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    F. J. Felten, Städte an Mosel und Rhein von der Antike bis nach 1945 (Joseph P. Huffman)

    Francia-Recensio 2014/1 Mittelalter – Moyen Âge (500–1500)

    Franz J. Felten (Hg.), Städte an Mosel und Rhein von der Antike bis nach 1945, Stuttgart (Franz Steiner) 2013, 143 S. (Mainzer Vorträge, 16), ISBN 978-3-515-10456-2, EUR 22,00.

    rezensiert von/compte rendu rédigé par

    Joseph P. Huffman, Mechanicsburg, PA

    During January and February of 2010 the Institut für Geschichtliche Landeskunde at the Universität Mainz held its annual bi-weekly winter lecture series. Six public lectures were presented under the broad theme » Städte an Mosel und Rhein von der Antike bis nach 1945 « . University historians, archive directors and an architect/city planner spoke on topics as expansive as the theme suggests, but with the common denominator of urban centers in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. They subsequently reformulated their lectures as articles, which have been published three years later as volume 11 in the » Mainzer Vorträge « series under the editorship of Franz J. Felten (series editor since 2007).

    Such an eclectic mix of papers, unlike a bi-weekly lecture series, must hang together in some fashion, and the good news is that these do. Designed with a public and cultured but non-academic audience in mind – not merely Institut members but also the wider public which is always invited to the annual series – these lectures-turned-articles do a fine job of educating any reader with the broad themes of Palatinate urban history as well as bringing the latest scholarship to bear on their presentations.

    Prof. Lukas Clemens (Universität Trier) provides a thorough survey of Trier’s Roman history in his article, » Die Stadt Trier in der Antike «. Archaeological evidence drives the narrative as Augusta Treverorum emerges from a small Gallo-Roman settlement established in Augustus Caesar’s later reign to a city of monumental public architecture and of provincial administrative and economic leadership. As the oft-cited Third Century Crisis changed the Roman Empire, so too was Trier transformed from a civilian center into a military bastion. The city first became the center of the short-lived Imperium Gallicarum under Victorinus and Tetricus, and then was refashioned as the capital of the new province of Belgica Prima complete with praetorian prefect and imperial residence under emperors Diocletian and Constantine. The fifth-century collapse of the city was profound, however, having been conquered no less than four times between 410 and 435 while the Roman political elite relocated to Milan and Arles. The city was burned by the Franks in about 455 and from then on Trier existed as a mere shadow of its late antique stature.

    Prof. Clemens includes salient evidence of the city’s continued urban vitality throughout the fourth century, which archaeological excavations have also confirmed in other Roman urban centers north of the Alps. Major building projects like the new cathedral church (during the 330s–340s) was commonplace, and the population still tipped the scales at around 40 000. During the reigns of Valentinian I and Gratian not only did the imperial mint continue to function but a major expansion of the imperial court, Christian churches, and public entertainment facilities ( Circus and Amphitheater ) took place. What becomes quite clear in this account is just how much Trier’s destiny was shaped by the presence or absence of the ruling elite within its precincts.

    Dr. Gerold Bönnen (Director of the Stadtarchiv Worms) shifts the location and time frame with his comparative study entitled, » Worms und Speyer im hohen und späten Mittelalter – zwei Schwesterstädte im Vergleich «. Only 40 kilometers apart along the Rhine River, these two cities shared a remarkably similar developmental history during the Central and Later Middle Ages. Both were episcopal and imperial cities with vibrant Jewish communities and their architectural and constitutional histories are mirror images of one another. Gaining increasing powers of self-governance, the patrician elites of Worms and Speyer regularly allied with one another, most notably in the periodic urban alliances like the Rheinischer Bund of 1254 and the several Landfrieden . And as the mercantile oligarchs’ monopoly on municipal governance was challenged by rising artisanal aspirations, political and economic leaders from each city would intervene in the other’s conflicts as mediators ( Ratsfreunde ) between patricians, guilds, and clerics alike. Furthermore, Jewish ties between the two communities provided a rich intellectual and theological culture for the region.

    In contrast to their oft-mentioned regional sister-city Mainz, Worms and Speyer succeeded artfully in retaining their political rights as the territorial politics of the Kurpfalz unfolded in the Later Middle Ages. This tidy arrangement was only swept aside in 1798 as a result of the French Revolution, and the two cities went quite separate ways into the modern era as a result of their political partition at the Congress of Vienna. Worms endured a marginal existence in the greater Duchy of Hesse, while Speyer became a cultural and administrative center of the Bavarian Rheinpfalz. The author concludes this survey with a well-intentioned encouragement that the two cities become reacquainted with their rich common cultural legacy (a task made more difficult with Worms’ loss of its Altstadt in the bombings of World War II while Speyer’s survived). The comparative focus of this essay is welcome, as too often the histories of German cities have been written in conceptual isolation from each other. Worms and Speyer are a valuable example of just how much history there is between the medieval cities of the Rhine.

    Prof. Dr. Johannes Dillinger ( Gastdozent of the Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) takes a decidedly theoretical approach in his article, » Städte und ihr Umland in der Frühen Neuzeit «. Drawing from a cultural studies approach to topographical space, Prof. Dillinger considers the standard paradigm of the relationship between the city and its rural environs ( » Stadt und Umland « ) fashioned by Franz Irsigler several years ago. Whether in the area of religion (e. g. pilgrimage centers), economics, (mercantile/manufacturing centers and their agricultural hinterland) or politics/administration (capital/legal elites and rural farmers), Dillinger suggests a more complex relationship between city and country than is generally articulated. While the great urban pilgrimage centers continued to thrive (Cologne, Trier, Aachen), myriad pilgrimage sites emerged in the early modern era. Cities were not just transfer points for rural agricultural products but also destinations for the in-migration of rural workers as Neubürger , with the flow of these two often shaped in turn by confessional affinities. Burghers and farmers collaborated in regional militias as well as regional Landtagen . And finally the old adage » Stadtluft macht frei « belies the required Einzugsgeld . As Dillinger wisely concludes: » Pointiert formuliert: Es machte nicht Stadtluft frei, sondern Geld. « The author concludes with a trenchant assertion that only with the rise of the territorial state did the rural populace become the political clients of the cities, since the latter had cultivated the requisite knowledge of constitutional and legal governing protocols so necessary when interacting with the Fürstenstaat . This thought-provoking study leaves the reader with an axiom so characteristic of early modern historical development: » Die Frage, was Zentrale, was Umland ist, entschied sich vornehmlich an den Maßgaben des Staats. «

    Dr. Michael Martin (Director of the Stadtarchiv Landau) provides a brief survey of the remarkable modern history of Landau in: » Landau – Geschichte eines deutsch-französischen Grenzfalles «. As a German city near the Alsatian borderlands, the great modern wars have literally shaped and reshaped both the city as well as its people. Spawned then pawned by Rudolf of Habsburg in the thirteenth century, Landau only broke free from the control of the bishop of Speyer in 1511. During the Thirty Years War the city was taken back and forth no less than seven times, resulting in a forty-percent decline in its population (from 2500 to 1500). And during the following decades the French monarchy extended its authority over Landau, most clearly represented by Vauban’s complete transformation of the city’s topography into a defensive bastion at the expense of its valued vineyards. Throughout the 18 th century Landau was therefore transformed into a French city with a German population, which by the end of the century readily embraced the ideals of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s empire; indeed, many Landau citizens made significant careers in Napoleon’s army and bureaucracy. Such pro-French and pro-revolutionary fervor, however, quickly dissipated in 1816 when the city was handed over to the Bavarian king at the Congress of Vienna, with King Maximilian proving more sympathetic to the Landauers than his military and administrative servants. The Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871) further transformed the city from a frontier defensive bastion to a prosperous German city now that the Alsace had become the German national frontier. Within a generation such peace and prosperity was shattered by World War I, as the city returned once again to its former role as French frontier fortress with a large occupation army.

    The experience of harsh French occupation after the war continued to poison Landauer attitudes toward France, which ultimately fueled the city’s involvement in World War II only to find that Landau had changed hands once again in an even more destructive round of nationalist competition. Landau’s early years after 1945 saw a renewal of negative German attitudes under French occupation, yet the politics and civil society of the era gradually changed. In 1959 Landau officials founded a German-French Society to facilitate regional and national reconciliation, which still exists today. And since the exit of French occupation forces in 1999, Landau, now securely located in a reunited Germany, has enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity unfamiliar to it throughout large swaths of the modern era. Though brief and cursory in its presentation, the significance of this topic, especially when remembering the original public audience for the lecture, resides in its powerful integration of local, regional, national, and international history, which is something that the Rheinland-Pfalz region is especially resourced to offer. Just as we have been learning from a generation of hard-earned reconciliation in Germany’s eastern territories since » die Wende « (the turnaround), we should not lose sight of similar gains on the nation’s western reaches.

    Dr. Wolfgang Hans Stein (former archivist at the Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz) directs the reader’s attention next to the modernization of Koblenz in his article: » Koblenz nach 1800 – eine Stadtgesellschaft jenseits von Entfeudalisierung und Säkularisation «. His expertise in the documentary records of French era west of the Rhine provides the evidence through which we learn about the social history of Koblenz from the French Revolution to 1813. Social and legal changes brought about by the revolutionary French government during this central period are familiar to most historians: » defeudalization « and » secularization « of the Ancien Regime. With the flight from Koblenz of the Kurfürst and his supporting cast of court aristocrats and much of the territorial administrators in 1794, the aristocracy’s long reign came to an abrupt close in both their traditional Residenzstadt as well as their rural estates. By 1804 some were able to reclaim a portion of their dynastic holdings, but no wholesale re-aristocratization of society took place, and most importantly for this study they did not return to the city itself.

    This social and political revolution (defeudalization) proved a boon for the administrative bourgeoisie, those civil servants and lawyers in the justice ministry. So merchants and other businessmen too benefitted handsomely from the end of aristocratic economic privileges and the arrival of vast landed wealth on the real estate market. French-led nationalization of church property (secularization) followed in tandem and to the additional benefit of these rising social groups. Stein makes the case that these trends were in actuality already underway, and thus merely received a forceful radicalization by the French occupation. A new civic and economic elite comprised of merchants, bureaucrats, and lawyers therefore emerged to replace the old aristocratic and clerical order in Koblenz. With the French authorities restricting any competition from the old order rulers, Stein concludes that the left side of the Rhine was more quickly transformed socially than the right bank of the Rhine (in which counter-revolutionary forces were much more successful in turning back French revolutionary ideals). The broader themes of defeudalization and secularization of the Ancien Regime will not be new to readers of this journal, though they are presented clearly in the particular case history of Koblenz, which then serves as an archetype of liberalization among the many German territorial states of the early 19 th century.

    Dr. Ing. Rainer Metzendorf (Professor of Architecture at the Fachhochschule Mainz) completes this set of lectures turned articles in: » Mainz nach 1945 – Wiederaufbauplanungen zwischen Vision und Wirklichkeit «. His expertise as an architect and city planner is palpable here, and it serves the reader well in comprehending not the material culture aspects of post-war rebuilding but rather the politics of entirely remaking a major historical city after 80% of its center was leveled, including its historic buildings. While cities like Frankfurt rebuilt quickly, internal and external political battles delayed the rebuilding of Mainz for several years.
    The French occupation force wanted to rebuild Mainz as a model city of European modernity, and thus commissioned the Parisian architect and city planner Marcel Lods. His design called for a Le Corbusier style city replete with abstract idealism, while the actual inhabitants of Mainz aspired to more mundane needs such as the restoration of basic and affordable housing. Lods’ utopian vision was therefore never fulfilled, and the Mainz builder Gerhard Lahl then proposed a competing German city plan which only offended the French even more than the rejection of Lods’ model. After much arguing, in 1955 the Weimar city planner Egon Hartmann developed a new comprehensive inner city design, whose realization was then delayed by ensuing internal conflicts between the city administration and the city council. No less than six different administrative project heads in five years indicates that there was still no clear vision for the new Mainz. It was not until the last-hired city planner Ernst May offered yet another comprehensive city plan that progress was finally initiated. Of course, May’s model was further revised upon the inclusion of six new suburbs in 1969. Compared with Landau and Koblenz, the differential impact of French occupation and the reconstruction of social and political leadership in these cities in the aftermath of devastating wars are instructive when seen in a comparative fashion that this collection makes possible.

    As a general rule such collections rarely form a common theme, and are quite uneven as a set. This collection, however, resists such a conclusion and is largely to the credit of Franz Felten’s careful design of the lecture series in the first place. The rich mix of archaeological, archival, theoretical, and applied expertise assembled for the lectures and subsequent essays is very impressive. Thus the range of professional backgrounds and perspectives of the authors, the varied methodologies they employed, and the wide-ranging urban locations and eras considered combine to make a valuable and successful addition to the » Mainzer Vorträge « series. The only regret this reader had was the sometimes uneven prose style among the authors; though no individual will be identified here, often unnecessarily turgid German academic prose proves quite burdensome. At one point, for example, a sentence of no less than 71 words is followed by another of 54 words, and before two shorter sentences allow full mental recovery the author fashions a tour de force sentence of 73 words. Such billowing waves of prose in quick succession is enough to fatigue even the most dedicated scholar, and they really should have no place in a collection intentionally published for the wider reading public. This formal critique, however, in no way diminishes the rich content already praised.

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    PSJ Metadata
    Joseph P. Huffman
    F. J. Felten, Städte an Mosel und Rhein von der Antike bis nach 1945 (Joseph P. Huffman)
    CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0
    Spätes Mittelalter (1350-1500)
    Deutschland / Mitteleuropa allgemein
    Siedlungs-, Stadt- und Ortsgeschichte
    ohne zeitliche Zuordnung
    4049795-1 4020517-4 4056723-0
    Rheinland-Pfalz (4049795-1), Geschichte (4020517-4), Stadt (4056723-0)
    PDF document felten_huffman.doc.pdf — PDF document, 335 KB
    F. J. Felten, Städte an Mosel und Rhein von der Antike bis nach 1945 (Joseph P. Huffman)
    In: Francia-Recensio 2014/1 | Mittelalter - Moyen Âge (500-1500) | ISSN: 2425-3510
    URL: https://prae.perspectivia.net/publikationen/francia/francia-recensio/2014-1/MA/felten_huffman
    Veröffentlicht am: 20.03.2014 09:00
    Zugriff vom: 28.09.2020 11:02
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