D. Rübsamen, Regesten Kaiser Friedrichs III. (Joseph P. Huffman)
Francia-Recensio 2013/4 Mittelalter – Moyen Âge
Regesten Kaiser Friedrichs III. (1440 – 1493) nach Archiven und Bibliotheken geordnet, Heft 28: Die Urkunden und Briefe aus den Archiven und Bibliotheken der Stadt Nürnberg, Teil 3: 1456–1463, bearb. von Dieter Rübsamen, Köln, Weimar, Wien (Böhlau) 2013, 263 S., ISBN 978-3-205-78877-5, EUR 49,90 .
rezensiert von/compte rendu rédigé par
Joseph Huffman, Granthan
This volume is the third of the subseries of » Regesten « comprised of charters and letters of Emperor Frederick III located in archives and libraries of Nuremberg, the first two volumes being previously published under the editorship of Dieter Rübsamen (Research Associate in the Deutsche Kommission für die Bearbeitung der Regesta Imperii in Mainz) in 2000 and 2004. This triple-set is thus a subset of the » Regesta Imperii « series (volumes 14, 19, and 28 respectively) for the rule of Frederick III, the first Habsburg emperor, from his reign as King of the Germans in 1440 to his election as Emperor in 1452 and then to his death in 1493. As this slim third volume only covers the eight-year period 1456–1463, one can expect still more future volumes from Rübsamen until the subseries reaches its conclusion.
The » Regesta Imperii « series for Frederick III has been a quest since 1977 to document and include an estimated 40 000 charters and letters of varying quality located in European archives and libraries, 30 000 of which have been identified through research. Yet only some 10 000 have been published since 1982 because of the diplomatic practice of verifying provenance before publishing. These volumes, including the present one under review, have done much to dispel the older tradition that Frederick III, suffering in the shadow of his son Maximilian I, was rather a personal and political slouch (even though the Siege of Neuss challenges such a reading of his reign). Instead we see him in his register fashioned by modern scholarly research to be an immensely active ruler; indeed, this is why the present volume was limited to eight short years. 423 charters and letters appear during this time period from Nuremberg sources alone, and given that the year 1464 represented a major eruption of imperial privileges for the city and its citizens the volume had to be closed after 1463.
Volume three of the Nuremberg subseries continues the trends seen in the previous two volumes (the first containing 501 charters and letters from the first nine years of Frederick III’s rule [1440–1449], and the second containing 578 entries from only the next five years [1450–1455] with a peak being reached in the years 1451–1452 [i. e. 123 and 104 entries respectively]). These documents were culled from a remarkably wide range of archival locations, with one third produced for imperial interventions into disputes, one third stemming from legal proceedings, about 16% being imperial privileges of one form or another (e. g. feudal, armorial, economic licenses) both granted or confirmed, and the remainder a hodgepodge of correspondence with a wide array of recipients. In one charter for example, (no. 312, dated 7 September 1461) the emperor combined these functions when releasing the city of Nuremberg from military service in the conflict with his younger brother Albrecht VI, Archduke of Austria, and Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria-Landshut. Perhaps it comes as no surprise, but a full quarter of all entries in this volume are documents issued to the city officials of Nuremberg, and when similar documents issued to individual citizens and denizens of Nuremberg are added the total comes to one third of the whole. It may also not come as a surprise to readers that there are very few documents addressed to the papal curia. The overwhelming number of these charters and letters were issued from Vienna, Wiener Neustadt, Leoben, and Graz, suggesting that even if Frederick III were not so much of a slouch as once believed, he certainly did not get around much.
A careful reader can also make good use of this register to reconstruct the impressive socio-economic life and importance of the city of Nuremberg as a financial and communications center. The emperor and his officials appear in this volume to be in constant contact and negotiation with the mayor, city council, and various individual citizens seeking economic or political redress. If Frederick III was not issuing an imperial letter to encourage the parties to settle their differences amiably, he was issuing charters convening a legal commission to deal with such complaints. One gets a very interesting perspective on the forms of economic life and disputes and also realizes that even with a much diminished power base these later medieval emperors were still turned to constantly and in large volume to arbitrate disputes high and low. And in exchange for these services, even the emperor was short on supplies now and then or in need of assistance himself, as is clear in Frederick’s request for the Nuremberg municipal officials to either order some saltpeter in Erfurt or at least set aside some of Nuremberg’s own supply for the imperial gunpowder stockpiles in March 1456 (no. 9). The total effect is one of an imperial court as an oft-used place of resort for dispute settlements and beneficent offerings to faithful followers.
This third volume is laid out in the venerable »Regesta Imperii« format, though its index is more helpful for names and places than for subjects. It is a testament to the continued depth and volume of imperial administration in the later Middle Ages, though Frederick III’s court served more as a distant court of appeals and privilege dispensation than as a dominant presence in Nuremberg, if the register is any indication. In sum, yet another solidly constructed plank has been laid on the bridge to the future summation of the multi-decade » Regesta Imperii « project, and the growing body of Fridericiana continues apace enabling us to reassess his reign in light of the totality of his administrative corpus.
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