Talk:Kingdom of Germany

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So, was Bohemia part of it? I'm reading different viewpoints. It was incorporated later but so was Mecklenburg and Pommerania. Also the Bohemian kings were prince electors. Wouldn't that make Bohemia necessarily a part of the German kingdom?--MacX85 (talk) 08:19, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

No, because there was no Kingdom of Germany.☺ But Bohemia would have been part of the Regnum Teutonicum (translated into Germany as Deutsches Reich, German Empire, not Deutsches Königtum, German Kingdom, as suggested by this article) which was a term used to describe that part of the Holy Roman Empire north of the Alps. And the electors were ultimately electing the emperor, not a King of Germany. --Bermicourt (talk) 14:50, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
For further evidence see the Golden Bull of Charles IV, "Emperor of the Romans" as he calls himself, which shows the long list of princes assigned as royal escorts. There is no mention of a king or kingdom of Germany or Italy, but it does mention the kingdoms of Arles, Bohemia and Christ. The only kings mentioned are those of Bohemia, Saxony and the Romans. So, yes, Bohemia became a kingdom within the Empire, but not a kingdom within a "Kingdom of Germany"; that didn't exist, despite the occasional loose wording of some modern English historians. --Bermicourt (talk) 15:14, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Funny how you tell me that it didn't exist, followed by a number of different names in different languages that describe what I'm talking about. And no, they didn't elect the emperor but the "King of the Romans".--MacX85 (talk) 17:07, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
That's an odd interpretation. Neither of the two foreign terms used historically meant a German kingdom, as explained in the rest of the same sentence. And yes, the electors did in effect elect the Emperor. "King of the Romans" was an heir apparent title - basically he was going to be the Emperor unless he died first. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:03, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
The title "King of the Romans" did not refer primarily to an heir apparent in the Middle Ages. It was the title used by German rulers who were not crowned emperors (like Conrad III and Rudolf I). Nobody used the imperial title before a papal coronation until Maximilian I. So the electors were electing a king, whom the pope might crown emperor. Whether the pope had any say in the matter was a question on which king and pope might disagree, but no king ever let the lack of an imperial title limit his authority in any of his kingdoms.
Note that in the Golden Bull the reference to the "archbishop of Mainz, arch-chancellor of the holy empire throughout Germany" is a reference to the kingdom of Germany as opposed to Italy or Arles, which are mentioned in the same manner, by reference to the division of the arch-chancellorship among the archbishop-electors. There is even a reference to the territorial extent of Germany, when it says the archbishop of Mainz sits at the right of hand of the emperor in his own province and "outside of his province, throughout his whole arch-chancellorship of Germany". Srnec (talk) 22:47, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
That's being highly selective. You've clearly done a word search on "Germany" and found 3 hits - one not relevant, two referring to the archbishop; if we do the same for "King of the Romans" we get 42 hits and "Holy Roman Empire" 6 hits, but zero for "king of Germany" or "kingdom of Germany". The whole thrust of it is about an empire (64 hits) linked to Rome - the Holy Roman Empire. And while most of it was clearly Germanic-speaking (with multiple dialects), they clearly laid claim to Arles, Italy and Bohemia which weren't. --Bermicourt (talk) 09:02, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
So you think a kingdom can only be mentioned when the word "kingdom" is used? The "kingdom of Arles" is exactly parallel to Italy and Germany. (The difference, I presume, is that Arles the kingdom had to be distinguished from Arles the city.) They are the three kingdoms of the title of Herwig Wolfram's Conrad II, 990–1039: Emperor of Three Kingdoms. Of course, what were real kingdoms in Conrad's time had been reduced by Charles IV's time to constitutional shadows. But they were still remembered. And while the emperors-elect were insistent on the title King of the Romans, most of Europe was content to call them Kings of Germany. Edward III of England, for example, had a clear idea of a kingdom of Germany that was part of but distinct from the Empire of the Romans. Srnec (talk) 14:43, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
"Regnum Teutonicum (translated into Germany as Deutsches Reich, German Empire, not Deutsches Königtum" I guess you meant "Königreich" rather than Königtum. And yes, Regnum means Königreich in German, definitely not Empire. It's the same word used to decribe any other European kingdom.
Really, I don't get the problem here. I asked a fairly simple question... Has the "kingdom of Bohemia" been part of the kingdom Bermicourt doesn't like me to call "Germany" but rather "regnum Teutonicum", or has it not been? Because contemporary art suggests that Bohemia was regarded as a fairly independent kingdom. The Hofämterspiel, a card game from the 15th century features four kingdoms: France, Germany, Bohemia and Hungary. Bohemia would be quite redundant if it was considered to be part of Germany.--MacX85 (talk) 18:48, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
There has been a book (actually more than one) on this topic: Wilhelm Wegener, Böhmen, Mähren und das Reich im Hochmittelalter (Böhlau, 1959). I only know of it from a critical review by Frederick G. Heymann in Speculum 35, 1 (1960), 160–64. Heymann does not agree with Wegener thesis but commends his scholarship. He cites as a countertpoint Zdeněk Fiala, "Vztah českého státu k německé říši do počátku 13. století", Sborník historický 6 (1959), 23–88. I haven't read that work either, so I will quote from Heymann's review of Wegener:

He does not have to prove that there was, at times, a tributary and later still a feudal tie between the rulers of Bohemia and those of the Empire—a relationship which was never completely shaken off as it was in the cases of Hungary, Denmark, or Poland. These facts are undisputed. What Professor Wegener is trying to prove, however, is that Bohemia's tie was not immediate with the Holy Roman Empire and its ruler, the emperor, but rather with the German kingdom and the German king. Her position therefore would not correspond to that of the other two non-Germanic kingdoms within the Roman Empire of the High Middle Ages—Italy and Burgundy—but to that of the other principalities of the regnum Teutonicum—the German as different from, though in the end virtually merged with, the Roman kingdom or empire. Wegener makes a valiant effort to prove this point—even though he fully admits that the position of the predominantly Slavic state of the Přemyslids differed in many ways from that of all other German principalities of the regnum Teutonicum.

That's his summation of Wegener's thesis. It is a rather legalistic view, however. Bohemia was never regarded, I think, as a part of Germany, even if its feudal tie was not with the emperor per se. I think this stems from the fact that 'political Germany' was defined partly be language and partly by the boundaries it achieved in the ninth and tenth centuries. On neither grounds did Bohemia belong. It also had a different law and its rulers were elected by its own nobility. Srnec (talk) 02:11, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer. I guess it's fair to say that Bohemia played a special role within the empire that cannot be so easily be labelled.--MacX85 (talk) 15:38, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
BTW, no I meant Königtum, a synonym of Königreich. And, as you worked out, Bohemia was a kingdom within the Empire, not within a German "kingdom". Bermicourt (talk) 20:58, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
Königtum (kingship) would refer to the office of the king rather than the realm he rules over.--MacX85 (talk) 18:26, 25 December 2016 (UTC)
Not necessarily. That is only one usage of the term. Bermicourt (talk) 08:30, 26 December 2016 (UTC)


In view of the long debate about whether there was in fact a Kingdom of Germany or not, I've added the Template:Disputed to the article. That isn't to say that the whole article is disputed; my sense is that many of the individual sentences are uncontentious and could be widely supported - thank you to User:Srnec and others who have added them in good faith. The discussion has been over the use of the term "Kingdom of Germany" itself and, depending on that, whether the uncontentious elements remain here or are incorporated elsewhere. I'm sure all interested editors would want to resolve this quickly and move on to more fruitful work. To that end, may I suggest therefore that we start by identifying those sentences we have an issue with and seeing if we can resolve them using the sources. It may be that rather than stating "the Kingdom of Germany developed/existed/lasted..." we talk more about "some scholars use the term this way; other authors that way; German authors hardly refer to it at all, but instead..." Let's try and find a way out of the present impasse. Cheers. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:07, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

Is there any sentence of the form "The Kingdom of Germany was..." that you would be happy with? Srnec (talk) 22:48, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
The tag cannot stay up indefinitely. If nobody has anything to say... Srnec (talk) 16:45, 8 November 2016 (UTC)
We need to be just a little bit patient. If this issue could be resolved in a couple of days, it would have been over a long time ago. Perhaps we could invite all those who've participated before to have a go at answering your question (i.e. rather than arguing back and forth about the issue). Worth a try at least. ☺ --Bermicourt (talk) 17:14, 8 November 2016 (UTC)
Some sort of notification (at a WikiProject perhaps or via an RFC) might speed things up. But why don't you want to answer my question? If the answer is "no" than we can see that the dispute is absolutely fundamental. If "yes", then we can perhaps see a way out of the morass. Srnec (talk) 00:04, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Yes, sounds good. I will get round to answering yr question but need time to re-read the whole article and check some sources in order to give an informed reply rather than an off-the-cuff one. And I'm currently on hols as well, so it won't be immediate I'm afraid. --Bermicourt (talk) 14:43, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
If nobody has anything to say, I will be removing the tag shortly. Srnec (talk) 14:38, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
I'll try and suggest something constructive over Christmas as there hasn't been much response. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:04, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
Reinstated. I'm not going to push for some change as I don't feel responsible for this article, but Srnec can not claim there are no complaints. There have been dozens and the only reason nothing changed is due to a constant deadlock and our failure to reach consensus. The article is simply not good enough for Wikipedia right now. Unfortunately there is very little traffic, as not many have heard of it and very little academic work mentions it. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 15:41, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
I still think there may be a middle course acceptable to most, but haven't had time to research it due to other pressures. Bermicourt (talk) 20:55, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Prinsgezinde: I do not claim there are no complaints, but tagging an article is supposed to be constructive. It is not for "warning" people that you think there's something wrong.
As for a middle course... I suspect there is one, too. I am opposed, specifically, to taking the emphasis off the thing itself and moving it to terminology. Srnec (talk) 23:43, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
And it can be, as hopefully others will take notice and participate in the resolution process. As Bermicourt also noted, others have debated it. You have almost always defended the status quo and I have long disputed said status quo, but we weren't the only ones. Despite this, nothing substantial ever changed. That's why it needs to be tagged. I'd be fine with changing it to the {expert} tag though. It was pure chance that I got to this article again and I'm not here to beat a dead horse. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 00:13, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Deletion has never been proposed. We all know it would fail. Multiple requested moves have failed. We will have an article titled "Kingdom of Germany" whether you like it or not. And that's because of community input. If you want to propose changes to the article, please do so. But if your only position is "get rid of it", you might as well go away. It's not going to happen and you know it. If you have ideas about a middle course acceptable to most, now would be the time to share them. Srnec (talk) 00:54, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
I've reinstated the tag as it is clearly true and the consensus is that it should be tagged to reflect that. Your response to User:Prinsgezinde is a little harsh. The truth is that all attempts so far to sort this article out have failed, but that doesn't prevent us trying. Telling other editors to "go away" is not constructive and IMHO likely to antagonise rather than have the effect you desire, thus taking longer to reach a compromise. --Bermicourt (talk) 16:33, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Since you first tagged the article some months ago, not a word has been spoken by anyone on the actual topic of improving the article and resolving the dispute. My point to Prinsgezinde was that if he cannot accept a compromise under the current title, he is just beating a dead horse. Since I do not feel the tag is justified to begin with, it is hardly incumbent on me to raise the issues! So, please state the sentences you have a problem with so we can address them with reliable sources and move on. Srnec (talk) 19:43, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
That's because it's time-consuming and not easy. And the tag is justified as the reams of text on this page and its archives has demonstrated. It is "disputed" and, while you can sit back and take pot shots at any proposals that come in since you support the existing text, I'm afraid you can't dictate when and how proposals will arrive. That much, at least, is up to other editors. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:19, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
I disagree. I most certainly can demand that the criticisms/proposals arrive at the same time as the tag. The tag doesn't just go up and then we all wait around for somebody to say something specific that they disagree with in the article. You're supposed to use the tag to draw attention to those specific things so that they can be debated. How is someone (me) supposed to address the tag to remove it if I do not know what specifically is wrong? The tag is not there to "warn" readers. It is there to engender discussion and resolve problems. If past discussions have not resulted in change you favour, that does not justify a "disputed" tag. Surely, you can at least list a few problematic sentences? Srnec (talk) 00:27, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
And here I was trying to be civil only for you to completely throw it to the wind. Why don't you go away? I've left this article for a long time (multiple times) and each time I come back I see you still clinging on to your ownership over it. It's like you know that it wouldn't last without you because editors will complain about the name and existence again. I suggested we merely involve an expert to decide and you start talking me down, why? Disputed: that such a thing existed, that it was a kingdom (that regnum = kingdom), that it was German (that teutonicum = of Germany - it's not), that we can just liberally translate or use ambiguous translations to weave a seemingly connected entity, that it was in any way different from East Francia, when it could have existed, what lands it held etc. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 00:44, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
I have been perfectly civil. What I have not been is indulgent.
Let's deal with your complaints. Disputed: that such a thing existed. If it didn't exist, propose the article for deletion. that it was a kingdom (that regnum = kingdom). Wait. Did it exist or didn't it? Can you clarify what you think did exist that wasn't a kingdom? that it was German (that teutonicum = of Germany - it's not). The kingdom was as German as contemporary France was French. That it was not German in the modern sense is as irrelevant as the fact that 11th-century France as not French in the modern sense. that we can just liberally translate or use ambiguous translations to weave a seemingly connected entity. Nobody is translating Latin or German here. The translations come from scholars. that it was in any way different from East Francia. It isn't and nobody is claiming that it is. "East Francia", as a term, is restricted in English usage to the early period only. The term "kingdom of Germany" is not so restricted and so is the better title for the broader article. This has been explained before by others. when it could have existed. Agreed that this is currently not dealt with well by the article. It is a common problem in historical articles. Things change gradually over time and there is often no clear start or end date. what lands it held. There's a map. What's disputed? Srnec (talk) 03:39, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Guys, let's calm down and stop mudslinging at one another. It's okay to have different points of view and I don't want either of you to "go away" (or anyone else with a genuine interest in this aspect of history). However, we should be reflecting the sources which themselves are not always consistent. Nevertheless, even if we accept that some sources start to talk about a kingdom of Germany, this article begins describing that entity before it came into existence and that could be addressed for a start. Then I would propose that rather than reflecting one stance or the other, the article could reflect the range of views (at least two!) taken by the sources, especially English, but also German. Obviously we need to cite typical sources as part of that. --Bermicourt (talk) 10:26, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Fair enough, I'm going over the sources again today. I won't change anything in the article but I'll make a new section here on what I can find in them. To Srnec, my points were what has been disputed in general, not just by me. The "what it encompassed" thing has for example been debated in the above section about Bohemia. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 14:38, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Lead overview[edit]

I initially wanted to do this for the whole article but it would take far too long. Most of the claims and issues are already in the lead and so this may be good for now. I might still do the rest later.

The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom (Latin: Regnum Teutonicum, "Teutonic Kingdom"; German: Deutsches Reich) developed out of the eastern half of the former Carolingian Empire. Like Anglo-Saxon England and medieval France, it began as "a conglomerate, an assemblage of a number of once separate and independent... gentes [peoples] and regna [kingdoms]."[1] East Francia (Ostfrankenreich) was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective. The initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, the kingdom formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire, which also included Italy (after 951), Bohemia (after 1004) and Burgundy (after 1032).

While also drawing a comparison with France and England about their origin, Gillingham notes that the boundaries of medieval Germany were "even more uncertain than those of France and England" and that it had destabilizing factors like "highly regionalized society", "strength of local loyalties" and "fuzziness at its edges", though remarks that it remained a single and indivisible "political unit" throughout the Middle Ages. Mentions "medieval Kingdom of Germany" in the first sentence but unclear what he refers to as he then focuses throughout the paper on the HRE's monarchical system. On page 126 he says that "... it was Henry V who adopted a new royal title, rex Romanorum, a clear rebuttal of Gregory VII's insistence that the Salians ruled only a German kingdom, a regnum Teutonicum". Note the use of "a ... kingdom" and "a regnum ..." here, implying there could be more than one. He does this again on page 130: "Staufen and Luxembourg kings, for example, had no qualms about spending the bulk of their reigns outside their German Kingdom ..." In the rest of the paper it's not entirely clear when he's talking about the King of the Romans, the King of the Germans or even the HRE-king. Makes sense of course, as many of those overlapped. Still, he never again seems to refer to a single king(dom) of Germany as opposed to a king of the Germans/Romans. His preference throughout the paper is to "medieval Germany".

The term rex teutonicorum ("king of the Germans") first came into use in the chancery of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy (late 11th century), perhaps as a polemical tool against Emperor Henry IV.[2] In the twelfth century, in order to stress the imperial and transnational character of their office, the emperors began to employ the title rex Romanorum (king of the Romans) on their election (by the prince-electors, seven German bishops and noblemen). Distinct titulature for Germany, Italy and Burgundy, which traditionally had their own courts, laws, and chanceries,[3] gradually dropped from use. After the Imperial Reform and Reformation settlement, the German part of the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Reichskreise (imperial circles), which effectively defined Germany against imperial Italy and the Bohemian Kingdom.[4] There are nevertheless relatively few references to a German realm and an instability in the term's use.[5]

First sentence seems to leave out some important information, namely that according to Gillingham these German kings were normally only called "Rex". The change of a title could naturally not affect the existence of a single Kingdom of Germany at that time. It also does not say if this trend continued. Could not access Robinson's work, unfortunately. Cope's work is similarly nigh inaccessible. Can only find it on Amazon and some referral websites. It seems to source the statement about Burgundy having its own titulature which could mean synthesis. Also odd to say "the German part of the Holy Roman Empire" with no precise qualifier for German. The Imperial Circle article makes no mention of Germany. Bizarrely, source n.4 is only a name and a page with no other information provided so this doesn't give any more information. The last reference makes no mention of a Kingdom of Germany but does speak of a realm, and indeed makes a good point. I also consulted a review of the book by Shami Ghosh here, of which several parts stand out: "... Scales presents a very useful synthesis of the political history of Germany in this period, showing that there was no movement towards a single polity that could be linked to a notion of any kind of ‘national’ identity. While in England and France, the makings of government and state, and thus of a national political identity, were intimately connected with an increasingly assertive monarchy, in Germany the trajectory of the monarchy seemed – even to contemporary observers – different." And: "Contemporary writings (often produced by the increasing numbers of those who travelled outside Germany) often mention Alamania, Theutonia, or the Dudesche lande. The existence of this ‘Germany’ was taken for granted, its boundaries perceived as generally understood – despite the fact that there was not even a term for a unified German polity: both in Latin, and particularly in the vernacular, ‘even the façade of a unitary German regnum […] crumbles entirely’ (p. 182)."

Source evaluation:

  1. ^ Gillingham (1991), p. 124, who also calls it "a single, indivisible political unit throughout the middle ages." He uses "medieval Germany" to mean the tenth to fifteenth centuries for the purposes of his paper. Robinson, "Pope Gregory", p. 729.
  2. ^ Robinson, "Pope Gregory", p. 729.
  3. ^ Cristopher Cope, Phoenix Frustrated: the lost kingdom of Burgundy, p. 287
  4. ^ Bryce, p. 243
  5. ^ Len Scales (26 April 2012). The Shaping of German Identity: Authority and Crisis, 1245-1414. Cambridge University Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-521-57333-7. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 

John Gillingham is a reliable source. Couldn't find anything on Robinson but Manchester University Press is a reliable publisher. Not sure about the third source, but it doesn't discuss much of importance to the article. Fourth source is incomplete. Fifth source by Cambridge University Press is reliable. No source reliability issues in the lead. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 16:46, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Ian S. Robinson is emeritus professor of History at Trinity College, Dublin. --Kansas Bear (talk) 17:10, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  • "Fourth source is incomplete."
The "Bryce" source was added by Pmanderson. The next step would be to ask Pmanderson where they found the source. --Kansas Bear (talk) 17:24, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Might as well. Then we'll invite @Pmanderson:. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 15:23, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I think one of the problems, alluded to above, is that English authors sometimes/often use "kingdom of Germany" as a convenient shorthand for the Holy Roman Empire and, indeed, there are overlaps, but they are not the same. What still seems curious to me is that German authors almost never use the term. I will do a bit of, hopefully complementary, research and report back. Bermicourt (talk) 17:36, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I think it is fairly easy to identify the book if not the edition: from the Wikipedia article Imperial immediacy#Problems in understanding the Empire "For nearly a century after the publication of James Bryce's monumental work The Holy Roman Empire (1864), ..."
In this Gutenberg Project copy of the 3rd edition, skimming through the book the best fit I could find is page 317. It contains the summary of Chapter XVII: The renaissance: Change in the Character of the Empire
-- PBS (talk) 19:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
"I think one of the problems, alluded to above, is that English authors sometimes/often use 'kingdom of Germany' as a convenient shorthand for the Holy Roman Empire". I think this almost never happens, if ever. Occasionally, you will see "German empire" used as a synonym for HRE, but that was not uncommon even among contemporaries. In fact, the Peace of Pressburg was signed by the "Emperor of Germany" in 1805, making it semi-official at long last. But "German kingdom" and "kingdom of Germany", or even just "Germany", I do not think are used as synonyms for HRE—certainly not among medievalists specialising in Germany. The most important German historian on the matter of identifying a German kingdom is Ekkehard Müller-Mertens, who has written a monograph the regnum Teutonicum. Also, Timothy Reuter's translation for Horst Fuhrmann's Germany in the High Middle Ages uses the terms "kingdom of Germany" and "German kingdom" to translate something. These are just suggestions for approaching the German historiography. I do not know German well enough to read it, although I have plunked a few paragraphs from Müller-Mertens into Google Translate to get a feel. He did write a chapter for the New Cambridge Medieval History, which I will be reading shortly.
I do not think there is any need to cite Bryce in this article. His is an important work of scholarship, but there are more recent and better works that cover all the same ground and more. Srnec (talk) 20:11, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Not "kingdom", but they do often use something like "(German) monarchy" which may be confusing. Also, an important thing to note from the above is that "German kingdom" is NOT the same as "Kingdom of Germany", just as "German king" or "King of the Germans" does not equal "King of Germany". In most cases these refer to a person of Germanic ethnicity or indeed just a person or kingdom situated in the German(ic) lands (mostly lands of the HRE that do not belong to another supranational entity). "German kingdom" is used to refer to any number of these reichs, while "Kingdom of Germany" is very, very rare. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 12:15, 20 March 2017 (UTC)