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The Holy Roman Empire covered much of Europe and lasted for over a millennium, but has long been regarded as ineffective and largely irrelevant to broader historical issues. Drawing on a wealth of research, Peter Wilson offers an alternative interpretation of the Empire's last three centuries. The Holy Roman Empire 1495-1806, second edition: * Explains key stages in the Empire's development within the context of wider European history * Provides a comprehensive guide to its institutions and the central debates * Incorporates the latest scholarship and has been fully revised and updated throughout, offering more in depth treatment of major issues * Features a new chapter on whether the Empire can be considered the first German nation state. Clear and concise, this established book is an ideal introduction for anyone who is studying the structure and significance of the Holy Roman Empire and its impact on early modern Europe.