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.

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Empress Matilda

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Empress Matilda (1102 – 1167) was the claimant to the English throne during the Anarchy. The daughter of Henry I of England, she moved to Germany as a child and married the future Holy Roman Emperor, Henry V. She travelled to Italy in 1116, was controversially crowned in St. Peter's Basilica, and acted as the imperial regent in Italy. Matilda and Henry had no children, and when he died in 1125, the crown was claimed by Lothair II.

Meanwhile, Matilda's younger brother, William Adelin, died in 1120, leaving England facing a succession crisis. On Henry V's death, Matilda was recalled to Normandy by her father, who arranged for her to marry Geoffrey of Anjou to form an alliance to protect his southern borders. Henry I had no further children and nominated Matilda as his heir, but this was unpopular in the Anglo-Norman court. Henry died in 1135 but Matilda and Geoffrey were opposed by the Norman barons and unable to pursue their claims. The throne was taken by Stephen of Blois.

In 1139, Matilda crossed to England to seize the kingdom, supported by Robert of Gloucester and her uncle, King David of Scotland, while Geoffrey conquered Normandy. Matilda's forces captured Stephen in 1141, but her attempt to be crowned at Westminster collapsed in the face of bitter opposition from the London crowds. As a result, Matilda was never formally declared Queen of England, but was instead titled Lady of the English. Robert was captured in 1141, and Matilda agreed to exchange him for Stephen. Matilda was trapped in Oxford Castle that winter, and had to escape at night to avoid capture. The war degenerated into a stalemate.

Matilda returned to Normandy in 1148, leaving her eldest son to continue; he eventually succeeded as Henry II in 1154. She settled near Rouen and concerned herself with the administration of Normandy. She worked extensively with the Church, founding Cistercian monasteries, and was known for her piety. She was buried at Bec Abbey in 1167.

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Important noble families
AgilolfingsAhalolfingsAndechsAribonidsArnulfingAscaniaBabenbergBalduinBillungBurchardingCaroligiansConradinesDiepolding-RapotonesEkkehardinsEmichonesEppensteinsEtichonidsEzzonidsGriffinsHabsburgHohenstaufenHohenzollernLudovingiansLuitpoldingsLuxembourgMatfriedsMeinhardinerNassauNortheimObodritesOttonians 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 Succession 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
The Holy Roman Empire (Latin: Sacrum Romanum Imperium; German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, pronounced [ˌhaɪ̯lɪɡəs ˌʁøːmɪʃəs ˈʁaɪ̯ç] (listen)) was a political entity in Western, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

From the accession of Otto I in 962 until the twelfth century, the Empire was the most powerful monarchy in Europe. Andrew Holt characterizes it as "perhaps the most powerful European state of the Middle Age". The functioning of government depended on the harmonic cooperation (dubbed consensual rulership or konsensualer Herrschaft by Schneidmüller) but this harmony was disturbed during the Salian period. The empire reached the apex of territorial expansion and power under the Hohenstaufen in the mid-thirteenth century, but overextending led to partial collapse.

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 amongst other 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 by Pope John XII, 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. Henry the Fowler, the founder of the medieval German state (ruled 919 – 936), has sometimes been considered the founder of the Empire as well. The modern view favours Otto as the true founder. Scholars generally concur 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 Emperor's legitimacy always rested on the concept of translatio imperii, that he held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome. The imperial office was traditionally elective through the mostly German prince-electors.

During the final phase of the reign of Emperor Frederick III (ruled 1452–1493), Imperial Reform began. The reform would largely be materialized during Maximilian I's rule (from 1486 as King of the Romans, from 1493 as sole ruler, and from 1508 as Holy Roman Emperor, until his death in 1519). The Empire transformed into the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. It was during this time that the Empire gained most of its institutions that endured until its final demise in the nineteenth century. Thomas Brady Jr. opines that the Imperial Reform was successful, although perhaps at the expense of the reform of the Church, partly because Maximilian was not really serious about the religious matter.

According to Brady Jr., the Empire, after the Imperial Reform, was a political body of remarkable longevity and stability, and "resembled in some respects the monarchical polities of Europe's western tier, and in others the loosely integrated, elective polities of East Central Europe." The new corporate German Nation, instead of simply obeying the emperor, negotiated with him. On 6 August 1806, Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by French 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 Melanchthon John Calvin

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