Mandate (diplomacy)

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Mandate of Frederick II of November 1246 to support the crusade project of Louis the Saint ( RI V, 1.1 n. 3584 ). The gold bull is an exception to honor the beneficiary.

The exhibitor issues orders or orders in a mandate (from the Latin mandare “hand over, commission, command”) as a form of medieval and early modern documents . After the order was completed, the mandate automatically expired; the document in question was usually destroyed. In the early modern period, open mandates became central instruments for regulating public life ( coinage , police , moral behavior ). They are often distributed using letterpress printing .

In contrast to the privilege, the mandate is simple, e.g. B. without decorative writings , only certified with the seal , without graphic subdivision of the text etc. It can be issued as an open document ( litterae patentes ) or locked ( litterae clausae ).

The recipient of the mandate is not always identical to the addressee named in the document: Orders to officials who order actions in favor of third parties are gladly handed over to the beneficiary, who can then assert his claim against the competent official.

In the Papal Chancellery , a systematic distinction is made between mandate-promoting and mandate-ordering content: In the case of the litterae cum (filo) serico , the seal is attached to silk threads. The text is a little more elaborate (decorated initial). They contain instructions that are favorable to the addressee. In the case of the litterae cum filo canapis , the seal is attached to hemp threads. The text font dispenses with special jewelry. They contain commands to the addressee. A littera cum serico and a littera cum filo canapis can be issued on the same subject .

In diplomacy , the distinction between diploma or privilege and mandate plays a central role in evaluating the styles of rule in the Middle Ages. While privileges clearly dominated the tradition of documents up to the High Middle Ages, since the 12th century in France, England, Sicily and from the papal chancellery, abundant simple document forms have been assigned short-term orders. The emperors of the Holy Roman Empire have only been issuing mandates regularly since the 13th century.

A distinction must be made between mandates and non-legally relevant written communications in the administration, the letters ( letters , files , letters ).