Must-Read (II): „Residenzenforschung“ – An Overview of the Publication Series of the German Commission for Research into Courtly Residences

by Fritz R. Viertel

In 1990, the Residenzen-Kommission (Commission for research into courtly residences) of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences published their first edited volume of a series, entitled Residenzenforschung, containing a variety of lectures and abstracts that dealt with recent questions and perspectives of the field in Germany (vol. 1, 1990). It was the introduction to a total of twenty-six volumes which were published by the commission over the following twenty-five years. Today, the Residenzenforschung is the most important publication series focusing on the history of residences and courts in the Holy Roman Empire from the Middle Ages up to early modern times. Continue reading

Must-Read (I): Important studies on early modern court networks and courtly life

by Jonas Bechtold

Early modern court historiography has been very productive in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Researchers dealing with the history of princely courts in Europe can have great use of this variety, but when being new in the field researchers and students may be seeking for orientation. With the intention of giving an – albeit limited – overview, this post is going to present some of the most important works on European courts, their networks and functioning: Continue reading

Norbert Elias and his critics

by Jonas Bechtold

Undoubtedly, the “Court Society” of the sociologist Norbert Elias (1897–1990) has been one of the most influential and discussed books for early modern historiography in the twentieth century. Therefore, his impact on more than fifty years of historical research cannot be underestimated. But in the course of the examination and analysis of Elias’ theories, historians have both adapted and deconstructed it. Especially his idea of a “Royal Mechanism” – playing off the traditional nobility against a raising bourgeoisie and thus controlling both – has found its critics. However, students dealing with the early modern court should certainly study Elias’ theory of the functioning of courtly societies and also be aware of the following studies: Continue reading

Research Databases and Internet Platforms

by Jonas Bechtold

The importance of scientific databases and online platforms for historical scholarship is evident. The methodical and geographical diversity of early modern court historiography creates a particular demand for the linking of research projects. In view of this, the present post aims to present a small selection of important online projects, which may be of use to interested students and “newcomers” in this field of historical research. Continue reading