Publication details

"Udel" and Other Forms of Surety : Stability at a High Price


SPEICH Heinrich

Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Studia historica Brunensia
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Udel; surety payment; citizenship; pledge; Swiss Confederation; Bern; Combourgeoisie; Burgrecht; naturalisation
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Description The article deals with guarantee amounts called "Udel", an amount of money paid (or promised) by noble citizens of towns in upper Germany at their admission to citizenship (13th-16th c.). The guarantee sum was agreed contractually and replaced the condition of home ownership within the city walls partly or entirely. The sum was kept by the cities as a pledge for good conduct. In conflict times, nobles (as well as abbeys) often wanted to give up citizenship for political reasons before the agreed minimal term time. In this case, the amount was forfeit. After wars Burgrechte as contracted naturalisations with sometimes huge guarantee sums were part of the peace treaties and formed by their presence a burden for future agreements and relations. The Leading questions of the paper are: What is an Udel and where can it be found? How does it fit in the political, financial and fiscal structures of the cities and its partners? Were there alternatives to citizenship with an Udel? How did an Udel change or superimpose pre-existing connections, feudal relations, leagues and the political landscape? The article focusses on the political effects of the guarantee amounts in medieval towns; examples of Berne and its surroundings underline the relevance of the widespread phenomenon.
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