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Rudolph, German King

RUDOLPH, GERMAN KING (d. 1080), German king, and duke of Swabia, opponent of the emperor Henry IV., was a son of Kuno count of Rheinfelden, who possessed estates in both Burgundy and Swabia. He received the duchy of Swabia from Agnes, regent and mother of the young king, Henry IV., in 1057, and two years later married the king's sister Matilda (1045-1060), and was made administrator of the kingdom of Burgundy, or Aries. Differences soon arose between the king and his brother-in-law, whose loyalty was suspected during the Saxon War of 1073. When Henry was excommunicated and deposed by pope Gregory VII., the princes met at Forchheim, and elected Rudolph as German king. He renounced the right of investiture, disclaimed any intention of making the crown hereditary in his family, and was crowned at Mainz on the 27th of March 1077. He found no support in Swabia, but, uniting with the Saxons, won two victories over Henry's troops, and, in 1080, was recognized by the pope. On the 15th of October 1080, Rudolph was severely wounded at Hohenmolsen, and died the next day. He was buried at Merseburg, where his beautiful bronze tomb is still to be seen.

See O. Grund, Die Wahl Rudolfs von Rheinfelden zum Gegenkdnig (Leipzig, 1880).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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