failed and was forced to merely declare himself Emperor, much to Julius's relief. Maximilian was defeated by a Venetian army and returned to Germany.
The Crown of the Holy Roman Emperors
After Bianca's death, Maximilian formed the fantastic aim of becoming Pope. On 15th September 1511, he wrote to his daughter Margaret:
'I am sending tomorrow to Rome to find a way for the Pope to make me his partner so that, after his death, I can be sure of the Papacy and of becoming a priest and later a Saint. You will then have to worship me after I am dead, which will be delightful'
Although this may sound like a joke, Maximilian was serious enough to attempt to borrow a large sum of money against the Imperial crown and jewels from his bankers, the Fuggers, in order to bribe the Pope and cardinals. The reaction of Pope Julius to the idea is not recorded, but he may well have given vent to some very unpapal language. Luckily for Italy and the Papacy, the Fuggers had grave doubts about the scheme and refused the loan.
Generally, his campaigns in Italy were an expensive disaster, but Maximilian was more successful in reorganising the German empire and was highly successful in arranging profitable marriages for his family. His grandson Charles V inherited his maternal grandparents' Spanish and Italian kingdoms as well as Maximilian and Mary's lands. His grandson Ferdinand married Anna of Hungary and Bohemia and took over her lands after the death of her brother Louis. Both Charles and Ferdinand became Holy Roman Emperor in turn.
Sources and Further Reading:
Calendars of State Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Spanish and Venetian
The History of Italy, Francesco Guicciardini
The Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli
Maximilian I, Gerhard Benecke
The Holy Roman Empire, James Bryce
Renaissance Diplomacy, Garrett Mattingly
The Hapsburgs, Andrew Wheatcroft
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Keyword tags: ALBRECHT DURER AUSTRIA BIANCA MARIA SFORZA BISHOPRICS BRUGES CATHEDRAL CHARLES THE BOLD CHARLES V CHARLES VIII COLOGNE DUCHESS OF BURGUNDY DUKE OF SAXONY EMPEROR FERDINAND I FRANCE FREDERICK THE THIRD GERMANY HABSBURG HOLY HOLY LEAGUE.LEAGUE OF CAMBRAI HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE ITALY JOANNA OF CASTILE JOHN OF CASTILE KING OF BOHEMIA LORDS LOUIS OF HUNGARY LUDOVICO 'IL MORO MAINZ MARGARET MARY OF BURGUNDY MAXIMILLIAN MAXIMILLIAN 1 MILAN PHILBERT OF SAVOY PHILLIP POPE POPE ALEXANDER VI POPE JULIUS II POPE NICHOLAS V ROMAN EMPEROR SPAIN THE TURK TRIER TYROL VOLTAIRE
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|poncianito||12 January 1519,Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor,died||1||Jan 12 2012, 7:27 AM EST by juliana-angela|
Thread started: Jan 11 2012, 6:38 PM EST Watch
Maximilian I (22 March 1459 – 12 January 1519), the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans (also known as King of the Germans) from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky. He had ruled jointly with his father for the last ten years of his father's reign, from c. 1483. He expanded the influence of the House of Habsburg through war and his marriage in 1477 to Mary of Burgundy, the heiress to the Duchy of Burgundy, but he also lost the Austrian territories in today's Switzerland to the Swiss Confederacy.By marrying his son Philip the Handsome to the future Queen Joanna of Castile in 1498, Maximilian established the Habsburg dynasty in Spain and allowed his grandson Charles to hold the throne of both León-Castile and Aragon, thus making him the first de jure King of Spain. Having outlived his father Philip, Charles succeeded Maximilian as Holy Roman Emperor in 1519, and thus ruled both the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish Empire simultaneously.In 1501, Maximilian fell from his horse, an accident that badly injured his leg and caused him pain for the rest of his life. Some historians have suggested that Maximilian was "morbidly" depressed: From 1514, he travelled everywhere with his coffin. Maximilian died in Wels, Upper Austria, and was succeeded as Emperor by his grandson Charles V, his son Philip the Handsome having died in 1506. Although he is buried in the Castle Chapel at Wiener Neustadt, a cenotaph tomb for Maximilian is located in the Hofkirche, Innsbruck.
|poncianito||21 September 1558,Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor,died||0||Sep 20 2011, 6:42 PM EDT by poncianito|
Thread started: Sep 20 2011, 6:42 PM EDT Watch
Charles V,24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.Charles was the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile. When Philip died in 1506, Charles became ruler of the Burgundian Netherlands, and his mother's co-ruler in Spain upon the death of his maternal grandfather, Ferdinand the Catholic, in 1516. As Charles was the first person to rule Castile-León and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, he became the first King of Spain (Charles co-reigned with his mother Joanna, which was however a technicality given her mental instability).In 1556 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor retired to the Monastery of Yuste, near Cuacos de Yuste, after having abdicated the Spanish crown in favour of his son Philip II of Spain and the crown of the Holy Roman Empire in favour his brother Ferdinand I. The monastery was expanded in 1556 to make room for the emperor and the 50 or 60 members of his entourage.From time to time, well-known people, including his illegitimate son Don Juan de Austria, as well as his heir Philip II of Spain, came to visit the retired emperor. He suffered, however, from a severe case of the gout, and died on September 21, 1558. He was buried in the monastery church, though his remains were later transferred to San Lorenzo del Escorial.
|poncianito||May 31, 1433 Pope Eugenius IV crowned Sigismund as Holy Roman Emperor.||0||May 30 2011, 8:33 PM EDT by poncianito|
Thread started: May 30 2011, 8:33 PM EDT Watch
Pope Eugene IV (1383 – February 23, 1447), born Gabriele Condulmer, was Pope from March 3, 1431, to his death.
Eugene IV's action gave some weight to the contention that the Curia was opposed to any authentic measures of reform,by which the Council of Constance had declared a council superior to the Pope, and cited Eugene IV to appear at Basel.
On May 31 1433,a compromise was arranged by Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, who had been crowned emperor at Rome.Reserving all the rights of the Holy See, the Pope recalled his bull of dissolution,acknowledged the council as ecumenical (December 15, 1433). The pope agreed to name presidents to lead the council.
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