GHDI logo

The Golden Bull (1356)

page 3 of 7    print version    return to list previous document      next document

Chapter 1
What sort of escort the electors should have, and who should provide it

[Summary: All are required to give free passage and protection to the electors and their representatives when an election is announced. Electors who disobey are to lose their vote in the election involved; others are guilty of perjury and shall lose all their fiefs from all lords. Commoners who disobey are to lose all rights, privileges and benefits, and are to be put under Imperial ban. Cities are obliged to sell to electors and their representatives going to or attending an election (food and other goods at usual prices). Electors who are engaged in feuds must nevertheless obey these rules, as must other lords engaged in feuds or wars with electors. The exact lords who should give free passage to each elector are then listed. The Archbishop of Mainz is to announce the date of election in letters carried by his messengers, and shall name the deadline by which such letters are to be delivered. Within three months of the deadline, each elector must appear or send a representative to Frankfurt am Main. If the Archbishop fails to call such a meeting within a month of the Emperor's death, then the electors should appear in Frankfurt on their own. No elector shall appear in Frankfurt with more than 200 mounted men, of whom no more than 50 may be armed. If an elector does not appear, or leaves before the election, he shall lose his vote for that election. The city of Frankfurt is responsible to prevent the electors and their armed men from attacking each other; they shall not let anyone else into the city during the election.]

Chapter 2
On the election of a King of the Romans

[Summary: Upon arrival in Frankfurt, the electors are to hear a Mass, so that the Holy Spirit may enlighten their hearts and minds, so that they elect an upright, honorable and diligent man as King of the Romans and future Emperor; after which they are to swear on the Gospel of St. John an oath to elect a suitable King of the Romans, without previous agreements, rewards, payment or promises, "whatever way they may be named." Then they should proceed to the election, by majority, and not leave the city until they have succeeded. If they do not succeed with 30 days, they shall then subsist on bread and water until a majority of them has elected a ruler and secular head of the faithful. Once a majority has elected a King, the result is to be regarded as if they had done so unanimously. If an elector or his representative arrives late, they are to be admitted to the election at whatever stage it is.]

And because the following has always been observed as a recognized and honorable custom, we also decree that whoever is elected to be King of the Romans shall, immediately after his election and before undertaking any other business in his capacity and power as head of the holy Empire, acknowledge with his seal the spiritual and secular electors (who are known to be the closest members of the Holy Empire) in all their privileges, letters, rights, freedoms, and benefits, their customs and also their honors, and everything they have received from the Empire up to the very day of the election, without delay. And he should reconfirm everything named above, when he is crowned with the Imperial insignia. [ . . . ]

And if three of the electors decided to elect a fourth elector from among them, his vote [or that of his representative] shall continue to be counted towards the majority like the votes of all the other electors.

first page < previous   |   next > last page