„ongezwyfelt mercklicher gemeiner nutz … daruß schynbarlich erwachsen“
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The study of medieval waterways is still determined by the work of earlier traffic and constitutional historians.In this context, the ideal of a centrally organized waterways infrastructure, as it is formulated by the German Constitution, is dominant. Regarding the question of planning, organization and control of waterways, the Middle Ages are often devalued in comparison to the ancient and modern times. However, by taking the example of the medieval city of Heilbronn, it becomes clear that such ideals cloud our view of the medieval waterways. In fact, it shows that Heilbronn was fully integrated into a network of sovereign rights, which was fundamental for the planning and use of waterways. Therefore, Heilbronn together with the County Palatine of the Rhine, the Margravate of Baden and the County/Duchy of Württemberg was responsible for the Neckar River and its tributaries. Contrary to older models of explanation, here (indeed) we can find a common responsibility for transport and infrastructure, organized on a regional and local level. Despite of many conflicts, this regional organization was no less successful than the state or central form of organizing waterways. For the Middle Ages, however, it seems to be true, that Rulers from territory to territory have found a variety of solutions for problems which dealt with waterways and their infrastructure.
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