The Instrumentalization of Courtly Privacy in the Context of the Wedding Celebrations of Emperor Leopold I in 1676

Claudia Curcuruto
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 12 Issue 2  (2023):3–36 DOI 10.38145/2023.2.279

According to the wishes of Pope Innocent XI Odescalchi and his representative at the imperial court, Francesco Buonvisi (1675–1689), Leopold I married the candidate they favored: Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg. The emperor’s third wedding and the subsequent wedding festivities were held in Passau on December 14, 1676 in an absolutely private manner and without the intervention of the secular diplomats or the apostolic nuncio. The private staging of the sposalizio contrasts not only with the norms of the traditions of the imperial court with regards to ceremony, but also with the public staging of the emperor’s two previous weddings. Against this background, this article considers the possible functions that can be attributed to the private in this context and how the preferential treatment of the house of “Pfalz-Neuburg” can be interpreted in relation to the ceremonial norms of the imperial court. In this regard, the nunciature’s correspondence and their manifold interconnections thus represent essential sources which shed light on the mechanisms of “privacy” in diplomacy, as well as the shifting importance and meanings of the ceremonial norms of the imperial court.

Keywords: Pope Innocent XI Odescalchi, Francesco Buonvisi, Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg, Apostolic Nunciature of Vienna, imperial court, Leopold I, marriage in early modern period, privacy


“[…] ammettendo la scusa che lo sposalizio habbia da esser totalmente priva­to.”1 On November 1, 1676, Francesco Buonvisi (1626–1700),2 the apostolic nuncio at the imperial court,3 wrote a letter to Pope Innocent XI Odescal­-

chi’s4 cardinal secretary of the state,5 Alderano Cybo (1613–1700),6 about the planned private wedding celebrations of Emperor Leopold I7 to Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg8 in Passau in December 1676.9 Privacy became the subject of argumentative directives during this dynastic feast at the Viennese imperial court, and the participation of resident diplomats, including the papal nuncio, became a question of diplomatic-ceremonial action. Why was the wedding kept private? Why could the representatives of the crowns, princes, and republics not attend the celebrations? What did the actors understand by “privacy” in the context of wedding ceremonies in 1676, and how was the concept of “privacy” instrumentalized by the actors in this context? What strategies did Buonvisi, in particular, develop to counteract his “exclusion” from the wedding ceremony in Passau?

The matter of the emperor’s wedding (and his choice of bride)10 represented a political issue of the first rank. After the death of Claudia Felicitas of Tyrol (1653–1676),11 Leopold I’s second wife, on April 8, 1676, tough marriage negotiations took place between April and October 1676 for the speedy remarriage of the 36-year-old sovereign. His first two marriages had been childless, so marriage negotiations were initiated after the death of Claudia Felicitas to secure a successor and the property of the Casa d’Austria.12 In addition to the 21-year-old Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg (whom Leopold I ultimately chose as his new bride), the Protestant princess Ulrike Eleonore of Denmark (1656–1693), daughter of the Danish king Frederick III and later wife of Charles XI (1655–1697) and from 1680 queen of Sweden, was one of the favorites.13 On October 4, 1676, the emperor decided in favor of Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg.14 His decision was influenced in no small part by the insistence of the negotiators representing Rome,15 as Pope Innocent XI reminded Emperor Leopold in his congratulatory letter of December 1, 1676.16 On December 14, 1676, the wedding between Emperor Leopold I and the Neuburg princess was celebrated in Passau by the arch- and prince-bishop of Passau Sebastian von Pötting (1673–1689).17 In general, these central events in the early modern period were always a public act and were not considered private affairs or private celebrations of the Casa d’Austria. With the wedding in Passau in 1676, however, there was an extraordinary fusion of the public sphere and the private sphere on the part of the Austrian Habsburgs,18 as I show in the discussion below.

Courtly Privacy and Incognito as New Categories of Diplomatic-Ceremonial Practice in the Early Modern Period

This particular Passau event of 1676 marked a decisive turn in the Theatrum caeremoniale19 and initiated a trend for future celebrations at the Viennese imperial court, where the complex categories of private and incognito were to play an increasingly important role in ceremonial activities from 1676 onwards. Following Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger’s studies on “Ceremonial as Political Procedure,” I understand ceremonial action as a larger category of social acts that are precisely standardized in their external form, that depict a social order, and that are therefore always related to participants and/or spectators who perceive and understand these signs.20

According to this definition, ceremonial action is part of the public activity of ruler and court and is directed equally at both participants and spectators, who had to perceive and interpret a given act and communicate its message further, for instance as envoys. The court ceremonial21 as a system of norms binding on all participants is related to the ranks of the persons involved and made visible and recognizable for all participants.22 What happens when the public activities of the imperial dynasty are shifted to the private sphere? First, the imperial court instrumentalized the categories of “courtly privacy,” and second, the apostolic nuncio introduced the field of action of “incognito” in the events in Passau in 1676, both in order to avoid ceremonial-diplomatic conflicts between the resident envoys at the imperial court and the father of the bride, Philip William, count of Palatinate-Neuburg.23

The words “private” and “court” in the conceptual pair of “courtly privacy” represent a counter-pair of privacy and publicity,24 which, however, are not separable for the early modern period and especially for the court.25 It can thus be stated that the dialectical quality of the conceptual pair was not to be adhered to, but rather, as inseparable categories at court, a more or less limited public sphere to be defined stabilized from case to case or a performance of the private occurred in a public setting. The people involved thus organized a supposed privacy while at the same time maintaining publicity by excluding diplomats to avoid conflict at the wedding ceremony and the subsequent banquet through the instrumentalization of courtly privacy.

Thus, in this context, courtly privacy means the claim to be protected from unwanted diplomatic-ceremonial conflicts in decisions and actions in representations and enactments of the private in public space and the claim to be protected from the entry of others into spaces and areas. The representation of the private creates forms of expression that transform existing spaces in the public sphere. Processes of dissolving the boundaries of the public in private staging modify the traditional role model and require differentiated approaches to solutions, such as the use of the concept of incognito on the ceremonial level.26 It should be emphasized, however, that the situational character of the events in the diplomatic-political ceremonial was always preserved, in which the category “private” is not to be regarded as a stable continuum, but was subject to the fluctuations of the actors involved in this complex relational dynamic and was subject to practices at the Viennese court that were always open to being redefined.

The meaning of the term incognito, usually understood to mean “unknown” to a particular person or several persons until the mid-sixteenth century, changed as the term came instead to be understood as “unknown” to the people involved in a ceremonial practice. Following Volker Barth, incognito is a practice that indicates the temporary relinquishment of ceremonial duties, that is, a temporary change of identity. This change of identity, which is as temporary as it is specifically individual, is carried out publicly and, for example, helped “make interaction possible” at conflict-laden meetings of high-ranking personalities without the ceremonial aspects of the meeting being suspended. In this way, forms of incognito emerged that shaped the court culture of the early modern period.27

The introduction of courtly privacy and the practice of going incognito opened up (new) possibilities for action in diplomacy and new ways of taking part in ceremonies for the actors involved in these processes, and this had an impact on subsequent events at the imperial court (including, for example, the introduction of a “private chapel” for the empress dowager Eleonora of Gonzaga-Nevers28 and the [private] wedding celebrations that took place in 1678).29 However, by shifting the “public” to a “private” setting, the apostolic nuncio created a novel situation in which he now could take part incognito.

This is precisely where the great potential for conflict lies: the required absence from the wedding celebrations in Passau in 1676 because of the demand for privacy, and the disputes that were going on over ceremony and rank, in which the nuncio insisted on his claim also to the ecclesiastical functions as papal representative. This established an “invented tradition”30 in the ceremonial practices of the Viennese imperial court and was ultimately noticed at other courts in Europe. We are thus speaking, in this case, of a tradition that was formally established with great speed. Moreover, the notion of “invented tradition” encompasses a set of practices, usually based on openly or tacitly accepted rules, which have a ritual or symbolic character and aim to transmit certain values and norms of behavior through repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.31 The essence and function of traditions, even invented ones, is invariance.32 The invention of traditions, it is assumed here, is essentially a process of formalization and ritualization characterized by reference to the past, even if only through the imposition of repetition.33 Accordingly, the possibilities for action by the actors could become visible via the invented tradition, that is, via the instrumentalization of the private in a public event.

In this discussion, I focus on how the Apostolic Nuncio Francesco Buonvisi operated in the spheres of public and private and how his ability to act was demonstrated in the ceremonial performance of the wedding celebrations in Passau in 1676. In his regular correspondence with the Secretariat of the State Buonvisi drew a detailed picture of the emperor’s marriage negotiations, and his daily reports to Rome prove an important source of information and knowledge34 in this context. The nunciature’s correspondence35 reveals that the private was also possible in the courtly public domain.36 As the example I offer shows, considerable political tensions between the courts of Europe could be mollified by limiting ceremonies performed in the public sphere and preferring instead the private sphere. Participation by the public meant pre-programmed conflicts of precedence37 as a result of the “incompatibility of divergent status hierarchies”38 and the claimed “plurality of ceremonial claims,” as can be demonstrated in the conflict between the Nuncio Buonvisi and the count of Palatinate-Neuburg. In this regard, there is an important area of research which, as noted by Elisabeth Garms-Cornides in her discussion of the role of apostolic nuncio in ceremonial events, “can by no means yet be considered to have been adequately dealt with in recent historiography.”39

Basic Constants of the Passau Wedding of Emperor Leopold I to Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg in 1676: Context

The wedding celebrations for Emperor Leopold I and Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg deviated significantly from the customary. First, the ceremony did not take place in Vienna but was held in Passau on December 14, 1676. Second, the usual per procuram wedding ceremony was dispensed with in advance. Third, the Advent season was not (and is not) traditionally a time for weddings. What motivated the Viennese court to make these changes remains an open question. That they wanted to avoid excessive splendor in view of the ongoing year of mourning was understandable, but why the diplomats residing at the Viennese imperial court and even the papal nuncio, Francesco Buonvisi, who had played a major role in the establishment of the alliance, were explicitly excluded was less so. These conspicuous features appear all the more strange against the background of the public staging of the Habsburg emperor’s two previous weddings.40 While Leopold’s first two brides had experienced all the pomp and splendor of publicly staged weddings, Eleonora Magdalena had to content herself with a poem of praise, Il Giudice di Paride,41 and a “private” staging of her wedding festivities.

Buonvisi did not attend the events as a private individual. As “servants of the pope,” the apostolic nuncios were representatives of the head of the Catholic Church and princes of the Papal States, far superior in rank to a simple duke or count. Furthermore, at the beginning of the reign of Emperor Leopold I, the ceremonial-liturgical role of the nuncio at the imperial court42 was laid down in detail. The nuncios seem already to have consolidated their ceremonial and liturgical positions at the court, so they were able to invoke deftly acquired ancient privileges. The privileges and functions of the papal minister included, for example, access to all gala days and events of festivals, as well as private chamber comedies. At the same time, the nuncio held supreme jurisdiction over court liturgies (baptisms, confirmation, the churching of the empress and weddings) and events at which the queen’s presence was guaranteed (solemn cappella, hereditary coronations, coronations and wedding banquets).43 Other prominent occasions on which the nuncio was at the center of liturgical events were the Maundy Thursday services in the Augustinian church, at which the imperial family and court publicly received communion from the hands of the nuncio, or processions of various kinds, especially processions held on the occasion of Corpus Christi,44 the laying of foundation stones, and the dedication of newly built churches. The numerous cappellae and the public services that the papal representative and the other diplomats had to attend were added to the many occasions on which the nuncio was liturgically active. Francesco Buonvisi was definitely of great importance in the court ceremonies of the Viennese imperial court, but in his daily life as nuncio, he had to grapple with disputes over rank with regard to the German imperial princes,45 and this caused the pope’s representative incessant discomfort precisely because of his special privileges in the liturgy.46 While Buonvisi had been prominently involved in the ceremonies surrounding the death and funeral of Empress Claudia, the ambassadors and thus also the nuncio were excluded from the wedding of the emperor to the Palatine princess in Passau. Clearly, the court preferred a private wedding ceremony,47 since one had to fear conflicts of precedence with the bride’s family. The wedding ceremony was performed by the bishop of Vienna and the archbishop of Gran/Esztergom respectively specifically to avoid ceremonial disputes at the table. The choice of venue was due to the ceremonial problems that arose between the diplomatic representatives of royal powers and the German princes. Instead, the diplomats were assured that they would not be expected to make the long journey. In an analogous way, the concept of courtly privacy was also applied to the two Habsburg weddings in 1678. Much as in the case of the emperor’s wedding to Eleonora of Palatinate-Neuburg (1676), which was held in Passau in a private manner, in 1678 the wedding of Eleonora Maria Josefa, the widowed queen of Poland and half-sister of the emperor to the duke of Lorraine and the wedding of Archduchess Maria Anna Josepha to the count of Palatinate-Neuburg, John William, were both held in Wiener Neustadt. Furthermore, both were considered private to avoid conflicts of precedence. Nevertheless, Buonvisi and his Venetian colleague paid a courtesy visit to the emperor’s sister Eleonora, the widow of the Polish king, incognito, but not to her husband, the duke of Lorraine; this happens analogously also in the case of Eleonora’s younger sister, Maria Anna. It can thus be stated that the Passau wedding can be regarded as a prime example of the introduction of courtly privacy and the concept of incognito, which also had its effects on subsequent weddings at the imperial court.48

After Emperor Leopold decided on October 4, 1676 to marry Princess Eleonora Magdalena Theresia,49 the daughter of Count Palatine Philip William,50 the following became quite clear: fertility and health were the most important considerations in a princely marriage, as well as the propagation of the Catholic faith (which was not guaranteed despite the announced conversion of the Danish princess) and the securing of the dynasty through offspring.51 In fact, the 23-year-old Catholic Neuburg princess had a head start over all her competitors because of her mother’s many children, which led to the conclusion, whether justified or not, that she too would prove fertile. After the choice was made, Rome congratulated the emperor on decision.52 The questions of the “provedimenti necessarii” were still unresolved, above all the date of the wedding festivities, which at that time were to be held before the first Advent, and the place for the wedding, which was thought to be around Linz.53 As of October 18, there was still no talk of possible conflicts or, better, disputes over precedence.54 After the election of the future empress, correspondence between Rome and Vienna between October 18 and December 14 revolved around the celebration of the wedding and the avoidance of precedence disputes with Count Philip William of Palatinate-Neuburg. In a total of twelve letters and 5 notifications (avvisi), matters between Rome and Vienna were clarified.55

The Incognito Project of the Papal Diplomat Buonvisi

After Buonvisi officially communicated the emperor’s official announcement regarding his future empress in his letter to the secretary of state on October 18, Buonvisi wrote a ciphered letter to Alderano Cybo on October 25, 1676. In this ciphered letter the apostolic nuncio presented a project revolving around the possible wedding festivities in Passau. He reflected on one point in particular: the session disputes at the table between the envoys and Count Philip William of Palatinate-Neuburg. Were the wedding to be held in Linz, the ambassadors of the princes would follow the imperial court and subsequently claim to be admitted to his table on the first day, as had been the case at the weddings of the last two empresses. This would create a conflict between the representatives and the father of the bride, as they would not agree on precedence at the table and elsewhere. Buonvisi therefore proposed the following solution to the Court Chancellor Johann Paul Hocher56 (which Buonvisi reported to Rome): Buonvisi thought of going to Linz at the beginning of December and then going “almost incognito” (portarsi quasi incognito) to Passau to visit the Madonna on her feast day. Subsequently, the sposalizio by Buonvisi should then take place privately (“per farvi privatemente lo sposalizio”). Under the excuse of an indisposition, Buonvisi then intended to leave immediately without taking part in the festivities after the blessing of the marriage in order to avoid disputes over the ceremony. For the secular envoys in general, the “lontananza del luogo, e dalla forma dell’andarvi, di dire a gl’Ambasciatori, che non lo seguitino”57 was considered a decorative, not valid argument (pretesto). Thus, the diplomats were not to be expected to make the arduous journey and the wedding was to take place in a “private form.” In this way, conflicts of precedence between the envoys and the count of Palatinate-Neuburg were to be circumvented.

Unlike his “colleghi secolari,” who somewhat regretted being prevented from attending the solemn occasion, the apostolic nuncio could not simply accept his absence: “ma io vi considero il pregiudizio della Nunziatura, se sotto qualsivoglia pretesto lo sposalizio si haverà da fare, o dal Vescovo di Passavia, o da altri.”58 Buonvisi considers exclusion from the celebration of the wedding or the wedding ceremony made private as damaging to the Apostolic Nunciature, especially if the wedding were to be performed under any pretext by the archbishop of Passau or by others. Buonvisi was concerned with safeguarding his prerogative (“il mio ius”) and his function of celebrating the sposalizio through the apostolic nuncio (“per conservare il possesso di fare lo sposalizio”). On the other hand, Buonvisi considered it very difficult to be present at the imperial table due to the disputes with the count. For this reason, Buonvisi proposed the following solution to Court Chancellor Hocher:

I did not want to disturb Your Majesty’s satisfaction, nor alter the enjoyment that you will have with your relatives, but that at the same time I would like to conserve my privilege, and that I could offer Your Majesty to take me incognito to the place of the wedding, I thought I could offer to take myself to the church at the time of the function, and leave immediately afterwards, but as I was alone without the others, it seemed to me that I could, without prejudice to our prerogatives, refrain from appearing at the other functions, especially as His Majesty wanted to hold them in an almost incognito form.59

Buonvisi proposed the idea of going incognito60 to the emperor at this point as the necessary solution. He thus believed that “aggiustamento” (agreement, rectification) could be reached by dissimulation rather than by approval (“dissimulando, che approvando”). Due to the positions Philip William of Palatinate-Neuburg and Charles V of Lorraine came to occupy within the hierarchy of rank and title in Europe, they were no longer willing to grant the apostolic nuncio the ceremonial precedence without objection from 1676 onwards. For Buonvisi, this ultimately meant coexistence, but without consent (“convivendo, e non consentendo”).61

Buonvisi therefore suggested that he might like to travel to Passau incognito and leave again after the marriage had been solemnized. Thus, according to Buonvisi, the nuncio’s ius for the sposalizio would be preserved, and the emperor would be able to celebrate his wedding at the imperial table with joy and satisfaction without fear of a conflict of precedence. 62 Hocher liked Buonvisi’s proposal and wanted to report it to the emperor.63 Buonvisi’s incognito project was invented as a ceremonial mode, according to Rohr, “to avoid many a precedence dispute’ (“zu Vermeidung mancherley Praecedenz-Streitigkeiten”).64 It was based on a separation of the person from his ceremonial function and created spaces for individual arrangements, which could be instrumentalized, especially by ruling monarchs, to avoid possible political complications specific to the situation. Once again, the act of going incognito opened a way out. In the incognito mode, it was possible to escape the invariable order of a ceremony, which ultimately created an architectural scenery of movable and immovable backdrops.

Once Buonvisi had been informed on October 25 about the location of the celebration,65 he revised his submitted proposal on the same day. Since it was still unclear whether Buonvisi would celebrate the sposalizio and whether the envoys would attend the wedding, Buonvisi wanted to go to the court chancellor the next day, i.e. October 26, 1676, and find out more about “che cosa hanno risoluta in questa materia” and whether “se spediranno il corriero per domandare la dispensa.”66 It is interesting that the avviso announces the form of the wedding in such an impressive way: “[…] e si crede che sarà in forma molto privata.” Previously, the same avviso alluded already to the private nature of the ceremony in a simpler form: “[…] et ivi farà privatamente le nozze.”67 There is thus an increase in the emphasis on privacy in the celebration in Passau from “privatamente” to “molto private” due to the presence of new information.

On October 27, Buonvisi sent a letter by express post to Rome requesting a quick reply to the letters he had already sent (which he presented again as duplicates)68 and asking for instructions on the funzione dello sposalizio. Since, as Buonvisi informed Cybo, Hocher had not yet been able to give him an answer as to who should hold it, he concluded “che habbino gran difficultà a consentire alla mia proposizione.” Buonvisi therefore submitted a modified proposal to Cybo, which he communicated to him in his letter of October 27:

and perhaps it will be better for me to remain in Vienna with all the others, because it would be better not to go to Passau if not incognito, since some people might interpret that I have actually yielded to the pretended precedence; with all this I thought it best to do that reason for not yielding at all to my jurisdiction, since it is true that they will at least tell me that they are not prejudiced by this act.69

Buonvisi thus considered it better to remain in Vienna with the other envoys during the wedding celebration. If the apostolic nuncio were to go to Passau, this could only be done if he traveled incognito. It might be interpreted by “some” (alcuni) that Buonvisi had indeed yielded to his “alleged” precedence (alle pretese precedenze). Buonvisi did not give up “affatto” his ius, and so he asked for instructions.

While Buonvisi was still waiting for a reply to his letters of October 25 and 27, he reported new events to Rome on November 1.70 Between October 27 and November 1, Hocher came to Buonvisi to inform him of the emperor’s decision: “Sua Maestà gradiva molto la mia moderazione, ma che haverebbe havuto più proprio sarebbe il ritrovarsi a Lintz, al ritorno di Sua Maestà.”71 Emperor Leopold I’s order was unmistakable: Buonvisi should not celebrate the wedding and neither should he undertake the journey to Passau, not even incognito. The emperor considered it “more appropriate” for Buonvisi to wait in Linz for his return.

How did Buonvisi deal with this problem? In a case of conflict or precedence disputes, one could either not appear at all or go to Passau incognito. The emperor, however, had expressed his explicit objection to the latter. The idea of traveling incognito was ultimately discarded in order to prevent a possible prejudicial effect and to avoid, as it were, a ritualization of the conflicts through the practice of traveling incognito. If one did not want it to come to that, the only way was an explicit (public/private) protest against the “invented tradition” adopted in connection with the privately held wedding ceremony, or one demanded a reversal in written form. As a rule, Buonvisi had his reservation of rights explicitly specified and affirmed in the declaration in question in order to prevent any precedent-setting effect. 72

Buonvisi did not insist further on his incognito project, mainly because he had not yet received any instructions from Rome. Instead, he demanded from the court chancellor or Emperor Leopold “che si preservasse la prerogativa della Nunziatura, con qualche dichiarazione in scritto, che esprimesse toccare questa funzione al Nunzio, ma essersi intermessa senza pregiudicare, solo perché Sua Maestà ha desiderato di far la funzione privatamente, e senza l’intervento dei publici rappresentanti.”73

Buonvisi therefore demanded that his liturgical privileges as apostolic nuncio be set down in writing, which he wanted to see safeguarded.74 Only in this case should his legal claim be suspended, because the emperor wanted to hold the function privately and without interference from public representatives. For Buonvisi, the documentation of this specific case and the affirmation in writing of his ius praecedentiae were decisive. Without this, the nunciature remained prejudiced. But due to the circumstances, the nuncio could not contradict the emperor without outraging him and without coming into conflict with the count of Palatinate-Neuburg. Buonvisi expressed his hope to the pope “that our Lord will approve of the reasons for having recalled the nunciature without then insisting on adhering to them, using the excuse that the wedding has to be totally private.”75 The question of the nuncio’s privileges was thus closely intertwined with the problems of precedence regarding German princes. Hocher then promised to convey the demand to the emperor and to present this declaration to him as righteous (“di rappresentarli per giusta questa dichiarazione”). The codification of Buonvisi’s ius gained a new dimension of public recognition and survived for a comparatively long time. If he tolerated an infringement on his right, he could eventually lose this privilege.76 As for Buonvisi’s request to be allowed to travel to Linz, the nuncio refused it. He considered this an escape from the dispute over precedence with the count of Palatinate-Neuburg (“mostrare di haver sfuggito la concorrenza”).

The Concept of “Private” in the Nunciature Correspondence

In the discussion below, I offer a detailed explanation of the meanings of the category of privacy. In Italian, the central term used by Buonvisi to designate the private is privato, in contrast to the category of the public (publico). In Italian, the adjective privato and the adverb privatamente are used primarily to characterize non-official, non-public places, persons, and acts. The reader comes across the term in correspondence mainly in adjectival form. In Buonvisi, one can observe two forms of use of the lexeme “privat.” Thus, we find the phrases such as “in forma privata/da esser totalmente privato” where the term is used as an adjective, or other sentences with “privatamente” as an adverb. In the difference between the public and the private, however, the imperial court valorized the concept of the private ceremonial sphere of action around the wedding ceremony. This instrumentalization of the private sphere was reported by the papal representative in partibus to the Cardinal Secretary of the State Alderano Cybo. He consistently alludes to the sphere of the “private” or the private form of the event. The concepts of rights form a frame of reference, and the associated field of words includes ius, prerogativa, privilegio, and giusto. Buonvisi attributes more influence to this frame of reference around his prerogatives than to any sense of regret over not being allowed to perform the liturgical celebration of the wedding in private. This makes it clear that an isolated consideration of the categories of public and private in the correspondence is not possible due to their discursive embedding. The private is bound to the public and vice versa, even if one or the other lexeme has not been explicitly nominated. This sheds light on the relationship between the public and private spheres of the wedding ceremony, which are always more or less clearly related to each other or reconciled and conceptually related.

On November 7, 1676, Pope Innocent XI and Alderano Cybo respectively replied to the Viennese nuncio via priority dispatch to his letters of 25 and 27 October 1676. The secretariat of the state gave Buonvisi the longed-for instructions concerning the ius of the nunciature and the function of the sposalizio:

Your Holiness, however, judges it right and proper that you should disengage yourself from the matter, as you yourself seem to have thought; since the wedding being celebrated privately, in a remote place, and far from the eyes of the ministers of the princes, it seems that no harm can be done to the dignity and prerogatives of the apostolic nuncio. [...] Nevertheless, for the greater caution of the future, Your Illustrious Lordship may leave a note in the registers of this Chancery of the reason why you have not been able to exercise this function this time, so that it may not be held up as an example in cases where [this function] may be exercised by the apostolic nuncio.77

Thus, Rome assured the papal representative residing in Vienna that with the wedding ceremony taking place privately in Passau there was no violation of the dignity (dignità) and prerogatives (prerogative) of the apostolic nuncio. As a matter of prudence, Buonvisi should describe the case in the registers of the chancery and explain why he was not in a position to exercise this funzione dello sposalizio in this specific case.78 Rome also assured the nuncio that the function of the sposalizio “without doubt” (indubitatamente) fell to the Viennese nuncio and to no one else.79 This concluded the case for Rome. In addition to the instructions, the extraordinary courier consignment contained the dispensation granted by Pope Innocent XI on account of consanguinity in the third degree, which was required by canon law for the marriage of Emperor Leopold to Eleonora,80 and at the same time the marriage license for the bishop of Passau.81 Leopold I had requested both on October 27, 1676.82 The dispensation and license reached Nuncio Buonvisi in Vienna on November 22, 1676, and one day later, on November 23, 1676, the emperor set off from Vienna to Passau.83

Avoidance as a Diplomatic Solution to Conflicts of Precedence

Francesco Buonvisi, reassured of the correctness of his actions by Rome, justified himself once more to make clear the aim of his whole undertaking:

my purpose was only to show that I was responsible for this function, and that I was anxious to serve His Majesty in any way, but in the extreme, I thought it better to avoid it, and I was only determined to procure a declaration that would preserve the reasons for the Nunciature, and perhaps I would have obtained it by now, if Hocher had not fallen ill; However, I will not fail to procure it on the return of Your Majesty, and if I do not obtain it, I will put in the Registers of the Chancery a separate report of the causes for which you omitted to go, so that the memory of it may remain, in order to protect us from the injuries in the future, as I am commanded by Your Eminence.84

“Avoidance” (lo sfuggire) and “excuse” (ammettendo la scusa) were two sides of the same coin in this process of avoiding disputes over precedence in ceremony. Buonvisi considered lo sfuggire more appropriate, while the imperial court advanced the scusa of not wanting the numerous envoys represented at the imperial court to make the long journey to Passau. It was obvious that the emperor’s third marriage was deliberately moved to Passau to spare the emperor unpleasant disputes over matters of ceremony. This in order to ensure that his new relatives would not suffer any insulting treatment at the hands of the diplomatic representatives at the imperial court during the ceremonial dinner where the newly wed emperor, his new wife and her parents (only counts) were supposed to sit at the same table as the diverse high ranking ambassadors,

…so that either the one or the other would have to leave the table, and the ambassadors (when they had moved from Vienna, and had not taken a seat at the table) would have been disgusted. In order to avoid such disconcert, it was arranged that the emperor let the ambassadors know that he was going to Passau to celebrate his wedding and that he did not wish the ambassadors to be inconvenienced, but to remain in Vienna, where he would shortly return with his bride. The ambassadors were indeed displeased with this request, but considering that it could not be otherwise, they concurred in His Majestys pleasure.85

The conflict therefore arose not only in the religious celebration of the wedding but also in the subsequent order of sitting at the table. In order to preserve the positions of the count and the envoys and to avoid conflicts, all the diplomats were, so to speak, disinvited. But in addition to that, in the register of graces in the archive of the Vienna Nunciature during Buonvisi’s term of office, there is no note of the substitution of the blessing of the marriage between Emperor Leopold I and Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg with the archbishop and prince-bishop of Passau.86 This is probably because the wedding was celebrated “privately” in Passau and, as Cybo himself wrote to Buonvisi, the ius was not affected.87 The affirmation of the ius and prerogatives of the Apostolic Nunciature was a consequence in the avoidance of a precedent and the avoidance of a scandal in Europe over matters of ceremony and thus politics. The nuncio’s prerogatives had not changed since Ferdinand II’s accession to power.


The emperor’s wedding in Passau 1676 was only the beginning of further disputes over ceremony that sharpened the papal representative’s sensitivity to potential threats to his ceremonial position. Thus, privacy and participating incognito in events became important forms of instrumentalization and offered a way to avoid conflicts over precedence in ceremony at the early modern imperial court. On the one hand, the categories should not be understood as referring to retreat from the public eye. Ceremony, rather, was given a performative flexibility and adaptability. On the other hand, strict adherence to established tradition was observable at the imperial court. Leopold I was not free in his definition of ceremonial behavior. Rather, he had to orchestrate his acts on the basis of ceremonial practices in use at other European courts. These imperial responses showed that in matters of ceremony, the emperor always decided according to custom, demonstrating a conservative approach to ceremonial norms, especially towards the numerous envoys represented at the imperial court. This in turn suggests that incognito participation and privacy offered a way out of the dilemma and were seen as suitable means to avoid conflicts around ceremonial performances at the imperial court. However, if the ceremonial really “does what it depicts,”88 then incognito participation and privacy in the Theatrum ceremoniale constituted elements that were to be performed on stage, whereas the true reasons remained concealed behind the scenes.

Table 1. Rhythm of communication between Francesco Buonvisi and Alderano Cybo (October 17 to December 20, 1676)

Postal consignment

Confirmation of the letters

Alderano Cybo to Buonvisi

Francesco Buonvisi to Cybo

Confirmation of the letters

Postal consignment


No arrival of letters

17.10. (Sa), Rome



18.10. (Su), Vienna




18.10. (Su), Vienna




25.10. (Su); Vienna




25.10. (Su); Vienna


25.10. (Su); Vienna



27.10. (Tu), Vienna


Staffetta, Extraordinary Shipping




1.11. (Su); Vienna




1.11. (Su); Vienna







7.11. (Sa), Rome




(9. 11.; 14.11.)


15.11. (Su); Vienna




15.11. (Su); Vienna





22.11. (Su); Vienna




22.11. (Su); Vienna









5.12. (Sa), Rome





12.12. (Sa), Rome






20.12. (Su); Vienna















Archival Sources

Archivio Apostolico Vaticano (AAV)

Segreteria di Stato (Segr. Stato), Germania 36, 195, 196, 198, 208

Archivio della Nunziatura di Vienna (Arch. Nunz. Vienna) 29, 73, 500

Archivio di Stato di Lucca (ASL)

Archivio Buonvisi II/11; II/30

Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv Wien (HHStA)

Obersthofmeisteramt, Zeremonielprotokolle (OMeAZA-Protokoll) 3

Obersthofmeisteramt, Ältere Zeremonialakten (OMeA ÄZA) 10, 11

Urkundenreihen, Habsburg-Lothringische Familienurkunden (UR FUK) 1757


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1 AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, November 1, 1676, f. 515r-v, here f. 515v.

22 On the Cardinal Nuncio Buonvisi, see most recently Boccolini, Un lucchese al servizio, and Curcuruto, “Francesco Buonvisi and Opizio Pallavicini.”

3 An overview of the papal legation system is provided by Walf, Entwicklung des päpstlichen Gesandtschaftswesens; as well as Gatz, “Gesandtschaftswesen, Päpstliches.” In addition to being the seat of the emperor and a central location of the Holy Roman Empire, the court in Vienna was also of particular importance. See the latest information and further references in Wührer, “Haus ohne Fundment”; Hengerer, Kaiserhof und Adel; Pečar, Ökonomie der Ehre. On the Viennese Court at the time of Leopold I, see Sienell, “Die Wiener Hofstaate.”

4 On the pontificate of Innocent XI with the anthology, see Bösel et al, Innocenzo XI Odescalchi. On the Pontifex, see also the article by Menniti Ippolito, “Innocenzo XI, papa.”

5 On the function of the cardinal secretary of the state, see Emich, “Karriere des Staatssekretärs.”

6 On Alderano Cybo, see Stumpo, “Cibo, Alderano.”

7 A satisfactory biography of Leopold I does not yet exist. To date, only Bérenger has written a comprehensive monograph and biography of Leopold I, see Bérenger, Léopold Ier; Spielman, Leopold I. The emperor’s personality is still best captured in Heigel’s essay, “Zur Charakteristik Kaiser Leopolds.”

8 On Eleonora Magdalena of Palatinate-Neuburg, see most recently Schmid, “Eleonore Magdalena von der Pfalz.”

9 The (festive) culture of the courts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is mentioned in particular in Berns, “Die Festkultur der deutschen Höfe”; Berns and Rann, Zeremoniell als höfische Ästhetik; Buck et al., Europäische Hofkultur; Daniel, “Überlegungen zum höfischen Fest der Barockzeit”; Dfez Borque and Rudolf, Barroco espafiol y austriaco; Ragotzky and Wenzel, Höfische Repräsentation. On the Passau wedding of 1676, see Schmidt, “Zur Vorgeschichte”; Oswald, “Kaiser Leopold I. und seine Passauer Hochzeit”; Schmidmaier-Kathke, “Die Glückliche Vermählung”; Kastner, “Schloß Neuburg und die Kaiserhofzeit”; Oswald, “Die denkwürdige Kaiserhochzeit.” For general information on public celebrations at the imperial court, see most recently Hrbek, “Öffentliche Feiern.”

10 On the marriage policy of the Habsburgs, see Debris, “Tu, felix Austria, nube,” in particular 324–30, and Sommer-Mathis, Tu felix Austria nube.

11 See Hye, “Claudia Felicitas,” 72.

12 Leopold I had contracted his first marriage in Vienna in 1666 with Margarita Teresa de Austria (1651–1673), daughter of the Spanish king Philip IV, who was only 15 years old at the time. Her death was followed by his second marriage, this time to Claudia Felicitas of Tyrol. The wedding was held in Graz on October 15, 1673, see Oswald, “Kaiser Leopold I. und seine Passauer Hochzeit,” 24.

13 Buonvisi had received explicit instructions from Rome to promote the marriage negotiations in favor of the Palatinate-Neuburg princess, not least as a result of the conversion of the Danish princess, who was one of the favorites to the very end, see AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 198, Dechiffrat of Alderano Cybo to Francesco Buonvisi, Rome, October 17, 1676, f. 3r-3v; original cipher in: ASL, Archivio Buonvisi II/30, n. 177.

14 The marriage contracts were signed by both sides on November 24, 1676, see Oswald, “Kaiser Leopold I. und seine Passauer Hochzeit,” 24. The processes which led to the marriage are described in Schmidt, “Zur Vorgeschichte der Heirat,” 259–302.

15 By the end of May 1676, Buonvisi Leopold had convincingly summarized the advantages of the Neuburg: no. 1 – “l’indemnità della religione cattolica”, no. 2 – “la probabile fecondità” and no. 3 – “gl’interessi di stato, che obligano a cavar qualche utile dal matrimonio.” This short formula apparently worked, as Buonvisi wrote to Rome: “[…] e stimo che questa generalità gli [Emperor Leopold] giovi” (AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 195, Cipher of Francesco Buonvisi to Paluzzi Altieri (cardinal secretary of the state under Pope Clement X), Vienna, May 24, 1676, deciphered on June 10, f. 617r-618r, here 617v.). On the “Palatinate-Neuburg” family and its importance for Europe, see Schmid, “Eleonore Magdalena von der Pfalz,” 159–61, 195.

16 Innocent XI to Leopold I, Rome, 1 December 1676, in: Berthier, Innocentii PP. XI epistolae ad principes, no. 72, 23.

17 A detailed account of the Passau wedding with exact details of time and place is preserved in the ceremonial protocol of the Viennese imperial court, see HHStA, OMeA ZA-Protokoll 3 (1671–1681), f. 74r-99v, as well as “Vermählung und Beylager,” in the Older Ceremonial Files, see ibid., OMeA ÄZA 10, fasc. 24, f. 14r-17v. For the series of older ceremonial records and ceremonial protocols, see Hengerer, “Zeremonialprotokolle,” and Pangerl et al., Der Wiener Hof im Spiegel. In 1677, a festive publication in Italian about the Passau imperial wedding was published, see Gentilotti, Passavia in feste. There is a German-language illustrated description of the wedding festivities by Johann Martin Lerch, see Lerch, Die Glückliche Vermählung. See on this text genre Wagenknecht, “Die Beschreibung höfischer Feste,” and Rahn, Festbeschreibung.

18 See Scheutz, “Hof und Stadt bei den Fronleichnamsprozessionen,” 53.

19 See Lünig, Theatrum Ceremoniale. In this regard it is also worth mentioning the essay by Sommer-Mathis, “Theatrum und Ceremoniale,” here in particular 523–25. A small compilation can be found by Kirchner, “Theaterbegriff des Barock,” 131–40, and Vec, Zeremonialwissenschaft, 170–74.

20 See Stollberg-Rilinger, “Zeremoniell als Verfahren,” 94–95.

21 Karl Möseneder defines the ceremonial as “eine Sichtbarmachung eines inneren Verhältnisses zu einer Instanz mittels äußerer Zeichen; zugleich ein Bild, fähig zur Belehrung und Erinnerung an eine Verpflichtung” (Möseneder, Zeremoniell, 77). Ceremonial therefore communicated the maintenance of order, expressing a hierarchically structured world order imagined as unchangeable, which referred directly to God by means of the person of the king. Any change in the ceremonial was therefore extremely delicate, because in the early modern period ceremony had a legitimizing function (see Barth, Incognito, 11, 102). Once applied, it enabled various courts to refer to it, to apply it themselves, and to demand its application to them (Barth, Incognito, 171).

22 Pečar, Hofzeremoniell, 384–85.

23 Philip William of Palatinate-Neuburg (1615–1690) was count Palatine of Neuburg from 1653 to 1690, duke of Jülich and Berg from 1653 to 1690 and since 1685 also elector of the Palatine, for further information, see Fuchs, “Philipp Wilhelm,” and Jaitner, “Reichskirchenpolitik.”

24 On the concepts of public and private, see Gehlen, “Die Öffentlichkeit und ihr Gegenteil,” 336–47; Geuss, Privatheit; Hansson, The Private Sphere; Jünger, Unklare Öffentlichkeit; McDougall, “Privacy,” 1899–1907; Moore, Privacy. Gehlen and Moore consider the private and the public, respectively, as anthropological constants. Moos, “Das Öffentliche und das Private im Mittelalter,” 29, on the other hand, takes the position, “daß wir keine anthropologische Konstanz der Antithese ‚öffentlich/privat‘ voraussetzen können,” postuliert aber ein menschliches “Abgrenzungsbedürfnis.” See also Moos, “Öffentlich” und “privat” im Mittelalter, 32–35. See the overview by Hofmann, “öffentlich/privat,” coll. 1131–34.

25 Private (from Latin privatus) refers to a sphere that is personal, informal, confidential, and under the control and management of an individual or private group. Privacy is a central category that determines the reality of people’s lives, both culturally and legally. It stands in contrast to the public sphere, which stands for something visible or known and administered and controlled by mostly higher authorities or accessible to and concerning the general public. In the sense of a “great dichotomy” (Bobbio, “The Great Dichotomy,” 1), privacy has always been conceived of as a complementary concept to the non-private, which is mostly the public. Rather, the boundaries are fluid, since the public is also shaped, produced, and given meaning in the private sphere. On the relationship between private and public, see here with further information Neighbors, Beyond the Public/Private Divide.

26 This relationship between hospitality and diplomacy is considered in Stephen Griffin’s article, “Between Public and Private Spaces: Jacobite Diplomacy in Vienna, 1725–1742,” which examines the interplay and complexities between the public and private in diplomacy and politics.

27 See Barth, Inkognito, 27, 94–95, 101.

28 On the empress in general, see Schnitzer-Becker, Eleonora Gonzaga Nevers.

29 See further on in this essay.

30 With reference to the conflict, it seems useful to use the concept of “invention of tradition” introduced by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.

31 See especially in this context Barth, Inkognito.

32 Francesco Buonvisi later called this “avoidance”, see AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, November 22, 1676, f. 556r.

33 See Hobsbawm, “The Invention of Tradition,” 1–4.

34 For the connection between space and the ceremonial see Karner, “Raum und Zeremoniell,” 55–78. On the concept of the nunciature as an important knowledge and information resource, see Curcuruto, “Die Wiener Nuntiatur,” 303–25.

35 As the graphic illustration in the appendix to this paper shows, epistolary exchanges between Rome and Vienna usually consisted of weekly postal parcels, with the Secretary of State’s instructions arriving from Rome always issued on a Saturday, while the nuncio Buonvisi’s “writing day” was Sunday. This suggests that the courier (ordinario) was dispatched on this day of the week. As a result of a well-functioning postal transport connection, postal parcels could be transported via two routes between Vienna and Rome: with the ordinary post via Venice, where the nuncio or his representative took care of forwarding to Rome, and the relay connection (express post) via Ferrara, from where postal traffic with Rome was organized at closer intervals. In general, the transport of the dispacci was quite reliable and brought the items to their destination in about 15 days. See Waquet, “Verhandeln in der Frühen Neuzeit,” 113, and generally on the correspondence of the apostolic nuncios Dörrer, “Schriftverkehr”, 114 and 202.

36 Thus, Volker Bauer defines the orders of courtly public spheres as constructed by the participants in events at court or by the media disseminating information from or concerning the court. According to Bauer, the epitome of interactions at court was the ceremonial as a “präsenzmedialer Mechanismus” (or “Präsenzmedialität”), see Bauer, “Strukturwandel,” 589–90.

37 See Krischer, “Souveränität,” 8, 15–17.

38 The consequence of accepting equality with the Elector would be that the princes of the Italian peninsula would follow this example of ugualità, resulting in “Rang- und Titelinflation,” Schnettger, “Rang, Zeremoniell, Lehnsysteme,” 184.

39 Garms-Cornides, “Liturgie und Diplomatie,” 125. For more information on the current secondary literature concerning the ceremonial of the Viennese imperial court in general, see Garms-Cornides, “Liturgie und Diplomatie,” esp. the research overview on pages 125–28, and on the nuncio in the ceremonial literature on pages 128–30. On the position of the nuncio in the imperial court liturgy, see Garms-Cornides, “Per sostenere il decoro,” esp. 100–10. On the reduction of ecclesiastical ceremonial in the Theresian-Josephinian period, see Kovács, “Kirchliches Zeremoniell am Wiener Hof,” and Dörrer, “Zeremoniell, Alte Praxis.”

40 See Schmid, “Eleonore Magdalena von der Pfalz,” 159–61.

41 Il Giudice di Paride […], ovvero il Pomo Imperiale (Passau 1676), see Schmid, “Eleonore Magdalena von der Pfalz,” 163, note 48.

42 The apostolic nuncio had a dual role to fulfil as the representative of the power that was the first to perfect the hierarchical order in both the spiritual and secular spheres, see Rousset, Céremonial diplomatique, vol. 1, 477–685, here 682. On the dual nature of the apostolic nuncios, see the unpublished master’s thesis by Claudia Curcuruto, “Delegatus Apotolicus,” and on the dual nature of the popes see Prodi, Il Sovrano Pontefice.

43 See Garms-Cornides, “Liturgie und Zeremoniell,” 136–39.

44 On Corpus Christi processions in early modern Vienna, see Scheutz, “Hof und Stadt bei den Fronleichnamsprozessionen,” 174–204.

45 On the nuncio’s everyday life at the Vienna nunciature, see Koller, “Nuntienalltag.”

46 In addition, with Leopold von Kollonitsch, archbishop of Kalocsa and later of Gran, the court finally had a crown cardinal at its disposal again from 1686 to whom the nuncio had to give precedence on solemn occasions. See Garms-Cornides, “Per sostenere,” 102.

47 For the two weddings in 1678, see the ceremonial records in HHStA, OMeA ÄZA 11, fasc. 7, Volume on the marriage of Eleonora to Charles of Lorraine (January 21–March 3, 1678).

48 On the weddings, see Garms-Cornides, “Abstellgleis,” 45–46 and Bastl, “Hochzeiten in Wiener Neustadt,” 7.

49 On October 8, 1676, the envoys of the count of Palatinate-Neuburg, Stratmann and Schellerer, reported that on the last Sunday, i.e. on October 4, Leopold I had announced his decision, See as well Schmid, “Zur Vorgeschichte,” 327–28.

50 On Philip William of Palatinate-Neuburg, see Schmidt, Philipp Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg. See as well AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, October 18, 1676, f. 486r. Buonvisi already sent the corresponding congratulations to the count of Palatinate-Neuburg on October 15, 1676 (see the surviving minutes in the ASL, Archivio Buonvisi II/11, n. 155) and for the wedding on December 12, 1676 (see ibid., n. 183).

51 See Oswald, “Kaiser Leopold I. und seine Passauer Hochzeit,” 326–27.

52 AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 36, Alderano Cybo to Francesco Buonvisi, Rome, November 7, 1676, f. 8v-9r, orig. in ASL, Archivio Buonvisi II/30, n. 18.

53 Ibid.

54 “Con giubilo universale si è dichiarato il matrimonio dell’Imperatore con la Principessa di Neuburgo, et hora si fanno i preparamenti per vedere se doppo ottenuta la dispensa da Nostro Signore si potessero celebrar le nozze nel mese di Novembre, per non haverle a differire doppo l’avvento, ma pare che il tempo sia corto. Non si è stabilito il luogo, ma si crede, che sarà Lintz, per le commodità, che darebbe il Danubio, se si facessero prima che si gelasse” (ibid., f. 494r).

55 An overview of the correspondence in the period can be found in the appendix of this paper.

56 On Johann Paul Freiherr Hocher von Hohenburg und Hohenkräen (1616–1683), see Wagner, “Hocher, Johann Paul,” 287–88.

57 AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, October 25, 1676, f. 504r-v, here f. 504r.

58 Ibid.

59 “Io non volevo turbare le sodisfazioni di Sua Maestà, ne alterare il godimento, che haverà con i suoi parenti, ma che nell’istesso tempo vorrei conservare il mio ius, e che però mi pareva di poter offerire a Sua Maestà di portarmi incognito al luogo delle nozze, e trovarmi alla chiesa al tempo della funzione, e partirne subito doppo haverla fatta, mentre essendo solo senza gl’altri, mi pareva di poter senza pregiudizio delle nostre prerogative astenermi dal comparire all’altre funzioni, tanto più che Sua Maestà voleva farle in forma quasi incognita” (ibid).

60 Contrary to the colloquial meaning of the word, it did not aim to remain “unrecognized,” but meant “without ceremony.” Like other ceremonials, its application was situation-specific, practice-oriented, and function-related. For the concept and history of the “incognito”, see Barth, Inkognito, 10.

61 AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 208, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, November 19, 1684, f. 908r. The ceremonial-political conflicts between the Apostolic Nuncio Buonvisi and the count Palatine of Neuburg, the duke of Lorraine and the Bavarian elector will be the subject of a separate publication.

62 Also in an avviso of the same date, see AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, October 25, 1676, f. 506v–507r: “Per il matrimonio di Sua Maestà non è stato ancora destinato il luogo, ne il tempo, tuttavia si crede, che si farà il giorno della Madonna di Decembre, e che Sua Maestà portatasi prima a Lintz, passerà con poca gente a visitare la Madonna di Passavia, et ivi farà privatamente le nozze.”

63 Ibid., f. 504v. Buonvisi submitted to Alderano Cybo after the conversation with Hocher, especially if Innocent XI did not approve them and found out before the wedding, Buonvisi would pretend to be ill (mi fingerei ammalato) and he would leave the wedding service to someone else.

64 “Zu Vermeidung mancherley Praecedenz Streitigkeiten haben die grossen Herren ein Mittel gefunden, nehmlich, unter einem angenommenen Charakter, oder incognito sich aufzuführen; jedoch wollen der Wohlstand, die Umstände und vorfallenden Begebenheiten nicht allemahl verstauen, sich solches Mittels zu bedienen, sondern es fügt sich gar offt, daß die Majestäten und ihnen gleichgeltenden Personen unter denen ihnen angestammten, oder durch andern aufgetragenen Charakter miteinander concurriren“ (Rohr, Ceremoniel-Wissenschaft der großen Herren, 358).

65 Buonvisi wrote the first letter of October 25 probably in the week between October 18 and 25. When the announcement of the location of the celebration was made on October 25, Buonvisi wrote the second letter on the same day, revising his first project proposal.

66 Ibid., October 25, f. 505r. This is also followed by the avviso of the same day, see ibid., f. 507r: “Hoggi è uscita la dichiarazione, che Sua Maestà farà lo spasalizio a Passavia alli 9. di Decembre, ma non si sa con qual accompagnamento anderà e si crede che sarà in forma molto privata, e partirà di qua alli 20. di novembre per trattenersi qualchè poco a Lintz.”

67 Ibid., f. 507r.

68 Ibid., Vienna October 27, 1676, f. 510r: “Col corriero, che si spedisce questa notte, mando a Vostra Eminenza il duplicato di due lettere, che l’inviai sabbato passato, sperando col ritorno dell’istesso di haver la risposta a ciò, che reverentemente li accenno circa la funzione dello sposalizio.”

69 “[…] e forse anche sarà meglio ch’io rimanga a Vienna con tutti gl’altri, perché sé bene non andarci a Passavia se non incognito, potrebbero alcuni interpretare che havessi effettivamente ceduto alle pretese precedenze; con tutto ciò stimai bene di fare quel motivo per non cedere affatto alla mia giurisditione, essendo verisimile, che almeno mi diranno non pregiudicarsici per questo volo atto” (ibid.).

70 Ibid., Vienna, November 1, 1676, f. 515r-v.

71 Ibid., f. 515r.

72 Stollberg-Rilinger, “Zeremoniell als politisches Verfahren,” 118–19, 125.

73 AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, November 1, 1676, f. 515r.

74 HHStA, OMeA ÄZA 11, fasc. 18: Declaration of 1677 against the jurisdiction of the Viennese consistory over the Burgkapelle. Further binding declarations in: HHStA, OMeA ÄZA 11, fasc. 18, January 31, 1680 and April 22, 1681.

75 “che Nostro Signore approverà l’haver ricordato le raggioni della Nunziatura, senza poi ostinarsi in sostenerle, ammettendo la scusa che lo sposalizio habbia da esser totalmente privato” (AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, November 1, 1676, f. 515r). The Venetian envoy at the imperial court in Vienna, Francesco Micheli, expressed a similar opinion, speaking of any non-participation in the wedding ceremony, see Fiedler, Die Relationen der Botschafter Venedigs, 167–208, here 176–77.

76 Stollberg-Rilinger, “Zeremoniell als Verfahren,” 103.

77 “Giudica però bene Sua Santità, che destramente se ne disimpegni, com’ella stessa mostra d’haver pensato; poiché celebrandosi le nozze privatamente, in paese rimoto, e lontano dagli occhi de’ Ministri de’Prencipi, pare che non possa considerarsi alcun pregiudizio alla dignità, e alle prerogative del Nunzio Apostolico. […] Nondimeno per maggior cautela dell’avvenire, potrebbe Vostra Signoria Illustrissima lasciar nota ne’ registri di cotesta Cancelleria, la cagione, per cui non ha ella potuto questa volta esercitare tal funzione acciocché non sia tirato in esempio ne’ casi dove essa può praticarsi dal nunzio apostolico” (AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 36, Alderano Cybo to Francesco Buonvisi, Rome, November 9, 1676, f. 10r-10v, original in ASL, Archivio Buonvisi II/30, n. 192).

78 Ibid.

79 As was also made clear in the letter of December 5 and 12, see ibid, Rome, December 5, 1676, f. 18v-19r and original in ASL, Archivio Buonvisi II/30, n. 205.

80 The bride and groom had the same great-grandfather on their mother’s side, namely Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria, called the Pious (reigned from 1579 to 1597; died in 1626). The original of the dispensation from the degree of consanguinitatis, et affinitatis in tertio gradu is found in HHStA, UR FUK 1757, dated November 7, 1676.

81 The prerogative and permission to bless the imperial wedding was given to the bishop of Passau at imperial request. The papal breve for this was delivered to him by the Cardinal Protector Cardinal Pio. The Hungarian Court Chancellor Count Thomas Pálffy, bishop of Neutra, and the Provost of the Passau Cathedral Franz Anton Count von Losenstein, Passau official in Vienna, acted as witnesses. Obviously, the bishop of Passau had no problem surrendering his primacy to the count of Palatinate-Neuburg, as Buonvisi explicitly states in an avviso: “[…] e lo sposalizio si farà da quel Monsignor Vescovo, che si e contentato di cedere il luogo al Duca di Neuburgo per esser egli nel proprio territorio, e per le dispute delle precedenze non sarà Sua Maestà accompagnata da gl’ambasciatori” (AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, November 15, 1676, f. 544r).

82 In a letter written in Latin on October 27, 1676, the emperor had asked the pope personally for the dispensation and at the same time had requested that the bishop of Passau, Sebastian count von Pötting, be granted the marriage license, see Oswald, “Kaiser Leopold I. und seine Passauer Hochzeit,” 24.

83 According to the ceremony protocol (HHStA, OMeA ZA-Protokoll 3, f. 74r-99v, here f. 79r), December 7 was actually the day of arrival in Passau. Eleonora Magdalena reached Neuburg am Inn with her retinue on December 11. The next day, December 12, the bride and groom met for the first time in person. See Schmidmaier-Kathke, “Die Glückliche Vermählung,” 149–50.

84 AAV, Segr. Stato, Germania 196, Francesco Buonvisi to Alderano Cybo, Vienna, November 22, 1676, f. 556r: “poiché il fine mio fu solo di mostrare, che a me si doveva quella funzione, e che havevo impazienza di servir Sua Maestà in qualsivoglia modo, ma in sustanza, stimavo meglio lo sfuggire, e solo mi sono fondato nel procurare una dichiarazione, che preservi le ragioni della Nunziatura, e forse a quest’hora l’haverei ottenuta, se l’Hocher non si fosse ammalato; non lascierò però di procurarla al ritorno di Sua Maestà, e quando non la conseguisca, metterò ne registri della cancelleria distinta relazione delle cause per le quali si è tralasciato di andare, acciocché ne resti la memoria, per preservarsi nell’avvenire da i pregiudizii, come mi viene comandato da Vostra Eminenza.”

85 “onde o l’uno, ò gli altro avrebbero dovuto essentarsi dalla tavola, e gli ambasciadori (quando si fossero mossi da Vienna, e non avessero avuto luogo in tavola) si sarebbero disgustati. Per evitare dunque tali sconcerti, si prese per espediente, che l’Imperatore facesse sapere agli Ambasciatori, che andando egli a Passavia a celebrare le sue nozze, desiderava, che gli ambasciadori non s’incomodassero, ma restassero a Vienna, dove in breve sarebbe tornato con la sua sposa. Dispiacque in realtà questa intimazione agli ambasciadori, ma considerando, che non poteva essere altrimenti, concorsero nel gusto di Sua Maestà” (AAV, Arch. Nunz. Vienna 73, f. 213v-15r).

86 A register of the expedition of the matters of grace of the Vienna Nunciature were made according to the terms of office of the apostolic nuncios and records the registration of the various dispensations, licences, faculties, absolutions, etc. granted to various parties. For the time of Francesco Buonvisi, such a register exists with volume 550 (23 October 1675 to 14 February 1682) and volume 29 (17 February 1682 to 1 September 1689), cf. AAV, Arch. Nunz. Vienna 550, ff. 139r-201v and 29, ff. 73r-87r.

87 See the registration of this case in the abovementioned AAV, Arch. Nunz. Vienna 73, f. 200r-45v. An entry in the register of graces is found instead in the case of the weddings of the widowed queen of Poland, Eleonora, to the duke of Lorraine and of Archduchess Maria Anna to the count of Palatinate-Neuburg, both of whom celebrated their wedding in Wiener Neustadt in 1678. See ibid. 550, f. 177v–78r (January 14, 1678, “Substitutio pro benedicendi nuptiis Reginae Eleonorae et ducis Lotharingae”) and ibid., f. 185v-86r (October 21, 1678, “Substitutio pro benedicendi nuptiis Archiducinae Mariae Annae et Jo. Wilhelmi Comiti Palatini Rheni”).

88 Stollberg-Rilinger, “Zeremoniell als Verfahren,” 96.