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As regalia ( Latin iura majestatica Majesty rights singing. Regal ) were referred to in the Middle Ages, those sovereign rights , the exercise of the holders of state power in terms of the government and administration of the state, either constitutionally or states virtue of a special legal title.

Historical regalia


The regalia appear as individual expressions of the power of the state, which according to its concept is actually indivisible right to rule. With regard to the various forms in which it was exercised, as well as the individual objects of regulation, a distinction can be made:

  • Higher or essential sovereign rights (regalia essentialia, regalia immanentia, regalia majora), in particular the legislative, judicial and executive powers, including
    • actual majesty rights (iura majestatica), which are due to the ruler as personal predicates because of his excellent position at the head of the state and
    • material sovereignty (iura sublimia) as
      • internal sovereignty (iura sublimia interna), the objects of internal state life, the legal relationships between the head of state and the subjects such as territorial, territorial or state sovereignty, judicial sovereignty or jurisdiction (Jurisdictio, judicial authority), the privilege sovereignty as the power to to create special legal statuses (iura singularia) for certain people and things or entire classes of them by granting privileges , pardons, etc., for example the Jewish regime (Jewish protection law), financial or fiscal sovereignty, state service sovereignty, feudal sovereignty, but also church sovereignty as the supervisory, protection and umbrella rights over the religious connections existing in the country as well as
      • External sovereignty rights (iura sublimia externa), which relate to the legal relationships of external state life, to dealings with foreign states, in particular legation law (ius legationum), martial law (ius armorum et belli) and the law of alliances and treaties (ius foederum).
  • Lower or immaterial sovereign rights (regalia minora, regalia accidentalia, regalia in the narrower sense, usable sovereign rights, in particular tax laws), in detail
    • Manorial regalia as exclusive property rights to entire classes of objects or as exclusive rights of use such as the water shelf , the mountain shelf , in which all mineral resources are not regarded as belonging to the property under which they lie, but as belonging exclusively to the state, so that only the state the right to either seek them out oneself or to give permission to others to seek them out, the hunting and fishing shelves or the shelves of abandoned things and treasures and finally
    • Regular trades and state monopolies , which consist in the right of the state to operate certain trades exclusively and to generate income from them (hidden taxes), e.g. B. in the salt control room or salt bar, the tobacco shelf, the lottery and playing card shelf, the mail shelf, the street shelf and the shelf, according to which railways, telegraph companies, etc. may only be built and operated by the state.


“Regalia sunt: ​​arimannie, vie publice, flumina navigabilia, et ex quibus fiunt navigabilia, portus, ripatica, vectigalia que vulgo dicuntur tholonea, monete, mulctarum penarumque compendia, bona vacantia, et que indignis legibus auferuntur, et que special quibus, et bona contrahentium incestas nuptias, et dampnatorum et proscriptorum, secundum quod in novis constitutionibus cavetur: angariarum et parangariarum et plaustrorum et navium prestationes, et extraordinaria collatio ad felicissimam regalis numinis expeditionem, potestas constituatia constituum magistratuie ad iustivitat, palateum magistratuumie ad iustivitat, piscationum redditus et salinarum, et bona committentium crimen maiestatis, et dimidium thesauri inventi in loco cesaris, non data opera, vel loco religioso; si data opera, totum ad eum pertinet.
Omnis jurisdictio et omnis districtus apud principem est et omnes iudices a principe administrationem accipere debent et iusiurandum prestare, quale a lege constitutum est.
Palacia et pretoria habere debet princeps in his locis in quibus ei placuerit.
Tributum dabatur pro capite, tributum dabatur pro agro […] ”

"The royal justice are: the Arimannia , the public roads, the navigable rivers and their source rivers, the port dues, the bank duties, the levies, which are commonly called customs duties, the coins, the proceeds from fines and penalties, abandoned goods and those that Unworthy people are taken away on the basis of the law, if they are not specifically given to certain persons, and the goods of those who enter into a bloodthirsty marriage, the condemned and the outlawed, according to what is provided in the new ordinances; the services of compulsory labor and similar services, the wagons and ships, and the extraordinary contribution to the happiest military expedition of the royal highness, the power to appoint officials to exercise jurisdiction, the exchange offices, and the palaces in the usual cities, the yields of the fisheries and Salt pans, and the goods of the majesty criminals, and half of a treasure found on imperial or ecclesiastical property; if on purpose, it belongs entirely to him.
All judicial power and all command power rests with the emperor, and all judges must receive their office from the emperor and take the oath prescribed by law.
The emperor can have palaces and palaces in the places he likes.
Taxes were given as poll tax , taxes were given as property tax [...] "

With these words, the royal special rights were recorded in writing in the Constitutio de regalibus in 1158 , some of which were taken from German and partly from Roman law. This agreement was commissioned by Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa for the Diet of Roncaglia from legal scholars from Bologna. These were the old imperial privileges which the Lombard cities had taken for themselves in times of the weakness of the empire and which Barbarossa now wanted to restore and consolidate. The constitutio initially only concerned shelf rights in Italy, but was later adopted in Germany as part of the Corpus iuris civilis .

In the doctrine of regalia, developed in Lombard feudal law, a distinction was always made between regalia maiora and minora , i.e. between the actual majesty rights and those monopolies that only or at least primarily served to feed the imperial treasury (regalia fisci): these include the mountain shelf, the customs shelf and that Right of the emperor to found treasures. Depending on the point of view, the coin shelf belonged to the majesty or to the fiscal rights: the ius cudendi monetam, the coin profit that resulted from the difference between metal value and purchase value, was in any case always claimed and exploited by the imperial authorities.

Since the 13th century, most of these legal claims were conferred on ecclesiastical ( Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis 1220) and secular ( Statutum in favorem principum 1231/32) princes. Many cities also came into possession of regalia, such as customs, escort or coinage rights, through a one-off transfer or annual lease payments. The Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV of 1356 assigns the salt, Jewish, customs and coin regalia to the electors and thus confirms a de facto existing order. As a result, the state unit was effectively dissolved and a territorialization took place, with the formation of numerous territorial states .

Other individual shelves

Other regalia were:

Shelf rights in the modern state (Switzerland)

In the Swiss State and Administrative Law is meant by Regal rights today the exclusive right by the state, thus an economic prerogative or monopoly of the state.

At the federal level this is the post shelf (due to partial privatizations only to a very limited extent); at the cantonal level it is usually the mountain shelf, the fishing shelf, the hunting shelf and the salt shelf. In some cantons (e.g. Bern and Aargau) one also speaks of the water shelf (the right to draw and use water) and the building insurance shelf (e.g. Aargau; in other cantons referred to as a monopoly).

The canton can exercise the shelf rights itself, delegate it to the political communities (e.g. the hunting and fishing shelf in Basel-Landschaft, the mountain shelf in Graubünden) or transfer it to third parties (all cantons have assigned the salt shelf to the United Swiss Rhine Saltworks). Existing private rights or the rights of corporations remain unaffected.


Web links

Commons : Regalien  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Regalia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Sovereign Rights Pierer's Universal Lexikon, Volume 8. Altenburg 1859, pp. 452–454., accessed June 14, 2020.
  2. cf. Sovereign rights Pierer's Universal Lexikon, Volume 8. Altenburg 1859, pp. 452–454., accessed June 14, 2020.
  3. Dietmar Schanbacher: 8. From the laws of Roncaglia (1158) . In: European legal history - texts . May 8, 2009, III. Middle Ages, p. 4 ( Pdf, 2 MB ( Memento from September 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) [accessed on December 10, 2015] The text template used by Schanbacher is not specified, paragraphs 2 to 4 are part of the provisions announced in Roncaglia, but not The Latin text of the Regaliengesetz was improved after the version in D FI No. 237.).