The dynastic court in an age of change : Frederick II seen from the perspective of Habsburg and Bourbon court life
What can a comparative analysis of the courts in Vienna and Versailles tell us about the Hohenzollern court? I answer this question by tracing changes in court numbers and expenditure, connections between household staffs and government institutions, and finally the pattern of court routines and ceremonies. The Hohenzollern court was a special case, but did not differ as fundamentally from other European courts as an earlier generation of scholars had assumed. The contrast needs to be reduced from two sides, by looking at practices instead of reputations. Court life was never an uninterrupted extravaganza: budget cuts and phases of penury recurred. Also the court calendar everywhere knew stretches of reduced ceremonial activity, alternating with incidental highpoints. Even Frederick II 's personal attitude, distancing himself from court and bureaucracy, had independent counterparts as well as imitators elsewhere.