OF THE HABSBURG EMPIRE
Arguably the greatest empire
since the Roman conquests,
the Habsburg Empire controlled a vast region
since the middle ages.
Its emperors ruled with authority,
on elegant thrones, in extravagant palaces,
underneath bejeweled crowns.
Here, in Hofburg Palace (Vienna),
crowns of past rulers are on view
in subdued light and heavy guard.
The spectacular crown, scepter and orb
of Emperor Rudolf II (shown here)
mark the beginning of the Austrian Empire, 1602.
This painting gives a hint of the impression
he must have given, as he ruled his kingdom.
Also shown are other Habsburg emperor crowns,
including the ancient jeweled crown of Franz I,
in the time of the Holy Roman Empire . . .
including a rare gold cross, containing a piece
of the "true cross" (with nail hole)
which was carried into battle to ensure victory.