Made in the style of the period with angled slightly concave axe blade and down-curved
rear beak, with broad 16″ thrusting blade with pronounced medial ridge. Etched overall
with scrolling foliage on a blackened stippled background. The archduke’s coat of arms is
on one side with “PRO PATRIA” (for country) and ornaments of the Golden Fleece and
“PRO DEO” (for God) on the other. The date “1570″ is etched on the rear beak on both
sides. Maker’s stamp of a cross in a shield is on the lower part of the thrusting blade on
one side, having been etched over with the decoration. The ruler’s monogram “FE” is
etched on the lower portion of the thrusting blade on one side near the maker’s mark.
Integrally forged ferrule, also etched en suite, and 15″ side straps; mounted on later
octagonal wood shaft. Metal with some light pitting and minor wear to etched design.
Length of metal parts 38 1/4″, overall 85 ½”.
Archduke Karl II Franz (Charles II Francis), 3 June, 1540 – 10 July, 1590 was of the Royal
House of Hapsburg and ruler of Inner Austria (Styria, Carniola, Carinthia and Gorizia) from
1564. He was the third son of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I and Anne of Bohemia
and Hungary. In 1559 and again between 1564 and 1568 there were negotiations for a
marriage to England’s Queen Elizabeth I. In 1563 Karl also was a suitor to Mary Queen of
Scots, whose uncle, Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine, encouraged the match to assist in
governing Scotland. Ultimately Karl married his niece, Maria Anna of Bavaria, with whom
he had fifteen children, notably among them being Ferdinand, who became Holy Roman
Emperor in 1619, and Margaret who became Queen of Spain with her marriage to Phillip
III in 1599. First-born daughter Anne was married to Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland,
Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Sweden. After she died in 1598, sister Constance
married Sigismund in 1605. Youngest daughter Maria Magdalena married Cosimo II de’
Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1608.
Karl was a religious Catholic who promoted the Counter-Reformation. Inner Austria had
to take the brunt of the wars with the Ottoman Turks and the fortress Karlstadt in Croatia
was founded in 1579 and named for him. In 1573, Karl founded the Akademisches
Gymnasium in Graz, the oldest secondary school in Styria. In 1580, Karl founded a stud
for horses of Andalusian origin in Lipica, Slovenia, thereby playing a leading role in the
creation of the Lipizzan breed (the famed Lipizzaner Stallions). In 1585, Charles founded
the University of Graz, which is named Karl-Franzens-Universität after him.