Court and Residence in the Late Medieval German Empire (1200-1600)

From the ceremonial to the “Frauenzimmer”

Why was there no all-dominant capital city in the late medieval German Empire, as was the case in England and France? Why was there a multitude of centres of power in the empire instead? These were some of the questions posed by Hans Patze, a regional historian from Göttingen. They provided the impetus for the establishment of the Residences Commission in 1985, which has since been dedicated to the study of residences and courts in the German Empire between 1200 and 1600 and comparing them with those in other European countries. The federal structure of Germany is thereby investigated at one of its roots: the emergence of the sovereign residences, which was closely linked to the growth of the courts.

Closely connected with this are questions of cultural, social, and economic history concerning everyday life, ceremonial, court orders, the “Frauenzimmer”, education, court economy, and much more. The results are published in the series “Residenzenforschung”, among other publications. In addition, the Commission collects the German court orders and, as a further source, the European travel reports of the time and publishes them in the form of analytical bibliographies.

The project website of the Academy project “Courts and Residences in the Late Medieval Empire” (1998-2011) with the address was shut down for security reasons on 1.11.2019. The “Mitteilungen der Residenzen-Kommission” (1990-2012 incl. special issues) will be available from 1.1.2020 via the res doctae repository ( The online version of the handbook of the same name in four volumes has been available since 2016 via the address Please update any bookmarks or links that still point to the old address.