GOLDEN BULL (Lat. India anrea, Ger. golden bulk), was so called from the gold case in which the seal attached to it was inclosed. The imperial edict known in German history under this title, was issued by the emperor Charles IV., mainly for the purpose of settling the law of imperial elections. tip to this time much uncertainty had pre vailed as to the rights of the electoral body, claims having frequently been made by several members of the lay electoral families, and divisions having repeatedly arisen from this uncertainty; the effect of such divisions being to throw the decision for the most part into the hands of the pope. In order to obviate these inconveniences, the golden bull defines that one member only of each electoral house shall have a vote—viz., the representative of that house in right of primogeniture, and in ease of his being a minor, the eldest of his nneles paternal. On t'he great question as to the dependence of the imperial office on the pope, and as to the right of the popo to examine and approve the hnperill election, the goldenbull is silent; although it declares the emperor compe tent to exercise jurisdiction in Germany from the moment of election. It invests the vicariate together with the government of the empire during the interregnum, in the elector Palatine, and the elector of Saxony; but it is remarkable that this only applies to Germany. On the vicariate of Italy, which was claimed by the popes, nothing is
said. The golden bull also contains some provisions restraining the so-called faust•ceht (literally, "list-law"), or right of private redress. It was solemnly enacted in two suc cessive diets at Nuremberg and Metz, in the year 1356, and original copies of it were furnished to each of the electors, and to the city of Frankfort. The electoral constitu tion, as settled by this bull, was maintained almost unaltered till the extinction of the empir4.
In Hungarian history there is a constitutional edict called by the same name. It was issued by Andrew II. in the early part of the 13th century. Without entering into details, it will be enough to say that the golden bull of Andrew H. changed the govern• menu of Hungary from an absolutism to an aristocratic monarchy, and that it contained till recent times the charter of the liberties of Hungary, or perhaps of .the privileges of the noble class. See Schmidt's Geschichte der Deutschen, iii. 638.