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Associative Political Culture in the Holy Roman EmpireUpper Germany, 1346-1521$
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Duncan Hardy

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198827252

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198827252.001.0001

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The Age of Imperial Reform, c. 1486–1521

The Age of Imperial Reform, c. 1486–1521

(p.233) 12 The Age of Imperial Reform, c. 1486–1521
Associative Political Culture in the Holy Roman Empire

Duncan Hardy

Oxford University Press

This final case study in associative political culture’s shaping of the evolving Holy Roman Empire examines the new legislation passed during the reign of King/Emperor Maximilian, which modern historians have often called ‘imperial reforms’. At the heart of the reform narrative is the idea that the Empire experienced a constitutional watershed around 1495/1500 as a set of new institutions was established through laws issued at the imperial diets, such as the so-called ‘eternal public peace’ (Ewiger Landfriede), the imperial chamber court (Reichskammergericht), and the imperial council (Reichsregiment). However, the functions and discourses of these institutions and the legislation that created them were remarkably similar to associative practices and documentation. Viewed from the perspective of the Upper German culture of multilateral assistance through stipulated mutual obligations and adjudication and negotiation at Tage, the outcomes of ‘imperial reform’ appear not as radical departures, but as iterations of deeply rooted structures and dynamics.

Keywords:   imperial reform, Reichsreform, Emperor Maximilian, imperial diets, eternal public peace, Ewiger Landfriede, imperial chamber court, Reichsregiment, imperial circles, Reichskreise

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