SIGISMUND

(FWF-Project: P26524-G18: 2014-2017)

Balancing Power: Sigismund’s Politics in Constance 1414-1418


Leader: Dr. Karel Hruza

Scientists: Dr. Přemysl Bar, Mag. Anna Jagošová, MMag. Günter Katzler, Mag. Sandra Weiss MA

Project summary:

The Roman-German, Hungarian and Bohemian King (1368–1437), Roman-German Emperor since 1433, ruled over a gigantic „Reich“. The international highlight of his rule is depicted by his stays in Constance during the Council which took place there from 1414–1418, where he spent the longest uninterrupted time span in the Empire, namely 459 days in two phases (December 1414–July 1415, January 1417–May 1418). Older research has postulated two of Sigismund’s „Reichstage“ in Constance (February 1415, April/May 1417).

The project is divided into three interconnected thematic areas: 1. The theory of whether Sigismund’s stays in Constance cannot be qualified as two „lange Hoftage“ will be examined, as their significance for the political action of Sigismund have not been recognized in research. According to latest estimates, Sigismund issued approximately 2,000 charters there for recipients within and outside of the empire. Distribution, contents, circle of recipients, radius of action and symbolic communication of this chancery outflow are to be analyzed. 2. The “Reichskrieg” between King Sigismund and Frederick IV, Duke of Austria, at the time of the Council will be studied, following intensive archival research and the sustainability of conflict resolution and consensus finding are to be examined in this context. 3. The conflict between the Teutonic Order and Poland before King Sigismund and the Council as well as the confrontations between the Order and Poland are to be explored, and the failure of a lasting solution will be addressed. Both conflict cases, though seen to be some of the most well-known events of the Council, have still not been analyzed in detail taking the latest findings of sources into consideration, especially in reference to Sigismund’s scope of action.

In all three thematic areas an extensive analysis of the political intentions and strategies and the Sigismund’s scopes of action are to be provided, especially in terms of a „Cultural History of the Political“, focusing on symbolic communication (ceremonial, ritual, consensus finding, presentation and demonstration of rule). The fact that Sigismund’s scope of action drew from various aspects of royal resources, but also his diplomacy, decision-making process and methods makes its analysis fascinating. The project’s results are to be published as three monographic papers and will supply new building blocks to the history of the Council of Constance as a “political event”, to Sigismund’s political biography, his production of charters and to the topic complex of King and Empire during the Late Middle Ages. First project results are to be presented in Leeds (IMC) in 2015 and the project is to be concluded at an international specialist conference in Constance in 2016. 

Cooperation Partners


  • Ruth Bader M.A. (municipal enterprise „Konzilstadt Konstanz“ of the city of Constance, Germany).
  • Dr. Ansgar Frenken (Ulm, Germany).
  • Prof. Dr. hab. Tomasz Jurek (Instytutu Historii Polskiej Akademii Nauk im. Tadeusza Manteuffla. Poznán, Poland).
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Kwiatkowski (University of Szczecin, Poland, Department for History and International Studies).
  • Dr. Peter Niederhäuser (Winterthur, Switzerland).
  • Dr. Robert Novotný (Centre for Medieval Studies Prague, Czech Republic).
  • Prof. Dr. Joachim Schneider (Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Historisches Seminar, Germany).
  • Dr. Gerald Schwedler (Historisches Seminar FB Mittelalter, University of Zurich, Switzerland).
  • Prof. Dr. Martina Stercken (University of Zurich, Historisches Seminar, Switzerland).
  • Dr. hab. Adam Szweda (Instytut Historii i Archiwistyki UMK w Toruniu, Toruń, Poland).
  • FWF-Project P21198-G18 (2008-2012):
    The distant Emperor. Ruling practice, networks and communications of Sigismund of Luxembourg (1368–1437) as Emperor and King of the three Monarchies of Germany, Hungary and Bohemia.

  • FWF-Project P17519-G08 (2004-2008):
    Sigismund († 1437), Sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, Hungary and Bohemia