The task of the project is to publish the “Monumenta Germaniae Historica - Constitutiones et acta publica imperatorum et regem. Dokumente zur Geschichte des deutschen Reiches und seiner Verfassung.” As the German subtitle shows, the aim of the research work is an extensive source work on the constitution of the medieval Roman-German Empire, a politically highly complex structure that extended far beyond the borders of present-day Germany and was a bridge between Western and Eastern Europe.
When Constitutiones began to be collected and published in the 19th century, they served to legitimize the monarchic nation-state; constitutional structures could be explained and justified in historical recourse. Today, looking at history and with it at the sources from which it draws, one sees that it has changed in the process of European integration. With the draft “Europe” and the idea of a European identity determination, which is constitutive for him, consideration of transnational structures will inevitably be given greater weight in the future. And with the revaluation of political relations, weightings shift in the consideration of historical documents.
Since the Middle Ages knew neither written constitutions nor a legislative activity in the present sense, the project publishes besides the few constitutional documents and imperial laws such documents in which the imperial constitution and its development were reflected. The work is to be done for the second part of the reign of Emperor Ludwig of Bavaria from 1331 to 1347 and Emperor Charles IV from 1357 to 1378, which is not yet recorded in the Constitutiones.
In 2001, the first supply of electronically published documents from Berlin and Brandenburg was published. Further supplies are planned, which will accumulate in the course of time up to the total volume of the Constitutions of Charles IV, but will also appear later in book form. With the completion of the planned 7 volumes, the series “Constitutiones” will be completed and this more than 100 years old edition project of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica will be completed.