The Holy Roman Empire has made pivotal and defining contributions to Western civilization—but its many reincarnations have also come with painful and catastrophic consequences. European leaders aim to unite the fractured continent of Europe by reviving the legacy of this extraordinary church-state combine. One of the great lessons of this empire is that it always comes back. There is always another resurrection. The Holy Roman Empire is not just a relic of history. It is about to play a central role in world events. Coming to understand about the nature and character of this powerful institution tells you as much about the future as it does about the past.