Holy Rome is a playable civilzation.
|Holy Roman Empire|
The Holy Roman Empire was created in 800 AD by Charlemagne. Covering much of central Europe from the Netherlands to Hungary, the Empire was both a political powerhouse and a hotbed of political intrigue and military conflict. In some ways "Emperors" in name only, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire were rarely able to exert real control over any territory that was beyond the reach of their personal armies.
Although the Holy Roman Empire was not referred to as such until late in the reign of Otto I (962-973), it came into being as a political entity in 800 AD when Pope Leo III, in an effort to break ties with the weakening Byzantine Empire, crowned Charlemagne the "Emperor of the Romans." A keen military strategist and devout Catholic, Charlemagne managed to keep the empire united until his death in 814, upon which the empire steadily dissolved into separate warring states until reunited under the rule of Otto I. While Otto I managed to reunite the empire, his downfall, and that of many successor emperors, was his fixation on Italy. Although Italy was not formally part of the empire, Otto I repeatedly invaded that country in order to secure holdings for the Germanic empire. However, the majority of his military ventures into Italy were unsuccessful, and Otto I only succeeded in eroding his power base in Germany.
Throughout its history, the Holy Roman Empire was the stage for conflicts between its Emperors and the Church. Initially it was only the Pope who could designate the Roman Emperor, however over time - especially during the reign of Otto I - it became instead the Emperor who named the next Pope, providing the throne with enormous religious power. During the reign of the Salian Emperors (1024-1125) this practice again changed. A council of churchmen, known as Cardinals, was formed and given the power to nominate and elect popes. This practice has continued with only minor changes to the present day.
Charles VI ruled with perhaps the most pragmatic view of his empire. Voted by the Cardinal Council as Holy Roman Emperor in 1355, Charles immediately gave up all imperial ambitions in Italy and instead focused on consolidating power in the Germanic lands and the eastern half of his empire. Accepting that the German cities and territories were the political and military domains of their local rulers, Charles worked with these local leaders to establish a combined dominance instead of attempting to wrest away their power. Unfortunately, upon Charles' death his son Sigismund fell back into the historical fallacy of attempting to control Italy, and the Empire once again continued its decline into irrelevancy.
Despite the internal power struggles wracking the Holy Roman Empire, local rulers banded together in order to face the Napoleonic threat from France. From 1792 to 1802, Austria, Prussia and the other German states combined forces with the hope of defeating the invading French, but to no avail. With little territory left under his control, Emperor Francis II resigned the title of Holy Roman Emperor. The Empire was formally dissolved on the sixth of August, 1806.
Over its history, the Holy Roman Empire existed more as an idea than an actual administrative organization. The empire's leaders rarely had actual control over their lands, and constant squabbling between fiefdom holders, as well as the church and state, kept the empire from solidifying any real control over its domain. Its recreation has, however, served as a goal which many would-be conquerors in history have strived to achieve, including Otto von Bismark, King William I, and Adolf Hitler.