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Section I: Analytical catalogue of residential cities

The function of the first handbook section is the complete recording and analytical description of all residence places of the Holy Roman Empire. In addition to cities in the legal sense, other central places of lordship without city law are also to be taken into account, providing they go beyond an ensemble of castles and purely rural structures (‘markets’, etc.). Their centrality is therefore not exclusively based on lordship, but at least to a certain extent also on socio-economic factors, and at least the beginnings of a corresponding community formation are recognisable. For a place to be included, it is sufficient that its function as a residence is temporary and established over a limited period. The number of relevant places can be estimated at approximately 900. For the description, a detailed catalogue of questions is compiled with which the processes of urban communitisation can be analysed under the conditions of residential urban structures, lordly proximity, the encounter of urban social groups with the princely court and noble household, and not least the development of the pre-modern state. In detail, this concerns:

  • the basic social, economic, legal, and political structures of urbanity;
  • the relations between the city and the church, which affected urban structures in many ways;
  • the design and representative use of urban space;
  • the spatial relations and interconnections of urbanity;
  • the relationship between city and feudal rule, city and pre-modern statehood, urban and princely ‘government’, also with a view to nobility and estates, religion, and confession.

Together with the chronological focus and the special consideration of urban dimensions between small towns and ‘city villages’, this dense description of residential cities and manorial central places as legal, social, and economic units and spaces of interaction in an overarching socio- and cultural-historical perspective, which is oriented towards the basic questions of the project, distinguishes the topographical part of the project’s handbook from other undertakings.

Structure: The volumes of the handbook section I follow a regional order in orientation to the imperial circles created in 1500/1512: