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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Richard of Cornwall died in 1272


the historical writers were Bishop Otto of Friesing, whose chronicles of the time are very valuable, and Saxo Grammaticus, in whose history of Denmark Shakspeare found the material for his play of _Hamlet_. Albertus Magnus, the Bishop of Ratisbon, was so distinguished as a mathematician and man of science that the people believed him to be a sorcerer. There was, in short, a general intellectual awakening throughout Germany, and, although afterwards discouraged by many of the 276 smaller powers, it was favored by others and could not be suppressed. Besides, greater changes were approaching. A hundred years after Frederick II.'s death gunpowder was discovered, and the common soldier became the equal of the knight. In another hundred years, Gutenberg invented printing, and then followed, rapidly, the Discovery of America and the Reformation.




Rudolf of Hapsburg. --His Election as Emperor. --Meeting with Pope Gregory X. --War with Ottokar II. of Bohemia. --Rudolf's Victories. --Diet of Augsburg. --Suppression of Robber-Knights. --Rudolf's Second Marriage. --His Death. --His Character and Habits. --Adolf of Nassau elected. --His Rapacity and Dishonesty. --Albert of Hapsburg Rival Emperor. --Adolf's Death. --Albert's

Character. --Quarrel with Pope Bonifacius. --Albert's Plans. --Revolt of the Swiss Cantons. --John Parricida murders the Emperor. --The Popes remove to Avignon. --Henry of Luxemburg elected Emperor. --His Efforts to restore Peace. --His Welcome to Italy, and Coronation. --He is Poisoned. --Ludwig of Bavaria elected. --Battle of Morgarten. --Frederick of Austria captured. --The Papal "Interdict." --Conspiracy of Leopold of Austria. --Ludwig's Visit to Italy. --His Superstition and Cowardice. --His Efforts to be reconciled to the Pope. --Treachery of Philip VI. of France. --The Convention at Rense. --Alliance with England. --Ludwig's Unpopularity. --Karl of Bohemia Rival Emperor. --Ludwig's Death. --The German Cities.

[Sidenote: 1272.]

Richard of Cornwall died in 1272, and the German princes seemed to be in no haste to elect a successor. The Pope, Gregory X., finally demanded an election, for the greater convenience of having to deal with one head, instead of a multitude; and the Archbishop of Mayence called a Diet together at Frankfort, the following year. He proposed, as candidate, Count Rudolf of Hapsburg (or Habsburg), a petty ruler in Switzerland, who had also possessions in Alsatia. Up to his time the family had been insignificant; but, as a zealous partisan of Frederick II. in whose excommunication he had shared, as a crusader against the heathen Prussians, and finally, in his maturer years, as a man of great prudence, moderation and firmness, he had made the name of Hapsburg generally and quite favorably known. His brother-in-law, Count Frederick of Hohenzollern, the Burgrave, or Governor, of the city of Nuremburg (and the founder of the present house of the Hohenzollerns), advocated Rudolf's election among the members of the Diet. The chief considerations in his favor were his personal character, his lack of power, and the circumstance of his possessing six marriageable daughters. There were also private stipulations which secured him the support of the priesthood, and so he was elected King of Germany.

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