The Holy Roman Empire

A Historical Encyclopedia

by Brian A. Pavlac and Elizabeth S. Lott


While the Holy Roman Empire once seemed a forerunner of today's European Union, it fell into a loose confederation that limited German power to the heart of the continent.

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Cover image for The Holy Roman Empire

June 2019


Pages 832
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics World History/General
  Geography and World Cultures/General

Reference entries, overview essays, and primary source document excerpts survey the history and unveil the successes and failures of the longest-lasting European empire.

The Holy Roman Empire endured for ten centuries. This book surveys the history of the empire from the formation of a Frankish Kingdom in the sixth century through the efforts of Charlemagne to unify the West around A.D. 800, the conflicts between emperors and popes in the High Middle Ages, and the Reformation and the Wars of Religion in the Early Modern period to the empire's collapse under Napoleonic rule.

A historical overview and timeline are followed by sections on government and politics, organization and administration, individuals, groups and organizations, key events, the military, objects and artifacts, and key places. Each of these topical sections begins with an overview essay, which is followed by alphabetically arranged reference entries on significant topics. The book includes a selection of primary source documents, each of which is introduced by a contextualizing headnote, and closes with a selected, general bibliography.


  • Provides a historical essay to give a concise overview of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Presents a timeline that highlights key events in the empire's long history
  • Offers topical sections of reference entries on significant topics
  • Features entries and a bibliography for further reading
  • Uses primary source documents to give readers firsthand accounts of life in the Holy Roman Empire
Author Info

Brian A. Pavlac, PhD, is professor of history at King's College, Wilkes-Barre, PA. He holds his doctorate in medieval history from the University of Notre Dame and is author of three books: A Concise Survey of Western Civilization: Supremacies and Diversities throughout History, Third Edition; Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials; and A Warrior Bishop of the 12th Century: The Deeds of Albero of Trier, by Balderich.

Elizabeth S. Lott, PhD, served as dean of graduate programs at a liberal arts college for 18 years. She holds a doctorate in medieval Latin from Harvard University. She has worked professionally as a translator and cataloguer of medieval documents and manuscripts and has taught Latin at the college level. Her professional experience also includes both writing and editing for academic and business publications.



"This worthwhile piece will be a solid addition to any academic reference collection. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty."Choice

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