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Rudolph IV the Founder (1339 - 1365) was the Duke of Austria ("Archduke" from 1359), Carinthia, and Styria (1358 - 1365), the Margrave of Carniola (1362 - 1365) and the Count of the Tyrol (1363 - 1365).

Rudolph was born in Vienna on 1 November 1339 to the Habsburg Duke Albert II the Wise and Joan of Pfirt. Rudolph was the first Habsburg to be born in Austria or the neighbouring countries and he considered it his home, which contributed to his popularity. In youth it was often said of him that he had the air of a king. In 1353 Rudolph was married to the eleven year old Catherine of Bohemia, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.

Rudolph succeeded his father in 1358. As duke, Rudolph was bvery energetic and worked tirelessly to make Vienna a great city like Prague which his father-in-law had spent years improving. Rudolph began the enlargement of the Cathedral of St. Stephan, although Vienna did not have a bishop. Vienna belonged to the Bishopric of Passau which had strong connections to Rome and the Papacy, so Rudolph knew that Vienna would not get its own bishop. Instead he created a Metropolitan Chapter in the Cathedral whose members wore red robes, in the same fashion that cardinals wore them. The provost of the chapter was granted the title "Archchancellor of Austria".

In order to increase the importance of Austria after the Golden Bull of 1356 confirmed that Austria was not an Imperial Elector, Rudolph ordered the creation of the forgery Privilegium Maius which raised Austria to an 'Archduke' (the highest title possible below a "King") which brought Austria near to the same prestige as the electors, although it was not until the 1453 that the title was confirmed by the emperor Frederick III.

In 1363 Rudolph entered into an agreement with the Countess Margaret Maultasch that Austria would inherit her lands. The following year he signed a similar contract in Brünn with Emperor Charles IV which stipulated mutual inheritance between the Houses of Habsburg and Luxembourg in the case of extinction. Rudolph also established the stable currency called the "Vienna Pound", and introduced the duty of mayors overseeing and confirming the sales of real estate (to prevent land being bought by the church, which would not be taxed and would be economically unproductive).

Rudolph IV founded the University of Vienna in 1365, although it did not have a faculty of theology which was considered essential during the high Middle Ages. The university only received the faculty in 1385, 20 years after Rudolph died. Rudolph created the Rudolphinian House Rules which would determine the inheritance of the Habsburg lands, similar to his father's Albertinian House Rules. Also like his fathers, his house rules were not followed after his death, with his brothers dividing the Habsburg domain between themselves in 1379 after several years of quarrelling.

Rudolph died in Milan on 27 July 1365 and was buried in the Ducal Crypt in Vienna. He was succeeded by his brothers Albert and Leopold.



Preceded by:

Rudolph IV of Austria

Succeeded by:

Albert II the Wise Duke of Austria
1358 - 1359
Archuke of Austria
1359 - 1365
Albert III
Albert II the Wise Duke of Carinthia
1358 - 1365
with Frederick
1358 - 1362
Albert III
Albert II the Wise Duke of Styria
1358 - 1365
Albert III
Frederick I Margrave of Carniola
1362 - 1365
Albert II
Meinhard III Count of Tyrol
1363 - 1365
Leopold II

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