Recess (Holy Roman Empire)

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A Recess (German: Reichsabschied, Reichsrezess) in the Holy Roman Empire was the document detailing all the decisions made by an Imperial Diet.

Until 1654, a Diet began, in addition to ceremonial rituals, with the reading of the Imperial Proposition—the agenda predetermined by the Emperor—and ended with the decisions being read by the Emperor and ratified, the Recess.[1][2][3][4][5]

The last such Recess is called the Youngest Recess (Latin: recessus imperii novissimus) and contains the resolutions of the 1653/54 Diet of Regensburg.

Since the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg which began in 1663 was never formally concluded, its decisions could not be collected as a Recess.[6] They were therefore issued in the form of so-called Imperial Conclusions (Reichsschlüsse).[1] Ratification of these conclusions was usually carried out by the Emperor's representative in the Reichstag, the Principal Commissioner, in the form of an Imperial Commissioner's decree.


  1. ^ a b Leopold von Ranke, History of the Reformation in Germany, tr. Sarah Austin, Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1844, Preface, p. iii, note.
  2. ^ "Germany", Charles F. Partington, The British Cyclopædia of Literature, History, Geography, Law, and Politics, London: Orr and Smith, 1836, volume 2, p. 143: "All the decrees of a diet were called a recess of the empire."
  3. ^ E. Br., "Diet", Encyclopædia Britannica 11th ed., 1910/11, volume 8, p. 212: "The term applied to the acta of the diet, as formally compiled and enunciated at its dissolution".
  4. ^ "Diet", New Encyclopædia Britannica 15th ed., 2002, volume 4, p. 86: "All the decisions of the Diet forming the resolution were called the 'recess of the empire' (Reichsabschied)".
  5. ^ Friedrich Heer, tr. Janet Sondheimer, The Holy Roman Empire, London: Weidenfeld/New York: Praeger, 1968, OCLC 405027, p. 265: "the Reichsabschiede (decisions made by the imperial diet before its temporary suspension)."
  6. ^ Heer, p. 267.