Princes of the Holy Roman Empire

Princes Of The Holy Roman Empire

Princes of the Holy Roman Empire

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The term Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (, ) denoted a secular or ecclesiastical Imperial State, who ruled over an immediate fief directly assigned by the Holy Roman Emperor. There were two principal types of princes; those who had territory and sovereignty and those who were honorary, having the title but no lands or territories and no claim to sovereignty.

The estate of imperial princes or Reichsf├╝rstenstandArnold, Benjamin (1991). Princes and territories in medieval Germany, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, pp. 24-25, ISBN 0-521-52148-3. was first established in a legal sense in the Late Middle Ages. The title of imperial prince and its associated imperial immediacy, however, bestowed a certain degree of legal security that made another, more powerful, nobleman dependent on the prince.

Imperial state

A particular estate of "the Princes" was first mentioned in the 1180 decree issued by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa at the Reichstag of Gelnhausen, in which he divested Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria. About fifty years later, Eike von Repgow codified it as a emanation of feudal law recorded in his Sachsenspiegel. As the term developed into a certain rank of nobility, in its proper sense, the effective princely states of the Holy Roman Empire had to meet three requirements:
  • the superior territorial rule and derivative regalia, i.e. royal sovereign rights, over an immediate fief of the Empire
  • a direct vote...... ...
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