from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- A loosely federated European political entity that began with the papal coronation of the German king Otto I as the first emperor in 962 and lasted until Francis II's renunciation of the title at the instigation of Napoleon in 1806. The empire was troubled by papal-secular squabbles over authority and after the 13th century by the rising ambitions of nationalistic states. By 1273 the empire consisted primarily of the Hapsburg domains in Austria and Spain.
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