Holy Roman Empire

Neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire
-Voltaire

The Holy Roman Empire is a loose confederation of various City-States, Earldoms, Dukedoms, Principalities, Kingdoms, Bishoprics and other political entities located in central Europe. With so many tiny individual states, some measuring only a few miles, the Empire has been described as a "patchwork carpet".

The inner workings of the Empire are a tangled mess of politics, bureaucracy and internal alliances. The members of the Empire band together for common defence but internal rivalries are rife.

With the exception of the free Imperial Cities which are ruled directly by the Emperor, the members of the Empire maintain their own soverignty in nearly all matters, aggressively so. The legislative branch of the Empire, the Reichstag maintains order and is made up of the rulers of the member states.

The Holy Roman Emperor is elected by the seven Prince-Electors, the most powerful and influential of the member states, upon the death of the previous Emperor. The winning candidate is traditionally crowned by the Pope. The HRE is considered to be the natural successor to the old Roman Empire.

The current Emperor is Charles V.

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