The Holy Roman Empire

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The Holy Roman Empire was looming to the east of France to Poland and Hungary, but it size was not as potent as it might suggest. Frankish ruled the empire and German kings for 10 centuries, from Charlemagne’s coronation in 800 until the renunciation of the imperial title in 1806. The most powerful of these lines of kings was Otto I, who helped to restore the title emperor and in many ways resembled Charlemagne such as how he fostered a revival of learning in which literature and art flourished. Such as Charlemagne had done, the German king marched into Rome to receive the crown of the Roman emperor (Augusta) from Pope John XII. For many years after this ceremony an Emperor would be proclaim in German lands which would become the Holy Roman Empire. The formative years of the Holy Roman Empire, included the papal decline and recovery of Rome in addition to the struggle for power.

A pope is in need of help from the Frankish king. After being physically attacked by his enemies in the streets of Rome. It is not known what is agreed, but Charlemagne travels to Rome in 800 to support the pope. But unexpectedly as Charlemagne rises from prayer, the pope places a crown on his head and acclaims him emperor. Charlemagne expresses displeasure but accepts the honor. The displeasure is probably diplomatic, for the legal emperor is undoubtedly the one in Constantinople. Nevertheless this public alliance between the pope and the ruler of a confederation of Germanic tribes now reflects the reality of political power in the west. And it launches the concept of the new Holy Roman Empire that will play an important role throughout the middle ages. The Holy Roman Empire only becomes formally established in the next century. But it is implicit in the title adopted by Charlemagne in 800: 'Charles, most serene Augustus, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire.'

In 962 a pope once again needs help against his Italian enemies. Again he appeals to a...
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