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Cultures of Diplomacy and Literary Writing in the Early Modern World$
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Tracey A. Sowerby and Joanna Craigwood

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198835691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198835691.001.0001

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Ritual Practice and Textual Representations

Ritual Practice and Textual Representations

Free Imperial Cities in the Society of Princes

(p.220) 14 Ritual Practice and Textual Representations
Cultures of Diplomacy and Literary Writing in the Early Modern World

André J. Krischer

Oxford University Press

Early modern diplomacy was never a princely and aristocratic province alone. Republics also sent and received diplomats or participated in peace conferences. Whereas this sort of republican diplomacy was basically accepted at the princely courts, Free Imperial Cities such as Bremen and Cologne faced significant difficulties when trying to gain recognition. Nonetheless, there were continuous efforts by the imperial cities to play their part in early modern diplomacy, not least because of the prestige that could be earned by participating in this sphere and its rituals. For them foreign relations were always a ritual process: ceremonial interaction was at its centre, since princely recognition of ceremonial receptions or urban emissaries conferred political and social acceptance of the imperial cities’ status. Ceremonial interaction between princes and cities often involved a reciprocal exchange of capital: of economic capital paid back as symbolic capital, as gestures of social recognition which were recorded in detail in the urban books of ceremony. Writing was therefore crucial for the symbolic dimensions of urban diplomacy. The imperial cities’ ceremony books were meant to be filled with reports about ceremony which were regarded as a gain of symbolic capital materialized in writing.

Keywords:   civic ceremonial, foreign relations, imperial cities, society of princes, material culture, books of ceremonies, urban diplomacy

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