I've been reading "The Holy Roman Empire" by Peter Wilson and it's been fascinating. But it's left me with many questions about what things looked like day to day (especially 1000-14000).

For example on p376 he says "Armed retaliation through feuds remained a legal way to seek redress under imperial law" but how did this work in practice? Doesn't raising a militia and attacking another count or prince usurp the authority of the emperor's court?

On p374 he says "The rest passed to the Wettin family <...> who managed to repel royal efforts to escheat it as a vacant fief," but how does the emperor make the case that it is "vacant" in the first place when there is clear inheritance. This is maybe part of my broader confusion of how the transition from imperial appointments to hereditary confirmation was perceived.

At a high level I'm really enjoying this book but throughout when Wilson gives an on-the-ground example of something I'm often struck with "wait but how do you justify that action" or "don't you have the authority to just make that happen?"

For folks who might think "How is this in any way interesting" (AKA me two years ago)… then I recommend the highly fictional novel 1632 which really gave me something to hook me into imperial life and institutions.

Source: reddit post


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