This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article's lead section may be too short to adequately summarize the key points. Please consider expanding the lead to provide an accessible overview of all important aspects of the article. (December 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Maximilian III
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
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, Archduchy of Austria
Died2 November 1618(1618-11-02) (aged 60)
Vienna, Archduchy of Austria
FatherMaximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
MotherMaria of Spain
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureMaximilian III's signature

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


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.

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

In the 1587 Polish–Lithuanian royal election Maximilian stood as a candidate for the throne of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, following the death of the previous king, Stephen Báthory. A portion of the Polish nobility elected Maximilian king, but another faction elected Prince Sigismund of Sweden, grandson of Sigismund I the Old, as Sigismund III Vasa. Maximilian then invaded Poland, starting the War of the Polish Succession (1587–1588). He had considerable support in Poland, but fewer Poles flocked to his army than to that of his rival. In late 1587, he tried and failed to storm Kraków. At Pitschen in Silesia, he met Sigismund's army, commanded by Polish hetman Jan Zamojski. In the Battle of Byczyna (24 January 1588), Maximilian was defeated and captured. He was released a year and half later after the intervention of Pope Sixtus V in the aftermath of the Treaty of Bytom and Będzin. In 1598, he formally renounced his claim to the Polish crown.[2] The inactivity of his brother, Emperor Rudolf II, in this matter contributed to Rudolf's poor reputation.[citation needed]

From 1593 to 1595, Maximilian served as regent for his young cousin, the future Emperor Ferdinand II as Archduke of Inner Austria. In 1595, Maximilian succeeded to the territories of their uncle Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria, 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 Ferdinand succeeded 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.


Male-line family tree


  1. ^ The Deutschmeister ("German Master") was the Order's third-highest officer, who administered its bailiwicks in the Holy Roman Empire. The State of the Teutonic Order in Prussia and Livonia was administered by the Grand Master. But after 1525, the Order had only its German holdings, and after 1561, these offices were united and the Grand Master was also German Master.
  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 (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.