Read Chapter IX. - BURGGRAF FRIEDRICH IV. of History Of Friedrich II. of Prussia (Vol. II.) (Of Brandenburg And The Hohenzollerns--928-1417.), free online book, by Thomas Carlyle, on

Brandenburg and the Hohenzollern Family of Nürnberg have hitherto no mutual acquaintanceship whatever :  they go, each its own course, wide enough apart in the world;-little dreaming that they are to meet by and by, and coalesce, wed for better and worse, and become one flesh.  As is the way in all romance.  “Marriages,” among men, and other entities of importance, “are, evidently, made in Heaven.”

Friedrich IV. of Nürnberg, Son of that Friedrich III., Kaiser Rudolf’s successful friend, was again a notable increaser of his House; which finally, under his Great-grandson, named Friedrich VI., attained the Electoral height.  Of which there was already some hint.  Well; under the first of these two Friedrichs, some slight approximation, and under his Son, a transient express introduction (so to speak) of Brandenburg to Hohenzollern took place, without immediate result of consequence; but under the second of them occurred the wedding, as we may call it, or union “for better or worse, till death do us part.”-How it came about?  Easy to ask, How!  The reader will have to cast some glances into the confused REICHS-History of the time;-timid glances, for the element is of dangerous, extensive sort, mostly jungle and shaking bog;-and we must travel through this corner of it, as on shoes of swiftness, treading lightly.


The Line of Rudolf of Hapsburg did not at once succeed continuously to the Empire, as the wont had been in such cases, where the sons were willing and of good likelihood.  After such a spell of anarchy, parties still ran higher than usual in the Holy Roman Empire; and wide-yawning splits would not yet coalesce to the old pitch.  It appears too the posterity of Rudolf, stiff, inarticulate, proud men, and of a turn for engrossing and amassing, were not always lovely to the public.  Albert, Rudolf’s eldest son, for instance, Kaiser Albert I.,-who did succeed, though not at once, or till after killing Rudolf’s immediate successor, [Adolf of Nassau; slain by Albert’s own hand; “Battle” of Hasenbuhel “near Worms, 2d July, 1298” (Kohler, .]-Albert was by no means a prepossessing man, though a tough and hungry one.  It must be owned, he had a harsh ugly character; and face to match :  big-nosed, loose-lipped, blind of an eye :  not Kaiser-like at all to an Electoral Body. "Est homo monoculus, et vultu rustico; non potest esse Imperator (A one-eyed fellow, and looks like a clown; he cannot be Emperor)!” said Pope Boniface VIII., when consulted about him. [Kohler, pp. 267-273; and Muntzbelustigungen, xi-160.]

Enough, from the death of Rudolf, A.D. 1291, there intervened a hundred and fifty years, and eight successive Kaisers singly or in line, only one of whom (this same Albert of the unlovely countenance) was a Hapsburger,-before the Family, often trying it all along, could get a third time into the Imperial saddle.  Where, after that, it did sit steady.  Once in for the third time, the Hapsburgers got themselves “elected” (as they still called it) time after time; always elected,-with but one poor exception, which will much concern my readers by and by,-to the very end of the matter.  And saw the Holy Roman Empire itself expire, and as it were both saddle and horse vanish out of Nature, before they would dismount.  Nay they still ride there on the shadow of a saddle, so to speak; and are “Kaisers of AUSTRIA” at this hour.  Steady enough of seat at last, after many vain trials!

For during those hundred and fifty years,-among those six intercalary Kaisers, too, who followed Albert,-they were always trying; always thinking they had a kind of quasi right to it; whereby the Empire often fell into trouble at Election-time.  For they were proud stout men, our Hapsburgers, though of taciturn unconciliatory ways; and Rudolf had so fitted them out with fruitful Austrian Dukedoms, which they much increased by marriages and otherwise,-Styria, Carinthia, the Tyrol, by degrees, not to speak of their native HAPSBURG much enlarged, and claims on Switzerland all round it,-they had excellent means of battling for their pretensions and disputable elections.  None of them succeeded, however, for a hundred and fifty years, except that same one-eyed, loose-lipped unbeautiful Albert I.; a Kaiser dreadfully fond of earthly goods, too.  Who indeed grasped all round him, at property half his, or wholly not his :  Rhine-tolls, Crown of Bohemia, Landgraviate of Thüringen, Swiss Forest Cantons, Crown of Hungary, Crown of France even :-getting endless quarrels on his hands, and much defeat mixed with any victory there was.  Poor soul, he had six-and-twenty children by one wife; and felt that there was need of apanages!  He is understood (guessed, not proved) to have instigated two assassinations in pursuit of these objects; and he very clearly underwent ONE in his own person.  Assassination first was of Dietzman the Thuringian Landgraf, an Anti-Albert champion, who refused to be robbed by Albert,-for whom the great Dante is (with almost palpable absurdity) fabled to have written an Epitaph still legible in the Church at Leipzig. [Menckenii Scriptores, i.?? Fredericus Admorsus (by Tentsel).] Assassination second was of Wenzel, the poor young Bohemian King, Ottocar’s Grandson and last heir.  Sure enough, this important young gentleman “was murdered by some one at Olmutz next year” (1306, a promising event for Albert then), “but none yet knows who it was.” [Kohler, .]

Neither of which suspicious transactions came to any result for Albert; as indeed most of his unjust graspings proved failures.  He at one time had thoughts of the Crown of France; “Yours I solemnly declare!” said the Pope.  But that came to nothing;-only to France’s shifting of the Popes to Avignon, more under the thumb of France.  What his ultimate success with Tell and the Forest Cantons was, we all know!  A most clutching, strong-fisted, dreadfully hungry, tough and unbeautiful man.  Whom his own Nephew, at last, had to assassinate, at the Ford of the Reus (near Windisch Village, meeting of the Reus and Aar; 1st May, 1308) :  “Scandalous Jew pawnbroker of an Uncle, wilt thou flatly keep from me my Father’s heritage, then, intrusted to thee in his hour of death?  Regardless of God and man, and of the last look of a dying Brother?  Uncle worse than pawnbroker; for it is a heritage with NO pawn on it, with much the reverse!” thought the Nephew,-and stabbed said Uncle down dead; having gone across with him in the boat; attendants looking on in distraction from the other side of the river.  Was called Johannes PARRICIDA in consequence; fled out of human sight that day, he and his henchmen, never to turn up again till Doomsday.  For the pursuit was transcendent, regardless of expense; the cry for legal vengeance very great (on the part of Albert’s daughters chiefly), though in vain, or nearly so, in this world. [Kohler, .  Hormayr, OEsterreichischer Plutarch, oder Leben und Bild nisse, &c. (12 Bandchen; Wien, 1807,-a superior Book), .]


Of the other six Kaisers not Hapsburgers we are bound to mention one, and dwell a little on his fortunes and those of the family he founded; both Brandenburg and our Hohenzollerns coming to be much connected therewith, as time went on.  This is Albert’s next successor, Henry Count of Luxemburg; called among Kaisers Henry VII.  He is founder, he alone among these Non-Hapsburgers, of a small intercalary LINE of Kaisers, “the Luxemburg Line;” who amount indeed only to Four, himself included; and are not otherwise of much memorability, if we except himself; though straggling about like well-rooted briers, in that favorable ground, they have accidentally hooked themselves upon World-History in one or two points.  By accident a somewhat noteworthy line, those Luxemburg Kaisers :-a celebrated place, too, or name of a place, that LUXEMBOURG of theirs, with its French Marshals, grand Parisian Edifices, lending it new lustre :  what, thinks the reader, is the meaning of Luzzenburg, Luxemburg, Luxembourg?  Merely LUTZELburg, wrong pronounced; and that again is nothing but LITTLEborough :  such is the luck of names!-

Heinrich Graf von Luxemburg was, after some pause on the parricide of Albert, chosen Kaiser, “on account of his renowned valor,” say the old Books,-and also, add the shrewder of them, because his Brother, Archbishop of Trier, was one of the Electors, and the Pope did not like either the Austrian or the French candidate then in the field.  Chosen, at all events, he was, 27th November, 1308; [Kohler, .] clearly, and by much, the best Kaiser that could be had.  A puissant soul, who might have done great things, had he lived.  He settled feuds; cut off oppressions from the REICHSTADTE (Free Towns); had a will of just sort, and found or made a way for it.  Bohemia lapsed to him, the old race of Kings having perished out,-the last of them far too suddenly “at Olmutz,” as we saw lately!  Some opposition there was, but much more favor especially by the Bohemian People; and the point, after some small “Siege of Prag” and the like, was definitely carried by the Kaiser.  The now Burggraf of Nürnberg, Friedrich IV., son of Rudolf’s friend, was present at this Siege of Prag; [1310 (Rentsch, .] a Burggraf much attached to Kaiser Henry, as all good Germans were.  But the Kaiser did not live.

He went to Italy, our Burggraf of Nürnberg and many more along with him, to pull the crooked Guelf-Ghibelline Facts and Avignon Pope a little straight, if possible; and was vigorously doing it, when he died on a sudden; “poisoned in sacramental wine,” say the Germans!  One of the crowning summits of human scoundrelism, which painfully stick in the mind.  It is certain he arrived well at Buonconvento near Sienna, on the 24th September, 1313, in full march towards the rebellious King of Naples, whom the Pope much countenanced.  At Buonconvento, Kaiser Henry wished to enjoy the communion; and a Dominican monk, whose dark rat-eyed look men afterwards bethought them of, administered it to him in both species (Council of Trent not yet quite prohibiting the liquid species, least of all to Kaisers, who are by theory a kind of “Deacons to the Pope,” or something else [Voltaire, Essai sur les Moeurs, ,??  Henri VII. OEuvres, xx.]);-administered it in both species :  that is certain, and also that on the morrow Henry was dead.  The Dominicans endeavored afterwards to deny; which, for the credit of human nature, one wishes they had done with effect. [Kohler, (Ptolemy of Lucca,) himself a Dominican, is one of the ACCUSING spirits :  Muratori, l. xi.?? Ptolomaeus Lucensis, A.D. 1313).] But there was never any trial had; the denial was considered lame; and German History continues to shudder, in that passage, and assert.  Poisoned in the wine of his sacrament :  the Florentines, it is said, were at the bottom of it, and had hired the rat-eyed Dominican;-"O Italia, O Firenze!" That is not the way to achieve Italian Liberty, or Obedience to God; that is the way to confirm, as by frightful stygian oath, Italian Slavery, or continual Obedience, under varying forms, to the Other Party!  The voice of Dante, then alive among men, proclaims, sad and loving as a mothers voice, and implacable as a voice of Doom, that you are wandering, and have wandered, in a terrible manner!-

Peter, the then Archbishop of Mainz, says there had not for hundreds of years such a death befallen the German Empire; to which Kohler, one of the wisest moderns, gives his assent :  “It could not enough be lamented,” says he, “that so vigilant a Kaiser, in the flower of his years, should have been torn from the world in so devilish a manner :  who, if he had lived longer, might have done Teutschland unspeakable benefit.” [Kohler, pp. 282-285.]


Henry VII. having thus perished suddenly, his Son Johann, scarcely yet come of age, could not follow him as Kaiser, according to the Father’s thought; though in due time he prosecuted his advancement otherwise to good purpose, and proved a very stirring man in the world.  By his Father’s appointment, to whom as Kaiser the chance had fallen, he was already King of Bohemia, strong in his right and in the favor of the natives; though a titular Competitor, Henry of the Tyrol, beaten off by the late Kaiser, was still extant :  whom, however, and all other perils Johann contrived to weather; growing up to be a far-sighted stout-hearted man, and potent Bohemian King, widely renowned in his day.  He had a Son, and then two Grandsons, who were successively Kaisers, after a sort; making up the “Luxemburg Four” we spoke of.  He did Crusades, one or more, for the Teutsch Ritters, in a shining manner;-unhappily with loss of an eye; nay ultimately, by the aid of quack oculists, with loss of both eyes.  An ambitious man, not to be quelled by blindness; man with much negotiation in him; with a heavy stroke of fight too, and temper nothing loath at it; of which we shall see some glimpse by and by.

The pity was, for the Reich if not for him, he could not himself become Kaiser.  Perhaps we had not then seen Henry VII.’s fine enterprises, like a fleet of half-built ships, go mostly to planks again, on the waste sea, had his Son followed him.  But there was, on the contrary, a contested election; Austria in again, as usual, and again unsuccessful.  The late Kaiser’s Austrian competitor, “Friedrich the Fair, Duke of Austria,” the parricided Albert’s Son, was again one of the parties.  Against whom, with real but not quite indisputable majority, stood Ludwig Duke of Bavaria :  “Ludwig IV.,” “Ludwig DER BAIER (the Bavarian)” as they call him among Kaisers.  Contest attended with the usual election expenses; war-wrestle, namely, between the parties till one threw the other.  There was much confused wrestling and throttling for seven years or more (1315-1322).  Our Nürnberg Burggraf, Friedrich IV., held with Ludwig, as did the real majority, though in a languid manner, and was busy he as few were; the Austrian Hapsburgs also doing their best, now under, now above.  Johann King of Bohemia was on Ludwig’s side as yet.  Ludwig’s own Brother, Kur-Pfalz (ancestor of all the Electors, and their numerous Branches, since known there), an elder Brother, was, “out of spite” as men thought, decidedly against Ludwig.

In the eighth year came a Fight that proved decisive.  Fight at Muhldorf on the Inn, 23th September, 1322,-far down in those Danube Countries, beyond where Marlborough ever was, where there has been much fighting first and last; Burggraf Friedrich was conspicuously there.  A very great Battle, say the old Books,-says Hormayr, in a new readable Book, [Hormayr, OEsterreichischer Plutarch, i-37.] giving minute account of it.  Ludwig rather held aloof rearward; committed his business to the Hohenzollern Burggraf and to one Schweppermann, aided by a noble lord called Rindsmaul ("COWMOUTH,” no less), and by others experienced in such work.  Friedrich the Hapsburger DER SCHONE, Duke of Austria, and self-styled Kaiser, a gallant handsome man, breathed mere martial fury, they say :  he knew that his Brother Leopold was on march with a reinforcement to him from the Strasburg quarter, and might arrive any moment; but he could not wait,-perhaps afraid Ludwig might run;-he rashly determined to beat Ludwig without reinforcement.  Our rugged fervid Hormayr (though imitating Tacitus and Johannes von Muller overmuch) will instruct fully any modern that is curious about this big Battle :  what furious charging, worrying; how it “lasted ten hours;” how the blazing Handsome Friedrich stormed about, and “slew above fifty with his own hand.”  To us this is the interesting point :  At one turn of the Battle, tenth hour of it now ending, and the tug of war still desperate, there arose a cry of joy over all the Austrian ranks, “Help coming!  Help!”-and Friedrich noticed a body of Horse, “in Austrian cognizance” (such the cunning of a certain man), coming in upon his rear.  Austrians and Friedrich never doubted but it was Brother Leopold just getting on the ground; and rushed forward doubly fierce.  Doubly fierce; and were doubly astonished when it plunged in upon them, sharp-edged, as Burggraf Friedrich of Nürnberg,-and quite ruined Austrian Friedrich.  Austrian Friedrich fought personally like a lion at bay; but it availed nothing.  Rindsmaul (not lovely of lip, COWMOUTH, so-called) disarmed him :  “I will not surrender except to a Prince!”-so Burggraf Friedrich was got to take surrender of him; and the Fight, and whole Controversy with it, was completely won. [Jedem Mann ein Ey (One egg to every man), Dem frommen Schweppermann zwey (Two to the excellent Schweppermann) :  Tradition still repeats this old rhyme, as the Kaiser’s Address to his Army, or his Head Captains, at supper, after such a day’s work,-in a country already to the bone.]

Poor Leopold, the Austrian Brother, did not arrive till the morrow; and saw a sad sight, before flying off again.  Friedrich the Fair sat prisoner in the old Castle of Traussnitz (OBER PFALZ, Upper Palatinate, or Nürnberg country) for three years; whittling sticks :-Tourists, if curious, can still procure specimens of them at the place, for a consideration.  There sat Friedrich, Brother Leopold moving Heaven and Earth,-and in fact they said, the very Devil by art magic, [Kohler, .]-to no purpose, to deliver him.  And his poor Spanish Wife cried her eyes, too literally, out,-sight gone in sad fact.

Ludwig the Bavarian reigned thenceforth,-though never on easy terms.  How grateful to Friedrich of Nürnberg we need not say.  For one thing, he gave him all the Austrian Prisoners; whom Friedrich, judiciously generous, dismissed without ransom except that they should be feudally subject to him henceforth.  This is the third Hohenzollern whom we mark as a conspicuous acquirer in the Hohenzollern family, this Friedrich IV., builder of the second story of the House.  If Conrad, original Burggraf, founded the House, then (figuratively speaking) the able Friedrich III., who was Rudolf of Hapsburg’s friend, built it one story high; and here is a new Friedrich, his Son, who has added a second story.  It is astonishing, says Dryasdust, how many feudal superiorities the Anspach and Baireuth people still have in Austria;-they maintain their own LEHNPROBST, or Official Manager for fief-casualties, in that country :-all which proceed from this Battle of Muhldorf. [Rentsch, ; Pauli; &c.] Battle fought on the 28th of September, 1322 :-eight years after BABBOCKBURN; while our poor Edward II. and England with him were in such a welter with their Spencers and their Gavestons :  eight years after Bannockburn, and four-and-twenty before Crecy.  That will date it for English readers.

Kaiser Ludwig reigned some twenty-five years more, in a busy and even strenuous, but not a successful way.  He had good windfalls, too; for example, Brandenburg, as we shall see.  He made friends; reconciled himself to his Brother Kur-Pfalz and junior Cousinry there, settling handsomely, and with finality, the debatable points between them.  Enemies, too, he made; especially Johann the Luxemburger, King of Bohemia, on what ground will be seen shortly, who became at last inveterate to a high degree.  But there was one supremely sore element in his lot :  a Pope at Avignon to whom he could by no method make himself agreeable.  Pope who put him under ban, not long after that Muhldorf victory; and kept him so; inexorable, let poor Ludwig turn as he might.  Ludwig’s German Princes stood true to him; declared, in solemn Diet, the Pope’s ban to be mere spent shot, of no avail in Imperial Politics.  Ludwig went, vigorously to Italy; tried setting up a Pope of his own; but that did not answer; nor of course tend to mollify the Holiness at Avignon.

In fine, Ludwig had to carry this cross on his back, in a sorrowful manner, all his days.  The Pope at last, finding Johann of Bohemia in a duly irritated state, persuaded him into setting up an Anti-Kaiser,-Johann’s second Son as Anti-Kaiser,-who, though of little account, and called PFAFFEN-KAISER (Parsons’ Kaiser) by the public, might have brought new troubles, had that lasted.  We shall see some ultimate glimpses of it farther on.