Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo ) was a varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe. It grew out of East Francia, one of the primary divisions of the Frankish Empire. 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 lies predominantly in Central Europe and at its peak included territories of the Kingdom of Germany, Kingdom of Bohemia, 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 ("transfer of rule" via a succession of singular rulers vested with supreme power). In 962 Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor (Latin: Imperator Romanus Sacer), 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.

Read more about Holy Roman Empire:  Name, Institutions

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