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Cultures of Power in Europe during the Long
Eighteenth Century

This original volume seeks to get behind the surface of political events
and to identify the forces which shaped politics and culture from 1680
to 1840 in Germany, France and Great Britain. The contributors, all
leading specialists in the ¬eld, explore critically how ˜culture™, de¬ned
in the widest sense, was exploited during the ˜long eighteenth century™
to buttress authority in all its forms and how politics infused culture.
Individual essays explore topics ranging from the military culture of
central Europe through the political culture of Germany, France and
Great Britain, music, court intrigue and diplomatic practice, religious
con¬‚ict and political ideas, the role of the Enlightenment, to the very new
dispensations which prevailed during and after the French Revolution
and the Napoleonic watershed. The book will be essential reading for
all scholars of eighteenth-century European history.

   ©      is Wardlaw Professor of International History at the
University of St Andrews. His recent publications include The Emergence
of the Eastern Powers, 1756“1775 (2001) and The Birth of a Great Power
System, 1740“1815 (2006).

   ® ¤ ®  ©    is Reader in the History of International Relations
at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Peterhouse. His previ-
ous publications include The Impact of Napoleon: Prussian High Politics,
Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Executive, 1797“1806 (1997) and as an
editor with Torsten Riotte, The Hanoverian Dimension in British History,
1714“1837 (2007).
Cultures of Power in
Europe during the Long
Eighteenth Century

Edited by
Hamish Scott and Brendan Simms
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK
Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521842273

© Cambridge University Press 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of
relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place
without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.
First published in print format 2007

eBook (EBL)
ISBN-13 978-0-511-28902-6
ISBN-10 0-511-28902-2 eBook (EBL)
ISBN-13 978-0-521-84227-3
ISBN-10 0-521-84227-1

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls
for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not
guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.
For Tim Blanning

Preface page ix
List of contributors xi

1 Introduction: culture and power during the long
eighteenth century 1
    .       ®
2 When culture meets power: the Prussian coronation
of 1701 14
   ©    °    ¬   «
3 Military culture in the Reich, c. 1680“1806 36
°    . · © ¬   ®
4 Diplomatic culture in old regime Europe 58
   ©     
5 Early eighteenth-century Britain as a confessional state 86
®¤· . °®
6 ˜Ministers of Europe™: British strategic culture,
1714“1760 110
   ® ¤ ®  ©   
7 Confessional power and the power of confession:
concealing and revealing the faith in Alpine Salzburg,
1730“1734 133
     ®    ®   ¬  ®
8 The transformation of the Aufkl¨ rung: from the idea of
power to the power of ideas 158
   ©  ·   ¬ 
9 Culture and B¨ rgerlichkeit in eighteenth-century
Germany 180
  © «  ® µ   

viii Contents

10 The politics of language and the languages of politics:
Latin and the vernaculars in eighteenth-century
Hungary 200
 . . ·.  ® 
11 ˜Silence, respect obedience™: political culture
in Louis XV™s France 225
 µ ¬ ©  ®  · ® ®
12 Joseph II, petitions and the public sphere 249
¤« ¬
13 The court nobility and the origins of the French
Revolution 269
 µ ®  °  ©  
14 The French Revolution and the abolition of nobility 289
· © ¬ ¬ ©   ¤  ¬ 
15 Foreign policy and political culture in later
eighteenth-century France 304
§     § 
16 Power and patronage in Mozart™s La clemenza di Tito
and Die Zauber¬‚¨ te
o 325
   «    
17 Between Louis and Ludwig: from the culture of French
power to the power of German culture, c. 1789“1848 348
 ¬. ·©®

Index 369

In April 2007, Professor T. C. W. Blanning “ Tim to all his friends and
now to the scholarly community as well “ will celebrate his sixty-¬fth
birthday, improbable as this will seem. In order to mark this occasion,
to celebrate his enormous contribution to the study of modern Euro-
pean history, and to convey a sense of the immense regard in which he is
universally held, it was decided to publish a volume of essays dedicated
to him and written by some of his many friends and admirers. It takes
its cue and also its starting point from Tim™s celebrated The Culture of
Power and the Power of Culture: Old Regime Europe, 1660“1789 (Oxford
University Press, 2002). Contributors were asked to extend the perspec-
tives of that seminal book, and to explore critically how ˜culture™ (de¬ned
in the widest sense) was exploited during the ˜long eighteenth century™
to buttress authority in all its forms and how politics infused culture.
Coherence was also sought by a decision to concentrate on the period “
the long eighteenth century “ which has been the principal focus of
Tim™s own scholarship and on the areas which his work has particularly
illuminated: the German-speaking lands, France and Britain. While this,
together with the period selected for consideration, had the unfortunate
effect of excluding some friends and colleagues who would have been
obvious contributors, it was inevitable given the realities of present-day
publishing. Tim™s renowned openness to all subjects and all approaches
encouraged us to produce a volume which fully re¬‚ected the various uses
to which the concept of ˜culture™ has been put.
The essays published in this volume were ¬rst given as papers at a
highly enjoyable conference held in Cambridge in September 2005, and
were revised for publication in the light of discussions and comments at
this gathering. We are grateful to the contributors for their willingness to
revise their essays in the interests of the volume™s overall coherence and for
their remarkable ability to deliver their essays by the due date: a tribute, in
many case, to the good habits inculcated by Tim™s doctoral supervision.
The conference was funded by the German Historical Institute, London,
and we are deeply indebted to its Director, Professor Hagen Schulze, for

x Preface

this extraordinary generosity, which is only the latest example of the Insti-
tute™s remarkable support of scholarship in the British academic world. Its
Deputy, Dr Benedikt Stuchtey, very kindly attended the Cambridge con-
ference. The Trevelyan Fund of the University of Cambridge also made
a generous grant to cover the travel expenses of the participants. At the
Press we are indebted to Bill Davies who did much to get the project off
the ground and to his successor Michael Watson who smoothed the pas-
sage to publication. Nancy Bailey has applied her electronic wizardry to
the production of a ¬nished manuscript, while Christopher Riches made
the Index: we are grateful to them both. In the planning stages, Derek
Beales provided important advice, while Nicky Blanning furnished deci-
sive, if for a time covert, assistance, and Tom, Lucy and Molly kept us all
enchanted. We owe most to Tim, however, both for providing the excuse
for this academic stock-taking on Blanning™s eighteenth century, and for
his scholarship and celebrated generosity, both professional and personal,
from which all the contributors have frequently bene¬ted. Celebration of
his birthday is accompanied with our best wishes for many more years of
personal happiness and scholarly productivity.

   ©     
   ® ¤ ®  ©   
April 2006

¤    «    ¬   is Emeritus Professor of Modern History in the
University of Cambridge, where he is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex
College. A Fellow of the British Academy, he is the author of England
and Italy, 1859“60 (London, 1961), From Castlereagh to Glad-
stone (London, 1969), The Risorgimento and the Uni¬cation of Italy
(London, 1971; 2nd edn, with Eugenio Biagini, 2003), Joseph II, i:
In the Shadow of Maria Theresa, 1741“1780 (Cambridge, 1987), Pros-
perity and Plunder: European Catholic Monasteries in the Age of Revolution,
1650“1815 (Cambridge, 2003) and Enlightenment and Reform in
Eighteenth-Century Europe (London, 2005). He is currently writing the
second volume of his life of Joseph II.
   «     is a Fellow of Peterhouse, and British Academy Postdoc-
toral Fellow. He has written on various aspects of cultural, intellectual
and musical history from the eighteenth century to the present day,
and is the author of Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and
Religion in Wagner™s ˜Ring™ (Aldershot and Burlington, 2006). For his
work on Wagner he was awarded the Prince Consort Prize and the
Seeley Medal. His present research concerns the relationship between
aesthetics, politics and music drama after Wagner, focusing especially
upon the writings of Adorno and the operas of Schoenberg, Berg and
the post-war avant-garde.
   ©    °    ¬   « is Reader in Modern European History at the
University of Cambridge, where he is a Fellow of St Catharine™s Col-
lege. He is the author of The Politics of Conversion: Missionary Protes-
tantism and the Jews in Prussia, 1728“1941 (Oxford, 1995), Kaiser Wil-
helm II (London, 2000) and Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of
Prussia (London, 2006). He is currently working on a transnational
study of European governmental responses to the mid-nineteenth-
century revolutions, and a narrative history of the July Crisis of

xii List of contributors

· © ¬ ¬ ©   ¤  ¬  has been Professor of History at the University of
Bristol since 1986. A Fellow of the British Academy, he is the author of
The Oxford History of the French Revolution (Oxford, 1989), Venality: The
Sale of Of¬ces in Eighteenth Century France (Oxford, 1996), Jansenism
(Basingstoke, 2000) and The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduc-
tion (Oxford, 2001). He is currently editing an Oxford History Hand-
book on the Ancien R´ gime, and writing a book on the ˜Attack on
Nobility in the Age of Revolutions™.
 . . ·.  ®  is Regius Professor of History at the University of
Oxford, where he is a Fellow of Oriel College. A Fellow of the British
Academy, he has published extensively on the history of the Habsburg
Monarchy and its successor states from the sixteenth century to the
twentieth, including studies of Rudolf II and His World (Oxford, 1975)
and The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1550“1700 (Oxford, 1979).
Relevant recent publications include ˜Language and State-Building:
The Case of the Habsburg Monarchy™, Austrian History Yearbook 35
(2004) and some of the chapters in his Austria, Hungary, and the
Habsburgs: Essays on Central Europe, c. 1683“1867 (Oxford, 2006). His
main long-term research project is a history of modern Hungary.
     ®    ®   ¬  ® is Professor of History at Emory Univer-
sity. His publications include The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment
Europe (Cambridge, 2001) and Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century
Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria (Cambridge,
1988). He is also editor of Cultures of Communication from Reformation to
Enlightenment: Constructing Publics in the Early Modern German Lands
(Aldershot, 2002), joint editor (with Hartmut Lehmann) of Paths of
Continuity: Central European Historiography from the 1930s to the 1950s
(Cambridge, 1994) and editor and translator (with Howard Kamin-
sky) of Otto Brunner, ˜Land™ and Lordship: Structures of Governance in
Medieval Austria (Philadelphia, 1992).
 µ ®  °  ©   is Professor of Modern European History at the Uni-
versity of Bradford. His publications include Preserving the Monarchy:
The Comte de Vergennes, 1774“1787 (Cambridge, 1995) and The Fall
of the French Monarchy: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and the Baron de
Breteuil (Basingstoke, 2002). He is currently working on a study of the
constitutional monarchy in France between 1814 and 1848.
§     §  is currently Under Master (Deputy Head) at Westmin-
ster School, London. He was previously Head of History and Master-
in-College at Eton College, Windsor. His publications include
˜“Favier™s Heirs”: The French Revolution and the secret du roi™,
List of contributors xiii

Historical Journal 41 (1998) and ˜Novel Narratives, New Research:
The French Revolution after the Bicentennial™, Historical Journal 40
(1997). He is currently preparing his Cambridge Ph.D. thesis (2005)
on ˜The French Revolution and the secret du roi: Diplomatic Tradi-
tion, Foreign Policy and Political Culture in Later Eighteenth-Century
France (1756“1792)™ for publication as a monograph.
   ©      is Wardlaw Professor of International History at the
University of St Andrews. A Fellow of the British Academy, he is the
author of The Rise of the Great Powers, 1648“1815 (with Derek McKay;
Harlow, 1983), British Foreign Policy in the Age of the American Revo-
lution (Oxford, 1990), The Emergence of the Eastern Powers, 1756“1775
(Cambridge, 2001) and The Birth of a Great Power System, 1740“1815
(Harlow, 2006). He is currently writing a study of aristocracy in Europe
c. 1400“1750.
    .       ® is Dickason Professor in the Humanities and Pro-
fessor of History at Stanford University, where he has taught since
1979. He is the author and editor of several books on European
history; his most recent book is Museums in the German Art World
(Oxford, 2000). He has just completed a manuscript on ˜The Eclipse of
Violence: The Transformation of European Politics™, which traces the
changing relationship of states and war in twentieth-century Europe. A
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member
of the American Philosophical Society, he served as president of the
American Historical Association in 2005.
   ® ¤ ®  ©    is Reader in the History of International Relations at
the Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge, and a
Fellow of Peterhouse. His publications include The Impact of Napoleon:
Prussian High Politics, Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Executive,
1797“1806 (Cambridge, 1997), The Struggle for Mastery in Germany,
1779“1850 (Basingstoke, 1998), Un¬nest Hour: Britain and the Destruc-
tion of Bosnia (London, 2001) and (as editor with Torsten Riotte)
The Hanoverian Dimension in British History, 1714“1837 (Cambridge,
2007). He is currently completing a study of British foreign policy in
the eighteenth century.
 µ ¬ ©  ®  · ® ® is Reader in Modern History at Birkbeck College, Uni-
versity of London. He is the author of Politics and the Parlement of Paris
under Louis XV, 1754“1774 (Cambridge, 1995) and of Provincial Power
and Absolute Monarchy: The Estates General of Burgundy, 1661“1790
(Cambridge, 2003) and (with Barry Coward) has edited Conspiracies
and Conspiracy Theory in Early Modern Europe, 1500“1800 (Aldershot,
xiv List of contributors

2004). He is currently writing a history of political disgrace and internal
exile in old regime France.
 ® ¤   ·  .     °   ® is a College Lecturer in History at Queens™
College, Cambridge. He is the author of several articles on British and
European history, and a revised version of his Cambridge University
Ph.D. thesis was recently published as Britain, Hanover and the Protes-
tant Interest, 1688“1756 (Woodbridge, 2006). He is currently writing a
biography of George II for Yale University Press.
  © «  ® µ    is a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at
the University of Manchester. During the past few years she has held
visiting appointments at the Australian National University, Harvard
University, the Universitad Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and Univer-
sity College London. She is the author of Federalism and Enlightenment
in Germany, 1740“1806 (London, 2000), editor of German Federalism:
Past, Present and Future (Basingstoke, 2002) and (with Bernd Huppauf)
Vernacular Modernism: Heimat, Globalization and the Built Environment
(Stanford, 2005). She is currently completing a book on ˜German
Cities and the Genesis of Modernism, 1890“1930™.
   ©  ·   ¬  is a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College and
Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Cambridge. He is the
author of Religious Toleration and Social Change in Hamburg, 1529“1819
(Cambridge, 1985) in addition to numerous articles, reviews and con-
tributions to handbooks and lexicons of German history and literature.
He is currently writing a history of the Holy Roman Empire 1495“
1806, for the Oxford History of Early Modern Europe.
°    . · © ¬   ® is G. F. Grant Professor of History at the University
of Hull. His publications include War, State and Society in W¨ rttemberg,
1677“1793 (Cambridge, 1995), German Armies: War and German Pol-
itics, 1648“1806 (London, 1998), The Holy Roman Empire, 1495“1806
(Basingstoke, 1999; 2nd edn, Tokyo, 2005), Absolutism in Central
Europe (London, 2000) and From Reich to Revolution: German His-
tory, 1558“1806 (Basingstoke, 2004), and, as editor, Warfare in Europe,
1815“1914 (Aldershot, 2006) and 1848: The Year of Revolutions (Alder-
shot, 2006). He is currently writing a book on the Thirty Years™ War
for Penguin Press.
    ¬ . · © ®    is Assistant Professor of Eighteenth- and
Nineteenth-Century British and European History at Columbia Uni-
versity. She was a Research Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge,
before moving to New York. Her publications include ˜German Fresco
List of contributors xv

Painting and the New Houses of Parliament at Westminster, 1834“51™,
Historical Journal 47 (2004) and ˜Prince Albert, Fresco Painting, and
the New Houses of Parliament™, in J. Davis and F. Bosbach, eds., Prinz
Albert “ ein Wettiner in Großbritannien/Prince Albert “ a Wettin in Britain
(Munich, 2004). She is currently preparing her Cambridge doctoral
thesis (2005), on the relationship between art and taste, state and
nation in Germany and England between 1789“1858, for publication.
1 Introduction: culture and power during the
long eighteenth century

James J. Sheehan
Stanford University

In December 1774, seventeen-year-old Carl August, Prince of Saxe
Weimar, met the celebrated young author Johann Wolfgang Goethe in a
Frankfurt hotel room. The meeting was cordial, indeed the two men got
along together so splendidly that, less than a year later, Goethe accepted
the prince™s invitation to move to Weimar, where he would spend the rest
of his long and incredibly productive life.
I begin with this familiar scene “ so beautifully rendered and anal-
ysed in Nicholas Boyle™s distinguished biography of the poet “ because it
neatly captures several of the motifs in the complex relationship between
culture and power in the eighteenth century.1 First and most obvious is
the persistent signi¬cance of the court, whose seductive blend of artis-
tic possibilities and political in¬‚uence led Goethe to disregard his father™s
opposition and take up residence in Carl August™s small Thuringian state.
Second, there is the new signi¬cance of public culture, re¬‚ected here in
Goethe™s position as literary celebrity, which had caused a member of
the prince™s entourage to seek out the author of The Sorrows of Young
Werther and which would make Goethe such an attractive presence in
Carl August™s entourage. Both prince and poet needed one another, both
acquired prestige and a kind of power from the other™s presence. Court
and public were not just alternative sites of cultural practice, they often
worked together, each reinforcing the other.
Just behind the surface of this meeting of poet and prince, court and
public, we can see some of the dif¬culties involved in understanding
the relationship between eighteenth-century culture and power. Con-
sider, for example, how dif¬cult it is to ¬t Goethe into any of the usual
social categories “ he remains a B¨ rger among courtiers, a courtier among
B¨ rger, a civil servant, a ˜favourite™ and, most of all, a citizen of the
republic of letters. Goethe™s relationship to German nationalism is no

1 Boyle, Goethe: The Poet and the Age. Vol. I. The Poetry of Desire (1749“1790) (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1991), pp. 194ff.

2 James J. Sheehan

less perplexing. He is a great national poet, someone, in Friedrich Mei-
necke™s phrase, who taught Germans who they were. But he was never
comfortable with national rhetoric and often contemptuous of patriotic
enthusiasts. And what about Goethe™s political views? At once attracted
and repelled by power, critical of both the old regime and its revolution-
ary opponents, insider and outsider, Goethe™s politics, like so much else
about him, remained elusive and unsettled. T. S. Eliot once commented
that ˜Goethe was about as unrepresentative of his age as a man of genius
can be.™2 But in one way Goethe was exemplary, and that is of the rich-
ness and complexity of the period with which the essays in this volume
are concerned.

The major source of inspiration for these essays is the work of T. C. W.
Blanning. Let me begin with a few words about Tim Blanning™s schol-
arly career, concluding with a discussion of his magisterial The Culture of
Power and the Power of Culture: Old Regime Europe, 1660“1789, which was
published by the Oxford University Press in 2002.
The ¬rst things to be noted is that Blanning is a European historian.
This was apparent in his ¬rst book on Joseph II, but it was much more
evident in the two books that established his reputation: Reform and Rev-
olution in Mainz (published by Cambridge University Press in 1974)
and The French Revolution in Germany (published by Oxford University
Press in 1983). It is of great signi¬cance, I think, that Blanning began
with the Rhineland. This is, after all, an intensely European place, not
least because it has been the scene of so many con¬‚icts over regional
and national identity. By studying the Rhineland Blanning was able to
approach German history from the west and French history from the
east, confronting in the process some of the central problems of each
without being the captive of either. (What French historian, for exam-
ple, would have dared to begin a book entitled The French Revolutionary
Wars with the battle of Rossbach, Frederick the Great™s victory in 1757?)
Blanning has contributed to both German and French historiography,
but has never been just a ˜German™ or ˜French™ historian nor has he ever
been con¬ned by their conventional wisdoms.
Consider, for example, the quotation with which his Mainz book
begins: ˜The contrast between Germany and Western Europe in modern
history has long been a subject of historical interpretation and research.™

2 Quoted from ibid., p. 7 in T. C. W. Blanning, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture:
Old Regime Europe, 1660“1789 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 98.
Introduction: culture and power 3

This sentence, from Hajo Holborn™s in¬‚uential essay on ˜German Ideal-
ism in the Light of Social History™, takes us directly to what is immediately
recognizable as the Sonderweg, the historiographical conviction that Ger-
many followed a ˜special path™ to modernity.3 And yet Blanning travels
this path to a destination quite different from most of its adherents: he
¬nds not the usual failed German modernization, but rather ˜the astonish-
ing ability of the political and social establishment in Germany to absorb,
adapt, and even utilize progressive and potentially disruptive forces™.4 In
a number of ways, Blanning cuts against the grain of scholarly orthodoxy:
in contrast to German nationalist historians, he recognizes the value and
viability of the Holy Roman Empire (he was, in fact, among the ¬rst mod-
ern scholars to insist on the empire™s positive role as a source of order and
stability in central Europe). In contrast to Protestant historians, he does
not dismiss traditional Catholic piety or overlook the progressive elements
within the Rhenish Church; and in contrast to a variety of democratic
and Marxist historians, he did not magnify or distort the in¬‚uence of the
members of the Mainz Jacobin club. His comment on the latter issue is

In view of this rejection of the Revolution by most of the inhabitants of the city,
the disproportionate amount of attention lavished by historians on the Clubists is
explicable only in terms of the ease with which they can be adapted to suit various
historiographical schools.5

In The French Revolution in Germany, Blanning once again tries to drive
a stake through the heart of German Jacobinism, which, vampire like,
keeps struggling to emerge from the historiographical crypt. This book,
while narrower chronologically than his study of Mainz, examines many
of the same themes for the Rhineland as a whole. Deeply researched and
vigorously written, it documents the wanton destruction of traditional
institutions, the ruthlessness of the revolution™s anti-clericalism and the
increasingly despotic face of the revolution abroad. The revolution, Blan-
ning argues, governed the Rhineland not through the power of its ideas
or the promise of its programme, but with brute force. French rule rested
on the army: ˜without it, the revolutionary regime could not have lasted a
week™.6 Here we have that familiar ¬gure in German historiography, ˜the
revolution from above™, imposed not by Prussian autocrats but by French
democrats. It is not a pretty picture.

3 Reform and Revolution in Mainz, p. 1. Holborn™s essay is available in Germany and Europe:
Historical Essays (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970).
4 Blanning, Reform and Revolution in Mainz, p. 3.
5 6 The French Revolution in Germany, p. 206.
Ibid., p. 295.
4 James J. Sheehan

The next phase of Blanning™s scholarship was directly about the French
Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars. In part this was a natural exten-
sion of his work on the Rhineland, in part he may have been irresistibly
drawn into the historiographical vortex created by the bicentennial cele-
brations of 1789. Blanning wrote three books on various aspects of the
revolution and edited one of the best collections of articles inspired by
the bicentennial.7 His books on the Revolutionary Wars are beautifully
done, examples of his range as a scholar and his versatility as a writer. The
French Revolutionary Wars is surely the best introduction to the subject
in English. These works, like his earlier books on the French Revolution
in Germany, reveal the repressive violence at the core of revolutionary
Of particular interest for an understanding of the development of Blan-
ning™s ideas is his brief survey of the revolution, published in the Studies
in European History series in 1987. Designed to introduce students to the
literature on a major historical topic, the volume™s theme is captured by
the subtitle, Aristocrats versus Bourgeois? From the opening paragraph the
abiding presence in the book is Alfred Cobban, whose inaugural lecture
of 1954, ˜The Myth of the French Revolution™, began a long struggle to
displace the Marxist framework which had, with varying degrees of ortho-
doxy, shaped historians™ views of the revolution™s origins and meaning.
Blanning clearly shared Cobban™s distrust of ideological retrospection, as
well as his belief in the primacy of politics.8
A decade later, Blanning published a second edition of The French
Revolution. Its new subtitle, Class War or Culture Clash?, pointed to the
tectonic shift in historiographical interest from social to cultural analysis.
The Cobbanite presence remains, but it now shares space with Habermas
and, perhaps even more importantly, Fran¸ ois Furet. In a new section on
˜The Public Sphere and Public Opinion™, Blanning casts ˜a friendly but
critical eye™ on political culture as an explanation for the events of 1789.9
Blanning™s adoption of the cultural approach was quali¬ed in at least
two ways, both important for establishing the link between his studies
of the French Revolution and The Culture of Power. First, Blanning does

7 The Origins of the French Revolutionary Wars (London: Longman, 1986); The French
Revolution: Aristocrats versus Bourgeois? (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1987);
The French Revolutionary Wars, 1787“1802 (London: Arnold, 1996). The edited volume
is The Rise and Fall of the French Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996),
a collection of seventeen articles on the revolution originally published in the Journal of
Modern History.
8 See Alfred Cobban, The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution (2nd edn, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1999).
9 The French Revolution: Class War or Culture Clash? (2nd edn, Basingstoke: Macmillan
Press, 1998), pp. 23ff.
Introduction: culture and power 5

not abandon qualitative distinctions in assigning historical signi¬cance
to ideas and objects. Thus while he acknowledges the role of the under-
ground literature examined by Robert Darnton, he is not prepared to
replace the works of Rousseau, Voltaire and Diderot with those of some
obscure pornographer or pamphleteer. Second, Blanning never loses
sight of the abiding importance of power, especially military power, in
shaping political events. Thus while he uses the work of historians like
Lynn Hunt and Keith Baker, he does not let political discourse take on
a life of its own. The hard realities of political violence and international
con¬‚ict are always present. We can see, therefore, in Blanning™s critical
engagement with the rich historical literature on the French Revolution
the origins of the themes that he will so brilliantly examine in The Culture
of Power and the Power of Culture.
The Culture of Power is divided into three parts: ˜Representational Cul-
ture™, ˜The Rise of the Public Sphere™ and ˜Revolution™. There is a certain
Hegelian quality about this triad: each stage at once replaces and sustains
its antecedent, following the dialectical process that Hegel calls Aufhe-
bung, a lifting up, which of course involves both retention and removal.
The opening section on ˜Representational Culture™ is a rare example
of historical writing that is at once a splendid introduction for the novice
and a source of surprise and delight for the expert. Blanning moves across
Europe “ with particular emphasis on France and the German lands “
and across genres “ with particular emphasis on music and the visual
arts. He ¬nds just the right balance between the general and the partic-
ular, the prominent and the forgotten, sacred and profane. Despite the
richness of its material, the ¬rst section is also the most cohesive of the
three. In part this is because representational culture was a European
phenomenon, nourished by the powerful in¬‚uence of Versailles, patron-
ized by a multilingual aristocracy, and created by an international elite
of artists who moved freely from court to court. But the cohesiveness
of representational culture also comes from the court itself, which rep-
resents the fusion of political and cultural authority, personi¬ed by the
prince, around whom the life of the court is supposed to revolve. ˜The
whole state™, as Bossuet once wrote, ˜is in the person of the prince.™10
Something extraordinarily important happens to European politics
when this ceases to be true: when the state can no longer be represented
in the prince™s person, it must be imagined; that is to say, it becomes
the projection of what we know on to what we don™t, what we can see
on to what we can™t. In the modern world, all political communities are

10 Quoted in Keith Baker, Inventing the French Revolution (New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1990), p. 225.
6 James J. Sheehan

˜imagined communities™ because all of them extend beyond what we can
see and apprehend. The site where the political imagination operates “
and where a new kind of political culture is created “ is the subject of
Blanning™s second section, ˜The Rise of the Public Sphere™.
As the section™s title underscores, Jurgen Habermas “ a powerful pres-
ence throughout the book “ is especially important here. As far as I have
been able to discover, Habermas™s name appeared for the ¬rst time in
Blanning™s The French Revolution in Germany (published in 1983), when
he is listed “ along with Treitschke, Marx, Barr` s, Lenin and Rosenberg
(an odd assortment to say the least) “ as a source of categories ˜from
another time and place™ that Blanning does not intend to impose on his
material.11 As we have seen, by the second edition of his survey of the
French Revolution, Blanning had accepted Habermas™s value in under-
standing the problem of political culture. In The Culture of Power, the
conceptual framework has been “ as Blanning tells us “ strongly in¬‚u-
enced although not dictated by Strukturwandel der Offentlichkeit.12
In order to be transformed into a useful historical category, Haber-
mas™s idea of Offentlichkeit needs three revisions. First, the chronology of
his argument must be changed: the process he describes certainly began
much earlier than he suggests. Second, the normative element in Haber-
mas™s account needs to be reduced “ socially Offentlichkeit was not, as
Habermas suggests, so closely associated with the bourgeoisie, nor was
it ideologically as ˜progressive™ and consistently secular as he claimed.
Finally “ and this point is made less often than the ¬rst two “ the institu-
tional dimensions of Habermas™s argument need to be emphasized and
the epistemological correspondingly downplayed. Within the evolution of
Habermas™s own thought, Offentlichkeit is a stage in the emergence of the
communications theory with which he tried to resolve problems of truth
and value. In Habermas™s original account, therefore, the epistemological
function of Offentlichkeit is more important than its social or institutional
character. The historians “ like Blanning “ who use Habermas reverse
this emphasis: a reversal that is already apparent in the translation of the

11 The French Revolution in Germany, p. 17. There follows a long quotation from Richard
Cobb, whose distrust of methodological self-consciousness the Blanning of 1983 ¬rmly
12 Strukturwandel der Offentlichkeit: Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der b¨ rgerlichen
Gesellschaft (Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1962). It is signi¬cant that Habermas™s book was
not translated until 1989: The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry
into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989). There is a vast
literature on the concept: for a good introduction, see the article by Dena Goodman
in History and Theory 31:1 (1992) and the collection edited by Craig Calhoun, Haber-
mas and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), which includes some
retrospective re¬‚ections by Habermas himself.
Introduction: culture and power 7

key term. The rendering of Offentlichkeit as ˜public sphere™ (or even more
clearly in the French l™espace public) gives the notion of ˜publicity™ or, per-
haps more accurately, ˜publicness™ greater institutional weight than the
German term would suggest.
Habermas™s great service is to encourage us to remember that culture
is not just a set of ideas or objects, but that it is an activity in which
form and content have a complex relationship: the medium and the mes-
sage are dynamically and creatively interrelated.13 By making culture an
activity, Habermas suggested a way to write a history of ideas that tran-
scended both the abstractions of traditional intellectual history and the
reductionist categories of Marxist analysis.
In Blanning™s capable hands, the concept of a ˜public sphere™ becomes
a way of illuminating the subtle interplay of commerce and communica-
tions in eighteenth-century culture. The core of this process was the rise
of a reading public, at once the subjects and consumers of the century™s
great burst of literary innovation. But Blanning refuses to be trapped
within his conceptual framework: he recognizes the continued impor-
tance of the court, the limits of social categories like ˜the bourgeoisie™
and the need to recognize the aesthetic merit of great works of litera-
ture, art and music. As in section one, Blanning is a splendid guide: clear
and concise enough for the beginner, unfailingly original and provocative
enough for the more experienced reader.
Blanning™s ¬nal section, tersely entitled ˜Revolution™, is the longest,
most original, most interesting, but also the most problematic of the
three. There is no doubt that this section has the most dif¬cult story to
tell. The title of the section, like the closing date “ 1789 “ in the title of the
book, sets the trajectory of the analysis towards the revolution in France.
But Blanning must continue to manage the differences among the three
national experiences at the centre of his account “ Prussia, Britain and
France. He must also retain his focus on the relationship between culture
and power “ uni¬ed by the court in his ¬rst section, refracted into public
opinion in his second and now necessarily part of the revolutionary crisis
that brought the old regime to an end.
The keystone in the interpretive arch that supports this section is
nationalism. At the end of the second section, Blanning provides this
forecast of what is coming: ˜As the next chapter will show, this great
upheaval [that is, the French Revolution], which affected every part of

13 Much the same idea informed the work of Marshall McLuhan, whose Gutenberg Galaxy
appeared in 1962, the same year as Habermas™s Strukturwandel. McLuhan, who was
once so famous that he appeared in a Woody Allen movie, is now largely forgotten, at
least by historians.
8 James J. Sheehan

Europe, did not come like a clap of thunder in a clear sky, but was a
speci¬cally French reaction to a general European phenomenon “ the
emergence of nationalism.™14
I am not sure that Blanning™s concept of nationalism is sturdy enough
to bear the structural weight he puts upon it. It seems to me that it works
rather well in his discussion of Britain, where the monarch is able to
capture the patriotic mood and create a political culture that will enable
Britain to emerge triumphant from its long struggle against revolution-
ary France. It is also true that the French monarchy™s inability to mobi-
lize nationalism was one “ but only one “ of the most signi¬cant rea-
sons for the disasters that engulfed it after 1789. Nationalism works least
well in explaining the German case, where national consciousness within
the public sphere has a much more complicated relationship with politi-
cal authority. Throughout German-speaking Europe, the state remained
more important than the nation until well into the nineteenth century.
Looking back over Tim Blanning™s scholarly work beginning with his
study of Joseph II in 1970 and by no means ending with his Culture of
Power in 2002, one is struck by its variety, range and intellectual power.
He writes with equal authority about operas and battles, ideas and events,
social movements and great men. Throughout his work there are some
recurrent themes, such as the importance of religion, the centrality of
politics and the decisive signi¬cance of power, especially military power.
There are recurring opinions, of which Professor Blanning has an abun-
dant supply. And there is also a characteristic tone that is gently “ and
sometimes not so gently “ ironic. Above all, Blanning™s work is united
by what William James once called ˜temperament™, those deeply rooted
elements of character and conviction that nourish our intellectual life.
Blanning™s scholarship is animated by his temperament, which is “ and
again I take my terms from William James “ tough minded enough to
see the world as it is, but also tender minded enough to appreciate the
importance of imaging how the world might be and, above all, sensible
enough to know the difference between the two.

In their range and variety, the essays in this volume re¬‚ect the breadth of
Tim Blanning™s scholarly interests. Like Blanning™s teaching and research,
the essays are European in scope, extending from Britain to the Hungar-
ian lands of the Habsburg Monarchy. Chronologically, they span the ˜long
eighteenth century™ from Christopher Clark™s account of King Frederick™s

14 Blanning, The Culture of Power, p. 182.
Introduction: culture and power 9

coronation in 1701 to Emma Winter™s examination of King Ludwig of
Bavaria™s reign that ended, unhappily, in 1848. The subjects covered
include music and military institutions, court intrigue and diplomatic
practice, religious con¬‚ict and political ideas. While the editors have made
no effort to provide a comprehensive portrait of the century, the contri-
butions convincingly demonstrate its richness and diversity.
The essays are joined by a common interest in culture.
Although historians “ since Herodotus “ have long written about cul-
ture, cultural history has been signi¬cantly revitalized in the past two
decades. One of the primary examples of this new vitality is the histo-
riography of the eighteenth century and especially the historiography of
pre-revolutionary France. There are many reasons for this, but the most
important is surely the collapse “ at once political, ideological and his-
toriographical “ of Marxism and the social interpretations it sustained.
Instead of trying to establish the social origins of politics, historians began
to search for its cultural sources and manifestations. This search can take
many forms, some inspired by the so-called ˜linguistic turn™, others by a
renewal of interest in religious ideas and institutions, still others by work
on the family, gender and sexuality.15 Tim Blanning, as we have seen,
was in¬‚uenced by these developments when he prepared a new edition
of his introductory survey on the French Revolution. Their impact can
also be seen in many of the essays in this volume.
Raymond Williams once wrote that ˜culture is one of the two or three
most complicated words in the English language.™16 If ˜power™ is not one of
the other two, then it certainly belongs on a list of the top ten. Both words
have been used to refer to a bewildering variety of historical phenomena,
whose importance no one would question, but whose precise meaning is
persistently elusive. One is tempted to say about culture and power what
St Augustine said about time: I know what they mean until someone asks
me to explain them. But while no one would doubt the complexity of
these concepts, we should not overlook the dif¬culties packed into that
simple conjunction ˜and™, which raises the question of the relationship
between the two, between the symbolic, moral and aesthetic realm of
culture and the contentious, often violent world of power.
There is no simple, straightforward way to de¬ne the relationship
between culture and power. Ideas, values and symbols are not merely
re¬‚ections of deeper political realities, an ideological superstructure built

15 For an early survey of this work, see Sarah Maza, ˜Politics, Culture and the Origins of
the French Revolution™, Journal of Modern History 61 (December 1989), pp. 704“23.
16 Quoted in William Sewell, Logics of History Social Theory and Social Transformation
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 156. Sewell™s Chapter Five, ˜The Con-
cept(s) of Culture™, is a brilliant discussion of the term and its uses.
10 James J. Sheehan

to justify or conceal what really matters. Nor does culture constitute an
autonomous reality of its own: the world may be many things, but it is not
only a text. Beyond these extremes “ in which, I suspect, few people have
ever really believed “ is to be found the question that recurs throughout
this volume: how do people™s struggles for in¬‚uence and survival shape “
and how are they shaped by “ their language and rituals, art and ideas,
symbols and ceremonies? As the essays collected here demonstrate, the
best place to look for answers to this question is in those particular histor-
ical situations, where men and women struggle both to understand and
to master the world around them. Understanding and mastery “ culture
and power “ appear to be inseparable, each one enhancing or limiting the
other. Our primary concern should be to see how this happens.
Although all of the essays treat some aspect of eighteenth-century cul-
ture, ˜culture™ turns out to be elastic enough to embrace an extremely
diverse set of concerns. Roughly speaking, the authors™ uses of the term
can be divided into three groups:
In the ¬rst, culture is regarded as a particular sort of activity: the
coronation rituals analysed by Christopher Clark, the ideas about power
described by Joachim Whaley, the two Mozart operas discussed by Mark
Berry and the artistic policies traced by Emma Winter. These activities
do not, of course, ¬‚oat in the air: all of the authors link their subjects to
individual ambitions, social institutions and political structures. Never-
theless, these forms of culture stand out from the institutional landscape,
even as they are shaped and supported by it.
In the second group of essays, culture is used to mean a mentality,
a set of deeply rooted notions about how institutions should and do
work. Peter Wilson, for instance, de¬nes ˜military culture™ as ˜the values,
norms, and assumptions that encourage people to make certain choices
in given circumstances™. In this sense, culture is how particular organiza-
tions establish their goals and select alternative strategies to meet them.
Hamish Scott™s ˜diplomatic culture™ and Brendan Simms™s ˜strategic cul-
ture™ belong in this category, as does the ˜confessional conscience™ mani-
fested by the village choir in James Melton™s microhistory of Hofgastein.
This kind of culture often has explicit formulations “ in training manuals
or rules of conduct, for example “ but it is most powerfully transmit-
ted through the communal practices and intimate encounters on which
every cohesive institution depends. These implicit, often routine forms
of cultural communication teach people what it means to be a soldier,
diplomat, British statesman or member of the Protestant minority in an
Alpine market town.
The remainder of the essays use culture in a broader, more inclusive
sense, that is, to refer to what some of the authors call ˜political culture™,
Introduction: culture and power 11

others, ˜public culture™ and a few, the ˜public sphere™. This is the sort of
culture that, as Andrew Thompson shows, sustained Britain as a ˜con-
fessional state™, encouraged the crisis in the Parlement of Paris described
by Julian Swann and prepared the way for the dramatic abolition of the
nobility on 19 June 1790 that is the subject of William Doyle™s contribu-
tion. The most prominent historical residues of this culture are the works
of its most articulate representatives, works like Beaumarchais™s Marriage
of Figaro, whose subversive message was heard by nearly 100,000 people
during its ¬rst run in Paris in 1784. But the in¬‚uence of these individual
books or plays, even extraordinarily popular ones like Figaro, depended
on their relationship to a deeper, more pervasive, but also more elusive set
of values and assumptions. Establishing the social dimensions and polit-
ical implications of this relationship is perhaps the important challenge
confronting students of political culture.
Several essays show the persistent importance of the court in the eigh-
teenth century. ˜Courts™, Christopher Clark reminds us, ˜are places where
power and culture merge.™ His analysis of the coronation of 1701 uncovers
the rich symbolic meaning and practical signi¬cance of the Prussian Elec-
tor™s efforts to mark his assumption of a royal crown and title. The courts
were also, as Hamish Scott points out, the place where old regime states-
men learned their craft and established the connections on which their
diplomacy depended. Munro Price looks carefully at the French upper
nobility, whose attitudes were shaped by the microcosm of court intrigue
as well as the larger realm of political ideas and values. Maiken Umbach
emphasizes the signi¬cance of the court culture in the smaller German
states for the creation of those values and ideas she calls B¨ rgerlichkeit,
that form of moral sensibility that appealed to both princely patrons and
the artists they supported. As we see in Emma Winter™s essay, the complex
interaction of court and public that Price found at Versailles and Umbach
discovered at German courts like Dessau is even more strikingly apparent
in Ludwig I™s Munich, where the monarch lavished resources on art to
glorify the dynasty and to promote German cultural values.
The court™s political and cultural role depended on the ambitions and
abilities of the ruler. Among the Hohenzollern, Frederick I was the ¬rst
and also the last eighteenth-century king to be obsessed by dynastic ritual:
neither Frederick™s son nor his grandson cared much for the ceremonial
dimensions of kingship. Personality also contributed to the toxic atmo-
sphere at the French court on the eve of the revolution, where the weak-
ness of the monarch and the deeply rooted unpopularity of his queen
helped to alienate some of those closest to the throne.
Among eighteenth-century rulers, no one had a more remarkable
personal style than the Emperor Joseph II. In contrast to Prussia™s
12 James J. Sheehan

Frederick I, who ampli¬ed his power with ceremonies and symbols,
Joseph struggled to master the details of statecraft, including, as Derek
Beales chronicles, the reception of tens of thousands of individual peti-
tions, both in Vienna and during his travels around the Habsburgs™
scattered domains. There was something medieval about this personal
manifestation of royal power, but at the same time, the scale of Joseph™s
activity makes it a public act: if, as Beales writes, ˜the public sphere is
taken to embrace all interaction between government and people which
involves exchanges of views, then, at least in the monarchy under Joseph
II, petitioning was a major element in it™.
The persistent signi¬cance of the court is one reason why it is a mis-
take to associate the growth of the public too closely with the rise of
some mythical ˜bourgeoisie™. Another is the continued vitality of the aris-
tocracy, which appears again and again in these essays. That aristocrats
dominated the of¬cer corps, the diplomatic service and the political elite
is to be expected. But they were also important as patrons of the arts
and as active participants in the public sphere. B¨ rgerlichkeit was a moral
not a social category; its adherents included both noblemen and com-
moners. In fact, everywhere in Europe aristocrats were among the chief
consumers of new political and literary works. It was, as William Doyle
notes, the court nobility that persuaded Louis XVI to lift his ban on the
production of Beaumarchais™s play, which they and their fellow aristo-
crats then rushed to see. Surely when they applauded the denunciation
of Count Almaviva™s feckless immorality, they did not imagine that, just
six years later, a revolutionary National Assembly would vote to abolish
hereditary nobility forever.
Religion, which has always been an important theme in Tim Blanning™s
work, is a central theme in several essays. James Melton™s painstaking
re-creation of the Protestants™ ˜counterfactual inversion™ of the Corpus
Christi procession in an Alpine village shows us people™s willingness to
confront the power of both the community and the state. This challenge
to what Melton calls ˜the unity of creed and community™ signalled the
intensi¬cation of confessional animosity that would result in the expul-
sion of the region™s Protestants just a few years later. If Melton follows
religious divisions into the village community, Andrew Thompson shows
how important religion remained in British public life. The eighteenth-
century British state, he concludes, may not have been confessional, but it
was most de¬nitely Protestant, animated by a language of ˜broad Protes-
tant interest™ shared by High Church Anglicans as well as dissenters.
In contrast to those who see the so-called ˜Westphalian system™ as com-
posed of secular, sovereign states, Thompson shows the persistence of
confessional issues in determining British foreign policy. In Britain, as
Introduction: culture and power 13

elsewhere, religious commitments and dynastic interests brought together
international and domestic politics. This blend of religion and dynasty
was part of the background to Frederick™s coronation in 1701 and, as
Brendan Simms argues, it remained a key to eighteenth-century Britain™s
strategic culture. Among the most signi¬cant effects of the French Rev-
olution was to substitute ideology for religion in the linkage between
domestic and foreign affairs, a point precociously made in Edmund
Burke™s ˜Letters on the Proposals for Peace with the Regicide Directory
of France™ of 1796, which is cited with approval in Gary Savage™s essay
on political culture and French foreign policy.
Although this volume is self-consciously European in scope, it is worth
noting how many of the authors are drawn into debates about the grand
narratives of national histories. Clark, Wilson, Whaley and Umbach are
all engaged with the German Sonderweg, about which they are all, to
some degree, sceptical. Thompson and Simms both participate in the
debate about eighteenth-century Britain that has been recently reinvigo-
rated by the work of Jonathan Clark. And of course for all the authors on
French subjects, the question of revolution™s origins retains its magnetic
power. On the basis of the essays by Swann, Price, Doyle and Savage, one
can say that Fran¸ ois Furet was only partially correct when he famously
wrote that the French Revolution was over. It is perhaps signi¬cant that
the essays that do not easily ¬t into national narratives “ Melton, Evans,
Beales and Berry “ all have to do with the Habsburg Monarchy. Emma
Winter™s focus on Bavaria represents a clear break with conventional
national categories, signalling a new interest in German states outside
Taken together, these essays do not provide a grand narrative for the
long eighteenth century. Indeed their overall impact is to undermine
rather than advance any single interpretation of power and culture. There
is more than enough material here to shake any overarching theory of
change: class analysis, secularization or modernization in all its many
guises. Habermas™s ˜public sphere™ is used by some authors, but ignored
or implicitly criticized by others. Even Tim Blanning™s Culture of Power is
sometimes called into question. This is, I think, an absolutely appropriate
tribute to a scholar who has always celebrated the messy but fascinating
speci¬city of historical experience.
2 When culture meets power: the Prussian
coronation of 1701

Christopher Clark
St Catherine™s College, Cambridge

On 18 January 1701, Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg and Duke
of Prussia, was crowned ˜King in Prussia™ in the city of Konigsberg. The
splendour of the event was unprecedented in the history of the House
of Hohenzollern. According to one contemporary report, 30,000 horses
were required to relay the Electoral family, their retainers and their lug-
gage, all packed into 1,800 carriages, along the road to the place of
coronation. The ceremony itself began on the morning of 18 January
in the audience chamber of the Elector, where a throne had been erected
specially for the occasion. Dressed in a scarlet and gold coat glittering
with diamond buttons and a crimson mantle with an ermine lining and
attended by a small gathering of male family members, courtiers and
senior local of¬cials, the Elector placed the crown on his own head, took
his sceptre in hand and received the homage of those present.
He then passed into the chambers of his wife, whom he crowned as
his queen in the presence of their household. After representatives of the
Estates had rendered homage, the royal couple processed to the castle
chapel in order to be anointed. Here they were greeted at the entrance by
two bishops, one Lutheran and one Reformed (Calvinist), both of whom
had been appointed to their of¬ces speci¬cally for this purpose “ in defer-
ence to the bi-confessional character of the Brandenburg-Prussian state
(in which a Calvinist dynasty ruled over a population of Lutheran sub-
jects). After some hymns and a sermon, a royal fanfare of drums and
trumpets announced the highpoint of the service: the king rose from his
throne and knelt at the altar, while the Calvinist Bishop Ursinus wet two
¬ngers of his right hand in oil and anointed the forehead and the right
and left wrists (above the pulse) of the king. The same ritual was then
performed upon the queen. To the accompaniment of a musical accla-
mation, the clergymen involved in the service gathered before the throne
and rendered homage. After further hymns and prayers, a senior court

The Prussian coronation of 1701 15

of¬cial stood up to announce a general pardon for all offenders, excluding
blasphemers, murderers, debtors and those guilty of l`se-majest´.1
e e
Courts are places where power and culture merge. Nowhere is this con-
vergence more splendidly enacted than in the dramatic performances of
a royal coronation. But on what terms is the partnership between culture
and power contracted? Is culture an essential, indeed an unconscious,
substance that wells up through the ritual performances that embellish
the court™s public life? Or is it better understood as a repertoire of discrete
symbolic instruments deployed by those who hold or lay claim to power,
in order to achieve highly focused and intentional effects? Historical writ-
ing on royal ritual has generally been informed by two opposed points
of view. The ¬rst, derived largely from the theoretical and interpretative
writings of anthropologists, proceeds from the axiom that culture is best
understood as ˜a deeply sedimented essence attaching to, or adhering in,
particular groups™, or as the ˜primordial values or traits™ of a speci¬c com-
munity.2 Viewed in this light, the coronation ritual appears as a system
of meanings that can be read synchronically and analysed like a text, a
˜seamlessly coherent script or master narrative that actors follow™.3 The
second point of view arises from an acknowledgement of the arti¬cial-
ity of much royal ritual, its quality as a thing made at a speci¬c time to
meet a speci¬c purpose. From this perspective, coronation rituals appear
as exercises in propaganda, whose function is to project authority and
win allegiance.4 The focus is on manipulation, change and speci¬city

1 For descriptions and analyses of the coronation, see Peter Baumgart, ˜Die preußische
Konigskronung von 1701, das Reich und die europ¨ ische Politik™, in Oswald Hauser
¨ ¨ a
(ed.), Preußen, Europa und das Reich (Cologne and Vienna, 1987), pp. 65“86; Heinz
Duchhardt, ˜Das preußische Konigtum von 1701 und der Kaiser™, in Heinz Duchhardt
and Manfred Schlenke (eds.), Festschrift f¨ r Eberhard Kessel (Munich, 1982), pp. 89“101;
Heinz Duchhardt, ˜Die preussische Konigskronung von 1701. Ein europ¨ isches Modell?™
¨ ¨ a
in Heinz Duchhardt (ed.), Herrscherweihe und K¨ nigskr¨ nung im Fr¨ hneuzeitlichen Europa
o o u
(Wiesbaden, 1983), pp. 82“95; Iselin Gundermann, ˜Die Salbung Konig Friedrichs I. in
Konigsberg™, Jahrbuch f¨ r Berlin-Brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte 63 (2001), pp. 72“88;
¨ u
Iselin Gundermann (ed.), Via Regia. Preußens Weg zur Krone. Katalog der Ausstellung des
Geheimen Staatsarchivs Preußischer Kuturbesitz (Berlin, 1998); Werner Schmidt, Friedrich
I. Kurf¨ rst von Brandenburg, K¨ nig in Preußen (Munich, 1996), esp. pp. 103“41.
u o
2 Sherry B. Ortner, ˜Introduction™, Representations 59 (1997), pp. 1“13, here pp. 8“9.
3 Lisa Wedeen, ˜Conceptualising Culture: Possibilities for Political Science™, American Polit-
ical Science Review 96 (2002), pp. 713“28, here p. 716. In this passage, Wedeen is char-
acterising the work of Clifford Geertz, esp. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays
(New York, 1973), Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretative Anthropology (New
York, 1983) and Negara: The Theater State in Nineteenth-Century Bali (Princeton, 1980).
On Geertz and historical practice, see William H. Sewell, Jr, ˜Geertz, Cultural Systems,
and History: From Synchrony to Transformation™, Representations 59 (1997), pp. 35“55.
4 Andrew D. Brown, ˜Civic Ritual: Bruges and the Counts of Flanders in the Later Middle
Ages™, English Historical Review 11 (1997), pp. 277“99, here pp. 277, 280, 294.
16 Christopher Clark

rather than continuity and universality.5 In contrast with the synchronic
methodology of classical anthropology, this approach adopts a diachronic
perspective in which each ritual performance is seen as one link in a chain
of causes and consequences extending through time.6 Ritual enactments
are not the artefacts of a seamless and embedded tradition, but inventions
that re¬‚ect processes of political change.7 The appearance of antiquity
and timelessness that marks much royal ritual is precisely that, an appear-
ance contrived to shroud the arti¬ciality of the proceedings in a mantle
of continuity and thereby to assimilate the institution of monarchy to a
transcendent order of things.8
These are clearly not mutually exclusive insights. Most signi¬cant ritual
events can be pro¬tably illuminated from both perspectives. The corona-
tion rite of 1701 with which this chapter is concerned was a semiotically
complex event superabundantly charged with the traditional attributes of
royalty and it was certainly text-like, in that it explicitly invited metaphor-
ical and allegorical readings. On the other hand, it was also a manifestly
arti¬cial, rootless thing that had to be manufactured in great haste to
meet the needs of a particular moment. To a greater extent perhaps than
any other major European coronation, it was fashioned to address the
exigencies of a dynamic and threat-rich international environment.
Indeed, it may be that we can only make sense of the coronation rit-
ual of 1701 if we move away altogether from an essentialist notion of
culture as connoting ¬xed group traits. The drawback of this approach,
as the political scientist Lisa Wedeen has observed, is that it does not
allow for agency; participant actors are captives of a script ordained by
culture. Wedeen advocates a dynamic analysis of ˜semiotic practices™ that
would focus on ˜processes of meaning-making™ in which the intentions
and strategies of actors interact with language, ritual and other symbolic
systems.9 Her open-ended, pragmatically oriented approach seems espe-
cially well ¬tted to an event that drew deeply on the symbols and logic of

5 See Dougal Shaw, ˜The Coronation and Monarchical Culture in Stuart Britain and
Ireland, 1603“1661™ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, 2002), p. 8.
6 Sewell, ˜Geertz, Cultural Systems, and History™, p. 40.
7 David Cannadine, ˜Introduction™, in David Cannadine and Simon Prince (eds.), Rituals
of Royalty. Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 1“19,
here p. 4; on the inventedness of certain modern British rituals of royalty, see David
Cannadine, ˜The Context, Performance and Meaning of Ritual: The British Monarchy
and the “Invention of Tradition”, c. 1820“1977™, in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger
(eds.), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, Canto edn, 1992).
8 Clifford Geertz, ˜Centers, Kings and Charisma: Re¬‚ections on the Symbolics of Power™,
in Joseph Ben-David and Terry Nichols Clark (eds.), Culture and Its Creators: Essays in
Honor of Edward Shils (Chicago, 1977), pp. 150“71, here p. 153.
9 Wedeen, ˜Conceptualizing Culture™, pp. 713, 716.
The Prussian coronation of 1701 17

traditional European kingship, but was at the same time highly purposive
and manipulative.
This chapter aims to make sense of the Prussian coronation of 1701 by
tracing in it the fault-lines where the demands of power met the imper-
atives of culture. In doing so, it seeks to relate the insights generated by
historical analyses of the coronation to the larger issues addressed by this
book. The ¬rst half of the chapter focuses on the genesis of the coro-
nation as a politico-cultural artefact designed to convey a speci¬c set of
meanings. The second part examines the functionality of the coronation
in diachronic perspective. This was a ceremonial without precedent and
without a direct successor in the territory in which it was enacted. And
yet, as I argue below, the afterlife of the coronation of 1701 within the
political culture of the Brandenburg-Prussian monarchy was more vibrant
than its historical singularity would suggest.

In terms of the proportion of territorial wealth consumed, the coronation
of 1701 must surely be the most expensive single event in the history
of Brandenburg-Prussia. Even by the standards of an age that revelled
in courtly ceremonial, the Prussian coronation was unusually splendid.
The government levied a special crown tax to cover its expenditures,
but this brought in a total of only 500,000 talers “ three-¬fths of this
amount were paid out for the queen™s crown alone, and the royal crown,
a helmet of precious metal studded over its entire surface with diamonds,
accounted for the rest and more besides. Reconstructing the total cost
of the festivities is dif¬cult, since no integrated account survives, but it
has been estimated that around six million talers were spent in all for the
ceremony and attendant festivities, about twice the annual revenues of
the Hohenzollern administration.
The coronation was singular in another sense too. It was entirely
custom-made: an invention designed to serve the purposes of a spe-
ci¬c historical moment. The designer was Frederick I himself, who was
responsible for every detail, not only of the new royal insignia, the secu-
lar rituals and the liturgy in the castle church, but also for the style and
colour of the garments worn by the chief participants, the dramaturgy of
the processions, the decoration of the thrones and their canopies. There
were experts to advise on monarchical ceremonial. Foremost among these
was the poet Johann von Besser who served as master of ceremonies at the
Brandenburg court from 1690 until the end of the reign and possessed a
wide-ranging knowledge of English, French, German, Italian and Scan-
dinavian courtly tradition and custom. But the key decisions always fell
18 Christopher Clark

to the Elector. ˜To tell the truth™, a friend of the monarch observed in his
memoirs, ˜these gentlemen [the senior courtiers and state secretaries and
master of ceremonies] were only involved as a formality, since the king
himself saw to almost everything.™10
The ceremony that resulted was a unique and highly self-conscious
amalgam of borrowings from historical European coronations, some
recent, others of older vintage. From the English coronation ritual he
borrowed, among other things, the practice of dedicating the eve of the
ceremony to the induction of new members into a semi-clerical ˜knightly
order™. For the Order of the Bath, whose Knights gathered in the Tower
on the evening before the coronation, Frederick substituted the Order of
the Black Eagle, whose members were men distinguished by their services
to the Prussian throne. The practice of presenting the king crowned and
in full regalia for the rite of anointment had been the rule in Denmark
since 1665 and the decision to have the king crown himself was probably
made in emulation of the Swedish coronation ceremony of 1697.11
Frederick designed his coronation not only with a view to its aesthetic
impact, but also in order to broadcast what he regarded as the de¬ning
features of his kingly status. The form of the crown, which was not an
open band, but a metal helmet closed at the top, symbolised the ˜all-
embracing power™ of a monarch who encompassed in his own person
both secular and spiritual sovereignty. The fact, moreover, that the king,
in contrast to the prevailing European practice, crowned himself in a
separate ceremony before being acclaimed by his Estates, pointed up the
autonomous character of his of¬ce, its independence from any worldly
or spiritual authority (save that of God himself). A description of the
coronation by Johann Christian Lunig, a renowned contemporary expert
on the courtly ˜science of ceremony™, explained the signi¬cance of this
step. ˜Kings who accept their kingdom and sovereignty from the Estates
usually only . . . mount the throne after they have been anointed: . . . but
His Majesty [Frederick I], who has not received His Kingdom through
the assistance of the Estates or of any other [party], had no need whatever
of such a handing-over, but rather received his crown after the manner
of the ancient kings from his own foundation.™12
The arrangements for the royal anointment were also highly distinc-
tive. Above all, it was separated entirely from the formal act of corona-
tion, which was performed by the king upon his own person in his own

10 Rudolf Grieser (ed.), Die Denkw¨ rdigkeiten des Burggrafen und Grafen Christoph zu Dohna
(1665“1733) (Gottingen, 1974), p. 212.
11 Duchhardt, ˜Die preußische Konigskronung™, p. 88.
¨ ¨
12 Johann Christian Lunig, Theatrum ceremoniale historico-politicum oder historisch- und poli-
tischer Schau-Platz aller Ceremonien etc. (2 vols., Leipzig, 1719“20), vol. II, pp. 100, 96.
The Prussian coronation of 1701 19

chambers some time before the ecclesiastical part of the ceremony began,
so when the king and his wife arrived at the Konigsberg Schloßkirche,
they were already crowned monarchs. Those involved in planning the
ceremony were all agreed that the anointment must be administered by a
bishop, but there were no serving bishops in Prussia, except for the court
chaplain Jablonski, who ministered to the community of the Moravian
Brothers in Berlin. Frederick could simply have ordered that bishops
be ordained in time for the coronation, but he chose instead simply to
appoint the two bishops out of the fullness of his sovereign power. Indeed
his initial stipulation was that these elevations would be temporary, the
episcopal titles lapsing after completion of the coronation formalities.
Even the act of anointment itself was custom-designed to meet the new
king™s needs. It was the king, not his bishops, who gave the order to pro-
ceed with the anointment, so that one can speak without exaggeration of
an act of ˜self-unction™ by the monarch.13
Given the recent history of Brandenburg and Ducal Prussia, the impor-
tance of these symbolic gestures is obvious enough. The Great Elector™s
struggle with the Prussian Estates and particularly the city of Konigsberg
was still a memory with the power to disturb “ it is a telling detail that the
Prussian Estates were never consulted over the coronation and were only
informed of the forthcoming festivities in December 1700. As for the curi-
ous arrangements surrounding the unction, these too were charged with
political meaning. The appointment of two bishops “ one Lutheran and
one Reformed “ speci¬cally for the coronation gave graphic expression
to the monarch™s claim to sovereign authority over both ˜of¬cial™ Protes-
tant confessions: at a time when Lutheran hostility to the Calvinist court
was still a problem, especially in a deeply Lutheran city like Konigsberg,
this was an important signal. By leaving the rite of anointment until after
the coronation was an accomplished fact, moreover, Frederick reinforced
the autonomy of the new foundation: had the unction been administered
before or during the coronation, this might have been construed as sig-
nifying the dependence of the king upon the assent of the Estates, as
represented in the persons of the two bishops and their clerical assistants.
Indeed, one of the most striking things about the coronation cere-
mony was what one might call its semiotic density. Every detail of every
event was designed to broadcast a speci¬c reading of the ceremony. The
crown itself was packed with symbolic devices signifying power, glory
and fullness of sovereignty. The throne canopies were decorated with a
redundant profusion of royal attributes. A recurring ¬gure was the eagle,

13 Hans Liermann, ˜Sakralrecht des protestantischen Herrschers™, Zeitschrift der Savignys-
tiftung f¨ r Rechtsgeschichte 61 (1941), pp. 311“83, here pp. 333“69.
20 Christopher Clark

the king of birds, surmounted by a crown, and bearing in its right claw a
wreath of laurels signifying the power of royal justice and in its left claw
a brace of thunderbolts signifying the justice of royal punishment. Even
the prodigious ¬reworks orchestrated outside the city walls on 26 Jan-
uary combined mass entertainment with heavy-handed symbolism. The
show began with three ascending rockets, the ˜sign that a king is arriv-
ing™. There followed a sequence of ¬ery ˜machines™: in the ¬rst, the king
was seen sitting on his throne with two ¬‚oating angels holding the crown
above his head; the second revealed Atlas bearing a globe of the world
with ¬‚oating sword and sceptre, and so on.14
Many details of the ceremony derived from the traditional representa-
tive culture of European royalty. Trumpets and drums, whose fanfares
were heard in the chapel, were the traditional heralds of royalty. Images
of two persons or angels placing a crown or garland on the head of a
third person seated between them can be traced back into antiquity and
had been used to represent the bestowal of royal dignity since the Middle
Ages. The greeting of the royal procession at the door of the church like-
wise invoked a practice of great antiquity as did the unction itself and
the alternation of sung texts and prayers throughout the service.15 Yet it
would be going too far to say that the authors of this festivity were work-
ing within an inherited tradition, for the design of the coronation ritual
and its accoutrements was in fact an extravagant exercise in bricolage.
The know-how that informed the ceremony was not rooted in a ˜com-
mon knowledge™ implicitly shared by all the participants; it derived rather
from the printed canon of ˜Ceremonialwissenschaft™, the highly mediated
and rationalised ˜science of ceremony™ that was enjoying a boom in the last
decades of the seventeenth century. In works of this kind, the spectrum
of European ceremonial usages was presented in encyclopaedic compass
and detail.16 From this resource, fragments of diverse ˜traditions™ were
assembled, modi¬ed and recombined in such a manner as to achieve a

14 Anon., Volkommenes Diarium des gantzen Verlauffs, was von dem 23 Decembr. Anno 1700,
bis auff den 31 Januarii 1701 vorgegangen, wie auch das zur Kr¨ nung verfertigtes Feuerwerck,
so den 26. Januarii Anno 1701 . . . in K¨ nigsberg angez¨ ndet worden (Konigsberg?, 1701),
o u ¨
p. 8.
15 Joachim Ott, Krone und Kr¨ nung. Die Verheißung und Verleihung von Kronen in der Kunst
von der Sp¨ tantike bis um 1200 und die geistige Auslegung der Krone (Mainz, 1998), pp. 120,
16 See Milos Vec, Zeremonialwissenschaft im F¨ rstenstaat. Studien zur juristischen und poli-
tischen Theorie absolutistischer Herrschaftsrepr¨ sentation (Frankfurt/Main, 1998); Jorg
a ¨
Jochen Berns, ˜Der nackte Monarch und die nackte Wahrheit. Auskunfte der ¨
deutschen Zeitungs- und Zeremoniellschriften des sp¨ ten 17. und fruhen 18. Jahrhun-
a ¨
derts zum Verh¨ ltnis von Hof und Offentlichkeit™, Daphnis 11 (1982), pp. 315“45;
Berns, ˜Die Festkultur der deutschen Hofe zwischen 1580 und 1730. Eine Prob-
lemskizze in typologischer Absicht™, Germanisch-romanische Monatsschrift 65 (1984),
pp. 295“311.
The Prussian coronation of 1701 21

highly focused array of effects. This was not the deeply anchored ˜cultural
system™ that Geertz discerned in the rituals of the Javanese theatre-state.
The coronation of 1701 did not grow out of or cohere into a homoge-
neous cultural fabric, nor did it express the collective unconscious of an
ethnic or political community. It was a highly instrumental act, designed
and executed by the late seventeenth-century™s equivalent of a modern
event-management agency. It was, to borrow Ernst Cassirer™s character-
isation of twentieth-century myth, ˜an arti¬cial thing fabricated by very
skilful and cunning artisans™.17
Interestingly enough, the makers of the coronation were proud to
acknowledge this aspect of the spectacle. It has often been observed that
coronation rituals falsely assert their continuity with an ancient past in
order to adorn themselves with an authority that transcends time. The
illusion is created that it is the rituals that are speaking through the actors,
not the other way around. But the designers of the Prussian coronation
adopted an openly instrumental approach to their task. It was essen-
tial, the Prussian envoy in Warsaw wrote in June 1700, that a bishop
be engaged to oversee the ecclesiastical part of the proceedings and that
these include an anointment of some kind, since omitting these features
might jeopardise the Elector™s future claim to the coveted title Sacra Regia
Majestas.18 The use of a bishop along the lines seen in the recent Swedish
coronation, another advisor suggested, ˜will give a great effect™ (donnera
un grand lustre).19 Publicists and councillors alike were quick to point out
that the function of the anointment was purely symbolic. This was not a
sacrament, but merely an edifying spectacle designed to elevate the spirits
of those present.20
The publicity surrounding the Prussian coronation of 1701 stressed
precisely the newness and arti¬ciality of the royal foundation. To be sure,
there was some talk in the summer of 1700 of the ˜discovery™ in the works
of the sixteenth-century geographer Abraham Ortelius, that Prussia
(meaning the Baltic principality of Prussia) had been a ˜kingdom™ in
ancient times, but no one seems to have taken this seriously.21 Even

17 Ernst Cassirer, The Myth and the State (New Haven, 1950), pp. 281“2.
18 Werner, Brandenburg Resident in Warsaw, Report of 10 June 1700, in Max Lehmann,
Preussen und die katholische Kirche seit 1640 (9 vols., Leipzig, 1878“1902), vol. I, p. 465.
19 Father Vota to the Elector of Brandenburg, in ibid., p. 468.
20 Johann von Besser, Preußische Kr¨ nungsgeschichte oder Verlauf der Ceremonien auf welchen
Der Allerdurchlauchtigste Großm¨ chtigste F¨ rst und Herr Friderich der Dritte “ die k¨ nigliche
a u o
W¨ rde des von Ihm gestifteten K¨ nigreichs preußen angenommen und sich und seine
u o
Gemahlin . . . durch die Salbung als K¨ nig und K¨ nigin einweihen lassen (Colln/Spree,
o o ¨
1702), p. 19.
21 The discovery was said to have been made by Werner, the Prussian representative in
Warsaw, see Father Vota to the Elector of Brandenburg, Warsaw, 15 May 1700, in
Lehmann, Preussen und die katholische Kirche, vol. I, p. 463.
22 Christopher Clark

Johann von Besser™s effusive coronation chronicle stated only that this was
˜a belief held by some™. Instead of submerging the new king in an imag-
ined continuity, the publicists celebrated him as a self-made monarch.
There was no talk of blood or ancient title. The remarkable thing about
the new king, Besser observed in a foreword addressed to Frederick I,
was that ˜Your Majesty came to His Throne entirely through His own
agency and in His own land.™ It was a matter of pride that the Prussian
monarch had acquired his throne ˜neither by inheritance nor by succes-
sion, nor through elevation, but rather in an entirely new way, through
his own virtue and establishment™.22 We ¬nd the same theme in more
private contexts: in a memorandum of 1704 retrospectively assessing the
acquisition of the royal title, the trusted councillor Heinrich Rudiger von
Ilgen, whose attitude to the project had initially been ambivalent, praised
the king for the ˜industry™, ˜care™ and ˜zeal™ he had shown in pursuing his
goal, despite the scepticism of his councillors and the resistance he had
encountered abroad.23
The publicists found a model for this self-made monarchy in the kingly
foundations of the Hebrew Bible. The coronation liturgy included a ser-
mon on a text from the Book of Samuel, the prophet and anointer of
kings, and the prayer of anointment stated expressly that the Prussian
king received this sign as the ˜divine mark™, by which God had shown
the kings of His people that it was He who had established them.24 An
analogous argument resonated in the essays of the Halle jurist Johann
Peter von Ludewig, a zealous advocate of the new crown, who observed
that ˜the supreme power of sovereigns comes from God: and the right
to the royal throne falls . . . to those princes who submit themselves to
the laws of the Lord of heaven and earth. These are the words of the
spirit of truth: that God establishes kings.™25 The crown, in other words,
was legitimated in terms of a Prussian variation on the divine right of
It would be mistaken to see these declarations as inaugurating a
new approach to government in Brandenburg-Prussia founded upon a
principled commitment to absolutism. This emphasis on the unmedi-
ated, divinely instituted character of the new monarchy was a tactical
device focused on the international environment. It was essential to the

22 Johann von Besser, Preußische Kr¨ nungsgeschichte, pp. 3, 6.
23 Memorandum by Ilgen to Frederick I, 1704 in Lehmann, Preussen und die katholische
Kirche, vol. I, pp. 548“59, here pp. 548“9.
24 Anon., Volkommenes Diarium, p. 3.
25 Johann Peter von Ludewig, ˜Cron-wurdiger Preußischer Adler™, in Cassander Thucelius,
¨ ¨
Des Heiligen R¨ mischen Reichs Staats Acta (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1715), pp. 753“4, cited
in Liermann, ˜Sakralrecht™, p. 366.
The Prussian coronation of 1701 23

prospective monarch and his councillors that the new foundation be
viewed as an entirely independent political entity. To be sure, the Prussian
envoys entrusted with pressing the monarch™s case in Vienna did initially
propose that the emperor might be persuaded to ˜create™ the new Prussian
crown, thereby reviving the ancient king-founding power of the imperial
of¬ce, whose reputation as the pre-eminent crown of Christendom was in
steep decline by the end of the seventeenth century. It seems, moreover,
that this argument may have played an important role in overcoming the
emperor™s early objections to the new foundation.26 But it is clear that the
Elector never in fact intended to accept a crown from the hands of the
emperor. Were he to do so, he observed in a marginal comment of 1699,
he would be a mere ˜vassal-king™ (Lehensk¨ nig) who would be ˜caught up
in the affairs of the entire [Holy Roman Empire]™.27
Hence the importance of the fact that the crown was to be founded
in Prussia, which lay outside the empire, rather than in the Brandenburg
heartland of the Hohenzollern state. ˜Everyone knows™, the British envoy
George Stepney had reported to James Vernon, Secretary of State for the
northern department in 1698, ˜the value this Elector sets upon . . . the
absolute soveraignety wherewith he possesses the Ducal Prussia, for in
that respect he exceeds in Power all other Electors and Princes of the
Empire, who are not so independent but derive their grandeur by investi-
ture from the Emperor, for which reasons, the Elector affects to be dis-
tinguished by some more extraordinary title than what is common to the
rest of his colleagues.™28 In their representations to the court in Vienna,
Brandenburg™s envoys thus pursued a double track: the possibility of an
imperial ˜creation™ was dangled before the emperor, but at the same time
it was made clear that the Elector laid claim to the right to elevate himself
to kingly status by virtue of his sovereign title in Ducal Prussia.
Emperor Leopold was initially hostile to the idea of an elevation and he
would almost certainly have refused to collaborate, had it not been for the
pressures generated by Austria™s deepening involvement in the con¬‚ict
over the Spanish succession. In 1701, as so often before, Berlin owed
its good fortune to international developments. The epochal struggle
between Habsburg and Bourbon was about to enter a new and bloody
phase, as a coalition of European powers gathered to oppose French
designs to place a grandson of Louis XIV on the vacant Spanish throne.
Anticipating a major con¬‚agration, the emperor saw that he would have

26 Alfred Francis Pribram, Oesterreich und Brandenburg 1688“1700 (Prague and Leipzig,
1885), pp. 156“7.
27 Ibid., p. 137.
28 Stepney to James Vernon, 19/29 July 1698, National Archives [NA] SP 90/1, fo. 32.
24 Christopher Clark

to make concessions in order to win Frederick™s support. Wooed with
attractive offers from both sides, the Elector decided to align himself with
the emperor in return for the ˜Crown treaty™ (Krontraktat) of 16 November
1700. Under this agreement, Brandenburg-Prussia undertook to supply
a contingent of 8,000 men to the emperor and made various more general
assurances of support for the House of Habsburg. The Viennese court
agreed, for its part, not only to recognise the foundation of the new title,
but also to work towards its general acceptance, both within the Holy
Roman Empire and among the European powers.29
Even after the emperor had agreed in principle, however, care had to
be taken to ensure that the wording of any agreement would make it
clear that the emperor was not ˜creating™ (creieren) the new royal title,
but merely ˜acknowledging™ (agnoszieren) it. A much-disputed passage of
the ¬nal agreement between Berlin and Vienna paid lip service to the
special primacy of the emperor as the senior monarch of Christendom,
and added that the Elector would not have taken the step of ˜arrogating™
or proclaiming the royal title without ¬rst securing the ˜approval™ of the
emperor. But the treaty also made it clear that the Prussian crown was an
entirely independent foundation, for which the emperor™s approval was a
courtesy rather than an obligation.30
Equally important was the independence of the new crown from any
Polish claims. Only in the reign of Frederick™s father had Ducal Prus-
sia been detached “ under the stipulations of the Treaty of Wehlau (19
September 1657) “ from the suzerainty of the Polish commonwealth.
There was vociferous opposition to the crown in some parts of the Pol-
ish political elite. Many in Warsaw feared that the title would encourage
the new king to go further and declare himself master not only of Ducal
Prussia, but also of its ˜Royal™ Prussian neighbour, still subject to the
authority of the Polish crown.31 The very name of Prussia, according to
the Italian-born Jesuit Father Charles Maurice Vota, who offered his ser-
vices as an advocate of the Elector™s elevation, inspired many Poles with
lively horror; only when these ˜chimerical apprehensions™ were ˜exorcised™
would it be possible to secure the commonwealth™s acquiescence.32 It was
for this very reason that the Elector and his advisors played with a range
of alternative titles; Rex Borussiae Septentrionalis (King of North Prussia)
was one; another was the bizarre Rex Vandalorum (King of the Vandals),

29 For the text of the so-called ˜Krontraktat™ of 16 November 1700, see Theodor von
Moerner, Kurbrandenburgs Staatsvertr¨ ge von 1601 bis 1700 (Berlin, 1867), pp. 810“23.
30 Ibid., p. 814.
31 On Polish concerns, see Father Vota to the Elector of Brandenburg, Warsaw, 27 April
1700, in Lehmann, Preussen und die katholische Kirche, vol. I, p. 460.
32 Father Vota to the Elector, Warsaw, 8 May 1700, in ibid., pp. 459“63, here p. 462.
The Prussian coronation of 1701 25

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