State and Nobility in Early Modern Germany: The Knightly Feud in Franconia, 1440-1567

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 13, 2003 - History - 252 pages
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One of the most striking features of late medieval and early modern German was the countless feuds carried out by nobles. A constant threat to law and order, these feuds have commonly been regarded as a manifestation of the decline - economic and otherwise - of the nobility. This study shows that the nobility was not in crisis at this time. Nor were feuds merely banditry by another name. Rather, they were the result of an interplay between two fundamental processes: princely state-building, and social stratification among the nobility. Offering a new paradigm for understanding the German nobility, this book argues that the development of the state made proximity to princes the single most decisive factor in determining the fortune of a family. The result was a violent competition among the nobility over resources which were crucial to the princes. Feuds played a central role in this struggle that eventually led to the formation of an elite of noble families on whose power and wealth the princely state depended.
 

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Contents

The problem of the feud
1
METHOD AND SOURCES
11
The politics of violence feuding in late medieval Franconia
16
SCHOTT VERSUS NUREMBERG
26
The Franconian nobility
36
OFFICE
38
THE PLEDGE CREDITORS AND GUARANTORS
42
MARRIAGE
62
THE FORMATION OF THE KNIGHTHOOD
123
THE COMMON PENNY OF 1495
129
THE END OF THE FEUD
132
A note on Appendixes
147
Creditors and guarantors of the margraves of Brandenburg
148
Sample of intermarriages among the noble elite
155
Individual parameters of feuders SampleI
157
Family parameters of feuders SampleI
164

Prosopography of feuding noblemen
68
INDIVIDUAL PARAMETERS
78
FAMILY PARAMETERS
80
State nobility and lordship the feud interpreted
87
FROM ARISTOCRACY TO NOBILITY
88
TERRITORIALISING PRINCES AND FEUDING NOBLEMEN
92
WARS AND FEUDS
96
LORDSHIP PROTECTION AND THE FEUD
102
STATEMAKING AND THE FEUD
111
CONCLUSION
118
The decline of the feud
122
Appendix D
166
Appendix D
168
individual parameters of feuders SampleII
171
Family parameters of feuders SampleII
173
Sources of information for Appendix A
175
Sources of information for Appendixes C and D
183
Sources of information for Appendixes E and F
200
Selected bibliography
204
Index
229
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