Hochstift

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In the Holy Roman Empire the German term Hochstift (plural: Hochstifte or, in some regions, Hochstifter) was often used to denote the territory of secular authority held by bishops ruling a prince-bishopric as their temporalities. The boundaries of secular prince-bishoprics did usually not correspond to that of the spiritual dioceses. Prince-bishoprics were always smaller than the dioceses which included (parts of) neighbouring imperial states such as principalities of secular princes and Free Imperial Cities. Prince-bishoprics could also include areas belonging in ecclesiastical respect to other dioceses.[1]

"Das Stift" [plural die Stifte or, in some regions, die Stifter]/"het sticht" [in Dutch] (literally, the 'donation'), denotes in its original meaning the donated or else acquired fund of estates whose revenues are taken to maintain a college and the pertaining church (Stiftskirche, i.e. collegiate church) and its collegiate canons (Stiftsherr[en]) or canonesses (Stiftsfrau[en]).[2] If the Stift as a fund served to maintain the specific college of a cathedral (a so-called cathedral chapter) then the Stift was often called "das Domstift" (i.e. cathedral donation [fund]).

If the chapter and/or the bishop of a cathedral managed not only to gain the estates and their revenues but also the feudal overlordship to them as a secular ruler with imperial recognition, such estates formed a territorial principality within the Holy Roman Empire with the rank of an imperial state. Each prince-bishop (Fürstbischof) or prince-archbishop (Fürsterzbischof) was thus also called a prince of the church, although the princely rank derived from imperial investiture.

"Hochstift" is a compound with "hoch" ("high") used for a prince-bishopric, meaning literally a high [ranking ecclesiastical] donation [fund of estates].[3] Whereas Erzstift, a compound with "Erz…" ("arch[i]…"), was the corresponding expression for a prince-archbishopric.[4] For the three prince-electorates of Cologne (Kurköln), Mainz (Kurmainz) and Trier (Kurtrier), which were simultaneously archbishoprics the corresponding term is Kurerzstift (electorate-archbishopric). The adjective pertaining to Stift as a territory is stiftisch (of, pertaining to a prince-bishopric; prince-episcopal).[5] As a component the term Stift today usually takes the copulative "s" when used as a preceding compound,[6] such as in Stiftsadel (vassal nobility of a prince-bishopric), Stiftsamtmann (=official of a Stift[6]), Stiftsmann (plural: Stiftsleute; =vassal tenant of an estate of a Stift[7]), Stiftssasse (=subject/inhabitant of a prince-bishopric), Stiftsstände (=estates of a prince-bishopric as a realm[8]), or Stiftstag (diet of the estates of a prince-bishopric[8]).

Specific prince-bishoprics were often called "Hochstift/Erzstift X", as in "Hochstift Ermland" or in "Erzstift Bremen", with stiftbremisch meaning of/pertaining to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, as opposed to stadtbremisch (of/pertaining to the city of Bremen). Whereas the spiritual entities, the dioceses, are called in German "Bistum" (diocese) or "Erzbistum" (archdiocese). The difference between a Hochstift/Erzstift and a Bistum/Erzbistum is not always clear to authors so that non-scholarly texts often translate Hochstift or Erzstift incorrectly simply as diocese/bishopric or archdiocese/archbishopric, respectively.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ E.g., about 10% of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen was in ecclesiastical respect part of the Diocese of Verden.
  2. ^ Victor Dollmayr, Friedrich Krüer, Heinrich Meyer and Walter Paetzel, Deutsches Wörterbuch (started by the Brothers Grimm): 33 vols. (1854–1971), vol. 18 'Stehung–Stitzig', Leipzig: Hirzel, 1941, cols. 2870seq., reprint: Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv; No. 5945), 1984. ISBN 3-423-05945-1.
  3. ^ Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch: 33 vols. (1854–1971), vol. 10 'H–Juzen', Leipzig: Hirzel, 1877, col. 1634, reprint: Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv; No. 5945), 1984. ISBN 3-423-05945-1.
  4. ^ Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch: 33 vols. (1854–1971), vol. 3 'E–Forsche', Leipzig: Hirzel, 1862, col. 1099, reprint: Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv; No. 5945), 1984. ISBN 3-423-05945-1.
  5. ^ Victor Dollmayr, Friedrich Krüer, Heinrich Meyer and Walter Paetzel, Deutsches Wörterbuch (started by the Brothers Grimm): 33 vols. (1854–1971), vol. 18 'Stehung–Stitzig', Leipzig: Hirzel, 1941, col. 2896, reprint: Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv; No. 5945), 1984. ISBN 3-423-05945-1.
  6. ^ a b Victor Dollmayr, Friedrich Krüer, Heinrich Meyer and Walter Paetzel, Deutsches Wörterbuch (started by the Brothers Grimm): 33 vols. (1854–1971), vol. 18 'Stehung–Stitzig', Leipzig: Hirzel, 1941, col. 2874, reprint: Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv; No. 5945), 1984. ISBN 3-423-05945-1.
  7. ^ Victor Dollmayr, Friedrich Krüer, Heinrich Meyer and Walter Paetzel, Deutsches Wörterbuch (started by the Brothers Grimm): 33 vols. (1854–1971), vol. 18 'Stehung–Stitzig', Leipzig: Hirzel, 1941, cols. 2897seq., reprint: Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv; No. 5945), 1984. ISBN 3-423-05945-1.
  8. ^ a b Victor Dollmayr, Friedrich Krüer, Heinrich Meyer and Walter Paetzel, Deutsches Wörterbuch (started by the Brothers Grimm): 33 vols. (1854–1971), vol. 18 'Stehung–Stitzig', Leipzig: Hirzel, 1941, col. 2900, reprint: Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv; No. 5945), 1984. ISBN 3-423-05945-1.