The Holy Roman Empire denotes the western empire which encompassed large tracts of Central and Western Europe as well as northern Italy, although the borders changed over time. Brought into being in 800, when Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne emperor in Rome, it was intended to represent the re-establishment of the Western Roman Empire of classical antiquity.
Although the title of emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was not hereditary and the emperor was elected to office, the Habsburgs succeeded in retaining the title for the dynasty from the fifteenth century to the end of the empire in 1806 with very few exceptions.