Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Der Erzkanzler Im Religionskrieg: Kurfürst Anselm Casimir Von Mainz, Die Geistlichen Fürsten Und das Reich, 1629 Bis 1647

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Der Erzkanzler Im Religionskrieg: Kurfürst Anselm Casimir Von Mainz, Die Geistlichen Fürsten Und das Reich, 1629 Bis 1647

Article excerpt

Der Erzkanzler im Religionskrieg: Kurfürst Anselm Casimir von Mainz, die geistlichen Fürsten und das Reich, 1629 bis 1647. By Franz Brendle. [Reformationsgeschichtliiche Studien und Texte, Band 156.] (Münster: Aschendorff Verlag. 2011. Pp. xiv, 578. euro59,00. ISBN 978-3-402-12802-2.)

The career of Anselm Casimir Wambold von Umstadt, archbishop of Mainz from 1629 to 1647, has attracted little historical attention. Yet as highest-ranking of the prince-electors and as Imperial chancellor for a large part of the Thirty Years' War, he played a distinct role in a key series of political and military events within the Holy Roman Empire. Brendle's substantial and scholarly biography thus fills a large gap in our knowledge of an important but neglected figure; but the book is no less a significant re-evaluation of the character and stance of the "Catholic Party" within the Empire, which has been all too easily conflated with Bavarian political and military concerns. As Imperial chancellor, Anselm Casimir directed a large part of the Imperial constitutional and legal machinery, was a key figure in coordinating Catholic policy in the Empire, and enjoyed a high degree of influence with the emperor. The new archbishop was elected in the midst of the debate over the forcible re-catholicization of all ecclesiastical territory that had been acquired by Protestant princes since the 1555 Peace of Augsburg. Anselm Casimir led the Catholic princes in supporting the initial imposition of the 1629 Edict of Restitution, but soon distinguished himself as a moderate, anxious to compromise over its enforcement and prepared to negotiate with the Protestant Electors (above all, with John George of Saxony) in the hope of achieving a peace settlement in the Empire. This overriding concern to achieve a settlement led Anselm Casimir to join the Electors' fatal call to dismiss the Imperial generalissimo Wallenstein, and he personally coordinated the pressure on the emperor at the Diet of Regensburg to achieve this objective. His leading role at the Diet gave him a considerable reputation and allowed him to press for an Imperial settlement, but the Swedish invasion of North Germany radically transformed the situation. …

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