Fra vintønden til gratialprotokollen: Et strukturelt syn på det klientelistiske element i den danske kongemagt i 1600- og 1700-tallet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch

At the beginning of the early modern period, friendship and lordship were regarded as very similar. Both rested on reciprocity and faithfulness. Clientelism was the practical expression of the tendency to mix the two. During the nineteenth century European societies approached the apogee of bureaucratic ideals, which dictated that relations of command and responsibility should not be mixed up with personal relations of any kind.

This article traces a part of this development by comparing the friendly relations surrounding the kings of Denmark during two periods, the first half of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The whole gamut of friendly relations is considered, not only those closest to the ideal type of ‘true’ or ‘pure’ friendship.

Dividing those who might connect with the king into three circles – an inner circle having daily contact, a middle circle consisting of the rest of the household, and all others as an outer circle – it is concluded that shades of friendship was a common denominator in the inner circle. The inner circle seemingly changed very little, or not at all. The middle circle disintegrated: During the first period, it was dominated by a large body of young noble courtiers, who drank the king’s wine while serving in the hope of establishing a relationship of trust and friendship. They were gone a century later, leaving a rump of professional long-serving courtiers assimilated to the inner circle. The rest of the household had come to resemble the outer circle. This had vastly expanded in numbers, which produced the dominance of bureaucratic, written procedures over the former establishment of trust eye-to-eye. Personal, emotionally charged relationships were still considered the ideal; but bureaucratization had become dominant for practical reasons, paving the way for the later dominance of bureaucratic values.

Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationVänner, patroner och klienter i Norden 900–1800
EditorsLars Hermanson, Thomas Småberg, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, Jakob Danneskiold-Samsøe
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationReykjavik
PublisherUniversity of Iceland Press
Publication date2007
Pages235-254
ISBN (Print)978-9979-54-753-2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
SeriesRitsafn Sagnfræðistofnunar
Number39

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - history, friendship, patronage, clientelism, court, social elites, social reproduction, social mobility

ID: 2418070