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Table of Holy Roman Emperors

A list of kings and emperors who ruled the Holy Roman Empire


Part of our understanding of the geopolitical entity known to us today as the Holy Roman Empire is that it was ruled by emperors. However, the title of emperor was not hereditary, and each individual who achieved the imperial throne first had to take control as an independent ruler. Once he was crowned by a pope his position as emperor was official; until then, he was usually regarded as king. The time between taking over the government and having a coronation could vary greatly; therefore, the table below displays the date each ruler achieved independent governance of the empire, rather than the date he received the imperial crown. The most notable exception is Charlemagne; he had assembled a considerable empire before he was crowned by Pope Leo III in 800 C.E.

There is a general consensus that, although Charlemagne was crowned emperor and occasionally referred to himself as such, the true beginning of the Holy Roman Empire can be more accurately pinpointed to the reign of Otto the Great more than 130 years later. But for reference purposes, Charlemagne and the leaders intervening between him and Otto are listed here. And, although an emperor's son didn't automatically follow him to the throne, the emperors did all belong to fairly powerful families who established dynasties that produced several (and, as in the case of the Habsburgs, many) rulers. Thus, the dynasties to which the emperors belonged are also given.

Links in this table lead to entries in our Who's Who in Medieval History resource. As more emperors are added to the resource, they will be linked here.

Carolingian Dynasty
800-814: Charles I (Charlemagne)
814-840: Louis I (Louis the Pious)
840-843: Civil war
843-855: Lothair I
855-875: Louis II
875-877: Charles II (Charles the Bald)
877-881: Interregnum
881-887: Charles III (Charles the Fat)
887-891: Interregnum

House of Spoleto
891-894: Guy
894-898: Lambert

Carolingian Dynasty
896-899: Arnulf
901-905: Louis III (Louis The Blind)
915-924: Berengar

House of Saxony (Liudolfings)
936-973: Otto I (Otto the Great)
973-983: Otto II
983-1002: Otto III
1002-1024: Henry II (Saint Henry)

Salian Dynasty
1024-1039: Conrad II
1039-1056: Henry III
1084-1106: Henry IV
Rival claimants
  1077-1080: Rudolf (Rudolf of Rheinfelden or Rudolf of Swabia)
  1081-1093: Hermann
  1093-1101: Conrad
1106-1125: Henry V

House of Supplinburg
1125-1137: Lothair II

House of Hohenstaufen
1138-1152: Conrad III
1152-1190: Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa)
1190-1197: Henry VI
1198-1208: Philip (Philip of Swabia)

Guelph (Welf) Dynasty
1198-1214: Otto IV (Otto of Brunswick)

House of Hohenstaufen
1215-1250: Frederick II
Rival claimants
  1220-1235: Henry (VII)
  1246-1247: Henry Raspe
  1247-1256: William of Holland
1250-1254: Conrad IV

Great Interregnum
1257-1272: Richard (Earl of Cornwall)
1257-1275: Alfonso (Alfonso the Wise; Alfonso X of Castile)

House of Habsburg
1273-1291: Rudolf I (Rudolf of Habsburg)

House of Nassau
1292-1298: Adolf

House of Habsburg
1298-1308: Albert I

House of Luxembourg
1308-1313: Henry VII

House of Habsburg
1314-26: Frederick (Frederick the Fair)

House of Wittelsbach
1314-1346: Louis IV (Louis the Bavarian)

House of Luxembourg
1346-1378: Charles IV (Charles of Luxembourg)
1378-1400: Wenceslas

House of Wittelsbach
1400-1410: Rupert (Rupert of the Palatinate)

House of Luxembourg
1410-1411: Jobst
1410-1437: Sigismund

House of Habsburg
1438-1439: Albert II
1440-1493: Frederick III
1493-1519: Maximilian I
1519-1556: Charles V
1556-1564: Ferdinand I
1564-1576: Maximilian II
1576-1612: Rudolf II
1612-1619: Matthias
1619-1637: Ferdinand II
1637-1657: Ferdinand III
1658-1705: Leopold I
1705-1711: Joseph I
1711-1740: Charles VI

House of Wittelsbach
1742-1745: Charles VII (Charles Albert)

House of Habsburg
1745-1765: Francis I
1765-1790: Joseph II
1790-1792: Leopold II
1792-1806: Francis II

Data for the above table was derived from The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Medieval World by Andrew Jotischky and Caroline Hull, and from The Encyclopedia Britannica.

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