|Holy Roman Empire
Sacrum Romanum Imperium
|Government Type||Theocratic elective monarchy|
|Head of State||Emperor|
|Leader||Otto I (first
Francis II (last)
|Executive Branch||Office of the Emperor|
|Legislative Branch||Imperial Diet|
|Military Branch||Holy Roman Army|
|Capital||no official capital|
|Practiced Religions||Roman Catholicism
Not to be confused with Roman Empire.
The Holy Roman Empire (Latin: Sacrum Romanum Imperium, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it included the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.
On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe after more than three centuries. The title continued in the Carolingian family until 888, 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, in 924. The title was revived 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 precise term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii[e] was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor, the notion that he held supreme power inherited from the emperors of Rome. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although frequently controlled by dynasties. The 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 formed in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units, principalities, duchies, counties, Free Imperial Cities, and other domains. The power of the emperor was limited, and while the various princes, lords, and kings of the empire were vassals and subjects who owed the emperor their allegiance, they also possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto sovereignty within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806, after its defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz.
Imperial Banner Quaternion Eagle
Anthem (None official)
"Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" (Imperial anthem, 1797)
"God Save Emperor Francis"
Menu 0:00 The Holy Roman Empire around 1600, superimposed over current state borders
Capital No official capital[a] Languages Various[b] Religion Roman Catholicism[c] Protestantism[d] Government Elective monarchy Emperor
- 962–973 Otto I (first) - 1792–1806 Francis II (last)
Legislature Imperial Diet Historical era Middle Ages Early modern period
- Otto I is crowned Emperor of the Romans 2 February 962 - Conrad II assumes crown of Burgundy 2 February 1033 - Peace of Augsburg 25 September 1555 - Peace of Westphalia 24 October 1648 - Battle of Austerlitz 2 December 1805 - Francis II abdicated 6 August 1806
- 1200 est. 5,000,000 - 1500 est. 16,000,000 - 1618 est. 21,000,000 - 1648 est. 16,000,000 - 1786 est. 26,265,000
Preceded by Succeeded by
Middle Francia East Francia
Confederation of the Rhine Austrian Empire Old Swiss Confederacy Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Saxony Duchy of Holstein Duchy of Oldenburg Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg Principality of Reuss-Greiz Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Swedish Pomerania Electorate of Hesse Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda Principality of Waldeck Duchy of Saxe-Weimar
Today part of
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