Generally speaking, a theocracy exists when the ruler of a government is also the religious leader of that same government. In many theocracies of the past the ruler has been one who was designated by the religious leader of that time and place. The major religions during medieval times were Christianity and Islam. In many cases the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire bordered the boundaries of the Muslim world. Oftentimes these borders changed as both the Holy Roman Empire and the Muslim world conquered or lost territory. This can be seen in the maps of both worlds (Appendix A). The timeline of this comparison begins at 1500 AD and moves forward in time.
The state of the Holy Roman Empire at 1500 AD was one that had the leadership struggling to maintain control of the Empire through select leaders and communication methods. As with any government, communication is vitally important to the success or failure of the ruling party. Most of the Empire was located in what is now Eastern Europe. Western Europe was constantly under assault from barbarians thus making it hard to maintain control and rule over land and peoples. In the late 1400's publishing of books became a profession. The power of the written word was used by the Holy Roman Empire to maintain control over land and peoples. ...
Between 1500 AD and 1700 AD the Holy Roman Empire began its decline. By this time the Hapsburgs held the imperial crown. "Frederick was the last Emperor to be crowned by the Pope in Rome and did much to consolidate the Habsburg possessions."2 As the last appointed emperor Frederick was the last theocratic leader of the Holy Roman Empire. The Hapsburg line had died out by 1740. While there are individuals that hold titles resulting from The Holy Roman Empire to this day, the powerful hold on Europe that the Empire had no longer exists. For the most part many Catholics throughout the region still hold the papacy as their religious leader while maintaining citizenship of their countries and following the laws of their government. In essence, the Christian theocracy no longer exists (except in Vatican City, Italy where the Pope presides).
During the last years of the Holy Roman Empire the Ottoman Empire was at its peak. The Ottoman Empire bordered the Holy Roman Empire on many fronts. In 1500 Pope Alexander declared a Year of Jubilee and ordered a tithe to the Empire to fund the crusade against the Ottoman Turks. The struggle against the Turks took a hit when Henry VII declined the Pope's request to fight against the Turks. In 1792 Napoleon Bonaparte led France in its bid for independence from the Empire. Later the Prussians reunified the German state by defeating the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire crumbled.
It is important to note that the Holy Roman Empire is no more but Christianity is still a strong group of observant peoples. Christianity has spread around the world despite the fact that few Christian theocracies exist.
In contrasts the Muslim world did not crumble and end. If