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The Golden Bull (1356)
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In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity, Amen. From Charles IV, by grace of God Roman Emperor, always increaser of the empire and king of Bohemia, to be remembered always. Every realm that is divided internally will go to ruin, for its princes have become the comrades of thieves. The Lord has poured out the spirit of deceit among them, so that they grope about at midday as though in darkness, and He has withdrawn the light from their dwellings, so that they are blind and leaders of the blind. And those who wander in the dark run into things, and those who are blind of spirit bring about evil deeds, which occur in disunity. Tell us, Pride, how could you have dominated Lucifer unless you had disunity as your handmaiden? Tell us, envious Satan, how could you have driven Adam from Paradise if you had not first made him rebellious against authority? Tell us, Luxury, how could you have destroyed Troy without first separating Helen from her husband? Tell us, Anger, how could you have brought the Roman state to naught, without first inciting Julius Caesar and Pompey to civil wars fought with bitter swords? You, Jealousy, have soiled the Christian Empire, which was reinforced by God with the virtues of faith hope and love, just like the indivisible Trinity, and whose foundations stand firmly on the kingdom of Christ; you have soiled it with your ancient poison that you have spewed forth like an evil snake on the Empire and its members. And to shatter the pillars and to bring the whole structure to collapse, you have incited disunity among the seven electors, who should illuminate the Empire like the light of the seven lamps of the mind.


But in the name of the office which we hold as Emperor we are obliged to act against disunity and struggle among the electors (to whom we belong as King of Bohemia), for two reasons: because of our Imperial office, and because of our rights as an elector. In order to increase the unity among them, and to bring about unanimity during elections and to avoid disgraceful divisions and to close the door to the multiple dangers that arise from them, we have issued the laws written down here at our festive Imperial Diet in Nuremberg, in the presence of all the spiritual and worldly electors, and before a large crowd of other princes, counts, free lords, lords, nobles and urban delegates. From our Imperial throne, decorated with the imperial insignias and treasures, wearing the imperial crown, after ripe deliberation, we issued them on the basis of our unrestricted imperial powers, in the year of our Lord 1356 in the 9th indiction, on the 10th of January, in the tenth year of our royal power and the first of our Imperial power.

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