Lecture explores ancient empire’s reputation

first_imgProfessor emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley, and Notre Dame class of ’59 alumnus Thomas Brady said in a lecture Friday that the Holy Roman Empire – which at its height stretched from eastern France to the Baltic lands — has until recently been misconstrued and misrepresented by academics and non-academics alike.Specifically discussing the period between 1450 and 1650, which scholars often term the long 16th century, Brady said the Empire’s loosely defined borders and obscure political construction both contribute to the “traditional Western European image of German backwardness versus progressive Franco-British civilization.”“This view of German culture was famously enshrined in a very pretentious comment by the French philosopher François Arouet, known as Voltaire,” he said. “He sneered at what he called ‘this agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire [and which] was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.’”However, Brady said the traditionally negative portrayal of the Holy Roman Empire is unfair and inaccurate, and that historians over the last 40 years have increasingly viewed the Empire in a more positive light.He said his own interest in the Holy Roman Empire arose during his undergraduate years at Notre Dame, where he experienced an intense “pedagogical pressure in favor of Europeanism.”In this environment where European studies figured prominently, Brady said he began to struggle with the issue of understanding the complex political dynamics of the Holy Roman Empire.Unfortunately, he said, relatively few American scholars at that time displayed interest in the topic owing to the Empire’s intricacy and its clear contrast to the countries of France, England and Spain.“The greatest difference between these lands, and the more consolidated kingdoms of France, England and Spain, was that the Empire so long preserved its configuration into many relatively small, secular polities ruled by princely dynasties, bishop and archbishops, abbots and abbesses, free knights and self-governing peasant communities,” Brady said.Having spent a major portion of his academic career attempting to understand the Holy Roman Empire, Brady said the focus of his research has concerned the Empire’s communal institutions, as opposed to the legacy of its unstable member states.He said he believes the comparative resilience of the Empire’s communal institutions depended on several distinct characteristics.First, he said, spanning from the 13th to 18th centuries, the Empire’s imperial high courts and regional parliaments helped to some degree to unite its disparate principalities. Furthermore, he said state-building took place in a regional rather than national setting, which allowed Central European principalities to retain “far more control — local control — of their institutions and [bear] far less crushing burdens of taxation for military and imperial purposes.”Finally, he said the Church operated as a stabilizing force in the cultural and political life of the Empire, and that there was a “remarkable interpenetration of secular and ecclesiastical institutions of authority.”However, he said because different Church dioceses preserved different languages and dialects, the Empire as a whole was unable to maintain linguistic — and therefore political — unity. The result, he said, was that the Holy Roman Empire could never fully imitate the consolidation and cohesiveness of other Western European states.Brady’s lecture introduced librarian Julie Tanaka’s new exhibit of texts from the Holy Roman Empire, which is currently on display in the Rare Books and Special Collections room of the Hesburgh Library.  After Brady concluded his speech, Tanaka offered some remarks concerning the inspiration behind her three-year-long project collecting manuscripts and images from the long 16th century.“Behind this exhibit is my own fascination with this period that claims to be a century … and my fascination with an entity which is this German thing — Germany — almost having somewhat of an identity crisis,” she said. “Was it an empire? Was it a kingdom? Maybe it was just a loose grouping of lands.”Tags: History Lecture, Holy Roman Empire, Rare Book Room Exhibit, Thomas Bradylast_img read more

HHS makes $551,000 in stimulus funds to support Vermont hospitals

first_imgThe activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit www.hhs.gov/recovery(link is external).  To track all federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit www.recovery.gov(link is external). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will notify states about the availability of the increased portion of allotments for hospitals.  Not all states spend their full DSH allotments; so, before this new funding can be accessed, states must demonstrate they have used all of their existing fiscal year 2009 DSH allotments.  States must request the additional funds from CMS as part of their quarterly Medicaid budget request and the funds will be distributed as separate Recovery Act DSH grants. To see a complete list of the revised DSH allotments that include additional funding provided through the Recovery Act, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/cms/dshstates.html(link is external). Eligible hospitals are those that serve a disproportionate share of low-income or uninsured individuals and are known as Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH).  States receive an annual allotment to make payments to DSH hospitals to account for higher costs associated with treating uninsured and low-income patients.  This annual allotment is calculated by law and includes requirements to ensure that the DSH payments to hospitals are not higher than the actual costs incurred by the hospital to provide the uncompensated care.  The Recovery Act increases the amount of allotments available to states nationwide from approximately $11.06 billion to $11.33 billion for 2009. Building on President Barack Obama s efforts to ensure access to health care for millions of uninsured Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced that Vermont can access an additional $551,000 authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help pay hospitals to treat their most vulnerable patients. Millions of people rely on the care provided by their community hospitals, said Acting HHS Secretary Charles Johnson.  Through the help provided by the Recovery Act, we can make sure they continue to get the care they need in those hospitals. ### Thousands of hospitals around the country are the first place many families take their sick children for care or the only place where some of the more than 45 million uninsured Americans can receive some form of health care, said Acting HHS Secretary Johnson.  The funding from the Recovery Act will help ensure hospitals can keep their doors open to the people who need care most.last_img read more

NDE Offshore to Inspect German Offshore HVDC Platforms

first_imgSiemens has awarded offshore services provider NDE Offshore AB with a contract to carry out structural and subsea inspections on four HVDC platforms in the German North Sea.The contract covers visual inspections and multibeam surveys on BorWin II, HelWin I, HelWin II and SylWin I.NDE Offshore will use the vessel Edda Fonn for the project.The inspections will be performed using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).The grid connections are owned by German-Dutch transmission grid operator TenneT.last_img