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Sigismund of Luxembourg (15 February 1368 – 9 December 1437), also referred to as the Red Fox by Bohemians, was King of Hungary and Croatia, Germany, Bohemia, Italy and at a later point in life the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He was a son of Charles IV and younger half-brother of Wenceslas IV of Bohemia.

Biography

Due to the continuous failures of King Wenceslas IV, who did not manage to live up to the reputation of his father Charles IV and preferred frivolous pursuits over political affairs, the Czech nobility looked for someone more suitable to the throne. Their choice fell on King Wenceslas' half-brother: King Sigismund of Hungary.

Sigismund opted for a radical solution: with the support of the nobility, he kidnapped King Wenceslas and forced him to abdicate, in order to gain the crown for himself. Then, at the head of a massive army composed mostly by Cumans mercenaries and commanded by his trusted general Markvart von Auliz, he invaded the kingdom of Bohemia, defeating all the nobles who remained loyal to Wenceslas.

In December of 1402, Sigismund conquered and sacked the city of Kuttenberg, stealing a larged amount of silver. This allowed him to expand his already powerful army. Later, in 1403, Sigismund attacked the settlement of Silver Skalitz, in order to take control of the rich silver mines and to kill Sir Radzig Kobyla, the local Lord who remained loyal to Wenceslas. Although Sigismund managed to conquer the mines and destroy Skalitz, Sir Radzig escaped. Sigismund and his lieutenant Markvart searched for him throughout the Sasau Region, heading first toward Talmberg, from where however they returned emptyhanded.

Codex entry

Sigismund of Luxembourg, son of Charles IV, was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1387, King of Germany from 1411, King of Bohemia from 1419 and King of Italy from 1431. He was also Prince of Silesia, from 1419 Margrave of Lusatia and most notably Holy Roman Emperor between 1433 and 1437.

At an early age, he was sent to be educated at the Hungarian court, quickly mastering the tough conditions of politics. Like other members of his family, he was abducted at least once (in his case by the Hungarian nobility). Having lost faith in the Hungarian nobility, he turned his attention to Bohemia and became engaged in hostilities with his half-brother, Wenceslas. Some of the Bohemian nobility welcomed Sigismund, hoping he would rid them of their ineffective monarch, while others sided with Wenceslas, resulting in long-lasting wars, in the course of which Sigismund and his Hungarian army (consisting in no small part of Cuman mercenaries) repeatedly pillaged Bohemia, often with the help of Bohemian - and especially Moravian - lords themselves. Sigismund fought not only to seize his brother's throne, but also against the Hussites with the aim of seizing the Imperial crown. He regarded himself as the defender of Christianity and in 1409 even founded the Order of the Dragon to wage war against all enemies of the Christian faith. (One of the later members of the order was the infamous Vlad the Impaler, inspiration for the fictional Dracula).

After the death of Wenceslas, Sigismund brought to Bohemia four unsuccessful crusades against the Hussites. He died soon after the signing of the Compacts – a set of agreements with the reformers guaranteeing freedom of religious belief to every inhabitant of the lands of Bohemia and Moravia.

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