Holy Roman Empire

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Not to be confused with Roman Empire or Western Roman Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_0

Holy Roman Empire_table_infobox_0

Holy Roman Empire

Sacrum Imperium Romanum  (Latin) Heiliges Römisches Reich  (German)Holy Roman Empire_header_cell_0_0_0

CapitalHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_1_0 No permanent single/fixed capital

Vienna (Aulic Council (Reichshofrat) from 1497) Regensburg (Reichstag (Imperial Diet) from 1594, perpetual from 1663) Wetzlar (Reichskammergericht from 1689) For other imperial administrative centres, see below.Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_1_1

Common languagesHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_2_0 German, Medieval Latin (administrative/liturgical/ceremonial)

VariousHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_2_1

ReligionHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_3_0 Catholicism (800–1806)

Lutheranism (1555–1806) Calvinism (Reformed) (1648–1806)

see detailsHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_3_1

GovernmentHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_4_0 Confederal elective monarchyHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_4_1
EmperorHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_5_0 Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_5_1
800–814Holy Roman Empire_header_cell_0_6_0 CharlemagneHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_6_1
962–973Holy Roman Empire_header_cell_0_7_0 Otto IHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_7_1
1792–1806Holy Roman Empire_header_cell_0_8_0 Francis IIHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_8_1
LegislatureHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_9_0 Imperial DietHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_9_1
Historical eraHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_10_0 Middle Ages

Early modern periodHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_10_1

Charlemagne is crowned Emperor of the RomansHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_11_0 25 December 800Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_11_1
Otto I is crowned Emperor of the RomansHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_12_0 2 February 962Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_12_1
Conrad II assumes crown of Burgundy (Arelat)Holy Roman Empire_header_cell_0_13_0 2 February 1033Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_13_1
Peace of AugsburgHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_14_0 25 September 1555Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_14_1
Peace of WestphaliaHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_15_0 24 October 1648Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_15_1
Battle of AusterlitzHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_16_0 2 December 1805Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_16_1
Abdication of Francis II, Holy Roman EmperorHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_17_0 6 August 1806Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_17_1
PopulationHoly Roman Empire_header_cell_0_18_0
1700Holy Roman Empire_header_cell_0_19_0 20,000,000Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_19_1
1800Holy Roman Empire_header_cell_0_20_0 29,000,000Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_20_1
Preceded by

Succeeded by




East Francia



Kingdom of Germany



Kingdom of Italy




Kingdom of Prussia



Austrian Empire



Confederation of the RhineHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_21_0

Preceded byHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_22_0 Succeeded byHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_22_1
East Francia



Kingdom of Germany



Kingdom of ItalyHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_23_0

Kingdom of Prussia



Austrian Empire



Confederation of the RhineHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_23_1

Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_24_0 East FranciaHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_24_1
Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_25_0 Kingdom of GermanyHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_25_1
Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_26_0 Kingdom of ItalyHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_26_1
Kingdom of PrussiaHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_27_0 Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_27_1
Austrian EmpireHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_28_0 Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_28_1
Confederation of the RhineHoly Roman Empire_cell_0_29_0 Holy Roman Empire_cell_0_29_1

The Holy Roman Empire (Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum; German: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_1

The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also included the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia and Kingdom of Italy, plus numerous other territories, and soon after the Kingdom of Burgundy was added. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_2

However, while by the 15th century the Empire was still in theory composed of three major blocks – Italy, Germany, and Burgundy – in practice only the Kingdom of Germany remained, with the Burgundian territories lost to France and the Italian territories, ignored in the Imperial Reform, mostly either ruled directly by the Habsburg emperors or subject to competing foreign influence. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_3

The external borders of the Empire did not change noticeably from the Peace of Westphalia – which acknowledged the exclusion of Switzerland and the Northern Netherlands, and the French protectorate over Alsace – to the dissolution of the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_4

By then, it largely contained only German-speaking territories, plus the Kingdom of Bohemia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_5

At the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, most of the Holy Roman Empire was included in the German Confederation. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_6

On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_7

The title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_8

The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I, King of Germany, was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_9

Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_10

Scholars generally concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_11

The exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, before which the empire was referred to variously as universum regnum ("the whole kingdom", as opposed to the regional kingdoms), imperium christianum ("Christian empire"), or Romanum imperium ("Roman empire"), but the Emperor's legitimacy always rested on the concept of translatio imperii, that he held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_12

The dynastic office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective through the mostly German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire; they would elect one of their peers as "King of the Romans" to be crowned emperor by the Pope, although the tradition of papal coronations was discontinued in the 16th century. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_13

The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, principalities, duchies, counties, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, and other domains. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_14

The power of the emperor was limited, and while the various princes, lords, bishops, and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they also possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_15

Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by Emperor Napoleon I the month before. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_16

Name Holy Roman Empire_section_0

Before 1157, the realm was merely referred to as the Roman Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_17

The term sacrum ("holy", in the sense of "consecrated") in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa ("Holy Empire"): the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_18

The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_19

In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (German: Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum Nationis Germanicæ), a form first used in a document in 1474. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_20

The new title was adopted partly because the Empire had lost most of its territories in Italy and Burgundy (the Kingdom of Arles) to the south and west by the late 15th century, but also to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_21

By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_22

Contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has argued in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claims of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as likely to omit the national suffix as include it. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_23

In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire." Holy Roman Empire_sentence_24

In the modern period, the Empire was often informally called the German Empire (Deutsches Reich) or Roman-German Empire (Römisch-Deutsches Reich). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_25

After its dissolution through the end of the German Empire, it was often called "the old Empire" (das alte Reich). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_26

Beginning in 1923, early-twentieth century German nationalists and Nazi propaganda would identify the Holy Roman Empire as the First Reich (Reich meaning empire), with the German Empire as the Second Reich and either a future German nationalist state or Nazi Germany as the Third Reich. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_27

History Holy Roman Empire_section_1

Early Middle Ages Holy Roman Empire_section_2

Carolingian period Holy Roman Empire_section_3

Main article: Carolingian Empire Holy Roman Empire_sentence_28

As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_29

In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_30

By the middle of the 8th century, however, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, and the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_31

In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, and later gained the sanction of the Pope. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_32

The Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_33

In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_34

He eventually incorporated the territories of present-day France, Germany, northern Italy, the Low Countries and beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_35

Although antagonism about the expense of Byzantine domination had long persisted within Italy, a political rupture was set in motion in earnest in 726 by the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo III the Isaurian, in what Pope Gregory II saw as the latest in a series of imperial heresies. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_36

In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_37

As the Latin Church, influenced by Gothic law forbidding female leadership and property ownership, only regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope Leo III sought a new candidate for the dignity, excluding consultation with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_38

Charlemagne's good service to the Church in his defense of Papal possessions against the Lombards made him the ideal candidate. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_39

On Christmas Day of 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor, restoring the title in the West for the first time in over three centuries. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_40

This can be seen as symbolic of the papacy turning away from the declining Byzantine Empire towards the new power of Carolingian Francia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_41

Charlemagne adopted the formula Renovatio imperii Romanorum ("renewal of the Roman Empire"). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_42

In 802, Irene was overthrown and exiled by Nikephoros I and henceforth there were two Roman Emperors. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_43

After Charlemagne died in 814, the imperial crown passed to his son, Louis the Pious. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_44

Upon Louis' death in 840, it passed to his son Lothair, who had been his co-ruler. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_45

By this point the territory of Charlemagne had been divided into several territories (cf. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_46

Treaty of Verdun, Treaty of Prüm, Treaty of Meerssen and Treaty of Ribemont), and over the course of the later ninth century the title of Emperor was disputed by the Carolingian rulers of Western Francia and Eastern Francia, with first the western king (Charles the Bald) and then the eastern (Charles the Fat), who briefly reunited the Empire, attaining the prize; however, after the death of Charles the Fat in 888 the Carolingian Empire broke apart, and was never restored. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_47

According to Regino of Prüm, the parts of the realm "spewed forth kinglets", and each part elected a kinglet "from its own bowels". Holy Roman Empire_sentence_48

After the death of Charles the Fat, those crowned emperor by the pope controlled only territories in Italy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_49

The last such emperor was Berengar I of Italy, who died in 924. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_50

Formation of the Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire_section_4

Around 900, autonomous stem duchies (Franconia, Bavaria, Swabia, Saxony, and Lotharingia) reemerged in East Francia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_51

After the Carolingian king Louis the Child died without issue in 911, East Francia did not turn to the Carolingian ruler of West Francia to take over the realm but instead elected one of the dukes, Conrad of Franconia, as Rex Francorum Orientalium. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_52

On his deathbed, Conrad yielded the crown to his main rival, Henry the Fowler of Saxony (r. 919–36), who was elected king at the Diet of Fritzlar in 919. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_53

Henry reached a truce with the raiding Magyars, and in 933 he won a first victory against them in the Battle of Riade. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_54

Henry died in 936, but his descendants, the Liudolfing (or Ottonian) dynasty, would continue to rule the Eastern kingdom for roughly a century. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_55

Upon Henry the Fowler's death, Otto, his son and designated successor, was elected King in Aachen in 936. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_56

He overcame a series of revolts from a younger brother and from several dukes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_57

After that, the king managed to control the appointment of dukes and often also employed bishops in administrative affairs. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_58

In 951, Otto came to the aid of Adelaide, the widowed queen of Italy, defeating her enemies, marrying her, and taking control over Italy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_59

In 955, Otto won a decisive victory over the Magyars in the Battle of Lechfeld. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_60

In 962, Otto was crowned emperor by Pope John XII, thus intertwining the affairs of the German kingdom with those of Italy and the Papacy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_61

Otto's coronation as Emperor marked the German kings as successors to the Empire of Charlemagne, which through the concept of translatio imperii, also made them consider themselves as successors to Ancient Rome. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_62

The kingdom had no permanent capital city. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_63

Kings traveled between residences (called Kaiserpfalz) to discharge affairs, though each king preferred certain places; in Otto's case, this was the city of Magdeburg. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_64

Kingship continued to be transferred by election, but Kings often ensured their own sons were elected during their lifetimes, enabling them to keep the crown for their families. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_65

This only changed after the end of the Salian dynasty in the 12th century. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_66

In 963, Otto deposed the current Pope John XII and chose Pope Leo VIII as the new pope (although John XII and Leo VIII both claimed the papacy until 964 when John XII died). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_67

This also renewed the conflict with the Eastern Emperor in Constantinople, especially after Otto's son Otto II (r. 967–83) adopted the designation imperator Romanorum. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_68

Still, Otto II formed marital ties with the east when he married the Byzantine princess Theophanu. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_69

Their son, Otto III, came to the throne only three years old, and was subjected to a power struggle and series of regencies until his age of majority in 994. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_70

Up to that time, he had remained in Germany, while a deposed duke, Crescentius II, ruled over Rome and part of Italy, ostensibly in his stead. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_71

In 996 Otto III appointed his cousin Gregory V the first German Pope. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_72

A foreign pope and foreign papal officers were seen with suspicion by Roman nobles, who were led by Crescentius II to revolt. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_73

Otto III's former mentor Antipope John XVI briefly held Rome, until the Holy Roman Emperor seized the city. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_74

Otto died young in 1002, and was succeeded by his cousin Henry II, who focused on Germany. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_75

Henry II died in 1024 and Conrad II, first of the Salian Dynasty, was elected king only after some debate among dukes and nobles. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_76

This group eventually developed into the college of Electors. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_77

The Holy Roman Empire became eventually composed of four kingdoms. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_78

The kingdoms were: Holy Roman Empire_sentence_79

Holy Roman Empire_unordered_list_0

High Middle Ages Holy Roman Empire_section_5

Investiture controversy Holy Roman Empire_section_6

Kings often employed bishops in administrative affairs and often determined who would be appointed to ecclesiastical offices. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_80

In the wake of the Cluniac Reforms, this involvement was increasingly seen as inappropriate by the Papacy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_81

The reform-minded Pope Gregory VII was determined to oppose such practices, which led to the Investiture Controversy with Henry IV (r. 1056–1106), the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_82

Henry IV repudiated the Pope's interference and persuaded his bishops to excommunicate the Pope, whom he famously addressed by his born name "Hildebrand", rather than his regnal name "Pope Gregory VII". Holy Roman Empire_sentence_83

The Pope, in turn, excommunicated the king, declared him deposed, and dissolved the oaths of loyalty made to Henry. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_84

The king found himself with almost no political support and was forced to make the famous Walk to Canossa in 1077, by which he achieved a lifting of the excommunication at the price of humiliation. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_85

Meanwhile, the German princes had elected another king, Rudolf of Swabia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_86

Henry managed to defeat him but was subsequently confronted with more uprisings, renewed excommunication, and even the rebellion of his sons. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_87

After his death, his second son, Henry V, reached an agreement with the Pope and the bishops in the 1122 Concordat of Worms. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_88

The political power of the Empire was maintained, but the conflict had demonstrated the limits of the ruler's power, especially in regard to the Church, and it robbed the king of the sacral status he had previously enjoyed. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_89

The Pope and the German princes had surfaced as major players in the political system of the empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_90

Ostsiedlung Holy Roman Empire_section_7

As the result of Ostsiedlung, less-populated regions of Central Europe (i.e. the territory of today's Poland and Czech Republic) became German-speaking. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_91

Silesia became part of the Holy Roman Empire as the result of the local Piast dukes' push for autonomy from the Polish Crown. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_92

From the late 12th century, the Griffin Duchy of Pomerania was under the suzerainty of the Holy Roman Empire and the conquests of the Teutonic Order made the Baltic region German-speaking. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_93

Hohenstaufen dynasty Holy Roman Empire_section_8

When the Salian dynasty ended with Henry V's death in 1125, the princes chose not to elect the next of kin, but rather Lothair, the moderately powerful but already old Duke of Saxony. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_94

When he died in 1137, the princes again aimed to check royal power; accordingly they did not elect Lothair's favoured heir, his son-in-law Henry the Proud of the Welf family, but Conrad III of the Hohenstaufen family, the grandson of Emperor Henry IV and thus a nephew of Emperor Henry V. This led to over a century of strife between the two houses. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_95

Conrad ousted the Welfs from their possessions, but after his death in 1152, his nephew Frederick I "Barbarossa" succeeded him and made peace with the Welfs, restoring his cousin Henry the Lion to his – albeit diminished – possessions. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_96

The Hohenstaufen rulers increasingly lent land to ministerialia, formerly non-free servicemen, who Frederick hoped would be more reliable than dukes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_97

Initially used mainly for war services, this new class of people would form the basis for the later knights, another basis of imperial power. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_98

A further important constitutional move at Roncaglia was the establishment of a new peace mechanism for the entire empire, the Landfrieden, with the first imperial one being issued in 1103 under Henry IV at Mainz. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_99

This was an attempt to abolish private feuds, between the many dukes and other people, and to tie the Emperor's subordinates to a legal system of jurisdiction and public prosecution of criminal acts – a predecessor of the modern concept of "rule of law". Holy Roman Empire_sentence_100

Another new concept of the time was the systematic foundation of new cities by the Emperor and by the local dukes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_101

These were partly caused by the explosion in population, and they also concentrated economic power at strategic locations. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_102

Before this, cities had only existed in the form of old Roman foundations or older bishoprics. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_103

Cities that were founded in the 12th century include Freiburg, possibly the economic model for many later cities, and Munich. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_104

Frederick I, also called Frederick Barbarossa, was crowned Emperor in 1155. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_105

He emphasized the "Romanness" of the empire, partly in an attempt to justify the power of the Emperor independent of the (now strengthened) Pope. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_106

An imperial assembly at the fields of Roncaglia in 1158 reclaimed imperial rights in reference to Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_107

Imperial rights had been referred to as regalia since the Investiture Controversy but were enumerated for the first time at Roncaglia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_108

This comprehensive list included public roads, tariffs, coining, collecting punitive fees, and the investiture or seating and unseating of office holders. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_109

These rights were now explicitly rooted in Roman Law, a far-reaching constitutional act. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_110

Frederick's policies were primarily directed at Italy, where he clashed with the increasingly wealthy and free-minded cities of the north, especially Milan. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_111

He also embroiled himself in another conflict with the Papacy by supporting a candidate elected by a minority against Pope Alexander III (1159–81). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_112

Frederick supported a succession of antipopes before finally making peace with Alexander in 1177. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_113

In Germany, the Emperor had repeatedly protected Henry the Lion against complaints by rival princes or cities (especially in the cases of Munich and Lübeck). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_114

Henry gave only lackluster support to Frederick's policies, and in a critical situation during the Italian wars, Henry refused the Emperor's plea for military support. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_115

After returning to Germany, an embittered Frederick opened proceedings against the Duke, resulting in a public ban and the confiscation of all his territories. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_116

In 1190, Frederick participated in the Third Crusade and died in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_117

During the Hohenstaufen period, German princes facilitated a successful, peaceful eastward settlement of lands that were uninhabited or inhabited sparsely by West Slavs. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_118

German-speaking farmers, traders, and craftsmen from the western part of the Empire, both Christians and Jews, moved into these areas. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_119

The gradual Germanization of these lands was a complex phenomenon that should not be interpreted in the biased terms of 19th-century nationalism. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_120

The eastward settlement expanded the influence of the empire to include Pomerania and Silesia, as did the intermarriage of the local, still mostly Slavic, rulers with German spouses. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_121

The Teutonic Knights were invited to Prussia by Duke Konrad of Masovia to Christianize the Prussians in 1226. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_122

The monastic state of the Teutonic Order (German: Deutschordensstaat) and its later German successor state of Prussia were never part of the Holy Roman Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_123

Under the son and successor of Frederick Barbarossa, Henry VI, the Hohenstaufen dynasty reached its apex. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_124

Henry added the Norman kingdom of Sicily to his domains, held English king Richard the Lionheart captive, and aimed to establish a hereditary monarchy when he died in 1197. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_125

As his son, Frederick II, though already elected king, was still a small child and living in Sicily, German princes chose to elect an adult king, resulting in the dual election of Frederick Barbarossa's youngest son Philip of Swabia and Henry the Lion's son Otto of Brunswick, who competed for the crown. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_126

Otto prevailed for a while after Philip was murdered in a private squabble in 1208 until he began to also claim Sicily. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_127

Pope Innocent III, who feared the threat posed by a union of the empire and Sicily, was now supported by Frederick II, who marched to Germany and defeated Otto. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_128

After his victory, Frederick did not act upon his promise to keep the two realms separate. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_129

Though he had made his son Henry king of Sicily before marching on Germany, he still reserved real political power for himself. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_130

This continued after Frederick was crowned Emperor in 1220. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_131

Fearing Frederick's concentration of power, the Pope finally excommunicated the Emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_132

Another point of contention was the crusade, which Frederick had promised but repeatedly postponed. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_133

Now, although excommunicated, Frederick led the Sixth Crusade in 1228, which ended in negotiations and a temporary restoration of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_134

Despite his imperial claims, Frederick's rule was a major turning point towards the disintegration of central rule in the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_135

While concentrated on establishing a modern, centralized state in Sicily, he was mostly absent from Germany and issued far-reaching privileges to Germany's secular and ecclesiastical princes: in the 1220 Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis, Frederick gave up a number of regalia in favour of the bishops, among them tariffs, coining, and fortification. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_136

The 1232 Statutum in favorem principum mostly extended these privileges to secular territories. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_137

Although many of these privileges had existed earlier, they were now granted globally, and once and for all, to allow the German princes to maintain order north of the Alps while Frederick concentrated on Italy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_138

The 1232 document marked the first time that the German dukes were called domini terræ, owners of their lands, a remarkable change in terminology as well. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_139

Kingdom of Bohemia Holy Roman Empire_section_9

The Kingdom of Bohemia was a significant regional power during the Middle Ages. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_140

In 1212, King Ottokar I (bearing the title "king" since 1198) extracted a Golden Bull of Sicily (a formal edict) from the emperor Frederick II, confirming the royal title for Ottokar and his descendants and the Duchy of Bohemia was raised to a kingdom. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_141

Bohemian kings would be exempt from all future obligations to the Holy Roman Empire except for participation in the imperial councils. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_142

Charles IV set Prague to be the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_143

Interregnum Holy Roman Empire_section_10

Main article: Interregnum (Holy Roman Empire) Holy Roman Empire_sentence_144

After the death of Frederick II in 1250, the German kingdom was divided between his son Conrad IV (died 1254) and the anti-king, William of Holland (died 1256). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_145

Conrad's death was followed by the Interregnum, during which no king could achieve universal recognition, allowing the princes to consolidate their holdings and become even more independent rulers. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_146

After 1257, the crown was contested between Richard of Cornwall, who was supported by the Guelph party, and Alfonso X of Castile, who was recognized by the Hohenstaufen party but never set foot on German soil. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_147

After Richard's death in 1273, Rudolf I of Germany, a minor pro-Staufen count, was elected. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_148

He was the first of the Habsburgs to hold a royal title, but he was never crowned emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_149

After Rudolf's death in 1291, Adolf and Albert were two further weak kings who were never crowned emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_150

Albert was assassinated in 1308. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_151

Almost immediately, King Philip IV of France began aggressively seeking support for his brother, Charles of Valois, to be elected the next King of the Romans. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_152

Philip thought he had the backing of the French Pope Clement V (established at Avignon in 1309), and that his prospects of bringing the empire into the orbit of the French royal house were good. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_153

He lavishly spread French money in the hope of bribing the German electors. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_154

Although Charles of Valois had the backing of Henry, Archbishop of Cologne, a French supporter, many were not keen to see an expansion of French power, least of all Clement V. The principal rival to Charles appeared to be Rudolf, the Count Palatine. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_155

Instead, Henry VII, of the House of Luxembourg, was elected with six votes at Frankfurt on 27 November 1308. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_156

Given his background, although he was a vassal of king Philip, Henry was bound by few national ties, an aspect of his suitability as a compromise candidate among the electors, the great territorial magnates who had lived without a crowned emperor for decades, and who were unhappy with both Charles and Rudolf. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_157

Henry of Cologne's brother, Baldwin, Archbishop of Trier, won over a number of the electors, including Henry, in exchange for some substantial concessions. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_158

Henry VII was crowned king at Aachen on 6 January 1309, and emperor by Pope Clement V on 29 June 1312 in Rome, ending the interregnum. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_159

Changes in political structure Holy Roman Empire_section_11

Further information: Medieval commune, Städtebund, Hanseatic League, Imperial immediacy, and Feudalism in the Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire_sentence_160

During the 13th century, a general structural change in how land was administered prepared the shift of political power towards the rising bourgeoisie at the expense of the aristocratic feudalism that would characterize the Late Middle Ages. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_161

The rise of the cities and the emergence of the new burgher class eroded the societal, legal and economic order of feudalism. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_162

Instead of personal duties, money increasingly became the common means to represent economic value in agriculture. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_163

Peasants were increasingly required to pay tribute to their lands. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_164

The concept of "property" began to replace more ancient forms of jurisdiction, although they were still very much tied together. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_165

In the territories (not at the level of the Empire), power became increasingly bundled: whoever owned the land had jurisdiction, from which other powers derived. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_166

However, that jurisdiction at the time did not include legislation, which was virtually non-existent until well into the 15th century. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_167

Court practice heavily relied on traditional customs or rules described as customary. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_168

During this time territories began to transform into the predecessors of modern states. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_169

The process varied greatly among the various lands and was most advanced in those territories that were almost identical to the lands of the old Germanic tribes, e.g., Bavaria. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_170

It was slower in those scattered territories that were founded through imperial privileges. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_171

In the 12th century the Hanseatic League established itself as a commercial and defensive alliance of the merchant guilds of towns and cities in the empire and all over northern and central Europe. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_172

It dominated marine trade in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and along the connected navigable rivers. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_173

Each of the affiliated cities retained the legal system of its sovereign and, with the exception of the Free imperial cities, had only a limited degree of political autonomy. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_174

By the late 14th century the powerful league enforced its interests with military means, if necessary. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_175

This culminated in a war with the sovereign Kingdom of Denmark from 1361 to 1370. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_176

The league declined after 1450. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_177

Late Middle Ages Holy Roman Empire_section_12

Further information: Late Middle Ages and Pomerania during the Late Middle Ages Holy Roman Empire_sentence_178

Rise of the territories after the Hohenstaufens Holy Roman Empire_section_13

The difficulties in electing the king eventually led to the emergence of a fixed college of prince-electors (Kurfürsten), whose composition and procedures were set forth in the Golden Bull of 1356, which remained valid until 1806. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_179

This development probably best symbolizes the emerging duality between emperor and realm (Kaiser und Reich), which were no longer considered identical. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_180

The Golden Bull also set forth the system for election of the Holy Roman Emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_181

The emperor now was to be elected by a majority rather than by consent of all seven electors. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_182

For electors the title became hereditary, and they were given the right to mint coins and to exercise jurisdiction. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_183

Also it was recommended that their sons learn the imperial languages – German, Latin, Italian, and Czech. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_184

The shift in power away from the emperor is also revealed in the way the post-Hohenstaufen kings attempted to sustain their power. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_185

Earlier, the Empire's strength (and finances) greatly relied on the Empire's own lands, the so-called Reichsgut, which always belonged to the king of the day and included many Imperial Cities. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_186

After the 13th century, the relevance of the Reichsgut faded, even though some parts of it did remain until the Empire's end in 1806. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_187

Instead, the Reichsgut was increasingly pawned to local dukes, sometimes to raise money for the Empire, but more frequently to reward faithful duty or as an attempt to establish control over the dukes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_188

The direct governance of the Reichsgut no longer matched the needs of either the king or the dukes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_189

The kings beginning with Rudolf I of Germany increasingly relied on the lands of their respective dynasties to support their power. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_190

In contrast with the Reichsgut, which was mostly scattered and difficult to administer, these territories were relatively compact and thus easier to control. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_191

In 1282, Rudolf I thus lent Austria and Styria to his own sons. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_192

In 1312, Henry VII of the House of Luxembourg was crowned as the first Holy Roman Emperor since Frederick II. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_193

After him all kings and emperors relied on the lands of their own family (Hausmacht): Louis IV of Wittelsbach (king 1314, emperor 1328–47) relied on his lands in Bavaria; Charles IV of Luxembourg, the grandson of Henry VII, drew strength from his own lands in Bohemia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_194

It was thus increasingly in the king's own interest to strengthen the power of the territories, since the king profited from such a benefit in his own lands as well. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_195

Imperial reform Holy Roman Empire_section_14

Further information: Vehmic court Holy Roman Empire_sentence_196

The "constitution" of the Empire still remained largely unsettled at the beginning of the 15th century. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_197

Although some procedures and institutions had been fixed, for example by the Golden Bull of 1356, the rules of how the king, the electors, and the other dukes should cooperate in the Empire much depended on the personality of the respective king. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_198

It therefore proved somewhat damaging that Sigismund of Luxemburg (king 1410, emperor 1433–1437) and Frederick III of Habsburg (king 1440, emperor 1452–1493) neglected the old core lands of the empire and mostly resided in their own lands. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_199

Without the presence of the king, the old institution of the Hoftag, the assembly of the realm's leading men, deteriorated. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_200

The Imperial Diet as a legislative organ of the Empire did not exist at that time. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_201

The dukes often conducted feuds against each other – feuds that, more often than not, escalated into local wars. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_202

Simultaneously, the Catholic Church experienced crises of its own, with wide-reaching effects in the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_203

The conflict between several papal claimants (two anti-popes and the "legitimate" Pope) ended only with the Council of Constance (1414–1418); after 1419 the Papacy directed much of its energy to suppressing the Hussites. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_204

The medieval idea of unifying all Christendom into a single political entity, with the Church and the Empire as its leading institutions, began to decline. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_205

With these drastic changes, much discussion emerged in the 15th century about the Empire itself. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_206

Rules from the past no longer adequately described the structure of the time, and a reinforcement of earlier Landfrieden was urgently needed. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_207

While older scholarship presented this period as a time of total disorder and near-anarchy, new research has reassessed the German lands in the 15th century in a more positive light. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_208

Landfrieden was not only a matter imposed by kings (which might disappear in their absence), but was also upheld by regional leagues and alliances (also called "associations"). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_209

Princes, nobles and/or cities collaborated to keep the peace by adhering to collective treaties which stipulated methods for resolving disputes (ad hoc courts and arbitration) and joint military measures to defeat outlaws and declarers of feuds. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_210

Nevertheless, some members of the imperial estates (notably Berthold von Henneberg, archbishop of Mainz) sought a more centralized and institutionalized approach to regulating peace and justice, as (supposedly) had existed in earlier centuries of the Empire's history. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_211

During this time, the concept of "reform" emerged, in the original sense of the Latin verb re-formare – to regain an earlier shape that had been lost. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_212

When Frederick III needed the dukes to finance a war against Hungary in 1486, and at the same time had his son (later Maximilian I) elected king, he faced a demand from the united dukes for their participation in an Imperial Court. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_213

For the first time, the assembly of the electors and other dukes was now called the Imperial Diet (German Reichstag) (to be joined by the Imperial Free Cities later). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_214

While Frederick refused, his more conciliatory son finally convened the Diet at Worms in 1495, after his father's death in 1493. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_215

Here, the king and the dukes agreed on four bills, commonly referred to as the Reichsreform (Imperial Reform): a set of legal acts to give the disintegrating Empire some structure. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_216

For example, this act produced the Imperial Circle Estates and the Reichskammergericht (Imperial Chamber Court), institutions that would – to a degree – persist until the end of the Empire in 1806. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_217

It took a few more decades for the new regulation to gain universal acceptance and for the new court to begin functioning effectively; the Imperial Circles were finalized in 1512. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_218

The King also made sure that his own court, the Reichshofrat, continued to operate in parallel to the Reichskammergericht. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_219

Also in 1512, the Empire received its new title, the Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation ("Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation"). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_220

Reformation and Renaissance Holy Roman Empire_section_15

Further information: German Reformation and German Renaissance Holy Roman Empire_sentence_221

See also: Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Empire_sentence_222

In 1516, Ferdinand II of Aragon, grandfather of the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, died. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_223

Due to a combination of (1) the traditions of dynastic succession in Aragon, which permitted maternal inheritance with no precedence for female rule; (2) the insanity of Charles's mother, Joanna of Castile; and (3) the insistence by his remaining grandfather, Maximilian I, that he take up his royal titles, Charles initiated his reign in Castile and Aragon, a union which evolved into Spain, in conjunction with his mother. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_224

This ensured for the first time that all the realms of what is now Spain would be united by one monarch under one nascent Spanish crown. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_225

The founding territories retained their separate governance codes and laws. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_226

In 1519, already reigning as Carlos I in Spain, Charles took up the imperial title as Karl V. The balance (and imbalance) between these separate inheritances would be defining elements of his reign and would ensure that personal union between the Spanish and German crowns would be short-lived. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_227

The latter would end up going to a more junior branch of the Habsburgs in the person of Charles's brother Ferdinand, while the senior branch continued to rule in Spain and in the Burgundian inheritance in the person of Charles's son, Philip II of Spain. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_228

In addition to conflicts between his Spanish and German inheritances, conflicts of religion would be another source of tension during the reign of Charles V. Before Charles's reign in the Holy Roman Empire began, in 1517, Martin Luther launched what would later be known as the Reformation. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_229

At this time, many local dukes saw it as a chance to oppose the hegemony of Emperor Charles V. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_230

The empire then became fatally divided along religious lines, with the north, the east, and many of the major cities – Strasbourg, Frankfurt, and Nuremberg – becoming Protestant while the southern and western regions largely remained Catholic. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_231

Baroque period Holy Roman Empire_section_16

Main articles: Germany in the early modern period and Pomerania during the Early Modern Age Holy Roman Empire_sentence_232

Further information: Baroque, Protestant Union, Catholic League (German), and Thirty Years' War Holy Roman Empire_sentence_233

Charles V continued to battle the French and the Protestant princes in Germany for much of his reign. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_234

After his son Philip married Queen Mary of England, it appeared that France would be completely surrounded by Habsburg domains, but this hope proved unfounded when the marriage produced no children. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_235

In 1555, Paul IV was elected pope and took the side of France, whereupon an exhausted Charles finally gave up his hopes of a world Christian empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_236

He abdicated and divided his territories between Philip and Ferdinand of Austria. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_237

The Peace of Augsburg ended the war in Germany and accepted the existence of Protestantism in the form of Lutheranism, while Calvinism was still not recognized. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_238

Anabaptist, Arminian and other minor Protestant communities were also forbidden. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_239

Germany would enjoy relative peace for the next six decades. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_240

On the eastern front, the Turks continued to loom large as a threat, although war would mean further compromises with the Protestant princes, and so the Emperor sought to avoid it. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_241

In the west, the Rhineland increasingly fell under French influence. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_242

After the Dutch revolt against Spain erupted, the Empire remained neutral, de facto allowing the Netherlands to depart the empire in 1581, a secession acknowledged in 1648. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_243

A side effect was the Cologne War, which ravaged much of the upper Rhine. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_244

After Ferdinand died in 1564, his son Maximilian II became Emperor, and like his father accepted the existence of Protestantism and the need for occasional compromise with it. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_245

Maximilian was succeeded in 1576 by Rudolf II, a strange man who preferred classical Greek philosophy to Christianity and lived an isolated existence in Bohemia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_246

He became afraid to act when the Catholic Church was forcibly reasserting control in Austria and Hungary, and the Protestant princes became upset over this. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_247

Imperial power sharply deteriorated by the time of Rudolf's death in 1612. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_248

When Bohemians rebelled against the Emperor, the immediate result was the series of conflicts known as the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), which devastated the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_249

Foreign powers, including France and Sweden, intervened in the conflict and strengthened those fighting Imperial power, but also seized considerable territory for themselves. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_250

The long conflict so bled the Empire that it never recovered its strength. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_251

The actual end of the empire came in several steps. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_252

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years' War, gave the territories almost complete independence. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_253

Calvinism was now allowed, but Anabaptists, Arminians and other Protestant communities would still lack any support and continue to be persecuted well until the end of the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_254

The Swiss Confederation, which had already established quasi-independence in 1499, as well as the Northern Netherlands, left the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_255

The Habsburg Emperors focused on consolidating their own estates in Austria and elsewhere. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_256

At the Battle of Vienna (1683), the Army of the Holy Roman Empire, led by the Polish King John III Sobieski, decisively defeated a large Turkish army, stopping the western Ottoman advance and leading to the eventual dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire in Europe. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_257

The army was half forces of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, mostly cavalry, and half forces of the Holy Roman Empire, mostly infantry. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_258

Modern period Holy Roman Empire_section_17

Main article: 18th-century history of Germany Holy Roman Empire_sentence_259

Prussia and Austria Holy Roman Empire_section_18

Further information: Austria–Prussia rivalry, Kingdom of Prussia, and Habsburg Monarchy Holy Roman Empire_sentence_260

By the rise of Louis XIV, the Habsburgs were chiefly dependent on their hereditary lands to counter the rise of Prussia, which possessed territories inside the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_261

Throughout the 18th century, the Habsburgs were embroiled in various European conflicts, such as the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1735), and the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_262

The German dualism between Austria and Prussia dominated the empire's history after 1740. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_263

French Revolutionary Wars and final dissolution Holy Roman Empire_section_19

Main article: Dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire_sentence_264

From 1792 onwards, revolutionary France was at war with various parts of the Empire intermittently. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_265

The German mediatization was the series of mediatizations and secularizations that occurred between 1795 and 1814, during the latter part of the era of the French Revolution and then the Napoleonic Era. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_266

"Mediatization" was the process of annexing the lands of one imperial estate to another, often leaving the annexed some rights. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_267

For example, the estates of the Imperial Knights were formally mediatized in 1806, having de facto been seized by the great territorial states in 1803 in the so-called Rittersturm. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_268

"Secularization" was the abolition of the temporal power of an ecclesiastical ruler such as a bishop or an abbot and the annexation of the secularized territory to a secular territory. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_269

The empire was dissolved on 6 August 1806, when the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (from 1804, Emperor Francis I of Austria) abdicated, following a military defeat by the French under Napoleon at Austerlitz (see Treaty of Pressburg). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_270

Napoleon reorganized much of the Empire into the Confederation of the Rhine, a French satellite. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_271

Francis' House of Habsburg-Lorraine survived the demise of the empire, continuing to reign as Emperors of Austria and Kings of Hungary until the Habsburg empire's final dissolution in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_272

The Napoleonic Confederation of the Rhine was replaced by a new union, the German Confederation in 1815, following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_273

It lasted until 1866 when Prussia founded the North German Confederation, a forerunner of the German Empire which united the German-speaking territories outside of Austria and Switzerland under Prussian leadership in 1871. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_274

This state developed into modern Germany. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_275

The only princely member states of the Holy Roman Empire that have preserved their status as monarchies until today are the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_276

The only Free Imperial Cities still existing as states within Germany are Hamburg and Bremen. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_277

All other historic member states of the Holy Roman Empire were either dissolved or have adopted republican systems of government. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_278

Institutions Holy Roman Empire_section_20

The Holy Roman Empire was neither a centralized state nor a nation-state. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_279

Instead, it was divided into dozens – eventually hundreds – of individual entities governed by kings, dukes, counts, bishops, abbots, and other rulers, collectively known as princes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_280

There were also some areas ruled directly by the Emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_281

At no time could the Emperor simply issue decrees and govern autonomously over the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_282

His power was severely restricted by the various local leaders. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_283

From the High Middle Ages onwards, the Holy Roman Empire was marked by an uneasy coexistence with the princes of the local territories who were struggling to take power away from it. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_284

To a greater extent than in other medieval kingdoms such as France and England, the emperors were unable to gain much control over the lands that they formally owned. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_285

Instead, to secure their own position from the threat of being deposed, emperors were forced to grant more and more autonomy to local rulers, both nobles and bishops. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_286

This process began in the 11th century with the Investiture Controversy and was more or less concluded with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_287

Several Emperors attempted to reverse this steady dilution of their authority but were thwarted both by the papacy and by the princes of the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_288

Imperial estates Holy Roman Empire_section_21

Main article: Imperial Estate Holy Roman Empire_sentence_289

The number of territories represented in the Imperial Diet was considerable, numbering about 300 at the time of the Peace of Westphalia. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_290

Many of these Kleinstaaten ("little states") covered no more than a few square miles, and/or included several non-contiguous pieces, so the Empire was often called a Flickenteppich ("patchwork carpet"). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_291

An entity was considered a Reichsstand (imperial estate) if, according to feudal law, it had no authority above it except the Holy Roman Emperor himself. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_292

The imperial estates comprised: Holy Roman Empire_sentence_293

Holy Roman Empire_unordered_list_1

  • Territories ruled by a hereditary nobleman, such as a prince, archduke, duke, or count.Holy Roman Empire_item_1_4
  • Territories in which secular authority was held by an ecclesiastical dignitary, such as an archbishop, bishop, or abbot. Such an ecclesiastic or Churchman was a prince of the Church. In the common case of a prince-bishop, this temporal territory (called a prince-bishopric) frequently overlapped with his often larger ecclesiastical diocese, giving the bishop both civil and ecclesiastical powers. Examples are the prince-archbishoprics of Cologne, Trier, and Mainz.Holy Roman Empire_item_1_5
  • Free imperial cities and Imperial villages, which were subject only to the jurisdiction of the emperor.Holy Roman Empire_item_1_6
  • The scattered estates of the free Imperial Knights and Imperial Counts, immediate subject to the Emperor but unrepresented in the Imperial Diet.Holy Roman Empire_item_1_7

A sum total of 1,500 Imperial estates has been reckoned. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_294

For a list of Reichsstände in 1792, see List of Imperial Diet participants (1792). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_295

King of the Romans Holy Roman Empire_section_22

Main article: King of the Romans Holy Roman Empire_sentence_296

A prospective Emperor had first to be elected King of the Romans (Latin: Rex Romanorum; German: römischer König). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_297

German kings had been elected since the 9th century; at that point they were chosen by the leaders of the five most important tribes (the Salian Franks of Lorraine, Ripuarian Franks of Franconia, Saxons, Bavarians, and Swabians). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_298

In the Holy Roman Empire, the main dukes and bishops of the kingdom elected the King of the Romans. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_299

In 1356, Emperor Charles IV issued the Golden Bull, which limited the electors to seven: the King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the Duke of Saxony, the Margrave of Brandenburg, and the archbishops of Cologne, Mainz, and Trier. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_300

During the Thirty Years' War, the Duke of Bavaria was given the right to vote as the eighth elector, and the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (colloquially, Hanover) was granted a ninth electorate; additionally, the Napoleonic Wars resulted in several electorates being reallocated, but these new electors never voted before the Empire's dissolution. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_301

A candidate for election would be expected to offer concessions of land or money to the electors in order to secure their vote. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_302

After being elected, the King of the Romans could theoretically claim the title of "Emperor" only after being crowned by the Pope. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_303

In many cases, this took several years while the King was held up by other tasks: frequently he first had to resolve conflicts in rebellious northern Italy or was quarreling with the Pope himself. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_304

Later Emperors dispensed with the papal coronation altogether, being content with the styling Emperor-Elect: the last Emperor to be crowned by the Pope was Charles V in 1530. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_305

The Emperor had to be male and of noble blood. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_306

No law required him to be a Catholic, but as the majority of the Electors adhered to this faith, no Protestant was ever elected. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_307

Whether and to what degree he had to be German was disputed among the Electors, contemporary experts in constitutional law, and the public. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_308

During the Middle Ages, some Kings and Emperors were not of German origin, but since the Renaissance, German heritage was regarded as vital for a candidate in order to be eligible for imperial office. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_309

Imperial Diet (Reichstag) Holy Roman Empire_section_23

Main article: Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire) Holy Roman Empire_sentence_310

The Imperial Diet (Reichstag, or Reichsversammlung) was not a legislative body as we understand it today, as its members envisioned it more like a central forum where it was more important to negotiate than to decide. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_311

The Diet was theoretically superior to the emperor himself. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_312

It was divided into three classes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_313

The first class, the Council of Electors, consisted of the electors, or the princes who could vote for King of the Romans. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_314

The second class, the Council of Princes, consisted of the other princes. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_315

The Council of Princes was divided into two "benches", one for secular rulers and one for ecclesiastical ones. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_316

Higher-ranking princes had individual votes, while lower-ranking princes were grouped into "colleges" by geography. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_317

Each college had one vote. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_318

The third class was the Council of Imperial Cities, which was divided into two colleges: Swabia and the Rhine. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_319

The Council of Imperial Cities was not fully equal with the others; it could not vote on several matters such as the admission of new territories. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_320

The representation of the Free Cities at the Diet had become common since the late Middle Ages. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_321

Nevertheless, their participation was formally acknowledged only as late as 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years' War. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_322

Imperial courts Holy Roman Empire_section_24

The Empire also had two courts: the Reichshofrat (also known in English as the Aulic Council) at the court of the King/Emperor, and the Reichskammergericht (Imperial Chamber Court), established with the Imperial Reform of 1495 by Maximillian I. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_323

The Reichskammergericht and the Auclic Council were the two highest judicial instances in the Old Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_324

The Imperial Chamber court's composition was determined by both the Holy Roman Emperor and the subject states of the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_325

Within this court, the Emperor appointed the chief justice, always a highborn aristocrat, several divisional chief judges, and some of the other puisne judges. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_326

The Aulic Council held standing over many judicial disputes of state, both in concurrence with the Imperial Chamber court and exclusively on their own. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_327

The provinces Imperial Chamber Court extended to breaches of the public peace, cases of arbitrary distraint or imprisonment, pleas which concerned the treasury, violations of the Emperor's decrees or the laws passed by the Imperial Diet, disputes about property between immediate tenants of the Empire or the subjects of different rulers, and finally suits against immediate tenants of the Empire, with the exception of criminal charges and matters relating to imperial fiefs, which went to the Aulic Council. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_328

Imperial circles Holy Roman Empire_section_25

As part of the Imperial Reform, six Imperial Circles were established in 1500; four more were established in 1512. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_329

These were regional groupings of most (though not all) of the various states of the Empire for the purposes of defense, imperial taxation, supervision of coining, peace-keeping functions, and public security. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_330

Each circle had its own parliament, known as a Kreistag ("Circle Diet"), and one or more directors, who coordinated the affairs of the circle. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_331

Not all imperial territories were included within the imperial circles, even after 1512; the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were excluded, as were Switzerland, the imperial fiefs in northern Italy, the lands of the Imperial Knights, and certain other small territories like the Lordship of Jever. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_332

Army Holy Roman Empire_section_26

Main article: Army of the Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire_sentence_333

The Army of the Holy Roman Empire (German Reichsarmee, Reichsheer or Reichsarmatur; Latin exercitus imperii) was created in 1422 and came to an end even before the Empire as the result of the Napoleonic Wars. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_334

It must not be confused with the Imperial Army (Kaiserliche Armee) of the Emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_335

Despite appearances to the contrary, the Army of the Empire did not constitute a permanent standing army that was always at the ready to fight for the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_336

When there was danger, an Army of the Empire was mustered from among the elements constituting it, in order to conduct an imperial military campaign or Reichsheerfahrt. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_337

In practice, the imperial troops often had local allegiances stronger than their loyalty to the Emperor. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_338

Administrative centres Holy Roman Empire_section_27

Throughout the first half of its history the Holy Roman Empire was reigned by a travelling court. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_339

Kings and emperors toured between the numerous Kaiserpfalzes (Imperial palaces), usually resided for several weeks or months and furnished local legal matters, law and administration. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_340

Most rulers maintained one or a number of favourites Imperial palace sites, where they would advance development and spent most of their time: Charlemagne (Aachen from 794), Frederick II (Palermo 1220–1254), Wittelsbacher (Munich 1328–1347 and 1744–1745), Habsburger (Prague 1355–1437 and 1576–1611) and (Vienna 1438–1576, 1611–1740 and 1745–1806). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_341

This practice eventually ended during the 14th century, as the emperors of the Habsburg dynasty chose Vienna and Prague and the Wittelsbach rulers chose Munich as their permanent residences. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_342

These sites served however only as the individual residence for a particular sovereign. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_343

A number of cities held official status, where the Imperial Estates would summon at Imperial Diets, the deliberative assembly of the empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_344

The Imperial Diet (Reichstag) resided variously in Paderborn, Bad Lippspringe, Ingelheim am Rhein, Diedenhofen (now Thionville), Aachen, Worms, Forchheim, Trebur, Fritzlar, Ravenna, Quedlinburg, Dortmund, Verona, Minden, Mainz, Frankfurt am Main, Merseburg, Goslar, Würzburg, Bamberg, Schwäbisch Hall, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Quierzy-sur-Oise, Speyer, Gelnhausen, Erfurt, Eger (now Cheb), Esslingen, Lindau, Freiburg, Cologne, Konstanz and Trier before it was moved permanently to Regensburg. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_345

Until the 15th century the elected emperor was crowned and anointed by the Pope in Rome, among some exceptions in Ravenna, Bologna and Reims. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_346

Since 1508 (emperor Maximilian I) Imperial elections took place in Frankfurt am Main, Augsburg, Rhens, Cologne or Regensburg. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_347

In December 1497 the Aulic Council (Reichshofrat) was established in Vienna. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_348

In 1495 the Reichskammergericht was established, which variously resided in Worms, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Speyer and Esslingen before it was moved permanently to Wetzlar. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_349

Foreign relations Holy Roman Empire_section_28

The Habsburg royal family had its own diplomats to represent its interests. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_350

The larger principalities in the HRE, beginning around 1648, also did the same. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_351

The HRE did not have its own dedicated ministry of foreign affairs and therefore the Imperial Diet had no control over these diplomats; occasionally the Diet criticised them. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_352

When Regensburg served as the site of the Diet, France and, in the late 1700s, Russia, had diplomatic representatives there. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_353

Denmark, Great Britain, and Sweden had land holdings in Germany and so had representation in the Diet itself. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_354

The Netherlands also had envoys in Regensburg. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_355

Regensburg was the place where envoys met as it was where representatives of the Diet could be reached. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_356

Demographics Holy Roman Empire_section_29

Population Holy Roman Empire_section_30

Overall population figures for the Holy Roman Empire are extremely vague and vary widely. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_357

Given the political fragmentation of the Empire, there were no central agencies that could compile such figures. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_358

According to an overgenerous contemporary estimate of the Austrian War Archives for the first decade of the 18th century, the Empire, including Bohemia and the Spanish Netherlands, had a population of close to 28 million with a breakdown as follows: Holy Roman Empire_sentence_359

Holy Roman Empire_unordered_list_2

  • 65 ecclesiastical states with 14 percent of the total land area and 12 percent of the population;Holy Roman Empire_item_2_8
  • 45 dynastic principalities with 80 percent of the land and 80 percent of the population;Holy Roman Empire_item_2_9
  • 60 dynastic counties and lordships with 3 percent of the land and 3.5 percent of the population;Holy Roman Empire_item_2_10
  • 60 imperial towns with 1 percent of the land and 3.5 percent of the population;Holy Roman Empire_item_2_11
  • Imperial knights' territories, numbering into the several hundreds, with 2 percent of the land and 1 percent of the population.Holy Roman Empire_item_2_12

German demographic historians have traditionally worked on estimates of the population of the Holy Roman Empire based on assumed population within the frontiers of Germany in 1871 or 1914. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_360

More recent estimates use less outdated criteria, but they remain guesswork. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_361

One estimate based on the frontiers of Germany in 1870 gives a population of some 15–17 million around 1600, declined to 10–13 million around 1650 (following the Thirty Years' War). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_362

Other historians who work on estimates of the population of the early modern Empire suggest the population declined from 20 million to some 16–17 million by 1650. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_363

A credible estimate for 1800 gives 27 million inhabitants for the Empire, with an overall breakdown as follows: Holy Roman Empire_sentence_364

Holy Roman Empire_unordered_list_3

  • 9 million Austrian subjects (including Silesia, Bohemia and Moravia);Holy Roman Empire_item_3_13
  • 4 million Prussian subjects;Holy Roman Empire_item_3_14
  • 14–15 million inhabitants for the rest of the Empire.Holy Roman Empire_item_3_15

Largest cities Holy Roman Empire_section_31

Largest cities or towns of the Empire by year: Holy Roman Empire_sentence_365

Holy Roman Empire_unordered_list_4

Religion Holy Roman Empire_section_32

Roman Catholicism constituted the single official religion of the Empire until 1555. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_366

The Holy Roman Emperor was always a Roman Catholic. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_367

Lutheranism was officially recognized in the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, and Calvinism in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_368

Those two constituted the only officially recognized Protestant denominations, while various other Protestant confessions such as Anabaptism, Arminianism, etc. coexisted illegally within the Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_369

Anabaptism came in a variety of denominations, including Mennonites, Schwarzenau Brethren, Hutterites, the Amish, and multiple other groups. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_370

Following the Peace of Augsburg, the official religion of a territory was determined by the principle cuius regio, eius religio according to which a ruler's religion determined that of his subjects. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_371

The Peace of Westphalia abrogated that principle by stipulating that the official religion of a territory was to be what it had been on 1 January 1624, considered to have been a "normal year". Holy Roman Empire_sentence_372

Henceforth, the conversion of a ruler to another faith did not entail the conversion of his subjects. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_373

In addition, all Protestant subjects of a Catholic ruler and vice versa were guaranteed the rights that they had enjoyed on that date. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_374

While the adherents of a territory's official religion enjoyed the right of public worship, the others were allowed the right of private worship (in chapels without either spires or bells). Holy Roman Empire_sentence_375

In theory, no one was to be discriminated against or excluded from commerce, trade, craft or public burial on grounds of religion. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_376

For the first time, the permanent nature of the division between the Christian Churches of the empire was more or less assumed. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_377

In addition, a Jewish minority existed in the Holy Roman Empire. Holy Roman Empire_sentence_378

See also Holy Roman Empire_section_33

Holy Roman Empire_unordered_list_5


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy Roman Empire.