The Early Modern City, 1450-1750

By Christopher R. Friedrichs | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
City and State

One day in June of the year 1613, the old German town of Worms on the Rhine received two most distinguished visitors. The 16-year-old Prince-Elector of the Palatinate, Frederick V, and his new bride, Princess Elizabeth of England, together with a great retinue of followers, were passing through Worms. Promptly at 12 noon the prince and his retinue arrived in the city. A delegation of local officials assembled to greet the prince, and the city's chief legal advisor, Johann Jacob Buntz, made a formal speech of welcome. Lavish presents were given: the prince received a goodly quantity of wine, vintage 1610, and twenty-five measures of oats in sacks embossed with the city's arms. The princess received a silver tankard and wash-basin. When the ceremony was over Frederick and his retinue left Worms to continue their way southward to the princely capital at Heidelberg.1

Ceremonies like this took place time and again in early modern Europe. The annals of countless cities are replete with accounts of such visits: the assembling of craftsmen or schoolchildren in the market square, the speech of welcome by Mr Recorder or the city's Syndic, the bestowal or, perhaps, exchange of gifts, the gracious reply from princely lips -- all these are stock themes of these accounts. Yet each such event had its own special dimensions.

Frederick V, for example, was more than just a neighbouring prince to whom routine courtesy had to be shown, for he had a distinct political relationship to Worms. Yet he was not the city's overlord, for Worms, like about eighty other cities in Germany, acknowledged only the Holy Roman Emperor himself as its true overlord. Worms also

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1
Stadtarchiv Worms, 1B 8a: Zorn-Meixnersche Chronik, folio 254v.

-43-

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The Early Modern City, 1450-1750
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures and Tables vi
  • Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • A Note to the Reader x
  • Introduction A Way of Living 1
  • PART ONE The City in Context 17
  • Chapter One - Boundaries and Buildings 19
  • Chapter Two - City and State 43
  • Chapter Three - City and Church 61
  • Chapter Four - Production and Exchange 90
  • Chapter Five - Life and Death 114
  • PART TWO The City as a Social Arena 137
  • Chapter Six - Work and Status 139
  • Chapter Sevenfamily and Household 166
  • Chapter Eight Power and Pride 182
  • Chapter Nine Poverty and Marginality 214
  • PART THREE The City in Calm and Crisis 243
  • Chapter Ten Urban Routine 245
  • Chapter Eleven Urban Crisis 275
  • Chapter Twelve Urban Conflict 303
  • Conclusion A Way of Looking 327
  • Suggestions for Further Reading Bibliography of Works Cited Map Index 335
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 347
  • Map 371
  • Index 375
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