Klesl, Melchior

Klesl or Khlesl, Melchior

(both: mĕl`khyôr klā`səl), 1552–1630, Austrian politician, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. The son of a Protestant baker, he was converted to Catholicism by the Jesuits and became chancellor of the Univ. of Vienna. Made (1581) an official of the bishop of Passau and then (1598) bishop of Vienna, he led the campaign to drive Protestantism from Lower Austria. Later, however, as adviser to Archduke (after 1612, Holy Roman Emperor) MatthiasMatthias,
1557–1619, Holy Roman emperor (1612–19), king of Bohemia (1611–17) and of Hungary (1608–18), son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II. He was appointed governor of Austria (1593) by his brother, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II.
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, he concluded that only a policy of compromise would preserve intact the Hapsburg domains. In 1615 he was created cardinal. Archduke Ferdinand (later Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand IIFerdinand II,
1578–1637, Holy Roman emperor (1619–37), king of Bohemia (1617–37) and of Hungary (1618–37); successor of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias.
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), attributing the emperor's delay in putting down the Prague insurrection (the prelude to the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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) to Klesl's influence, had him imprisoned (1618). Later released (1622) and transferred to Rome, he returned to Vienna as bishop in 1627.
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