Charles IV (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: The greatest ruler of medieval Bohemia and the last important medieval Holy Roman Emperor, Charles was an efficient and effective administrator. He stabilized German political affairs, strengthened the power of his family in Bohemia and in Europe, and influenced the culture of his time.
Charles was the oldest son of John of Luxembourg and the grandson of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII, who died in 1313. In the confused years following the death without direct heir of Wenceslas (Václav) III, the last Přemyslid king of Bohemia, Henry had arranged for John to succeed to the Bohemian throne in 1310 and to marry Elizabeth, Wenceslas’ sister. This political marriage strengthened the Luxembourg position in Bohemia, and when Charles was born in 1316 the future of the new dynasty seemed assured.
Charles’s early education was unsystematic. His mother schooled him in the traditions of government and foreign policy established by the last Přemyslids and instilled in him a love of the Bohemian land. His father, whose political and cultural tastes were oriented more toward France than toward Germany, involved him in many of his European ventures. John never felt particularly comfortable or welcome in Bohemia, and the time he spent there was chiefly for obtaining the financial resources to support his activities elsewhere. It was perhaps not surprising that he and Elizabeth should quarrel,...
(The entire section is 2323 words.)
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