Roman Empire Vs Holy Roman Empire

Roman Empire Vs Holy Roman Empire

For starters, the Roman Empire was established by Augustus in 27BC after he was appointed the first Roman Emperor. During the first two centuries, the Roman Empire’s growth and stability were unprecedented,and in 117 AD, it reached optimum expansion becoming the largest social and political structure across western civilization. However, it ended in 476 AD under the reign of Romulus Agustulus.

On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire was established at the beginning of the mid-centuryby Charlemagne. However, this term came later in the 13th century and not at the beginning when Charlemagne overthrew the Frankish Dominion (768). While it lasted for thousands of years, 6th August 1806 marks the end of the Holy Roman Empire.

What Is The Difference Between Roman & Holy Roman Empire?

Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire are different in several ways. First, these two empires existed centuries apart, with the Roman Empire being the first from 27BC to 476 AD. However, the eastern Roman Empire continuedthriving but as the Byzantine Empire until its end in 1453.

On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire emerged later in 768 after the conquest of the Frankish Dominion by Charlemagne. However, it ended in 1806 due to the Napoleon war. While both empires were massive in size and covered most of Europe and part of Africa, their sizes were different.

For instance, the Roman Empire was the largest covering 4.4 million square kilometers. On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire didn’t manage to restore the whole of the Roman Empire after its end in 476AD and 1453. As such, it covered one million square kilometers.

Roman Empire was founded on 27BC by Augustuswhen was appointed the first emperor of this empire by the Roman senate. On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire was founded by Charlemagne after taking over the Frankish dominion in 768. However, it was until 25th December 800CE that he was crowned King by the Pope. Also, it was until the 13th century that the term holy roman empire was applied.

The Holy Roman Empire was a confederation consisting of various sizes of political entities. As a result, it was an unstable empire due to divergent interests among its heads. As a result, this caused constant conflicts that were maximized by some of the external European powers. On the other hand, Roman Empire was a unitary state. As such; all the provision governors would answer to the emperor. 

Did The Roman Empire Turn Into The Holy Roman Empire?

The crowning of Charlemagne as the Emperor on December 800CE marked the revival of the once-mighty Roman Empire. This was after three centuries of the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe due to the Germanic invasion. This coronation resulted in the creation of the Carolingian Empire, which later came to be the greater Holy Roman Empire.

Was Rome In The Holy Roman Empire?

Yes, Rome was in the Holy Roman Empire.. In 951, Otto I and Adelaide married. They were king and queen from Germany and Burgundy respectively. Through this union, Otto I took over the Lombardy Iron Crown.

During the 960 attacks on the Papal States by Berengar I (Italy King), King Otto conquered Italy after being summoned by the Pope (John XII). In 962 Feb, Otto I was crowned in Rome and became Holy Roman Emperor.

Thereafter, all the crowned rulers of Italy would also be Kings in Germany. As a result, Italy, which also hosts Rome, became part of the Holy Roman Empire. And this included the German Kingdom and Burgandy (from 1032). Therefore, Rome was indeed part of the Holy Roman Empire for as long as it existed.

Is The Holy Roman Emperor The Same As The Pope?

No, the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope are distinct authorities during the Holy Roman Empire. For starters, the Pope was the ultimate leader when it comes to catholic churches during this period and on the other hand, the roman emperor was the head of the government.

But even so, there are occasions where the emperor would engage in matters of the church. Similarly, the pope would do the same when it comes to governing matters in some instances. Further, the coronation of Charlemagne onwards marked the significance of the pop in the governing matters.

As such, the pope would crown every other emperor from then onwards. However, that ended with Charles V. Thereafter, his successor would adopt “Emperor Elect” as the title. Speaking of a successor, Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor. During the start of Napoleon’s war, he renounced his seat in 1806.

Thereafter, Napoleon took over marking the end of the Holy Roman Empire. And that’s not all, he invited Pope Pius VII to his coronation in France. Hoping to gain the favor of Napoleon for Rome, it turns out to be a surprise to everyone.

Napoleon took the crown and crowned himself as the new emperor. This was unlike the traditional way where pop crown the emperors. This was a symbol Napoleon would not be submissive to anyone including Rome. 


At last, Roman Empire Vs Holy Roman Empire marks the important parts of classical to Middle Ages history. The Roman Empire represents the classical while its counterpart represents the Middle Ages. What clearly defines these two is that they occurred in different times (centuries apart).

Furthermore, there forms of government were also unique. For instance, Roman Empire had a unitary system of government where the provincial heads were answerable to him. On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire was a confederate. As a result, each state had unique interests that lead to conflicts.

But most importantly, Roman Empire was established in 27BC and ended in 476 AD, while the Byzantine Empire survived until 1453. On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire started on and ended in 1806.