Verwandtschaft – Erbrecht – Königswahlen

7 neue und 26 aktualisierte Beiträge mit 139 Tafeln, Synopsen, Landkarten und Abbildungen und einem Geleitwort von Eckart Henning

[Kinship, Inheritance Law and Royal Elections
7 new and updated contributions with 139 tables, synopses, maps and figures with a foreword by Eckart Henning

Armin Wolf

Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte 283.1/283.2
Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2013. 2 Halbbände, XXV, XV, 1184 S.

ISSN 1610-6040
ISBN 978-3-465-04180-1

The emergence of the imperial electoral college was long held to be an ‘unresolvable problem of constitutional history’ (Lintzel 1952) and a ‘basic question of German constitutional history’ (Stehkämper 1973). Armin Wolf’s solution is deceptively simple: ‘an entitlement to inherit was an entitlement to vote’.

The male lines of the German dynasties (the Ottonian, Salian and Hohenstaufen) kept dying out, but they continued through the female lines. The representatives of these royal female lines were entitled to inherit, and as Wolf shows through painstaking genealogical research spanning decades, they were identical with the royal electors from 19 dynasties at the Hohenstaufen-Guelph double election, the list of which first became available in 1198. Their ranks thinned over the course of the 13th century through natural and territorial attrition as well as the excommunication of Hohenstaufen loyalists.

There was a new beginning in 1273 after the interregnum, when Rudolf von Habsburg’s first lay electors demanded and received betrothals to the new king’s daughters in exchange for their votes. These marriages yielded a small number of royal female lines. Their four representatives united in 1298 with the three Rhenish archbishops to the exclusion of others for the first time in a reformacio sacri status imperii at the election Rudolf’s son Albrecht of Austria, at which they were first declared an electoral college and prince-electors. The union (unio) of these seven (Mainz, Cologne, Trier; Bohemia, the Palatinate, Saxony, Brandenburg) was codified in the ‘Golden Bull’ of 1356.

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