Central eastern european absolutism part ii
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Central & Eastern European Absolutism- Part II. Austria Prussia Russia. Austria. THIRTY YEARS’ WAR Lost ability to compete with Western Europe Instead aimed internally and at Bohemia and Hungary. Austria. Versus Ottomans Ottoman private property Sultan system of rule

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Central & Eastern European Absolutism- Part II

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Central & Eastern European Absolutism- Part II

  • Austria

  • Prussia

  • Russia



    • Lost ability to compete with Western Europe

    • Instead aimed internally and at Bohemia and Hungary


  • Versus Ottomans

    • Ottoman private property

      • Sultan

      • system of rule

      • No Suleiman (see pic)

      • Bureaucracy???

        • Christian slaves

        • Not smart ones became Janissaries

    • Thrived on Christian tribute

      • Religiously tolerant

      • Often kinder rulers than Christian emperors

    • Butted heads with Habsburgs (and Russians)

The Golden Age of the Ottomans

“Golden Horn”

The Ottoman Capital -- Constantinople

The Fall of Constantinople: 1453

Europeans vs. Turks

The End of the Byzantine Empire

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia - interior

Illuminated Qur’an Page


Battle of Lepanto (1571)


  • Versus Bohemia

    • Bohemia fell during Thirty Years’ War

      • Protestant nobility crushed and replaced

  • Versus Hungary

    • Conquered by Habsburgs but never fully pacified

    • Surviving nobility were highly influenced by Protestantism

    • Revolt against Habsburgs under Prince Rakoczy  failed but gained significant independence

    • Helped in revolts by Ottomans

  • Charles VI and the Pragmatic Sanction

Charles VI (r. 1711-1740)


  • Blown apart by Thirty Years War… must face East

  • Geographical limitations

    • ‘sandbox of Europe’

    • No natural physical barriers

  • Military is used to build the state

  • Junkers

    • Landowning Prussian nobility

    • Given status as head of military and complete domination of their serfs in exchange for loss of real political power

Prussia & the Austrian Empire: 1721-72


  • Great Elector

    • Why called this?

    • His goal- to weaken the local estates (regional parliaments) and build absolutism

    • War during his reign (against Sweden and Poland and in response to raids by the Tartars) allowed Great Elector to subjugate the Prussian Estates

      • The nobles were forced to choose security over independence

    • Bureaucracy and standing army basically the same thing

      • For example, soldier’s collected taxes


  • The Soldiers’ King

    • Solidified absolutism

    • Military nut

      • Lived a rigidly militaristic life

    • Built incredible army…

      • Tall soldiers

      • Prussia- 12th largest population, but 4th largest army

    • Exemplified hard work and living simply

    • Sparta of the North

    • Never ‘spent’ his soldiers

Frederick William I

King Frederick I of Prussia (r.1701-1713)

The Soldier’s King


  • European or not?

    • Yes – Geography, ethnicity, and desire

    • But…

      • Mongol Invasion

        • Mongol Legacy on the Tsars

          • Absoluter and terribler power (similar to Ottoman)

          • Missed the Renaissance - remain medieval/feudal

        • Rise of Muscovite Russians

          • Best suck-ups to Mongolians

  • Ivans kicked out the Khans

  • Newly independent Russians saw themselves as the ‘Third Rome’

    • Fall of Byzantine Empire (Constantinople) to Ottomans

    • Religion – Eastern Orthodox

    • Caesar- tsar

Population Center

The Mongols Invade Russia

Early Russia

Early Byzantine Influences:Orthodox Christianity

Early Byzantine Influences:Orthodox Christianity

Ivan the Great (r. 1462-1505)

Ivan III Tearing the Great Khan’s Letter Requesting More Tribute in 1480.


  • Taming of the Boyars by the Ivans

    • Khan-like

      • Tsar had enormous land-holdings

    • Service nobility

      • Got land, had to serve in army  relatively weak

    • Ivan the Terrible

      • Used ‘secret police’ to crush peasants further

      • Nobles, in turn, ruthlessly oppressed their own peasants

      • Even merchants were bound to their cities

    • Cossacks

      • Repeated uprisings

    • Tsars almost literally owned everything in Russia

  • Romanov line

    • Because of peasant revolts, the Romanovs restored some rights to nobles, to unify with them against the peasants

Russian Boyars


  • Peter the Great

    • Militaristic

    • Great Northern War

    • Promotion by ability

    • Complete domination of the nobility

    • Desire for a warm water port

      • fight with Ottomans- Black Sea

      • Fight with Swedes- Baltic

      • This is a recurring theme for Russia

    • Westernization, but mainly for military gain

      • Grand Tour

      • Europeans brought in to train Russians

      • Beard Law

Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725)

Russia & Sweden After the Great Northern War

Mimicry of French Absolutism

  • Royal Cities

    • St. Petersburg

      • Window to the West

      • Built from scratch at great cost to nobility and peasants… evidence of absolutism

      • Evidence of military victories

    • Broad straight avenues radiating out from the center

  • Palaces Like Versailles

Schönbrunn Palace


Schönbrunn Palace


  • 1600 – 1750.

  • From a Portuguese word “barocca”, meaning “a pearl of irregular shape.”

  • Implies strangeness, irregularity, and extravagance.

  • The more dramatic, the better!


  • Emotional

  • Appeals to the commoner

  • Grew out of the Catholic Reformation

  • Used by Absolutists

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Cityby Gialorenzo Bernini

Church of Santiago de Compostella, Spain

Church of Veltenberg Altar, Germany

“The Assumption of the Virgin Mary”Egid Quirim Asam, 1692-1750

Altar of Mercy, Germany, 1764

“David and Goliath” by Caravaggio

“St. Bonaventure on His Deathbed”Francisco de Zurbarán, 1629

“Battle of the Amazons”Peter Paul Reubens

Baroque Furniture

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