Studio of Court Painter Martin van Meytens: Knighting ceremony after the coronation; from the cycle ‘The Coronation of Joseph II as Roman King in Frankfurt on 3 April 1764’, oil painting, 18th century

Habsburg’s nobility

elites under the double eagle


In the Habsburg Monarchy, as it had been evolving from 1526, the imperial Court developed into the definitive integration platform for the nobility of the territories under Habsburg dominion. The uniting of originally very different nations to form the Habsburg Monarchy created new criteria for the nobility of the individual lands, who saw this partly as an opportunity and partly as a threat.


The result was a history of rebellion and accommodation, isolation and connection. Once the fundamental suzerainty of the emperor had been recognised and was no longer in question, the noble elites were assigned a clearly-defined share in the exercise of power, thus reining them in and making them natural partners and allies of imperial power.

Read more