Geert H. Janssen

Le reti di patronage di Guglielmo Federico di Nassau-Dietz (1613-1664)

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In the past decades much research has been carried out into forms and functions of political brokerage in early modern Europe. Remarkably, however, similar networks of patronage have hardly been identified in the contexts of politically decentralised and multi-confessional European societies. Using the example of "Stadholder" William Frederick of Nassau (1613-1664), this article investigates what systems of patronage in the republican and religiously diverse United Provinces looked liked, how the nature of these networks slowly changed in the course of the seventeenth century, and what functions brokers or agents played within this process. It appears that because of atypical political and confessional structures, a plurality of forms of patronage and brokerage could emerge in the society of the Dutch Republic. Thus, the case of William Frederick shows that patronage should not be regarded as a static or unequivocal phenomenon but as a social relationship which could develop differently at different social levels. In this article we have identified distinctive forms of patronage and brokerage, which could be connected to distinct social spheres.

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