Sigismund

1361-1437. Holy Roman Emperor. Second son of Emperor Charles IV, Sigismund inherited the mark of Brandenburg on his father's death in 1378. For six years thereafter he studied at the Hungarian court. In 1385 he married Maria, daughter of King Louis of Hungary and Poland, and in 1387 he succeeded his father-in-law as king of Hungary. Domestic Hungarian problems, Turkish attacks, and intrigues in his bid for succession in Germany and Bohemia weakened his rule. In 1410 he was elected German king, or “king of the Romans.” Solution of the Great Schism being in the best imperial interest, he pressured John XXIII* to convoke the Council of Constance* (1414-18), and his international travels and appeals during the sessions were instrumental in restoring a unified papacy. He guaranteed John Hus* safe passage to the council, where the Reformer was martyred. The Hussite Wars in Bohemia (c.1420-36) erupted after Sigismund succeeded Wenceslas as king of Bohemia in 1419 and pledged to prosecute heresy. Vexed by yet another Ottoman advance on Hungary, Sigismund was unable to consolidate his power in Germany. Although Pope Eugene IV crowned him Holy Roman Emperor in 1433, Sigismund died without having achieved his goal of unifying Christendom against Islamic advance.