Managing Maximilian (1493-1519)

Gendering Maximilian – Gendered Dimensions of Court Organisation and Representation


PI Christina Lutter

Project Team: Judit Majorossy (PostDoc); Christof Muigg (PostDoc), Carina Siegl (PraeDoc).


This project investigates gender relations at the court of Maximilian I (1493–1519). It is part of the interdisciplinary Special Research Program (SFB 92) Managing Maximilian (14931519) – Persona, Politics, and Personnel through the Lens of Digital Prosopography, funded by the Austrian Science Funds (FWF) which consists of eight subprojects.

Previously, research on gender relations at the court of Maximilian I has focused mostly on the Emperor’s dynastic politics. This project aims to shift attention to the many women and men who built and sustained Maximilian´s rule. Its scope will therefore also include the courts and practice of power of Maximilian’s wives, his children, and grandchildren as well as diverse networks reaching beyond courtly bounds.


The goal of the project is threefold:

Firstly, it will put the emperor’s dynastic politics into a wider geo-political and socio-cultural context by systematically comparing the courts, social backgrounds, and political agency of Maximilian’s wives, Mary of Burgundy and Bianca Maria Sforza. In addition, we will conduct a cross-generational analysis, focusing on Maximilian’s daughter Margaret and his son Philip as well as his granddaughter Mary and her sister-in-law Anna, both of whom were raised in Vienna and Innsbruck (1515/6–1521).

Secondly, our aim is to systematically integrate the factor of gender into the interdisciplinary prosopographical research of ‘ManMAX’. Social networks are understood as foundational to pre-modern rule: women and men played important roles on all levels of the court and beyond, in terms of representation and practice of dynastic power, court provision and supply, intellectual and religious education, social and political patronage, as well as pious foundations and other charitable activities.

Thirdly, the project will focus on the gendered dimensions of the intellectual community at and around Maximilian’s court. Its networks of kin included mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters alongside male peer circles. New source material will be analysed to learn more about women’s social and intellectual impact on their male relatives’ careers and put into the context of trans-regional intellectual networks in the wake of the Reformation.



A broad project outline was presented by Christina Lutter at the University of Minnesota in September 2023 in the framework of the Robert A. Kann Memorial Lecture, and published under the title Gendering Late Medieval Habsburg Dynastic Politics: Maximilian I and His Social Networks, in: Austrian History Yearbook 2024, 1–16,

Moreover, Christina Lutter and ManMAX-coordinator Andreas Zajic discussed gender relations in the Emperor’s “back office” in an article published by the ORF-Science blog (in German).

In May of 2024 Andreas Zajic and Christina Lutter published the blog article "Der Kaiser war ein Erbsenzähler" on derStandard online, depicting the micromanagement of the monarch.


Planned publications include:

Christina Lutter / Christof Muigg, How to Rule an Expanding Empire? Gendered Power Politics under Maximilian I. In Julia Burkhardt / Christina Lutter (eds.), Macht(ver)Handeln. Herrschaft und Geschlecht im europäischen Mittelalter. L'Homme. Europäische Zeitschrift für feministische Geschichtswissenschaft, 36,1 (2025).