The aim of REGESTA IMPERII is to record all documented and historiographically documented activities of the Roman-German kings and emperors from the Carolingians up to Maximilian I. (approx. 751-1519) as well as of selected popes in the form of German “Regesten” (abstracts).
The starting point of the undertaking is strongly connected with the name of the Frankfurt municipal librarian Friedrich Böhmer (1795-1863), who began collecting documents from the emperors in 1829. Originally intended as a preliminary work to the “Monumenta Germaniae Historica”, the REGESTA IMPERII developed into an independent fundamental work. This is mostly due to an extended regesta concept, which included an exact reproduction of the regesta’s form and content as well as of the historiographic messages in short form, supplemented by source and research-critical data.
Today the project is supported by four institutions, in particular the Academy of Sciences Mainz and the Austrian Academy, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy and the Masaryk University of Brno. Approximately 100 printed volumes with nearly 140,000 regesta numbers have already been published. Since this enormous, publicly funded historical treasure of information is to be accessible to anyone interested, it has been retro-digitised in cooperation with the DFG and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Since 2007, the REGESTA IMPERII have been available online as an unrestricted, searchable full-text database for free research and (further) use under CC BY license with the possibility of direct user feedback.
In addition to the volumes of “Regesten”, the project also publishes the series “Research on the Imperial and Papal History of the Middle Ages” with 43 volumes to date. It is also responsible for the world's largest international interdisciplinary mediaeval literature database, the RI OPAC, which currently contains around 2.2 million entries.