Adolphe II of Cleves (1394-1448) is a central figure in the history of the medieval Lower Rhine Region. During his reign Cleves was elevated from county to duchy, and gained its independence from the archbishop of Cologne’s overlordship. This changing status was made possible by a shrewd strategy of marriage alliances: Adolphe II married daughters of Rupert of the Palatinate and John the Fearless. The Burgundian alliance, to which his descendants also adhered, was particularly instrumental in these volatile times. Adolphe II took part in more than twenty military conflicts.
Herrschaft und Dienst’s main focus lies not on Adolphe II as an individual, but rather on the officials that manned his administration and asserted his authority in people’s daily lives. The book is based on the PhD thesis of Manuel Hagemann, defended at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität during the academic year 2014-2015. The aim of this thesis was to identify as many officials of Adolphe II as possible in order to examine both their background and relationship to their ruler. In this way the book contributes to the history of late medieval state building in the Holy Roman Empire.