Portrait of Maximilian I

Maximilian I

In 1500 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I was Europe’s most powerful ruler and a famous tournament competitor. His court invented new forms of jousting and he employed many of the best armourers, including members of the Seusenhofer and Helmschmid families.

Maximilian I wrote books in which he was the thinly disguised hero and presented himself as the last great chivalric knight.

In 1509, Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon, whose sister Juana had married the Emperor Maximilian’s son, Philip. Young Henry admired Philip and Maximilian and aspired to be like them.

Maximilian I wanted Henry VIII as his ally to attack France and presented him with gifts of fine armour. When Henry’s troops captured the French city of Tournai in 1513 he celebrated victory by jousting in the market square.

Der Weisskunig (The White King)

The engraving Der Weisskunig (the white king) was produced in the 16th century as a collaboration between Leonard Beck (1480-1542), Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531), Hans Schäuffelein (1480-1540), and Hans Springinklee (1490-1540).

Though other artists are thought to have contributed, the vast majority of the engraving is by Hans Burgkmair.

This engraving shows Maximilian in the workshop of his armourer, possibly Konrad Seusenhofer.

*Learn more about the objects in the gallery below at Tournament Top Ten*

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Did you know?

The iron lady of India

The most famous 19th century female warrior was the Rani of Jhansi, who recruited female gunners and troopers. She was often seen in the palace gardens controlling her horses with the reins held between her teeth and a sword in each hand.