Holy Roman Empire: Information

Coin Types
Holy Roman Empire (800 - 1806)

The Holy Roman Empire (Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum) 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 also came to include 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, more than three centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. 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, 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, the notion that he held supreme power inherited from the 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 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, 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, after the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by Napoleon.

Holy Roman Empire: List of Rulers.
Reign / RuleFromToCoins Issued
Emperor Charlemagne, King of the Franks 25 December 800 28 January 814
Emperor Louis the Pious, King of the Franks 11 September 813 20 June 840
Emperor Lothair I, King of Francia 817 29 September 855
Emperor Louis II, King of Italy 844 12 August 875
Emperor Charles II the Bald, King of the Franks 29 December 875 6 October 877
Emperor Charles III the Fat, King of the Franks 12 February 881 13 January 888
Emperor Arnulf, Duke of Carinthia (disputed) 22 February 896 8 December 899
Emperor Otto I, King of Germany 2 February 962 7 May 973
Heinrich VII. (Emperor Henry VII), Count of Luxembourg 29 June 1312 24 August 1313
Karl IV. (Emperor Charles IV), King of Bohemia 11 July 1346 29 November 1378
Friedrich III. (Emperor Frederick III), Archduke of Lower Austria as Frederick V 19 March 1452 19 August 1493
Emperor Maximilian I, Archduke of Austria 19 August 1493 12 January 1519
Karl V. (Emperor Charles V), King of Spain as Carlos I 28 June 1519 27 August 1556
Emperor Ferdinand I, Archduke of Austria 24 February 1558 25 July 1564
Emperor Maximilian II, Archduke of Lower and Upper Austria 25 July 1564 12 October 1576
Emperor Rudolf II, Archduke of Lower and Upper Austria as Rudolf V 12 October 1576 20 January 1612
Emperor Matthias, Archduke of Austria 13 June 1612 20 March 1619
Emperor Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria as Ferdinand III 28 August 1619 15 February 1637
Emperor Ferdinand III, Archduke of Austria as Ferdinand IV 18 November 1637 2 April 1657
Emperor Leopold I, Archduke of Austria as Leopold VI 18 July 1658 5 May 1705
Emperor Joseph I, King of Germany 5 May 1705 17 April 1711
Karl VI. (Emperor Charles VI), Archduke of Austria as Charles III 12 October 1711 20 October 1740
Karl VII. (Emperor Charles VII), Prince-elector of Bavaria 24 January 1742 20 January 1745
Franz I. Stephan (Emperor Francis I), Archduke of Austria 13 September 1745 18 August 1765
Emperor Joseph II, Archduke of Austria 18 August 1765 20 February 1790
Emperor Leopold II, Archduke of Austria as Leopold VII 30 September 1790 1 March 1792
Franz II. (Emperor Francis II), Emperor of Austria as Francis I 5 July 1792 6 August 1806
Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Holy Roman Empire: Details
Official NameHoly Roman Empire
Original NameSacrum Imperium Romanum
FlagFlag of Holy Roman Empire
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