Reichstag in Freiburg

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In 1498 the Reichstag took place in the oldest town hall in Freiburg , the court arbor

The Diet of Freiburg took place from 28 September 1497 to 4 September 1498 to take place, and especially the more controversial points of 1495 on should the Diet of Worms resolved imperial reform clarified.


After the estates met for a diet in Worms in the spring of 1497, King Maximilian asked that the assembly be moved to Freiburg. On August 7, 1497 stands voted the king to older and fallen to the Reichstag in a Habsburg city dislocate , only concerns about. In the Worms Reichs Farewell of August 23, it says that the estates or their ambassadors should move quickly to Freiburg in order to continue negotiating the key points of the Reich reform passed in Worms in 1495, i.e. land peace , Reich Chamber of Commerce and Common Pfennig as well as one from Michaelis (September 29) Imperial Tax.

This left the Freiburgers and their council with little time to prepare for this major event, the implementation of which was a major challenge for the city of only 6,000 inhabitants. Above all, there was no suitable meeting room. So the city council decided to give the Reichstag its room in the court arbor. In addition, conference rooms had to be found for the various committee meetings. On September 19, 1497, the council passed an agreement to set maximum prices and to ensure adequate accommodation for the guests as well as their adequate supply of food and feed for the horses.

Waiting for the king

When the Reichstag was due to begin on September 29, 1497, most of the participants had reserved their quarters, but the first guests arrived in Freiburg very late. Chancellor Berthold von Henneberg , Archbishop and Elector of Mainz did not ride into the city until October 16. On October 19, the estates assembled so far wrote to Maximilian, who was staying with his court in Innsbruck, to please go to Freiburg.

On October 26th, Chancellor Berthold von Henneberg convened the Imperial Assembly in the court arbor in order to further discuss the points resolved in Worms. With the growing power of the urban bourgeois classes, which had gradually wrested or bought privileges from the German emperors and kings, the feudal system with its inheritance tendencies came into focus. The princely houses viewed their territories as hereditary property and ecclesiastical fiefs as benefices for the provision of second or third-born sons or daughters, such as abbesses, so that such fiefs often remained in the possession of the same sex for generations. Now the self-confident estates under the leadership of Hennebergs with the Reichsregiment were striving for an extended say in Reich affairs and had put together a reform package in Worms, which also provided for the introduction of a Reich tax to finance the Reich Chamber Court. Maximilian probably wanted to take the money from the common Reichspfennig, but he rejected the Reichsregiment as a restriction of his power. So he placed the court chancellery under the direction of Konrad Stürtzel next to the Reich Chancellery of Berthold von Henneberg . The Reich Chamber Court accepted Maximilian, but he undermined his powers by upgrading the Royal Chamber Court to Reichshofrat . After the empire passed in 1495, the fronts between the king and the estates hardened. Maximilian felt little inclination to continue arguing in Freiburg. But without the presence of the king, fruitful or exploitable work or action may be done . Also because of the absence of almost all imperial princes - they had only sent their ambassadors to Freiburg - no progress could be made in solving the disputed points. An envoy remarked about the inactive Reichstag: And so lie, do nothing, then distort it . Several times the imperial estates were about to leave, but Maximilian not only kept making new excuses for his absence, he also provoked the assembled estates with the remark that they would like to see to it that the Reichspfennig decided in Worms was raised during his absence. Since taxes came in slowly, Maximilian embarrassed most of the imperial estates.

Participants in the Reichstag

When the French King Charles VIII died on April 7, 1498 and his successor Louis XII. Asserting claims to the Duchy of Milan , the legacy of Maximilian's wife Bianca , Maximilian was suddenly in a hurry. Bianca first arrived in Freiburg on May 27th, Maximilian and a large entourage 20 days later. The elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, carried the imperial sword in front of him in his capacity as arch marshal . The royal guests were accommodated in the preacher's monastery.

The following important people took part in the Freiburg Reichstag:

“Roman royal Mayestat in his own person and Ir Gmahel
The Bebstlich Legatn
The Ertzbischeff Meintz, Cöllen ( Hermann von Hessen (1450–1508) ) in his own person
Hertzog Friderich von Sachssen in his own person
Hertzog Georg in obern and nidern Beyern in his own person
Hertzog Albrecht and Hanns von Sachssen (the brother of Friedrich of Saxony) in his own person
Hertzog Heinrich von Mecklenpurg in his own person
Margraff Cristoff von Baden in his own person
Die Bischoff zu Worms ( Johann III. von Dalberg ), Wurtzpurg ( Lorenz von Bibra ), Eeystet ( Gabriel von Eyb , Eichstätt), Chur ( Heinrich von Höven ), Cosstentz ( Hugo von Hohenlandenberg , Konstanz), Strasbourg ( Albrecht von Pfalz-Mosbach ), Augspurg ( Friedrich II. von Zollern ), Basel ( Kaspar zu Rhein ), Brixen ( Melchior von Meckau ) in his own person
. Counts, prelates, abbots and imperial cities follow . "

- Protocol to the Reichstag from 1498

Start of work

The first plenary session of the Reichstag in the presence of Maximilian took place on June 23, 1498 in the court arbor. Henneberg had to admit that the Reichspfennig had already been approved for four years at Worms, and that the treasurers at Frankfurt had been set up for it, but that it has not been brought in since then. The King now demands that those who are in arrears explain to themselves whether they want to make their contribution or not, so that he will know how to act accordingly . While many estates made excuses, the confederates rejected the imperial tax, as in Worms.

Another point of discussion was the Reich Chamber of Commerce decided in Worms, which legally hung up in the air without a uniform legal basis. The Reichstag therefore commissioned an urgently needed general code of law. The Swiss did not care much about that either, as they did not recognize the jurisdiction of the Reich Chamber of Commerce. So it came to nothing with the initiation of peace with the Swiss planned at the Reichstag in Freiburg.

There was also a lot of quarreling. When Uff Friday Margarethe virginis (on July 20) a delegation from the Polish King John I was supposed to be heard about the Turkish War , there was a dispute between the elector and the prince over the seating arrangement. They didn't want to sit at the prince's feet, then it was a clumsy room and a much higher bench because the princes and ambassadors were sitting upstairs, so that the other princes, spiritually and worldly, should sit at their feet, syn nit wanted to do that . The meeting was therefore canceled for that day and all the banks were immediately made equal ... .

The dispute over money determined all further negotiations. Maximilian demanded that the credit of 150,000 guilders, of which so far only the smallest part had been paid to him, should finally be given to him from the common imperial treasure in order to be armed against France, for he said: I have been betrayed by the Lombards , I am abandoned by the Germans. But I don't want to have myself tied by my hands and feet and hanging on a nail like I did at Worms [at the Reichstag]. I have to wage war and I want to wage it, you tell me what you want. Before that I will dispense with the oath that I swore there behind the altar in Frankfurt [during the election of the king in the Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomew ]; for I am not only obliged to the Reich, but also to the House of Austria. I say this and have to say it, and should I also put the crown at my feet and trample it .

Maximilian's reference to the House of Austria turned out to be counterproductive, because even when the king offered to make an advance payment for the Turkish war, the estates replied: But as far as Maximilian's offer to temporarily loan him 60,000 guilders for this war If then it were to be repaid from the imperial treasure, one basically does not know what it is capable of; in addition, the estates were not complete enough, and so the assembly asked the king to postpone the whole negotiation on this subject to the next Reichstag. Maximilian was seriously upset and cursed: To hope for deeds for the general welfare of the empire from the German princes means to expect grapes from thistles .

The Reichstag farewell

But you didn't go home without any results. In the Reichs Farewell of September 4, 1498 there is a dress code . Already at the Reichstag in Worms, the estates had warned about a common arrangement by the empires because of the excessive clothing and other uncommon delicacies, also from the spilleut, prayers and gypsies . The dress code adopted in Freiburg demands that coats and coats be covered at the back and front, and admits peasants and working people do not have pieced clothes like slit sleeves, but only dresses made of simple cloth.

Begging had become rampant by the end of the 15th century . Now, according to the will of the Reichstag, only people burdened with weaknesses or infirmities should be allowed to beg. The children are withdrawn from their parents so that they do not cling to the begging for and for and receive technical or service training. Finally, the Reich Decree of 1498 expelled the pointer from German areas and declared them outlawed .

Probably the most important document in the Reichs Farewell can be found in the absence of the responsible Bohemian ore tavern, the first German wine mandate, the rules and statutes of the weyne , which were decided by those present . Strictly speaking, it was about the renewal and tightening of one of Maximilian's father Friedrich III. promoted wine regulations as early as 1487 after the deterioration of the wines by sugar, sulfur or even with poisons such as silver smoothness and antimony-containing mirror gloss had not stopped .

The consequences of the Reichstag

But Maximilian couldn't even foot the bill for the bad wine he enjoyed. When he left town, he left his wife Bianca as a pledge. She had to stay in Freiburg for three years until at least part of the debts made during the Reichstag was paid off. Twenty years later, financial claims of over 20,000 guilders were still outstanding.

Maximilian was only able to partially enforce his political and financial demands on the assembled estates. In Freiburg, the dualism that emerged at the Reichstag in Worms between the Reichstag and the king and his court was not dissolved, but institutionalized.

One consequence of the Reichstag was the spread of a new disease which Columbus ' sailors from the New World had brought to Naples in 1493 and which the mercenaries of Charles VIII spread along their route on their march back from their Italian campaign . The first cases of the French disease had already occurred in Freiburg in 1496, but from 1498 the bad leaves ( syphilis ) spread rapidly in Freiburg and the surrounding area. Towards the end of the Reichstag, Berthold von Henneberg also fell ill with the new plague .

In the following year, during the Swabian War , Maximilian tried to hold the rebellious Swiss who rejected the Reich Chamber of Commerce and refused to pay the common Reichspfennig responsible. The army of the Swabian Confederation suffered a crushing defeat in the battle of Dornach . Since at the same time the French King Louis XII. was militarily active in northern Italy and had conquered Milan , Maximilian had to quickly pacify the Swiss. With the Peace of Basel , in which they finally enforced their rejection of the Imperial Court and the common pfennig, the Confederates de facto left the Imperial Union in 1499, which was confirmed de jure in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 .


  • Heiko Haumann and Hans Schadek (eds.): History of the City of Freiburg im Breisgau , Volume 1, Konrad Theiss Verlag GmbH, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 978-3806216356
  • Hans Schadek (Hrsgb.): The emperor in his city. Maximilian I and the Reichstag in Freiburg 1498 , Koke Edition Verlag, Freiburg 1998, ISBN 3-933056-64-0

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ulrich P. Ecker, Organization and Procedure of the Freiburg Reichstag in Schadek, page 57
  2. ^ Ulrich P. Ecker, Organization and Procedure of the Freiburg Reichstag in Schadek, page 64
  3. Ulrich P. Ecker in Haumann, page 284
  4. Ulrich P. Ecker in Haumann, page 284
  5. From the Reichstag protocol of 1498, folio 77 ff, Freiburg city archives, C1 Landessachen 1 No. 8
  6. ^ Heinrich Schreiber : History of the City of Freiburg im Breisgau , Verlag von Franz Xaver Wangler, Freiburg 1857
  7. Badischer Architecten- und Ingenieur-Verein (Ed.), Freiburg im Breisgau, The city and its buildings , university printing and publishing house HM Poppen and Son, Freiburg 1898
  8. ^ Leopold von Ranke , German history in the age of the Reformation , page 69, Phaidon-Verlag, Vienna 1920
  9. ^ Heinrich Schreiber : History of the City of Freiburg im Breisgau , Verlag von Franz Xaver Wangler, Freiburg 1857
  10. Bernhard Oeschger: Cultural-historical aspects of the policey legislation of the Freiburg Reichstag in Schadek, pages 135 to 137.
  11. ^ Bernhard Oeschger: Cultural-historical aspects of the police legislation of the Freiburg Reichstag in Schadek, page 140.
  12. Friedrich Hefele: Freiburg as a city in front of Austria in: Der Breisgau, Ed. HE Busse, Haus Badische Heimat, Freiburg 1941.
  13. ^ Karl Sudhoff : A decree of Emperor Maximilian regarding winemaking from the Reichstag in Freiburg on August 24, 1498. In: Sudhoffs Archiv 1, 1908, pp. 442–446.
  14. Clemens Joos, King Maximilians I. Freiburg wedding plans 1493 , lecture in the Breisgau history association Schau-ins-Land, March 2007
  15. Peter Kalchthaler , Small History of the City of Freiburg : An Annotated Chronicle. 2nd expanded edition. Rombach Verlag, Freiburg 2004, ISBN 3-7930-9395-6
  16. Dieter Mertens, The Freiburg Reichstag in the history of the court and Reichstag of the late Middle Ages in Schadek, page 31