This is a study of Central European bles in revolution. As one of Germany's richest, most insular and most automous bilities, the Free Knights in Electoral Mainz represented the early modern ble ideal of pure bloodlines and cosmopolitan loyalties in the old society of orders. But this world came to an end with the outbreak of the revolutionary wars in 1792. Quite apart from the social, ecomic and political dislocations and loss, the era from 1789 to 1815 also meant a cultural reorientation for the bility. William D. Godsey, Jr. here explores how bles in post-revolutionary Germany gradually abandoned their old self-understanding and assimilated with the new cultural 'nation' while aristocrats in the Habsburg Empire, which had taken in many emigres from Mainz, moved instead towards supranationalism. This is a major contribution to debates about the relationship between identity, cultural nationalism, supranationalism and religion in Germany and the Habsburg Empire.
William D. Godsey, Jr. is Tenured Research Fellow of the Historical Commission at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna. He is the author of Aristocratic Redoubt: The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office on the Eve of the First World War (1999).