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35

The Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nations) was a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual coalition from its (unofficial) founding by Charlemagne in the 9th century AD. The German Empire would be a better term in fact, as it was founded and typically ruled by Germanic peoples. (Charlemagne himself was a Frank.) As Voltaire once perceptively ...


19

The Holy Roman Empire actually persisted into the early 19th century. At this time it was centralized in the loosely defined and allied Germanic states/kingdoms. Following the rise of Napoleon and the defeat of many different, unaligned German kingdoms' forces by Napoleon's forces, Napoleon was able to sweep across the nation we now know as Germany. One of ...


15

Mainly German, but a lot of literature wasn't vernacular (in your language) until after the printing press, so Latin was used to read books (if you were educated). Italian was also used in the southern part of the HRE. (Pulled from A History of Western Society by John McKay)


11

While Kutná Hora was producing silver, I don't think that this commodity or any other commodity (and surely not one stolen from a colony – colonies didn't really exist) was the main driver behind the glory of the Golden Era – although the silver was obviously needed for our hard currency, the Prague Groschen (picture below). The true reasons were ...


10

The three ecclesiastic electorates; Trier, Cologne, and Mainz have well documented lists of the Archbishop-Electors who served and at what times. The majority of them in the latter period of the Holy Roman Empire are indeed of noble descent. However, John I of Trier is presumably to have been of commoner descent, as stated in this 1881 publication by ...


10

I am sorry this is the only thing I could find. because the royal court was constantly moving, Frederik's library was dispersed in many different places; the part that he carried with him, so presumably the dearest one, was seized by his enemies, and thus likely divided as loot between different factions; parts were left in his different residencies; of ...


9

Officially it collapsed after falling to Napoleon with the 4th treaty of Pressburg, but had been fading for some time before that. The empire was pretty decentrized in nature, but various events such as the Peace of Westphalia after the thirty years war, which granted dominions effectively independence in all but name. Nations, especially the Hapsburgs in ...


9

It didn't - Germany was united several times even prior to the unification of France, Spain or England under strong central governments. Otto I and Frederick I (Barbarossa) being two examples of Emperors who united Germany long before Spain united under the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469; Louis XIV captivated his nobles and courtiers at ...


8

As a bride, Marie Antoniette might have been disliked by some due to the longstanding conflict between the two dynasties. But in terms of legitimacy, I'm not sure what could be illegitimate about being an Archduchess of Austria. Indeed, I'm not sure how one could ask for a more legitimate bride than a princess of Europe's most prestigious royal house. In ...


8

Imagine the USA electoral process: you don't technically elect the president, you elect someone into the electoral college of your state who elects for the president every 4 years, and you elect some members of congress and the senate every 2. Now imagine that congress doesn't exist, every state gets 1 appointed senator, and you, the filthy lowborn ...


7

- How were the borders of small European principalities maintained or secured? They weren't, really. Even accurate maps didn't exist until sometime in the late 18th century when the Longitude Problem was solved. However, as all of these little sovereignties were the personal possession of their sovereign, this did not affect the common people in their ...


7

It was an internal fight in Sienna, Karl IV supported the party of twelve (Dodicini), probably seeking to extend his influence in the city. According to the German Wikipedia article on the topic, the Dodicini originally came to power with the help of the Salimbeni family and were favored by Karl IV. They didn't stay long and were replaced by a new council ...


6

In a decree "Golden Bull of 1356" which sets the election system of the Holy Roman Emperor, there was written that the elector sons should speak the three imperial languages - German, Italian and Czech.


6

To build on GPierce's answer, the HRE functionally collapsed much before that time. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) had really taken a toll on the HRE's central government. It left the country politically and religiously divided, which was a major issue to unification at that point in time. The country was ruled by princes who controlled city states that ...


6

"It is chivalry that has no equal in the world; without seeing it with your own eyes, its vigor and splendor is impossible to imagine." (Cosimo Brunetti, 1676) The answer is both "yes", as it's completely different kind of hussars that the one mentioned in the question about effectiveness of Cossack cavalry, and "no", as there were around 20000 horses in ...


5

The striking thing was that France and Austria had been political rivals going back to the time of Francis I (France) and Charles V (Austria). Until the mid 18th century. After winning the 100 Years' War, France became the strongest power in western Europe. Spain and Austria (counting the Holy Roman Empire) were two and three, and when Princess Juana of ...


5

After some reading up I have the beginnings of an answer here, I think. The partition of the Habsburg lands actually took place in 1521 (The pact of Worms) and 1522 (The pact of Brussels), way before Philip II was even born. By the Worms and Brussels agreements, which were actually family documents and not diplomatic instruments, Charles's brother ...


5

Andrew Wheatcroft's The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe contains the argument that both the Habsburg Empire (in the West) and the Ottoman Empire (in the East) considered themselves to be successors of the Roman Empire by the 17th century. Wheatcroft points out that both empires ascended almost in parallel: Frederick III ...


5

It is widely held that Gustavus Adolphus sought to become emperor. This is not a modern development, either. In fact, some of his own contemporaries thought Gustavus intended to create a Protestant Germany with him as emperor. The intervention was a war of conquest, it can be claimed ... Historians who have taken this line of reasoning have often ...


4

The nearest modern equivalent to what the Holy Roman Empire was is a federation. It consisted of a large set (up to 1.800) semi-independent areas. When elected, the Holy Roman Empire would not gain complete control over these areas, instead these areas all had their own rule or administration which was generally inherited.


4

Here's what I've collected from various sources up to this time: Hungarian Holy Lance Historians agree that one of them belonged to Saint Stephen, first king of Hungary. Otto III took a crown for Stephen I to Gniezno and it was sent from there to Hungary, but no sources I could find clarify if the spear came to Hungary the same way. This "Polish route" is ...


4

You have confused the very real changes that occurred to the borders over the 170 years from roughly 1520 to 1700 with the concept that the borders were vague throughout that time. That span of years encompasses both the Thirty Years War in Germany, the Eighty years War of Dutch Independence, the War of the League of Augsburg, and several smaller conflicts. ...


4

The problem with doing that is that there was an established precedent in Western Europe that an "emperor" had to be proclaimed as such by the pope. Even Napoleon, who held a popular referendum on his accession to Emperor, required a Papal ceremony to make it official. For a protestant ruler, that's obviously not going to happen. Now, he could I suppose ...


3

The key phrase I had been looking for to define the type of monarchy you mean is an Elective Monarchy. The description for this type of monarchy is: An elective monarchy is a monarchy ruled by an elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance. The manner of election, the ...


2

The Holy Roman Empire was never a real "country," but rather a motley confederation of mostly independent (mostly German-speaking) states. During the Middle Ages, it did, however, prove itself capable of rallying behind an elected Emperor for crusading or other religious purposes. In contrast to other answerers above, I date the (de facto, not de jure) ...


2

My answer is only hinted at the following piece. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_I_of_Bohemia But there is a key line that says that Bohemia escaped the Black Plague that affected much of the rest of Europe. That would be sufficient to attract "flight capital" from the rest of Europe seeking a "safe haven" from afflicted areas. Bohemia appears to be ...


2

For Charlemagne's feelings about being crowned emperor, I quote from The Civilization of the Middle Ages by Norman F Cantor, chapter six "The Making of Carolingian Kingship": On Christmas day, 800, as Charlemagne rose from prayer before the tomb of St. Peter, Pope Leo suddenly placed the crown on the king's head, and the well-rehearsed Roman clergy ...


1

The Holy Roman Empire, as an "empire", did not have a territory of its own. It must be understood in the context of feudalism: a number of princes/kings/bishops/whatever were tied, through sworn allegiance, to the elected Emperor. In a way, we can say that the Empire extended exactly as far as these constituent elements extended. On the other hand, the ...


1

In 1485 the House of Wettin split into the Ernestine and Albertine branches, splitting Saxony between them. During the Schmalkaldic War the two branches were headed by John Frederick I and Maurice, respectively Elector of Saxony (Ernestine) and Duke of Saxony (Albertine). The normal distinction between the two sovereignties was made through distinguishing ...


1

Other nations were formed as a result of major wars, some would say civil wars. Arguably the first nation-state was that of France, after the end of the Hundred Years' War in 1453. If you've been at war for over 100 years, it really defines your loyalties. Spain was defined by the war that united Andulusia with Castile, ending in 1492, then an 1640 war ...



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