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Wednesday 18 March 2020 11.00 - 13.00
O-2 ELI02 Dynastic Margins: Group Dynamics, Inclusion and Exclusion in Early Modern European Dynasties
Lipsius, 147
Network: Elites and Forerunners Chairs: -
Organizer: Liesbeth Geevers Discussants: -
Liesbeth Geevers : A Dynastic Triangle: the Houses of Savoy and Medici as Collateral Branches of the House of Austria, 1600-1650
The Spanish Habsburg monarchy could not be ruled by the king of Spain alone. Royal relatives were needed to fill the vital, and sensitive, governorships of the Low Countries and Castile, for instance. Over time, the Spanish kings increased the number of offices that were earmarked for royal relatives, also ... (Show more)
The Spanish Habsburg monarchy could not be ruled by the king of Spain alone. Royal relatives were needed to fill the vital, and sensitive, governorships of the Low Countries and Castile, for instance. Over time, the Spanish kings increased the number of offices that were earmarked for royal relatives, also increasing their need for suitable kinsmen. Who were these suitable kinsmen? In the sixteenth century, they were primarily Habsburgs from both branches, although the Italian duke Alessandro Farnese also played a prominent role. In the seventeenth century, both the houses of Savoy and Medici would provide candidates. But in dealing with these kinsmen, the king had to navigate not only his own relationship with these respective Italian houses, but also the volatile rivalry that existed between them.
This presentation will analyse how the Spanish kings’ need for relatives, and the internal dynastic dynamics which determined who fitted that role, forced him to include more and more distant kinsmen into his group of dynastic co-workers. What do these developments say about the contemporaries’ ideas of what a dynasty was and what role collateral lines played in it? Where did the House of Austria begin and end? Answering these questions sheds new light on the multifaceted nature of early modern dynasties and dynastic rule. (Show less)

Lidewij Nissen : 'Welcome to the Family’? The Integration of the Stadtholders’ Wives into the Nassau Dynasty
Female princely consorts were indispensable for the preservation of a dynasty. They were held responsible for the creation of the future generation and played a key role in the upbringing of the dynasty’s children. In this sense, these women were incorporated into the core of the dynasty. At the same ... (Show more)
Female princely consorts were indispensable for the preservation of a dynasty. They were held responsible for the creation of the future generation and played a key role in the upbringing of the dynasty’s children. In this sense, these women were incorporated into the core of the dynasty. At the same time, however, they were also part of the dynasty’s outer edges: they were born in one dynasty and became members of another through their marriage. Some women completely integrated into their ‘host’ dynasty, whereas others remained in regular contact with their natal dynasty and maintained a ‘dual’ dynastic identity for the rest of their lives. Some of them were never considered ‘true’ members of their husband’s dynasty.
This paper will explore these issues by focusing on the integration of female consorts into two Dutch cadet branches of the Nassau family. For several generations, members of these branches functioned as stadtholder, which was one of the most prominent offices in the Dutch Republic. The stadtholders’ wives originated from diverse European dynasties, from the royal Stuart dynasty to the impoverished comital Solms-Braunfels dynasty. How was their ‘dynastic transfer’ organized? And why were some women more ‘successful’ in becoming a Nassau than others? Drawing from marriage contracts, reports on marriage negotiations, correspondence and other documents concerning the women’s first years in the Nassau dynasty, this paper will explore the gendered demarcations of early modern dynasties. (Show less)

Dries Raeymaekers : The Half-Blood Princes. Managing Bastardy in European Princely Dynasties, 16th-19th c.
In order to establish a clear line of succession, all ruling dynasties had to decide who belonged to their next of kin and who did not. These self-imposed boundaries reveal much about how a ruling family legitimized and protected its claim to power. In theory at least, membership of the ... (Show more)
In order to establish a clear line of succession, all ruling dynasties had to decide who belonged to their next of kin and who did not. These self-imposed boundaries reveal much about how a ruling family legitimized and protected its claim to power. In theory at least, membership of the ruling house could be determined by the principle of blood kinship. As the ‘impure fruits’ of fornication, the illegitimate members of the dynasty constituted a hard nut to crack in this regard. Royal and princely bastards were believed to infect the dynastic bloodline with the foulest of sins. In a system of rule that staked its claim to power on the purity of the lineage, such perceived contamination shook the very foundations on which the dynasty’s authority rested.
In many ways, bastards were liminal creatures, residing both inside and outside the dynasty, neither properly included nor fully excluded. This ambiguity strongly affected the ways in which illegitimate children could function within a dynastic context, and the ways in which a dynasty treated its bastards. What, then, were the consequences of bastardy for the dynastic system of rule? To what extent did it affect the stability of the dynasty? In this paper, I will present a new methodology to examine these and other questions. (Show less)

Jasper van der Steen : Inclusion and Exclusion of Morganatic Relatives in German Princely Houses. The Case of Nassau-Siegen, c. 1700
Inclusion and exclusion in early modern princely dynasties depended on (collectively developed) formal and informal membership rules. A case in point is the formal prohibition of unequal marriage in many princely families of the Holy Roman Empire. If a family member broke this rule, the option of a morganatic marriage ... (Show more)
Inclusion and exclusion in early modern princely dynasties depended on (collectively developed) formal and informal membership rules. A case in point is the formal prohibition of unequal marriage in many princely families of the Holy Roman Empire. If a family member broke this rule, the option of a morganatic marriage was available. This meant that the wife and possible children would neither obtain the rank of the husband/father nor be entitled to the bulk of the family inheritance. Morganatic marriage created a kind of second-class dynastic membership. But morganatic relatives rarely accepted their position in the hierarchy.
This paper will discuss the problematic familial integration of morganatic relatives both generally in the Holy Roman Empire and particularly in the case of the morganatic marriage between Prince John Francis of Nassau-Siegen and his third wife Isabella du Puget de la Serre. I will demonstrate a tension between the family adoption of dynastic rules and the variable willingness of individuals to accept these rules. Furthermore, an examination of this tension can shed new light on the margins of princely families and thus contribute to a better conceptual understanding of dynasties in early modern Europe. (Show less)



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