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Jacob Kallenberg: Arms of the German nation of the Holy Roman Empire (1545)

(Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, Germany)
Eight colored woodcuts made by the Swiss artist Jacob Kallenberg (active 1535–1565). These eight pages come from the book "Wapen des Heyligen Römischen Reichs Teutscher Nation" or "Arms of the German nation of the Holy Roman Empire". This book is an armorial which depicts the coats-of-arms of the various states within the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire was a large empire which existed from A.D. 962 to its dissolution in 1806. The empire was an elective monarchy and never was a unified state. Instead it was composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, principalities, duchies, counties, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, and other domains. The power of the emperor was limited, and while the various princes, lords, bishops, and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they also possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Th…

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