The territorial complex of Inner Austria, with Graz as the seat of the ruling prince, consisted of Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Gorizia and Gradisca, the town of Trieste, parts of Istria including Rijeka, as well as Habsburg Friuli, and was a product of a division of the Habsburg hereditary lands enacted by testamentary provision. Apart from the Ottoman threat, the inner political and confessional solidarity was endangered by the spread of the Reformation from the German-, Slovenian- and Italian-speaking parts of Inner Austria to Italy and the Slavic territories. Therefore, Pope Gregory XIII founded a permanent nunciature in Graz to support the Catholic sovereign, Archduke Karl. As with the volumes of the diplomatic correspondence between Rome and Graz published so far, the fourth volume, comprising the years 1595-1598, focuses on the defence against the Ottomans, the fight against the Reformation, and the beginning of the Catholic reform. In addition, it offers insight into the marriage policy of the court of Graz that was approved and supported by the pope: Inner Austrian princesses were married to Polish, Transylvanian, and Spanish princes. Transylvania was an important outpost against the Ottoman, while the Spanish marriage was celebrated in Ferrara by Pope Clemens VIII himself in 1598. Nuncio Girolamo Portia accompanied the young sovereign Archduke Ferdinand on his journey through Italy in 1598, which had important influence on the confessional and cultural policy of his later reign as Emperor Ferdinand II.
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