It was not until the fifteenth century that the Habsburgs established their quasi-permanent seat at the head of the Holy Roman Empire. After Rudolf I and his son Albrecht I had been the first two Habsburgs to hold this office, another hundred years were to pass before the next election of a Habsburg as Roman-German King.
The fourteenth century saw the Habsburgs consolidating their hold on power in Austria. However, there were often disputes as to who had the say – and the resulting conflicts led to the Habsburg dominions being partitioned.
The most famous fourteenth-century Habsburg ruler was Duke Rudolf IV. Although he was not a king, his behaviour was nothing if not royal. During his reign Vienna was built up into the political and cultural centre of his dominions. With the help of a number of forged documents, Rudolf also acquired for the Habsburgs the exclusive title of ‘Archduke’.