Perpetual Diet of Regensburg
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Perpetual Diet of Regensburg
The Perpetual Diet in Regensburg in 1663 (copper engraving)
The meeting place of the Diet in the Old Townhall of Regensburg as it appears today. This photo was taken in 2016

The Perpetual Diet of Regensburg[1] or the Eternal Diet of Regensburg[2][nb 1] (German: Immerwährender Reichstag) was a session of the Imperial Diet (Reichstag) of the Holy Roman Empire that sat continuously from 1663 to 1806 in Regensburg in present-day Germany.[2]

Previously, the Diet had convened in different cities but, beginning in 1594, it met only in the town hall in Regensburg. On 20 January 1663, the Diet convened to deal with threats from the Ottoman Empire (the Turkish Question).[2] Since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the Holy Roman Emperor had been formally bound to accept all decisions made by the Diet. Hence, out of fear that the Emperor would disregard the Diet's role by not calling sessions,[3] it never dissolved and became a perpetual diet. Therefore, no final report of its decisions, known as a Recess, could be issued, and that of the preceding diet, issued in 1654, was dubbed the Youngest Recess [de].[4] From 1663 until the 1684 Truce of Ratisbon (a former name of Regensburg in English), the diet gradually developed into a permanent body.[2]

In addition to envoys who represented the Imperial Estates in the Diet, Regensburg had around 70 representatives (Komitialgesandtern or Comitia) from foreign states. The Emperor was represented by a Principal Commissioner (Prinzipalkommissar), a position that accrued to the Thurn und Taxis family from 1748.

In its early years, the Perpetual Diet was a tool for consolidation of Habsburg power in the empire.[2] However, by the middle of the 18th century, it was largely "dysfunctional"[5] and a "mere congress of diplomats"[4] that produced "no important legislation in political and constitutional matters".[4] The weak institution has been called "a bladeless knife without a handle",[6] and, during the Diet's existence, the Empire increasingly became nothing more than a collection of largely independent states.[6]

The last action of the Diet, on 25 March 1803, was the passage of the German Mediatisation, which reorganized and secularized the Empire.[7] Following the approval of that final constitutional document, the Diet never met again and its existence ended with the dissolution of the Empire in 1806.[7]

List of imperial principal commissioners

Dates Commissioner
1663-1668 Guidobald of Thun, Archbishop of Salzburg (1616-1668)
1668 David von Weißenwolf
1668-1685 Count Marquard II Schenk von Castell, Bishop of Eichstätt (1605-1685)
1685-1687 Count Sebastian of Pötting, Bishop of Passau (1628-1689)
1688-1691 Margrave Hermann of Baden-Baden (1628-1691)
1692-1700 Prince Ferdinand August of Lobkowitz, Duke of Sagan (1655-1715)
1700-1712 Cardinal John Philip of Lamberg, Bishop of Passau (1652-1712)
1712-1716 Prince Maximilian Karl of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort (1656-1718)
1716-1725 Cardinal Christian August of Saxe-Zeitz, Archbishop of Esztergom (Gran) and Primate of Hungary (1666-1725)
1726-1735 Prince Frobenius Ferdinand of Fürstenberg-Messkirch (1664-1741)
1735-1741 Prince Joseph William of Fürstenberg-Stühlingen (1699-1762)
1741-1745 Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Thurn and Taxis (1704-1773)
1745-1748 Prince Joseph William of Fürstenberg-Stühlingen (1699-1762)
1748-1773 Alexander Ferdinand of Thurn and Taxis (1704-1773) (2nd term)
1773-1797 Prince Karl Anselm of Thurn and Taxis (1733-1805)
1797-1806 Prince Karl Alexander of Thurn and Taxis (1770-1827)

See also


  1. ^ The diet is also referred to as the "Perpetual/Eternal Diet in Regensburg/Ratisbon" and the "Perpetual/Eternal Imperial Diet" or simply the "Perpetual/Eternal Diet".


  1. ^ Palmer, R. R.; Colton, Joel (1994). 'A History of the Modern World, Volume 1 (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-07-040829-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e Schindling, Anton (December 1986). "The Development of the Eternal Diet in Regensburg". The Journal of Modern History. 58: S64. doi:10.1086/243149. S2CID 144471373.
  3. ^ Beaulac, Stéphane (2004). The Power of Language in the Making of International Law: The Word Sovereignty in Bodin and Vattel and the Myth of Westphalia. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 93fn420. ISBN 978-90-04-13698-4.
  4. ^ a b c Holborn, Hajo (1959). A History of Modern Germany: 1648-1840. Taylor & Francis. p. 10-11. ISBN 978-0-691-00796-0.
  5. ^ Beaulac, Stéphane (2004). The Power of Language in the Making of International Law: The Word Sovereignty in Bodin and Vattel and the Myth of Westphalia. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 93. ISBN 978-90-04-13698-4.
  6. ^ a b Detwiler, Donald S. (1999). Germany: A Short History. SIU Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8093-2231-2.
  7. ^ a b Brauer, Wolfgang (20 February 2006). "Der Kirchenstaatsvertrag und seine Voraussetzungen". Schattenblick (in German). Retrieved 2011.

External links

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