Lords of War: Maximilian I of Bavaria and the Institutions of Lordship in the Catholic League Army, 1619-1626

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2014

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This dissertation is a study of lordship and its expression through the Catholic League army's institutions during the early years of the Thirty Years War. It draws on letters, reports and other chancery documents from the Bavarian State Archive to examine how duke Maximilian I of Bavaria [r 1597-1651] and his officers re-negotiated their respective command privileges within the army so as to better accommodate each other's practices of lordship through its operations. In exchange for their continued investment in his military power the duke's officers, that is, his military contractors, bargained to preserve, and then expand, customary lordly prerogatives within their commands.

More broadly the dissertation argues that Maximilian's negotiations with his contractors reflected deeper struggles among the Holy Roman Empire's nobilities over how to incorporate their own lordship within the evolving structures of the imperial state. Nobles who fought in Maximilian's service staked their wealth and landed power on his success in securing a preeminent position relative to the monarchy and, with it, their own place among the empire's governing elite.

In the process the dissertation probes and questions the role historians have usually assigned military contractors within wider processes of state-formation in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe and, in particular, the Holy Roman Empire. It views contractors not as profiteering mercenaries who pursued war for gain at the state's expense, but rather as elites who sought to invest in modes of power-sharing that would preserve and strengthen their military role in governance.

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Stutler, James Oliver (2014). Lords of War: Maximilian I of Bavaria and the Institutions of Lordship in the Catholic League Army, 1619-1626. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8754.

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