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

Henry II

Artist's impression of the coronation ceremony of Henry II

Henry II or Saint Henry, was King of East Francia from 1002 (Regnum Teutonicorum) and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 1014 to 1024. As the son of the Bavarian duke, Henry II ("Henry the Wrangler"), and his wife, Gisela, he was the great grandson of Henry I and was thus descended from the Bavarian collateral line of the Ottonians. After he was crowned King of East Francia on 9 July 1002, Pope Benedict VIII crowned him Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on 14 February 1014. Henry II was the last of the Ottonian emperors. Pope Eugene III canonised him in 1146.

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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

East Francia 843.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. Its size gradually diminished over time, particularly from 1648 onward, and by the time of its dissolution, it largely contained only German-speaking territories (although Switzerland and East Prussia were not included), plus the Kingdom of Bohemia which was bordered by the German lands on three sides.

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. 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 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, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although frequently controlled by dynasties. The mostly German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire, usually elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", and he would later be crowned emperor by the Pope; 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.

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