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older entries[edit]

This is a horrible title, but I am having trouble thinking of a better one -- Imperial Elector? Electors of the Holy Roman Empire? An adjectival/genetive reference would be better than everything in the nominative...JHK

I like 'Electors of the HRE'
At the risk of being crude, that sounds like the name of a Playboy pictorial....
mmmmmm, show me your wittelsbachs, bay-beee...
Electors of the Holy Roman Empire gets my vote. But also consider Electoral College of the Holy Roman Empire

To M. Tinkler and JHK Please check out Kurfuersten/Electors . Also let me know about the German ( or English) names on the Hohenzollern list ?? Thanks user:H.J.

"...shortly before the Empire was abolished by Napoleon I..."

I understood that it was abolished in order to prevent the possibility of its being taken over and used by Napoleon to support his legitimacy, i.e. as a consequence of him but not by him. What is the actual siuation? PML.

I also like "Elector of the Holy Roman Empire" better than this title. As for the abolition, what happened was that Napoleon created the Confederation of the Rhine. The states that joined it (including Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and Baden), seceded from the Holy Roman Empire, and the Emperor eventually decided to give up the ghost, and declared the Empire at an end. I'm going to edit a bit. john 02:30 Apr 30, 2003 (UTC)

What about the adjectival Holy Roman Imperial Elector? -- Lord Emsworth 02:47, Dec 20, 2003 (UTC)

Encyclopedia Britannica (online ed.) has, "...Beginning around 1273 and with the confirmation of the Golden Bull of 1356, there were seven electors..."; what happened circa 1273? — Matt 09:39, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Britannica, then, contradicts my main source for the original composition of the collegiate: Lord Bryce's Holy Roman Empire. Lord Bryce suggests that Pope Urban IV wrote a letter mentioning seven electoral princes, but Urban died in 1264—before the year mentioned in Britannica. -- Emsworth 14:40, Jul 5, 2004 (UTC)
Maybe one for meta:Making fun of Britannica? Rudolf I of the House of Habsburg was elected in 1273, maybe that's what Britannica was referring to. — Matt 14:53, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Electoral Prince[edit]

Is it appropriate to give "Electoral Prince" as an equivalent to "Prince-Elector"? My understanding was that the former term was generally used for heirs to Prince-Electors, and not for prince-electors themselves. john k 06:48, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Regarding the abolition of the HRE. I think it is accurate to say that it was Napoleon himself who abolished it, rather than the Habsburg emperor. Napoleon was at the time the undisputed master of Europe, and the abolition was imposed on the Habsburgs as a virtual decree from Bonbaparte. While Franz II, as the last title holder, executed the formalities of the abolition, the act itself can be unambiguously attributed to Napoleon. I shall stop short of reverting the edit of StanZegel, however, to preserve the distinction of that formality. Thank you StanZegel for that edit, in fact. --A. S. A. 06:29, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)


Link to Chamberlain is to a disambiguation page. It seems that term chamberlain in this context is not mentioned there. Can somebody even link chamberlain to a correct article or create it as red link? Can somebody confirm me that term chamberlain in this context is not mentioned on disambiguation page? --Jan.Smolik 09:34, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Language tangle[edit]

The following passage (from Composition, 1st paragraph after bulleted lists) is both pedantic and poorly edited.

By the thirteenth century, the Franconian and Swabian ducal lines became extinct (both had been most recently been held by the Hohenstaufen, Swabia as their ancestral duchy and extinct in 1268, Franconia as a sort of secundogeniture, extinct much earlier, but Franconian ducal lands had been passed through inheritances to Count Palatine of the Rhine, heirs of Frederick Barbarossa's younger brother); their electoral claims passed to the Count Palatine of the Rhine, Imperial Arch-Stewards and holders of the ancient capital Aachen, and the Margrave of Brandenburg, Imperial Arch-Chamberlains since Albert the Bear.

The passage implies, but does not clearly state, that electoral privileges used to reside in the Franconian and Swabian ducal lines, then later passed to the Count Palatine of the Rhine and the Margrave of Brandenburg. If that is the case, that is what we should state in the article. However no source is given, and the 1911 Britannica [1] doesn't mention it. Overall the contribution is of poor quality and likely to confuse readers. I have removed it. -- Rob C (Alarob) 17:22, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

HRE Criticism Edit[edit]

User:Fabartus was kind enough to add to the introduction of this article the following: "When the term "Elector" or "election of a king" is mentioned during the High Middle Ages and afterwards, the term almost certainly is refering to that curiously inept geopolitical entity that managed somehow to last century after century, usually to the detriment of the common people of Europe run over by the wars that ensued." Seems a bit... POV to me. 01:01, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

no not really. just the usual bullshit of whose knowledge sucks big time.--Tresckow (talk) 03:24, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Imperial election table of contents[edit]

The table of contents template used for the article Imperial election — {{Imperial election TOC}} — is currently nominated for deletion. If you have an opinion on the custom ToC layout used in this article, please contribute to the relevant TfD discussion. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 13:42, 16 July 2011 (UTC)


OK so when the Habsburgs took over the kingdom of Bohemia, did it continue to be an electorate ? So did the Habsburgs get an automatic vote for themselves to be Emperor ?Eregli bob (talk) 13:14, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes they did. They also 'bribed' a number of other electors to ensure their election as Emperor. Ds1994 (talk) 15:02, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation[edit]

It should be noted that from early in the sixteenth century the formal and correct title of the Empire is the 'Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation'.

Quite frankly I'm astonished this hasn't been mentioned.Ds1994 (talk) 15:05, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

  • It is mentioned in the article on the Holy Roman Empire. I suppose it is similar to using United Kingdom, versus United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Cheers. EricSerge (talk) 16:33, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
The title is a substantive one, as suggested in the article, and referenced to many source materials I have read.Ds1994 (talk) 19:04, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
The formal title was "Sacrum Romanum Imperium" or Holy Roman Empire. The "of German nation" occassionally appeared in 16th and 17th century meaning "those parts of the empire that are predominantly German-speaking". It was quite a common term in that time, see Luther's tract "To the Christian Nobility of the German nation" and the like.--MacX85 (talk) 07:43, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Elector was below King[edit]

The Elector was below any King. Electorate of Bavaria was elevated to Kingdom of Bavaria, Electorate of Saxony was raised to Kingdom of Saxony, and Electorate of Hesse requested elevation to "Kingdom of the Chatti", but after refusal remained Electorate. If Elector was same in dignity as King, this elevation was without sense. King of Romans and the Emperor usually were different persons and the King of Romans was above Electors. About King of Bohemia - he was called in the "constitution of the Empire" - Golden Bull of 1356 as King, not as Elector of Bohemia (see full text. He precedes all other temporal Electors [2].--Yopie (talk) 16:30, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

But you are referring to events in 1804. The Empire was abolished in 1806. Obviously 'king' outranks 'elector', but for virtually the entire history of the Empire the only royal title allowed in the Empire was that of Emperor, with the King of Bohemia admittedly in an anomalous position.
I have added the qualification 1804-06 noted above to the text. Ds1994 (talk) 19:14, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
    • What about King of the Romans as Heir apparent, e.g. Ferdinand IV, King of the Romans? He was King, but his father was in same time Emperor. We are talking about Kings generally, not in limits of the Empire and internationally were Electors below Kings, see Precedence among Nations This ranking was not about King of the Romans or Bohemia, but generally on the top was Emperor, below were Kings (of the Romans, Hungary, France etc.) and below Kings were Electors, above Dukes.--Yopie (talk) 19:47, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I concur. The problem here is that this is inadequatly explained and documented in the article: we acknowledge that there were three rulers in the Holy Roman Empire who held the title of king -- 1. Habsburg: Emperor's heir-apparent and/or the Emperor-elect (Rome); 2. Habsburg: (Bohemia); and 3. Hohenzollern: (King in (later of) Prussia). That's too many exceptions to declare that the kingly title wasn't recognized or borne within the Empire. Better to avoid that claim, state that "kingships" were rare inasmuch as they implied absolute rather than quasi-sovereignty, then explain the three exceptions clearly. FactStraight (talk) 21:23, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
The King in/of Prussia was no more a king within the Holy Roman Empire than the numerous other kings who intermittently had hereditary possessions within the empire (e.g. the King of Spain, the King of Hungary, the King of Denmark, the King of Sweden, the King of Poland, the King of Great Britain, the King of Sardinia). The territory of "Prussia" was not within the Holy Roman Empire - within the Empire the King of Prussia was merely Elector of Brandenburg, just as the King of Great Britain was elector of Hanover. john k (talk) 05:45, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for doing as I asked above, "we acknowledge that there were three rulers in the Holy Roman Empire who held the title of king...That's too many exceptions to declare that the kingly title wasn't recognized or borne within the Empire. Better to avoid that claim, state that 'kingships' were rare inasmuch as they implied absolute rather than quasi-sovereignty, then explain the three exceptions clearly." If the Hohenzollern kingship hadn't been considered confusing and/or misleading, its holder would have been simply "King of Prussia" from the beginning. "King in Prussia" attests to the fact that the Hohenzollerns' royal title both existed and yet was initially problematic. Let's use your language to make the distinction clear -- as is needed. FactStraight (talk) 02:07, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The use of "King in Prussia," as I understand it, had nothing to do with the Holy Roman Empire. It had to do with relations with Poland, which controlled Royal Prussia until 1772 - that's why that year was the year that the title was changed to "King of Prussia." That is to say, the Elector of Brandenburg became King in Prussia to avoid claiming a royal title within the Empire; he became King in Prussia to avoid claiming a title already claimed by the King of Poland. john k (talk) 02:40, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is all correct. -- Nczempin (talk) 07:27, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

And in this context it might be noted that all the kings of/in Prussia were crowned thus in Königsberg (which is in Prussia) rather than in Berlin (which is in Brandenburg). This continued even after the Prussian kings became German emperors in 1871. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:09, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Crickey, having tried to explain that Royal titles were not permitted within the Empire apart from the King of the Romans/Emperor Elect, and the King of Bohemia, the discussion seems to have become a little clouded. But then toward the end of the Empire, the issue of 'Royal' titles had become clouded anyway. I would like to add the following to attempt clarity:

  • The Emperor-Elect (as all Emperors were after 1556 as Charles V was the last Emperor to actually be crowned by the Pope) was the only substantive Royal title allowed in the Empire, apart from Bohemia. The title 'King of the Romans' i.e King of Germany was the designated successor or heir-apparent and on the death of the Emperor-Elect the King of the Romans then stood for election by the College of Electors. If elected the King of the Romanns became Emperor-Elect and if he had a son then it became traditional within the Habsburg dynasty for the heir apparent to assume this title. The title King of the Romans was not a substantive one - it was rather more a courtesy title for the heir apparent rather like the Prince of Wales is appointed by the Sovereign of Great Britain.
      • (This is distinctly incorrect. If you had a King of the Romans when the old Emperor died, the King of the Romans automatically became emperor. The election would only occur upon the death of the Emperor if there was no King of the Romans. The King of the Romans held that title because he had already been elected. john k (talk) 14:25, 26 October 2015 (UTC))
  • The King of Bohemia was a sovereign 'associate' of the Emperor Elect, and was the exception to the rule of royal titles. However, on the death of the Emperor and on the meeting of the College of Electors, all electors shed their territorial titles and were addressed simply by the electoral ones: the Elector of Bohemia, the Elector of Brandenburg etc. All electors became equal and there being no Emperor-Elect, the Elector Palatine of the Rhine acted as Imperial Vicar until the election took place. Also, the anomalous position of the King of Bohemia within the Empire became virtually irrelevant after 1526 anyway as the Habsburg Emperor was also King of Bohemia, and could vote for himself within the College of Electors. This position after 1526 went a great deal way to solving the bitterness of the Archduke of Austria, who had always been resentful of the Treaty of the Golden Bull in the 14th Century in that the Archduke of Austria had not been made an elector. It also meant the Habsburg candidate only needed to bribe six electors, and not all seven, as Charles V had done at his election.
  • The note made of the 'King in Prussia' is correct. The Duchy of Prussia (East Prussia) lay outside the frontier of the Reich, hence King 'in' Prussia. The change of King 'of' Prussia in 1772 is the clouding issue as clearly the framework of the Empire, already shadowy, was already breaking up at this point.
  • In summary the point I have tried to make is that only two Royal titles were permitted in the First Reich: the Emperor-Elect/King of the Romans, and the King of Bohemia. The King of the Romans was the designated heir apparent and the King 'of' Prussia does not count. As far as the administration of the Reich was concerned, the King 'in' Prussia was still Margrave and Elector of Brandenburg. And neither do all the aggrandised Princes and Electors courtesy of Napoleon I, such as the King of Hanover, as this all took place after the abolition of the First Recih in 1806. Ds1994 (talk) 20:26, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

I speak German and I also know some about the German history, and as far as I know, the HRE was ordered like this:

  • The Emperor was the highest instance of all, he could overrule everybody else in the hierarchy. He was NOT elected, but anointed by the pope (although only formally - since 1338 he could rule without being crowned Emperor by the pope).
  • The heir to the throne was the King of the Romans or King of the HRE, he was the one, who was supposed to be anointed by the pope as soon as possible after the old Emperor's death ("Der König ist tot, es lebe der König!")
  • The prince-electors (or probably better Elector Counts?) were those, who had exactly one vote for the election of the King in the HRE. They were called "Kurfürst"/"Kurfürsten" and were initially seven, so there had to be a majority, because everybody had to vote. There were three Archbishops - those of Cologne, Mainz and Trier - each of them Archcancellor (of Italy, Germany and Burgundy respectively) for the clerical part and four for the secular part of the German vassals. The secular votes weren't assigned due to spheres of influence, but due to their rank - the Count Palatine of the Rhine was the lowest dignitary of those four. After him came the Margrave of Brandenburg and the Duke of Saxony. The highest amongst the Prince-electors' titles was "King of Bohemia". After the Bull was officially valid, the prince-electors usually used this title to show, that they were not only Count Palatines/Margraves/Dukes/Kings, but the highest one of all the CP/M/D/K out there in the HRE.-- (talk) 17:04, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
There have always been kings within the HRE. The Emperor (and sometimes the successor chosen within his lifetime) was King of Germany (or Roman King). The Emperor was also King of Italy (until 1648) and King of Burgundy (until that title became meaningless somewhat later). The ruler of Bohemia (sometimes the Emperor, sometimes not) was also a King. The King in (or of) Prussia was most definitely king over all territories of that state, inside or outside of the HRE. He bore the title with permission from the Emperor. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 21:28, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
I have never heard that the King of Prussia's title applied to his lands within the Empire. The Emperor did, indeed, give him permission to use the title, but I thought that had more to do with the Emperor's vague suzerainty over the former state of the Teutonic Knights, not to allowing the royal title to apply within the Empire. A source would be useful. john k (talk) 13:26, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

král český[edit]

Why is the Bohemian king's title in Czech relevant in this Holy Roman / German context?
It is even listed before the German. (talk) 19:41, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Regensburg arms[edit]

The arms depicted for Regensburg are the present city arms. That's not right. I have a picture of the right arms but I'm not sure about the copyright situation.... Gerard von Hebel (talk) 15:48, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

How can the arms of a state which has been defunct for two hundred years be copyrighted? john k (talk) 13:24, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

The arms itself may not be, but the artists depiction of it might. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 17:15, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

King of Bohemia[edit]

It'd be good to get some clarity on the participation of the King of Bohemia. I found an old source (from 1716) which seems to suggest that it's only in the fifteenth century (the elections of 1400, 1410-11, 1438, 1440, and 1486) that Bohemia was excluded. I know that, until much later (1708, apparently), Bohemia did not participate in the non-electoral proceedings of the College of Electors. I'm fairly certain that Maria Theresa's representative was kicked out of the 1741-1742 election after the French and Bavarians took Prague, allowing for Charles VII's unanimous election. I *think* the King of Bohemia's representative did participate in the 1519 election. I'm not clear on the elections from 1531 to 1690, when the King of Bohemia was always the one elected. It appears to me that he sent a representative, but generally that representative did not himself participate in the vote? But I'm not clear on that. Any sources would be useful so that we can clarify this in the article. john k (talk) 13:24, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

I can't answer your question, but I have a point of my own I want to clarify, when it's written "Meanwhile, the King of Bohemia, who held the ancient imperial office of Arch-Cupbearer, asserted his right to participate in elections. Sometimes he was challenged on the grounds that his kingdom was not German, though usually he was recognized, instead of Bavaria which after all was just a younger line of Wittelsbachs". I've added a citation needed tag, as this is an interesting claim but is unsourced. Mabandalone (talk) 11:33, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Elector was not the title of a ruler[edit]

Elector was an office of the Holy Roman Empire. All Electors, were also Duke's Princes, Prince-Bishops or Grand Dukes and Kings of their states. Hanover (or Brunswick-Luneburg) didn't stop being a Duchy upon gaining the Electorate, and the Elector did not stop being a Duke, taking the Electoral title instead. Same goes for all others. It was an additional title for the ruler of the specific territory. It didn't replace the titles they had before. The article doesn't reflect that. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 16:29, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

I don't know the area so well, but are you sure? Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria article, for example, distinguishes clearly that Maximilian I was Duke of Bavaria until he became an elector, being Prince Elector afterwards. Same with many other articles. Solid sources would be needed to change that everywhere. No longer a penguin (talk) 18:45, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
That doesn't need to be a worry. Í don't think it is everywhere. I'd have to check specifically but most articles on Electoral states of the HRE that I've seen are not a problem, where this is concerned. Look here for instance, where it's very well explained (mark the word 'adittionally' in the second paragraph of the introduction). Even this one, that you have mentioned, says nothing that would be problematic versus this issue as far as I've read. A source must be easy to find I think, since this is basically common knowledge. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 19:27, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
While I agree that an electorate was a high office in the Holy Roman Empire, it came with certain privileges which gradually brought it to be perceived as a title of suzerainty that was invariably used in place of any other title save those of king and emperor. That is why, after the abolition of the HRE in 1806, the ruler of Hesse-Kassel, recently elevated from landgrave, chose to reign as Elector, although there was no longer anything to which he had the right to "elect" anyone. Among an electorate's most important privileges was, aside from the right to vote to fill vacancies in the Imperial crown, the office and vote could only be held and wielded by one individual, which meant that it conferred primogeniture upon the main, defined Imperial fief of its possessor. This was important because German titles and lands did not descend by primogeniture and eldest sons had no unilateral right, without the consent of all male agnates, to impose primogeniture, resulting in the fragmentation that kept German dukelings and princelings petty and prevented German consolidation. But electors had other prerogatives appertaining to monarchs beyond those of other Imperial princes. So although technically correct that the hereditary title of the members of an elector's family derived from his territorial fief rather than from the Imperial office, in practice I'd say that the title and position came to be viewed as the title in HRE ranking between king and duke (grand dukes only proliferated in replacement of that title as the HRE was dissolving in the early 19th century). FactStraight (talk) 01:48, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
All of the articles on Bavaria seem to treat electorate as a title that replaced the Dutchy. See Duchy of Bavaria, Electorate of Bavaria and List of rulers of Bavaria. Old editions of Britanicca also have a way of referring to all rules of Bavaria as Electors (and kings, later) and not Dukes. Might it have been different in different electorates? No longer a penguin (talk) 13:26, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

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