The Holy Roman Empire
Xiao H. Feng(Amy)
Prof. Mary A. O'Donnell
November 26, 2007
HIS 1000C (3:35-4:30)
The Holy Roman Empire was an attempt to revive the Western Roman Empire, whose legal and political structure had deteriorated during the 5th and 6th centuries and had been replaced by independent kingdoms ruled by Germanic nobles. The Roman imperial office had been vacant after Romulus Augustulus was deposed in ad 476. But, during the turbulent early Middle Ages, the popes had kept alive the traditional concept of a temporal realm coextensive with a spiritual realm of the church. The Byzantine Empire, which controlled the Eastern Roman Empire from its capital, Constantinople (now İstanbul, Turkey), retained nominal sovereignty over the territories formerly controlled by the Western Empire, and many of the Germanic tribes that had seized these territories formally recognized the Byzantine emperor as overlord. Partly because of this and also because the popes depended on Byzantine protection against the Lombards, a Germanic tribe in northern Italy, they continued to recognize the sovereignty of the Eastern Empire.
A prospective Emperor had first to be elected King of the Romans. Kings had been elected since time immemorial: in the 9th century by the leaders of the five most important tribes: the Salian Franks of Lorraine, the Riparian Franks of Franconia, and the Saxons, Bavarians, and Swabians; later by the main dukes and bishops of the kingdom; finally only by the so-called Kurfürsten (electing dukes, electors). The Emperor had to be a man of good character over 18 years. All four of his grandparents were expected to be of noble blood. No law required him to be a Catholic, though imperial law assumed that
-The Holy Roman Empire, Bryce, James, St. Martins Press, Inc., New York Page 02
he was. He did not need to be a German. At no time could the Emperor simply issue decrees and govern autonomously over the Empire. His power was severely restricted by the various local leaders: after the late 15th century, the Reichstag established itself as the legislative body of the Empire, a complicated assembly that convened irregularly at the request of the Emperor at varying locations. Only after 1663 would the Reichstag become a permanent assembly.  The first Emperor was Charlemagne, also called Charles the Great (747-814), King of the Franks from 768 to his death. He expanded the Frankish kingdoms into a Frankish Empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800, in an attempted revival of the Roman Empire in the West. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne helped define Western Europe and the Middle Ages. His rule is also associated with the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture. He also campaigned against the peoples to his east, especially the Saxons, and after a protracted war subjected them to his rule. By converting them to Christianity, he integrated them into his realm and thus paved the way for the later Ottonian dynasty.
Louis the Pious also known as Louis I, Louis the Fair, and Louis the Debonaire, was Emperor and King of the Franks from 814 to his death in 840. Louis was born at the Carolingian villa of Cassinogilum, according to Einhard and the anonymous chronicler
-The Holy Roman Empire, Bryce, James, St. Martins Press, Inc., New York P133 - Wikipedia.com
called Astronomus. He was the third son of Charlemagne by Charlemagne's second wife, Hildegard. His birth took place while his father Charlemagne was on campaign in Spain, probably at Chasseneuil, near Poitiers. Louis was crowned king of Aquitaine as a child in 781 and sent there with regents and a court. Charlemagne constituted the sub-kingdom in order to secure the border of his kingdom after his devastating defeat at...
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