Charles IV (Czech: Karel IV., German: Karl IV., Latin: Carolus IV; 14 May 1316 – 29 November 1378), born Wenceslaus, was the first King of Bohemia to become Holy Roman Emperor. He was a member of the House of Luxembourg from his father's side and the Czech House of Přemyslid from his mother's side; he emphasized the latter due to his lifelong affinity for the Czech side of his inheritance, and also because his direct ancestors in the Přemyslid line included two saints.
He was the eldest son and heir of King John of Bohemia, who died at the Battle of Crécy on 26 August 1346. His mother, Elizabeth of Bohemia, was the sister of King Wenceslas III, the last of the male Přemyslid rulers of Bohemia. Charles inherited the County of Luxembourg from his father and was elected king of the Kingdom of Bohemia. On 2 September 1347, Charles was crowned King of Bohemia.
On 11 July 1346, the prince-electors chose him as King of the Romans (rex Romanorum) in opposition to Emperor Louis IV. Charles was crowned on 26 November 1346 in Bonn. After his opponent died, he was re-elected in 1349 and crowned King of the Romans. In 1355, he was crowned King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor. With his coronation as King of Burgundy in 1365, he became the personal ruler of all the kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire.
|King of Bohemia|
|Reign||26 August 1346 – 29 November 1378|
|Coronation||2 September 1347, Prague|
|King of the Romans|
|Reign||11 July 1346 – 29 November 1378|
|Coronation||26 November 1346, Bonn|
|Holy Roman Emperor, King of Italy|
|Reign||1355 – 29 November 1378|
|Born||14 May 1316|
|Died||29 November 1378 (aged 62)|
|Father||John of Bohemia|
|Mother||Elisabeth of Bohemia|
Charles IV was born to King John of the Luxembourg dynasty and Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia of the Czech Premyslid Dynasty in Prague. He was originally named Wenceslaus (Václav), the name of his maternal grandfather, King Wenceslaus II. He chose the name Charles at his confirmation in honor of his uncle, King Charles IV of France, at whose court he was resident for seven years.
He received French education and was literate and fluent in five languages: Latin, Czech, German, French, and Italian. In 1331, he gained some experience of warfare in Italy with his father. At the beginning of 1333, Charles went to Lucca (Tuscany) to consolidate his rule there. In an effort to defend the city, Charles founded the nearby fortress and the town of Montecarlo (Charles' Mountain). From 1333, he administered the lands of the Bohemian Crown due to his father's frequent absence and deteriorating eyesight. In 1334, Charles was named Margrave of Moravia, the traditional title for heirs to the throne. Two years later, he assumed the government of Tyrol on behalf of his brother, John Henry, and was soon actively involved in a struggle for the possession of this county.
On 11 July 1346, in consequence of an alliance between his father and Pope Clement VI, relentless enemy of the emperor Louis IV, Charles was chosen as Roman king in opposition to Louis by some of the prince-electors at Rhens. As he had previously promised to be subservient to Clement, he made extensive concessions to the pope in 1347. Confirming the papacy in the possession of vast territories, he promised to annul the acts of Louis against Clement, to take no part in Italian affairs, and to defend and protect the church.
Charles IV was in a very weak position in Germany. Owing to the terms of his election, he was derisively referred to as a "Priests' King" (Pfaffenkönig). Many bishops and nearly all of the Imperial cities remained loyal to Louis the Bavarian. Worse still, Charles backed the wrong side in the Hundred Years' War, losing his father and many of his best knights at the Battle of Crécy in August 1346, with Charles himself escaping from the field wounded.
Civil war in Germany was prevented, however, when Louis IV died on 11 October 1347, after suffering a stroke during a bear hunt. In January 1349, House of Wittelsbach partisans attempted to secure the election of Günther von Schwarzburg as king, but he attracted few supporters and died unnoticed and unmourned after a few months. Thereafter, Charles faced no direct threat to his claim to the Imperial throne.
Charles initially worked to secure his power base. Bohemia had remained untouched by the plague. Prague became his capital, and he rebuilt the city on the model of Paris, establishing the New Town (Nové Město). In 1348, he founded the Charles University in Prague, which was later named after him and was the first university in Central Europe. This served as a training ground for bureaucrats and lawyers. Soon Prague emerged as the intellectual and cultural center of Central Europe.
Having made good use of the difficulties of his opponents, Charles was again elected in Frankfurt on 17 June 1349 and re-crowned at Aachen on 25 July 1349. He was soon the undisputed ruler of the Empire. Gifts or promises had won the support of the Rhenish and Swabian towns; a marriage alliance secured the friendship of the Habsburgs; and an alliance with Rudolf II of Bavaria, Count Palatine of the Rhine, was obtained when Charles, who had become a widower in 1348, married Rudolph's daughter Anna.
In 1350, the king was visited at Prague by the Roman tribune Cola di Rienzo, who urged him to go to Italy, where the poet Petrarch and the citizens of Florence also implored his presence. Turning a deaf ear to these entreaties, Charles kept Cola in prison for a year, and then handed him as a prisoner to Clement at Avignon.
Outside Prague, Charles attempted to expand the Bohemian crown lands, using his imperial authority to acquire fiefs in Silesia, the Upper Palatinate, and Franconia. The latter regions comprised "New Bohemia," a string of possessions intended to link Bohemia with the Luxemburg territories in the Rhineland. The Bohemian estates, however, were not willing to support Charles in these ventures. When Charles sought to codify Bohemian law in the Maiestas Carolina of 1355, he met with sharp resistance. After that point, Charles found it expedient to scale back his efforts at centralization.
In 1354, Charles crossed the Alps without an army, received the Lombard crown in St. Ambrose Basilica, Milan, on 5 January 1355, and was crowned emperor at Rome by a cardinal in April of the same year. His sole object appears to have been to obtain the Imperial crown in peace, in accordance with a promise previously made to Pope Clement. He only remained in the city for a few hours, in spite of the expressed wishes of the Roman people. Having virtually abandoned all the Imperial rights in Italy, the emperor re-crossed the Alps, pursued by the scornful words of Petrarch, but laden with considerable wealth. On his return, Charles was occupied with the administration of the Empire, then just recovering from the Black Death, and in 1356, he promulgated the famous Golden Bull to regulate the election of the king.
Having given Moravia to one brother, John Henry, and erected the county of Luxembourg into a duchy for another, Wenceslaus, he was unremitting in his efforts to secure other territories as compensation and to strengthen the Bohemian monarchy. To this end he purchased part of the upper Palatinate of the Rhine in 1353, and in 1367 annexed Lower Lusatia to Bohemia and bought numerous estates in various parts of Germany. On the death of Meinhard, Duke of Upper Bavaria and Count of Tyrol, in 1363, Upper Bavaria was claimed by the sons of the emperor Louis IV, and Tyrol by Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria. Both claims were admitted by Charles on the understanding that if these families died out both territories should pass to the House of Luxembourg. At about the same time, he was promised the succession to the Margravate of Brandenburg, which he actually obtained for his son Wenceslaus in 1373.
Casimir III of Poland and Louis I of Hungary entered a conspiracy against Charles and managed to persuade Otto V of Bavaria to join. After the repeal of the estate contract by margrave Otto, in early July 1371, Charles IV declared hostilities and invaded Brandenburg; after two years of conflict, the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1373 became part of the Czech lands. He also gained a considerable portion of Silesian territory, partly by inheritance through his third wife, Anna von Schweidnitz, daughter of Henry II, Duke of Świdnica and Catherine of Hungary. In 1365, Charles visited Pope Urban V at Avignon and undertook to escort him to Rome; on the same occasion he was crowned King of Burgundy at Arles.
His second journey to Italy took place in 1368 when he had a meeting with Pope Urban V at Viterbo, was besieged in his palace at Siena, and left the country before the end of 1369. During his later years, the emperor took little part in German affairs beyond securing the election of his son Wenceslaus as king of the Romans in 1376, and negotiating a peace between the Swabian League of Cities and some nobles in 1378. After dividing his lands between his three sons and his nephews, he died in November 1378 at Prague, where he was buried, and where a statue was erected to his memory in 1848.
Charles IV suffered from gout (metabolic arthritis), a painful disease quite common in that time.
The reign of Charles IV was characterized by a transformation in the nature of the Empire and is remembered as the Golden Age of Bohemia. He promulgated the Golden Bull of 1356 whereby the succession to the imperial title was laid down, which held for the next four centuries.
He also organized the states of the empire into peace-keeping confederations. In these, the Imperial cities figured prominently. The Swabian Landfriede confederation of 1370 was made up almost entirely of Imperial Cities. At the same time, the leagues were organized and led by the crown and its agents. As with the electors, the cities that served in these leagues were given privileges to aid in their efforts to keep the peace.
He assured his dominance over the eastern borders of the Empire through succession treaties with the Habsburgs and the purchase of Brandenburg. He also claimed imperial lordship over the crusader states of Prussia and Livonia.
Prague became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire during the reign of Charles IV. The name of the royal founder and patron remains on many monuments and institutions, for example Charles University, Charles Bridge, Charles Square. High Gothic Prague Castle and part of the cathedral of Saint Vitus by Peter Parler were also built under his patronage. Finally, the first flowering of manuscript painting in Prague dates from Charles' reign. In the present Czech Republic, he is still regarded as Pater Patriae (father of the country or otec vlasti), a title first coined by Adalbertus Ranconis de Ericinio at his funeral.
Charles also had strong ties to Nuremberg, staying within its city walls 52 times and thereby strengthening its reputation amongst German cities. Charles was the patron of the Nuremberg Frauenkirche, built between 1352 and 1362 (the architect was likely Peter Parler), where the imperial court worshipped during its stays in Nuremberg.
Charles' imperial policy was focused on the dynastic sphere and abandoned the lofty ideal of the Empire as a universal monarchy of Christendom. In 1353, he granted the Duchy of Luxembourg to his half-brother, Wenceslaus. He concentrated his energies chiefly on the economic and intellectual development of Bohemia, where he founded the university in 1348 and encouraged the early humanists. He corresponded with Petrarch and invited him to visit the royal residence in Prague, whilst the Italian hoped — to no avail — to see Charles move his residence to Rome and reawaken tradition of the Roman Empire.
Charles' sister Bona married the eldest son of Philip VI of France, the future John II of France, in 1335. Thus, Charles was the maternal uncle of Charles V of France, who solicited his relative's advice at Metz in 1356 during the Parisian Revolt. This family connection was celebrated publicly when Charles made a solemn visit to his nephew in 1378, just months before his death. A detailed account of the occasion, enriched by many splendid miniatures, can be found in Charles V's copy of the Grandes Chroniques de France.
12 July 1275(6) – 24 August 1313
|Margaret of Brabant
4 October 1276 – 14 December 1311
27 September 1271 – 21 June 1305
|Judith of Habsburg|
13 March 1271 – 18 June 1297
|John of Bohemia
10 August 1296 – 26 August 1346
|Elisabeth of Bohemia
20 January 1292 – 28 September 1330
Blanche of Valois
1316 – 1 August 1348
OO 15 May 1323
Anna of Bavaria
26 September 1329 – 2 February 1353
OO March 1349
14 May 1316 – 29 November 1378
Anna von Schweidnitz
1339 – 11 July 1362
OO 27 May 1353
Elizabeth of Pomerania
1346(7) – 14 February 1393
OO 21 May 1363
|Margaret of Bohemia
|Catherine of Bohemia
|Elisabeth of Bohemia
King of the Romans
|Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
|John of Görlitz
|Margaret of Bohemia
Castles built or established by Charles IV.
Other places named after Charles:
Charles IV, Holy Roman EmperorBorn: 14 May 1316 Died: 29 November 1378 [aged 62]
| Count of Luxembourg
| King of Bohemia
Wenceslaus IV & I
| King of the Romans|
(until 1347 in opposition to Louis IV)
| Holy Roman Emperor
A Vote for the King of the Romans (Czech: Hlas pro římského krále) is a 2016 Czech historical television film directed by Václav Křístek. It chronicles the early life of Charles IV and his relationship with his father John of Bohemia.Anna von Schweidnitz
Anna of Schweidnitz (Świdnica) (also known as Anne or Anna of Świdnica, Czech: Anna Svídnická, Polish: Anna Świdnicka, German: Anna von Schweidnitz und Jauer) (Świdnica, 1339 – 11 July 1362 in Prague) was Queen of Bohemia, German Queen, and Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. She was the third wife of Emperor Charles IV.Anne of Bavaria
Anne of Bavaria (or of the Palatinate; Czech: Anna Falcká; 26 September 1329 – 2 February 1353) was a queen consort of Bohemia. She was the daughter of Rudolf II, Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine, and Anna, daughter of Otto III of Carinthia.
She was a member of the House of Wittelsbach.
Anna married Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV on 11 March 1349 in the town of Bacharach on the Rhine. She became the second wife of Charles after the death of his first wife, Blanche of Valois, in 1348.
On 26 July 1349 in Aachen, Anna was crowned Queen of Rome. Months later she was crowned Queen of Bohemia;
In 1350, Anna gave birth to a son, Wenceslaus, who died one year later, in 1351. Anna did not have more children and died herself in 1353 at the age of 23.
Charles was widowed for a second time and still had no son. He then married Anna von Schweidnitz, who gave birth to the desired heir, Wenceslaus, King of the Romans.Blanche of Valois
Blanche of Valois (baptised Marguerite; 1317–1348) was a Queen consort of Germany and Bohemia by her marriage to King and later Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. She was the youngest daughter of Charles of Valois and his third wife Mahaut of Châtillon.Catherine of Bohemia
Catherine of Bohemia (Czech: Kateřina Lucemburská, German: Katharina von Böhmen; 19 August 1342 – 26 April 1395) was Electress of Brandenburg, the second daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and Blanche of Valois.
Catherine was born on 19 August 1342, the third child and second surviving daughter of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and his first wife Blanche of Valois. On 13 July 1356, Catherine married Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria. The marriage was a political one arranged by her father to make peace with Austria. Rudolph died after nine years of childless marriage.
On 19 March 1366, Catherine married Otto V, Duke of Bavaria.Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge (Czech: Karlův most [ˈkarluːf ˈmost] (listen)) is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge built 1158–1172 that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. This new bridge was originally called Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been "Charles Bridge" since 1870. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau) until 1841, Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas. This "solid-land" connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe.
The bridge is 621 metres (2,037 ft) long and nearly 10 metres (33 ft) wide, following the example of the Stone Bridge in Regensburg, it was built as a bow bridge with 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two on the Lesser Quarter side (including the Malá Strana Bridge Tower) and one on the Old Town side, the Old Town Bridge Tower. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.
Repairs are scheduled to start in late 2019, and should take around 20 years.Charles IV
Charles IV may refer to:
Charles IV of France (1294–1328), "the Fair"
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1316–1378)
Charles IV of Navarre (1421–1461)
Charles IV, Duke of Anjou (1446–1481)
Charles IV, Duke of Alençon (1489–1525)
Charles, Duke of Vendôme (1489–1537), also known as Charles IV de Bourbon
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1500–1558), King of Naples as Charles IV
Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine (1604–1675)
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1685–1740), Duke of Brabant and King of Sicily as Charles IV
Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia (1751–1819), styled "Charles IV of England and Scotland" by Jacobites
Charles IV of Spain (1748–1819)
Charles IV of Norway (1826–1872)
Charles IV of Hungary (1887–1922)Charles Square
Charles Square (Czech: Karlovo náměstí) is a city square in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic. At roughly 80,550 m² it is one of the largest squares in the world and was the largest town square of the medieval Europe. Founded in 1348 as the main square of the New Town by Charles IV, it was known as Dobytčí trh (Cattle Market) from the 15th century and finally named after its founder in 1848. The central portion of the square was turned into a park in the 1860s.
The square is now one of the main transport hubs of the city centre with Karlovo náměstí metro station and numerous tram lines and busy roads crossing it in all directions.Diet of Metz (1356/57)
The Diet of Metz (German: Metzer Hoftag) was an Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire held in the imperial city of Metz from 17 November 1356 to 7 January 1357, with Emperor Charles IV presiding. It is most memorable for the promulgation of the Golden Bull of 1356.Elisabeth of Bohemia (1358–1373)
Elisabeth of Bohemia (1358–1373) was the daughter of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and Anne of Schweidnitz. She was named after her paternal grandmother, Elisabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330).
She had a brother, Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, and one half sister, Katharine of Bohemia, whose mother was Blanche of Valois who was Charles IV's previous wife. Elisabeth had another half sister who was the daughter of Blanche, Margaret of Bohemia but she died in 1349, so Elisabeth never knew her.
After the death of her mother, Charles remarried for the last time to Elizabeth of Pomerania. Elisabeth gained six half-siblings from the marriage: Anna, Queen of England, Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, Margaret "the younger" of Bohemia, John of Görlitz, Charles, and Henry.
Elisabeth married when she was only eight in 1366 to Albert III, Duke of Austria. Elisabeth and Albert had no children and she died aged only fifteen in 1373; she was buried with Albert's parents in Gaming Charterhouse in Lower Austria.
Her husband remarried to Beatrix of Nuremberg and they were parents of Albert IV, Duke of Austria.Elizabeth of Pomerania
Elizabeth of Pomerania (c. 1347 – 15 April 1393) was the fourth and final wife of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Bohemia. Her parents were Bogislaw V, Duke of Pomerania, and Elisabeth of Poland. Her maternal grandparents were Casimir III, King of Poland, and Aldona of Lithuania.Frauenkirche, Nuremberg
The Frauenkirche ("Church of Our Lady") is a church in Nuremberg, Germany. It stands on the eastern side of the main market. An example of brick Gothic architecture, it was built on the initiative of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor between 1352 and 1362. The church contains many sculptures, some of them heavily restored. Numerous works of art from the Middle Ages are kept in the church, such as the so-called Tucher Altar (c. 1440, originally the high altar of the Augustinian church of St. Vitus), and two monuments by Adam Kraft (c. 1498).Golden Bull of 1356
The Golden Bull of 1356 (German: Goldene Bulle, Latin: Bulla Aurea, Italian: Bolla d'oro) was a decree issued by the Imperial Diet at Nuremberg and Metz (Diet of Metz, 1356/57) headed by the Emperor Charles IV which fixed, for a period of more than four hundred years, important aspects of the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire. It was named the Golden Bull for the golden seal it carried.
In June 2013 the Golden Bull was included in the UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarlovɪ ˈvarɪ] (listen); German: Karlsbad) is a spa town situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately 130 km (81 mi) west of Prague (Praha). It is named after Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, who founded the city in 1370. It is the site of numerous hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River), and is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic.Karlštejn
Karlštejn Castle (Czech: hrad Karlštejn; German: Burg Karlstein) is a large Gothic castle founded 1348 CE by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor-elect and King of Bohemia. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures. Located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Prague above the village of the same name, it is one of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic.
A miniature replica of the castle was built by a Czech immigrant in Batchelor, Northern Territory.Kašperk Castle
Kašperk Castle (German: Karlsberg) is a medieval castle placed in southwestern Bohemia (modern Czech Republic, former Kingdom of Bohemia). It is said to be the most highly located royal castle in Bohemia. Its elevation is 886 metres (2,907 ft) above sea level). The castle is in property of the Town of Kašperské Hory since 1616.Margaret of Bohemia, Queen of Hungary
Margaret of Bohemia (24 May 1335 – 1349, before October), also known as Margaret of Luxembourg, was a Queen consort of Hungary by her marriage to Louis I of Hungary. She was the second child of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor by his first wife Blanche of Valois. She was a member of the House of Luxembourg.Statue of Charles IV, Křižovnické Square
The statue of Charles IV is an outdoor sculpture of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, located at Křižovnické Square in Prague, Czech Republic.Tepenec Castle
Tepenec Castle (German: Burg Twingenberg, aka Karlsburg) is a former castle in the vicinity of Jívová in Moravia, Czech Republic. The castle was built by Emperor Charles IV between 1340 and 1346. It stood in the Bělkovic valley, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) east of Sternberg in Moravia. Charles named it Twingenberg after an eponymous castle in Luxembourg. The castle was ruined in 1391.
For several centuries the ruins were visible on the top of hill until the half of 19th century when the extraction of the stone in a quarry on the western hillside destroyed much of the castle except of the fortification and outwork on the east part. The ongoing excavation during the 20th century and especially after 2010 probably has destroyed all remnants of the castle.
|Ancestors of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Holy Roman Empire|
|East Francia within the|
Carolingian Empire (843–911)
|East Francia (911–962)|
|Kingdom of Germany within the|
Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)
|Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)|
|German Confederation (1815–1848)|
|German Empire (1848/1849)|
|German Confederation (1850–1866)|
|North German Confederation (1867–1871)|
|German Empire (1871–1918)|