Hofdamen (2005)

Amtsträgerinnen im Wiener Hofstaat des 17. Jahrhunderts

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This study is a first attempt to examine the part of women in the social networking at the court. My starting point is the thesis, that only a new phrasing of the concept of the distinction between "public" and "privacy" will adduce an useful model for interpretation of the role of women in the courtly society.
This is the background of my examination of a group of women of the courtly society, the female officeholders at the court of Vienna in the first half of the 17th century. In the description of this group, I began with the study of motivations for the service in the Empress's entourage. Also I examined the regional and familial background of these women, the official duties and the everyday life at court. Finally I can show backed by many examples scopes of action for these women and their possibilities to make careers. As a result of my study I can make four major points:
Firstly, I can observe at European courts at least two different types of entourages of princesses (Frauenhofstaate). Therein, the Viennese court was representative for the courts of the Holy Roman Empire and some others such as Denmark and Sweden. Secondly, I can demonstrate that the entourage of the Empress was included in the developing process of a Habsburgian courtly aristocracy (habsburgischer Hofadel) with regard to the families and to the regional origins of the female officeholders. Thirdly, the study describes for the first time the responsibilities of female officeholders and their place in the courtly norms system. Fourthly, I am able to describe the female officeholders in different forms of activity in family networks which were constitutive for the courtly society and for the protection of family careers, too.
To complete my study, I have included an appendix of sources with the aim to stimulate further comparative researches. Besides this, the book includes short biographies for the 193 female officeholders whom I could identify for the first half of the 17th century. With these biographies I want to document the base of sources for the study and to make available this material for other researches about the Viennese court. The illustrations - many among them are now published for the first time - show some of the protagonists, but principally they show as a source sui generis the place of women in the frame of manifestations of the courtly society like celebrations, coronations or processions. In this way, this work has the nature of a pilot study for all European courts in early modern times.