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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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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 ...


1

Given the southward spread, Slovenian was likely spoken within the Empire as well. Also Romansch, the fourth language of Switzerland. Not sure how much Polish was spoken; though the Empire overlaps modern Poland, remember that Poland was forcibly moved 300 miles to the west by the Soviets. The northern overlap is Brandenburg/Prussia, which would have been ...



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