Arch Chancellor

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The offices of the Lord Chancellor belonged in the Holy Roman Empire to the so-called Erzämtern and were the spiritual electors reserved. While most of the ore offices were of a purely ceremonial nature, the position of Arch Chancellor for Germania remained of political importance until the end of the empire.


Since 965, the office of Arch Chancellor was mostly associated with the Archbishop of Mainz . In the Golden Bull of 1356, the distribution of the ore offices was regulated in a binding manner. However, in the Golden Bull there is no mention of the rights that go hand in hand with being arch-chancellor.

The offices of arch-chancellor were in the hands of the three clerical electors . The Archbishop of Cologne was Arch Chancellor for Imperial Italy ( Archicancellarius per Italiam ), the Archbishop of Trier Arch Chancellor for Burgundy ( Archicancellarius per Galliam ) and the Archbishop of Mainz was Arch Chancellor for " Germania " ( Archicancellarius per Germaniam ) for the German territories.

While the offices of Arch Chancellor for Burgundy and Italy had been losing weight since the Middle Ages, the Imperial Arch Chancellor for Germania had important functions until the end of the empire and was constitutionally considered the second man of the empire after the emperor. His deputy was the Reich Vice Chancellor .

Features in the early modern era

King's choice

After the death of an emperor, the Arch Chancellor for Germania had the task of presiding over the election of a new king or emperor. To this end, he summoned the other electors and set the meeting place and the date. So he practiced de facto in addition to the two imperial vicars the imperial administration during the kings or emperorsless period.

Head of the Reichshof Chancellery

Even though at times contested by the Emperor, the Imperial Arch Chancellor for Germania appointed the staff of the Imperial Court Chancellery headed by the Imperial Vice Chancellor. All letters from the emperor in his function as head of the empire were drawn up by the chancellery and countersigned by the imperial arch-chancellor, the imperial vice-chancellor or by representatives appointed for this purpose. In addition to issuing documents and dealing with official correspondence, the Reichshof Chancellery kept the Reich seal and kept the Reich Archives. The Arch Chancellor was also responsible for issuing the Reich Chancellery regulations.

Reichstag Directorate

Another important function of the Imperial Arch Chancellor for Germania was the Reichstag Directory on the perennial Reichstag since 1663. The Archbishop of Mainz was always the official head of this meeting. The ambassadors of the imperial estates had to legitimize themselves with the Arch Chancellor. The directorate also had to communicate the imperial propositions, which were to be negotiated, to the other estates by means of a “dictaturum”. The voting procedures were also directed by the Arch Chancellor, the results summarized and presented as a Reichstag report to the principal commissioner or, if present, to the emperor himself.

More functions

There were also other important functions. This included the management of the electoral college. The Arch Chancellor for Germania also had the right to visit the Reich Chamber of Commerce and the Reich Court Council . Furthermore, he had the protective justice over the Reichspost and other powers.


The arch chancellor's archives received little attention after the end of the empire. It was initially stored in Aschaffenburg and Frankfurt before it was brought to Vienna in 1852 .


Web links