Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

Portrait by [[Albrecht Dürer]], 1519 Maximilian I (22 March 1459 – 12 January 1519) was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death in 1519. He was never crowned by the Pope, as the journey to Rome was blocked by the Venetians. He proclaimed himself elected emperor in 1508 (Pope Julius II later recognized this) at Trent, thus breaking the long tradition of requiring a papal coronation for the adoption of the Imperial title. Maximilian was the only surviving son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal. Since his coronation as King of the Romans in 1486, he ran a double government, or ''Doppelregierung'' (with a separate court), with his father until Frederick's death in 1493.

Maximilian expanded the influence of the House of Habsburg through war and his marriage in 1477 to Mary of Burgundy, the ruler of the Burgundian State, heiress of Charles the Bold, though he also lost his family's original lands in today's Switzerland to the Swiss Confederacy. Through the marriage of his son Philip the Handsome to eventual queen Joanna of Castile in 1496, Maximilian helped to establish the Habsburg dynasty in Spain, which allowed his grandson Charles to hold the thrones of both Castile and Aragon. The historian Thomas A. Brady Jr. describes him as "the first Holy Roman Emperor in 250 years who ruled as well as reigned" and also, the "ablest royal warlord of his generation".

Nicknamed "Coeur d'acier" ("Heart of steel") by Olivier de la Marche and later historians (either as praise for his courage and soldierly qualities or reproach for his ruthlessness as a warlike ruler), Maximilian has entered the public consciousness as "the last knight" (der letzte Ritter), especially since the eponymous poem by Anastasius Grün was published (although the nickname likely existed even in Maximilian's lifetime). Scholarly debates still discuss whether he was truly the last knight (either as an idealized medieval ruler leading people on horseback, or a Don Quixote-type dreamer and misadventurer), or the first Renaissance prince—an amoral Machiavellian politician who carried his family "to the European pinnacle of dynastic power" largely on the back of loans. Historians of the second half of the nineteenth century like Leopold von Ranke tended to criticize Maximilian for putting the interest of his dynasty above that of Germany, hampering the nation's unification process. Ever since Hermann Wiesflecker's ''Kaiser Maximilian I. Das Reich, Österreich und Europa an der Wende zur Neuzeit'' (1971–1986) became the standard work, a much more positive image of the emperor has emerged. He is seen as an essentially modern, innovative ruler who carried out important reforms and promoted significant cultural achievements, even if the financial price weighed hard on the Austrians and his military expansion caused the deaths and sufferings of tens of thousands of people.

Through an "unprecedented" image-building program, with the help of many notable scholars and artists, in his lifetime, the emperor—"the promoter, coordinator, and prime mover, an artistic impresario and entrepreneur with seemingly limitless energy and enthusiasm and an unfailing eye for detail"—had built for himself "a virtual royal self" of a quality that historians call "unmatched" or "hitherto unimagined". To this image, new layers have been added by the works of later artists in the centuries following his death, both as continuation of deliberately crafted images developed by his program as well as development of spontaneous sources and exploration of actual historical events, creating what Elaine Tennant dubs the "Maximilian industry". Provided by Wikipedia
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    The book of hours of the Emperor Maximilian the first / by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, 1459-1519

    Published 1974
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    Ioannis Trittenhemii Abbatis Spanhemensis liber octo questionum, quas illi dissoluendas proposuit Maxismilianus Caesar by Trithemius, Johannes, 1462-1516

    Published 1534
    Other Authors: “…Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, 1459-1519…”
    Microfilm Book
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    Teuerdank /

    Published 1878
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