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German History in Documents and Images
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Emperor Ferdinand II (undated)
Ferdinand II (1578-1637) of the House of Habsburg ruled as Holy Roman Emperor from 1619 until 1637. Ferdinand was a devout Catholic who had been educated by the Jesuits at one of the centers of the Counterreformation, the University of Ingolstadt. Accordingly, reconverting his subjects to Catholicism and fighting Protestantism was a central goal of his regency, which ultimately led the Empire into the Thirty Years War. He pursued an absolutist rule, which he managed to realize in the Habsburg hereditary and crown lands, but not throughout the Empire. This undated copperplate engraving shows Ferdinand with the Imperial regalia. The insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece can be seen around his neck. The order was devoted to safeguarding the Catholic faith and protecting its church. The Habsburg coat of arms appears in the upper right, and Ferdinand’s motto “legitime certantibus corona” [“the crown belongs to the warrior for the just cause”] is printed in the top left. Copperplate engraving by Jost Amman (1539-1591), undated.