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Securitas inter cives et contra exteros defensio - The imperial circles in the constitution of the Old Kingdom using the example of the Swabian district

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Problems at the end of the Middle Ages

3 The development of the districts after 1500

4 tasks and structure of the circles
4.1 Tasks
4.2 structures
4.2.1 Items in the circle
4.2.2 The district council
4.3 Activities of the individual circles

5 The Swabian Circle
5.1 General structures and tasks
5.2 Special features of the circle
5.3 The circle as the keeper of peace
5.4 The circle as general

6 Summary

7 Appendix
7.1 Maps, materials
7.2 Sources
7.3 Literature

I. Introduction

"The Reichskreis Matter is brittle"1, claims Winfried Dotzauer in his book "The German Imperial Circles in the Constitution of the Old Reich and Their Own Life." In fact, many authors who write on the subject of the Imperial Circles note that interest in this subject is not widespread, or like Dotzauer it expresses, "(it) today's average talented and interested students hardly find any access to it."2

The imperial circles were in the first half of the XVI. Century formed as administrative and electoral districts, as will be described in this work. And although they later led a life of their own - as the title of Dotzauer's work suggests - their existence is hardly known today. If I hadn't had to deal with them in the course of the proseminar, they would also be unknown to me.

The circles existed throughout what we call modern times, that is, the three centuries from the end of the Middle Ages to the end of the Old Kingdom. There is hardly any scientific processing in the context of history and jurisprudence3. Only with the end of the XIX. Century dealt the legal history with the circles, so for example Ernst Langwerth von Simmern, who a legal dissertation on this topic4 delivers.

Historical research mostly sees the districts as the predecessors of other regional authorities, as steps on the path of the German states. In the administrative history one recognizes the circles as tax and administrative organs. Only relatively few works deal with the districts in their own way, including, in my opinion, Winfried Dotzauer, who provides an overview of the district's history with the above book. In addition, in 1998 Dotzauer provided a further detailed account of the Reichskreis with extensive sources of information on which this work is largely based.5 In 1997, Peter Claus Hartmann presented another work on the Bavarian Reich Circle in particular6

The present work deals to a more modest extent with an overview of the history of the imperial circles, in particular with the Swabian Circle, as this belongs to the active circles, both in terms of its internal activities and its work externally. The external activities also include the relationship between the district and rebellious peasants. On the other hand, the circle is noteworthy insofar as it - owing to the map of denominations - often spoke with two voices, an old believer and a Protestant.

In particular, the development of the circles from administrative institutions to independently active corporations is to be traced, whereby the question is to be pursued, to what extent these circles were actually able to pursue their own politics.

I. Problems at the end of the Middle Ages

During the interregnum, the imperial lost7 Central authority a lot of power. The increase in power on the part of the territorial princes and cities made it difficult to enforce central resolutions. Above all, there was concern about the peace in the country, which had to be effectively preserved.

This then included other policy areas that were difficult to resolve with the low level of central power. So it was difficult to execute judgments by the court courts. In addition, there were problems in setting up and financing a powerful Reichsheer8 and to ensure the appropriate participation of the imperial estates in the submission of the imperial courts.

Roeck brings a fundamental thought9 into play by raising the question of whether the Reich still had statehood at all. "What is the" state interest "of the general association, if only since it lacks the power to wrestle the power of the individual states at home?"10 This power, he continues, could at least potentially be directed against the empire itself. As an answer he offers, among others, Friedrich Leutholff von Franckenberg, who claims the "first main point of interest of the Reich government" is the "preservation of the Reich sovereignty / sovereign power / dignity and honor and state".11 Overall, Roeck calls the constitution of the Roman Empire of the late Middle Ages and modern times a "defensive legal association". Nonetheless, the question arises as to how this defense against "the slightest change in the basic laws", like Roeck the "European State Cantzley" by Anton Faber is quoted12, should be carried out when the state lacks the power to exercise it.

In order to remedy these grievances, plans for the division of the empire into parties, parts, terms, concepts, unions, quarters, districts or districts have been submitted since the end of the 14th century. In part, these reform efforts were undertaken as part of a comprehensive reform of the empire and the church - as in Nikolaus von Cues "Concordantia Catholica". In the course of this century, when various problems mentioned above occurred, the division into circles was proposed as a solution without achieving great success The division was made differently, with particular consideration being given to geographic or tribal history. Political-dynastic considerations did the rest. In general, a division into four to six parts was advocated. In many considerations, the imperial ancestral lands remained outside of the district division , just like the north-western parts of the empire that later formed the Burgundian Circle.

After several failed attempts - especially the efforts of Wenceslas (1389) and Sigmund (1415) - there was a renewed revival of the circle idea under Maximilian I around the turn of the century Division of the empire dealt with. However, there the districts were only given the function of an administrative division, that is, they could not take their own steps to secure the peace.

I. The development of the districts after 1500

The smaller territorial lords and cities in particular were uneasy about this development, as they feared cuts to their sovereignty. Therefore, at the beginning special attention was given to the administrative tasks of the districts, be it to organize the collection of taxes more effectively or to complete the election of the assessors for the Reich Regiment and Reich Chamber Court. Therefore, in 1500, the establishment of the districts could actually be started. There was even competition among the circles for the earliest establishment of various institutions, as Dotzauer cites older literature. Particularly the non-Habsburg and non-electoral circles stood out, who hoped that this new institution would improve their ability to influence structurally. In contrast, the circles of the great imperial estates - Upper Rhine District with the four Rhenish electors, Upper Saxony with Electoral Saxony and Kurbrandenburg, Austria as the home of the kings and Burgundy with the Habsburg and Spanish Netherlands - remained in the development of individualized corporations.

The entire German landscape between the Alps and the lakes was now divided into circles. Italy was probably never seriously included in the district division, while Bohemia and Livonia were considered, but these were not divided into districts. The confederation, which was de facto independent after the Peace of Basel in 1499, also fell out of the district organization, although it continued into the 16th century. In the 19th century, parts of this federation belonged to different districts (Schaffhausen, Kreuzlingen, Einsiedeln, St. Johann in the Thurtal and St. Gallen in the Swabian region, Basel in the Upper Rhine region). The Upper Rhine District in particular had its own problems, as many parts of it, such as Savoy, Lorraine and some Alsatian estates, were very much hindered in its cooperation by their foreign rulers. This was also problematic for the empire, since the Upper Rhine district was on the sensitive border with France and was also partly ruled by French powers. It was generally difficult to unite in a circle very different bodies that had also entered into contradicting alliances. Another point that disrupted the development of the district was the inclusion of the imperial knighthood, especially with regard to the pursuit of troublemakers who withdrew from the district to their own territories.

There were also disputes among the districts about areas, but these were viewed as more solvable or at least not contrary to the district work. If care was taken when setting up the districts that individual imperial estates should only belong to one district, then there was overlap in the course of development through territorial acquisitions. This posed a problem insofar as, especially in non-electoral circles, the tendering office fell into the hands of electors, who thereby undermined the balance among the smaller estates.

Especially after the reorganization of the Reich as a result of the Thirty Years' War, the leading states in Germany were given access to the entire district system. Dotzauer claims that the district organization had its real heyday until 1648, since only until then could it remain true to the "original idea, the equal integration of all district estates into the responsibility of the circular service communities."13 With the introduction of the Reich reform in 1500, the districts were established for the long term. As early as 1510 in Augsburg and 1512 in Worms, the districts were named not only as electoral bodies but also as institutions for the execution of the peace and for the enforcement of tax matters. The districts were assigned their own organs - captains and horsemen - which, however, were to be appointed by the estates. However, these could only act within narrow limits, any further increase in funds required the approval of a specially convened Reichstag. In 1512, the hereditary lands of the king and Burgundy, the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, together with Duke George of Saxony and the bishops, joined the six districts so far. The first trial by fire came when the circles were to be mobilized against the outlawed knight Franz von Sickingen. It turned out that the organization of the circles left a lot to be desired. After the death of Maximilian I, work on the development of the circles stalled. In 1521 a new imperial regiment was set up under Charles V, which again fell back on the old six districts from 1500. Nevertheless, it was not until the early thirties that the Upper German districts, Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia and Upper Rhine, came together to form district assemblies.

The Turkish Aid in 1532 was the first successful entry of the circles, which, as Dotzauer quotes Helmut Neuhaus14to take the place of the Reichsregiment. In the meantime, these had been upgraded to the extent that they were included in the improvement of the imperial register and the coinage system. Nevertheless, the circle work did not go smoothly, as the Munster problems with the Anabaptists in 1534 showed, in which the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Imperial Circle did not take immediate action. The other circles also referred to the previous Reich farewells, which spoke of providing assistance, but not of an obligation to do so. As a result, this maintenance of the peace was again organized by the Reich. In 1542, however, as the Turkish question remained virulent, an imperial army was formed from the districts, with ten warlords, one from each district, at the side of the field captain, Joachim von Brandenburg. It was not until 1554 that the circles came together after various smaller intercircular meetings for a large meeting in Frankfurt, which adopted a princely-dominated order for the circles. A Reichstag in the same year advocated a class order. The Reichstag in Augsburg in 1555, which also had to conclude the religious peace, also passed an execution order15. This order laid the foundation for the long-term and stable work of the circles.

In this order the mutual aid of the districts was regulated. The circles were given an internal constitution. All in all, a more esteemed regiment was established, which was dependent on the emperor and king in the legislative and legal jurisdiction, but left the execution to the imperial circles. In particular, the circles were entrusted with the execution of classes that were subject to the Reich but were themselves at home outside the Reich.

In order to counteract a divergence of the districts, consideration was given to creating general district assemblies as an umbrella organization. It was also forbidden to drag out execution orders with reference to other circles, the so-called "postponement".

With the Reformation, new explosives were brought into the circles that had just grown together. With the exception of Austria and Upper Saxony, all circles were circula mixta, which had to deal with mixed confessional district assemblies, as we will see in the Swabian district. Nevertheless, or precisely because of the mixed denominational structure of most of the districts, these became particularly non-denominational institutions. Dotzauer points out that "in the predominantly mixed confessional circles, the call for peaceful coexistence was taken seriously longer than elsewhere."16

Especially during the Thirty Years' War, the circles emerged as moderating organs of the empire. Even if in the course of the hardened fronts in the run-up to the war there were no more meetings in some circles and only the bare essentials were dealt with in other circles, the circles established themselves in their capacity as non-denominational arbitration institutions. Yet they were not strong and independent enough to make alliances of their own. In the thirties of the XVII. In the 19th century, many districts again focused on securing their own territories. After the peace treaty between Münster and Osnabrück in 1648, the districts were the only functioning execution institutions tasked with carrying out the peace.

Following the Thirty Years' War and with the beginning of the Baroque era, circles began to make associations with one another. In 1691, for example, the Franconian and Swabian districts signed a formal association agreement.

I. Tasks and structure of the circles

In terms of the history of their origins, the circles already had firmly assigned tasks, to which more were added in the course of development. They were an institution of the imperial constitution that could be used more effectively for the government of the empire.17 Since they were mainly organized according to estates, but appeared to the emperor, represented by the captain, as separate institutions, it was easier to deal with them; in contrast, the Reichstag tended to block themselves by balancing the interests of the estates .

A. Duties

The districts were primarily responsible for maintaining the peace. As a result, they were responsible for the execution of Reichstag farewells and Reich and Chamber Court judgments. In this context, they were also authorized to provide assistance in the area of ​​other circles, if this should be necessary for the maintenance of the peace. This chapter also includes the establishment or at least the financing of an imperial army, which became necessary at the time of its formation, especially when the entire empire was threatened by the Turkish and later French wars. Another financial assignment was to take care of the collection of imperial taxes, especially the common penny and the Roman month. So one of the major tasks of the districts was financial policy. There were borrowing and debt settlement budgets. However, as Dotzauer mentioned, it was disputed whether the majority principle should also apply to financial decisions to the detriment of the other estates. The district estates owned the ius collectandi, the focus of the financial constitution was on the district taxes - be it the ordinary district taxes such as monetary and in-kind taxes that were levied by the district estates, be it the extraordinary ones that were levied in cases of war and crisis or by agreement which could also be raised by the Reich.

Furthermore, the circles were intended from the beginning as electoral bodies for imperial courts and other bodies of the empire.Here, too, the argumentation could be repeated that this - in modern terms - a proportional economy was put forward - otherwise a representative from every class and every country would have to be called in - and instead a representative form of rule was preferred, which certainly also did will be more easily dealt with. Like Zürn, for example18 shows, the peasant classes were not represented and this led to uprisings. The circles were responsible for the supervision of the coinage. For this purpose, up to two probation days were held annually.

The most important task for the districts, however, the maintenance of the peace in the country, drew a whole military apparatus with it. In general, a district contingent was raised depending on the severity of a crisis, which was fixed. According to this, a single troop strength (Simplum), double strength (Duplum) or even threefold (Triplum) could be demanded from the circles. The level of the Simplum varied from time to time, in general it moved between 2000 and 3000 men per district, so that ideally an imperial army of 20-30000 men was formed. By converting four guilders per foot servant and twelve guilders per rider, the obligation could be expressed in so-called matricular guilders. Incidentally, the Swabian Circle has been around since the 17th century. Century a standing army, a so-called miles perpetuus. Since 1680 the responsibility for the organization of the Reichsheer no longer lay with the Reichstag but with the districts.

11 structures

1 post in the circle

A captain stood at the head of the circle. This post was held by the most senior prince in the circle, with spiritual princes taking precedence over secular princes.19 The secular captain was in charge of the district troops for internal peace, since clergy princes were never allowed to take on military tasks. He also led the district contingents in external conflicts - for example against the Turks. From 1555 onwards, the district council elected the district bishop from among the important ranks of the district. The colonel, on the other hand, acted together with three to six assigned estates, which he could independently convene to advise on military and police tasks. The Colonel called the contingents - the Simplum, Duplum or Triplum, depending on requirements - to arms, in urgent cases without consulting the assigned stands and was also able to call up to five neighboring districts to mobilize. Due to the personal union of the Obristenamt and the secular tendering office, this office was given a prominent position. The military apparatus in turn pulled a whole tail of personnel positions behind it: from the generals to the officers to the administrative apparatus.

Together with the captain, district advertising agencies were set up, the actual task of which was to convene district assemblies. This tendering office was shared by the two highest-ranking positions, one spiritual and one secular. This division becomes a prerequisite after the adoption of the Reich Coin Order. In the mixed circles in particular, after the Reformation had gained strength, the two writing offices were divided between the two denominations, with the Protestant voice being taken over by the secular prince. In return, a district directorate was introduced, which was in Catholic hands.

Below the high offices there were the middle and lower civil servants. There was the district secretary who was responsible for keeping the minutes, reading out documents, dictatorship and the registry lists that formed the district registry with him. The lower officials were also employed in the district chancellery, the registrars, scribes and archivists.

The financial responsibility of the districts also resulted in a large apparatus of tax officials. There were "cash managers", also called differently in the various circles - district cashiers, district cashiers, penny masters, top collectors, district collectors. Subordinate were account deputies, cash clerks, paymasters, district accounting officers.

1 The district council

The decision-making body of the district was the district council, a mostly class-based body that was organized in a similar way to the Reichstag. Although the district and imperial class were different, they were based on the same criteria. They had to have an imperial or secular area and a position appropriate to their status. Imperial knights, if they owned such lands, could also become members of the district assembly. In surveys of the prince status - depending on whether it was an imperial prince - there could even be a different classification in the imperial and district assembly. Switching to another bank in particular could lead to dissatisfaction, as this could result in well-established equilibria being out of balance. The absolute new inclusion of a raised rank in a circle required the approval of the emperor. In contrast to the Reichstag, the votes in the district council were equal; absence at the end of a degree did not exempt from the obligation to follow them. However, there was a major shortcoming with regard to the acceptance of these degrees. Only obligations from the emperor and empire were actually considered binding. After all, the districts lacked the means to enforce the resolutions against their powerful district estates.

The district councils were visited rather poorly. Dotzauer refers to the surprising fact that the large stands seemed to be more interested in the meetings, which he justified with the financial expenditure of this interest, which the large stands were more able to support. In addition to the district booths, commissioners sent by the emperor also had the right to speak directly to the plenum.

The resolutions of the district assembly did not require ratification by district estates, the emperor or the Reichstag. However, there were hardly any disputes within the district council, as the deputies had mostly received fixed instructions from their clients. The stands received the advice points in advance and were able to agree on a position. The plenary then voted individually in a specific order. The meetings were often organized in benches - Dotzauer lists the following benches: Swabia (5): ecclesiastical princes, secular princes, prelates, counts and lords, cities; Franconia and Upper Rhine (4): ecclesiastical princes, secular princes, counts, cities; Westphalia (4): prelates, princes, counts, cities; Bavaria (2): clergy and secular; Kurrhein has a round table; there were no benches in the two Saxon districts; Austria and Burgundy did not hold any district meetings20 - However, these hardly had a life of their own, as there were no bank votes but individual votes. In the Swabian District there were nevertheless frequent convents, especially in the lower banks. The benches were owned by chairpersons through whom the correspondence from the district registration office ran.

The procedure at district meetings was similar to the Reichstag procedure. It ran through tenders, authorization of the representatives, legitimation of the representatives on site, opening of the assembly, division of the assembly into sessions, preposition, dictatorship, polls, votes, conclusions and final district recession.

11 activities of the individual circles

The meetings of the individual circles could - depending on the structure of the same - take place at permanent or changing locations. The Kurrheinische Kreis met in Bingen, Bacharach, Oberwesel, Boppard and Cologne, and later also in Frankfurt. The district meetings of the Westphalian district took place mainly in Cologne, but also in Dortmund, Essen and Duisburg. In contrast, the Upper German districts had more fixed conference locations. Swabia met preferably in Ulm, Bavaria alternately in the Bavarian Wasserburg and in Salzburg's Mühldorf and Franconia in Nuremberg. The two Saxon districts also had fixed locations. Upper Saxony gathered the deputies in Leipzig, less often in Frankfurt in Brandenburg, Lower Saxony moved back and forth between Braunschweig and Lüneburg.

1 The Swabian Circle

12 General structures and tasks

The Swabian district roughly comprised the old tribal duchy of Swabia, although the Austrian foreland on the Upper Rhine did not belong to the district area but to the Austrian district, nor did the areas of the imperial knighthood belong to the district, nor did the Swiss Confederation, which was completely excluded from the district division. But Franconian areas were part of the district. The largest territorial state in the district was the Duchy of Württemberg, although initially the function of district chief fell to the Duke of Württemberg. Around 1700 the votes among the estates were divided as follows: 4 ecclesiastical princes (4.3% of the votes), 18 prelates (19.1%), 13 secular princes (13.8%), 28 counts and lords (29.8%) ) and 31 imperial cities (33%).21 This gave the secular voices a majority, which, according to Dotzauer, was irrelevant, since the confession had dictated the boundaries since the Reformation. The ratio in this case was clearly in favor of the Catholics, who owned 55% of the population and even 2/3 of the country and even provided four fifths of the district votes.

In the district council, however, there was a strong division into the banks. The cities in particular, but also the prelates, the counts and the lords, met in banking conventions. The secular princes, however, never met.

The responsibility of the circles was initially limited to the implementation of the requirements of the emperor and empire - granting Turkish aid, moderation and measures relating to coins. But after the Thirty Years' War the range of tasks expanded. Instead of granting peace in the country, the main military areas shifted to protecting the imperial borders against the Turks and the French. Within the district, regulatory measures were taken within the framework of the police, for example mandates for servants, day laborers and craftsmen were issued.

But also the original tasks of the district made frequent meetings of the district council necessary. In times of war, questions regarding the formation of troops, billeting and passage had to be settled. By the end of the XVII. Century increased the number of district assemblies. Dotzauer calculated 17 sessions a year for the years 1649 to 1732, which took 55 days per year. The Swabian Circle is generally considered to be one of the most active and best organized circles.

Nevertheless, committees were set up at the beginning of the district history to take over the daily work of the plenary assembly. These Ordinari deputations could only produce reports and not pass resolutions, but in later times these reports became quasi-resolutions that were only approved by the plenary. The committee was set up as early as 1532, to which 12 district booths were sent. In 1648 each bank sent two representatives to the deputation. The following institutions exercised this right: Constance and Augsburg sat for the ecclesiastical prince bank, in the committee for the secular Württemberg and the respective presiding line of the House of Baden, then the two prelates and counts and the cities of Ulm and Augsburg. Since the Catholics feared a majority in this constellation, the deputation was temporarily lifted in 1675. Nevertheless ran in the XVIII. In the 19th century, almost all of the important discussion points were sent to the plenary via this body.

Instead of the district convention, the narrower convention, which was used as a peace broker during the Thirty Years' War, also met. In contrast to the deputation, composed of like this one, the narrower convention was able to pass resolutions that were subsequently approved by the plenary assembly. Through this construction, the circle work could be done more efficiently and cheaply than by convening the plenary.

21 special features of the district

At the beginning of the history of the Swabian District there was competition between it and the Swabian Federation22, whereby the memberships in both organizations partially coincided. Only with the effects of the Reformation, which called the Swabian Federation into question, could the district gradually gain the upper hand.

Because of the circle's status as a circulus mixtus, i.e. a circle with both Protestant and Catholic district estates, special procedures were necessary if the circle did not block itself. That is why the majority and parity principle was combined in the district council, that is, as in the Reichstag, any majorization in religious matters was forbidden.

Nevertheless, it happened especially since the 1920s. Century to particular district days, which were convened by the district directors (Württemberg, Baden, Konstanz and Augsburg monastery) and can be considered denominational district days. This division was originally set up in 1559 and 1563 in order to ensure more effective maintenance of police security on site.

Regarding the sources of the district farewells, Dotzauer notes that the Swabian Circle does not publish them in print and justifies this with the sometimes necessary secrecy, but also mentions that this led to difficulties with the large number of district council members.

Another peculiarity of the Swabian District is without a doubt the duplicity of the district announcing positions held by the Bishop of Constance on the Catholic side and the Duke of Württemberg on the Protestant side. This led to discrepancies. However, the directorate of the Swabian District was held relatively early on by the Duke of Württemberg, who had secured the office of advertisement and the office of colonel in personal union. Although he recognized in the XVII. Century the Bishop of Constance as the highest-ranking Swabian prince, secured him the first vote on the district council, but kept the leadership of the meetings in his hand. The district chancellery and archive were also located in Stuttgart. In addition, the Duke of Württemberg gradually came into possession of the sole right of nomination for the district officials. The district directorate was claimed by Württemberg, a secret council met between the district assemblies in Stuttgart. The advertising office and the district directorate were the two key positions at the district offices. Among other things, they dealt with, the enforcement of imperial court judgments, with the supervision of peace and public security, troop movements, registration of foreign advertisements, billeting, currency issues, foreclosures against defaulting district members, representation of the district in diplomatic negotiations and with the preparation and implementation of the Circle closings. "23 Since the district militia in the Swabian district was expanded to become miles perpetuus, there was no district officer who should have called the soldiers to arms. For this purpose, district field marshals were appointed to head this standing army.

The development went further and further in the direction of a specialization and making the circle work more effective, the real political work was done less in the plenary and more in the committees. The political conditions at the district assemblies became less and less important, instead it became more important who determined which offices and committees and how the forces were distributed in the districts.

11 The district as the keeper of peace

Already at the beginning of the imperial circle there was a first difficult test when, as already described in chapter 3, the circle was supposed to appear against the outlawed knight Franz von Sickingen. The undertaking failed because some district estates, such as the imperial estates Heilbronn, Wimpfen and Dinkeslbühl, but also Württemberg, some counts and the imperial knighthood did not take part in the efforts of the emperor. Already in the middle of the XVI. In the twentieth century, the first issues of police policy were discussed. During this time, the main sources of fire were the disturbance of the peace24 still relatively far away, so that further deliberations on the peace in the country were not due. Nevertheless, at least one state peace and enforcement constitution was read out together with the neighboring districts. Shortly thereafter, a mounted patrol was set up as a police force against "abandoned rabble", but it was only to be used against internal peace breakers (especially marauding soldiers).

With the denominational divergence, there was also stagnation in the question of peace, which continued during the Thirty Years' War. Only then could an "internal policy" be pursued again at the district level, even if the split into a Protestant and a Catholic part continued. The further development brought a specialization of the districts on domestic policy in the matter of securing the peace Issued police regulations within the framework of the guild, social and trade regulations, thus advancing the legalization of the procedures.

11 The circle as general

The military constitution took place in Swabian25 Circle a special position.This is due, among other things, to the geographical location of the district in the south-west of the empire and thus very close to the potential enemy France. The primacy of the military in the Swabian district began even before the establishment of the permanent militia, which has already been mentioned. Following the Reich execution order, a district execution order was passed in the district in 1563, which led to the development of the defense system. After the Thirty Years' War, however, the various denominational classes could not agree on the establishment of a defensional order. Nevertheless, the district took part in the imperial campaigns with its contingents, even took over the supreme command of the imperial army on the Upper Rhine.

Towards the end of the XVII. In the 19th century, the Margrave of Baden-Baden toyed with the idea of ​​building an imperial army without an emperor and a diet, based on the Franconian and Swabian districts. Since Württemberg could be won over for this undertaking, in 1694 the district convention decided to keep the miles perpetuus. The resulting army was seen as the army of the district, sworn in on the district - not on the emperor and empire, for example - and the Swabian district referred to itself as a "general", so also indicated in the name that it was about the property of all district estates acted.

As a result of this development of the military constitution, the establishment of the district bishop, as already mentioned above, became superfluous. The district directorate appointed a war directorate that took over the administration of the army. At the beginning of the XVIII. In the 19th century, the district high command was combined with the directorate and the co-posting office from Württemberg. As a result, the influence of Constance in the district was pushed back further. The army itself, which since the nineties of the XVII. Century was under the supreme command of the Margrave of Baden, but was not set up by the district, but the individual district estates provided their contingents, which had an impact on the equipment and arming of the individual formations. Also worth mentioning is the formation of denominationally separated district armed forces, which is, however, explainable from the situation and the procedure of the formation. In the internal division of the troops, the model of the Imperial Army was used, whereby the greatest possible efficiency was ensured. The army had regiments on horseback and on foot, was under the command of a colonel with regimental staff and could be divided into two battalions if necessary. The special integration of the class contingents can be seen as a Swabian specificity, whereby it was particularly important that the individual officers enjoyed the trust of the advertisement office, religious conference and advertising stand, rather than that they were acceptable to the district itself. In contrast to the team and officer positions, which appointed the individual estates independently, the generals of the district were assigned as political positions by the district council.

If the Swabian army was included in the imperial army, then the imperial ranks were to be preferred to the Swabian ranks, which is why it was desired to achieve the highest possible position in the imperial army in order to maintain the regional army integration into the country.

There were enormous social differences within the army. For example, a colonel on foot could get 30-40 times what a common infantryman got. In addition, the commanding officers received income from company and regimental services, fees for marketers talers, marriage concessions, vacation permits, ransom, survivors' assets and other things. There is a correlation between rank and nobility. The higher officer ranks were occupied by the nobility, especially the lower nobility pushed into the prestigious positions, whereby in principle the militia was open to all children of the country who had an honest name, regardless of denomination. Soldiers who resigned from the army because of surrender or marriage, however, had to provide substitutes.

In addition to pay, the soldiers received benefits in kind from the district, whereas accommodation and services were provided by the host26. A problem until the beginning of the XVIII. Century represented the supply of abdicated soldiers. These went begging and plundering over the country until 1734 an Invaliden-Cassa was founded.

Dotzauer points out that although the district behaved in a comparatively exemplary manner, it never displayed the strength actually required by the empire. He asserts that Swabia had to bear disproportionately high burdens, as it only comprised about a twentieth of the population and area, but was still obliged to contribute a seventh to a tenth of the district's contribution. In addition, there were obligations from association obligations, so that the burden on Swabia was disproportionately high compared to the other circles. The allocation of costs to the individual stands turned out to be very problematic. Even if new pay-as-you-go systems were tried again and again, an amicable solution was never found. The individual estates were unevenly involved in the cost accounting, so the clergy carried a fifth, the secular two fifths to half and the imperial cities a quarter to two fifths of the burden. In 1701, for example, half of the quota was raised by only ten stands (with around one hundred stands in the district council), Württemberg had the strongest stand contingent with a share of 20 percent.27

Despite the intelligent and decentralized financing of the army, the district went into debt with military spending. For example, in 1726 the district had to pay the States General a loan from 1708 for almost four hundred thousand guilders from the War of the Spanish Succession.

1. Summary

The tasks of the districts continued to develop. Even the original tasks contained the beginnings of a domestic policy. A military apparatus had to be created in order to maintain peace in the country, which in turn required a financial policy. Furthermore, the issue of police regulations was necessary for this task, which in the XVIII. Century showed the beginnings of an economic and social constitution - economic development, market organization, social affairs, guild regulations, to name but a few.

This also included the supervision of the coinage, which from the old tradition was a shelf and thus gave the circles the opportunity to exert influence in favor of financial policy.

The establishment of district assemblies made it possible to develop district awareness. District estates, district officials and district troops completed this picture of an independent political unit.

Ultimately, in combination with self-confidence and the old task of maintaining peace, the districts came up with a foreign policy by concluding alliances and meeting across district boundaries on political guidelines. Last but not least, the idea of ​​building up the empire after the Thirty Years' War from the districts - which failed due to the participation of Spain, especially in the Burgundian district - led to a political power of the districts, just like the establishment of diplomatic embassies (on the one hand the large German states, but also various foreign powers) in the circles that in the XVIII. Century took place.

1 Appendix

12 maps, materials

Figure not included in this excerpt

Source: dtv atlas. P. 218.

District booths of the Swabian district 1521 (booths marked with * were later places that advertised the district, insert GS):

a) clergy:

_ Bishops:

Augsburg, Constance *, Chur

_ Princes abbots:

Kempten, Reichenau, St. Gallen, Weingarten, Propstei Ellwangen _ Abbots:

Salmannsweier, Weißenau, St. Peter in the Black Forest, Schaffhausen, Petershausen, Einsiedeln, Dissentis, Schussenried, Ochsenhausen, Marchtal, Isny, Ursbert, Gengenbach, Schuttern, St. Blasien, Maulbronn, Stein am Rhein, Kreuzlingen, Pfäffers, St. Johann im Turital, Roggenburg, Königsbronn, Elchingen, Münsterroth, Irsee

_ Abbesses:

Lindau, Buchau, Gutenzell, Rottenmünster, Heggbach, Baindt _ Order (prince):

German Ordensballei in Alsace and Burgundy

a) Secular:

_ Princes:

Duke of Württemberg *, Margrave Philibert of Baden

_ Count:

Count Ulrich von Helfenstein, Count of Oettingen, Count Christoph von Werdenberg, Count of Lupfen, Count of Montfort, Count Friedrich von Fürstenberg, Count of Eberstein, Count Joachim von Zollern and Count Franz` children, Count Rudolf von Sulz, Count of Löwenstein, Counts of Tübingen, owner of the county of Kirchberg, Counts Brandis-Sulz, counts of Zimmer

_ Men's:

Owner of the rulership of Rufftingen, Lords of Gundelfingen, Count Christoph von Tengen, Truchsessen von Waldburg and owners of the Sonnenberg estates, Mr. Leo von Stauffen Erben, Mr. Sigmund von Falkenstein, Mr. Hans von Königsegg, Mr. Hans Dionysius von Königseckerberg, Mr. Gangolf and Walter zu Hohengeroldseck, Messrs. Von Hewen

_ Cities:

Augsburg, Ulm, Kempten, Leutkirch, Wangen, Ravensburg, Überlingen, Pfullendorf, Schaffhausen, Esslingen, Weil, Wimpfen, Dinkelsbühl, Giengen, Nördlingen, Buchau, Gengenbach, Rottweil, Kaufbeuren, Memmingen, Biberach, Isny, Lindau, Buchhorn, Konstanz, St. Gallen, Reutlingen, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Heilbronn, Schwäbisch Hall, Bopfingen, Aalen, Werde [Donauwörth], Offenburg, Zell am Hammersbach

Up until the end of the Old Kingdom, the following were added as district estates: 1555 Eglingen (barons of Grafeneck, 1726 princes of Taxis), 1563 Fugger lines, 1662 Eglofs (counts of Traun), 1677 Thannhausen (counts Sinzendorf, since 1708 counts of Stadion), 1707 Liechtenstein (1699 and 1708 purchase of the imperial lords of Schenkenberg and Vaduz, which were elevated to imperial principality in 1719), 1750 Zwiefalten Abbey, 1767 Neresheim Abbey, 1773 Söfingen Abbey, 1782 Abbey Isny ​​and 1792 Sickingen (Count of Sickingen)

Source: Dotzauer, Reichskreise. SS 143f.

21 sources

A detailed list of sources can be found in Dotzauer, Reichskreise (for the

Swabian District pp. 511ff), edited was the departure of the Swabian District, Esslingen, April 18, 1531.

A detailed list of sources on the subject of "Swabian Circle as a General" can be found in Storm, Feldherr. SS. 545ff., Which also lists the farewells individually in the Stuttgart State Archives.

11 Literature

_ Dotzauer, Winfried: The German Imperial Circles (1383-1806). History and file edition. Stuttgart, 1998. (quote: Dotzauer, Reichskreise)

_ Dotzauer, Winfried: The German imperial circles in the constitution of the old empire and their own life (1500-1806). Darmstadt, 1989 (quote: Dotzauer, Eigenleben)

_ Hartmann, Peter Claus: The Bavarian Empire (1500 to 1803). Structures, history and meaning in the context of the district constitution and the general institutional development of the Holy Roman Empire. Berlin, 1997 (Writings on the history of the constitution; Vol. 52) (quote: Hartmann, Bayerischer Reichskreis)

_ Children, Hermann, Hilgemann, Werner: dtv atlas on world history. Maps and chronological outline. Volume 1. From the beginnings to the French Revolution. Munich 291995. (quote: dtv-Atlas)

_ Langwerth von Simmern, Ernst Freiherr von: The district constitution of Maximilian I and the Swabian Empire in its legal history development up to the year 1648. Vol. 1. Heidelberg, 1896. (quote: von Simmern, district constitution)

_ Neipperg, Reinhard Graf von: Kaiser and Swabian District (1714 - 1733). A contribution to the imperial constitution, district history and imperial imperial politics at the beginning of the 18th century. Stuttgart, 1991. (Publications of the Commission for Historical Regional Studies in Baden-Württemberg: Series B, Research; Vol. 119) (quoted: Neipperg, Kaiser)

_ Roeck, Bernd: Reich system and imperial origins. The discussion about the statehood of the empire in political journalism of the 17th and 18th centuries. Stuttgart, 1984. (Publications of the Institute for European History Mainz; Vol. 112: Department of Universal History) (Contributions to the social and constitutional history of the Old Empire; No. 4) (quoted: Roeck, Reichssystem)

_ Sailer, Rita: Subject trials before the Reich Chamber of Commerce, legal protection against the authorities in the second half of the 18th century. In: Battenberg, Friedrich et al. (Eds.): Sources and research on the highest jurisdiction in the Old Reich (QuFhöchG) 33 (1999)

_ Storm, Peter-Christoph: The Swabian Circle as a general. Investigations into the military constitution of the Swabian Reichskreis from 1648 to 1732. Berlin, 1974. (Writings on the history of the constitution; Vol. 21) (quote: Storm, Feldherr)

_ Zürn, Martin: Ir aigen liberty. Waldburg, Habsburg and the rural resistance on the upper Danube 1590 - 1790. Tübingen, 1998. (Upper Swabia - History and Culture Vol. 2) (quote: Zürn, Liberty)


1 Dotzauer, a life of its own. P. 2.

2 Ibid.

3 For example in Hoffmann, Matthäus: attempt of a constitutional theory of the German imperial circles in general and the Swabian in particular. Kempten, 1787-1789.

4 v. Simmern, district constitution.

5 Dotzauzer, Imperial Circles.

6 Hartmann, Bavarian Empire

7 The prehistory largely follows Dotzauer, Eigenleben. Pp. 8-20.

8 Even after the - at least theoretically - introduction of the district division in 1522, the procedure was, in the event of a sudden Turkish intrusion (,) to the electors and princes, two additional delegates from each of the ten districts from prelates, counts, nobility and cities to the regiment to be appointed in order to be involved in the cost consultation "(Dotzauer, Eigenleben. p. 15.).

9 Roeck, Reich system.

10 Roeck, Reich system. P. 75.

11 Ibd. op cit .: Friedrich Leutholff von Franckenberg (= Bernhard Zech), European Herald, or reliable description of their European-Christian Kayserthums, kingdoms, free states and principalities; After their natural and political condition, war and peace, religion and secular constitution, bite into this 1705 healing year. Leipzig, 1705. Vol. 1, p. 795.

12 Ibd. loc. cit. p. 78.

13 Dotzauer, Reich circles. P. 40.

14 Unfortunately without a precise indication of the place of discovery.

15 Sections 31-103, op cit .: Dotzauer, Reichskreise. P. 59.

16 Dotzauer, Reich circles. P. 39.

17 Dotzauer, a life of its own. P. 18.

18 Zürn, Liberty.

19 What will be discussed later: Since the Swabian Circle was split up into the institutions due to the confessional differences, there were district advertisers, the Duke of Württemberg on the Protestant side and the Bishop of Constance on the Catholic side, which blocked each other.

20 Dotzauer, Reich circles. P. 42.

21 Dotzauer, Reich circles. P. 144.

22 The Swabian Federation was used by Austria to pursue its own interests, especially against Bavaria, and was dissolved in the thirties of the XVI. Century.

23 Dotzauer, Reich circles. P. 146.

24 Especially rebellious peasants who only rose up later in the south-west of Germany.

25 A detailed description and statistical analysis of the military constitution of Swabia can be found in Storm, Feldherr.

26 Which is why nobody liked to take in soldiers. The billeting of soldiers was particularly popular as a punishment for insurgents.

27 Dotzauer, Reich circles. P. 150.