Kingdom of Germany

The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom (Latin: regnum Teutonicorum "kingdom of the Germans", regnum Teutonicum "German kingdom",[1] regnum Alamanie "kingdom of Germany"[2]) was the mostly Germanic-speaking East Frankish kingdom, which was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, especially after the kingship passed from Frankish kings to the Saxon Ottonian dynasty in 919. The king was elected, initially by the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire, which also included the Kingdom of Italy and, after 1032, the Kingdom of Burgundy.

Map of the Kingdom of the Germans (regnum Teutonicorum) within the Holy Roman Empire, circa 1000

Like medieval England and medieval France, medieval Germany consolidated from a conglomerate of smaller tribes, nations or polities by the High Middle Ages.[3] The term rex teutonicorum ("king of the Germans") first came into use in Italy around the year 1000.[4] It was popularized by the chancery of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy (late 11th century), perhaps as a polemical tool against Emperor Henry IV.[5] 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.

The Archbishop of Mainz was ex officio arch-chancellor of Germany, as his colleagues the Archbishop of Cologne and Archbishop of Trier were, respectively, arch-chancellors of Italy and Burgundy. These titles continued in use until the end of the empire, but only the German chancery actually existed.[6]

Distinct titulature for Germany, Italy and Burgundy, which traditionally had their own courts, laws, and chanceries,[7] gradually dropped from use as the King/Emperor's influence outside of Germany waned and the German kingdom came to be identified with the Holy Roman Empire.[8]

Reigns were either dated from the day a ruler was elected king (Philip of Swabia, Rudolf of Habsburg) or crowned king (Otto IV, Henry VII, Louis IV, Charles IV). The election day became the starting date permanently with Sigismund. Throughout the Middle Ages, the King of Germany was known as "King of the Romans" from his election as king until the Pope crowned him Emperor in Rome.


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