Welcome to the “Virtueller Raum Reichsrecht” Collection of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History

The Holy Roman Empire which existed until 1806 can be described as a supranational European legal and constitutional system including regions of thirteen member states of the present EU. It produced an enormous corpus of imperial law, ranging from the legislation of the diet to international contracts. A complete contemporary or modern collection of the law or legislation of the Holy Roman Empire was never achieved. The texts of imperial law are therefore distributed among various publications, stored away in different European libraries and archives.

Project Background

The ViRR project aims to provide a collection of legislative sources and to develop a virtual workspace of the pre-modern imperial law. As a first step important and rare legal texts and collections, selected by scientific criteria, were digitized, and enhanced with structural metadata (table of contents, indices); an upgrading with fully transcribed, machine-readable texts might follow. It is envisioned to interlink the digitized texts of the ViRR collection step by step with other resources, like digitized virtual collections, sources, images or archive files. Furthermore the virtual lab should enable the interlinking of sources to current research findings like bibliographies, source books, older and newer scientific studies, as well as library catalogues and databases. Thus such a virtual workspace of imperial law could initialise new scientific perspectives, enable interdisciplinary and international scientific co-operation and facilitate new insights in a supranational European legal system.

Documentation about the development of the ViRR software can be found in the MPDL Wiki.

Collection example:
Acta Comitialia Ratisbonensia Pvblica Oder Regenspurgische Reichstags-Handlungen und Geschichte von den Jahren 1653 und 1654, Vol. 2