Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria

Maximilian III of Austria, briefly known as Maximilian of Poland during his claim for the throne (12 October 1558 – 2 November 1618), was the Archduke of Further Austria from 1612 until his death.

Maximilian III
Archduke of Austria
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
Unknown - Portrait of Archduke Maximilian III Hapsburg (1558–1618) as the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order - M.Ob.1772 - National Museum in Warsaw.jpg
Portrait by Hans Henseiller, 1590s, National Museum in Warsaw
Archduke of Further Austria
Reign26 June 1612 – 2 November 1618
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Reign27 September 1587 – 9 March 1589
PredecessorStephen Báthory
SuccessorSigismund III Vasa
Born(1558-10-12)12 October 1558
Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Died2 November 1618(1618-11-02) (aged 60)
Wien, Austria
FatherMaximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
MotherMaria of Spain
ReligionRoman Catholicism


Portrait of Archduke Maximilian by Martino Rota, c. 1580
Anonymous Netherlands, Portrait of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, 17th century, engraving

Born in Wiener Neustadt, Maximilian was the fourth son of the emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain. He was a grandson of Anna of Bohemia and Hungary, daughter and heiress of Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary, who himself was the eldest son of Casimir IV of Poland from the Jagiellonian Dynasty.

From 1585 Maximilian became the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order; thanks to this he was known by the epithet der Deutschmeister ("the German Master")[1] for much of his later life.

In 1587 Maximilian stood as a candidate for the throne of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, following the death of the previous king, Stefan Batory. A portion of the Polish nobility elected Maximilian king, but, as a result of the rather chaotic nature of the election process, another candidate, Sigismund III Vasa, prince of Sweden, grandson of Sigismund I the Old, was also elected. Maximilian attempted to resolve the dispute by bringing a military force to Poland – thereby starting the war of the Polish Succession. His cause had considerable support in Poland, but fewer Poles flocked to his army than to that of his rival. After a failed attempt to storm Kraków in late 1587, he was defeated in January 1588, at Pitschen in Silesia (Battle of Byczyna) by the supporters of Sigismund III (who had since been formally crowned), under the command of Polish hetman Jan Zamojski. Maximilian was taken captive at the battle and was only released a year and half later after the intervention of Pope Sixtus V in the aftermath of the Treaty of Bytom and Będzin. In 1589, he formally renounced his claim to the Polish crown.[2] The inactivity of his brother, the emperor Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor in this matter contributed to Rudolf's poor reputation.[citation needed]

From 1593 to 1595 Maximilian served as regent for his young cousin, Ferdinand, Archduke of Inner Austria. In 1595 he succeeded their uncle Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria in his territories, including Tyrol, where he proved to be a solid proponent of the Counter-Reformation. He also worked to depose Melchior Khlesl, and to ensure that Archduke Ferdinand of Inner Austria, his former charge, succeed as Holy Roman Emperor.

Today, Maximilian is perhaps best remembered for his baroque archducal hat, exhibited in the treasury of the monastery of Klosterneuburg and was used for ceremonial purposes as late as 1835.

He died at Vienna in 1618, and is buried in the canopied tomb in Innsbruck Cathedral.



  1. ^ In fact, originally the titles Hochmeister ("Grandmaster") and Deutschmeister ("German Master") were different: while Grandmaster was the highest order dignitary, the German Master was the third highest and territorially restricted to area of the Holy Roman Empire (apart from Prussia and Livonia) where he administered its respective bailiwicks. But after 1561 those ranks were united and the Deutschmeister became Grandmaster.
  2. ^ Sławomir Leśniewski (January 2008). Jan Zamoyski – hetman i polityk (in Polish). Bellona. pp. 111–118. GGKEY:RRA1L0T4Y81.
  3. ^ a b Press, Volker (1990), "Maximilian II.", Neue Deutsche Biographie (in German), vol. 16, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 471–475; (full text online)
  4. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Maria von Spanien" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). Vol. 7. p. 19 – via Wikisource.
  5. ^ Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Philipp I. der Schöne von Oesterreich" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). Vol. 7. p. 112 – via Wikisource.
  6. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Joanna" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  7. ^ a b c d Priebatsch, Felix (1908), "Wladislaw II.", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), vol. 54, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 688–696
  8. ^ a b Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  9. ^ a b c d Stephens, Henry Morse (1903). The story of Portugal. G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 125, 139, 279. ISBN 9780722224731. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  10. ^ Holland, Arthur William (1911). "Maximilian I. (emperor)" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  11. ^ Poupardin, René (1911). "Charles, called The Bold, duke of Burgundy" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  12. ^ Boureau, Alain (1995). The Lord's First Night: The Myth of the Droit de Cuissage. Translated by Cochrane, Lydia G. The University of Chicago Press. p. 96.
  13. ^ Noubel, P., ed. (1877). Revue de l'Agenais [Review of the Agenais]. Vol. 4. Société académique d'Agen. p. 497.
  14. ^ a b Harris, Carolyn (2017). Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting. Dundurn Press. p. 78.
Preceded by Governor of Tirol
Archduke of Further Austria

Succeeded by
Preceded by Regent of Styria
Succeeded by
Preceded by Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
Succeeded by