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Holy Roman Empire

Origins

The Holy Roman Empire was a successor state to the empire founded in 800 by Charlemagne (see also Carolingians), who revived the title of Roman emperor in the West. According to Carolingian theory, the Roman Empire had merely been suspended, not ended, by the abdication of the last Roman emperor in 476. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Roman emperor, probably perceived more as a personal title than as a reference to a particular territorial rule. From the death of Arnulf (899), the last Carolingian to hold the imperial title, until Otto's coronation in Rome by Pope John XII, various rulers bore the imperial title but exercised no authority; among them were Louis III, king of Provence, and Berengar I, king of Italy.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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