I don't understand how the HRE worked

I don't understand how the HRE worked.
In what ways was this more than a bunch of independent states?

What were the powers of the Emperor from 1500 and on?

Why did great powers like Spain or Austria even bother with the religious and administrative affairs of independent states?
Finding information about the specific practical organization of the HRE is hard, at least online.
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You really think anyone knows how the HRE was even a thing past Charlemagne?

The HRE didnt exists in Charlemagne' time
When the Frankish Empire divided in 843, the glorious Western part became the Kingdom of France, and the shitty Eastern part became the Kingdom of Germany (which renamed itself into "HRE" in 962)

The agglomeration which called itself and still does call itself the Holy Roman empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.

This conglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire is in reality Wicked, Hunnic and a Caliphate

I like this meme

>In what ways was this more than a bunch of independent states?
A single emperor

The HRE was like the European Union today, only much more decentralized and the member states much more autonomous than the present countries of the European Union, and the emperor was a symbolic figure no more politically relevant than Queen Elizabeth today.

>Hey I'm a subject of the emperor!
>Dude, you are? Me too! Hey, if you're ever in trouble, I got your back bro!

And that's all it was good for.

>Dude, you are? Me too! Hey, if you're ever in trouble, I got your back bro!
But it wasn't a defensive alliance as stated in the other thread.
Many countries were happy to attack hre states without every facing some sort of major confederation.

There were wars between the HRE states all the time. Nobody gave a shit about the emperor too.

It still had some relevance as some kind of defence associaton until the 18th century


tiresome for anyone who has been here longer than a day
It's baneposting 2.0 without the creativity

also lurking this thread for answers

Half the states were prince bishoprics. The emperor de facto chose who the bishops were (look into what the investiture controversy was about), so they were mostly loyal to him.

So, you ended up with a status quo: the princes couldn't take on the bishops, nor the other way around without total fucking chaos...which came to a head in the reformation, when the princes finally decided to say "fuck bishops and fuck the pope too".

Wasn't in the beginnings of 30 years war that the states/duchies etc. had alliance pacts that give them rights to call each other for assistance in case of conflict.

..and this lead to that basically the half of the "nation" could be at war against the other half, and according to law you didn't need to notify or call the emperor for guidance/negotiation

When was the last time that the empire increased its territory ? Why did it stop after that ?

>The HRE
>Founded by Charlemagne

You must be a murrican...

I still don't get why this is such a popular view among murricans.

But it was. It may have changed titles later, but was one continuous realm for almost 1000 years.

The HRE had 800 years of history.

Sometimes, the Emperors were the most powerful men in Europe by far (Barbarossa). Sometimes, they were extremely weak and had as much power as the early Capetian kings of France.

Maximilian I spent his childhood going from place to place because his father would be losing wars. The crown of the Holy Roman Emperor was the most prestigious of all, but they didn't have a lot of power.

That's wrong, fagget


The Carolingian regime in Germany fell apart and it was in the 900s that the Saxon Ottonians united the other German Dukes and Nobles to elect Henry the Fowler as King. This is in the distinct Germanic idea of Kingship as being more of a first among equals.

Henry's son Otto was a great guy who fought off Magyars and Avars and went through Italy and allied with the pope and was crowned as Emperor and King of the Romans.

This would be the precedent for a long time: The German Nobles would elect a King and then the King would go to Rome and get crowned by the Pope. The Emperor's power would change as time went on: sometimes the Emperor could appoint Nobles to the various Duchies like it was an Office like Secretary of Treasury in the U.S. Government today, and other times he wasn't even allowed to call an alliance from his "vassals"

The Imperial Office was most powerful under the Hohenstaufens, who came from Swabia and had seized control in Naples and Sicily and were hated by the Pope. And though they had great power in Germany, the Emperor Frederick II gave up the power in Germany by giving it to nobles to make them love him so he can go and try to conquer Italy, which he cared about much more.

Frederick II died and then there was a sort of "Anarchy" in the Empire where multiple people both in and outside of the traditional borders of the Empire were calling themselves Emperor at once. There was the candidate the German Princes here elected, then there was the one the German princes there elected, there was the candidate the Pope supported, there was the Candidate the French King supported.

Eventually the German Princes decided to get together and elect some WEAK landholder as Emperor, someone that they could control and would be more amiable to the power they wanted. So they decided to elect the Pro-Hohenstaufen Count of some backwater Castle in the alps named Rudolf, his castle named Habsburg. (continued)

The German nobles didn't realize that Rudolf was an incredibly able commander and vicious statesman. By maneuvering he had given his sons the Duchies of Austria and Styria, which set the whole Habsburg thing off earlier.

But there was a problem in the Empire's system evident right now, which was in the way the Kings were elected. It would be in 1356 that there was a mass sort of redrafting of the Imperial Constitution, which basically said that not just anybody could vote for the Emperor, and so they chose three bishops and four princes to decide it. The Duke of Austria was excluded from this because the Emperor at the time was the Luxembourg King of Bohemia Charles IV.

Eventually though the Habsburgs got control of Bohemia and of enough of the Rhineland.

Okay I give up

To summarize:


Well, no. The Emperor was called King of the Romans, and for a good period he would get his legitimacy and Imperial crown from Rome. It was also very religious.

Le happy Golden Bull

This basically institutionalized the functioning of the HRE as a meme Empire ever after since that turbulent period of transition between the last true Emperor, Federico Barbosa, and le happy Golden Bull of 1356.

Why would the bishoprics even agree with his decision? Why bother with an emperor that has no more means of pressure than any other nations around?

Also if they were so supportive, why didn't they ever help him in all his wars?

Why elect an emperor then? Why not just say fuck it and unilaterally declare independence?

i thought the whole reason it was named "holy roman empire" in the first place was because charlemagne was the first holy roman emperor

ALL German kings and emperors, even based Wilhelm II., were genetically linked to Charlemagne.

You can't say that about any other realm outside or within the borders of the Frankish realm, therefore the HRE was the only legitimate successor.


Charlemagne was a Frankish Emperor
The name HRE was invented by Germancucks centuries after the Frankish Empire died, in a desperate attempt to suck on Rome's glory

ok but it was a pope that named him emperor of the romans. so the holy was added later right?

>The emperor de facto chose who the bishops were (look into what the investiture controversy was about)
You've got it backwards. The emperor got to have his views on the matter heard and it was considered, but it was the Pope who ultimately appointed the bishops. With the power of excommunication, the emperor couldn't do much more than try and force a compromise.

>Charlemagne was a Frankish Emperor

Frankish Emperor wasn't a legal thing, it means two things:

>A historiographical term from Charlemagne empire.
>The term the Byzantines used to delegitimize Charlemagne's realm "romaness". For this reason the Westerns called the ERE the "Empire of the Greeks".

Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans in 800, and so was Otto in 961, the Holy suffix showed centuries later.

But you're just a memester, I don't know why I'm wasting my time.


I don't see a link between Charlemagne's tree and the Habsburg tree in your link


However, you're wasting your time. Veeky Forums is a rather crappy board for actual history since it's mostly visited by children with a tangential interest in history, i.e. the types of people who watch "The Deadliest Warrior" on TV.

Because that's not how it worked, you couldn't just "declare independence" because your title and the area you ruled over was not independent in the first place. You had a contractual obligation to your liege and a constitution in place binding you. You need to consider this in a medieval mindset, everyone is born to a place where they belong to make society work. The Emperor was important to society because of the ceremony and occasionally he could make a good judge if you had a dispute with the baron over the river or something.

Good catch!

how did they not notice the first habsburg guy was actually smart? how stupid can you be?

They probably saw him as a little savvy, but not dangerously so. They also were convinced that he just didn't have the resources to pull off any funny business, though that was false because he was pretty dang powerful since he was running into a lotta cash early on.

Also, hindsight is 20/20, so luck is also an element.

They knew he was "smart", but he was just a irrelevant Swiss count, no one could predict he would have such a stellar rise.

It was Ottokar of Bohemia refusal to submit to him that gave Rudolf a pretext to conquer Austria and Styria. Oh, he also conquered Carinthia, but people were afraid of his rise and forced him to give it up.