King of the Romans (Latin: Rex Romanorum; German: König der Römer) was a title used by Syagrius, then by the German king following his election by the princes from the time of Emperor Henry II (1014–1024) onward. The title was predominantly a claim to become Holy Roman Emperor and was dependent upon coronation by the Pope.
The title originally referred to any elected king who had not yet been granted the Imperial Regalia and title of "Emperor" at the hands of the Pope. Later it came to be used solely for the heir apparent to the Imperial throne between his election (during the lifetime of a sitting Emperor) and his succession upon the death of the Emperor.
Their actual title varied over time. During the Ottonian period it was King of the Franks (German: König der Franken, Latin: Rex Francorum), from the late Salian period it was Roman King (Römischer König) or King of the Romans (German: König der Römer, Lat.: Rex Romanorum). In the Modern Period, the title King in Germania (German: König in Germanien, Lat.: Germaniae Rex) came into use. Finally, modern German historiography established the term Roman-German King (Römisch-deutscher König) to differentiate it from the ancient Roman Emperor as well as from the modern German Emperor.
The territory of East Francia was not referred to as the Kingdom of Germany or Regnum Teutonicum (Latinised from Old High German diutisc) by contemporary sources until the 11th century. During this time, the king's claim to coronation was increasingly contested by the papacy culminating in the fierce Investiture Controversy. After the Salian heir apparent Henry IV, a six-year-old minor, had been elected to rule the Empire in 1056 he adopted Romanorum Rex as a title to emphasize his sacred entitlement to be crowned Emperor by the Pope. Pope Gregory VII insisted on using the derogatory term Teutonicorum Rex ("King of the Germans") in order to imply that Henry's authority was merely local and did not extend over the whole Empire. Henry continued to regularly use the title Romanorum Rex until he finally was crowned Emperor by Antipope Clement III in 1084. Henry's successors imitated this practice, and were also called Romanorum Rex before and Romanorum Imperator after their Roman coronations.
Candidates for the kingship were at first the heads of the Germanic stem duchies. As these units broke up, rulers of smaller principalities and even non-Germanic rulers were considered for the position. The only requirements generally observed were that the candidate be an adult male, a Catholic Christian, and not in holy orders. The kings were elected by several Imperial Estates (secular princes as well as Prince-Bishops), often in the imperial city of Frankfurt after 1147, a custom recorded in the Schwabenspiegel code in about 1275.
Originally all noblemen present could vote by unanimous acclamation, but later a franchise was granted to only the most eminent bishops and noblemen, and according to the Golden Bull of 1356 issued by Emperor Charles IV only the seven Prince-electors had the right to participate in a majority voting as determined by the 1338 Declaration of Rhense. They were the Prince-Archbishops of Mainz, Trier and Cologne as well as the King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the Saxon duke, and the Margrave of Brandenburg. After the Investiture Controversy, Charles intended to strengthen the legal status of the Rex Romanorum beyond Papal approbation. Consequently, among his successors only Sigismund and Frederick III were still crowned Emperors in Rome and in 1530 Charles V was the last king to receive the Imperial Crown at the hands of the Pope (in Bologna). The Golden Bull remained effective as constitutional law until the Empire's dissolution in 1806.
After his election, the new king would be crowned as King of the Romans (Romanorum Rex), usually at Charlemagne's throne in Aachen Cathedral by the Archbishop of Cologne. Though the ceremony was no more than a symbolic validation of the election result, it was solemnly celebrated. The details of Otto's coronation in 936 are described by the medieval chronicler Widukind of Corvey in his Res gestae saxonicae. The kings received the Imperial Crown from at least 1024, at the coronation of Conrad II. In 1198 the Hohenstaufen candidate Philip of Swabia was crowned Rex Romanorum at Mainz Cathedral (as was King Rupert centuries later), but he had another coronation in Aachen after he had prevailed against his Welf rival Otto IV.
At some time after the ceremony, the king would, if possible, cross the Alps, to receive coronation in Pavia or Milan with the Iron Crown of Lombardy as King of Italy. Finally, he would travel to Rome and be crowned Emperor by the Pope. Because it was rarely possible for the elected King to proceed immediately to Rome for his crowning, several years might elapse between election and coronation, and some Kings never completed the journey to Rome at all. As a suitable title for the King between his election and his coronation as Emperor, Romanorum Rex would stress the plenitude of his authority over the Empire and his warrant to be future Emperor (Imperator futurus) without infringing upon the Papal privilege.
Not all Kings of the Romans made this step, sometimes because of hostile relations with the Pope, or because either the pressure of business at home or warfare in Germany or Italy made it impossible for the King to make the journey. In such cases, the king might retain the title "King of the Romans" for his entire reign.
The title Romanorum Rex became functionally obsolete after 1508, when the Pope permitted King Maximilian I to use the title of Electus Romanorum Imperator ("elected Emperor of the Romans") after he failed in a good-faith attempt to journey to Rome. At this time Maximilian also took the new title "King of the Germans" or "King in Germany" (Germaniae rex, König in Germanien), but the latter was never used as a primary title.
The rulers of the Empire thereafter called themselves "Emperors" without going to Rome or soliciting Papal approval, taking the title as soon as they were crowned in Germany or upon the death of a sitting Emperor if they were elected as heir to the throne.
The regnal dates given are those between the election as king and either the election as emperor, deposition or death.
|King||Became King||Became Emperor/died||Notes|
|Otto III||983||996||crowned Emperor|
|Henry II||1002||1014||crowned Emperor|
|Conrad II||1024||1027||crowned Emperor|
|Henry III||1039||1046||crowned Emperor|
|Henry IV||1056||1084||crowned Emperor|
|Rudolf||25 May 1077||15 Oct 1080||died||Anti-king|
|Hermann||6 Aug 1081||28 Sept 1088||died||Anti-king|
|Henry V||1105||1106||in opposition to Henry IV|
|Lothair III||1125||1133||crowned Emperor|
|Conrad III||1127||1135||in opposition to Lothair|
|Frederick I||1152||1155||crowned Emperor|
|Henry VI||1190||1197||crowned Emperor|
|Otto IV||1198||1208||in opposition to Philip|
|Frederick II||1212||1220||crowned Emperor|
|Henry Raspe||22 May 1246||16 February 1247||died||Anti-king|
|William of Holland||1247||28 January 1256||died||Anti-king|
|Richard of Cornwall||1257||1272||died||Candidacy opposed by Saxony, Brandenburg and Trier who supported Alfonso X of Castile. Crowned in Aachen in 1257.|
|Adolph||1292||1298||deposed and killed|
|Henry VII||1308||1312||crowned Emperor|
|Frederick the Fair||1314||1330||died||jointly with Louis IV|
|Louis IV||1314||1328||crowned Emperor||jointly with Frederick the Fair|
|Charles IV||1346||1347||opposed to Louis IV|
|Jobst of Moravia||1410||1411||died||opposed to Sigismund|
|Sigismund||1410||1411||second election||opposed to Jobst|
|Frederick III||1440||1452||crowned Emperor|
|Maximilian I||1493||1508||assumed title of Emperor-elect.||Introduced the title Rex in Germania.
erwelter Romischer kayser, zu allen zeiten merer des Reichs, in Germanien zu Hungern, Dalmatien, Croatien etc. kunig […]
|Charles V||1519||1530||crowned Emperor|
After Charles V, Holy Roman Emperors assumed the title of "king of the Romans" at the same time as being elected emperor. The titles of "Roman Emperor elect" (erwählter Römischer Kaiser) and "king in Germany" (König in Germanien) continued to be used as part of the full style of the emperors until 1806. When Francis II founded the Austrian Empire in 1804, he used as his style for the last two years before the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire:
The Holy Roman Empire was an elective monarchy. No person had a legal right to the succession simply because he was related to the current Emperor. However, the Emperor could, and often did, have a relative (usually a son) elected to succeed him after his death. This elected heir apparent bore the title "King of the Romans".
The election was in the same form as that of the senior ruler, and theoretically meant that both men were equal co-rulers of the Empire. In practice, however, the actual administration of the Empire was always managed by the Emperor, with at most certain duties delegated to the heir.
The following were subordinate kings to another Holy Roman Emperor (usually, but not always, their father) for the dates specified.
|Name||Date acceded||Date relinquished||Reason||Relation||Reigning Emperor|
|Otto II||961||7 May 973||succeeded as King (Emperor 967)||son||Otto I|
|Henry III||1028||4 June 1039||succeeded as King (Emperor 1046)||son||Conrad II|
|Henry IV||1053||5 October 1056||succeeded as King (Emperor 1084)||son||Henry III|
|Conrad||1087||April 1098||deposed||son||Henry IV|
|Henry V||6 January 1099||1105||succeeded as King (Emperor 1111)||son||Henry IV|
|Henry Berengar||30 March 1147||1150||died||son||Conrad III|
|Henry VI||1169||10 June 1190||succeeded as King (Emperor 1191)||son||Frederick I|
|Frederick II||1196||28 September 1197||succeeded and abdicated (via regency) 1197
elected King (with opposition) 1212
|Henry (VII)||1220||4 July 1235||deposed||son||Frederick II|
|Conrad IV||1237||13 December 1250||succeeded as King||son||Frederick II|
|Wenceslaus||10 June 1376||29 November 1378||succeeded as King||son||Charles IV|
|Maximilian I||16 February 1486||19 August 1493||succeeded as King (Emperor 1508)||son||Frederick III|
|Ferdinand I||5 January 1531||3 May 1558||succeeded as Emperor||brother||Charles V|
|Maximilian II||28 November 1562||25 July 1564||succeeded as Emperor||son||Ferdinand I|
|Rudolph II||27 October 1575||12 October 1576||succeeded as Emperor||son||Maximilian II|
|Ferdinand III||22 December 1636||15 February 1637||succeeded as Emperor||son||Ferdinand II|
|Ferdinand IV||31 May 1653||9 July 1654||died||son||Ferdinand III|
|Joseph I||23 January 1690||5 May 1705||succeeded as Emperor||son||Leopold I|
|Joseph II||27 March||18 August 1765||succeeded as Emperor||son||Francis I|
When Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, had a son and heir, Napoleon II (1811–32), he revived the title as King of Rome (Roi de Rome), styling his son as such at birth. The boy was often known colloquially by this title throughout his short life. However, from 1818 onward, he was styled officially as the Duke of Reichstadt by Emperor Francis I of Austria.
This article uses material translated from the corresponding article in the German-language Wikipedia, which, in turn, cites a source that contains further references:
Year 1400 (MCD) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.Albert II of Germany
Albert the Magnanimous KG (10 August 1397 – 27 October 1439) was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1437 until his death and member of the House of Habsburg. He was also King of Bohemia, elected King of Germany as Albert II, Duke of Luxembourg and, as Albert V, Archduke of Austria from 1404.Albert I of Germany
Albert I of Habsburg (German: Albrecht I.) (July 1255 – 1 May 1308), the eldest son of King Rudolf I of Germany and his first wife Gertrude of Hohenberg, was a Duke of Austria and Styria from 1282 and King of Germany from 1298 until his assassination.Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV (Czech: Karel IV., German: Karl IV., Latin: Carolus IV; 14 May 1316 – 29 November 1378), born Wenceslaus, 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.Conrad IV of Germany
Conrad (25 April 1228 – 21 May 1254), a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was the only son of Emperor Frederick II from his second marriage with Queen Isabella II of Jerusalem. He inherited the title of King of Jerusalem (as Conrad II) upon the death of his mother in childbed. Appointed Duke of Swabia in 1235, his father had him elected King of Germany (King of the Romans) and crowned King of Italy (as Conrad IV) in 1237. After the emperor was deposed and died in 1250, he ruled as King of Sicily (Conrad I) until his death.Ferdinand IV, King of the Romans
Ferdinand IV (8 September 1633 – 9 July 1654) was made and crowned King of Bohemia in 1646, King of Hungary and Croatia in 1647, and King of the Romans on 31 May 1653. He also served as Duke of Cieszyn.
Born in Vienna on 8 September 1633, and baptised as Ferdinand Franz, Ferdinand IV was the eldest son of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor and his first wife Maria Anna, the daughter of Philip III of Spain. At a young age, Ferdinand IV took his father's role as Archduke of Austria. In 1646, Ferdinand IV became King of Bohemia as he shared the role with his father Emperor Ferdinand III. He was crowned on 5 August 1646, and also shared the role of Duke of Cieszyn with Ferdinand III. Ferdinand IV also shared the role as King of Hungary and Croatia with his father; his coronation took place on 16 June 1647 in Pressburg, present-day Slovakia.After the French attempted to modify the system of the election of King of the Romans, Emperor Ferdinand III made an opportunity of a recent decline in the prestige of France, and was able to install Ferdinand IV as King of the Romans, and de facto heir to the Holy Roman Empire. He was crowned in Ratisbon (Regensburg, present-day south-east Germany) on 18 June 1653 after gaining the position on 31 May 1653. However, Ferdinand IV unexpectedly died of smallpox in Vienna on 9 July 1654, and was later succeeded by his brother Leopold I as King of the Romans. Prior to his death, it was planned that he would marry Philip IV of Spain's daughter Maria Theresa of Spain, his cousin. Upon the death of Ferdinand III, Leopold I was elected as Holy Roman Emperor.Frederick II, Duke of Swabia
Frederick II (1090 – 6 April 1147), called the One-Eyed, was Duke of Swabia from 1105 until his death, the second from the Hohenstaufen dynasty. His younger brother Conrad was elected King of the Romans in 1138.Frederick the Fair
Frederick the Handsome (German: Friedrich der Schöne) or the Fair (c. 1289 – 13 January 1330), from the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1308 as Frederick I as well as King of Germany (King of the Romans) from 1314 (anti-king until 1325) as Frederick III until his death.Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI (Heinrich VI) (November 1165 – 28 September 1197), a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was King of Germany (King of the Romans) from 1190 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 until his death. From 1194 he was also King of Sicily.
He was the second son of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his consort Beatrix of Burgundy. In 1186 he was married to Constance of Sicily, the posthumous daughter of the Norman king Roger II of Sicily. Henry, still stuck in the Hohenstaufen conflict with the House of Welf, had to enforce the inheritance claims by his wife against her nephew Count Tancred of Lecce. Based on an enormous ransom for the release of King Richard I of England, he conquered Sicily in 1194; however, the intended unification with the Holy Roman Empire ultimately failed.House of Luxembourg
The House of Luxembourg (French: Maison de Luxembourg; German: Haus Luxemburg) was a late medieval European royal family, whose members between 1308 and 1437 ruled as King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperors as well as Kings of Bohemia (Čeští králové, König von Böhmen) and Hungary. Their rule over the Holy Roman Empire was twice interrupted by the rival House of Wittelsbach.Imperial election
The election of a Holy Roman Emperor was generally a two-stage process whereby, from at least the 13th century, the King of the Romans was elected by a small body of the greatest princes of the Empire, the prince-electors. This was then followed shortly thereafter by his coronation as Emperor, an appointment that was normally for life. Until 1530, emperors were crowned by the Pope. In 1356, the Emperor Charles IV promulgated the Golden Bull, which became the fundamental law by which all future kings and emperors were elected.Although the Holy Roman Empire is perhaps the best-known example of an elective monarchy, from 1453 to 1740, a Habsburg was always elected emperor, the throne becoming de facto hereditary. During that period, the emperor was elected from within the House of Habsburg.Jobst of Moravia
Jobst of Moravia (Czech: Jošt Moravský or Jošt Lucemburský; German: Jo(b)st or Jodokus von Mähren; c. 1354 – 18 January 1411), a member of the House of Luxembourg, was Margrave of Moravia from 1375, Duke of Luxembourg and Elector of Brandenburg from 1388 as well as elected King of Germany (King of the Romans) from 1410 until his death. Jobst was an ambitious and versatile ruler, who in the early 15th century dominated the ongoing struggles within the Luxembourg dynasty and around the German throne.Kingdom of Germany
The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom (Latin: Regnum Teutonicorum "Kingdom of the Teutonics/Germans", Regnum Teutonicum "Teutonic Kingdom") developed out of Eastern Francia, the eastern division of the former Carolingian Empire, over the 9th to 11th centuries. East Francia was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective. The initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire along with Italy; it later included Bohemia (after 1004) and Burgundy (after 1032).
Like medieval England and medieval France, medieval Germany consolidated from a conglomerate of smaller tribes, nations or polities by the High Middle Ages. The term rex teutonicorum ("king of the Germans") first came into use in Italy around the year 1000. It was popularized by the chancery of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy (late 11th century), perhaps as a political tool against Emperor Henry IV. In the twelfth century, in order to stress the imperial and transnational character of their office, the emperors began to employ the title rex Romanorum (king of the Romans) on their election (by the prince-electors, seven German bishops and noblemen). Distinct titulature for Germany, Italy and Burgundy, which traditionally had their own courts, laws, and chanceries, gradually dropped from use. After the Imperial Reform and Reformation settlement, the German part of the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Reichskreise (Imperial Circles), which effectively defined Germany against imperial territories outside the Imperial Circles: imperial Italy, the Bohemian Kingdom, and the Old Swiss Confederacy. Nevertheless, there are relatively few references to a German realm distinct from the Holy Roman Empire.List of German monarchs
This is about monarchs ruling over all of Germany; for the much more extensive number of monarchs ruling territories within Germany, see List of states in the Holy Roman Empire, Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, List of historic states of Germany.
This is a list of monarchs who ruled over East Francia, and the Kingdom of Germany (Regnum Teutonicum), from the division of the Frankish Empire in 843 until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.
The title used by the early rulers was Rex Francorum orientalium, "King of the East Franks", or Rex Francorum "King of the Franks". During the later medieval period (11th to 15th centuries), the title was "King of the Romans" (Rex Romanorum), and sometimes, interchangeably, "King of the Germans" (Rex Teutonicorum).
From 1508 until 1806, "King of the Romans" continued to be used by the emperor, while Rex Germaniae "King of Germany" or Rex in Germania "King in Germany" was used by the emperor's heir-apparent.
Also listed are the heads of the various German confederations between the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (of which Germany was a part) in 1806 until the collapse of the German Empire in 1918.Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II (31 July 1527 – 12 October 1576), a member of the Austrian House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor from 1564 until his death. He was crowned King of Bohemia in Prague on 14 May 1562 and elected King of Germany (King of the Romans) on 24 November 1562. On 8 September 1563 he was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in the Hungarian capital Pressburg (Pozsony in Hungarian; now Bratislava, Slovakia). On 25 July 1564 he succeeded his father Ferdinand I as ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.Maximilian's rule was shaped by the confessionalization process after the 1555 Peace of Augsburg. Though a Habsburg and a Catholic, he approached the Lutheran Imperial estates with a view to overcome the denominational schism, which ultimately failed. He also was faced with the ongoing Ottoman–Habsburg wars and rising conflicts with his Habsburg Spain cousins.
According to Fichtner, Maximilian failed to achieve his three major aims: rationalizing the government structure, unifying Christianity, and evicting the Turks from Hungary.Rupert, King of Germany
Rupert of the Palatinate (German: Ruprecht von der Pfalz; 5 May 1352 – 18 May 1410), a member of the House of Wittelsbach, was Elector Palatine from 1398 (as Rupert III) and King of Germany (rex Romanorum) from 1400 until his death.Timeline of Austrian history
This is a timeline of Austrian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Austria and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Austria.Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia
Wenceslaus (also Wenceslas; Czech: Václav IV.; German: Wenzel, nicknamed der Faule ("the Idle"); 26 February 1361 – 16 August 1419) was, by inheritance, King of Bohemia (as Wenceslaus IV) from 1363 and by election, German King (formally King of the Romans) from 1376. He was the third Bohemian and fourth German monarch of the Luxembourg dynasty. Wenceslaus was deposed in 1400 as King of the Romans, but continued to rule as Bohemian king until his death.William II of Holland
William II (February 1227 – 28 January 1256) was a Count of Holland and Zeeland from 1234 until his death. He was crowned German anti-king in 1248 and ruled as sole King of the Romans from 1254 onwards.
|East Francia within the|
Carolingian Empire (843–911)
|East Francia (911–962)|
|Kingdom of Germany within the|
Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)
|Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)|
|German Confederation (1815–1848)|
|German Empire (1848/1849)|
|German Confederation (1850–1866)|
|North German Confederation (1867–1871)|
|German Empire (1871–1918)|