German mediatisation was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number of Imperial Estates. Most ecclesiastical principalities, free imperial cities, secular principalities, other minor self-ruling entities of the Holy Roman Empire lost their independent status and were absorbed into the remaining states. By the end of the mediatisation process, the number of German states had been reduced from 300 to just 39. In the strict sense of the word, mediatisation consists in the subsumption of an immediate state into another state, thus becoming mediate, while leaving the dispossessed ruler with his private estates and a number of privileges and feudal rights, such as low justice. For convenience, historians use the term mediatisation for the entire restructuring process that took place at the time, whether the mediatized states survived in some form or lost all individuality.
The secularization of ecclesiastical states took place concurrently with the mediatisation of free imperial cities and other secular states. The mass mediatisation and secularisation of German states that took place at the time was not initiated by Germans, it came under diplomatic pressure from revolutionary France and Napoleon. It constituted the most extensive redistribution of property and territories in German history prior to 1945; the two highpoints of the process were the secularization/annexation of ecclesiastical territories and free imperial cities in 1802–03, the mediatisation of secular principalities and counties in 1806. Although most of its neighbors coalesced into centralized states before the 19th century, Germany did not follow that path. Instead, the Holy Roman Empire maintained its medieval political structure as a "polyglot congeries of hundreds of nearly sovereign states and territories ranging in size from considerable to minuscule". From a high of nearly 400 – 136 ecclesiastical and 173 secular lords plus 85 free imperial cities – on the eve of the Reformation, this number had only reduced to a little less than 300 by the late-18th century.
The traditional explanation for this fragmentation has focused on the gradual usurpation by the princes of the powers of the Holy Roman Emperor during the Staufen period, to the point that by the Peace of Westphalia, the Emperor had become a mere primus inter pares. In recent decades, many historians have maintained that the fragmentation of Germany – which started out as a large polity while its neighbors started small – can be traced back to the geographical extent of the Empire – the German part of the Empire being about twice the size of the realm controlled by the king of France in the second half of the 11th century – and to the vigor of local aristocratic and ecclesiastical rule from early on in the medieval era. In the 12th century, the secular and spiritual princes did not regard themselves as the Emperor's subordinates, still less his subjects, but as rulers in their own right - and they jealously defended their established sphere of predominance. At the time of Emperor Frederick II's death in 1250, it had been decided that the regnum teutonicum was "an aristocracy with a monarchical head".
Among those states and territories, the ecclesiastical principalities were unique to Germany. The Ottonian and early Salian Emperors, who appointed the bishops and abbots, used them as agents of the imperial crown - as they considered them more dependable than the dukes they appointed and who attempted to establish independent hereditary principalities; the emperors expanded the power of the Church, of the bishops, with land grants and numerous privileges of immunity and protection as well as extensive judicial rights, which coalesced into a distinctive temporal principality: the Hochstift. The German bishop became a "prince of the Empire" and direct vassal of the Emperor for his Hochstift, while continuing to exercise only pastoral authority over his larger diocese; the personal appointment of bishops by the Emperors had sparked the investiture controversy in the 11th century, in its aftermath the emperor‘s control over the bishops' selection and rule diminished considerably. The bishops, now elected by independent-minded cathedral chapters rather than chosen by the emperor or the pope, were confirmed as territorial lords equal to the secular princes.
Having to face with the territorial expansionism of the powerful secular princes, the position of the prince-bishops became more precarious with time. In the course of the Reformation, several of the bishoprics in the north and northeast were secularized to the benefit of Protestant princes. In the sixteenth century the Counter-Reformation attempted to reverse some of these secularizations, the question of the fates of secularized territories became an important one in the Thirty Years' War. In the end, the Peace of Westphalia confirmed the secularization of a score of prince-bishoprics, including the archbishoprics of Bremen and Magdeburg and six bishoprics with full political powers, which were assigned to Sweden and Mecklenburg. On the other hand and Paderborn – under Protestant administration for decades and given up for lost – were restored as prince-bishoprics. In addition, the Peace conclusively reaffirmed the imperial immediacy, therefore the de facto independence, of the prince-bishops and imperial abbots, free imperial cities, imperial counts, as well as the imperial knights.
According to one authority, the sixty-five ecclesiastical rulers cont
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
The Hohenstaufen known as Staufer, were a dynasty of German kings during the Middle Ages. Before ascending to the kingship, they were Dukes of Swabia from 1079; as kings of Germany, they had a claim to Italy and the Holy Roman Empire. Three members of the dynasty—Frederick I, Henry VI and Frederick II —were crowned emperor. Besides Germany, they ruled the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Jerusalem The dynasty is named after a castle, which in turn is named after a mountain; the names used by scholars today, are conventional and somewhat anachronistic. The name Hohenstaufen was first used in the 14th century to distinguish the "high" conical hill named Staufen in the Swabian Jura, in the district of Göppingen, from the village of the same name in the valley below; the new name was only applied to the hill castle of Staufen by historians in the 19th century, to distinguish it from other castles of the same name. The name of the dynasty followed, but in recent decades the trend in German historiography has been to prefer the name Staufer, closer to contemporary usage.
The name "Staufen" itself derives from Stauf, meaning "chalice". This term was applied to conical hills in Swabia in the Middle Ages, it is a contemporary term for both the hill and the castle, although its spelling in the Latin documents of the time varies considerably: Sthouf, Stophen, Estufin etc. The castle was built or at least acquired by Duke Frederick I of Swabia in the latter half of the 11th century. Members of the family used the toponymic surname de Stauf or variants thereof. Only in the 13th century does the name come to be applied to the family as a whole. Around 1215 a chronicler referred to the "emperors of Stauf". In 1247, the Emperor Frederick II himself referred to his family as the domus Stoffensis, but this was an isolated instance. Otto of Freising associated the Staufer with the town of Waiblingen and around 1230 Burchard of Ursberg referred to the Staufer as of the "royal lineage of the Waiblingens"; the exact connection between the family and Waiblingen is not clear, but as a name for the family it became popular.
The pro-imperial Ghibelline faction of the Italian civic rivalries of the 13th and 14th centuries took its name from Waiblingen. In Italian historiography, the Staufer are known as the Svevi; the noble family first appeared in the late 10th century in the Swabian Riesgau region around the former Carolingian court of Nördlingen. A local count Frederick is mentioned as progenitor in a pedigree drawn up by Abbot Wibald of Stavelot at the behest of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1153, he held the office of a Swabian count palatine. Their son Frederick I was appointed Duke of Swabia at Hohenstaufen Castle by the Salian king Henry IV of Germany in 1079. At the same time, Duke Frederick I was engaged to the king's seventeen-year-old daughter, Agnes. Nothing is known about Frederick's life before this event, but he proved to be an imperial ally throughout Henry's struggles against other Swabian lords, namely Rudolf of Rheinfelden, Frederick's predecessor, the Zähringen and Welf lords. Frederick's brother Otto was elevated to the Strasbourg bishopric in 1082.
Upon Frederick's death, he was succeeded by his son, Duke Frederick II, in 1105. Frederick II remained a close ally of the Salians, he and his younger brother Conrad were named the king's representatives in Germany when the king was in Italy. Around 1120, Frederick II married Judith of Bavaria from the rival House of Welf; when the last male member of the Salian dynasty, Emperor Henry V, died without heirs in 1125, a controversy arose about the succession. Duke Frederick II and Conrad, the two current male Staufers, by their mother Agnes, were grandsons of late Emperor Henry IV and nephews of Henry V. Frederick attempted to succeed to the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor through a customary election, but lost to the Saxon duke Lothair of Supplinburg. A civil war between Frederick's dynasty and Lothair's ended with Frederick's submission in 1134. After Lothair's death in 1137, Frederick's brother Conrad was elected King as Conrad III; because the Welf duke Henry the Proud, son-in-law and heir of Lothair and the most powerful prince in Germany, passed over in the election, refused to acknowledge the new king, Conrad III deprived him of all his territories, giving the Duchy of Saxony to Albert the Bear and that of Bavaria to Leopold IV, Margrave of Austria.
In 1147, Conrad heard Bernard of Clairvaux preach the Second Crusade at Speyer, he agreed to join King Louis VII of France in a great expedition to the Holy Land which failed. Conrad's brother Duke Frederick II died in 1147, was succeeded in Swabia by his son, Duke Frederick III; when King Conrad III died without adult heir in 1152, Frederick succeeded him, taking both German royal and Imperial titles. Frederick I, known as Frederick Barbarossa because of his red beard, struggled throughout his reign to restore the power and prestige of the German monarchy against the dukes, whose power had grown both before and after the Investiture Controversy under his Salian predecessors; as royal access to the resources of the church in Germany was much reduced, Frederick was forced to go to Italy to find the finances needed to restore the king's power in Germany. He was soon crowned emperor in Italy; the Papacy and the prosperous city-stat
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I known as Frederick Barbarossa, was the Holy Roman Emperor from 2 January 1155 until his death. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March 1152, he was crowned King of Italy on 24 April 1155 in Pavia and emperor by Pope Adrian IV on 18 June 1155 in Rome. Two years the term sacrum first appeared in a document in connection with his empire, he was formally crowned King of Burgundy, at Arles on 30 June 1178. He was named Barbarossa by the northern Italian cities which he attempted to rule: Barbarossa means "red beard" in Italian. Before his imperial election, Frederick was by inheritance Duke of Swabia, he was the son of Duke Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and Judith, daughter of Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria, from the rival House of Welf. Frederick, descended from the two leading families in Germany, making him an acceptable choice for the Empire's prince-electors. Historians consider him among the Holy Roman Empire's greatest medieval emperors.
He combined qualities that made him appear superhuman to his contemporaries: his longevity, his ambition, his extraordinary skills at organization, his battlefield acumen and his political perspicacity. His contributions to Central European society and culture include the reestablishment of the Corpus Juris Civilis, or the Roman rule of law, which counterbalanced the papal power that dominated the German states since the conclusion of the Investiture Controversy. Frederick died in 1190 in Asia Minor while leading an army in the Third Crusade. Frederick was born in 1122. In 1147 he became Duke of the southern German region of Swabia, shortly afterwards made his first trip to the East, accompanied by his uncle, the German king Conrad III, on the Second Crusade; the expedition proved to be a disaster, but Frederick distinguished himself and won the complete confidence of the king. When Conrad died in February 1152, only Frederick and the prince-bishop of Bamberg were at his deathbed. Both asserted afterwards that Conrad had, in full possession of his mental powers, handed the royal insignia to Frederick and indicated that Frederick, rather than Conrad's own six-year-old son, the future Frederick IV, Duke of Swabia, succeed him as king.
Frederick energetically pursued the crown and at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 the kingdom's princely electors designated him as the next German king. He was crowned King of the Romans at Aachen several days on 9 March 1152. Frederick's father was from the Hohenstaufen family, his mother was from the Welf family, the two most powerful families in Germany; the Hohenstaufens were called Ghibellines, which derives from the Italianized name for Waiblingen castle, the family seat in Swabia. The reigns of Henry IV and Henry V left the status of the German empire in disarray, its power waning under the weight of the Investiture controversy. For a quarter of a century following the death of Henry V in 1125, the German monarchy was a nominal title with no real power; the king was chosen by the princes, was given no resources outside those of his own duchy, he was prevented from exercising any real authority or leadership in the realm. The royal title was furthermore passed from one family to another to preclude the development of any dynastic interest in the German crown.
When Frederick I of Hohenstaufen was chosen as king in 1152, royal power had been in effective abeyance for over twenty-five years, to a considerable degree for more than eighty years. The only real claim to wealth lay in the rich cities of northern Italy, which were still within the nominal control of the German king; the Salian line had died out with the death of Henry V in 1125. The German princes refused to give the crown to his nephew, the duke of Swabia, for fear he would try to regain the imperial power held by Henry V. Instead, they chose Lothair III, who found himself embroiled in a long-running dispute with the Hohenstaufens, who married into the Welfs. One of the Hohenstaufens gained the throne as Conrad III of Germany; when Frederick Barbarossa succeeded his uncle in 1152, there seemed to be excellent prospects for ending the feud, since he was a Welf on his mother's side. The Welf duke of Saxony, Henry the Lion, would not be appeased, remaining an implacable enemy of the Hohenstaufen monarchy.
Barbarossa had the duchies of Swabia and Franconia, the force of his own personality, little else to construct an empire. The Germany that Frederick tried to unite was a patchwork of more than 1600 individual states, each with its own prince. A few of these, such as Bavaria and Saxony, were large. Many were too small to pinpoint on a map; the titles afforded to the German king were "Caesar", "Augustus", "Emperor of the Romans". By the time Frederick would assume these, they were little more than propaganda slogans with little other meaning. Frederick was a pragmatist. Unlike Henry II of England, Frederick did not attempt to end medieval feudalism, but rather tried to restore it, though this was beyond his ability; the great players in the German civil war had been the Pope, Emperor and the Guelfs, but none of these had emerged as the winner. Eager to restore the Empire to the position it had occupied under Charlemagne and Otto I the Great, the new king saw that the restoration of order in Germany was a necessary preliminary to the enforcement of the imperial rights in Italy.
Issuing a general order for peace, he
Baden-Württemberg is a state in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the border with France. It is Germany's third-largest state, with an area of 11 million inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg is a parliamentary republic and sovereign, federated state, formed in 1952 by a merger of the states of Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern; the largest city in Baden-Württemberg is the state capital of Stuttgart, followed by Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Other cities are Freiburg im Breisgau, Heilbronn, Pforzheim and Ulm; the sobriquet Ländle is sometimes used as a synonym for Baden-Württemberg. Baden-Württemberg is formed from the historical territories of Baden, Prussian Hohenzollern, Württemberg, parts of Swabia. In 100 AD, the Roman Empire invaded and occupied Württemberg, constructing a limes along its northern borders. Over the course of the third century AD, the Alemanni forced the Romans to retreat west beyond the Rhine and Danube rivers. In 496 AD the Alemanni were defeated by a Frankish invasion led by Clovis I.
The Holy Roman Empire was established. The majority of people in this region continued to be Roman Catholics after the Protestant Reformation influenced populations in northern Germany. In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, numerous people emigrated from this rural area to the United States for economic reasons. After World War II, the Allies established three federal states in the territory of modern-day Baden-Württemberg: Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Württemberg-Baden. Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern were occupied by France, while Württemberg-Baden was occupied by the United States. In 1949, each state became a founding member of the Federal Republic of Germany, with Article 118 of the German constitution providing an accession procedure. On 16 December 1951, Württemberg-Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Baden voted via referendum in favor of a joint merger. Baden-Württemberg became a state in West Germany on 25 April 1952. Baden-Württemberg shares borders with the German states of Rhineland Palatinate and Bavaria, Switzerland.
Most of the major cities of Baden-Württemberg straddle the banks of the Neckar River, which runs downstream through the state past Tübingen, Heilbronn and Mannheim. The Rhine forms the western border as well as large portions of the southern border; the Black Forest, the main mountain range of the state, rises east of the Upper Rhine valley. The high plateau of the Swabian Alb, between the Neckar, the Black Forest, the Danube, is an important European watershed. Baden-Württemberg shares Lake Constance with Switzerland and Bavaria, the international borders within its waters not being defined, it shares the foothills of the Alps with Bavaria and the Austrian Vorarlberg, but Baden-Württemberg does not border Austria over land. The Danube River has its source in Baden-Württemberg near the town of Donaueschingen, in a place called Furtwangen in the Black Forest. Baden-Württemberg is divided into thirty-five districts and nine independent cities, both grouped into the four Administrative Districts of Freiburg, Stuttgart, Tübingen.
Map Baden-Württemberg contains nine additional independent cities not belonging to any district: The state parliament of Baden-Württemberg is the Landtag. The politics of Baden-Württemberg have traditionally been dominated by the conservative Christian Democratic Union of Germany, who until 2011 had led all but one government since the establishment of the state in 1952. In the Landtag elections held on 27 March 2011 voters replaced the Christian Democrats and centre-right Free Democrats coalition by a Greens-led alliance with the Social Democrats which secured a four-seat majority in the state parliament. From 1992 to 2001, the Republicans party held seats in the Landtag; the Baden-Württemberg General Auditing Office acts as an independent body to monitor the correct use of public funds by public offices. Although Baden-Württemberg has few natural resources compared to other regions of Germany, the state is among the most prosperous and wealthiest regions in Europe with a low unemployment rate historically.
A number of well-known enterprises are headquartered in the state, for example Daimler AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Carl Zeiss AG, SAP SE and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. In spite of this, Baden-Württemberg's economy is dominated by medium-sized enterprises. Although poor in workable natural resources and still rural in many areas, the region is industrialised. In 2003, there were 8,800 manufacturing enterprises with more than 20 employees, but only 384 with more than 500; the latter category accounts for 43% of the 1.2 million persons employed in industry. The Mittelstand or mid-sized company is the backbone of the Baden-Württemberg economy. Medium-sized businesses and a tradition of branching out into different industrial sectors have ensured specialization over a wide range. A fifth of the "old" Federal Republic's industrial gross value added is generated by Baden-Württemberg. Turnover for manufacturing in 2003 e
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope