Category: Imperium Romanum Sacrum

Categories: Roman History | German History | Former Countries in Europe

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Preceded by Regnum Francorum Orientalium

Imperium Romanum Sacrum (Holy Roman Empire) 962-1806

The Holy Roman Empire (German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero) was a varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes. In its last centuries, it had become quite close to a union of territories.

The empire's territory was centred on the Kingdom of Germany, and included neighbouring territories, which at its peak included the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Burgundy. For much of its history, the Empire consisted of hundreds of smaller sub-units, principalities, duchies, counties, Free Imperial Cities and other domains.

The Holy Roman Empire explicitly proclaimed itself to be the successor of the Western Roman Empire under the doctrine of translatio imperii. In 962 Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor (German: Römisch-Deutscher Kaiser), although the Roman imperial title was first restored to Charlemagne by the Pope in 800. Otto was the first emperor of the realm who was not a member of the earlier Carolingian dynasty. The last Holy Roman Emperor was Francis II, who abdicated and dissolved the Empire in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

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