A Constellation of Courts

A Constellation of Courts: The Courts and Households of Habsburg Europe, 1555–1665

René Vermeir
Dries Raeymaekers
José Eloy Hortal Muñoz
Volume: 15
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 394
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  • Book Info
    A Constellation of Courts
    Book Description:

    Habsburg networking in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?. This volume focuses on the various Habsburg courts and households of the two branches of the dynasty that arose following the division of the territories originally held by Charles V. The authors trace the connections between these courtly communities regardless of their standing or composition, exposing the underlying network they formed. By cutting across the traditional division in the historiography between the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs and also examining the roles played by the courts and households of lesser known members of the dynasty, this volume determines to what degree the organization followed a particular model and to what extent individuals were able to move between courts in pursuit of career opportunities and advancement.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-167-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Courts and households of the Habsburg dynasty: history and historiography
    (pp. 7-20)
    José Eloy Hortal Muñoz, Dries Raeymaekers and René Vermeir

    The cultural movements, political doctrines and ideologies that emerged in Europe starting in the thirteenth century shared particular features and structures because they arose from a common court culture, and the courts of European monarchs achieved unquestionable political pre-eminence amongst the different forces that both characterised and shaped the social configurations found in theAncien Régime¹. However, this culture was gradually eroded during the nineteenth century, when the rise of the nation-state increasingly called the court’s political relevance into question. The bourgeois elites who gained power tried to legitimize this new political structure through the creation of anachronistic national histories,...

  4. The political configuration of the Spanish Monarchy: the court and royal households
    (pp. 21-58)
    José Martínez Millán

    Theoretical schemas that historians have constructed to explain the development of the modern state, based on the premise of the progressive and uninterrupted rationalization of state power, have proved incapable of providing a systematic account of the intricate socio-political reality of the early modern age. The reason is that, behind that monolithic power, which researchers have tried to convince us is there, the projected image of the interplay of multiple powers swiftly appears, refuting any claim to total abstraction and impersonality on the part of the State.² In the last few years, this view of history has changed. What has...

  5. The court of Madrid and the courts of the viceroys
    (pp. 59-76)
    Manuel Rivero

    Between autumn 1598 until well into 1599, funeral rites in honour of Philip II were held in every corner of his dominions. The news of the king’s death spread westwards as it was dispatched by couriers and messengers across continents and oceans. As the news was received, individuals demonstrated that they were all part of the same whole; they were all subjects of the same sovereign and united by the same grief. Just like Castile, Naples, Catalonia or Portugal, all Spanish America went into mourning. The viceroys of Peru and New Mexico both issued official proclamations that, everywhere, “the outward...

  6. The economic foundations of the royal household of the Spanish Habsburgs, 1556–1621
    (pp. 77-100)
    Carlos Javier de Carlos Morales

    In historiographic terms, the resurgence in recent years of studies on the court of the early modern era has been something of a Europe-wide phenomenon. Research on this topic has also blossomed in Spain, although, in my view, here it has displayed two distinctive features of its own: firstly, it has taken comparatively longer to develop and publish research than in Italy, France, or Great Britain; secondly, both the approach to topics in this area and their treatment have been widely divergent, which may be attributable to a less solidly based historiographic tradition than is found in other countries.²


  7. The household of archduke Albert of Austria from his arrival in Madrid until his election as governor of the Low Countries: 1570–1595
    (pp. 101-122)
    José Eloy Hortal Muñoz

    Archduke Albert of Austria was one of the most important figures in the Spanish Monarchy of theAustriasduring the reigns of his uncle, Philip II, and his cousin Philip III. Until recently there was no complete modern biography of him and, apart from his period as co-sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands with Isabella Clara Eugenia, there are very few studies about particular episodes of his life.² This represents an enormous gap in the bibliography of the reigns of Philip II and Philip III, and a complete study of his life would help clarify many points concerning the histories of...

  8. Flemish elites under Philip III’s patronage (1598-1621): household, court and territory in the Spanish Habsburg Monarchy
    (pp. 123-166)
    Alicia Esteban Estríngana

    The constitutional diversity of the Spanish Habsburg Monarchy, the way in which it was managed, and how this was perceived by each of its constituent territories, generated political conflicts throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As time went by, these conflicts led the Crown to continually reconsider how best to approach such diversity in order to bring greater cohesion to the whole. This process of re-examination was necessary, if we bear in mind that some territorial components of the Monarchy, the “loyal provinces” of the Netherlands in particular, underwent significant jurisdictional changes between the last year of Philip II’s life...

  9. The ‘Spanish Faction’ at the court of the archdukes Albert and Isabella
    (pp. 167-222)
    Werner Thomas

    At the end of his life, Philip II made great diplomatic efforts to bring to an end the military conflicts in which Spain was involved. He negotiated a peace treaty with France and sought rapprochement with his Protestant enemies. However, the most expensive conflict of all was the civil war in the Netherlands, a war that for the Northern provinces had become a struggle for independence. In the past, several solutions had been considered, among them the idea of creating a separate principality or of ceding the rebellious provinces to a friendly prince.¹ In order to free his son of...

  10. “Vous estez les premiers vassaux que j’aye et que j’aime le plus.” Burgundians in the Brussels courts of the widowed Isabella and of the Cardinal-Infant don Ferdinand (1621-1641)
    (pp. 223-254)
    Birgit Houben

    The Spanish Monarchy was a composite state made up of various principalities and territories, each with its own languages, customs, economies and legal systems. The only thing that all these different lands had in common was the person of the ruler. Within the Monarchy, personal origins depended not only on one’s place of birth, but also on the system of legal rules and privileges that defined that place. This makes the term ‘nation’ highly problematic, not only because the word had little exact definition at the time, but also because we now use it in a very different sense. A...

  11. Anne of Austria, founder of the Val-de-Grâce in Paris
    (pp. 255-266)
    Olivier Chaline

    It might be rather surprising to include an article concerning a Parisian abbey in a book on the Habsburg courts. I was nevertheless delighted to accept the invitation to contribute to this volume since it gives me the opportunity to re-place that singular royal foundation in a new and wider perspective, thepietas austriaca, than that of traditional French historiography. Apart from some concise and often misleading allusions to the Escorial, the historians who have been studying Anne of Austria or the Val-de-Grâce Abbey never tried to relate the former infanta’s religious sensibility with that of her Spanish and Austrian...

  12. Some reflections on the ceremonial and image of the kings and queens of the House of Habsburg in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
    (pp. 267-322)
    Alejandro López Álvarez

    One of the departments of the Spanish royal households that underwent the greatest transformation during the sixteenth century was the Stable (Caballeriza) incorporating changes that would be even more significant in the following century. This department was responsible for expressing the majesty of the sovereigns beyond the palace and presenting the royal image and figure to their subjects and the rest of the world.² From the mid-sixteenth century, this area of the household increased in importance and significance in the court; gradual changes in the organization, structure, and functions of the Stables were designed to respond better to the needs...

  13. From Graz to Vienna: structures and careers in the Frauenzimmer between 1570 and 1657
    (pp. 323-340)
    Katrin Keller

    In August 1571, the wedding of archduke Charles, the youngest brother of emperor Maximilian II, and princess Maria Anna of Bavaria was celebrated in Vienna. The festivities lasted several weeks and were among the most magnificent of the second half of the sixteenth century.¹ The reputation of their splendour was such that features of the celebrations were replicated for the wedding of emperor Franz Joseph I and princess Elisabeth of Bavaria. The marriage of the archduke to his cousin stood at the end of a whole series of failed marital plans that had been hatched for Charles.² The union demonstrated...

  14. The Innsbruck court in the 17th century: identity and ceremonial of a court in flux
    (pp. 341-366)
    Astrid von Schlachta

    Ceremonial issues, orders of precedence and rank, and various forms of representation are of increasing interest to researchers into Early Modern court history. The new Cultural History has, in particular, provided influences and impetus for attempts to interpret ceremony as a system of rules and norms that assigned symbolic meaning to specific acts.¹ Ceremonial is given the character of a system of social signification; it enacted social order and was among the public actions of the ruler. Ceremonial acts might be addressed to a specific recipient, but were performed before an audience of courtiers and others who could be expected...

  15. Quo vadis: present and potential approaches to the relations between the courts and households of the Habsburg dynasty in the Early Modern period
    (pp. 367-378)

    At present, there is an unprecedented level of enthusiasm for studies on the relationships within the House of Austria¹. In very general terms, there are three main approaches being taken.

    First is the cultural transfer approach that was developed in the 1980s by Michel Espagne and Michael Werner², which has since risen to prominence in the field of cultural history. This model aims to delineate the dynamic process involved in the transfer or exchange of cultural elements. This process, characterized by reciprocity and multipolarity, has three interconnecting fundamental components: the society of departure, the instance of mediation and the receiving...

  16. Index
    (pp. 379-394)