Christian Europe—Holy Roman Empire

912 to 1350
Henry the Fowler to Great Interregnum

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Timeline—Holy Roman Empire

AD YearEvent
962 The imperial coronation of Otto I by Pope John XII in St Peter's puts in place the formal role of a Holy Roman emperor
1024 Conrad II is elected as the German king, beginning the dynasty variously known as Franconian or Salian
1075 Pope Gregory VII decrees that only the church may make ecclesiastical appointments, thus initiating the investiture controversy between pope and emperor
1077 The emperor Henry IV stands as a penitent outside the pope's castle at Canossa, so as to be released from excommunication.
1138 Conrad III, is elected as the first Hohenstaufen King of Germany. The title remains in the family for over a century.
1152 Frederick Barbarossa becomes king of Germany and Holy Roman emperor, greatly extending the power of the empire during a long reign
1197 The three-year old Frederick II has a claim to the thrones of both Sicily and Germany on the death of his father, the emperor Henry VI
1220 Frederick II is crowned Holy Roman emperor by a somewhat reluctant pope, Honorius III
1254 The death of the last Hohenstaufen ruler, Conrad IV, leaves a vacancy on the German throne which is not filled for nineteen years
1260 The Bohemian prince Otakar II, ruler also of Austria, extends his territories after defeating the Hungarians at Kressenbrunn
1273 The period without a German king, known as the Great Interregnum, ends with the election of a Habsburg prince, Rudolf I
1278 At Durnkrut Rudolf I defeats and kills Otakar II, his rival for Austria - thus bringing the Austrian territories into the Habsburg domain
1346 Charles IV, king of Bohemia, German king and Holy Roman emperor, makes Prague a glittering centre of learning and architecture
1356 Charles IV establishes a permanent group of seven electors - four hereditary German rulers and the archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Trier
1438 The office of Holy Roman emperor becomes a hereditary title within the Habsburg dynasty
1477 Maximilian I weds Mary of Burgandy, in the first of the great marriage alliances which form the Habsburg empire
1496 Philip of Hapsburg marries Joanna of Castile. Their son Charles V reigned over both Spanish and Austrian Hapsburg Empires.

Recommended Reading—Holy Roman Empire

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)

Core Reading Assignments

Marshall - The History of Germany   Henry the Fowler to Maximilian I (32)

Supplemental Recommendations

Aston - Stories from German History   Rise of Three Kingdoms to The Aftermath (4)
Lansing - Patriots and Tyrants   Henry the Fowler to The Men of the Forest Cantons (4)
Marshall - The Story of Europe   The Feudal System to Pope versus Emperor (4)
Morris - Historical Tales: German   The Misfortunes of Duke Ernst to The Siege of Belgrade (15)
Upton - The Swiss Heroes    entire book
Upton - Barbarossa    entire book
Pyle - Otto of the Silver Hand    entire book

Easy Reading Selections

Finnemore - Germany: Peeps at History   The German Tribes to The Seven Electors (6)
Haaren - Famous Men of the Middle Ages   Henry the Fowler to Frederick Barbarossa (2)
Marshall - Stories of William Tell Told to the Children    entire book