/his/ enthusiast here. I think it'd be fun to get to discussing some interesting history.
What does everyone think of the Holy Roman Empire? I've always been fascinated by the other Roman states and empires, but this is one I never much read up on. I've only ever heard bad things on it, such as it in truth only being a loose group of small kingdoms all more interested in fighting each other than being a group, how true is that?
How so? I know they formed themselves off the idea that they had papal support, and were the ultimate christians, basing themselves off Rome, and controlled a large amount of land under an Emperor. What makes the title wrong?
Well the 'not holy' part comes from the idea that most of the emperor spent a good portion of their rule disputing claims with the Papacy. Not Roman is self evident in the fact that most of the rulers were Germanic, who were the enemies of Rome back at the time of the Emptire. Not an empire is the play on the idea that it was merely a loose confederation of barons who spent as much time warring on each other as they did other people.
The HRE being shat upon is basically an instance of revisionism - in the 1800s, when everyone first got this cancerous idea about nationalism and the nation-state being the best way to organise the world, it was decided that the nation-state was also the "natural" way of organising the world, a verdict projected backwards into history. So an entire trend started in historical writing where "strong" states, in the French revolutionary model, were praised, and "weak" states, like the HRE, villified and mocked.
That's not to say it wasn't a flawed entity deserving of a lot of the shit people laughed at it for. But the HRE in the form we're talking about was really the first modern attempt at a multinational federal state, and it has to be said it managed itself a lot better than most of the other examples we've seen since. The HRE's strength was in its weakness - you could never actually beat the damn thing because it didn't have a head. I think it's an example to be learned from, not made fun of.
Sorry for rambling. Here's a cute girl.
Italians are faggots, Greeks even more so, Russians aren't even human. On my true successor to the Roman Empire reporting in.
On a more serious note, I love the Holy Roman Empire. It's an absolutely fascinating region, especially during the medieval and Renaissance periods. Cultural and economic power player in central Europe despite being fractured into a million little pieces. I wish it had any modern existence in the public consciousness but it never comes up in American schooling.
Nice spouting of nonsense.
That is a "saying" from the 18th century, referring to the 18th century HRE, which supposedly derives from Voltaire.
The medieval HRE was not just "an" Empire, in the sense of a multi-ethnic state, which is modern terminology, but it was THE Empire, ruled by THE Emperor, mandated by the Bishop of Rome and crowned - through him - by god (a deo corronatus imperator) and it was thus rightfully both Holy and Roman.
The 18th century HRE was obviously a shadow of its former self, but the medieval HRE was a very different beast.
Don't get me wrong, it was a marvel for it's time that such a powerful entity could exist, especially given how long it lasted as a relevant political entity. It's just very easy to poke fun at it.
>Cultural and economic power player in central Europe despite being fractured into a million little pieces
I would argue that the fractured nature was part of the reason why it was such a culturally important and wealthy region.
The free cities of the Empire gave commoners lots of economic freedoms and they became important centres of commerce, which allowed both craftsmanship and art to flourish.
I actually really liked your answer. I think it's interesting how it did at least attempt to be a large, culture spanning state. Plus it was interesting in that it really didn't have a single capital either, that just depending on what the Emperor's favorite city at the time was.
It did a lot of things different than many medieval states, and it's great for people to appreciate that.
Well not a lot does come up in American schooling, much less European medieval states. That at least encourages self study, which is what I tend to do here.
>It's just very easy to poke fun at it.
I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is historical inaccuracy. That Voltaire quote simply doesn't characterise the HRE throughout the entirety of its existence and it's spouted all over the internet, usually coming from a position of complete ignorance not just regarding the HRE but regarding the middle ages period as a whole. Especially in the western world, people know surprisingly little about it and the use of that quote is usually a symptom of it - even though it may not necessarily apply to you specifically.
>that just depending on what the Emperor's favorite city at the time was.
More specifically, whatever city the Emperor owned at the time was. So the Habsburgs might make it Vienna or they might make it Prague, but they certainly weren't going to move to Bayreuth if they could help it.
it's definitely reminiscent of the itinerant courts of other feudal kingdoms, and I guess part of the criticism the HRE gets is that they maintained this state while everyone else was developing central government.
So much about the HRE's early modern institutions is deserving of study. Its potential really was wasted by the neglect of the Habsburg emperor post-Westphalia. In the end that was what finished it off; simple greed on the part of its rulers, who found it more fun to be absolutist in their hereditary lands than to try to nurture the alternate form of state-building that was the HRE (not that you can entirely blame them, given the complexity of the thing). The myth is that the HRE fell apart because it was weak - it fell apart because its rulers wanted to be strong.
Voltaire, of course, was very firmly a believer in "strong" states. People don't seem to understand that he had his biases against an entity like the HRE.
It was held together by religion, therefore Holy. It claimed succession from Rome via translatio imperii, therefore Roman. And it was ruled by the Emperor, therefore Empire.
It's not misleading at all.
It was Holy in the regard that it had the blessing of the Church. Roman in the regard that it was the successor to the (Christian) Roman Empire, mandated by the Roman Pope and it was most certainly an Empire - both in the sense of being multi-ethnic, given the fact that it wasn't just Germanic but contained parts of Italy and Bohemia as well as well as due to being the Empire in name, since during the middle ages there was no such acute terminology around.
In the legal sense it was a continuation of Rome. Tradition and culture aren't the only defining criteria of what is Roman - we also have to acknowledge that officially the HRE remained a legal successor to the Roman Empire for all of its existence, however dubious that succession is. The Roman part of the name may be a technicality more than anything, but it isn't inaccurate.
Indeed. The Germans were more innovative than the Romans, they ended the religious strife that had been ripping apart Christian nations for ages and instead of an Empire they were a union of states, much like the EU today.
I really wish I knew more about them, but it's so complex when they're all separated into separated states. Any member that's worth reading more into? Except Brandenburg, Saxony and Switzerland ofc
>I can agree on the holy part but they are in no way Roman since they didn't continue the traditions and culture like the Byzantines did.
The point is: they had the mandate by the Bishop of Rome. If the pope says you're successor to the Roman Empire, then you are. Whether they were Roman in culture or not doesn't really matter - not to mention that this wasn't their aim.
>It was hardly an empire to since it was just a coalition of different kingdoms in conflict with each other.
It wasn't just "an" Empire, it was THE Empire due to being ruled by THE Emperor, i.e. the man mandated to be the successor to the tradition of the Christian Roman Emperors crowned through god by the pope. Whether it had Imperial ambition and qualities in a modern sense, is an analytical debate that can be had, but by claiming it wasn't an Empire you're applying a modern definition to history, when in fact, the normative power of the factual defined the term "Empire". Empire was, whatever the HRE was, due to its legal mandate.
>If the pope says you're
Is that so? Seeing how it was barbarians that took over Rome after it's collapse, I think it's fair to say that the actual Romans that were in the Eastern Side deserve to be actual Romans.
It's like somehow America fell and a bunch of people come in claiming to be American but a large amount are still settled but not in America.
Actually, it was less an issue of being "taken over". The whole thing about Barbarian invasions is blown way out of proportion. The Germanic princes were quite formally invited.
>I think it's fair to say that the actual Romans that were in the Eastern Side deserve to be actual Romans.
The East had its own cultures and traditions. I don't think they were significantly closer to the original Rome, not to mention that culture is not a static thing and the late Roman period hardly resembled previous periods.
Really? I had thought all of the Byzantine's enemies called them Roman. They had tons of Greeks sure, but their citizens call themselves Roman.
Why not? The capital got sacked multiple times and then when the Papal States were formed you have essentially non Romans situated in Rome
>The East had it's own culture and traditions
Far from it. The only thing different was the higher Greek influence, other than that, everything was fully Roman. Hell they were even successful in keeping a library of knowledge about Roman and Greek stuff.
Roman is a nationality, different generations are going to have different views on how to handle their civilization.
>The only thing different was the higher Greek influence, other than that, everything was fully Roman.
The Germans called the Byzantine Empire "the Greek Empire", IIRC. It was a deliberate snub of the Byzantine claim to the legacy of Rome.
>HRE more successful and long-lived than any of the roman empires
>lel but it wasn't roman or holy
But any semblance of Roman order in Rome was gone when it collapsed. I think the only reason they didn't try to rename it or something is due to a serious case of Stockholm syndrome.
That's an interesting position. The general consensus on the German Confederation is that it took the late HRE's major problems - weak central control, leading to a series of highly centralised federal units that treated their people like shit and had no interest in reforming or even managing the federal body itself - and lacked pretty much all of its strengths. What would you say to that?
You'd think the collapse of an empire would lead to chaos and infighting, but instead all the german states reconciled and decided to live in order. Until Otto von Bismarck made a huge mistake.
>france is white
>spain is red and black
Why would you even say that
It would have needed a common currency and customs free trade. That's what Bismarck should've done. That's the only thing he should've done.
Germans are actually many different nations since ancient times. Most have their own country within the republic now. 16 in total. The "Reich" thing was more or less artificial from the very beginning, I'm afraid. The current German state seems to fit the Germans like a shoe because the 16 countries are very sovereign voices in economy and politics. And they make sure to be appeased to. Germans can only exist like this because the era from 1815 to 1866 almost worked but then Bismarck came, made it work, but also overdid and blew it.