Politics, Nobility and Religion in an Ecclesiastical State: Baronial Families in Paderborn 1568 - 1661
AuthorEllis-Marino, Elizabeth Meta
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation examines the fortunes of two families of the territorial nobility in Paderborn, the barons (Freiherren) of Büren, and the baronets (Adelherren) of Fürstenberg. In doing so, it provides a paradigm for understanding the history of the territory over the course of the period 1550–1650. In contrast to their contemporaries in southern Germany, the nobles of Westphalia, the area of Germany in which Paderborn is located, are relatively under-studied. My research indicates that this area, with its myriad small territories and relative power vacuum, was also a microcosm for the political developments of the Holy Roman Empire. In studying these families, the culture of politics in the early modern Empire is illuminated. This dissertation is arranged thematically, where each chapter uses an incident in this territory to discuss a broad theme. My first chapter discusses the development of a significant party of Protestant nobles in Paderborn, and discusses the creation and reinforcement of noble identity. Particular attention is paid to the cultures of noble friendships and patronage. The political usefulness of the feud is also discussed. The second chapter examines a case of two conversions. Elisabeth von Büren, a recently-widowed Calvinist noblewoman, converted from Protestantism to Catholicism because of her increasingly difficult social and political situation. In contrast, her son Moritz experienced an internal conversion that led him to join the Jesuit order, an act that in time resulted in the extinction of this family. This chapter discusses not only the motivations for each conversion, but also the political uses of these converts, and their conversion narratives. The third chapter follows the political fortunes of two brothers, Kaspar and Dietrich von Fürstenberg. Due to his vocal alliance to the Catholic faction in Paderborn, Dietrich, who was a priest, was able to become an imperial prince. His brother, Kaspar, who was the head of the family, not only benefited from this rise in status, but also had to change his sexual practices in response to his family's increased notoriety. This chapter discusses the effects of the Counter-Reformation in Paderborn in both the public and private spheres. The fourth chapter discusses the descendant of these two men, Ferdinand von Fürstenberg. Thanks to his connections and the political realities in Westphalia after the Thirty Years' War, Ferdinand was able not only to become the prince-bishop of Paderborn, but also to enact administrative reform in the rural parishes and employ irenicism, a proto-secularist philosophy, as an aspect of his foreign policy. Ferdinand's patronage networks are analyzed in the context of post 1648 elite intellectual and cultural life. The last two chapters concentrate on the physical legacy of the two Fürstenberg bishops previously discussed. The fifth chapter discusses the "Reformation of the Landscape" enacted through the building programs of these two bishops. Through the building and decoration of monumental structures, the two bishops helped to impose a Catholic order on the countryside, and erase the signs of the previous, defeated Protestant faction. The final chapter discusses the funerary monuments of the family from which these two bishops came. Although they are scattered throughout the region, the funerary monuments of this family form a coherent propagandistic message, intended to promote their majesty, nobility and Catholicism.
Degree ProgramGraduate College