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Exploring the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire: Differences Explained

Exploring the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire: Differences Explained

A huge nation that reigns over numerous areas or various human groups is known as an empire. Commonly, empires are built over armed overthrows by a powerful and authoritative state over weaker states.

Historians generally recognize the oldest empire as the Akkadian Empire, ruled by Sargon of Akkad, which dominated Mesopotamia. The largest empire in history was the British Empire, which governed enormous lands, including Canada, broad areas of Africa, and Australia. The largest land empires in human history were the Mongol Empire, the Roman Empire, and the Holy Roman Empire.

The Holy Roman Empire was an attempt to save the Western Roman Empire from being replaced by separate kingdoms headed by Germanic nobility when its legal and political systems collapsed in the fifth and sixth centuries. After Romulus Augustulus was removed from office in 476, the position of Roman Emperor was vacant.

The Roman and Holy Roman Empires are different in some ways. One of the major differences is that these two empires existed in different centuries: the Roman Empire was in 27 BC, and the Holy Roman Empire emerged in 768 AD and ended in 1806.

Read on and discover the differences between these two terminologies.

Roman Empire

Rome is one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world, having been founded in 753 BC by brothers Romulus and Remus. With a rich and tumultuous history, Rome has been at the center of some of the most critical events in human history.

A center of supremacy and influence for centuries, Rome was the world’s largest city during the Roman Empire at its height.

Ancient Roman
Ancient Roman

The Roman Republic preceded the Roman Empire. The Roman Democracy started in 509 B.C. when the Roman king was conquered and persisted until 27 B.C. when Augustus took power.

The Roman Empire was a political superpower that extensively reigned over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The empire was mainly land-based with a strong military ritual. The Roman Empire is the most productive and commanding in history.

Emperor Of The Roman Empire

The Emperor, who was typically an armed general who maintained power through force, was the highest and ideal ruler of the Empire. The Emperor was advised by a Senate, a group of wealthy landowners, and a relic from the Roman Republic.

During the Republic era, the Senate consisted of elected officials who convened to govern. During the early Empire, the Senate played a lesser role in the government as a simple advisor to the Emperor.

Praetorian Guard

The Praetorian Guard was created during the Roman Republic. Guarding the generals on the front lines fell to these special men.

The Praetorian Guard was revived during the Augustan Period of the Roman Empire and remained a symbol of the Emperor’s power for more than 300 years.

Citizenship Policy

As the Empire prolonged in all commands and directions, strategy concerning citizenship changed with peace and obsequiousness in newly developed lands. The Roman Empire’s citizenship law was significant because it permitted individuals to obtain citizenship by enlisting in the Roman army.

Julius Cesar gave troops and aristocrats from colonies citizenship, strengthening the empire and giving it the right to rule over previously conquered areas. The Roman Empire’s nationality program permitted people to expand their social position and become part of Roman management.

The Largest Empire

The Roman Empire was one of human history’s largest and most influential empires. Together with ancient Greece, from which the Romans borrowed many aspects of their culture, the Roman Empire laid the foundation for Western Civilization.

The Romans influenced almost every aspect of modern life in the West. The Romans invented the alphabet, which is used to write the English language, and their art and architecture are still regarded as examples of elegance, flair, and grandeur today.

As mentioned above, the ancient Greeks exerted an extraordinary influence on the Romans, especially in their religion, literature, mythology, art, and architecture. Roman art and architecture are typically categorized into the Classical or Greco-Roman period, a longer time frame.

The ancient Greeks first employed much of what we associate with Roman architecture, including columns, geometric proportions, etc. However, some important artistic and architectural developments were truly Roman inventions.

Roman Sculpture
Roman Sculpture

Where Was The Roman Empire Located?

The Roman Empire was one of the most extensive territories in history. It was initiated as an insignificant city or state in central Italy and extended over the centuries to most of the Mediterranean.

The Roman Empire involved the Italian peninsula, different parts of Europe, North Africa, and some parts of the Middle East.

The Empire was separated into numerous provinces, each governed by an administrator appointed by the Emperor. The sections were divided into smaller units, such as cities and towns.

The Roman Empire extended westward in the late first century BC and the early first century. The Roman downfall of Gaul caused this development.

The Roman conquest of Gaul brought the Empire into contact with the Celtic peoples of Britain and Ireland, whom the Romans also conquered. When Emperor Trajan overthrew the kingdom of Dacia in the late first century AD, the Roman Empire also grew in the East.

This development exaggerated the Roman Empire and assemble it extra ethnologically and culturally varied. The Roman Empire was suspended when it was separated in 395 AD.

The Empire was divided into two territories, the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire, each with its Emperor. The Western Empire was distorted in the 5th century, while the Eastern Roman Empire continued to exist until the 15th century.

The Eastern Roman Empire, recognized as the Byzantine Empire, endured until 1453 AD, when it fell to the Ottoman Turks.

Holy Roman Empire

The Roman Empire forms an important part of the history of Europe; it was established in 962 and remained until 1806 throughout the Napoleonic Battles.

Some states that were part of the Empire include modern-day Poland, Italy, France, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

The Holy Roman Empire fell many years ago. First, it influenced art and architecture. The designs of Roman structures, such as the Colosseum, influenced modern-day sports stadiums and arenas.

It also influenced literature and language through poetry. The Romans influenced some of Shakespeare’s plays, such as Julius Caesar.

Though the Empire was seen as universal, Voltaire, a famous philosopher, and French Enlightenment Writer remarked that The Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, Roman, or an empire.

Roman Empire

Origin Of The Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Empire began in 800 with the crowning of Charlemagne as the Emperor; Charlemagne reigned as the Frankish king and was crowned by Pope Leo III. His crowning was a sign of uniting Christendom into one political unit with governance and religion serving Jesus Christ.

The Empire was split into three distinct regions, however—East, West, and Middle France—by Charlemagne’s grandsons. East Francia became the Territory of Germany. The grandsons decided that the Emperor came from Middle Francia. Though, this kingdom has broken into the Kingdom of Italy and Burgundy.

Otto I, the King of Germany, attacked Italy and married the Italian Princess Adelaide. Otto became the Italian King by marrying Adelaide. The pope was impressed by Otto’s restoration of stability in Italy, and he was crowned Otto I emperor in 962.

As a result, the imperial title was removed to East Francia from Middle Francia and sustained until the Empire’s fall; this permanent shift in the Emperor’s seat is seen as the beginning of the Empire.

Differences Between Roman Empire And Holy Roman Empire

Characteristics Roman EmpireHoly Roman Empire
Period It began in 27 BC till 476 AD.It was from 768 AD till 1806.
Area compression The Roman Empire covered Europe and Africa, with a casing area of almost 4.5 million sq km.The Holy Roman Empire didn’t restore the Roman Empire for almost 1.1 million km.
PoliciesThe Roman Empire was a unitary state or absolute monarchy.The Holy Roman Empire was a federation with numerous forms of elective monarchy or political sanctions.
Army strength Executus RomanusReich Armature
Longest ruling Emperor Caesar AugustusHenry IV
Language Latin and GreekGerman and Deutsch
Religion ChristianityRoman Catholicism
GDP32 billion USD (150 AD) 35 billion USD (1270)
Comparison Table: Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire
Let’s watch this video about Holy Roman Empire explained in 13 minutes.


  • The Roman and Holy Roman Empires are diverse in numerous ways. One of the major differences is that these two empires existed in different centuries. The Roman Empire was in 27 BC, and the Holy Roman Empire emerged in 768 AD or ended in 1806.
  • Both Roman Empires were massive and covered the largest area of Europe and some of Africa. But their size was different, the Roman Empire covering almost 4.5 M sq kilometers. On the other side, the Holy Roman Empire didn’t reestablish the whole Roman Empire.
  • The Holy Roman Empire was unstable due to the confederation of various political entities, But the Roman Empire was a united government.
  • The population of the Roman Empire was more than 90 million, and the Holy Roman Empire’s population was almost 29 million.

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