18 Credits, correspondence, conflicts: Transregional interdependencies in late medieval Grisons

Flurina Camenisch

  1. Institut für Kulturforschung Graubünden, Chur, Switzerland

In the past few years, historical research has shown, that the numerous interdependencies between Switzerland and its bordering territories are by no means a phenomenon of the 20th century. Rather there existed already in the Late Middle Ages manifold connections between the area and the people of present-day Switzerland and their European environment. Especially the members of the confederate (eidgenössische) elite and the confederate nobility were, in the 15th century, – through diplomatic contact, commercial relations, or military services – connected with bordering political entities such as Milan, France, and the German Empire (Holenstein 2014).

These studies constitute an example of the rather novel area of transnationality-research, which advocates focusing more on social than political spaces (Osterhammel 2001). That means that researchers should investigate more the effective areas of actions and relationships that were relevant for protagonists at the time instead of assuming that the spaces in which they acted were restricted by political borders (Holenstein 2018). Further studies from the field of transnationality-research emphasize the importance of such transnationally/ transregionally acting agents for the involvement of additional people from their social environment in these transregional networks (Höh/ Jaspert/ Oesterle 2013).

The current research project (Camenisch in preparation) stands in the context of this transnationality- research. Using the example of Count Georg of Werdenberg-Sargans (1425-1504), the project aims to elucidate the effective areas of actions and relationships of one of the most known noblemen, who were active in the area of today’s Grisons. With which agents was Count Georg in contact? How were these relationships established and through which practices were they cultivated? How important were regular correspondence, reciprocal visits, or precious gifts? And to what extent did Count Georg act as a mediator of these transregional relationships and confer them to people within his dominions in the area of today’s Grisons?

This talk presents the preliminary results of the project. Based on selected late medieval texts will be shown, what transregional relationships Count Georg of Werdenberg-Sargans cultivated and what significance these relationships had for people from Count Georg’s surroundings.


Camenisch, Flurina (in Vorbereitung): Kredite, Kommunikation, Korruption – Grenzüberschreitende Verflechtungen im spätmittelalterlichen Graubünden (Arbeitstitel). Ein Forschungsprojekt des Instituts für Kulturforschung Grabbünden.

Höh, Marc von/ Jaspert, Nikolas / Oesterle, Jenny Rahel: Cultural Brokers at Mediterranean Courts in the Middle Ages, Paderborn 2013 (Mittelmeerstudien 1).

Holenstein, André: Die Schweiz und Europa. Zwei Geschichten der Integration im Vergleich, in: Andreas Kellerhals (Hg.): Die Schweiz und Europa. Referate zur Zukunft Europas, Zürich, Basel, Genf 2018, S. 87–112 (EuropaInstitut an der Universität Zürich 189).

Holenstein, André: Transnationale Schweizer Nationalgeschichte. Widerspruch in sich oder Erweiterung der Perspektiven?, Bern 2018 (Swiss Academies Communications 13 (6)).

Osterhammel, Jürgen: Transnationale Gesellschaftsgeschichte. Erweiterung oder Alternative?, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 27, 2001, S. 464–479.