The Habsburgs


The Battle of Marchfeld took place at the end of August, 1278.
King Otto II of Bohemia lies dying on the ground.

Rudolph I of Habsburg and King László IV of Hungary meet on the battlefield.



Rudolph I      

Rudolph of Habsburg, German king from 1273-1291and the first king of the Habsburg dynasty.
The powerful King Otto II of Bohemia contested the election of Rudolph I.


The Battle of Marchfeld


Bohemian Army led by King Otto II of Bohemia faced the allied Armies Rudolph I of Habsburg and King László IV of Hungary.
Both armies had infantry and armoured knights on horseback. The battle was fierce and the Cuman horse archers in the Hungarian army played a vital role.
Rudolph defeated Otto at the battle of Marchfeld in 1278, and in 1282 gave his sons Albert and Rudolph the provinces Styria and Carniola (Krain, now Slovenia), and laid the foundations of the Habsburg dynasty.

Rudolph IV

The Founder (der Stifter)


Rudolph IV has gone down in history as the founder (der Stifter) and was declared Archduke of Austria in the year 1359. He was the great-grandson of Rudolph I and the son of Albert II. He married Katharina, Princess of Luxemburg in 1353.
Rudolph founded the University of Vienna in 1365 and promoted the continuation of the building of the gothic St. Stephen´s Cathedral.

Privilegium maius    


Rudolph IV ordered the charter “Privilegium maius” to be forged in 1359 with the intention of gaining a vast amount of privileges and had 5 documents forged including the so-called Henricianum dated 1056, which even includes documents allegedly dating back to Julius Caesar and Emperor Nero.
The Privilegium maius was not accepted by Emperor Karl IV, but it was sanctioned again and again in the following centuries. Friedrich III sanctioned the charter in 1442 and again in 1453, Rudolph II confirmed the document in 1599 and Karl VI in 1729.
The Privilegium maius lost its importance in 1804 and the charter was exposed as a forgery in 1856.



The Habsburgs lost their provinces in Aargau (Habichtsburg) in 1386 and the remaining provinces became known under the informal name of Austria or the House of Austria.
During the following centuries the Habsburgs were nearly always elected Holy Roman Emperors and developed Austria into one of the most stable parts of Europe.
They expanded their domains especially during the 14th and 15th centuries by acquiring the Tyrol and Vorarlberg in the west, and then Istria and Trieste in the south.
The constant succession of Holy Roman Emperors from the Habsburg line gave the House of Austria a great deal of influence within Germany and Europe, but the family’s real power was based on its own lands and possessions, the Habsburg Empire.


Albrecht VI      


Albrecht VI was the son of Archduke Ernst of Inner Austria (the Iron Duke), Regent of the south-western dominions and the dominions north of the River Enns.
A dispute with his brother Friedrich over the succession to the throne led to Vienna being besieged in 1462.
After Albrecht’s death in 1463 Friedrich was recognised as Duke of Austria, and duly became Holy Roman Emperor in 1452 and King of Hungary in 1459.