An imperial vicar (German : Reichsvikar) was a prince charged with administering all or part of the Holy Roman Empire on behalf of the emperor. Later, an imperial vicar was invariably one of two princes charged by the Golden Bull with administering the Holy Roman Empire during an interregnum.
The Holy Roman Empire was an elective monarchy, not a hereditary one. When an emperor died, if a king of the Romans had not already been elected, there would be no new emperor for a matter of several months until all the electors, or their representatives, could assemble for a new imperial election. During that time, imperial institutions still required oversight. This was performed by two imperial vicars. Each vicar, in the words of the Golden Bull, was "the administrator of the empire itself, with the power of passing judgments, of presenting to ecclesiastical benefices, of collecting returns and revenues and investing with fiefs, of receiving oaths of fealty for and in the name of the holy empire". All acts of the vicars were subject to ratification by the elected king or emperor. On many occasions, however, there was no interregnum, as a new king had been elected during the lifetime of his predecessor.
The vicariate came to be associated with two counts palatinate: the duke and elector of Saxony (who also held the position of count palatine of Saxony) was vicar in areas operating under Saxon law (Saxony, Westphalia, Hanover, and northern Germany); the count palatine of the Rhine, also an elector, was vicar in the remainder of the Empire (Franconia, Swabia, the Rhine, and southern Germany). The Golden Bull of 1356 confirmed the position of the two electors.
Disputes over the Palatine electorate from 1648 to 1777 led to confusion about who the rightful vicar was. In 1623, the Palatine Electorate was transferred to the duke (and thenceforth elector) of Bavaria. However, in 1648 a new electorate was created for the restored Count Palatine of the Rhine, which led to disputes between the two as to which was vicar. In 1657, both purported to act as vicar, but the Saxon vicar recognised the elector of Bavaria. In 1711, while the elector of Bavaria was under the ban of the Empire, the elector palatine again acted as vicar, but his cousin was restored to his position upon his restoration three years later. In 1724, the two electors made a pact to act as joint vicars, but the Imperial Diet rejected the agreement. Finally, in 1745, the two agreed to alternate as vicar, with Bavaria starting first. This arrangement was upheld by the Imperial Diet at Regensburg in 1752. In 1777 the question became moot when the elector palatine inherited Bavaria.
In 1806, Emperor Francis II abdicated the imperial throne and also declared the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire itself in the wake of defeats by France and the defection of much of southern and western Germany from the Empire to join the new Confederation of the Rhine. His decision to declare the dissolution of the Empire as well as to abdicate was apparently partially designed to forestall an interregnum with rule by the imperial vicars, which he feared might result in the election of Napoleon as emperor.
|Interregnum began||Interregnum ended||Duration||Duke of Saxony||Count Palatine of the Rhine|
|9 December 1437|
death of Sigismund
|18 March 1438|
election of Albert II
|3 months, 9 days||Frederick II, Elector of Saxony||Louis IV, Elector Palatine|
|27 October 1439|
death of Albert II
|2 February 1440|
election of Frederick III
|3 months, 6 days|
|12 January 1519|
death of Maximilian I
|17 June 1519|
election of Charles V
|5 months, 5 days||Frederick III, Elector of Saxony||Louis V, Elector Palatine|
|20 January 1612|
death of Rudolph II
|13 June 1612|
election of Matthias
|4 months, 24 days||John George I, Elector of Saxony||Frederick V, Elector Palatine|
|20 March 1619|
death of Matthias
|28 August 1619|
election of Ferdinand II
|5 months, 8 days|
|2 April 1657|
death of Ferdinand III
|18 July 1658|
election of Leopold I
|15 months, 16 days||John George II, Elector of Saxony||Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria|
|17 April 1711|
death of Joseph I
|12 October 1711|
election of Charles VI
|5 months, 25 days|| Frederick Augustus I, Elector of Saxony |
(Augustus II the Strong)
|John William, Elector Palatine|
|20 October 1740|
death of Charles VI
|14 January 1742|
election of Charles VII
|14 months, 25 days|| Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony |
(Augustus III of Poland)
|Charles Albert, Elector of Bavaria|
|20 January 1745|
death of Charles VII
|13 September 1745|
election of Francis I
|7 months, 24 days||Maximilian III, Elector of Bavaria|
|20 February 1790|
death of Joseph II
|30 September 1790|
election of Leopold II
|7 months, 10 days||Frederick Augustus III, Elector of Saxony||Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria|
|1 March 1792|
death of Leopold II
|5 July 1792|
election of Francis II
|4 months, 4 days|
In the Empire's early centuries, imperial vicars were appointed from time to time to administer one of the Empire's constituent kingdoms of Germany, Italy or Arles. This was in fact a different office.
The position of vicar in Imperial Italy was conferred to the Count of Savoy by Emperor Frederick II in 1226. In the second half of the 14th century, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor made permanent Frederick's decision and associated it to the title of Duke of Savoy. In 1556, given that France occupied the Savoyard states in 1535–1536, Emperor Charles V intended to transfer the position to Philip II of Spain with his abdication but Philip's requests to receive the title were denied by Charles's successor Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor.Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy used the Imperial vicarship in order to recover the dynastic possessions in 1557-1559 and move the Savoyard capital to Turin. Furthermore, he and his successors exercised the title to assert a formal primacy among Italian imperial princes (although this was also claimed by the ruler of Tuscany who held the unique title of Grand Duke) and to present themselves as champions of Italian liberties up to the 1800s. In 1624 the office of the general commissioner respectively plenipotentiary was created for Imperial Italy, which factually took over the original tasks of the imperial vicariate, which had only been a titular vicariate since Charles IV.
In the absence of an emperor, the right to appoint vicars for provinces was exercised by the pope. This is not to be confused with the ecclesiastical office of vicar.
The prince-electors, or electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
Louis IV, called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was King of the Romans from 1314, King of Italy from 1327, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1328.
The County Palatine of the Rhine, later the Electorate of the Palatinate or simply Electoral Palatinate, was a territory in the Holy Roman Empire administered by the count palatine of the Rhine. Its rulers served as prince-electors from "time immemorial", were noted as such in a papal letter of 1261, and were confirmed as electors by the Golden Bull of 1356.
The House of Wittelsbach is the Royal Bavarian dynasty from Germany, with branches that have ruled over territories including Bavaria, the Palatinate, Holland and Zeeland, Sweden, Hungary, Bohemia, the Electorate of Cologne and other prince-bishoprics, and Greece. Their ancestral lands of the Palatinate and Bavaria were Prince-electorates, as well as the Archbishopric-Electorate of Cologne, and the family had three of its members elected emperors and kings of the Holy Roman Empire. Their Kingdom of Bavaria was created in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918.
The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans during the middle ages, and also known as the German-Roman Emperor since the early modern period, was the supreme head of state of the Holy Roman Empire. The Empire was considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be the only legal successor of the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was held in conjunction with the title of King of Italy from the 8th to the 16th century, and, almost without interruption, with the title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.
Conrad, a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was the only son of Emperor Frederick II from his second marriage with Queen Isabella II of Jerusalem. He inherited the title of King of Jerusalem upon the death of his mother in childbed. Appointed Duke of Swabia in 1235, his father had him elected King of Germany and crowned King of Italy in 1237. After the emperor was deposed and died in 1250, he ruled as King of Sicily until his death.
A count palatine, also count of the palace or palsgrave, was originally an official attached to a royal or imperial palace or household and later a nobleman of a rank above that of an ordinary count. The title originated in the late Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages especially and into modern times, it is associated with the Holy Roman Empire.
The House of Welf is a European dynasty that has included many German and British monarchs from the 11th to 20th century and Emperor Ivan VI of Russia in the 18th century.
Maximilian I, occasionally called "the Great", a member of the House of Wittelsbach, ruled as Duke of Bavaria from 1597. His reign was marked by the Thirty Years' War during which he obtained the title of a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire at the 1623 Diet of Regensburg.
The Schmalkaldic War refers to the short period of violence from 1546 until 1547 between the forces of Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, commanded by the Duke of Alba and the Duke of Saxony, and the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League within the domains of the Holy Roman Empire.
The Treaty of Teschen was signed on 13 May 1779 in Teschen, Austrian Silesia, between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia, which officially ended the War of the Bavarian Succession.
The Electorate of Bavaria was an independent hereditary electorate of the Holy Roman Empire from 1623 to 1806, when it was succeeded by the Kingdom of Bavaria.
Over its long history, the Holy Roman Empire used many different heraldic forms, representing its numerous internal divisions ;Hapbsburg although debated, is not one of the royal house Names. More Importantly Phillip ii, Charles iv, The famous Angivin Bloodline King Arthur crusader Knights at the round table, Shakespeare, Hamelet, Romeo & Juliet, William the conconqurer, Ezikiel a biblically important Roman holy Land siezed due to sinful influence of great sickness within the mind, barons, baronesses, counts, contesses, dukes, duchess, prince princesses, queen regent,years of royal thorough breeding of only holy blood is what made them selfelish etc.etc.etc. Berry is a more dominant royal house name hidden by obscurity for this reason above . Hapbsburg are artist whom the emperor had contracted to make works of art reliquaries and other ipr. .
The dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire occurred de facto on 6 August 1806, when the last Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, abdicated his title and released all imperial states and officials from their oaths and obligations to the empire. Since the Middle Ages, the Holy Roman Empire had been recognized by Western Europeans as the legitimate continuation of the ancient Roman Empire due to its emperors having been proclaimed as Roman emperors by the papacy. Through this Roman legacy, the Holy Roman Emperors claimed to be universal monarchs whose jurisdiction extended beyond their empire's formal borders to all of Christian Europe and beyond. The decline of the Holy Roman Empire was a long and drawn-out process lasting centuries. The formation of the first modern sovereign territorial states in the 16th and 17th centuries, which brought with it the idea that jurisdiction corresponded to actual territory governed, threatened the universal nature of the Holy Roman Empire.
The imperial election of 1658 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place in Frankfurt on July 18.
The imperial election of 1690 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place in Augsburg on January 23.
The imperial election of 1711 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place on October 12.
The imperial election of 1273 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place in Frankfurt on October 1.