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The Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nations) was a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual coalition from isits (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 quipped, the Holy Roman Empire was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". (Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations, Chapter 70)

Given that the boundaries of the empire were constantly changing during it'sover its almost thousand-year history (and were rarely if ever officially defined), the cultures and languages subsumed were constantly changingin flux too. Undoubtedly, German (or the predominant dialect thereof) was the de-facto official language. Latin was also for official matters of state/ceremonies, especially during the Medieval period, given thethis modern empire's desire to ape the glory of Ancient Rome, not to mention the ubiquity of the Church in Medieval life.

A map of the Holy Roman territories cerca 1600 hints well at what languages were commonly spoken by the populace in various regions.

  • Standard German and regional West Germanic languages -- in modern Germany and adjacent regions

    Note that "Lower German" dialects (e.g. Low Saxon/Low Franconian) were commonly spoken in Northern Germany whereas "Upper German" dialects (e.g. Bavarian) were commonly spoken in Southern Germany/Austria/far north of Italy.

  • Dutch / Flemish -- in modern Netherlands/Belgium

  • French (and other Gallic languages/Langues d'oil) -- in Belgium, modern France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the oft-disputed regions of Alsace and Lorraine

  • Italian (and its northern regional dialects) (e.g. Venetian, Genoese) -- in Italy and elsewhere as a language of culture

  • Czech -- in modern day Czech Republic (ancient Bohemia/Moravia and Moravia)

  • Polish -- in modern day Poland and surrounding areas

Medieval LatinMedieval Latin (an evolution of the Classical Latin of Ancient Rome) was indeed the officialofficial language of the Holy Roman Empire for most of its history. It was in fact only changed to Standard German during the reign of Joseph II (late 18th century.) What is interesting to note, especially in the High Medieval period where the Holy Roman Empire encompassed much land and many cultures, is that Medieval Latin was the only common language between the educated (especially ecclesiastical) folk in all of its member states. It was perhaps the second great period in which Latin was the "Lingua Franca" of its day, supplanted by Standard German (even in regions such as Slavic Bohemia) by the Early Modern period.

The Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nations) was a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual coalition from is (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 quipped, the Holy Roman Empire was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". (Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations, Chapter 70)

Given that the boundaries of the empire were constantly changing during it's almost thousand-year history (and were rarely if ever officially defined), the cultures and languages subsumed were constantly changing. Undoubtedly, German (or the predominant dialect thereof) was the de-facto official language. Latin was also for official matters of state/ceremonies, especially during the Medieval period, given the modern empire's desire to ape the glory of Ancient Rome.

A map of the Holy Roman territories cerca 1600 hints at what languages were commonly spoken by the populace in various regions.

  • Standard German and regional West Germanic languages -- in modern Germany and adjacent regions

    Note that "Lower German" dialects (e.g. Low Saxon/Low Franconian) were commonly spoken in Northern Germany whereas "Upper German" dialects (e.g. Bavarian) were commonly spoken in Southern Germany/Austria/far north of Italy.

  • Dutch / Flemish -- in modern Netherlands

  • French (and other Gallic languages) -- in Belgium, modern France, Switzerland, and the oft-disputed regions of Alsace and Lorraine

  • Italian (and its northern regional dialects) (e.g. Venetian, Genoese)

  • Czech -- in modern day Czech Republic (ancient Bohemia/Moravia)

  • Polish -- in modern day Poland

Medieval Latin (an evolution of the Classical Latin of Ancient Rome) was indeed the official language of the Holy Roman Empire for most of its history. It was in fact only changed to Standard German during the reign of Joseph II (late 18th century.) What is interesting to note, especially in the High Medieval period where the Holy Roman Empire encompassed much land and many cultures, is that Medieval Latin was the only common language between the educated (especially ecclesiastical) folk in all of its member states. It was perhaps the second great period in which Latin was the "Lingua Franca" of its day, supplanted by Standard German (even in regions such as Slavic Bohemia) by the Early Modern period.

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 quipped, the Holy Roman Empire was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". (Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations, Chapter 70)

Given that the boundaries of the empire were constantly changing over its almost thousand-year history (and were rarely if ever officially defined), the cultures and languages subsumed were constantly in flux too. Undoubtedly, German (or the predominant dialect thereof) was the de-facto official language. Latin was also for official matters of state/ceremonies, especially during the Medieval period, given this modern empire's desire to ape the glory of Ancient Rome, not to mention the ubiquity of the Church in Medieval life.

A map of the Holy Roman territories cerca 1600 hints well at what languages were commonly spoken by the populace in various regions.

  • Standard German and regional West Germanic languages -- in modern Germany and adjacent regions

    Note that "Lower German" dialects (e.g. Low Saxon/Low Franconian) were commonly spoken in Northern Germany whereas "Upper German" dialects (e.g. Bavarian) were commonly spoken in Southern Germany/Austria/far north of Italy.

  • Dutch / Flemish -- in modern Netherlands/Belgium

  • French (and other Gallic languages/Langues d'oil) -- in modern France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the oft-disputed regions of Alsace and Lorraine

  • Italian (and its northern regional dialects) (e.g. Venetian, Genoese) -- in Italy and elsewhere as a language of culture

  • Czech -- in modern day Czech Republic (ancient Bohemia and Moravia)

  • Polish -- in modern day Poland and surrounding areas

Medieval Latin (an evolution of the Classical Latin of Ancient Rome) was indeed the official language of the Holy Roman Empire for most of its history. It was in fact only changed to Standard German during the reign of Joseph II (late 18th century.) What is interesting to note, especially in the High Medieval period where the Holy Roman Empire encompassed much land and many cultures, is that Medieval Latin was the only common language between the educated (especially ecclesiastical) folk in all of its member states. It was perhaps the second great period in which Latin was the "Lingua Franca" of its day, supplanted by Standard German (even in regions such as Slavic Bohemia) by the Early Modern period.

5 added 126 characters in body
source | link

The Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nations) was a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual coalition from is (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 quipped, the Holy Roman Empire was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". (Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations, Chapter 70)

Given that the boundaries of the empire were constantly changing during it's almost thousand-year history (and were rarely if ever officially defined), the cultures and languages subsumed were constantly changing. Undoubtedly, German (or the predominant dialect thereof) was the de-facto official language. Latin was also for official matters of state/ceremonies, especially during the Medieval period, given the modern empire's desire to ape the glory of Ancient Rome.

A map of the Holy Roman territories cerca 1600 hints at what languages were commonly spoken by the populace in various regions.

Holy Roman Empire, c. 1600

These would have included the following:

  • Standard German and regional West Germanic languages -- in modern Germany and adjacent regions

    Note that "Lower German" dialects (e.g. Low Saxon/Low Franconian) were commonly spoken in Northern Germany whereas "Upper German" dialects (e.g. Bavarian) were commonly spoken in Southern Germany/Austria/far north of Italy.

  • Dutch / Flemish -- in modern Netherlands

  • French (and other Gallic languages) -- in Belgium, modern France, Switzerland, and the oft-disputed regions of Alsace and Lorraine

  • Italian (and its northern regional dialects) (e.g. Venetian, Genoese)

  • Czech -- in modern day Czech Republic (ancient Bohemia/Moravia)

  • Polish -- in modern day Poland

Undoubtedly I have missed out a few, but the above list should cover the predominant languages within the (stable) boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, noting where appropiate the diversity of dialects of some languages that was extremely prevalent during the medieval and early modern periods of history.

Medieval Latin (an evolution of the Classical Latin of Ancient Rome) was indeed the official language of the Holy Roman Empire for most of its history. It was in fact only changed to Standard German during the reign of Joseph II (late 18th century.) What is interesting to note, especially in the High Medieval period where the Holy Roman Empire encompassed much land and many cultures, is that Medieval Latin was the only common language between the educated (especially ecclesiastical) folk in all of its member states. It was perhaps the second great period in which Latin was the "Lingua Franca" of its day, supplanted by Standard German (even in regions such as Slavic Bohemia) by the Early Modern period.

References

Please feel free to add/improve on references, especially secondary ones. Some of the information in this post is admittedly from old history lessons of mine/sources I have forgotten.

The Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nations) was a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual coalition from is (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 quipped, the Holy Roman Empire was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". (Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations, Chapter 70)

Given that the boundaries of the empire were constantly changing during it's almost thousand-year history (and were rarely if ever officially defined), the cultures and languages subsumed were constantly changing. Undoubtedly, German (or the predominant dialect thereof) was the de-facto official language. Latin was also for official matters of state/ceremonies, especially during the Medieval period, given the modern empire's desire to ape the glory of Ancient Rome.

A map of the Holy Roman territories cerca 1600 hints at what languages were commonly spoken by the populace in various regions.

Holy Roman Empire, c. 1600

These would have included the following:

  • Standard German and regional West Germanic languages -- in modern Germany and adjacent regions

    Note that "Lower German" dialects (e.g. Low Saxon/Low Franconian) were commonly spoken in Northern Germany whereas "Upper German" dialects (e.g. Bavarian) were commonly spoken in Southern Germany/Austria/far north of Italy.

  • Dutch / Flemish -- in modern Netherlands

  • French (and other Gallic languages) -- in Belgium, modern France, Switzerland, and the oft-disputed regions of Alsace and Lorraine

  • Italian (and its northern regional dialects) (e.g. Venetian, Genoese)

  • Czech -- in modern day Czech Republic (ancient Bohemia/Moravia)

  • Polish -- in modern day Poland

Undoubtedly I have missed out a few, but the above list should cover the predominant languages within the (stable) boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, noting where appropiate the diversity of dialects of some languages that was extremely prevalent during the medieval and early modern periods of history.

Medieval Latin (an evolution of the Classical Latin of Ancient Rome) was indeed the official language of the Holy Roman Empire for most of its history. It was in fact only changed to Standard German during the reign of Joseph II (late 18th century.)

References

The Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nations) was a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual coalition from is (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 quipped, the Holy Roman Empire was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". (Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations, Chapter 70)

Given that the boundaries of the empire were constantly changing during it's almost thousand-year history (and were rarely if ever officially defined), the cultures and languages subsumed were constantly changing. Undoubtedly, German (or the predominant dialect thereof) was the de-facto official language. Latin was also for official matters of state/ceremonies, especially during the Medieval period, given the modern empire's desire to ape the glory of Ancient Rome.

A map of the Holy Roman territories cerca 1600 hints at what languages were commonly spoken by the populace in various regions.

Holy Roman Empire, c. 1600

These would have included the following:

  • Standard German and regional West Germanic languages -- in modern Germany and adjacent regions

    Note that "Lower German" dialects (e.g. Low Saxon/Low Franconian) were commonly spoken in Northern Germany whereas "Upper German" dialects (e.g. Bavarian) were commonly spoken in Southern Germany/Austria/far north of Italy.

  • Dutch / Flemish -- in modern Netherlands

  • French (and other Gallic languages) -- in Belgium, modern France, Switzerland, and the oft-disputed regions of Alsace and Lorraine

  • Italian (and its northern regional dialects) (e.g. Venetian, Genoese)

  • Czech -- in modern day Czech Republic (ancient Bohemia/Moravia)

  • Polish -- in modern day Poland

Undoubtedly I have missed out a few, but the above list should cover the predominant languages within the (stable) boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, noting where appropiate the diversity of dialects of some languages that was extremely prevalent during the medieval and early modern periods of history.

Medieval Latin (an evolution of the Classical Latin of Ancient Rome) was indeed the official language of the Holy Roman Empire for most of its history. It was in fact only changed to Standard German during the reign of Joseph II (late 18th century.) What is interesting to note, especially in the High Medieval period where the Holy Roman Empire encompassed much land and many cultures, is that Medieval Latin was the only common language between the educated (especially ecclesiastical) folk in all of its member states. It was perhaps the second great period in which Latin was the "Lingua Franca" of its day, supplanted by Standard German (even in regions such as Slavic Bohemia) by the Early Modern period.

References

Please feel free to add/improve on references, especially secondary ones. Some of the information in this post is admittedly from old history lessons of mine/sources I have forgotten.

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