• King Rudolf I, ledger in the cathedral at Speyer, lithograph, 1820

    Reigns and Rulers I 955–1291

    The beginnings of the house of Habsburg are shrouded in mystery. The difficulty of conducting research into its rise in the medieval period is exacerbated by ...
  • Alexander von Villedieu: *Doctrinale puerorum*, historiated initial

    Of Reading and Writing 1200–1850

    In the Middle Ages there was no absolutely indispensible connection between reading and writing. Someone who could read was not necessarily also able to write ...
  • Peasants paying their dues to the lord of the manor

    Country Life in the Middle Ages 1273–1500

    In the fourteenth century swarms of locusts, an earthquake and heavy rainfall led to numerous famines. In the middle of the century the plague arrived in ...
  • Crowds gathered to witness the exhibiting of the reliquary treasures of St Stephen, 1502

    Holy Business 1273–1500

    The bones of saints, as well as their hair and nails, were revered as relics, as were objects which had some connection with them or which they were supposed ...
  • The ‘Albertinian Map’– the earliest map of Vienna, 1421/22

    Townscapes 1273–1500

    A medieval town was home to a variety of social classes, with the members of the Court (if the town was a royal residence), the clergy and the nobility at the ...
  • Scenographic view of the Vienna Hofburg, 19th century

    The Hofburg 1278–1918

    The Vienna Hofburg is one of the most historically important architectural monuments in Europe: for centuries this imperial palace was the nerve centre of a ...
  • Guilielmo O’ Kelly: Genealogical tree of Emperor Charles VI, 18th century

    The Birth of a Dynasty 1278–1476

    The election of Rudolf I as ruler over the Holy Roman Empire propelled a family into the limelight of history whose significance had hitherto been no more than ...
  • Duke Rudolf IV, 1360/65

    Reigns and Rulers II 1282–1406

    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 ...
  • Michelangelo Merisi (called Caravaggio): Madonna of the Rosary, painting, 1606/1607

    The Land of Monasteries 1282–1790

    Religious houses have always played a special part in the history and culture of Austria. The Habsburgs played a major role in the development of the monastic ...
  • Jörg Kölderer: *Triumphzug*, the imperial baggage/supply train

    With Trumpets and Drums 1296–1918

    As early as the Middle Ages, the Habsburgs had already had their own Musikkapelle or band of musicians which consisted mainly of vocalists who were used in ...
  • Great Seal of the Faculty of Arts of Vienna University, 1388

    Knowledge is Power 1348–1900

    In 1365 Duke Rudolf IV founded the University of Vienna. The Habsburg princes were of major importance for the history of the University of Vienna: they ...
  • Vienna Porcelain Manufactory: Habsburg Service, centrepiece with portraits of Albrecht II, Maximilian I and...

    Reigns and Rulers III 1404–1500

    In the middle of the fifteenth century the Habsburgs assumed the Roman-German imperial title, retaining it – with one interruption of only a few years – until ...
  • Bernhard Strigel: Emperor Maximilian I and his family, after 1515

    Tu felix Austria nube 1430–1570

    Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube – ‘Let others wage war: thou, happy Austria, marry’. This famous saying is invariably quoted when the rise of the ...
  • Joseph Haydn: Imperial Anthem: ‘Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser’ (God preserve Franz the Emperor’), with a po...

    The Habsburgs in Sound and Image 1450–1918

    One of the favoured ways of displaying the power and standing of the dynasty and court was by means of the fine arts, in particular the portrait. Portrayals of ...
  • Jacob van Schuppen: Prince Eugene of Savoy, oil painting, after 1717

    Habsburg against Turkey and France 1453–1739

    For several centuries, Habsburg politics were dominated by the dynasty’s conflicts with their neighbours to east and west. In the West, France was their great ...
  • Albrecht Dürer: Emperor Maximilian I, 1519

    Reigns and Rulers IV 1486–1618

    The early modern age saw the Habsburgs making considerable extensions to their dominions. Through war and dynastic marriages Maximilian I paved the way for the ...
  • Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Emperor Rudolf II as the harvest god Vertumnus, 1590/91

    Good. Better. Habsburg. 1500–1650

    ‘Happy is he who forgets’ was certainly not the motto of Emperor Maximilian I, a monarch who did his utmost to ensure he would not be forgotten. As one of the ...