As we've seen while moving through our story, Austria in the 18th and 19th centuries was heavily involved in Italian affairs, exerting strong control over the northern half of the peninsula and supporting the old order whenever possible. We're starting to approach a pivotal series of events that rocked Europe: the Revolutions of 1848. The Italian side of the revolutions can't really be understood without first understanding the Austrian side. So, in this episode I'll be giving a primer on Austria. To start with, let's be clear: I'm not talking about the modern state of Austria so much as about the Austrian Empire, also known as the Habsburg Empire or Monarchy, which, while centered in Austria, was a multinational empire based more on dynastic than ethnic or cultural ties. We're going to be looking in particular at the following questions: What was the Austrian Empire, and why was the Austrian Empire?