Territorial Estates of the Late Middle Ages and of the Early Modern Period

Since about 1300, the Duchy of Bavaria developed territorial estates, consisting of three curia: knighthood, prelates and cities. The estates were the representatives of the country opposite the duke, later elector. In their entirety they called themselves "Landschaften" (territorial assembly of estates). Its members were listed in the "Landtafeln" (territorial register of estates).

The estates met in the state diets. In the late Middle Ages and in the sixteenth century numerous state diets took place, in the seventeenth century the entire territorial assembly only gathered three times, most recently in 1669, while smaller representative bodies ensured the representation of state interests between the individual state diets and also after the last state diet. Committees were attested since 1429/30. From 1514 until the end of the territorial assemblies in 1808, current business was governed by the ordinance of the territorial assembly.

In late medieval Bavaria existed territorial estates in each part, in analogy to the division of the duchy. Only after the reunification of Bavaria in 1505 a united Bavarian territorial estate was formed, but its administration maintained the separation into Upper and Lower Bavaria.

Until the end of 1808, the key privilege of the territorial estates was the approval of the tax. Since the sixteenth century, the territorial estate commanded its own administrative body for this purpose. The estates were also able to secure considerable privileges, especially in the area of jurisdiction. These privileges were contained in 64 privileges granted to the estates by the Bavarian dukes between 1311 and 1565.

State diets were a formalised dialogue between the prince and the estates, and this procedure became more and more refined over the course of time. It meant that the written claims of one side were first discussed by the other side before an answer was drawn up, to which a reply was again given.

As early as the beginning of the nineteenth century, the minutes of the state diet and other documents on the history of the territorial estates were published in print. Even though this source material is now outdated, it remains indispensable.

Late Medieval Parliaments/Diets (1429-1513)

Between 1803 and 1805, the privy clerk in the Ministry of Finance, Franz von Krenner (1762-1819), published the Baierische Landtaghandlungen in den Jahren 1429 bis 1513 (Deeds of the Bavarian Assemblies of the Territorial Estates between 1429 and 1513). His publication thus covers the final era of the division of the Bavarian duchies after the Straubing inheritance and of the early years of the reunited duchy.

Krenner drew on the regional princely tradition, specifically the Secret State Archive, while the archive of the then still existing Bavarian territorial estates remained closed to him. He tried to document the actions of the territorial estates as completely as possible at the time. His edition therefore contains a broad range of source types: minutes of diets and committees, invoices, mandates and other sources on the history of the time. Krenner also mentions state parliaments, of which he had found no original sources.

In the preface to the first volume, Krenner announced supplement volumes in which he wanted to publish newly-found materials. He was particularly thinking about monastic archives, which were then about to be dissolved. However, these supplementary volumes remained unpublished as happened to the edition of the older diets planned by Krenner, beginning with the Schneitbacher Rittertag from 1302 to 1428.

Early Modern Diets (1514-1669)

Between 1802 and 1807, nine volumes were published anonymously under the title Der Landtag im Herzogthum Baiern (The Diet in the Duchy of Bavaria). They contain the acts of diets held in the years 1514 to 1669, more precisely the diets of the years 1514, 1515, 1516, 1542, 1543, 1557, 1568, 1605, 1612 and 1669 The volumes appeared unsystematically, starting with the diet of 1605. All the provincial diets of the seventeenth century are published, but only seven out of the 37 held in the sixteenth century.

After 1669, there no more state parliament was held. Until the abolition of the territorial estates in 1808, the territorial assembly took over the task of the ordinance of the territorial estates.

This publication was often attributed to Franz von Krenner (1762-1819). In fact, however, the territorial estates themselves were the editor. In doing so, a few years before their dissolution in 1808, they also pursued political ends. With a few exceptions, the publication is limited to the minutes of the negotiations at the diet. Only a few committee sessions are included.

The publication of the negotiations between the Bavarian states of the late Middle Ages and the early modern period offers extensive source material of great importance for many aspects of the Bavarian political, economic, social and cultural history. In addition to the discussions on major political issues and on individual issues dealt with in the committees of the state and in state parliaments, the minutes provide numerous references to the history of Bavaria's political and social elites as well as to the history of individual locations in the country.

>> This collection is part of the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library).