Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire

Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire

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The Holy Roman Empire lasted a thousand years, far longer than ancient Rome. Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire distilled the disdain of generations when he quipped it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states. And its legacy can be seen today in debates over the nature of the European Union.

Heart of Europe traces the Empire from its origins within Charlemagne’s kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. By the mid-tenth century its core rested in the German kingdom, and ultimately its territory stretched from France and Denmark to Italy and Poland. Yet the Empire remained stubbornly abstract, with no fixed capital and no common language or culture. The source of its continuity and legitimacy was the ideal of a unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with the pope over supremacy—the nadir being the sack of Rome in 1527 that killed 147 Vatican soldiers.

Though the title of Holy Roman Emperor retained prestige, rising states such as Austria and Prussia wielded power in a way the Empire could not. While it gradually lost the flexibility to cope with political, economic, and social changes, the Empire was far from being in crisis until the onslaught of the French revolutionary wars, when a crushing defeat by Napoleon at Austerlitz compelled Francis II to dissolve his realm.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781515913900
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 06/13/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Peter H. Wilson is Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

List of Tables xiii

Maps xv

Family Trees xlvii

Note on Form lxiii

Acknowledgements lxv

Introduction 1

Part I Ideal

1 Two Swords 19

2 Christendom 77

3 Sovereignty 137

Part II Belonging

4 Lands 179

5 Identities 233

6 Nation 255

Part III Governance

7 Kingship 295

8 Territory 353

9 Dynasty 412

Part IV Society

10 Authority 485

11 Association 547

12 Justice 603

13 Afterlife 655

Glossary 687

Appendix 1 Emperors 800-1806 693

Appendix 2 German Kings to 1519 695

Appendix 3 Kings of Italy 774-962 697

Chronology 699

List of Abbreviations 755

Notes 757

Index 885

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Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A masterful work of immense scale, demonstrating the highest level of rigor and erudition. As with the author's previous publication covering the Thirty Years War, the writing is lively and engaging, bringing to life a fascinating and important part of Europe's past. Not to be missed and unlikely to be surpassed anytime in the near future. Not coffee table "picture book" history, (nor a scandal narrative of court intrigue) this is true scholarship at it's finest. To dismiss the book as "boring" (as another reviewer has), strongly suggests little interest or background in the subject matter... Literary reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredibly boring. Don't waste your money. I love history books but this was so dry it was painful to finish.