JULIUS CAESAR OF AUSTRIA (born approx. 1586 - died 1609).
Emperor Rudolph II had for many years a relationship with Katharina Strada, the daughter of his court antiquarian and for that reason also a very powerful nobleman. Rudolph fathered six very strange children by her.
Don Julius Caesar d´Austria was born the oldest son of the emperor Rudolph II. von Habsburg and Katerina Stradová. His full name was Don Julius Caesar d’Austria. 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.
Due to Caesar's mental state which was however quickly deteriorating, it was decided to relocate him somewhere out of public view and Rudolph chose Ceský Krumlov, which he bought from Rosenbergs, as a residence for him. In the autumn of 1607, don Julius left Austria for Krumlov and lived there until his death on 25th June 1609.
There he became involved with Markéta Pichlerová, the daughter of the local barber Zikmund Pichler. As per Krumlov historical site http://www.ckrumlov.info/docs/en/kaktualita.xml:
"He 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, he threw her from a window onto the rocks. This event was also noted by the Rosenberg chronicler Václav Brezan : ' . . . and in this condition she was thrown by him to the rocks. .. 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 returned to the castle. The next day, 18th February 1608, don Julius in a fit of anger brutally killed Markéta and disfigured her dead body. He cut off her head and other parts of her body, and people had to put her into her coffin in single pieces
After that, when it became the public knowledge, Rudolph II made his son virtually the prisoner in Krumlov and he never left the castle. His health got worse and on 25th June 1609, he died. He was buried in the Minorite monastery in Ceský 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. . ."
So far the history. There are several points that could be made in regard to his authorship of the VM. He was apparently interested in alchemy, had a good education and could have written the manuscript as a sort of his secret book, never to be published. Some pictures might indicate certain mental disturbance. Also, Horczicky once studied in Krumlov so he could have got possession of the manuscript via his local connections. That also makes the erasure of the H's name
in the manuscript quite justified, since later he probably realized he might not want to be connected with Julius in any way. Also, the search for seclusive 'Julius the author' could have been very difficult - as it proved to be anyway :-).
On the other hand however, there are many counter-arguments. Firstly, the VM is undoubtedly the work of quite rational mind. Of course, if Julius was schizophrenic, his mind would in general quite rational but that does not prove he really wrote it.
The connection with Horczicky is pretty uncertain and even the reason for the erasure is only a speculation.
So we are actually left with the pictures only. I discovered on the net (http://www.illustration-mag.com/uploads/Astrology%20final.pdf the picture of the zodiac, from the book of Leopold of Austria,Compilatio De Astrorum Scientia, Augsburg, 1489, see picture below) listed also in
http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/mailing-lists/exlibris/1999/06/msg00224.html and one exemplar being owned by Beinecke, as
Marston MS 209 Northwestern Germany, 1480
Leopold of Austria, Compilatio de astrorum scientia
Leopold (Leopoldi Ducatus Austrie)
was of course just another Habsburg and if Julius was really learned in alchemy and astrology, he would certainly know that book, maybe even have it and try to copy those pictures in the VM.
To be sure, I placed here the cut-outs I made from the VM, see below.
Comparing those two sets, some similarities can be observed in general, but in detail quite more dissimilarities could be found. True, he could have just drawn them from memory and we know the author was not too much of an artist. But he could just copy them from elsewhere and we cannot find there any proof Julius was the one who has really drawn the pictures.
Note: Lately, German author Andreas Gössling wrote the book The alchemist of Krumlov (Alchymista z Krumlova, in Czech translation, publisher Moba, 2006, Prague) which is called "the historical roman", but from description of the book we can see it is just a pure fiction and wild imagination. Julius - it is said there - had the obsession to inherit Rudolph's crown and he believed he was a victim of some conspiracy. He fought back using magic and his small army of alchemists. Even Markéta was power-hungry, etc., etc. Could we believe Julius was really that crazy?
Jan B. Hurych
4th October 2007