Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor (1576-1612), King of Hungary and Croatia (as Rudolf I, 1572-1608), King of Bohemia (1575-1608/1611) and Archduke of Austria (1576-1608). He was a member of the House of Habsburg.
Rudolf's legacy has traditionally been viewed in three ways: an ineffectual ruler whose mistakes led directly to the Thirty Years' War; a great and influential patron of Northern Mannerist art; and an intellectual devotee of occult arts and learning which helped seed what would be called the scientific revolution.
Rudolf died in 1612, nine months after he had been stripped of all effective power by his younger brother, except the empty title of Holy Roman Emperor, to which Matthias was elected five months later. In May 1618 with the event known as the Defenestration of Prague, the Protestant Bohemians, in defense of the rights granted them in the Letter of Majesty, began the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).