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Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor (Latin: Imperator Romanus Sacer, German: Römisch-deutscher Kaiser) is a term used by historians to denote a medieval German ruler who had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope. After the 16th century, this elected monarch governed the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a Central European union of territories of the Medieval and Early Modern period. By convention the first Emperor was taken to be the Frankish king Charlemagne, crowned as Emperor of the West by Pope Leo III on December 25, 800, although the Empire itself (as well as the style Holy Roman Emperor) did not come into use until some time later. Holy Roman Emperors were crowned by the Popes up until the 16th century, and the last Emperor, Francis II, abdicated in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars that saw the Empire's final dissolution.
The Roman of the Emperor's title was a reflection of the translatio imperii (transfer of rule) principle that regarded the Roman-German Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, a title left unclaimed in the West after the death of Julius Nepos in 480.
The title of Emperor (Imperator) carried with it an important role as protector of the Catholic Church. As the papacy's power grew during the Middle Ages, Popes and emperors came into conflict over church administration. The best-known and bitterest conflict was that known as the Investiture Controversy, fought during the 11th century between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII.
After Charlemagne was crowned Roman Emperor by the Pope, his successors maintained the title until the death of Berengar I of Italy in 924. No pope appointed an emperor again until the coronation of Otto the Great in 962. Under Otto and his successors, much of the former Carolingian kingdom of Eastern Francia became the Holy Roman Empire. The various German princes elected one of their peers as King of the Germans, after which he would be crowned as Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope. After Charles V's coronation, all succeeding emperors were legally emperors-elect due to the lack of papal coronation, but for all practical purposes they were simply called emperors.
The term "sacrum" (i.e. "holy") in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was first used in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa. Charles V was the last Holy Roman Emperor to be crowned by the Pope. The final Holy Roman Emperor-elect, Francis II, abdicated in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars that saw the Empire's final dissolution.
The standard designation of the Holy Roman Emperor was "August Emperor of the Romans" (Romanorum Imperator Augustus). When Charlemagne was crowned in 800, his was styled as "most serene Augustus, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire," thus constituting the elements of "Holy" and "Roman" in the imperial title. The word Holy had never been used as part of that title in official documents.
The word Roman was a reflection of the translatio imperii (transfer of rule) principle that regarded the (Germanic) Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, a title left unclaimed in the West after the death of Julius Nepos in 480.
The Roman-German Emperor was crowned in a special ceremony, traditionally performed by the Pope in Rome, using the Imperial Regalia. Without that coronation, no king, despite exercising all powers, could call himself Emperor. In 1508, Pope Julius II allowed Maximilian I to use the title of Emperor without coronation in Rome, though the title was qualified as Electus Romanorum Imperator ("elected Emperor of the Romans"). Maximilian's successors adopted the same titulature, usually when they became the sole ruler of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Maximilian's first successor Charles V was the last to be crowned Emperor.
|Charles I||25 December 800||Pope Leo III||Rome, Italy|
|Louis I||5 October 816||Pope Stephen IV||Reims, France|
|Lothair I||5 April 823||Pope Paschal I||Rome, Italy|
|Louis II||15 June 844||Pope Leo IV||Rome, Italy|
|Charles II||29 December 875||Pope John VIII||Rome, Italy|
|Charles III||12 February 881||Rome, Italy|
|Guy III of Spoleto||21 February 891||Pope Stephen V||Rome, Italy|
|Lambert II of Spoleto||30 April 892||Pope Formosus||Ravenna, Italy|
|Arnulf of Carinthia||22 February 896||Rome, Italy|
|Louis III||15 or 22 February 901||Pope Benedict IV||Rome, Italy|
|Berengar||December 915||Pope John X||Rome, Italy|
|Otto I||2 February, 962||Pope John XII||Rome, Italy|
|Otto II||25 December, 967||Pope John XIII||Rome, Italy|
|Otto III||21 May, 996||Pope Gregory V||Monza, Italy|
|Henry II||14 February 1014||Pope Benedict VIII||Rome, Italy|
|Conrad II||26 March 1027||Pope John XIX||Rome, Italy|
|Henry III||25 December 1046||Pope Clement II||Rome, Italy|
|Henry IV||31 March 1084||Antipope Clement III||Rome, Italy|
|Henry V||13 April 1111||Pope Paschal II||Rome, Italy|
|Lothair III||4 June 1133||Pope Innocent II||Rome, Italy|
|Frederick I||18 June 1155||Pope Adrian IV||Rome, Italy|
|Henry VI||14 April 1191||Pope Celestine III||Rome, Italy|
|Otto IV||4 October 1209||Pope Innocent III||Rome, Italy|
|Frederick II||22 November 1220||Pope Honorius III||Rome, Italy|
|Henry VII||29 June 1312||Ghibellines cardinals||Rome, Italy|
|Louis IV||17 January 1328||Senator Sciarra Colonna||Rome, Italy|
|Charles IV||5 April 1355||Pope Innocent VI's cardinal||Rome, Italy|
|Sigismund||31 May 1433||Pope Eugenius IV||Rome, Italy|
|Frederick III||19 March 1452||Pope Nicholas V||Rome, Italy|
|Charles V||24 February 1530||Pope Clement VII||Bologna, Italy|