Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Question from Sara - Germany and the Holy Roman Empire in the Tudor era

I have a question about Germany during the Tudor Era. I know that Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire, but was the name Germany associated with it that early, or did the name come later? Also, what were people from the Holy Roman Empire called? Thanks a lot for any answers you can give me.

2 comments:

PhD Historian said...

An excellent and intelligent question. Most of what is today called Germany was indeed part of the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) during the Tudor period. Many of the people of that region were often referred to as Germans, because they spoke that language. That name applied to any group of people that sopke German, including those in areas not now part of modern Germany. And they were all also alternatively referred to according to the country they actually lived in : Bavaria, Saxe-Coburg, etc. So one might be both Saxon and German, or Bavarian and German, etc. The HRE, however, was never a cohesive and centrally governed empire in the way that England was. Think of it as being more like the modern British Commonwealth ... a loose confedertaion of individual and sometimes very different nations that all recognized a single symbolic head of state. I have never heard of people being referred to as Holy Romans during the Tudor period.

Foose said...

I read that Germany was known in England as "Almayne" (from the French L'Allemagne). Henry III's brother was elected King of the Romans and known as the "King of Almayne" in England. I believe the term was still current in Tudor England as a generic term for a German person, or an inhabitant of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as a geographic term for Germany.