Ferdinand I and the Estates: Between Confrontation and Co-operation, 1521–64
Both in the territories of the Holy Roman Empire and in the Habsburg lands, meetings of the prince and the estates took place at the diets. Here the public affairs of the territory concerned were discussed. In particular, the diet was the place where the estates could make use of their most important right—the right of the grant of taxes, which gave the prince resources for financing court and ‘state’, in other words the princely household, government, administration, and defence. In dominions as far-reaching and multifarious as those of the Habsburgs, both sides, the prince and the estates of the individual territories, were confronted with special organisational problems. The diets of the thirteen Habsburg territories—Austria above and below the Enns, Styria, Carinthia, Car- niola, Gorizia, Tyrol, Further Austria, Württemberg (between 1520 and 1534) and after 1526 Bohemia, Moravia, Lusatia, Silesia and Hungary—took place at periodic intervals, generally every year, and required the personal presence of the prince. It was difficult to achieve this. Moreover, the co-ordination of ‘common affairs’, which exceeded the competence of the individual territory, likewise concerned the estates as well as the ruler. Even though the prince stood at the apex and formed the uniting dynastic bond, a sense of community on the part of the estates was substantially lacking.
KeywordsGeneral Diet Administrative Institution Austrian Group Individual Territory Territorial Group
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