Emperor Sigismund’s Charters

The Regesta Imperii international project in Brno

The Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University is involved in the prestigious international research project called Regesta Imperii. The Faculty contributes to the project with extensive archival research and by enabling access to documents and charters of Sigismund (*1368 – †1437), the last male member of the House of Luxemburg, Holy Roman Emperor, and king of Hungary, Bohemia, and Croatia.

Popularization of medieval documents

Founded in 1829, the institute of Regesta Imperii aims to make the documents that came from the medieval kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (800-1519), the ‘Regestas’, accessible in the form of content summaries. Currently, the project is housed at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, and several other German universities. In 2011, a branch of Regesta Imperii was established at the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University, which is the first ever workplace involved in the project outside German-speaking countries. So far, over 90 volumes of Regesta Imperii have been published, containing nearly 130,000 Regestas. Since 2001, the book series has been gradually digitized and Regestas are being imported into an open-access database, enabling complex searches across the whole volume of material.

History of Europe in the first half of the 15th century

Sigismund of Luxemburg was the last medieval emperor who had significantly universal ambitions. On his diplomatic journeys across Europe, he travelled from Constantinople to England and from Lithuania to Spain. He initiated two large church councils and was a key figure in the Czech Reformation confrontation with what was then Western Christianity. Prominent scholars, artists, diplomats, prelates, aristocrats, and financiers from all over Europe met at his court. For this reason, the place was considered one of the key communication hubs and cultural centres on the continent. These facts suggest that systematic research in Sigismund’s charters could bring a significant shift in research into the history of Europe in the first half of the 15th century.

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