The Research Project's History

Charlemagne between Gelasius I and Gregory I. From the sacramentary of Charles the Bald (ca. 870) (Wikimedia Commons)

The REGESTA IMPERII (RI) chronologically record all activities evidenced by charters and other sources of the Roman-German kings and emperors from the Carolingians up to Maximilian I (ca. 751-1519) as well as of the popes of the early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages in the form of German “Regesten” (abstracts).

The starting point of the undertaking is strongly connected with the name of the Frankfurt municipal librarian Johann Friedrich Böhmer (1795-1863), who began the collecting and publishing the deeds of the German Kings and Emperors in 1829. Originally intended to function as a preliminary work of the “Monumenta Germaniae Historica”, the REGESTA IMPERII developed into an independent basic work after Böhmer, which has long proven to be indispensable in the field of medieval studies. 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.

In 1906 the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna took over patronage over the project and in 1939 the "Deutschen Kommission für die Bearbeitung der Regesta Imperii e. V." was founded there, which in turn initiated the foundation of the "Deutschen Kommission für die Bearbeitung der Regesta Imperii e. V." in 1967. Initially financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG), this registered association with recognized benefit to the public has been in charge of the fundamental work since 1980 as a long-term project of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. In 2014 the investors granted the extension of the project until 2033. Nowadays the 14 subprojects are operated by seven workplaces in Germany. The commission works closely with their partner institutions the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy and the "Regesta Imperii Wien" as part of the “Institut für Mittelalterforschung” (institute for medieval studies) at the Austrian Academy, as well as numerous other cooperation partners.

In the meantime the RI’s overall inventory has increased to more than 100 volumes in print with approximately 145.000 regesta numbers. With the introduction of RI Online in 2001 this this immense historical treasure of information is available online as an unrestricted, searchable and continuously updated full text database for research free of charge.

Our annual report (2022)