Holy Roman Emperor

The Holy Roman Emperor (also "German-Roman Emperor",[1] German: Römisch-deutscher Kaiser "Roman-German emperor"; historically Imperator Romanorum, "Emperor of the Romans") was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire (considered by itself to be the successor of the Roman Empire) during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany (rex teutonicorum) throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.[2]

From an autocracy in Carolingian times (AD 800–924) the title by the 13th century evolved into an elected monarchy chosen by the prince-electors. Various royal houses of Europe, at different times, became de-facto hereditary holders of the title, notably the Ottonians (962–1024) and the Salians (1027–1125). Following the late medieval crisis of government, the Habsburgs kept possession of the title without interruption from 1440–1740. The final emperors were from the House of Lorraine (Habsburg-Lorraine), from 1765–1806. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved after the defeat at Austerlitz by emperor Francis II, who continued to rule as Austrian emperor.

The Holy Roman Emperor was widely perceived to rule by divine right, though he often contradicted or rivaled the Pope, most notably during the Investiture controversy. In theory, the Holy Roman Emperor was primus inter pares (first among equals) among other Catholic monarchs. In practice, a Holy Roman Emperor was only as strong as his army and alliances, including marriage alliances, made him. There was never a Holy Roman Empress regnant, though women such as Theophanu and Maria Theresa of Austria served as de facto Empresses regnant. Throughout its history, the position was viewed as a defender of the Roman Catholic faith. Until the Reformation, the Emperor elect (imperator electus) was required to be crowned by the Pope before assuming the imperial title. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was the last to be crowned by the Pope in 1530. Even after the Reformation, the elected Emperor always was a Roman Catholic. There were short periods in history when the electoral college was dominated by Protestants, and the electors usually voted in their own political interest.

Emperor of the
Holy Roman Empire
Imperator Romanorum
Imperial
Holy Roman Empire Arms-double head
Double-headed Reichsadler used by the Habsburg emperors of the early modern period
Details
First monarchCharlemagne/Otto the Great
Last monarchFrancis II
Formation25 December 800 /
2 February 962
Abolition6 August 1806

Title

Wapen 1545 Kaiserwappen des Heiligen Römischen Reichs Polychromie
Coats of arms of prince electors surround the imperial coat of arms; from a 1545 armorial. Electors voted in an Imperial Diet for a new Holy Roman Emperor.
Empereur en majesté (musée de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame, Strasbourg) (36005712991)
Depiction of Charlemagne in a 12th-century stained glass window, Strasbourg Cathedral, now at Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame.

From the time of Constantine I (r. 306–337), the Roman emperors had, with very few exceptions, taken on a role as promoters and defenders of Christianity. The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor in the Church. Emperors considered themselves responsible to the gods for the spiritual health of their subjects, and after Constantine they had a duty to help the Church define orthodoxy and maintain orthodoxy. The emperor's role was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity.[3] Both the title and connection between Emperor and Church continued in the Eastern Roman Empire throughout the medieval period (in exile during 1204–1261). The ecumenical councils of the 5th to 8th centuries were convoked by the Eastern Roman Emperors.[4]

In Western Europe, the title of Emperor became defunct after the death of Julius Nepos in 480, although the rulers of the barbarian kingdoms continued to recognize the Eastern Emperor at least nominally well into the 6th century. From the western perspective, the interregnum in the Roman Empire spanned the 7th and 8th centuries. The title of Emperor (Imperator) was revived in 800, when Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans (Imperator Romanorum) by Pope Leo III. The title of Emperor in the West implied recognition by the pope. As the power of the papacy grew during the Middle Ages, popes and emperors came into conflict over church administration. The best-known and most bitter conflict was that known as the investiture controversy, fought during the 11th century between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII.

After the coronation of Charlemagne, his successors maintained the title until the death of Berengar I of Italy in 924. The comparatively brief interregnum between 924 and the coronation of Otto the Great in 962 is taken as marking the transition from the Frankish Empire to the Holy Roman Empire. Under the Ottonians, much of the former Carolingian kingdom of Eastern Francia fell within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire.

Since 911, the various German princes had elected the King of the Germans from among their peers. The King of the Germans would then be crowned as emperor following the precedent set by Charlemagne, during the period of 962–1530. Charles V was the last emperor to be crowned by the pope, and his successor, Ferdinand I, merely adopted the title of "Emperor elect" in 1558. The final Holy Roman Emperor-elect, Francis II, abdicated in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars that saw the Empire's final dissolution.

The term sacrum (i.e., "holy") in connection with the German Roman Empire was first used in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa.[5]

The standard designation of the Holy Roman Emperor was "August Emperor of the Romans" (Romanorum Imperator Augustus). When Charlemagne was crowned in 800, he was styled as "most serene Augustus, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire," thus constituting the elements of "Holy" and "Roman" in the imperial title.[6]

The word Roman was a reflection of the principle of translatio imperii (or in this case restauratio imperii) that regarded the (Germanic) Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, despite the continued existence of the Eastern Roman Empire.

In German-language historiography, the term Römisch-deutscher Kaiser ("Roman-German emperor") is used to distinguish the title from that of Roman Emperor on one hand, and that of German Emperor (Deutscher Kaiser) on the other. The English term "Holy Roman Emperor" is a modern shorthand for "emperor of the Holy Roman Empire" not corresponding to the historical style or title, i.e., the adjective "holy" is not intended as modifying "emperor"; the English term "Holy Roman Emperor" gained currency in the interbellum period (1920s to 1930s); formerly the title had also been rendered "German-Roman emperor" in English.[1]

Succession

Balduineum Wahl Heinrich VII
Illustration of the election of Henry VII (27 November 1308) showing (left to right) the Archbishop of Cologne, Archbishop of Mainz, Archbishop of Trier, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Brandenburg and King of Bohemia (Codex Balduini Trevirorum, c. 1340).

The elective monarchy of the kingdom of Germany goes back to the early 10th century, the election of Conrad I of Germany in 911 following the death without issue of Louis the Child, the last Carolingian ruler of Germany. Elections meant the kingship of Germany was only partially hereditary, unlike the kingship of France, although sovereignty frequently remained in a dynasty until there were no more male successors. The process of an election meant that the prime candidate had to make concessions, by which the voters were kept on the side, which was known as Wahlkapitulationen (electoral capitulation).

Conrad was elected by the German dukes, and it is not known precisely when the system of seven prince-electors was established. The papal decree Venerabilem by Innocent III (1202), addressed to Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen, establishes the election procedure by (unnamed) princes of the realm, reserving for the pope the right to approve of the candidates. A letter of Pope Urban IV (1263), in the context of the disputed vote of 1256 and the subsequent the interregnum, suggests that by "immemorial custom", seven princes had the right to elect the King and future Emperor. The seven prince-electors are named in the Golden Bull of 1356: The Archbishop of Mainz, the Archbishop of Trier, the Archbishop of Cologne, the King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the Duke of Saxony and the Margrave of Brandenburg.

After 1438, the Kings remained in the house of Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine, with the brief exception of Charles VII, who was a Wittelsbach. Maximilian I (Emperor 1508–1519) and his successors no longer travelled to Rome to be crowned as Emperor by the Pope. Maximilian, therefore, named himself Elected Roman Emperor (Erwählter Römischer Kaiser) in 1508 with papal approval. This title was in use by all his uncrowned successors. Of his successors, only Charles V, the immediate one, received a papal coronation.

The Elector Palatine's seat was conferred on the Duke of Bavaria in 1621, but in 1648, in the wake of the Thirty Years' War, the Elector Palatine was restored, as the eighth elector. Brunswick-Lüneburg was added as a ninth elector in 1692. The whole college was reshuffled in the German mediatization of 1803 with a total of ten electors, a mere three years before the dissolution of the Empire.

List of emperors

This list includes all 47 German monarchs crowned from Charlemagne until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806).

Several rulers were crowned King of the Romans (King of Germany) but not emperor, although they styled themselves thus, among whom were: Conrad I of Germany and Henry the Fowler in the 10th century, and Conrad IV, Rudolf I, Adolf and Albert I during the interregnum of the late 13th century.

Traditional historiography assumes a continuity between the Carolingian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, while a modern convention takes the coronation of Otto I in 962 as the starting point of the Holy Roman Empire (although the term Sacrum Imperium Romanum was not in use before the 13th century).

Frankish emperors

The rulers who were crowned as Roman emperors in Western Europe between AD 800 and 915 were as follows:

Carolingian dynasty

Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Charlemagne denier Mayence 812 814 Charles I, the Great (Charlemagne)
(742–814)
25 December 800 28 January 814
Ludwik I Pobożny Louis I, the Pious
(778–840)
11 September 813[7] 20 June 840 Son of Charles I
Lothar I Lothair I
(795–855)
5 April 823 29 September 855 Son of Louis I
Louis II of Italy Louis II
(825–875)
29 September 855 12 August 875 Son of Lothair I
Карл Лысый Charles II, the Bald
(823–877)
29 December 875 6 October 877 Son of Louis I
Sceau de Charles le gros Charles III, the Fat
(839–888)
12 February 881 13 January 888 Grandson of Louis I

Widonid dynasty

Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Wido rex Italiae Guy I
(?–894)
891 12 December 894 Great-great grandson of Charles I
Lambert I
(880–898)
30 April 892 15 October 898 Son of Guy I

Carolingian dynasty

Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Seal of Arnulph of Carinthia (896) Arnulph
(850–899)
22 February 896 8 December 899 Nephew of Charles III

Bosonid dynasty

Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Louis III, the Blind
(880–928)
22 February 901 21 July 905 Grandson of Louis II

Unruoching dynasty

Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Berengar I on a seal Berengar I
(845–924)
December 915 7 April 924 Grandson of Louis I

Holy Roman Emperors

There was no emperor in the west between 924 and 962.

While earlier Germanic and Italian monarchs had been crowned as Roman Emperors, the actual Holy Roman Empire is usually considered to have begun with the crowning of the Saxon king Otto I. It was officially an elective position, though at times it ran in families, notably the four generations of the Salian dynasty in the 11th century. From the end of the Salian dynasty through the middle 15th century, the Emperors drew from many different German dynasties, and it was rare for the throne to pass from father to son. That changed with the ascension of the Austrian House of Habsburg, as an unbroken line of Habsburgs would hold the Imperial throne until the 18th century, later a cadet branch known as the House of Habsburg-Lorraine would likewise pass it from father to son until the abolition of the Empire in 1806. Notably, the Habsburgs also dispensed with the requirement that emperors be crowned by the pope before exercising their office. Starting with Ferdinand I, all successive Emperors forwent the traditional coronation.

Ottonian dynasty

Image Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
017 otto siegel 2 Otto I, the Great
(912–973)
2 February 962 7 May 973 Great-great-great grandson of Louis I
Otto II. (HRR) Otto II, the Red
(955–983)
25 December 967 7 December 983 Son of Otto I
Meister der Reichenauer Schule 002 Otto III
(980–1002)
21 May 996 23 January 1002 Son of Otto II
Kronung Heinrich II Henry II[8]
(973–1024)
14 February 1014 July 13 1024 Second cousin of Otto III

Salian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Konrad2Salsky-2 Conrad II, the Elder[9]
(990–1039)
26 March 1027 4 June 1039 Great-great-grandson of Otto I
Heinrich III. (HRR) Miniatur Henry III, the Black
(1017–1056)
25 December 1046 5 October 1056 Son of Conrad II
Heinrich 4 g Henry IV
(1050–1116)
5 October 1056 7 August 1106 Son of Henry III
Paschalis Henry V[10]
(1086–1125)
13 April 1111 23 May 1125 Son of Henry IV

Supplinburg dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor Lothair II[11]
(1075–1137)
4 June 1133 4 December 1137 Great-great-great-great-great-great-grandnephew of Otto I

Staufen dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Frederick I (HRE) Frederick I Barbarossa
(1122–1190)
8 June 1155 10 June 1190 Great-grandson of Henry IV
Codex Manesse Heinrich VI. (HRR) Henry VI
(1165–1197)
14 April 1191 28 September 1197 Son of Frederick I

Welf dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Ottta4Brunsvicky Otto IV
(1175–1218)
9 June 1198 1215 Great-grandson of Lothair II

Staufen dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Frederick II (HRE) Frederick II,
Stupor Mundi (1194–1250)
22 November 1220 13 December 1250 Son of Henry VI

The interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire is taken to have lasted from the deposition of Frederick II by Pope Innocent IV (1245, alternatively from the death of Frederick 1250 or the death of Conrad IV 1254) to the election of Rudolf I of Germany (1273). Rudolf was not crowned emperor, nor were his successors Adolf and Albert. The next emperor was Henry VII, crowned on 29 June 1312 by Pope Clement V.

House of Luxembourg

Portrait Coat of arms Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Henry Lux head
Holy Roman Emperor
Henric van Lusenborch Shield and Coat of Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor (c.1200-c.1300)
Coats of arms
Henry VII
(1274–1313)
29 June 1312 24 August 1313 Great x11 grandson of Charles II

House of Wittelsbach

Portrait Coat of arms Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Ignoto, re ludovico IV, bull d'oro, 1329
Holy Roman Emperor
Bavaria Wittelsbach coa medieval Shield and Coat of Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor (c.1200-c.1300)
Coats of arms
Louis IV, the Bavarian
(1282–1347)
October 1314 11 October 1347 Far descendant of Henry IV and great-great-great-great-grandson of Lothair II

House of Luxembourg

Portrait Coat of arms Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Charles IV-John Ocko votive picture-fragment
Holy Roman Emperor
Insigne Cechicum Shield and Coat of Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor (c.1300-c.1400)
Coats of arms
Charles IV
(1316–1378)
11 July 1346 29 November 1378 Grandson of Henry VII
Zikmund Zhořelecka radnice
Holy Roman Emperor
Sigismund Arms Hungarian Czech per pale Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor (c.1433-c.1450)
Coats of arms
Sigismund
(1368–1437)
31 May 1433 9 December 1437 Son of Charles IV

House of Habsburg

In 1508, Pope Julius II allowed Maximilian I to use the title of Emperor without coronation in Rome, though the title was qualified as Electus Romanorum Imperator ("elected Emperor of the Romans"). Maximilian's successors adopted the same titulature, usually when they became the sole ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. Maximilian's first successor Charles V was the last to be crowned Emperor.

Portrait Coat of arms Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Hans Burgkmair d. Ä. 005 Arms of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, the Peaceful
(1415–1493)
2 February 1440 19 August 1493 second cousin of Albert II of Germany, Emperor designate.
Maximilian I as Emperor Arms of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I
(1459–1519)
19 August 1493 12 January 1519 Son of Frederick III
Francesco Terzio 001 Arms of Charles V Holy Roman Emperor, Charles I as King of Spain -Or shield variant Charles V
(1500–1558)
28 June 1519 (crowned 1530) 16 January 1556 Grandson of Maximilian I
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor Arms of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Ferdinand I
(1503–1564)
16 January 1556 (crowned 1558) 25 July 1564 Brother of Charles V
Nicolas Neufchâtel 002 Arms of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Maximilian II
(1527–1576)
25 July 1564 12 October 1576 Son of Ferdinand I
Martino Rota - Emperor Rudolf II in Armour - WGA20140 Arms of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Rudolph II[12]
(1552–1612)
12 October 1576 20 January 1612 Son of Maximilian II
Ritratto di Mattia d'Asburgo Arms of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Matthias
(1557–1619)
13 June 1612 20 March 1619 Brother of Rudolf II
Ferdinand II King of Bohemia Holy Roman Emperor Arms of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Ferdinand II
(1578–1637)
28 August 1619 15 February 1637 Cousin of Matthias
Jan van den Hoecke - Portrait of Emperor Ferdinand III Arms of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Ferdinand III
(1608–1657)
15 February 1637 2 April 1657 Son of Ferdinand II
Portrait of Emperor Leopold I National Museum Warsaw Arms of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Leopold I
(1640–1705)
18 July 1658 5 May 1705 Son of Ferdinand III
Jožef I. (1705-1711) Arms of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Joseph I
(1678–1711)
5 May 1705 17 April 1711 Son of Leopold I
Johann Gottfried Auerbach 002 Arms of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Charles VI
(1685–1740)
12 October 1711 20 October 1740 Brother of Joseph I

House of Wittelsbach

Portrait Coat of arms Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor Arms of Charles VII Albert, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Charles VII
(1697–1745)
12 February 1742 20 January 1745 Great-great grandson of Ferdinand II; Son-in-law of Joseph I

House of Lorraine

Portrait Coat of arms Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Joseph II Portrait with crown Arms of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Francis I
(1708–1765)
13 September 1745 18 August 1765 Great-grandson of Ferdinand III; Son-in-law of Charles VI

House of Habsburg-Lorraine

Portrait Coat of arms Name Reign Relationship with predecessor(s) Other title(s)
Kaiser Joseph II als Feldherr Arms of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Joseph II
(1741–1790)
18 August 1765 20 February 1790 Son of Empress Maria Theresa, de facto ruler of the empire, and Francis I.
Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor Arms of Leopold II and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperors-Or shield variant Leopold II
(1747–1792)
30 September 1790 1 March 1792 Son of Empress Maria Theresa,de facto ruler of the empire, and Francis I. Brother of Joseph II.
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor at age 25, 1792 Arms of Leopold II and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperors-Or shield variant Francis II
(1768–1835)
5 July 1792 6 August 1806 Son of Leopold II

Coronation

The Emperor was crowned in a special ceremony, traditionally performed by the Pope in Rome. Without that coronation, no king, despite exercising all powers, could call himself Emperor. In 1508, Pope Julius II allowed Maximilian I to use the title of Emperor without coronation in Rome, though the title was qualified as Electus Romanorum Imperator ("elected Emperor of the Romans"). Maximilian's successors adopted the same titulature, usually when they became the sole ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.[13] Maximilian's first successor Charles V was the last to be crowned Emperor.

Emperor Coronation date Officiant Location
Charles I 25 December 800 Pope Leo III Rome, Italy
Louis I 5 October 816 Pope Stephen IV Reims, France
Lothair I 5 April 823 Pope Paschal I Rome, Italy
Louis II 15 June 844 Pope Leo IV Rome, Italy
Charles II 29 December 875 Pope John VIII Rome, Italy
Charles III 12 February 881 Rome, Italy
Guy III of Spoleto 21 February 891 Pope Stephen V Rome, Italy
Lambert II of Spoleto 30 April 892 Pope Formosus Ravenna, Italy
Arnulf of Carinthia 22 February 896 Rome, Italy
Louis III 15 or 22 February 901 Pope Benedict IV Rome, Italy
Berengar December 915 Pope John X Rome, Italy
Otto I 2 February, 962 Pope John XII Rome, Italy
Otto II 25 December, 967 Pope John XIII Rome, Italy
Otto III 21 May, 996 Pope Gregory V Monza, Italy
Henry II 14 February 1014 Pope Benedict VIII Rome, Italy
Conrad II 26 March 1027 Pope John XIX Rome, Italy
Henry III 25 December 1046 Pope Clement II Rome, Italy
Henry IV 31 March 1084 Antipope Clement III Rome, Italy
Henry V 13 April 1111 Pope Paschal II Rome, Italy
Lothair III 4 June 1133 Pope Innocent II Rome, Italy
Frederick I 18 June 1155 Pope Adrian IV Rome, Italy
Henry VI 14 April 1191 Pope Celestine III Rome, Italy
Otto IV 4 October 1209 Pope Innocent III Rome, Italy
Frederick II 22 November 1220 Pope Honorius III Rome, Italy
Henry VII 29 June 1312 Ghibellines cardinals Rome, Italy
Louis IV 17 January 1328 Senator Sciarra Colonna Rome, Italy
Charles IV 5 April 1355 Pope Innocent VI's cardinal Rome, Italy
Sigismund 31 May 1433 Pope Eugenius IV Rome, Italy
Frederick III 19 March 1452 Pope Nicholas V Rome, Italy
Charles V 24 February 1530 Pope Clement VII Bologna, Italy

See also

References

  1. ^ a b The New International Encyclopædia vol. 10 (1927), p. 675. Carlton J. H. Hayes, A Political and Cvltvral History of Modern Europe vol. 1 (1932), p. 225.
  2. ^ Peter Hamish Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire, 1495–1806, MacMillan Press 1999, London, page 2. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: The Menace of the Herd or Procrustes at Large – Page: 164. Robert Edwin Herzstein, Robert Edwin Herzstein: +The Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages: universal state or German catastrophe?"
  3. ^ Richards, Jeffrey. The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages 476–752 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) pp. 14–15.
  4. ^ Richards, Jeffrey. The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages 476–752 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) p. 16.
  5. ^ Peter Moraw, Heiliges Reich, in: Lexikon des Mittelalters, Munich & Zurich: Artemis 1977–1999, vol. 4, columns 2025–2028.
  6. ^ Bryce, James (1968). The Holy Roman Empire. Macmillan. p. 530.
  7. ^ Egon Boshof: Ludwig der Fromme. Darmstadt 1996, p. 89
  8. ^ Enumerated as successor of Henry I who was German King 919–936 but not Emperor.
  9. ^ Enumerated as successor of Conrad I who was German King 911–918 but not Emperor
  10. ^ Barraclough, Geoffrey (1984). The Origins of Modern Germany. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-30153-3.
  11. ^ Enumerated also Lothair III as successor of Lothair II, who was King of Lotharingia 855–869 but not Emperor
  12. ^ Enumerated as successor of Rudolph I who was German King 1273–1291.
  13. ^ ” Wir Franz der Zweyte, von Gottes Gnaden erwählter römischer Kaiser Imperator Austriae, Fransiscus I (1804), Allerhöchste Pragmatikal-Verordnung vom 11. August 1804, The HR Emperor, p. 1
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles IV (Czech: Karel IV., German: Karl IV., Latin: Carolus IV; 14 May 1316 – 29 November 1378), King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, had a long and successful reign. Born Wenceslaus, he was the first King of Bohemia to become Holy Roman Emperor. He was a member of the House of Luxembourg from his father's side and the Czech House of Přemyslid from his mother's side; he emphasized the latter due to his lifelong affinity for the Czech side of his inheritance, and also because his direct ancestors in the Přemyslid line included two saints.He was the eldest son and heir of King John of Bohemia, who died at the Battle of Crécy on 26 August 1346. His mother, Elizabeth of Bohemia, was the sister of King Wenceslas III, the last of the male Přemyslid rulers of Bohemia. Charles inherited the County of Luxembourg from his father and was elected king of the Kingdom of Bohemia. On 2 September 1347, Charles was crowned King of Bohemia.

On 11 July 1346, the prince-electors chose him as King of the Romans (rex Romanorum) in opposition to Emperor Louis IV. Charles was crowned on 26 November 1346 in Bonn. After his opponent died, he was re-elected in 1349 and crowned King of the Romans. In 1355, he was crowned King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor. With his coronation as King of Burgundy in 1365, he became the personal ruler of all the kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was head of the House of Habsburg and Holy Roman Emperor (1519–1556), King of Germany (1520-1556), King of Italy (1530-1556) King of Spain, (1516-1556), King of the Indies (1521-1556), and Lord of the Habsburg Netherlands (1506–1555). Charles V revitalized the medieval concept of the universal monarchy of Charlemagne and travelled from city to city, with no single fixed capital: overall he spent 28 years in the Habsburg Netherlands (primarily Brussels), 18 years in Spain (notably Toledo and Extremadura) and 9 years in Germany. After four decades of incessant warfare with the Kingdom of France, the Ottoman Empire, and the Protestants, Charles V abandoned his multi-national project with a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556 in favor of his son Philip II of Spain and brother Ferdinand I of Austria. The personal union of his European and American territories, spanning over nearly 4 million square kilometres, was the first collection of realms to be defined as "the empire on which the sun never sets".

Charles' parents were Philip the Handsome of the House of Habsburg (son of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian I of Austria) and Joanna the Mad of the House of Trastamara (daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon). Due to the premature death of his father and the mental illness of his mother, Charles inherited all of his family dominions at a young age. As Duke of Burgundy from 1506, he inherited areas in the Netherlands and around the eastern border of France. As a grandson of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he became King of Spain jointly with his mother in 1516 and inherited the developing Castilian empire in the Americas and the Aragonese territories extrnding to southern Italy. As the head of the House of Habsburg, he inherited Austria and other lands in central Europe and was also elected in 1519 to succeed his grandfather, Maximilian I, as Holy Roman Emperor. Furthermore, Charles ratified the conquest by Castilian conquistadores of the Aztec and Inca empires and the establishement of Klein-Venedig by the Welser family in search of El Dorado. He also acquired the title of Duke of Milan in 1535 and created the Seventeen Provinces in 1549.

Because of widespread fears that his vast inheritance would lead to the realisation of a universal monarchy and that he was trying to create a European hegemony, Charles was the object of hostility from many enemies. His reign was dominated by war, particularly by three major simultaneous prolonged conflicts: the Italian Wars with France, the struggle to halt the Turkish advance into Europe, and the conflict with the German princes resulting from the Protestant Reformation. The French wars, mainly fought in Italy, lasted for most of his reign. Enormously expensive, they led to the development of the infantry known as the Tercios.

The struggle with the Ottoman Empire was fought in Hungary and the Mediterranean. The Turkish advance was halted at the Siege of Vienna in 1529, and a lengthy war of attrition, conducted on Charles' behalf by his younger brother Ferdinand (King of Hungary and archduke of Austria), continued for the rest of Charles's reign. In the Mediterranean, although there were some successes, he was unable to prevent the Ottomans' increasing naval dominance and the piratical activity of the Barbary pirates. Charles opposed the Reformation, and in Germany he was in conflict with Protestant nobles who were motivated by both religious and political opposition to him. He could not prevent the spread of Protestantism and was ultimately forced to concede the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, which divided Germany along denominational lines.

While Charles did not typically concern himself with rebellions, he was quick to put down three particularly dangerous rebellions; the Revolt of the Comuneros in Castile, the revolt of the Arumer Zwarte Hoop in Frisia, and, later in his reign, the Revolt of Ghent (1539). Once the rebellions were quelled the essential Castilian and Burgundian territories remained mostly loyal to Charles throughout his rule.

Charles's Spanish dominions were the chief source of his power and wealth, and they became increasingly important as his reign progressed. In the Americas, Charles sanctioned the

Castilian control was extended across much of South and Central America. The resulting vast expansion of territory and the flows of South American silver to Castile had profound long-term effects on Spain.

Charles was only 56 when he abdicated, but after 40 years of active rule he was physically exhausted and sought the peace of a monastery, where he died at the age of 58. The Holy Roman Empire passed to his younger brother Ferdinand, archduke of Austria, while the Spanish Empire, including the possessions in the Netherlands and Italy, was inherited by Charles's son Philip II of Spain. The two empires would remain allies until the extinction of the male line of the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs in 1700.

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles VI (1 October 1685 – 20 October 1740; German: Karl VI., Latin: Carolus VI) succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia (as Charles II), King of Hungary and Croatia, Serbia and Archduke of Austria (as Charles III) in 1711. He unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Spain following the death of his relative, Charles II, In 1708 He married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by whom he had his two children: Maria Theresa, the last Habsburg sovereign, and Maria Anna, Governess of the Austrian Netherlands.

Four years before the birth of Maria Theresa, faced with his lack of male heirs, Charles provided for a male-line succession failure with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. The Emperor favoured his own daughters over those of his elder brother and predecessor, Joseph I, in the succession, ignoring the decree he had signed during the reign of his father, Leopold I. Charles sought the other European powers' approval. They exacted harsh terms: Britain demanded that Austria abolish its overseas trading company. In total, Great Britain, France, Saxony-Poland, the Dutch Republic, Spain, Venice, States of the Church, Prussia, Russia, Denmark, Savoy-Sardinia, Bavaria, and the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire recognised the sanction. France, Spain, Saxony-Poland, Bavaria and Prussia later reneged. Charles died in 1740, sparking the War of the Austrian Succession, which plagued his successor, Maria Theresa, for eight years.

Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles VII (7 April 1697 – 20 January 1745) was the Prince-elector of Bavaria from 1726 and Holy Roman Emperor from 24 January 1742 until his death in 1745. A member of the House of Wittelsbach, Charles was the first person not born of the House of Habsburg to become emperor in three centuries, though he was connected to that house both by blood and by marriage.

Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor

Ferdinand I (Spanish: Fernando I) (10 March 1503 – 25 July 1564) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558, king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526, and king of Croatia from 1527 until his death in 1564. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Also, he often served as Charles' representative in Germany and developed encouraging relationships with German princes.

The key events during his reign were the contest with the Ottoman Empire, which in the 1520s began a great advance into Central Europe, and the Protestant Reformation, which resulted in several wars of religion. Ferdinand was able to defend his realm and make it somewhat more cohesive, but he could not conquer the major part of Hungary. His flexible approach to Imperial problems, mainly religious, finally brought more result than the more confrontational attitude of his brother.

Ferdinand's motto was Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus: "Let justice be done, though the world perish".

Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor

Ferdinand III (13 July 1608 – 2 April 1657) was Holy Roman Emperor from 15 February 1637 until his death, as well as King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria.

Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor

Francis I (German: Franz Stefan, French: François Étienne; 8 December 1708 – 18 August 1765) was Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, though his wife Maria Theresa effectively executed the real powers of those positions. They were the founders of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. From 1728 until 1737 he was Duke of Lorraine. Francis traded the duchy to the ex-Polish king Stanisław Leszczyński in exchange for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany as one of the terms ending the War of the Polish Succession in November 1738. The duchy and the ducal title to Lorraine and Bar passed to King Louis XV of France upon Leszczynski's death in 1766, though Francis and his successors retained the right to style themselves as dukes of Lorraine and Bar.

Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor

Francis II (German: Franz; 12 February 1768 – 2 March 1835) was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation after the decisive defeat at the hands of the First French Empire led by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1804, he had founded the Austrian Empire and became Francis I, the first Emperor of Austria, ruling from 1804 to 1835, so later he was named the one and only Doppelkaiser (double emperor) in history.

For the two years between 1804 and 1806, Francis used the title and style by the Grace of God elected Roman Emperor, ever Augustus, hereditary Emperor of Austria and he was called the Emperor of both the Holy Roman Empire and Austria. He was also Apostolic King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia as Francis I. He also served as the first president of the German Confederation following its establishment in 1815.

Francis II continued his leading role as an opponent of Napoleonic France in the Napoleonic Wars, and suffered several more defeats after Austerlitz. The proxy marriage of state of his daughter Marie Louise of Austria to Napoleon on 10 March 1810 was arguably his severest personal defeat. After the abdication of Napoleon following the War of the Sixth Coalition, Austria participated as a leading member of the Holy Alliance at the Congress of Vienna, which was largely dominated by Francis's chancellor Klemens Wenzel, Prince von Metternich culminating in a new European map and the restoration of Francis's ancient dominions (except the Holy Roman Empire which was dissolved). Due to the establishment of the Concert of Europe, which largely resisted popular nationalist and liberal tendencies, Francis became viewed as a reactionary later in his reign.

Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor

Frederick I (German: Friedrich I., Italian: Federico I; 1122 – 10 June 1190), also known as Frederick Barbarossa (Italian: Federico Barbarossa), was the Holy Roman Emperor from 2 January 1155 until his death. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March 1152. He was crowned King of Italy on 24 April 1155 in Pavia and emperor by Pope Adrian IV on 18 June 1155 in Rome. Two years later, the term sacrum ("holy") first appeared in a document in connection with his empire. He was later formally crowned King of Burgundy, at Arles on 30 June 1178. He was named Barbarossa by the northern Italian cities which he attempted to rule: Barbarossa means "red beard" in Italian; in German, he was known as Kaiser Rotbart, which has the same meaning.

Before his imperial election, Frederick was by inheritance Duke of Swabia (1147–1152, as Frederick III). He was the son of Duke Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and Judith, daughter of Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria, from the rival House of Welf. Frederick, therefore, descended from the two leading families in Germany, making him an acceptable choice for the Empire's prince-electors.

Historians consider him among the Holy Roman Empire's greatest medieval emperors. He combined qualities that made him appear almost superhuman to his contemporaries: his longevity, his ambition, his extraordinary skills at organization, his battlefield acumen and his political perspicacity. His contributions to Central European society and culture include the reestablishment of the Corpus Juris Civilis, or the Roman rule of law, which counterbalanced the papal power that dominated the German states since the conclusion of the Investiture Controversy.

Frederick died in 1190 in Asia Minor while leading an army in the Third Crusade.

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

Frederick II (26 December 1194 – 13 December 1250; Latin: Fridericus, Federicus, Italian: Federico, German: Frîderich, Friedrich) was King of Sicily from 1198, King of Germany from 1212, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 and King of Jerusalem from 1225.

He was the son of emperor Henry VI of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and of Constance, heiress to the Norman kings of Sicily.

Frederick's reign saw the Holy Roman Empire achieve its greatest territorial extent.

His political and cultural ambitions were enormous as he ruled a vast area beginning with Sicily and stretching through Italy all the way north to Germany. As the Crusades progressed, he acquired control of Jerusalem and styled himself its king. However, the Papacy became his enemy, and it eventually prevailed.

Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman emperors of antiquity, he was Emperor of the Romans from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death; he was also a claimant to the title of King of the Romans from 1212 and unopposed holder of that monarchy from 1215. As such, he was King of Germany, of Italy, and of Burgundy. At the age of three, he was crowned King of Sicily as a co-ruler with his mother, Constance of Hauteville, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily. His other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade.

Frequently at war with the papacy, which was hemmed in between Frederick's lands in northern Italy and his Kingdom of Sicily (the Regno) to the south, he was excommunicated four times and often vilified in pro-papal chronicles of the time and after. Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him an Antichrist.

Speaking six languages (Latin, Sicilian, Middle High German, Langues d'oïl, Greek and Arabic), Frederick was an avid patron of science and the arts. He played a major role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo, beginning around 1220, saw the first use of a literary form of an Italo-Romance language, Sicilian. The poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and on what was to become the modern Italian language.

He was also the first king to formally outlaw trial by ordeal, which had come to be viewed as superstitious.After his death his line did not survive, and the House of Hohenstaufen came to an end. Furthermore, the Holy Roman Empire entered a long period of decline from which it did not completely recover until the reign of Charles V, 250 years later.

Historians have searched for superlatives to describe him, as in the case of Donald Detwiler, who wrote: A man of extraordinary culture, energy, and ability – called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi (the wonder of the world), by Nietzsche the first European, and by many historians the first modern ruler – Frederick established in Sicily and southern Italy something very much like a modern, centrally governed kingdom with an efficient bureaucracy.

Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry IV (German: Heinrich IV; 11 November 1050 – 7 August 1106) became King of the Germans in 1056. From 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105, he was also referred to as the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century. His reign was marked by the Investiture Controversy with the Papacy, and he was excommunicated five times by three different popes. Civil wars over his throne took place in both Italy and Germany. He died of illness, soon after defeating his son's army near Visé, in Lorraine, France.

Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry V (German: Heinrich V.; 11 August 1081/86 – 23 May 1125) was King of Germany (from 1099 to 1125) and Holy Roman Emperor (from 1111 to 1125), the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor. By the settlement of the Concordat of Worms, he surrendered to the demands of the second generation of Gregorian reformers.

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor

Leopold I (full name: Leopold Ignaz Joseph Balthasar Felician; Hungarian: I. Lipót; 9 June 1640 – 5 May 1705) was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia. The second son of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, by his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain, Leopold became heir apparent in 1654 by the death of his elder brother Ferdinand IV. Elected in 1658, Leopold ruled the Holy Roman Empire until his death in 1705, becoming the longest-ruling Habsburg emperor (at 46 years and 9 months).

Leopold's reign is known for conflicts with the Ottoman Empire in the east and rivalry with Louis XIV, a contemporary and first cousin, in the west. After more than a decade of warfare, Leopold emerged victorious from the Great Turkish War thanks to the military talents of Prince Eugene of Savoy. By the Treaty of Karlowitz, Leopold recovered almost all of the Kingdom of Hungary, which had fallen under Turkish power in the years after the 1526 Battle of Mohács.

Leopold fought three wars against France: the Franco-Dutch War, the Nine Years' War, and the War of the Spanish Succession. In this last, Leopold sought to give his younger son the entire Spanish inheritance, disregarding the will of the late Charles II. Leopold started a war that soon engulfed much of Europe. The early years of the war went fairly well for Austria, with victories at Schellenberg and Blenheim, but the war would drag on until 1714, nine years after Leopold's death, which barely had an effect on the warring nations. When peace returned, Austria could not be said to have emerged as triumphant as it had from the war against the Turks.

Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor

Leopold II (Peter Leopold Joseph Anton Joachim Pius Gotthard; 5 May 1747 – 1 March 1792) was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, and Bohemia from 1790 to 1792, and Archduke of Austria and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 to 1790. He was the earliest opponent of capital punishment in modern history. He was a son of Emperor Francis I and his wife, Empress Maria Theresa, and the brother of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor. Leopold was a moderate proponent of enlightened absolutism. He granted the Academy of Georgofili his protection.

Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor

Lothair II or Lothair III (before 9 June 1075 – 4 December 1137), known as Lothair of Supplinburg, was Holy Roman Emperor from 1133 until his death. He was appointed Duke of Saxony in 1106 and elected King of Germany in 1125 before being crowned emperor in Rome. The son of the Saxon count Gebhard of Supplinburg, his reign was troubled by the constant intriguing of the Hohenstaufens, Duke Frederick II of Swabia and Duke Conrad of Franconia. He died while returning from a successful campaign against the Norman Kingdom of Sicily.

Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Louis IV (German: Ludwig; 1 April 1282 – 11 October 1347), called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was King of the Romans from 1314, King of Italy from 1327, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1328.

Louis IV was Duke of Upper Bavaria from 1294/1301 together with his elder brother Rudolf I, served as Margrave of Brandenburg until 1323, as Count Palatine of the Rhine until 1329, and he became Duke of Lower Bavaria in 1340. He obtained the titles Count of Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, and Friesland in 1345 when his wife Margaret inherited them.

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

Maximilian I (22 March 1459 – 12 January 1519) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death. He was never crowned by the Pope, as the journey to Rome was always too risky. He was instead proclaimed Emperor elect by Pope Julius II at Trent, thus breaking the long tradition

of requiring a papal coronation for the adoption of the imperial title. Maximilian was the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal. He ruled jointly with his father for the last ten years of the latter's reign, from c. 1483 to his father's death in 1493.

Maximilian expanded the influence of the House of Habsburg through war and his marriage in 1477 to Mary of Burgundy, the heiress to the Duchy of Burgundy, though he also lost the Austrian territories in today's Switzerland to the Swiss Confederacy. Through marriage of his son Philip the Handsome to eventual queen Joanna of Castile in 1498, Maximilian helped to establish the Habsburg dynasty in Spain, which allowed his grandson Charles to hold the thrones of both Castile and Aragon.

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

Rudolf II (18 July 1552 – 20 January 1612) was Holy Roman Emperor (1576–1612), King of Hungary and Croatia (as Rudolf I, 1572–1608), King of Bohemia (1575–1608/1611) and Archduke of Austria (1576–1608). He was a member of the House of Habsburg.

Rudolf's legacy has traditionally been viewed in three ways: an ineffectual ruler whose mistakes led directly to the Thirty Years' War; a great and influential patron of Northern Mannerist art; and an intellectual devotee of occult arts and learning which helped seed what would be called the scientific revolution.

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor

Sigismund of Luxembourg (15 February 1368 in Nuremberg – 9 December 1437 in Znaim, Moravia) was Prince-elector of Brandenburg from 1378 until 1388 and from 1411 until 1415, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1387, King of Germany from 1411, King of Bohemia from 1419, King of Italy from 1431, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1433 until 1437, and the last male member of the House of Luxembourg. In 1396 he led the Crusade of Nicopolis, which attempted to liberate Bulgaria and save the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople from Ottoman rule. Afterwards, he founded the Order of the Dragon to fight the Turks. He was regarded as highly educated, spoke several languages (among them French, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Latin) and was an outgoing person who also took pleasure in the tournament. Sigismund was one of the driving forces behind the Council of Constance that ended the Papal Schism, but which also led to the Hussite Wars that dominated the later period of Sigismund's life.

Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Emperors
Carolingian Empire
(800–888)
Holy Roman Empire
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