Former territory roughly coextensive with the RC Ch. Its roots formed among the Franks (see France, 1) and Lombards. The Lombards, in NW Ger. in the 1st c. AD, began southward migrations in the 4th century. Audoin began a new royal dynasty 546; d. perhaps 565; succeeded by his son Alboin (king ca. 565573; Lombards invaded It. 568. Cleph ruled 18 mo. until 574. Interregnum 574584. Dukes ruled independently. Authari ruled 584590. His widow Theolinda married Agilulf, who ruled 591615. He was succeeded by his son Adelwald, who died of poisoning 625 and was succeeded by his brother-in-law Ariwald. He was succeeded by Rotharis, who ruled 636652. There followed a period of contested successions, rebellions and struggles among the dukes until 712. Liutprand 712744. Hildebrand 744. Rachis 744749. Aistulf 749756; defeated by Pepin* the Short. Desiderius 757744; last king of the Lombards; defeated by Charlemagne,* king of the Franks, who became king also of the Lombards 774.
The Crowning of Charlemagne 800 marks the formal beginning of the Holy Roman Empire. This empire of W and cen. Eur. (Fr., Ger., Austria, N Sp., most of It.) perished when the Frankish state broke up in the 9th c. as a result of quarrels over succession to the throne and of barbarian invasions. But the idea of such an empire was revived with Otto I (912973; the Great; king of Ger. 936; crowned Holy Roman emp. 962 by John XI [ca. 936964; pore 955964]), whose realm, however, was essentially an empire of the Ger. and It. nations and did not include Fr. or Sp. At its greatest extent this new Holy Roman Empire included Ger., the Neth., Boh. [Czechoslovakia], Austria, Switz., Burgundy, and most of It.; Frederick* I (Barbarossa) claimed Den., Poland, and Hung. Conflicts bet. emps. and popes, empire and ch., contributed to decay (see Investiture Controversy; Frederick I [Barbarossa]; Frederick II). Loss of It. and struggle for the crown led to an interregnum 125473, in which the Ger. kingdom and the Holy Roman empire had no real head. With the accession of Rudolf I of Hapsburg (121891; king of Ger. 1273; Holy Roman emp. 127391) the empire became in effect a Ger. state. Sp. and the empire were joined under Charles* V. The rise of Napoleon* I led to the end of the empire with the resignation of Francis II (17681835; Holy Roman emp. 17921806; emp. of Austria as Francis I 180435).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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