384 publications found
Sort by
The Court in the Countryside: Privacy and Political Sociability in the Suburban Villas of Copenhagen’s Late Eighteenth-Century Court Elite

In the early modern period, country house areas developed on the outskirts of resident towns throughout Europe. During summertime when the royal court withdrew from the capital to its summer palace, higher-ranking members of court would also retire to the suburbs. For members of the diplomatic corps or high nobility, keeping up with the politics and sociability of court life was crucial, even in the warmer months. The countryside was a recreational space, and the political function of the suburban villa was therefore different from that of the town. The suburban villa was characterised by a relative simplicity and intimacy in appearance, yet it was a highly political arena. Court members and royals were free from their urban duties, having retired to the privacy of the countryside, but this article argues that the political sociability of court life continued, adapting to a different setting. Indeed, the suburban villa was a space where relationships could be deepened, or vital political matters discussed on more private terms. Court members went on carriage rides, held pique-niques or even balls during these stays in the suburbs, often employing for political purposes the connection between privacy and sociability that was intrinsic to countryside existence. The article discusses the experiences and agency of men and women, and the dynamics of court and countryside on the outskirts of the Danish capital of Copenhagen in the late eighteenth century.

Open Access
Noble Matrimonial Policy at the Royal Court in Dresden during the Reign of King Augustus the Strong (1697–1733): Public Affairs, Private Interests

The aim of this article is to analyse the changes taking place in the marital policy of the nobility as followed by the court of Augustus II, king of Poland and grand duke of Lithuania. The election of a member of the Saxon Wettin family to the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth radically changed the balance of power there. The representatives of new, but politically involved, circles started looking for career opportunities as state officials and the chance to join the royal court, both in Warsaw and in Dresden. The marital strategy of Polish magnates to ally with foreign families, notably those already associated with the court of Electoral Saxony in Dresden, was one of the methods of seeking advancement and influence. An analysis of the examples of careers developed at the royal court allows us to identify the mechanisms by which the King himself tried to build a loyal party in the Commonwealth using private, personal links to himself and to his family. The policy of intentional steering of marriage strategies, which has not been analysed so far, turned out to play a fundamental role in this goal. International marriages gave individuals and their families chances for preeminent advantages (as with transregional nobles all over Europe), but private links with the King were crucial for personal careers and were forged through marriage to members of his family, both legitimate and illegitimate.