Rudolf II

Rudolf II,

1552–1612, Holy Roman emperor (1576–1612), king of Bohemia (1575–1611) and of Hungary (1572–1608), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian IIMaximilian II,
1527–76, Holy Roman emperor (1564–76), king of Bohemia (1562–76) and of Hungary (1563–76), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I.
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. Acceding to the Hapsburg lands, he reversed his father's tolerant policy toward Protestantism and gave assistance to the Counter ReformationCounter Reformation,
16th-century reformation that arose largely in answer to the Protestant Reformation; sometimes called the Catholic Reformation. Although the Roman Catholic reformers shared the Protestants' revulsion at the corrupt conditions in the church, there was present
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. Although Rudolf was a learned man, he was incapable of ruling because he was plagued by melancholy and later became subject to occasional fits of insanity. Other members of his family began to intervene in imperial affairs. Following a revolt in Hungary (1604–6) by Stephen BocskayBocskay, Stephen
, 1557–1606, Hungarian noble, voivode [governor] (1604–6) and prince (1605–6) of Transylvania. Seeking to secure the independence of Transylvania, he supported his nephew, Prince Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania, first against the
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 and his Ottoman allies, most of the actual ruling power passed to Rudolf's brother 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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; the revolt was provoked by Rudolf's attempt to impose Roman Catholicism in Hungary. In 1608, Matthias forced Rudolf to cede Hungary, Austria, and Moravia to him. Seeking to gain the support of the Bohemian estates, Rudolf issued (1609) a royal charter that guaranteed religious freedom to the nobles and cities. This effort was in vain, and Rudolf was forced to give up Bohemia to Matthias in 1611. Rudolf's turbulent reign was a prelude to the Thirty Years War.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rudolf II


Born July 18, 1552, in Vienna; died Jan. 20, 1612, in Prague. Holy Roman emperor from 1576 to 1612; archduke of Austria, controlling Upper and Lower Austria as well as the Bohemian and Hungarian thrones.

Son of Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, Rudolf was educated at the Spanish court by Jesuits. The reactionary Catholic policies Rudolf carried out gave rise to opposition throughout the Hapsburg lands. The movement of 1604–06 led by I. Bocskay forced the emperor to make a number of concessions to the Hungarian feudal lords. Pressure from the Bohemian Estates forced Rudolf in 1609 to sign the Majestat (Letter of Majesty), granting confessional liberty to the Bohemian feudal lords. In the course of a struggle with his brother Matthias, Rudolf, who had become insane, was forced to cede to Matthias Upper and Lower Austria, Hungary, and Moravia in 1608 and Bohemia in 1611.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The book was eventually purchased, like so many other curious works of the period, by Hoefnagel's final patron, Rudolf II.
It's 1599, and Christian Stern, a young, ambitious scholar of natural philosophy with a minor in alchemy, has just arrived in Prague to seek his fortune at the court of Rudolf II, the exceedingly eccentric Holy Roman emperor.
But the "travels" take us to other places: Prague, at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and especially his "mathematician" Johannes Kepler; England, particularly the Northumberland Circle, with Thomas Harriot (who observed the moon's mountains even before Galileo), and John Donne (whose poetry found Galileo's discoveries socially subversive); France, especially amateur astronomer and cultural entrepreneur Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc, and the Jesuit College of La Fleche (attended at the time by Rene Descartes); and China, through the correspondence and activities of Jesuit missionaries.
Its history and origins are also mysterious, though it is known to have belonged to Athanasius Kircher and possibly to the Emperor Rudolf II in the seventeenth century.
The current issue contains the final part of our series dedicated to the music in Bohemia during the reign of Rudolf II, as well as the first part of the series focusing on far more recent, and far more gloomy, history: the musicologist Viktor Pantucek has immersed himself in the turbid and bizarre waters of the culture during the Stalinist epoch, whereby, under the banner and yoke of the socialist realism principles the cheerful arts were to administer the final victory of some and the final nail in the coffin of others.
Within a few months specimens of the spyglass could be found not only at The Hague but in the Court of Henry IV in Paris, at the Court of Rudolf II in Prague, at the Court of the Spanish King in Madrid, at the Residence of General Albert Spinola in Genoa, and at the Papal Court of Paul V in Rome.
Spranger's vibrant vignettes from the imperial court of Rudolf II Habsburg, a melancholy ruler isolated in a dazzling world of art, color Pieter and Karo's relationship four hundred years later.
He travelled all across the continent and tried his fortune at the Prague court of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor as well as in Cracow, before Stephen Batory, king of Poland.
According to the Independent, he became an assistant to astronomer Tyro Brahe and later the imperial mathematician to Emperor Rudolf II.
Many of the Albertina's Durers come from the collection of the Hapsburg emperor Rudolf II. Rudolf bought the drawings from the Imhoff family, descendants of Willibald Pirckheimer, the Nuremberg lawyer and scholar and Durer's closest friend.
No image is more lavish than "Vertumnus", named after a Roman god but actually a portrait in flora of the artist's last patron, Rudolf II,.
The mentally unstable Emperor Rudolf II refused to marry, creating confusion over the succession to both the Habsburg lands and the Empire.