III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 6. Western Europe, 1300–1500 > f. The Holy Roman Empire
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1263) (See 1268)
f. The Holy Roman Empire
The election fell to Rudolf of Habsburg (b. 1218), who ranked as a prince and wished to restore and retain in his family the duchy of Swabia. The Habsburgs or Hapsburgs (from Habichts-Burg, or Hawk-Castle; 10th century) of the district of Brugg (junction of the Aar and Reuss) had steadily expanded their lands in the Breisgau, Alsace, and Switzerland, emerging as one of the leading families of Swabia.  1
RUDOLF I. Indifferent to the Roman tradition, he concentrated on the advancement of his dynasty, and founded the power of the Habsburgs on territorial expansion of the family holdings and dynastic marriages. Edicts for the abolition of private war and support of local peace compacts (Landfrieden).  2
Struggle with Ottokar, king of Bohemia, over the usurped imperial fiefs of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola. Rudolf expelled Ottokar from Austria by force (1276), but allowed him to retain Bohemia and Moravia (after homage) as a buffer against Slavdom. Ottokar was ultimately defeated and killed (Aug. 26, 1278, Battle of the Marchfeld); investiture of Rudolf's sons with the imperial fiefs of Austria, Styria, and Carniola (1282) established the Habsburgs on the Danube.  3
Rudolf yielded the last remnants of Frederick II's great imperial fabric: confirmation of papal rights in Italy and Angevin rights in southern Italy (1275); renunciation of all imperial claims to the Papal States and Sicily (1279).  4
Alarmed at the rapid rise of the Habsburgs to first rank, the electors passed over Rudolf's son, choosing instead Adolf of Nassau, in return for substantial considerations.  5
Revolt of the three Forest Cantons, Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden, and formation of a (Swiss) confederacy (See The Swiss Confederation).  6
ADOLF, a strong imperialist. He supported the towns and lesser nobles and entered into alliance with Edward I of England against Philip IV; the alliance came to nothing, as the German princes were indifferent. The princes, alarmed at Adolf's advance in Meissen and Thuringia, deposed him (1298), electing Rudolf's rejected son.  7
ALBERT (ALBRECHT) I, son of Rudolf. Firm reduction of the ecclesiastical electoral princes (aid of the French and the towns); double dynastic marriage with the Capetians; acquisition of the crown of Bohemia (on the extinction of the Premyslids, 1306); Albert supported the Angevin Carobert's acquisition of Hungary; the Rhineland was filled with Francophile clerical appointees of the pope, and the election of 1308 was dominated by French influence. Charles of Valois procured the election of Henry of Luxemburg.  8
HENRY VII (Luxemburg), a Francophile and bent on restoring the empire. The marriage of his son John to the sister of King Wenceslas of Bohemia brought the throne of Bohemia to the house of Luxemburg (1311–1489).  9
Expedition to Italy at the urging of Pope Clement V and the Ghibellines; order restored and Milan, Cremona, Rome reduced; imperial coronation (1312); alliance of the pope and King Philip IV of France to save Naples from Henry.  10
LOUIS IV (Wittelsbach). A Habsburg antiking, Frederick the Handsome, and civil war (until 1325). Bitter papal opposition (1323–47, refusal of confirmation of Louis's title to the empire); Louis, backed by the German people, against the Avignonese pope. Violent war of propaganda: Marsiglio of Padua (Defensor Pacis, 1324) and William of Occam, defending the imperial position, gave wide currency to conciliar ideas; Dante's De Monarchia.  11
Louis's futile expedition to Italy and “lay” coronation (1328); his demand for a general council welcomed by the Italian Ghibellines.  12
Effort to give the German monarchy a formal constitution.  13
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.