Rudolf II

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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
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.