Professor Peter H. Wilson

The Holy Roman Empire. A Thousand Years of Europe's  History

Book Cover for: The Holy Roman Empire. A Thousand Years of Europe's  History

A great, sprawling, ancient and unique entity, the Holy Roman Empire, from its founding by Charlemagne to its destruction by Napoleon a millennium later, formed the heart of Europe. It was a great engine for inventions and ideas, it was the origin of many modern European states, from Germany to the Czech Republic, its relations with Italy, France and Poland dictated the course of countless wars - indeed European history as a whole makes no sense without it.

In this strikingly ambitious book, Peter H. Wilson explains how the Empire worked. It is not a chronological history, but an attempt to convey to readers why it was so important and how it changed over its existence. The result is a tour de force - a book that raises countless questions about the nature of political and military power, about diplomacy and the nature of European civilization and about the legacy of the Empire, which has continued to haunt its offspring, from Imperial and Nazi Germany to the European Union.

  • The First European Union

  • The Holy Roman Empire A Thousand Years of Europe's History

  • Armies of the German princes

  • The Immerwährende Reichstag in English and American historiography

  • Kingdom divided: British and Continental European conflict compared

  • Prussia and the Holy Roman Empire 1700-40

  • Das Heilige Römische Reich, die machtpolitische Schwache Mitte Europas - mehr Sicherheit oder eine Gefahr für den Frieden?

  • Strategy and the conduct of war

  • Atrocities in the Thirty Years War

  • 神圣罗马帝国 1495-1806

  • More
  • Liao Ping
  • Thomas M. Nora
  • Emma Butcher

I would like to hear from potential DPhil students regarding war in Europe and the wider world c.1500-1900; the military, political, cultural or social history of German-speaking Europe c.1500-1900.

I currently teach:


  The Military and Society in Britain and France c.1650-1815
  The Thirty Years War (SS12)

BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking 10 March 2016

BBC World Service Feb.2016
BBC History Magazine podcast Feb.2016
List of site pages