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.

The commission comprises thirteen members and was headed by Werner Paravicini, the former director of the German Historical Institute in Paris. It offers to the interested public an opus, which consists of fourteen edited volumes, ten monographs, one compendium (with five sub-volumes) and one edition of primary source material. This goes above and beyond the original concept, which planned for a main line of nine edited volumes, which were to assemble articles written for the eleven symposia, which were held between 1990 and 2008 in cooperation with different research institutions. The commission cooperated with the universities of Potsdam, Kiel, Dresden and Greifswald, as well as the archive of Celle, the Landesmuseum of Schleswig-Holstein and the German Historical Institute in Paris. Published at an interval of two years (first volume: third symposium 1992, publ. 1995; last volume: eleventh symposium 2008, publ. 2010), these edited volumes mirror the key aspects of the commission’s work and focus on questions of Everyday Court Life (vol. 5, 1995), Ceremonial and Space (vol. 6, 1997), Courts and Court Ordinances (vol. 10, 1999), Women’s Living Spaces (vol. 11, 2000), Upbringing and Education at the Court (vol. 13, 2002), The Case of the Favorite (vol. 17, 2004), The Court and the City (vol. 20, 2006), Court Economy (vol. 21, 2008) and Interresidential Perception and Exchange (vol. 23, 2010).

The series includes monographs, which focus on case studies of selected courts of the Holy Roman Empire, such as The Princely Residence City of Passau in Late Medieval Germany (vol. 3, 1992, by Konrad Amann), Ruling Centres in the Prince-Archbishopric of Trier in the Late Middle Ages (vol. 4, 1995, by Dieter Kerber), Residence, Court and Administration of the Archbishops of Magdeburg in the City of Halle in the First Half of the Sixteenth Century (vol. 7, 1998, by Michael Scholz), The Genesis of the Princely Residence of Heidelberg in the Fourteenth Century (vol. 8, 1999, by Johann Kolb), The Catharinenburg as the Residence of Pfalzgraf Johann Casimir von Zweibrücken, 1619-1622 (vol. 12, 2000, by Liliane Châtelet-Lange), Administration, Communication and Consumption at the Court of the Bishop Johannes von Venningen in Basel 1458-1478 (vol. 16, 2004, by Volker Hirsch) and Ruling, Social and Communicative Aspects of the Bishop of Konstanz in the Fourteenth Century (vol. 18, 2005, by Andreas Bihrer).

The mentioned volumes are complemented by a small amount of special monographs whose focus is situated outside the German territories or on more cross-sectional problems: Non-Royal Residences in Late Medieval England (vol. 2, 1990, by Kurt-Ulrich Jäschke), Late Medieval Bills, Administration Practices – Court and Territory as the Origins of Territorial Accounting in the German North-West (vol. 9, 2000, by Mark Mersiowsky), Dying, Death, Entombment and Liturgical Remembrance of Secular Imperial Princes in the Late Middle Ages (vol. 19, 2006, by Cornell Babendererde). Moreover, the series includes some edited volumes based on other conferences organized by members or colleagues of the commission: Dynasties and Courts in the Late Middle Ages (vol. 14, 2002), Princely Self-Portrayal and its Reception: Between Groups and Individuals 1450-1550 (vol. 22, 2009), Structures of Ecclesiastical Courts and Residences Using the Example of Salzburg in the Middle Ages and in Modernity (vol. 24, 2011) and Integration and Competition between Urban Bourgeoisie and Court Society in Residence Cities and Capitals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Century (vol. 25, 2011).

A special place within the series takes the compendium Courts and Residences in the Late Medieval Empire by Werner Paravicini. It is subdivided into three parts (with a total of five volumes) and consists of the handbooks Dynasties and Courts (vol. 15.I/1, 2003) and Residences (vol. 15.I/2, 2003), an encyclopedia of Terms (vol. 15.II/1, 2005), the illustrated book on Pictures (vol. 15.II/2, 2005) and the volume Court and Documents (vol. 15.III, 2007) – a kind of presentation of and introduction to the enormous variety of courtly documents. The final volume of the series is a primary source edition by Brigitte Kasten and Margarete Bruckhaus who assembled the court ordinances, office rules and regiment orders of the duchy of Jülich-Kleve-Berg from 1456/1521 up to 1609 (vol. 26, 2015).

It was already mentioned that the Residenzenforschung concentrates primarily on the Holy Roman Empire. Nevertheless, the edited volumes of the series include numerous articles discussing aspects of courts and residences outside the empire. Contributions like Some aspects of daily Routine at the Brabant Court between the End of the Fourteenth and the Beginning of the Fifteenth Century (by André Uyttebrouck, vol. 5, p. 149-170), Everyday Life and Festival at the Hungarian Court of Jagellons 1490-1526 (by András Kubinyi, vol. 5, p. 197-218), Per honore della ciptà. Ceremonial during the Florentine Quattrocento using the Example of the Visit of Galeazzo Maria Storza in April 1459 (by Susanne Kress, vol. 6, p. 113-128), Rhodos as the Residence Island of the Order of St. John. Fight against the pagans in a knightly and courtly Atmosphere (by Detlev Kraack, vol. 6, p. 215-238), The structure of the Majorcan Court about 1350 and the Habit of the Court’s Society (by Gottfried Kerscher, vol. 10, p. 77-90), Female Living Spaces at the Court of the last Valois (by Monique Chatenet, vol. 11, p. 175-192), The Court of Philipp II of Spain. Education and Upbringing in the Time of Confessionalization (by Antonio Sáez-Arance, vol. 13, p. 177-192) or Court and City, a Tense Relation in the Burgundian Netherlands (by Wim Blockmans, vol. 25, p. 71-80) create a wide range of perspectives on the court and residence research on a European scale.

The whole series was published by the Thorbecke Verlag Sigmaringen/Stuttgart/Ostfildern. German is the main language of all volumes, but there are also sizeable numbers of English and French articles included, as well as one single Italian article. Most of the mentioned titles are translated into English by the author of this text.

To get an overview at a glance about the detailed structure and all contents of “Residenzenforschung”, be sure to use this PDF, which presents the bibliographical information of the series in table form.

In 2012, a new project got into the position of the Residenzen-Kommission. The Göttingen Academy of Sciences continues to work in this field now under the heading Court Cities in the Holy Roman Empire (1300-1800). Urbanism as a Network of Integrative and Competing Relationships between Seignoral Rulership and Civic Community, which is directed by a new leadership commission.

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

  1. Hi David,

    I am indeed that Regine Maritz 🙂 I am currently in the States for a conference, but please email me on and I will get back to you asap. Curious to hear in what context you are interested in Friedrich.

    Best wishes,


  2. Dear Regine,

    I only speak English, so I am beginning with a simple contact to confirm that I have contacted the right person as suggested to me from the following:

    “Dear Mr Ewald

    How very interesting. But no – I have not come across that notion of Stanger. I have always been curious about how Friedrich made it into the Merry Wives though. Hm. One of my PhD students works on Friedrich and his affairs – her name is Regine Maritz and she can be contacted via the German historical institute in Paris.

    Kind regards,
    Ulinka Rublack”

    If you are this Regine Maritz, please reply in the affirmative if you are interested in being of assistance to my query.

    Best wishes,

    David Ewald

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