Holy Roman Empire = one nation...

Nikephoros

Banned
Well, a start would be Charlemagne's sons being less power hungry. Other than that, I don't see a unified HRE.
 
In 1200 AD nothing in Europe was a unified country. The modern state apparatus didn't even start to exist until about the 16th C. I'd say th HRE's best chance is to gank Richelieu, and have Ferdinand's reforms work, absent French warmongering.
 
"Nation" usually denotes a single people. So if it is used in a word like "nation-state" that would be an independent country made of a single people. So Ireland for instance would be the Irish nation-state. Basically, the word nation used to mean a tribe. So the Visigoths were a nation, the Franks were a nation. So when you say HRE=one nation that would then mean the Holy Roman Empire being made up of a single tribe. So perhaps having the HRE only encompassing Franks. A better idea might be the whole idea of a Hun-ruled Roman Empire. So the one nation would be Huns.

And your question (how to unite the HRE)- has been asked and answered numberless times. Do a search of the archives.
 

General Zod

Banned
A question: do you mean the Carolingian Empire, or the Holy Empire of the German Nation ? Assuming you mean the latter, under the typical use of the name, well, you must POD a successful imperial dynasty to stay in power a century and more without dysruptive interregnums or feudal civil war, and make a successful ongoing effort to contain the power of the big feudal lords and the free cities, turn the empire first effectively then legally heriditary, establish a working secular bureaucracy and/or prevent the ecclesiastical one from escaping control, win the Investiture Controversy and defeat theocratic popes.

Good POD candidates are Otton III surviving, Frederick I Barbarossa not drowning in the Third Crusade and taking Jerusalem, and/or Henry VI surviving managing the Erbreichsplan to pass and/or conquering Jerusalem with a successful crusade, and educating Frederick II to work like a German Emperor with possessions in Southern Italy instead of the reverse. A successful string of strong Emperors from Barbarossa to Frederick II with no regency and no Constitutions giving away key powers to feudal lords would have likely worked. Those emperors consolidating a power base in Germany would have given them the resources to defeat the theocratic popes of the 13th Century and submit the communes of Italy.


As a result, no Hohenstaufen catasthrophe and Great Interregnum in the late 13th Century, and Germany and Italy emerge as unitary states within a multinational empire since the 1300s. They might or might not separate later, or remain combined till modern times. Bohemia-Moravia and the Low Countries never evolve as separate nations, but are (partially) absorbed into the German dominant nation and culture much like Wales into England or Catalonia into Spain. Drang Nach Osten gets more backing, so much more of Poland and Baltic areas are Germanized.

The Latin Church of Western Europe evolves similarly to the Eastern Orthodox Church, with a leadership largely subservient to the secular monarchies that shuns politics. This might or might not butterfly the Reformation away, or if it does happen anyway, it is much more like the Anglican one, guided and controlled by the secular state to redistribute the goods of the clergy.

Squeezed between two emerging great powers (England and the Reich), France might never complete its national unification during and after the Hundred Years War till modern times, or it never manages to incorporate Lorraine and Burgundy.

HRE competes with England and France for the colonization of North America.

The very best TL that I've noticed about a successful HRE is Prince of Peace by Faelin, albeit sadly the author never continued it past the death of Frederick II.
 
i'll have to read that TL, thanxs for the suggestions...thinking of making a TL on this...just collecting some ideas currently though
 

General Zod

Banned
i'll have to read that TL, thanxs for the suggestions...thinking of making a TL on this...just collecting some ideas currently though

Even if it deals with a successful Carolingian Empire, spanning France as well as Germany and Italy, the Song of Roland by Scarecrow is another very good TL which may give you ideas about evolving the HRE into a federal unitary state and making it a lasting success.
 

General Zod

Banned
Also, a strong centralized HRE might create a rather stronger power base to make the Crusades Latin states somewhat of a lasting success. Also it means that the wars for supremacy in western Europe in the 1400s-1600s are not fought over a fragmented Germany and Italy. Instead they are either fought over a disunited France (The Hundred Years War goes on and on, and it becomes a three-sided contest between England, Spain, and HRE), or the fight for supremacy of the budding nation-states of Western Euope projects to its borders, to North Africa, the Middle East, and the American colonies. As a result, TTL Islam might see some rather significant setbacks, as the Ottoman Empire never places a foothold in the Balkans or is butterflied away entirely, and the Reconquista might spill over to large tracts of North Africa, Egypt, and Syria-Palestine.
 

Susano

Banned
Uh, it WAS one country under a single Emperor?:confused:

Of course, the Emperor and other cenrtal institutions were meaningelss and the pricnes and otehr reichsunmittelbar estates were de facto independant, but by how the OP is phrased, its OTL.

Now, going by the spirit and not the lette rof what was said ;)

The HRE (then still without the GN) vbegan to splinter with Frederick II, when he basically transferred most of Imperial power to the princes in the Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis and the Statutum in favorem principum, and when after Frederick IIs death the interregnum made it sure that the pricnes coudl also actually secure their rights. So, if we want a PoD where this process never starts, it would have to be before.

Im not sure that Barbarossa taking Jerusalem helps much. Instead, he then just has yet a third theatre to care for! IOTL, he basically had to split his attention between Germany and Italy anyways, always crossing the Alps back and forth. Had he cocnentrated on oen side (which probably wouldv ebeen Germany), he could maybe have won out. Of course, the problem was that the Impeiral title then was still connected with the Pope, and the Papacy was still connected with Rome (an Avignon Exile in the 13th century is not very likely), and Rome just happens to lie in Italy... and with the Investiture Conflict, the German Emperors just HAD to pay attention to the Papacy and Italy...

Otto... well, Otto got to the age of merely 22. Theres little telling what he could have accomplished, but, yes, the start was promising. Though its telling that even when residing in Rome itself he had trouble with the uppity Italians, and sooner or later some duke in Germany would use the chance to stir up trouble, there, so, its basically the same problem...
 

General Zod

Banned
The HRE (then still without the GN) vbegan to splinter with Frederick II, when he basically transferred most of Imperial power to the princes in the Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis and the Statutum in favorem principum, and when after Frederick IIs death the interregnum made it sure that the pricnes coudl also actually secure their rights. So, if we want a PoD where this process never starts, it would have to be before.

This is so very true. Therefore, a POD which causes the HRE to centralize must happen before Frederick II's reign.

Im not sure that Barbarossa taking Jerusalem helps much. Instead, he then just has yet a third theatre to care for! IOTL, he basically had to split his attention between Germany and Italy anyways, always crossing the Alps back and forth. Had he cocnentrated on oen side (which probably wouldv ebeen Germany), he could maybe have won out.

Well, let's say we have an Emperor or two which concentrate on making Germany a centralized state for their whole reign. Which would include the Imperial title becoming hereditary as Henry VI was almost able to do. Then a son or nephew turns its attention back to beating the Communes of Northern and Central Italy into obedience, and doing away with theocratic popes. Without the recurring threats of feudal rebellions in Germany at key moments, the Emperors would have had more than ample resources to defeat the Communes. And with Germany and Italy under their thumb, the Popes would have very little room to maneuver.

Of course, the problem was that the Impeiral title then was still connected with the Pope,

Quite irrelevant, once Germany and most of Italy is firmlyin the Emperor's grasp, and the Imperial title is hereditary. The Pope will either perform the coronation, or he will be deposed and his successor will do.

and the Papacy was still connected with Rome (an Avignon Exile in the 13th century is not very likely), and Rome just happens to lie in Italy...

On the contrary, once Germany is firmly under the control of its kings, and they use that power base to submit the communes, the Pope has one choice left: submit and be the subservient patriarch of the West to the Emperor, or flee to England and France (assuming their kings would be willing to take the Pope's banner: theocratic 13th century popes clashed with the kings of England and France, too), and split the Church between obedience to the HRE pope and the Angevin/Plantagenet pope. A Great Schism a century early.

The crippling factor for the Ghibelline cause in the Investiture Conflict (termed loosely to embrace the whole 12-13th Century struggle for supremacy between HRE and the Papacy) was Germany's feudal instability. If you remove it, by having Emperors focusing to consolidate their German popwer base first, then dealing with Italy and the Pope later, the Investiture conflcit would have a very different outcome.

Otto... well, Otto got to the age of merely 22. Theres little telling what he could have accomplished, but, yes, the start was promising. Though its telling that even when residing in Rome itself he had trouble with the uppity Italians, and sooner or later some duke in Germany would use the chance to stir up trouble, there, so, its basically the same problem...

Yes, but if we remove crippling periods of interregnum between emperors and dynasties, which allowed the feudal lords to consolidate their power bases, there is no reason to assume that a string of talented Emperors could not have been as successful at beating back feudal anarchy fro good as the kings of France and England were. As you point out, the turning point is the reign of Frederick II and the aftermath.
 
m not sure that Barbarossa taking Jerusalem helps much. Instead, he then just has yet a third theatre to care for!

Don't underestimate the prestige. He wouldn't have been king of Jerusalem, after all.

But when the Roman Emperor returns to Aachen, with a piece of the True Cross, as the saviour of the land in which Christ walked.....

. Had he cocnentrated on oen side (which probably wouldv ebeen Germany), he could maybe have won out.

Ah, but Italy is far more prosperous than Germany.
 
The very best TL that I've noticed about a successful HRE is Prince of Peace by Faelin, albeit sadly the author never continued it past the death of Frederick II.

That's it, I'm removing the second e.

Okay, seriously...

I think that there's a chance in the late 15th, early 16th century. You have the Imperial Reichsregiment and some other stuff going on. IMO you could get a turn towards a federal structure, with the Diet representing princes and towns.
 

Susano

Banned
Well, let's say we have an Emperor or two which concentrate on making Germany a centralized state for their whole reign. Which would include the Imperial title becoming hereditary as Henry VI was almost able to do. Then a son or nephew turns its attention back to beating the Communes of Northern and Central Italy into obedience, and doing away with theocratic popes. Without the recurring threats of feudal rebellions in Germany at key moments, the Emperors would have had more than ample resources to defeat the Communes. And with Germany and Italy under their thumb, the Popes would have very little room to maneuver.
The problem is that a German King not crowned as Roman Emperor will lack standing and authority in the eyes of the German nobles. This just invites revolutions and counter-kings (who then get crowned as Emperor). There wont be a hereditary impeiral dignity - at best, a hereditary German Kingdom, as the two titles ahve not fully fused yet.

Quite irrelevant, once Germany and most of Italy is firmlyin the Emperor's grasp, and the Imperial title is hereditary. The Pope will either perform the coronation, or he will be deposed and his successor will do.
Yeah, well, "once" the Imperial title is hereditary. Thats more or less teh defining step anyways, so you cant just assume it! It is a problem for several reasons: The above mentioned, and all the ecclestial territories in germany. Ever since Otto I the Roman Emperors and German Kings had made extensive uses of bishops and abbots to rule over territory in an attempt to wekaen the power of the nobility. That even worked, but this way the Empiere did become very closely connected to the Church. Thats what the entire Investiture Conflict was about!

On the contrary, once Germany is firmly under the control of its kings, and they use that power base to submit the communes, the Pope has one choice left: submit and be the subservient patriarch of the West to the Emperor, or flee to England and France (assuming their kings would be willing to take the Pope's banner: theocratic 13th century popes clashed with the kings of England and France, too), and split the Church between obedience to the HRE pope and the Angevin/Plantagenet pope. A Great Schism a century early.
Once, once once! Thats the problem, it wont even come that far!

Yes, but if we remove crippling periods of interregnum between emperors and dynasties, which allowed the feudal lords to consolidate their power bases, there is no reason to assume that a string of talented Emperors could not have been as successful at beating back feudal anarchy fro good as the kings of France and England were. As you point out, the turning point is the reign of Frederick II and the aftermath.
Well, that is true. Of course, a string of competent Emperors is not granted...

Don't underestimate the prestige. He wouldn't have been king of Jerusalem, after all.

But when the Roman Emperor returns to Aachen, with a piece of the True Cross, as the saviour of the land in which Christ walked.....
In an era where God's Vicars on Earth, and the true successors of the Roman Empire where routinely deposed and parlalleled by anti-Popes and anti-Emperors I dont think itll make enough of an impression to turn the nobility...

Ah, but Italy is far more prosperous than Germany.
True, but the Emperor was German. Thats a factor that has to be considered: He was seen by the Italians as foreign, and by the Germans as "one of theirs". Thats why even in Italy the Emperors routinely used German troops and German nobles to secure the lands. Concentrtaing on Italy would mean cocnnetrating on a traditionalyl rebellious terriotory with practically no own support base...
 

General Zod

Banned
The problem is that a German King not crowned as Roman Emperor will lack standing and authority in the eyes of the German nobles. This just invites revolutions and counter-kings (who then get crowned as Emperor). There wont be a hereditary impeiral dignity - at best, a hereditary German Kingdom, as the two titles ahve not fully fused yet.

There is a good OTL precedent (Henry VI) for an Emperor almost getting the imperial dignity be done hereditary, with him and his predecessor having a good but not stellar record. If we POD a string of 2-3 lucky and talented emperors with long reigns that focus on centralizing the German state, there is no reason to assume that the Imperial and/or German crown could not have been made hereditary for good. A strong power base in Germany, that's what the Emperors need to be successful. And there's nothing in the political makeup of 11-13th century Germany that dooms such efforts to failure. Once they have the German crown hereditary (even they don't manage to make the Imperial one directly), they have what they need, the Pope refusing the conoranation becomes an annoying fromality. The Kings of England and France managed to do good without.


It is a problem for several reasons: The above mentioned, and all the ecclestial territories in germany. Ever since Otto I the Roman Emperors and German Kings had made extensive uses of bishops and abbots to rule over territory in an attempt to wekaen the power of the nobility. That even worked, but this way the Empiere did become very closely connected to the Church. Thats what the entire Investiture Conflict was about!

First, centralizing emperors could (and should) develop their own secular bureaucracy to run the empire, just like the Kings of France and England did. Second, on average the clergy of Germany was sufficiently loyal to the 12th-13th Emperors, even after the Investiture Conflict compromise, They got more grief from some laity lords.

Well, that is true. Of course, a string of competent Emperors is not granted...

But that's what PODs are about, aren't they ? ;)
 

Susano

Banned
There is a good OTL precedent (Henry VI) for an Emperor almost getting the imperial dignity be done hereditary, with him and his predecessor having a good but not stellar record.
Ehhhh... at that time. youd still have to be crowned by the Pope to be Emperor. Of course, at this time it always was the German King who was crowned, but he didnt become automatically Emperor. So when it is said that he wanted to make the imperial dignity hereditary, that is kidna correct, but technically it was about the dignity of the German King. And if the German King doesnt care about Italy, he wont get crowned Emperor, hereditary king or not. So, the problem remains - after all, you can elect a counter-king even to a hereditary king.

A strong power base in Germany, that's what the Emperors need to be successful. And there's nothing in the political makeup of 11-13th century Germany that dooms such efforts to failure. Once they have the German crown hereditary (even they don't manage to make the Imperial one directly), they have what they need, the Pope refusing the conoranation becomes an annoying fromality. The Kings of England and France managed to do good without.
But the Kings of England and France never had the imperial dignity to begin with. It just isnt expected of them. The German Kings, though - its expected of them, so when the King doesnt get crowned Emperor, it is a loss of reputation, and that means a loss of authority. Also, it was universally regogncied bakc in the days that the Pope crowns Emperor. A German King not crowned Emperor will not be Emperor, but indeed just German King.

First, centralizing emperors could (and should) develop their own secular bureaucracy to run the empire, just like the Kings of France and England did.
Not in the 10th to 13th century, back then the Kings of France and England hadnt much secuaklr bureaucray, either. In any case, what Kings should do is different to what they find in reality, and reality was that by the time of Barbarossa the system of clergy as imperial vasalls was deeply ingrained in the system.

Second, on average the clergy of Germany was sufficiently loyal to the 12th-13th Emperors, even after the Investiture Conflict compromise, They got more grief from some laity lords.
Yes, of coruse, thats why the system was introduced in the first place. Still it means it tied the Empire to the Church. And if the Emperor cant invest the clergy, then evebntually the clergy wont be sufficiently loyal.
 
But why does the Emperor have to be crowned by the Pope? Yes, it was tradition, but if some monarch decides to do it himself, what's to prevent him?

OK, the first time it happens, all h--l will break loose, and the king/emperor had better have ensured full control of his lands and peoples before he tries it. The Pope would be severely annoyed - but if he tried excommunication over (what could easily be perceived as) a political ploy, it could damage the Papacy more than the Emperor.

Then when said emperor's son comes to the throne, his dad crowns him co-emperor and the pope fades into irrelevance (in the matter of crowning).

This would, of course, require the throne to be hereditary and the emperor to have centralized power in his own hands, but we're already assuming THAT.
 

Susano

Banned
But why does the Emperor have to be crowned by the Pope? Yes, it was tradition, but if some monarch decides to do it himself, what's to prevent him?
Thats... thats modern attitude. Not really applicable to the times. WHats to prevent him? Everything! If he simply starts to call himself Emperor, nobody will follow him, and at worst just ridicule him. Its simply so that in the middle ages and also still in the early modern times for that matter much was based on honour and glory. Titles werent just empty, they had a meaning - but the reverse side of that is that the proper forms had to be kept. What prevented the countless states of the HREGN to all declafrme themselves more than just Duchies or Counties? Why didnt they all declare themselves Kings? Its the same thing!

Or lets say so: What prevents a modern leader from declaring himself "Ruler of all the World"? Hed be ridiculed, because obviously he isnt. It would be the same thing: If the German King just delcared himself Emperor, hed be ridiculed, because obviously he isnt - one only is once crowned by the Pope!

After all, my argument was that the German King would have a problem in standing, in authority and reputation, if hes not Roman Emperor. But the same thing happens, maybe even on a worse degree, if he simply declares himself Emperor.
 

General Zod

Banned
Ehhhh... at that time. youd still have to be crowned by the Pope to be Emperor. Of course, at this time it always was the German King who was crowned, but he didnt become automatically Emperor. So when it is said that he wanted to make the imperial dignity hereditary, that is kidna correct, but technically it was about the dignity of the German King.

Election was what gave the Emperor the powers of his office, implementation of the Erbreichsplan would have changed this to pass them automatically to the Crown Prince. The Coronation by itself was a symbolic act, of course, but it was not a NECESSARY one, even by the culture of the time. Contemporaries understood that the real power of the office was transferred and operant according to the normal rules for selection of the monarch (hereditary, elective). The coronation ceremony by itself indeed granted added prestige, but nothing more. Kings and emperors sometimes went years of reign before the coronation was performed. The loss of prestige, while not trivial, was not crippling, especially if it came from causes that were evident to all, such ongoing conflict with the current Pope.

Besides, it was well-evident to contemporaries that coronation by the Pope was itself a novelty for the imperial dignity, as the Romans had none of the sort. And if need be, such rules can be always changed. A king or emperor could always summon the Diet/Estates General and have it declare that from now on, the presence and assent of the Pope was no more necessary for the coronation of the Emperor. The precedent of Charlemagne could always be overruled by making appeal to the Roman precedent, or the Byzantine precedent. An Emperor that was in control of his subjects could make such an argument and it would have made much sense.

Of course, there always was the alternative way of putting your own subservient anti-pope in charge. If you can kick out the previous pope from Rome, and have the vast majority of bishops and nobles in Europe acknowledge your own pope, he's the real one for all that matters.


But the Kings of England and France never had the imperial dignity to begin with. It just isnt expected of them. The German Kings, though - its expected of them, so when the King doesnt get crowned Emperor, it is a loss of reputation, and that means a loss of authority.

Yes, but not one that being a poltically, economically, and/or militarly strong defacto uncrowned Emperor could not and would not make trivial. if the monarch would be otherwise powerful, the issue would dwindle to a minor technicality. People minded about forms, but weren't stupid.

Also, it was universally regogncied bakc in the days that the Pope crowns Emperor. A German King not crowned Emperor will not be Emperor, but indeed just German King.

Again, the precedent of Charlemagne was not absolute. The emperors of Rome, even Christian ones, weren't crowned by the Pope, nor the Emperors of Byzantium. The fact was known and evident to middle-age jurists. At the very most, all that was needed was a decree by the then-equivalents of the Roman Senate and People, the Diet/Reichstag/Estates General, that the Pope had overstepped his authority by putting himself in charge of the imperial coronation, and the precedent would have sticked. Legally, the selection of the Emperor was an area where the Pope had no true authority.

Not in the 10th to 13th century, back then the Kings of France and England hadnt much secuaklr bureaucray, either. In any case, what Kings should do is different to what they find in reality, and reality was that by the time of Barbarossa the system of clergy as imperial vasalls was deeply ingrained in the system.

True, but what a dynasty of strong, centralizing Emperors could and should have done is to play the laity nobles, clergy nobles, and budding burghers against each other to prop up his own authority and gradually develop his own secular bureaucracy in the process (by late 13th early 14th century, the development of burghers and secular clerks would have been sufficiently advanced to allow one).

Yes, of coruse, thats why the system was introduced in the first place. Still it means it tied the Empire to the Church. And if the Emperor cant invest the clergy, then evebntually the clergy wont be sufficiently loyal.

True as well. But the control of the Pope and the Curia on the clergy of the Empire and the various Kingdoms of Europe was still a very shaky and partial thing, an ongoing development, in the 10th-14th century, which Popes, Kings, and Emperors fought about. If a dynasty of strong Emperors would have been able to inflict some serious defeats on the theocratic Popes and the budding Curia, the historical process of Church centralization would have been killed in the crib or seriously hampered.
 
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General Zod

Banned
Thats... thats modern attitude. Not really applicable to the times. WHats to prevent him? Everything! If he simply starts to call himself Emperor, nobody will follow him, and at worst just ridicule him. Its simply so that in the middle ages and also still in the early modern times for that matter much was based on honour and glory. Titles werent just empty, they had a meaning - but the reverse side of that is that the proper forms had to be kept. What prevented the countless states of the HREGN to all declafrme themselves more than just Duchies or Counties? Why didnt they all declare themselves Kings? Its the same thing!

This is true. But there were proper procedures as well, to change the forms. If a diet of the secular and ecclestiastical princes (and depending on the period, the free cities and representatives of the burghers as well) would have declared that from now on, the Pope was unnecessary in the coronation of the HRE, the legal ruling would have been valid and proper, just as to make the office hereditary in the first place. If an emperor has the political clout to have the latter passed (and here the electors are giving up REAL power), the motion to make the coronation Pope-less is trivial in comparison.
 
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