Don Julius D’Austria and his Fate

The end of 16th century at the Český Krumlov castle was influenced by the government of the last Rosenberg - Peter Wok von Rosenberg. Because his marriage to Kateřina of Ludanice didn\'t bring him a child and his financial problems were no less than minor, he was forced to consider his own future. Finally he decided to sell the family residence to Rudolf II. on 26th October 1601.

The last Rosenberg left the Český Krumlov residence, which for 3 hundred years had been the seat of the Rosenbergs, just before Easter on 3rd April 1602 without celebration. Český Krumlov castle, once the residence of a powerful aristocratic family, suddenly became an unimportant manor. In 1605 a new era of the castle\'s history was to arrive when the castle became the new seat of don Julius D´Austria, the illegitimate son of Emperor Rudolf II.

His full name was don Julius Caesar d´Austria. He was likely born in 1584 or 1586 as the eldest illegitimate child of Emperor Rudolf II and his long-term partner Kateřina Stradová. Emperor Rudolf and Kateřina had about 6 children together. Rudolf II put his whole trust and hopes into his eldest son Julius and helped him to get a good education as well as trying to find a good position for him at a royal court. Rudolf finally chose Český Krumlov as a residence for him, and in 1605 don Julius came for the first time to Krumlov from Vienna. In the summer of 1606 Rudolf sent him to a cloister in Gaming in North Austria, and in the autumn of 1607 don Julius left Gaming for Krumlov. Here he lived until his death on 25th June 1609.

In 1607 don Julius evidently became close with Markéta Pichlerová, the daughter of the local barber Zikmund Pichler and his wife Lucie Pichlerová. Don Julius invited Markéta to live with him with the permission of her parents. But after some time he became angry with her, beat her, cut her several times with a knife and because he thought he had killed her, threw her from a window onto the rocks. This event was also noted by the Rosenberg chronicler Václav Březan : "She was so terribly damaged that she was no longer a single piece of body, and in this condition she was thrown by him to the rocks. But it wasn´t meant to be her last hour, because she fell on a rubbish heap which saved her life. Once she was healthy again she hid herself from him, but he kept returning to her mother so Markéta had to go to him again."

When Markéta became healthy, don Julius asked her father to give him Markéta back, but he refused to do so, fearing for her life. Don Julius put him into prison and threatened to kill him if Markéta wouldn´t come. After 5 weeks of prison, Markéta´s mother agreed to bring her daughter and brought her to the castle on Sunday. The next day, on Monday 18th February 1608, don Julius in a fit of anger brutally killed Markéta and disfigured her dead body. This tragic event was also recorded by Václav Březan: "on the 18th of February, Julius, that awful tyrant and devil, bastard of the Emperor, did an incredibly terrible thing to his bed partner, the daughter of a barber, when he cut off her head and other parts of her body, and people had to put her into her coffin in single pieces."

This gruesome event evoked shock and a wave of anger in European aristocratic society, and tha advantages of being the Emperor´s son no longer applied. Even the Emperor Rudolf II had no excuses for his son´s behaviour and even wrote a statement himself about putting don Julius into prison forever. After murdering Markéta, Julius´ schizophrenia became more serious. He refused to wash, shave or change clothes and also refused food. Julius kept throwing things around and was throwing things out of the windows. He never went outside. Towards the end of his life he lived in incredible filth and rubbish. He slept only on carpets and when he felt cold he covered himself with what once used to be his clothes. The servants were so scared of him that no one entered his room, also because of the terrible smell.

His health became more serious on 22nd June 1609, and not long afterwards, on 25th June 1609, don Julius died. The cause of death was said to be suffocation after his ulcer ruptured and went to his throat. Julius\' death by Václav Březan: "On 25th June, during the night, Julius that bastard, the illegitimate son of Emperor Rudolf II, being prisoned in the castle under Pelikán´s rooms, fell down and sent his dangerous soul off to the devil."

The statement about the funeral came very soon. Don Julius was buried in the Minorite monastery in Český Krumlov and was meant to be later moved to a grave befitting the son of an Emperor, but Rudolf II died before this could happen. The grave was added to the wall, and hasn\'t been found even today.

More tales and legends :
Tales and Legends of Český Krumlov Castle
Tales and Legends of Český Krumlov
Tales and Legends of the Český Krumlov Region