Portal:Holy Roman Empire

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History of the Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Empire portal gives an overview of events from about 900 to 1806, that affected the territories of the Empire and its leading aristocratic families.

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The purpose of the Holy Roman Empire portal is to make it easy for readers to find and explore articles about the Holy Roman Empire and its aristocratic families, as well as enabling editors to come together to work to enhance the subject and its themes. New editors are warmly welcome and invited to participate in adding new articles and improving existing ones – the first steps are very easy.

Article of the month


Article of the month

Imperial Reform

Emperor Maximillian I

The Imperial Reform was an attempt, repeated in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, to adapt the structure and the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire to the requirements of the early German nation, and to give it a unified government, both under princely and imperial leadership.

Unlike the kings of France or England, the Roman-German emperors since the High Middle Ages had not succeeded in consolidating the most important rights of state sovereignty in their hands. On the contrary, over the course of time the right of taxation, the jurisdiction of the Empire, the right to mint coinage, the right to build fortifications, and many other regalia passed down to the imperial princes and the free imperial cities. The gradual formation of the early German state was thus not taking place at imperial level, but at the level of the territorial princes.More...


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Important noble families
AgilolfingsAhalolfingsAndechsAribonidsArnulfingAscaniaBabenbergBalduinBillungBurchardingCaroligiansConradinesDiepolding-RapotonesEkkehardinsEmichonesEppensteinsEtichonidsEzzonidsGriffinsHabsburgHohenstaufenHohenzollernLudovingiansLuitpoldingsLuxembourgMatfriedsMeinhardinerNassauNortheimObodritesOttoniansGood article PlantagenetPopponidsPremyslidReginarSaliansSieghardingiansSpanheimSupplinburgUdalrichingsUnruochingsWelfsWigericsWittelsbachWettinWilhelminersWürttembergZähringen

Important imperial treaties, edicts and legal sources
Peace of AugsburgConfoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticisConstitutio Criminalis CarolinaCuius regio, eius religioGolden Bull of 1356Ems PunctationEwiger LandfriedePeace of ConstanceTreaty of LunévilleTreaty of VeniceYoungest RecessGerman mediatization (Reichsdeputationshauptschluss) • Ottonian-Salian Imperial Church SystemPeace of PassauSachsenspiegelSchwabenspiegelStatutum in favorem principumTreaty of Bonn (921) • Peace of WestphaliaEdict of WormsConcordat of Worms

Conflicts and key events
Anti-kingsAugsburg InterimBattle of the Three EmperorsWar of the Austrian SuccessionFeatured article War of the Bavarian SuccessionWalk to CanossaCrusadesInvestiture ControversyBattle of LechfeldBattle of LegnanoWar of the Palatine SuccessionDefenestrations of PragueReformationSchmalkaldic LeagueSchmalkaldic WarSeven Years' WarThirty Years' WarWestern Schism

Terminology
Imperial Army (Reichsarmee) • Free imperial city (Freie Reichsstadt) • HasenratPerpetual Diet of Regensburg (Immerwährender Reichstag) • InterregnumCoronationRecess (Reichsabschied) • Imperial ban (Reichsacht) • FlagsReichsdeputationReichsexekutionReichsexekutionsordnungReichsfürstenratImperial Italy (Reichsitalien) • Imperial Regalia (Reichskleinodien) • Imperial Register (Reichsmatrikel) • Imperial Prelate (Reichsprälat) • Imperial Reform (Reichsreform) • Imperial Government (Reichsregiment) • Imperial Knighthood (Reichsritterschaft) • ReichsstädtekollegiumReichssturmfahneReservatrechteRömermonatQuaternionenadlerWahlkapitulation

Organisation of the Empire

Structures

Institutions of the Empire

Holy Roman Empire

Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806).svg

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. 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. However, while by the end of 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, although formally part of the Empire, were splintered into numerous de facto independent territorial entities. 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. By then, it largely contained only German-speaking territories, plus the Kingdom of Bohemia, the southern Netherlands and lands of Carniola. At the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, most of the Holy Roman Empire was included in the German Confederation.

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. In theory and diplomacy, the Emperors were considered primus inter pares, regarded as first among equals among other Roman Catholic monarchs across Europe. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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.

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. 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. 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. (Full article...)

History of the Holy Roman Empire

Extent of the Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Empire (Latin Sacrum Romanum Imperium) was the official name for the sovereign territory of the Roman-German Emperor from the Middle Ages to the year 1806. The name of the Empire is derived from the claim of its medieval rulers that it continued the tradition of the Ancient Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire is the forerunner of the modern nation-states of Germany and Austria. To distinguish it from the German Empire founded in 1871 it is also referred to by modern historians as the “Old Empire” (German: Altes Reich) more...

Well known people of the Holy Roman Empire

Emperors and kings
Otto IOtto IIOtto IIIHenry IIConrad IIHenry IIIHenry IVHenry VConrad IIIFrederick IHenry VIPhilip of SwabiaOtto IVFrederick IIHenry VIILouis IVCharles IVFrederick IIICharles VFerdinand IFerdinand IIJoseph ICharles VIIFrancis II

Important church leaders
Leo IIIGregory VIIUrban IIInnocent IIIAlexander IIILeo XJan HusMartin LutherPhilip MelanchthonFeatured article John Calvin

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