Fall Term 1993
Istvan Gyorgy Toth
Derek Beales
Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge University
For the Department of History

Course Description

The Habsburg Empire was the Reading power in Central Europe in the 16-18th centuries, so it is really necessary to understand its complicated political, and social structures - for understanding the history of the whole region. The course will begin with the creation of this empire, but instead of dynastic marriages, it will explain the success of the Habsburg dynasty by analyzing social and political development of the region. In these tree centuries the Habsburg Empire did not remain the same: from a loose unity of different provinces, which were even to be given away to different members of the dynasty after the death of Ferdinand, it developed to a monarchy with a strictly centralized administration to the second half of the eighteenth century. Reading contemporary sources, we shall analyze the fight of integrating and disintegrating forces in the Empire. Hopefully, a nationally mixed student team will help to see the complicated history of the Habsburg Empire from different point of views.

The Habsburg Empire was the unity of strikingly different parts, not in only in political, but in social history as well. We will study the different layers of the political class of the Habsburg Empire, from the multinational aristocracy (it was the result of a long development) to the locally determinated poor gentry. Differences between the Austrian, Bohemian and Hungarian parts will be demonstrated, as well as differences inside this groups of provinces (between) Lower Austria and Tyrol, between Hungary and Transylvania etc.). The different experiences of students coming from different nations of the region is again an important factor of the common work.

Understanding the development of the Habsburg Empire from a loose personal union to the status of Joseph II, its achievements and its contradictions will help to understand the crisis and the survival of this conglomeration in the nineteenth century.

1. The Formation of the Habsburg Monarchy
2. Reformation and Counter Reformation (1550-l650)
3. Aristocracy, gentry and estates in Hungary in the 16-l7th c.
4. Aristocracy, gentry and estates in Austria and Bohemia in the 16-17th c.
5. The Thirty Years War and the Habsburg Monarchy
6. Estates and absolutism under Leopold 1.
7. Universal Empire or Danubian Monarchy (1700-1740)
8. Enlightenment and the Austrian and Bohemian society
9. The impact of Enlightenment in Hungary
10. The French Revolution and the Habsburg Monarchy
11. From the Holy Empire to the emperor of Austria: the age of Napoleon

R. Evans: The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy 1550-1700. Oxford 1979. John Gagliardo: Germany under the Old Regime. London 1991.
R. Evans-T.Thomas: Crown, Church and Estates. Central European Politics in the 16-17th c. London 1991.
Derek Beales: Joseph II. Cambridge 1987 (Vol.1.)
Robert Kann: A History of the Habsburg Empire. London 1974.
Ernst Wangerman: The Austrian Achievement 1700-1800. London 1973.
Charles Ingrao: In Quest and Crisis. Emperor Joseph I. and the Habsburg Monarchy West Lafayette 1979.
Paula Fichtner: Ferdinand I of Austria. The politics of dynasticism in the age of the Reformation. NY 1982.
John Spielman: Leopold I of Austria. New Brunswick 1977.
R. Evans: Rudolph II and his world. Oxford 1973.
Ernst Wangermann: From Joseph II to the Jacobean Trials. Oxford 1969.
Domokos Kosary: Culture and society in Hungary in the eighteenth century. Budapest 1987.
Hajo Holborn: A history of modern Germany 1648-1840. Princeton 1982.

CRC-Curriculum Resource Center
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Modified: June, 1996


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