UCSB > History Dept. > Prof. Marcuse > Courses > Hist 133a > Lecture 1: The Holy Roman Empire

UCSB Hist 133A, Fall 2006 (133a homepage)
19th Century Germany, Oct. 2, 2006

Prof. Marcuse (homepage)

Lecture 1:
The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation
(syllabus, next lecture)


  • Was Germany different from other European countries in a "special" way? And if so, does that "specialness" come from long-standing, deeply rooted traditions, or is it of much more recent origin?
  • Is there (was there) a powerful German penchant for order and obedience to authority?

Germany: What is it? -- Possibilities

  • Define "state," "nation," "people" (Volk), "empire" (Reich)
  • Geography of central Europe
  • Tribes, dynasties:
    486: Clovis in Gaul, 496 Franks Christian
    751: Carolingian Pepin deposes Merovingians
    771: Charlemagne (768-814=46): Lomb., Bav., Sax.
    843: Treaty of Verdun: East, Middle, West
    911: Conrad, Duke of Franconia, in East
    918: Heinrich "I" of Saxony, son Otto I
    962: Otto marries Lombard widow, anointed Holy Roman Emperor
  • Welfs in Saxony
    Wittelsbachs in Bavaria
    Hohenstaufens in Swabia
    Habichtsburg->Habsburg: Holy Roman Emperors:
    1273-1291, 1298-1308, 1438-1740, 1745-1806
    Hohenzollerns in Swabia, Brandenburg (1415), Prussia (1525)
  • 1489: Reichstag: electors and dukes (802 Aachen, 919 Fritzlar)
    1495: met at Worms; institutions: Circle Estates, Chamber Court
  • 1512: "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation:"
    7 electoral "princi"palities
    25 secular princes
    90 ecclesiastical princes
    100 countships, plus lordships, towns


  • 1226-1446: Teutonic Knights conquer, then lose eastern Lithuania
  • "Mark Brandenburg," centered on Berlin
    1525: Polish king allows Teutonic Grand Master Albrecht to create Duchy of Prussia; Albrecht Protestant since 1522
    --Reformation, Peasant uprisings, Turkish invasions--
    1555: Peace of Augsburg: "cuius regio, eius religio"
    1568: Anna marries Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg
    1600s: Catholic League and Protestant Union
    1618-48: Thirty Years War, ends with 360+ "states"
    1640-88: Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia, the Great Elector

prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Oct. 5, 2006, updated: 10/x/06
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