HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE. The Roman Empire, which Julius Cmsar's nephew Octavia nus won for himself at the battle of Actium, ac. 31, remained for centuries undivided. Even when Constantine the Great transferred the seat of government from Rome to Constantinope, A.D. 326-28, the Roman Empire still continued in tact. Not until 364 was it partitioned into an Eastern and a Western realm by Valentinian I. The empire was finally divided in 395 between Arcadius, who took the Eastern, and Honorius, who took the Western provinces. This separa tion, however, was made for administrative pur poses only, and the two realms were still re garded as forming a single empire. In 476 Odoacer brought the Western line to an end by forcing the abdication of Romulus Augustulus. Thenceforward until 800, the emperor reigning at Constantinople was, in theory at least, ruler of the whole Roman Empire.
In 751, with the authorization of Pope Zacharias, Pepin the Short, Mayor of the Palace in Gaul, became king of the Franks in place of the deposed Childeric III, last of the Merovin gians, and in 754 the new monarch was anointed and crowned by Pope Stephen II. Pepin's son and successor Charles, known as the Great or Charlemagne, became successively king of the Franks of Neustria (758) and of the Franks of Austrasia (771). He conquered the Saxons (772-803), and, having attacked the Lombards (773-74), he added North Italy to his territories and was recognized as suzerain of Rome. In 797, the Empress Irene having deposed and blinded her son, the Eastern Emperor Con stantine VI, the time seemed ripe for the re establishment of the Western branch of the em pire, and the man for the imperial office was at hand. Charlemagne was now unquestioned master of western Europe, and was recognized as Champion of the Faith and Defender of the Holy See. In 800 he entered Rome with his Frankish host, and on Christmas Day of that year he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III. From that event dates the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, which, through all the shocks and changes of time, survived until the year 1806. After some negotiations, Charle magne was in time recognized by the Eastern monarchs as emperor and as ruler of northern Italy except Venice, southern Italy and Sicily remaining subject to Constantinople. Charle magne was succeeded in 814 by his son Lewis I, the Pious, whom he had crowned as coettiperor in the previous year. His line continued to hold sway until the death of Charles III, the Fat, in 888. After that event, the dominions of Charlemagne fell asunder and the Carolingian empire disappeared. There then succeeded a period of turbulence, during which the empire subsisted but little more than in name. Phan tom emperors, like Guido of Spoleto, his son Lambert, Arnulf, Duke of Carinthia, Lewis III, and Berengar, appeared, but, if they reigned, they certainly did not rule.
A great change was effected on the accession of Otto I, the Great, founder of the Saxon line. Crowned king of the East Franks at Aachen in 936, he continued the work of his father, Henry I, the Fowler, and consolidated his kingdom by a series of conquests. On the invitation of the Pope, he descended from the Alps with a powerful army, was acknowledged king of Italy at Pavia, and was crowned em peror at Rome in 962. One of his first acts was to convoke a synod in Saint Peter's, at which Pope John XII was deposed and Leo VIII was elected in his stead. From the latter Pope, Otto received a confirmation of that veto on papal elections which the citizens of Rome had bestowed upon him on the occasion of his coronation. He continued to extend his con quests, and after a wise and glorious reign he transmitted his power and his titles to his son Otto II (973-83) and his grandson Otto III (983-1002). With the latter the direct line of Otto the Great ended, but there was one more Saxon emperor, Henry II, the Saint (1002-24).
The Franconian line of emperors was es tablished by Conrad II, the Salic (1024-39). Under his son and successor, Henry III, the Black (1039-56), the empire attained perhaps its maximum of strength. Henry was powerful in Germany and successful in foreign wars, and he received from a Roman synod the right of nominating the Pope. In the reign of Henry
IV (1056-1106), the great struggle for suprem acy between the empire and the papacy began. In 1059 Pope Nicholas II, at the Instigation of the famous archdeacon Hildebrand, afterward Pope Gregory VII, vested the papal election in the college of cardinals, reserving the rights of the clergy and people of Rome and of the emperor. When Hildebrand as Pope declared it criminal for an ecclesiastic to receive a bene fice from a layman, he raised the whole ques tion of feudal investiture of land to the clergy. It had a special bearing on Germany, where a great part of the land and wealth was vested in bishops and abbots, who, under the new ruling, could pass from the control of the emperor to that of the Pope. A war between the secular and the religious powers was thereupon begun. Gregory summoned Henry to Rome for judg ment: Henry retaliated by convening a synod which deposed the Pope. The Pope's reply was to excommunicate Henry, who, deserted by his nobles, went as a penitent to Canosa in 1077, and, clad in woolen and standing barefoot on the snow, sued and obtained forgiveness from the successor of the Fisherman. It was a scene well calculated to strike the imagination, and the admission that the spiritual was greater than the temporal power was destined. to have momentous consequences. Henry's son, Henry V (1106-25), was as able and determined an opponent of the papal claims as his father. He asserted all the rights over ecclesiastics which had ever been enjoyed by his predecessors, and it was not until the Concordat of Worms (1122), concluded between Pope Calixtus II and Henry V, that a settlement, greatly dimin ishing the emperor's powers, was effected. Another blow at the emperor's prerogative came from a different source. On the death of Henry in 1125, the elective principle was estab lished instead of the hereditary. It was by election that Lothar II, of Saxony (1125-38), Conrad III (1138-52), founder of the Swabian or Hohenstaufen line, and Conrad's nephew, Frederick I, Barbarossa (1152-90), succeeded. The reign of the last mentioned was a glorious one, but it was marked by a long struggle with the papacy. There were early bickerings be tween Frederick and Pope Hadrian IV. On the death of the latter in 1159 there was a dis puted papal election, the real Pope being Alex ander III, while Barbarossa took the side of the anti-Pope, Victor IV. A fierce contest be tween Pope and emperor ensued. After the defeat of the imperial army by the allied North Italian cities at Legnano in 1176, Frederick surrendered, and he and Alexander III were reconciled at Venice in 1177. At their meet ing, Frederick, it is said, knelt in awe, but the Pope raised him and gave him the kiss of peace. The scene, which has been variously represented, marked the abandonment by the secular power of a contest in which it had now been twice beaten. Frederick led a great Ger man army on the third Crusade, and was drowned in the river Kalylcadnus in Cilicia in 1190. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry VI (1190-97), who had already as a child been chosen king and crowned at Aachen. Henry endeavored to have the crown pro nounced hereditary in his family, but met with so much opposition that he had to be content with procuring the election of his infant son, Frederick II, as king of the Romans. On Henry's death that election was set aside, and a contest for the crown ensued between Otto of Brunswick and Philip of Hohenstaufen, which was not terminated until the murder of Philip in 1208. Otto IV was then formally re-elected emperor and was crowned in 1209. He was, however, excommunicated and declared deposed by Pope Innocent III, and was dethroned by the youthful Frederick II, son of Henry VI. Frederick's whole reign (1212-50) was em bittered by a dispute with the papacy, which continued through the reign of his son, Con rad IV (1250-54). Conrad's son, Conradin, the last of the Hohenstaufen house, never reigned. Fighting for his rights, he was de feated as a lad of 15 at Tagliacozzo and be headed at Naples in 1268.