Germany's weak medieval monarchy

Oct 2012
228
England and France both managed to put together strong medieval monarchies. In Germany, of course, this never happened. The powerful princes blocked the development of a hereditary monarchy, and what developed instead was the electoral monarchy and electoral emperor. Is there a good study that focusses on this particular aspect of Germany's development?

Also, did the Kurfürsten elect both the king and the emperor, separately?

Thanks.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,568
Las Vegas, NV USA
There was for a the time a German national state from about 911 to 962. In that year Otto I invaded Italy and forced the Pope to give him the title Holy Roman Emperor and recognize imperial rule over nearly all of Germany and Italy. It was not natural state being divided by the Swiss Alps and not having natural boundaries for defense purposes. In time centralized rule broke down and it became the HRE we all know and love.
 
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Apr 2018
301
Italy
The empire was a multinational state, not coese etnically, and the fight with the popes also had a role in weakening the role of the emperor.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,498
Netherlands
England and France both managed to put together strong medieval monarchies. In Germany, of course, this never happened. The powerful princes blocked the development of a hereditary monarchy, and what developed instead was the electoral monarchy and electoral emperor. Is there a good study that focusses on this particular aspect of Germany's development?
There is lots, but I wouldn't agree that France and England had powerful monarchies per se. They both had their own unwieldy and too powerful nobles for example.

However Germany indeed never really looked like a monarchy after the Hohenstaufens. I think the main problem was that they didn't have a royal demesne, which could expand. So any prince could easily rival the king/emperor and combined they could militarily block an heir. The earlier kings could have done something about that, but due to all kinds of circumstances they didn't. The Hohenstaufens basically ended any chance by completely focusing on Italy.
Also, did the Kurfürsten elect both the king and the emperor, separately
They chose the king and he was later crowned as emperor (preferably in Rome). More of a technical than a practical difference.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,929
Australia
There WAS no Germany at the time so the German monarchy wasn't weak, it was non-existent. The region consisted of many smaller nation states.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,498
Netherlands
There WAS no Germany at the time so the German monarchy wasn't weak, it was non-existent. The region consisted of many smaller nation states.
Freddie I would disagree. He showed how it could be done, though he was sidetracked too much by events in Italy and the holy land. He did however show he could deal with rivals by enforcing his feudal overlordship.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,929
Australia
Frederick was titled "King of the Teutones" (Rex Teutonicorum) and "King of East Francia" (Rex Francorum orientalium), not King of Germany. There was no Germany.
 
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Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,498
Netherlands
Frederick was titled "King of the Teutones" (Rex Teutonicorum) and "King of East Francia" (Rex Francorum orientalium), not King of Germany. There was no Germany.
That is merely the name. The king of France also wasn't king of "France".
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,498
Netherlands
But to the original question. Early on (say the Salian dynasty) the emperors seemed to have a system that worked. They had a decent power base, they gave lands to loyal followers to create local competition and they invested the bishops. This meant that when a prince would revolt, they would immediately have nearby enemies. The idea was that by having the loyalty of the church and enough competition they could steadily improve their power. Problems arose when the pope thought he should invest the bishops and the fact that the Saxon lands were lost to the demesne. From there it went downhill.