German History: The Origin and Early Development of the “German Empire” Part I

German History 1

From the Great Migration to the “Empire”

According to Topb2bwebsites, the emergence of the German Empire (Regnum) can be seen as a long development process. In dealing with the Roman imperial culture (migration of peoples), Germanic peoples developed from the 3rd century onwards, who established their empires on the soil of the Roman Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries (e.g. Franks, Alemanni). These peoples (tribes) took over basic elements of the Latin culture as well as remnants of the late antique administrative and economic structures. They created themselves in the 3rd – 6th centuries. Century political structures (duchy, kingship), but always remained associations that were held together by common traditions rather than developing into ethnic units. The Franconian Empire Charles I the Great united the different ethnic associations of the early Middle Ages in the 8th century. From the division of the empire of Verdun (843), Meerssen (870) and Ribemont (880) of the Carolingian rulers, Franconian sub-empires emerged, in which new national formations took place: As the grandsons of Charlemagne, the sons of Louis the Pious, in 843 in the Treaty of Verdun divided the Franconian Empire among themselves, Ludwig (the German) received the country east of the Rhine and Aare as the “Empire of the Eastern Franconia”; In 880, with the acquisition of the western half of Lorraine, essentially the border between France and Germany (valid until 1648) was established. After a short restoration of the unity of the Franconian Empire in 885-887, after the death of the last East Franconian Carolingian, Ludwig of the Child (911), the East Franconian Empire began to develop independently from the other parts of the empire. While the Lothringers joined the West Franconian Carolingians, the East Franconian tribes raised the Franconian Conrad I, disregarding the Carolingian succession to the throne . (911–918) to their king. After his death, he was not succeeded by his brother, but by the deceased king – allegedly according to the Ottonian legitimation legend of Widukind von Corvey – designated Saxon Duke Heinrich I in kingship (919).

His rule was in the Bonn Treaty (921) also from the West Franconian Carolingian Karl III. recognized as the “King of the East Franconians”. Despite diverse political and cultural contacts, the old unity of the Franconian Empire dissolved in the course of the 10th century and gave way to new identities in the East Franconian and West Franconian empires. It is not possible to give an exact date when this “East Franconian” empire became a “German” empire in the consciousness of contemporaries. The long process of the East Franconian-German Reich formation took place with individual climaxes over many decades. Even if the territorial formation of the new empire was essentially completed with the incorporation of Lorraine (925), research now points out that it was not until the beginning of the 11th century that there was an increasing “German” consciousness alongside the Frankish traditions kicked. The new name “Reich of the Germans”, evidence of the perception of a completed process of change, was only added at the end of the 11th and 12th centuries. This imperial designation competed throughout the Middle Ages with the Roman imperial and ruler title, which underlined the special position of the East Franconian-German kings over all other European rulers. The awareness of the continuation of Roman imperial rule has been superimposed on the development of national identities since the 10th century. It was not until the end of the 11th century (documented under which underlined the special position of the East Frankish-German kings over all other European rulers. The awareness of the continuation of Roman imperial rule has been superimposed on the development of national identities since the 10th century. It was not until the end of the 11th century (documented under which underlined the special position of the East Frankish-German kings over all other European rulers. The awareness of the continuation of Roman imperial rule has been superimposed on the development of national identities since the 10th century. It was not until the end of the 11th century (documented under Heinrich IV.) It became customary to refer to the empire north of the Alps as the “Reich of the Germans” (“Regnum Teutonic [or] um” or “German Regnum”) and its residents as “Germans”. Since the 11th century, at the latest with Henry V, the ruler, who had not yet been crowned Roman Emperor, was called Rex Romanorum (Roman King). The Roman empire name was given the addition “holy” in the Hohenstaufen era. Within this Sacrum Romanum Imperium (Holy Roman Empire; first 1157) the German Regnum stood next to the kingdoms of Italy and Burgundy. To distinguish it, the name “German Land” (first documented in the Annolied around 1080) and finally “Germany” since the 16th century became common in the Middle High German period.

Dominance and social structure

Agriculture was the economic basis of the emerging empire. The predominantly agrarian society developed a specific rulership and social structure due to its special relationship to land, which was to last throughout the Middle Ages. While the bulk of the peasant population, personally and economically dependent on the landlord, built on foreign land in return for taxes and / or services (landlord), the landlords themselves, if they did not own their land as free property (own, allod), were integrated into the feudal system, which in the course of the High Middle Ages developed into a comprehensive rule and organizational principle of the knightly nobility almost throughout the West.

Politically, the history of the empire was determined from the beginning by the coexistence and opposition of the three decisive basic institutions, kingship, church and nobility. The kingship was still largely in the Frankish imperial traditions, although different ideas developed in the succession to the throne. The greats of the empire raised the king by election, with the selection of the candidate taking into account family relationships. In 936 they deviated from the Carolingian custom of dividing the empire over the existing sons after the death of the ruler; although Heinrich I (919–936) had left several sons, only Otto I, the Great (936–973), followed as king of the entire empire.

German History 1