Talk:Prince-bishop

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Bishopric?[edit]

I stumbled onto this topic, and have heard of prince-bishops numerous times, but "bishopric"? I'd flag this as possible vandalism but I just don't know enough about the topic - would a clarifying statement for the word-usage not be a useful inclusion? Tom Meakin (talk) 22:41, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Bishopric is valid, use Google, Merriam-Webster etc.--Yopie 23:52, 25 February 2009 (UTC)


this is not a dictionary, but since there was a dismally inept attempt to include this, the definition has now been turned into English. JHK

Well, this page could usefully be improved by giving a list of Prince-Bishops. olivier 06:28 Oct 28, 2002 (UTC)

  • Work in progress, and including several fascinating cases. Feel free to join is, there must me more cases not yet listed Fastifex 18:40, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
It would be helpful if we could be told how Prince-Bishops came to attain their positions, by appointment, by succession? Xxanthippe (talk) 10:17, 12 February 2009 (UTC).

Section "In Switzerland" is misleading[edit]

Having this as a separate section is misleading. The prince-bishopric of Basel was never part of Switzerland. The city of Basel and the bishopric were two separate political entities. The city joined Switzerland but the bishopric remained part of the Holy Roman Empire, until it ceased to exist when it was annexed by Napolean and became part of France. Only in 1815 did (most) of the territory of the former bishopric become part of Switzerland. I have moved the entry. TiffaF 06:56, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

I added it again, because the titel says "in what is now Switzerland" - almost all the territory ruled by the prince-bishops are situated in nowadays Switzerland. Furthermore also the bishops where allies of the confederacy between 16th and 18th century. Apart from this - the Swiss Confederacy was part of the Roman Empire as well until 1648. The prince-abbot of St. Gall and the prince-bishop of Chur remained princes of the empire even after that time until 1806, their territory being part of the Confedercy simultaneously. Sidonius (talk) 10:42, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Division of the Holy Roman Empire is a mess[edit]

The division of the Holy Roman Empire by what modern countries the bishoprics were in is not a very good way to do it, especially as it's not consistent. I think it should all be listed together. john k 18:09, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Also, were Seckau, Gurk, and Lavant, actually prince-bishoprics? If they were, they were not in the same category as the others, since they were presumably not immediate principalities, but rather owed allegiance to the emperor as Duke of Carinthia, or Duke of Styria, or whatever - they never had seats in the diet, certainly. john k 18:12, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

They were indeed prince-bishops, but this was a mere title: they were not territorial rulers.
All prince-bishops were not born equal. HRE prince-bishops (such as the p-b of Liège, Passau, etc) who were Imperial states and enjoyed imperial immediacy were powerful territorial rulers, but p-b, such as the Prince-Bishops of Breslaw, Lavant or Olomuc, were not territorial rulers since they did not have imperial immediacy. As is said above, they owed allegiance to their master the Duke of Styria or the King of Prussia or whatever (the King of Prussia even ordered a p-b of Breslaw who had displeased him arrested, but the fellow fled and never came back...)
This article makes a poor job of showing the difference between the two types of p-b. It's confused and has a tendency to irrelevant trivia (such as an alleged "prince-bishop" in England)
Diplomacy, foreign affairs and war - Here is an example of what a real prince-bishop could do and a prince-bishop of Breslaw or Gurk or Olomuc could not:
Frontispice page of treaty between France and Liège.jpg

--Lubiesque (talk) 14:15, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

National history[edit]

This article splits its coverage by political units which did not exist. It also created the impression that, for instance Austria, wasn't in Germany at the time when it was. A similar concern was left above. If the problem is not resolved I will restore the edit I made which was reverted without discussion. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 05:34, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Over your solution (which is certainly better than the previous status quo), I'd prefer listing all the entities that were within the Holy Roman Empire together, since they form a natural group - the modern countries can be talked about in notes on each individual case. john k (talk) 12:59, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Your solution is without knowledge of this matter. Status of Prince-Bishop in HRE was different from Prince-Bishop in France, but all "P-B" in HRE have similar status, and this isnt depending on locality in modern Belgium, northern Italy, Germany or Austria. So, please, understand, that edit is unwelcomed. --Yopie 19:03, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I think we are saying the same thing. john k (talk) 00:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I answered to Deacon of Pndapetzim. --Yopie 11:10, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I think Deacon is saying the same thing, as well - that it is anachronistic to suggest that these prince-bishoprics were, at the time, in different countries. john k (talk) 15:35, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
HRE covered definitiv the todays Kingdoms of Belgium and the Netherlands for a long time, I think untill 30-years-war (sorry, I should read first, but the book is not here this moment), aswell big parts of eastern French Kingdom (until Marseill and Lyon) in that time was no difference between PBs there and other parts of the HRE. If the PB afterwards only behold the title or if they really could stay in a status a ruling duke sorry, I don't know. Nevertheless I don't think that they had in fact a PBs power, for it doesn't agree to Netherlands or Belgiums staate-philosophy, nor to the french absolutism, to give a dukes power to a Bishops or Archbishops See. --Skipper Michael (talk) 00:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

"National history" problems[edit]

I have boldly reformatted the section for prince-bishoprics that were in the Holy Roman Empire into a large table, including listing the current nation(s) in which those territories existed and including a column of "Notes", that mention where these prince-bishops were not territorial sovereigns. I think this should resolved the problems caused by the artificial divisions of the bishoprics into modern nation states (particularly given that some of them cross our modern borders) and the inclusion of bishoprics such as Gurk, which were fiefs of Austrian duchies. In a similar vein, I have thus included the Livonian bishoprics of Terra Mariana, making clear that these were never (with the exception of Riga) a part of the Empire. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 11:53, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Nationalist / anti-nationalist place naming[edit]

We're having a minor revert war over the name used for the prince-bishop of the place now known as Olomouc, which was known as Olmütz in German. This prince-bishopric was a vassal of the Bohemian Crown within the Holy Roman Empire.

The revert war is over this specific change. The direction of the change, to or from using German is unimportant to the issue at hand, we merely ought find consensus on whether the German name should be used at all.

Frustratingly, Google isn't helping us either way: we get 15 hits for Olmütz and 30 hits for Olomouc in a regular Google search and 35 hits for Olmütz against 34 hits for Olomouc on Google Scholar, none of which is really a significant sample size.

My take on the issue is that we should this abide by WP:PLACE and the precedent established at Talk:Gdansk/Vote, which was a similar issue, thus using the German-language term in the article, but making it very clear that the place is now known exclusively by its Czech-language name and is in the Czech Republic and explicitly mentioning that the bishopric was a vassal of the Bohemian Crown. My rationale is that the German-language name is, thus, given a mention, but that it is clear that there are understandable issues of nationalism around the terminology used here. A couple of other editors are insisting on removing all mention of the German names, which I believe to contravene the WP:NPOV policy, as well as WP:PLACE.

Opinions, please. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 13:43, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Olmütz is how the city is normally known in English prior to 1918. The elites of Bohemia were German speaking until the 19th century, and it is under the German names that most of these places became familiar to English-speakers. Radeksz' edit, in my view, was wrong. Just looking at sources that happen to be around me at the moment, Robert A. Kann's History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918 uses "Olmütz," as does James Sheehan's German History, 1770-1866, Derek Beales's Joseph II, Arnold Blumberg's A Carefully Planned Accident: The Italian War of 1859, Brendan Simms', The Struggle for Mastery in Germany, 1779-1850, and Alan Sked's The Decline and Fall of the Habsburg Empire 1815-1918, 2nd ed. "Olmütz" is standard usage for the period before the creation of Czechoslovakia, and we should use it. john k (talk) 16:04, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
What is the publishing date for these works? It's true that prior to 1989 German variations on Eastern European names were sometimes used in English language literature. But that was more than 21 years ago. Since then the actual names, like Olomouc, have gained pre dominance in English language sources, if they weren't in use already. For example, google books gives 40 (41 - 1 non English) hits for "prince-bishop of Olomouc" [1] but only 20 (25 - 4 non English - 1 duplicate) "prince-bishop of Olmütz" [2]. So Olomouc seems to outnumber Olmutz for the bishopric, 2 to 1.radek (talk) 22:21, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Firstly, it is wrong to say the Czech names were the "actual names" while the German names were not; prior to 1945 there was a long-standing German presence in what is now the Czech Republic. Secondly - several of those books are from before 1989; Sked, though, is from 2001; Simms is from 1998. Both however refer to the diplomatic meeting which occurred in the city in 1850, not specifically to the bishops. Looking at JSTOR since 1990, there's about twice as many hits for "Olomouc" in historical journals as for "Olmutz". However, that is going to include many references to Olomouc since 1918, so that's pretty inconclusive. john k (talk) 22:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I'd add that after 1620, at least, it is incorrect to say that Czech was the official language of Bohemia. john k (talk) 16:06, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Oy, that is not true at all - even if we can settle on what "official language" means in this context. The Czech language certainly didn't appear ex nihilo with the founding of Czechoslovakia.radek (talk) 22:21, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Of course Czech existed long before 1918. But "official language" means "language of government" if it means anything. From 1620 to the late nineteenth century German was the primary language of government and administration in Bohemia and Moravia. Czech was primarily a language of peasants through the eighteenth century, and a Czech identity was rediscovered by a nascent Czech intelligentsia in Prague in the early nineteenth century. From the mid-late nineteenth century until 1918, it probably makes most sense to view German and Czech as joint official languages (this was explicitly the case in Moravia from around the turn of the century, iirc). As far as it goes, my general feeling is that the prince-bishops themselves were almost all German, and the place was known in English by its German name for the period in question. Most references to the place in English, once you take into account older works, are going to use Olmütz. The article as it stood before this dispute seems fine to me; it uses the more familiar German name in the historical context and explains the city's modern Czech name as well. john k (talk) 22:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
But "official language" means "language of government" if it means anything. - this is a fallacious argument as far as the naming of people and places in Europe is concerned. The "language of government" in most of Europe for good chunk of its history was Latin. But that doesn't mean we move all articles on European medieval history to their latin names. Furthermore, given the nature of European history it was not uncommon for the rulers to be of different ethnicity/language then the subjects they ruled. The "language of government" in Tsarist Russia was often French or German. But that doesn't mean we move 18th and 19th century Russian historical events to French or German titles. From the Battle of Hastings well into the 13th century the "language of government" of England (Scotland too for some time) was French (I might be off a few decades) but it's still Battle of Hastings not "Bataille d'Hastings". And Hugh d'Orevalle is still called "Bishop of London" rather than "Évêque de Londres". There's a half dozen other examples that can be given (Turkish names for places in modern day Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Balkans?).radek (talk) 23:12, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Add: the fact that many of the prince-bishops were German (they may have been) is a reason to give their names in German rather than Anglicize it (so Johann rather than John) but it is not a reason to make Olomouc into Olmütz, just like it's no reason to make Hugh of London be Hugh of Londres.radek (talk) 23:19, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Much of this is sensible, but I still disagree. The language of the central government in St. Petersburg might have been German or French, for instance (although increasingly less so over the course of the nineteenth century), but the language of local administration was always Russian. In Bohemia and Moravia, the language of local administration tended to be German. But you're right that this is probably irrelevant; you, however, are the one who brought up official language originally; I just don't think it cuts very clearly. Beyond that, the issue is not what the cities were called at the time. It's what the cities are still called in English when referring to that time period. Olmütz was for virtually the whole 20th century the name used in historical references to the city; usage of Olomouc is increasing, but Olmütz remains, I think, more common. john k (talk) 00:21, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • According to WP:PLACES, we have four solutions:
  1. Present name: Olomouc, Grodków, Nysa and Wroclaw.
  2. Most used name: Olomouc 7 920 000 ghits > Olmütz 280 000 ghits; Wroclaw 41 100 000 ghits > Breslau 4 150 000 ghits.
  3. Official names of both principalities: Of course mediaeval Latin or Slavic.
  4. Names relating to particular historical periods: Because this is only list of duchies, only meaningful date is establishing of these duchies. Duchy of Nysa was established in 1199 by Polish Piast and duchy was extended and vassalised by Bohemia in 1350. In 1199 or 1350 was used Slavic name, not German. Bishopric of Olomouc was established in 1063 and was elevated to principality 1588 and related name is Czech, not German.--Yopie (talk) 23:56, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
This all seems pointless. Obviously Olomouc is more used, but the vast majority of references to Olomouc are to the city since 1918. What is important is what reliable sources use to refer to the city in the eighteenth century and earlier, not what name gets more google hits. Wroclaw is even more ridiculous, because Breslau was not even a city particularly inhabited by Poles until after 1945. john k (talk) 00:21, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Why all is pointless? And why we must use references about city in the eighteenth century? Do you have special reason for it? Only meaningful time for references is time of establishing, because this article only inform about existence of these principalities.--Yopie (talk) 10:40, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, my language was unnecessarily harsh. What I should have said is that this is all beside the point. We should be looking at usage in reliable sources in English that discuss the city in the eighteenth century and earlier, not google hits. john k (talk) 13:48, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

I can see where john k is coming from about pointless, but I don'think he made the point very well. I agree that the details you gave in that list, Yopie, are completely right about the modern city. It would be wrong and, frankly, offensive, for the article about the modern city to be using the German name. But we're talking about the prince-bishopric in the late-mediæval and early modern age. For the purposes of this article, we only care about the names in that period of history. Are you able to source the same statistics for that era specifically? Because if you have evidence to back up your last two numbered points and comparable data for the previous ones, you may well be about to persuade me  :o) — OwenBlacker (Talk) 11:54, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

On that note, I see that the following maps, which are all the English-language maps of the region I could find by looking through commons:Category:Maps by century shown and going from the 12th century to the 19th, all use Olmütz as the English-language name of the city. I deliberately excluded all maps that were captioned in German, as that would obviously skew the results.
Maps by William Robert Shepherd:
Maps by H.F. Helmolt:
If you can find any contemporaneous maps published in English, using Olomouc, rather than Olmütz, then I'm open to persuasion, but it's looking like Olmütz is the name customarily used in the English language for that time period, to me. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 13:24, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
This is true. Before 1918 the city would have always been called Olmütz/Olmutz/Olmuetz in English. That said, I think the key issue should be what more recent English language sources use in references to the city before 1918. These are more mixed, but also, I think, favor Olmütz. john k (talk) 13:48, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Again, why you use as reference point 18th century or 19th century? Do you have any reason for it? --Yopie (talk) 14:30, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, it hardly makes sense to use the 20th century as a reference, since the prince-bishopric didn't exist then. On the whole, the standardization of English-language geographical references took place in the eighteenth/nineteenth centuries. In the seventeenth century, you'll find a bewildering variety of different spellings used in English, and probably, on the whole, not much written in English about central European cities at all. At any rate, my point is "what names are used in recent English-language works to refer to the city during the period when the prince-bishopric existed?" john k (talk) 02:37, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
What john k said. Basically, we don't care about the 21st century name of the city, we care about how it that entity is referred to in English, not how the modern city is (which is unambiguously Olomouc). — OwenBlacker (Talk) 10:54, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
As WP:NCGN says: " If the place does not exist anymore, or the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, the widely accepted historical English name should be used." The prince-bishopric doesn't exist anymore, and the city has changed name - in English - since it was a part of the Kingdom of Bohemia (which is why the nineteenth century matters) Observe that this list includes the Bishoprics of Breslau and Constance, both so spelt; Basle would probably be an improvement here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:01, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I think Basle falls into the category with Ratisbon and Mayence of name forms which are archaic. Mayence was the English name of Mainz until the early twentieth century, but since then it has fallen out of use for both historical and contemporary reference. Compare to Breslau, which is virtually always called Breslau when referring to it before 1945. john k (talk) 04:24, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree — we just don't use those names in English any more. Though it only just occurred to me to check my grandfather's 1930-dated school atlas. It shows both Ratisbon and Mayence (though Basel). But it also shows Olmütz, despite it being in Czechoslovakia (which still had Ruthenia in its territory at the time). Fwiw, it also lists Pressburg, rather than Bratislava, too. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 21:52, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I would agree about Regensburg, although not about Basle. But I apologize for the digression; the point, on which we seem to agree, is that Olmütz is like Pressburg or Breslau: the historic name currently in use for the past state of a city now known by a different name. If it would salve any wounded feelings, I would have no objection to adding (now Olomouc), (now Wroclaw) and so on. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:48, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I believe that "now Olomouc" and "now Wroclaw" are already in the article. john k (talk) 00:16, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

If we're going to rename the Prince-Bishoprice of Olmütz the Prince-Bishopric of Olomouc, then I think that we better rename the Kingdom of Bohemia the Kingdom of Czech Republic. There are lots more Google hits for Czech Republic than there are for Bohemia. Noel S McFerran (talk) 00:09, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

[In response to Septentrionalis]: Quite. Indeed, the compromise I was originally advocating is the status quo in the article (this version), where the text reads (for this example) The Czech bishopric (later Metropolitan) of Olmütz (now Olomouc), as a vassal principality of the Bohemian crown.... This is definitely my favoured text — it uses the contemporary terms, but makes the modern names clear. This is, apart from anything, how I would extrapolate the decision of Talk:Gdansk/Vote, which is a pretty sensible compromise consensus, imho. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 09:08, 23 August 2010 (UTC);Edited formatting to clarify the discussion — OwenBlacker (Talk) 23:23, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Gurk and Seckau[edit]

My understanding is that these bishoprics were principalities, but were subject not to the emperor, but to the Duke of Styria or Carinthia. That is, they were principalities, but not Reichsunmittelbar; this is comparable to the Prince-Bishops of Olmütz and Breslau, who were subject to the Bohemian crown. I'm not completely sure of that, though. john k (talk) 16:33, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Breslau and Olmütz, France[edit]

In my understanding, a prince-bishopric (Fürstbistum) is a reichsfrei principality ruled by a bishop. I've excluded Gurk, Landau, and Seckau from the list, because I couldn't find any evidence they did rule a principality, certainly not a reichsfrei state. If they ruled any estates, it probably was as a vicar/representative or vassal of Salzburg, or some other lord.

Olmütz (Olomouc) and Breslau (Wrocław) might also be excluded, since they weren't reichsunmittelbar. Olmütz seems to have been gefürstet, but it was probably merely titular, since no territory or principality was named. If it did receive some principality, it would have been a vassal of the margraviate of Moravia (Mähren), which was subject to the Bohemian Crown. Breslau had some territories within the duchy of Silesia (including the duchy of Nysa, Otmuchów (Ottmachau) and Grodków (Grottkau), but not the duchy of Breslau), but these principalities were ultimately subject to the Polish (until 1335) and Bohemian crown (afterwards), certainly not Reichsfrei. Should we also include the bishopric of Kraków (Krakau), since it owned the duchy of Siewierz?

And what about France? The archbishop of Rheims and the bishops of Langres, Laon, Beauvais, Châlons, and Noyon were made counts and vassals of the French crown in the 11th C, as well as pair de France. (Rheims, Langres, and Laon were later elevated to duchies, for symmetrical reasons). Tournai and other bishops also ruled counties, although I'm unsure whether these were royal domains, or fiefs from some other lord. Have a look at these maps for the "princely states" of these bishops:

File:Shepherd-c-061.jpg File:France 12thC.jpg File:Conquetes Philippe Auguste.gif

If every bishopric owning some principalities or estates would count as a prince-bishopric, then we should certainly not forget the Papal States, which were owned and enfeoffed by the bishop of Rome (i.e. the Pope). Furthermore, various Norman, Italian, and Spanish (arch)bishops controlled territory, often temporarily, sometimes as vicars, sometimes as vassals "owning" a fief.

I think the only feasible option would be to use "prince-bishop" only in a strict sense, i.e. only include those bishoprics which clearly ruled a principality with imperial immediacy.

Michael! (talk) 22:00, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Ad I understand, the article is about "Prince-bishop" (person), not about "Principality-bishopric" and nowhere is that MUST be reichsfrei. They must be bishops and princes, and in part about HRE, must be in territory of HRE, no more or less. Olomouc was diocese and bishop was prince. He was direct vassal of king of Bohemia, not Margrave, as counterweight. Of course, there was not principality, but system of lesser vassals around Olomouc, with own judicial court. He had right of mintage ( [3]). Wrocław, was different story. They own duchy of Nysa, as vassals of king of Bohemia, with similar rights as reichsunmittelbar - own laws, coins, army, taxes etc.

I agree with you, that will be better to include French bishop-princes.--Yopie (talk) 00:41, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Well, Prince-bishopric redirects here. The major parts (maps and tables of the HRE and TO sections) are about the prince-bishoprics, not about prince-bishops. Besides, this article doesn't include lists of prince-bishops, but it does include lists of prince-bishoprics.
Both concepts are closely interwoven: a prince-bishopric is a state ruled by a prince-bishop, and a prince-bishop is the ruler of a prince-bishopric. It would be a bad idea to separate the two concepts and artificially split this article in half.
No, prince-bishoprics are not reichsfrei by definition, but in practice all prince-bishoprics were reichsfrei. Besides, those "titular prince-bishops" (Breslau, etc.) were not part of the Reichsfürstenrat/Fürstenbank, nor were the "normal bishops" (Wien, etc.), while the "true" prince-bishops were Reichsfürsten. Have a look at this document for a member list as of 1792.
The pope and those French bishops are seldom called prince-bishops, although they held both spiritual authority and temporal possessions. The term "prince-bishop" is almost exclusively used within the context of the HRE, as a translation of German Fürstbischof (it is sometimes used for the bishop of Durham, though).
To summarize, I'm not arguing that Brescia, Breslau, Olmütz, Gurk, Landau, and Seckau should be excluded from the article, only that they should be excluded from the list, to discuss them briefly as "special cases", because they were different. Perhaps in a separate "Titular prince-bishops" subsection.
The pope, the bishop of Urgell (co-prince of Andorra), Durham, etc. are also briefly discussed at the end of the article, but are excluded from the lists of "true" prince-bishops.
Michael! (talk) 17:07, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
PS: In the equivalent French Wikipedia article, it is reserved for the "Saint-Empire"; the French évêque-duc and évêque-comte are notably absent.