Condition order

the medieval and earlymodern society of Europe was divided into several conditions (lat. statùs, singular status). The condition system was a social order model, like it for later times the classes described by Marx or from Ralf the Dahrendorf, Karl Martin Bolte andother social layers introduced to the society teachings became.

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the conditions in the society

organizations of the ständischen system

the simplest conception differentiated between only authority and subjects. The same person could be in her relations with different members of the ständischen society at the same time authority and subject. The noble one was toExample gentleman over the farmers of its basic rule and likewise subject of the king.

The three-condition order was common, as it was characteristic of France in particular:

  • The 1. Conditions covered the group of all clergymen, D. h. The high religiousness belonging like the low Klerus.
  • In 2. Conditions the aristocracy was summarized. It did not play a role also here whether one came from a higher aristocracy layer or from a low and for instance belonged to the land aristocracy often become impoverished.
  • The 3. Conditions covered nominal all farmers and citizens.

A large subdivision of the three main conditions was in nearly all European countries usually. The position of the particular depended thereby on different factors:

  1. the kind of the Broterwerbs - profession, farmer conditions,
  2. the position in a family federation - earliest and, house father, farmhand, fellow tenant
  3. the rights, those the particular in the urban municipality (advicableCitizen, citizen, inhabitant) or the rural municipality had (hereditary judge, rural municipality member, Häusler).

At the point of the condition pyramid stood the princes and the king or emperor and/or. with the clergyman the bishops and the Pope.

The ständische system applied for humans of the Middle Ages and the earlyModern times as firm order given of God, in which everyone had its constant place. Into its conditions one was in-born. An ascent was not possible usually. Earnings/services or wealth had only little influence on it, which conditions one belonged. So for instance a citizen could,as a buyer too the much money had come, substantially wealthier its than a poor noble. The ständische system is a static society model. Of approximate do not have statically and status, latin word for conditions, the same etymologische origin. In the medieval theory were thatto three main conditions determined tasks assigned. The first conditions had to provide for the soul welfare, which should second conditions Klerus and people was against enemies to defend, task of the third conditions the work. According to the position in the society one had to be eager to oneself an according to rank way of life.In addition e.g. belonged. also that each conditions certain clothe regulations were subjected.

development since the late Middle Ages

Symbolische Darstellung des Kaisers als Spitze der ständischen Ordnung: Die weltlichen und geistlichen Stände (einschließlich des Papstes) huldigen Kaiser Maximilian I. Aus: Liber missarum der Magarethe von Österreich, von Petrus Almaire (um 1515).
symbolic representation of the emperor as point of the ständischen order: The lay and religious conditions (including the Pope) huldigen emperor Maximilian I. Off: Rather missarum the Magarethe ofAustria, of Petrus Almaire (around 1515).

In practice the ständische system was not completely as impermeable however - particularly since the outgoing Middle Ages and in the early modern times - as as theoretical Konstrukt. The way was already before into the religious conditions oneimportant exception. Also farmer or craftsman sons could ascend occasionally up to the bishop. Later, particularly since that 14. Century, became it gradually practice that the princes promoted the education of the office aristocracy in such a way specified, thus member of the third conditions with a special office assignedand they with a title of nobility recompenced. Also within the three main conditions an ascent was not in the early modern times rarity, by acquiring for example the citizen right of a city. Education could likewise open the way over the condition barriers. A studied lawyer, that of a municipalitywhen city clerk was employed, pretty often entrance into the group of the advicable citizens found. The descent from the birth conditions could take place, if one were not for example as noble for financial reasons any more to an according to rank way of life able.

Fanning out the ständischen systemand the increasing permeability of the condition barriers were the progressive differentiation of the society owed. For many new functions and offices the original medieval condition order had no right place. Nevertheless became the ständische society model to in 18. Century inside never in principle in question posed. Also the churchheld toughly to it. When Martin Luther wrote over the liberty of the Christian human being, he exclusively limited these to the relationship of the individual with God. In the terrestrial life against it everyone has without to up-desire at its place in the ständischen order to remain.

Political conditions

a character

in contrast to the democratic state were justified in the ständischen community not all national inhabitants to the co-operation, but only that one, which furnished certain achievements or possessed certain privileges. The representatives of the country were not selected, but they sat due to their birth(the aristocracy) or qua office (e.g. Abbotts) in the federal state parliament. There they represented not their subjects but spoke for itself. Who possessed the condition shank, the right in own person on the federal state parliament had to appear. In principle it concerned a binaryistic system,the whole of the conditions and the national prince faced each other that.


the structure of these ständischen agencies and their powers were historically conditionally different from country to country and it changed also in the run the time. Depending upon that were different conditionsrepresent politically entitled and in the federal state parliament. Nearly always participated the aristocracy, which was divided frequently still into gentlemen and knights (gentleman and of the knight conditions). The high religiousness applied also under the political conditions usually as the first, however you became this placeoccasionally made by the gentlemen contentiously. Frequently the cities formed their own conditions. Rarely also land municipalities were represented as politically justified conditions in the land days (e.g. the valleys and courts in Tirol). The different groups of conditions formed own Kurien on the land days. The acquisition the land condition shankwas strongly reglementiert. Usually the conditions themselves specified the conditions for the admission of new members; at some places thereby also the prince put in a word. The national gentleman did not belong in political regard to the conditions.

The tunings in the federal state parliament took place nearly everywhere after Kurien. That is,first one agreed within the own conditions - the majority principle was usually used -, then one compared the Voten of the individual conditions. A federal state parliament resolution came off, if unanimity of the Kurien were obtained. Only few countries left here likewise the majority principleapply. To decide the conditions had particularly over tax grants, in many places also over internal affairs.

Apart from the participation on the land days it succeeded to the conditions also to reserve important offices exclusively for its members. Above all the financial administration of the country was for a long time in ständischer hand,before she could be taken over by the princes striving for absolute power.

The high point ständischer power was appropriate in most European countries in the time of 15. up to 17. Century. In some Evangelist territories become disappeared the monasteries and pins in the course 16.Century from the ständischen system, in other (e.g.Württemberg) noticed Evangelist Prälaten the rights of their catholic predecessors.

regional characteristics

in Switzerland and in the Netherlands it succeeded to the conditions to take political power completely into the own handsto eliminate and the rule both the national prince and the emperor. The designation of the second chamber Swiss of the parliament as condition advice in addition, the name general states (=Generalversammlung the conditions) for the Netherlands in 17. Century refer to it. Existed in both countriesthe conditions only from the free municipalities and/or. Provinces. Aristocracy and Klerus had disappeared as political conditions.

In the countries of the iberischen peninsula the meetings of the political conditions Cortes were called.

The composition of the political conditions in different countries (in 16. Century)

of conditions
Böhmen Mr., knight, cities since the hussitischen revolution gave it no more religious conditions.
Mähren Mr., knight, cities in addition still the bishop von Olmütz
Niederlausitz Mr., knight, cities the abbotts of new cell belonged since the reformation to the gentleman conditions.
Oberlausitz „country “and cities the land conditions existsfrom Prälaten and aristocracy with a common voice.
Lower Austria Prälaten, Mr., knight, cities .
Upper Austria Prälaten, Mr., knight, cities .
Tirol Prälaten, aristocracy, cities, farmer the farmers were represented over the rural court municipalities.
Cure principality Saxonia aristocracy and cities the aristocracy was divided into office-sat andWriting-ate.


of the Ständestaates form Ständestaat “an ideological resort to the condition order, like them particularly from catholic politicians and social reformers since later 19. Century were represented and also in the Enzyklika Quadragesimo anno by Pope Pius XI.emerge. Conceptually it concerns a hybrid, since the condition order of modern nationalness precedes and was replaced by these. The idea, which developed to arrange society according to occupational groups or „conditions “as protest against the liberal capitalism and it the inherent danger of social descent. Withthis anti-liberal direction of attack this idea transformed gradually to a cover for anti-democratic tendencies, particularly after the First World War. Ständestaat called itself above all at least partly the system of government in Austria, leaned against fascism , 1934 - 1938 (Austrofaschismus).


  • Hartmut Boockmann (Hrsg.): The beginnings of the ständischen agencies in Prussia and its neighboring countries, Munich 1992 ISBN 3-48655-840-4
  • Günther R. Burkert: National prince and conditions. Karl V., Ferdinand I. and the Austrian hereditary countries in the struggle for total state and national interests, Graz 1987
  • Silvia Petrin: The conditions of the country Lower Austria, (=Wissenschaftliche series of publications Lower Austria, volume 64), pc. Polarized and. Vienna 1982
  • Dietrich Gerhard (Hrsg.): Ständi agencies in Europe in 17. and 18. Century, (2. Aufl.) Goettingen 1974, ISBN 3525353324
  • János M. Bak: Königtum and conditions in Hungaryin 14. - 16. Century, Wiesbaden 1973 ISBN 3515007768
  • Johann Jacob Moser: Of the Teut realm conditions landing, their land conditions, Unterthanen, country Freyheiten, complaints, debts and meetings, Frankfurt and. Leipzig 1769
  • Jost Amman (pictures) and Hans Sachs (verses): Eygentliche description of all conditions auff ground connection more highlyand lower, more religiously and laily, all arts, handicrafts and acting…, (for the first time Frankfurt/Main 1568), facsimile after the original ISBN 3-78337-775-7
  • Rainer roll, conditions and earlymodern state. The land conditions of July CH mountain in 16. and 17. Century, Schmidt: Neustadt/a. D. Aisch 1982

see also

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