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The death of Henry III on 5 October 1056 was one of the greatest disasters which the medieval Empire experienced. It is true that his power had declined in the latter years of his reign, but the difficulties before him were not so great that he himself, granted good health, could not have successfully surmounted them. Imperial prestige had suffered, especially from Hungary in the south-east; yet even the weak government of the regency was soon able to restore, though it could not retain, its overlordship. It was rather in the internal affairs of Germany and in the Italian kingdom that the death of the great Emperor was fatal. The German princes needed a master to keep them from usurping or claiming independence of action. And in Italy the situation was critical, as Henry III had recognised. Imperial authority was challenged in the north and centre by Duke Godfrey of Lower Lorraine, the husband of Beatrice of Tuscany, while in the south the rise of the Norman power and the prospect of a secular sword on which the now regenerated Papacy could rely put it in a position to shake off its subservience to its former rescuer and protector, the Emperor. The more absolute Henry’s authority had been, the greater the loss of imperial prestige should the Papacy be­come independent.

The heir to the throne was a boy not quite six years of age. Henry III had averted the gravest danger to which monarchy was liable—the danger of a vacancy in the kingdom—as his son Henry had already been recognised and anointed as king. But he could not avert the lesser, though often hardly less grave, evil of a regency. Probably in accordance with the Emperor’s own wishes, and certainly following the usual precedent, the Empress-mother Agnes was recognised as regent, a woman distinguished only for her piety. Had she combined with this the firm character of a Blanche of Castile, she might have made of her son a Louis IX, but she failed alike to maintain imperial government and to impress her piety on her son. For the few months that Pope Victor II survived his master and friend, all indeed went well. His counsels brought peace in Germany (especially in Lorraine and Bavaria), his influence it was that caused the change in government to be effected with so little disturbance, and during his lifetime Empire and Papacy were united in the closest harmony. But with his death Agnes was left to depend on the counsel of such of the bishops as enjoyed her favour: in particular Henry of Augsburg, whose influence at court seriously weakened the regency owing to the jealousy to which it gave rise.

The effect of the five years and a half of Agnes’ regency was to pro­duce a steady decline in the prestige and power of the central authority. At first, indeed, there was an improvement on the eastern frontiers. The birth of a son, Salomo, to King Andrew of Hungary had disappointed the king’s brother Bela in his hopes of the succession. To counteract this danger Andrew made peace with the Empire in 1058, and a marriage­ alliance was arranged between Salomo and Agnes’ daughter Judith. This alliance, however, only produced disaster. An imperial army sent in 1060 to the assistance of Andrew was severely defeated. Andrew him­self was killed in battle, Salomo had to take refuge in Germany, and Bela and his son Geza established themselves as rulers of Hungary. The Duke of Poland, who had given a refuge and assistance to Bela, seized the opportunity to throw off the imperial overlordship, and by his continual alliance with the anti-German party in both Hungary and Bohemia was able to maintain himself in a practically independent position. The Duke of Bohemia, therefore, was on the side of the Empire1, and his loyalty was to be of the greatest value, placed as he was in direct contact with the duchies both of Saxony and Bavaria. During practically the whole of the eighty years covered by the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V this situation prevailed in the three countries. There was frequent civil war in each of them, and the brothers of the ruler were constantly in revolt against him, but, while the German party maintained itself in Bohemia, the anti-German party was successful in both Hungary and Poland. To­wards the end of the period Hungary became more concerned in Eastern than in Western politics, though its contest with Venice for the coast of Dalmatia introduced a further complication into the international situation.

It was not surprising that the frontier-states refused obedience to a government which could not enforce its authority within the kingdom. The majesty of the imperial name was still sufficient to leave the disposition of appointments, both lay and ecclesiastical, in the hands of the Empress-regent. Agnes, too, was fortunate in the patronage that she had to bestow, though singularly unfortunate in its disposal. The duchy of Franconia, as before, remained in royal hands. When Swabia became vacant by the death of Duke Otto in 1057, Agnes bestowed the duchy on the Burgundian Count, Rudolf of Rheinfelden, and his marriage with the king’s sister Matilda in 1059 was designed to bind him to the interests of the court; but Matilda died in 1060, and his subsequent marriage with Adelaide, Henry IV’s sister-in-law, tended perhaps rather to rivalry than to union with the king. To the leading noble in Swabia, Count Berthold of Zäringen, was given the duchy of Carinthia in 1061; Carinthia, however, remained quite independent of its duke, and the local family of Eppenstein was predominant in the duchy. In Saxony, Agnes does not seem to have attempted to interfere with the recognised claims of the Saxons to independence within the duchy or with the hereditary right of the Billung family, and on the death of Duke Bernard in 1059 his son Ordulf succeeded without challenge. But it was probably with the aim of obtaining valuable support in Saxony that in 1061 she handed over the duchy of Bavaria, which had been entrusted to her own charge by Henry III, to Count Otto of Nordheim. The dukes so appointed used their new authority solely to further their own ambitious ends, and the mother exalted her son’s most determined opponents. The leading ecclesiastics were no more disinterested in their aims than the secular princes. Archbishop Anno of Cologne was entering into relations with the leading nobles in Germany, and with the Papacy and Duke Godfrey in Italy, and was using his influence already in episcopal elections; his nephew Burchard, who became Bishop of Halberstadt, was one of the principals in every Saxon revolt. The Archbishop of Mainz, Siegfried, was a man of little resolution, whose weakness of character prevented him from playing the part in German history to which his office entitled him. The most serious rivalry to Anno came from the north, where Archbishop Adalbert of Bremen was establishing a dominant position, partly by taking the lead in missionary work in Scandinavia and among the Slavs, partly by the extension of his secular authority so that even nobles were willing to accept his overlordship in return for his powerful protection. His ambition, however, aroused the hostility of the Billung family, and was directly responsible for the first disturbances in Saxony.

It was in Italy that imperial authority was displayed at its weakest. Here the death of Henry III had enabled Duke Godfrey of Lower Lorraine to establish an influence which the German government was unable to challenge. The election of his brother Frederick as Pope Stephen IX in 1057 was serious in itself, besides the fact that it marked the end of the imperial control of papal elections. The Empress-regent, indeed, ratified this election, as well as that of Nicholas II in 1059, but even her piety took alarm at the Papal Election Decree and the alliance with the Normans. It shews how serious the situation was when Agnes could feel herself bound to oppose the reform party and recognise Cadalus as Pope in 1061, an action which only damaged imperial prestige still further, since she was unable to give him any support. On the other hand, Duke Godfrey intervened, probably in collaboration with Anno, compelling the rival Popes to return to their dioceses to await the decision of the German government.

But it was not the decision of Agnes that was to settle this question. The regency had already been taken out of her hands. Dissatisfaction with the weak government of a woman and a child had been for some time openly expressed, especially by those princes whose selfish ambition had contributed greatly to this weakness. Archbishop Anno had been intriguing to get control of the government, and the plot that he contrived was probably carried out with the connivance of Duke Godfrey. The plot culminated at Kaiserswerth on the Rhine in April 1062, when Anno, with the assistance of Duke Otto of Bavaria and Count Ekbert of Brunswick, beguiled the young king on board a boat, took possession of his person and of the royal insignia, hurried him by river to Cologne, and there took charge of the government in his name. Agnes made no attempt to recover her lost authority, and retired at once to the life of religion to which indeed she had dedicated herself the previous year.

For two years Anno retained control, and used his authority to enrich his province and to advance his relatives. He thought it politic, indeed, when the court was in Saxony in 1063, to associate Archbishop Adalbert in the government, and in a diploma of 27 June Adalbert is described as patronus, Anno as magister of the young king. This was the title under which he usually appears; the way in which he performed his tutorship may be inferred from the charges, so constantly repeated after­wards, of the vicious life of Henry’s early years. Italian affairs in particular engrossed Anno’s attention. In concert with Duke Godfrey he had certainly decided for Alexander II and against Cadalus, but it was important that the German government should formally have the decisive voice. At the diet of Augsburg in 1062, and finally at the synod of Mantua in 1064, Anno dictated a decision in favour of Alexander. But in this he clearly over-reached himself, and the Papacy, which was asserting its independence of imperial authority, did not accept the position that a German archbishop could have the decisive voice in a papal election. Both in 1068 and in 1070 Anno received a lesson at Rome as to who was master and who servant. And his absence at Mantua gave the opportunity to his rival in Germany. Anno returned to find himself superseded by Adalbert.

For another two years the control rested with Adalbert, who had won increased fame by a victory in Hungary which temporarily restored Salomo. The regency, indeed, came to an end when in his fifteenth year the young king came of age and girded on the sword at Worms on 29 March 1065. But the archbishop remained master, and made imperial policy subservient to his own ambitions. He received lavish grants from the royal domain in Saxony, and further impoverished the crown by a bountiful distribution of royal abbeys, mainly among bishops. The coming-of-age of the king was to have been followed by his imperial coronation at Rome, but this was prevented by Adalbert, who feared that Godfrey and Anno would regain influence over the king in Italy. His ambition brought about his sudden downfall. Anno was able to engineer another coup d’état with his old associates, and to unite the leading bishops and nobles on his side. At the diet of Tribur, in the beginning of 1066, Henry was compelled to dismiss Adalbert. Though he had used his authority for merely selfish aims, the principality he had erected might have done great service to the cause of imperial unity in limiting the independence of the Saxons, but it collapsed with his fall. The Billungs, under Duke Ordulf’s son Magnus, took advantage of his humiliation to drive him from Bremen, and the collapse of the German missions, which he had done so much to foster, among the Slavs and Scandinavians both completed the ruin of his prestige and diminished the sphere of imperial authority.

From the fall of Adalbert may be dated the commencement of Henry IV’s personal government. Anno made a bid for power once more, but the murder of his nephew Conrad, whose appointment to the arch­bishopric of Treves he had just secured, combined with a serious illness to force him into the background. Henceforward he devoted himself to his province, using his remaining energies in the foundation of monasteries and the reform of monastic discipline; rather more than a century later his name was enrolled among the saints of the Church. There was no one else ambitious or bold enough to succeed Adalbert. The lay princes could only be roused to take an interest in imperial affairs when their independence of action was threatened or when the actual safety of the kingdom was at stake. A dangerous illness of the king caused alarm as to the succession, and they united to bring about his marriage with Bertha of Turin, to whom he had already been betrothed for ten years. The imperial coronation was again contemplated, and indeed welcomed by the Pope who was desiring imperial assistance against the Normans, but was again prevented, this time by Duke Godfrey. Godfrey, alarmed at the prospect of a revival of imperial authority in Italy, anticipated the imperial expedition by himself marching against the Normans. His lack of success compelled the Pope to come to terms with the Normans once more. By Godfrey’s action the German king lost all the advantage he might have obtained from intervening as protector of the Papacy; the attempt to interfere in the papal election had already been unsuccessful, and imperial prestige in Italy was thus completely ruined when Henry took over the reins of power.

The regency of the kingdom, in the hands of a weak woman and of ambitious metropolitans, had had disastrous results for the central authority. Nor was there much change during the early years of Henry IV’s direct rule. The accounts of his enemies continually refer to the excesses at any rate of his youth. The exaggeration of these accounts is evident, but there is probably a substratum of truth, and the chief blame must fall on Anno and Adalbert, if not on Agnes as well. The marriage with Bertha, it was hoped, would prove a steadying influence. The king, however, was a reluctant, if not an unfaithful, husband, and visited his dislike of the marriage upon his wife. In 1069 he even attempted to obtain a divorce, but the Papacy intervened, and the papal legate, Peter Damian, who never minced his words, compelled the king to receive back his wife. This seems to have been the turning-point in the reign. From this time he was a constant and an affectionate husband, and from this time he clearly abandoned the path of pleasure and devoted himself assiduously to the task of government.

The history of Germany under Henry IV and Henry V is in the main a record of civil war, producing confusion and disorder throughout the country and involving untold hardships and miseries for the lower classes. The king was faced with formidable opposition even before the Papacy joined the ranks of his foes. To realise this, as well as to note the changes that resulted in Germany as a whole, it is necessary at the outset to survey briefly the political and social structure of Germany. Difficult too as it is to distinguish between the theoretical and the actual, some attempt must be made to do so; particularly as the theoretical derives from the past, and the past ideas, even in this period of change, still have their effect in determining the relations of the various parts of the constitution to one another. In the first place, the king held a unique position, obscured as it often was by the actual weakness of the ruler. In theory he owed his throne to election by the nobles, but in fact the hereditary principle was dominant. Henry IV always insisted on his ius hereditarium against the claims of Pope and nobles, and it was not until the death of Henry V that the elective idea, asserted already in 1077 and 1081 at the elections of the anti-kings Rudolf and Herman, won a victory over the hereditary. The king alone held office dei gratia, and this was marked by the religious ceremony of unction and coronation. He was supreme liege lord, commander-in-chief, the source of justice, the enforcer of peace; these attributes were symbolised by the royal insignia—crown, lance, sceptre, sword, etc.—the possession of which was so important, as was evidenced in the contest of Henry V with his father in 1105-6 and again in the events which occurred after Henry V’s death. Further, there were vested in him the sovereign rights—lordship of towns, offices, jurisdictions, mints, tolls, markets, and the like—all of which were coveted for their financial advantages, and these could only lawfully be exercised after the grant of a charter from the king.

Such a position carried with it potentialities towards absolutism, and in the case of a strong ruler like Henry III the trend was in that direction. But to this theoretical supremacy were attached definite limitations as well. The king was subject to law, not above it, and as supreme judge it was his duty to do justice; the breach of this obligation, his opponents declared, justified rebellion against him. In great issues affecting the kingdom, or the person and property of a prince of the kingdom, the king had to act by consent, to summon a diet of the princes and in effect to be guided by their decision. These “princes”—dukes, margraves, counts, bishops, abbots of royal abbeys—owed their status originally to their official position. With the office went land, and as the lay nobles ceased in fact to be royal officials their landed position becomes the more important. The period of transition is a long one, but the change is especially rapid during the second half of the eleventh century; naturally public recognition of the change lags behind the fact. One result of this change from an official to a landed status was the decline in rank of those nobles who held their fiefs from duke or bishop and not directly from the king.

Among these lay princes, the dukes held a place apart, differing from the counts not only in priority of rank. They had owed their position originally not to appointment by the king but to election by the people of the tribe, and this origin was still perpetuated in the claim of the nobles of Bavaria to be consulted in the appointment of their duke. At the same time the king was especially concerned to insist on the depen­dence of these offices upon himself; he did not even feel himself obliged to fill a vacancy in one of them within the year and a day that was customary with other offices. Franconia during this period remained in his hands, except that the Bishops of Wurzburg were given ducal rights in the eastern portion; Swabia after Rudolf’s deposition for treason in 1077 remained vacant for two years. On the other hand, in Saxony, where the duke indeed had only a limited authority, the hereditary right of the Billung family was not contested.

Of the counts (grafen), the margraves (markgrafen), important especially for the defence of the eastern frontiers, retained exceptional judicial and military privileges, and in some cases maintained their independence even of the dukes. The counts-palatine (pfalzgrafen) too retained their old position. They were four in number, one for each of the tribes that formed the original stein-duchies—Franks, Swabians, Bavarians, Saxons—and they acted in theory as representatives of royal justice within the duchies and as the administrators of the royal domains. Of these the Count-Palatine of the Franks, who had his seat at Aix-la-Chapelle and was known now usually as Count-Palatine of Lorraine, though later as Count-Palatine of the Rhine, was the most important. There was no duke in Franconia to usurp his authority; he was, beneath the king, supreme judge, and commonly acted during the king’s absence as his representative. But there was, on the other hand, a great change in the position of the ordinary counts. There were few whose authority extended over the whole of a gau or pagus, as had formerly been usual; of these few, some, whose control extended over more than one gau, came to be distinguished in the twelfth century, for example the Count of Thuringia, by the new title of landgrave (landgraf). In most cases the county had been divided up, often by division among sons, into several districts each of them under a count, often of quite small extent. The family residence, soon converted into a castle, gave the count his name, and, whatever other dignities the counts might acquire, they never lost their connexion with the duchy of their origin. Their political importance, therefore, varied in proportion to the extent of their lands, and in fact there was little distinction between those who had merely the title of count and ordinary freemen with free holdings.

The increasing importance of landed-proprietorship in the status of nobles had its effect in tending to depress the majority of ordinary free­men to a half-free status. In the country districts there was little real distinction between the half-freeman and the freeman who held from a noble in return for services in work and kind, and who had lost the right of bearing arms. On the other hand, the rise of the class of ministeriales, especially when they held land by military tenure, forming as they did an essential element in the domain of every lord, lay and ecclesiastical, gave an opening to freemen by joining this class to increase their opportunities at the expense of a lowering of status. It was a particular feature of the period. Conrad II had especially encouraged the formation of this class of royal servant, and on it his successors continued to rely.

As in the countryside, so in the towns there was a tendency to obliterate the distinction between the free and half-free classes, though in the towns this took the form of a levelling-up rather than a levelling­down. The “free air” of the towns, the encouragement to settlers, the development of trade especially in the Rhine district, as well as the protection of the town walls, caused a considerable increase in their population; they acquired both constitutional and economic importance. Some towns were royal towns, but all were under a lord, usually a bishop, and it was to the bishops that the trading element in the town owed its first privileges. It was to the bishop’s interest to obtain for his town from the king special rights such as the holding of a market and exemption from tolls in royal towns, and all charters to towns till the latter part of the eleventh century are granted through the bishops. The first sign of a change is in the charter of Henry IV to Worms in 1074. The privileges granted are of the usual nature—exemption from toll in certain (in this case, specified) royal towns. But for the first time the charter is given not to the bishop but to the townsmen, and they are described, for the first time, not as “ negotiators” or “mercatores” but as “cives”. The circumstances attending the grant of this charter, including the welcome to the king, the well-equipped military support given to him, the payment by the community of a financial aid, the reception and preservation of the charter, all imply a town-organisation of a more advanced nature than previous charters would have led us to expect. The Jews played an important part in these early trading communities, and they are specially mentioned in the charter to Worms; so too the Bishop of Spires in 1086 for the advantage of his town was careful, as he states, to plant a colony of Jews and to give them special privileges, which were confirmed by the king in 1090. If Worms was the first town which gives evidence of an organisation independent of its bishop, it was soon followed by others where the bishop as at Worms was hostile to the king. The rising of the people at Cologne against Archbishop Anno in 1074, the expulsion of Archbishop Siegfried and the anti-king Rudolf from Mayence in 1077, the expulsion of Bishop Adalbert from Wurzburg the same year and the defence of the city against Rudolf, and, above all, the devotion of the Rhine towns to Henry IV during his last years, shew clearly a wide extension of this movement.

The townsmen, then, were coming into more direct relations with the king. As far as the nobles were concerned, the change is rather in the contrary direction. The duty of fidelity to the head of the State was still a general conception; even ecclesiastics who scrupled to take an oath of liege-fealty to the king did not disavow this obligation. The oath of fealty was not taken by the people as a whole, but only by the princes of the kingdom, whether to the king or to his representative, and they took the oath in virtue of their official capacity and as representing the whole community. It mattered not whether they held fiefs from the king or from another noble; it was not the fief but the office, through which the royal authority had been, and in theory still was, asserted, that created the responsibility on behalf of the people within their spheres of control. So the relation of the king with the nobles was not yet strictly a feudal relation. It was not to become so until the end of the twelfth century, when the status of prince was confined to those nobles who held directly from the king. The feudum was not yet the all-important thing, at any rate in theory and law. There were many fiefs without military service, some without service at all; there were vassals too without fiefs. But these became, more and more, exceptional cases, and rapidly the change from the official to the feudal status was being accomplished in practice. Always the grant of a fief had accompanied the bestowal of an office; and, as the fiefs had become hereditary, so too had the offices. In the majority of cases, offices and fiefs had become identified, and the official origin was preserved in little more than the title name.

In fact, the great nobles were no longer royal officials but territorial magnates with alods and fiefs to which their children (sons if possible, but failing them daughters) succeeded, and their aim was to loosen the tie which bound them to the sovereign and to create an independent position for themselves. Two circumstances combined to assist them in this ambition—the rise of the class of ministeriales and the continual civil war. The military fief became the normal type, and every important noble had his band of armed and mounted retainers. He soon had his castle, or castles, as well, built in defiance of the king; for castle-building was a sovereign right, which only the stress of civil war enabled the noble to usurp. Medieval society was based especially on custom and precedent. If the central authority was weak, the nobles began at once to encroach ; usurpations were in a few years translated into rights, and it was difficult, if not impossible, for the king to recover what had been lost. Moreover, while the counts had ceased to be royal officers, the system of maintaining the royal control by missi had long disappeared. This made a fixed seat of government impossible. The king himself had to progress ceaselessly throughout his dominions to enforce his will on the local magnates. There was no system of itinerant justices, and, except in the royal domains, no official class to relieve the direct burden of the central government. So there was no permanent machinery which could function normally; everything depended on the personality of the ruler.

But from the point of view of the king there were compensations. Each noble played for his own hand, and there was rarely any unity of purpose among them. It was from the dukes that the king had most to fear, and with regard to them he started with many advantages. They had no claim to divine appointment, no royal majesty or insignia, no sovereign rights but such as he had granted. The nobles in each duchy held office in theory from the king, to whom, and not to the duke, they had sworn liege-fealty, and they were far more jealous of the assertion of the ducal, than of the royal, authority over them. Moreover the duke by virtue of his office acquired little, if any, domain in his duchy. Where his family possessions lay, there alone, in most cases, was he really power­ful. Agnes in her appointments had at any rate shewn herself wise in this, that she had appointed as dukes nobles whose hereditary lands lay outside the duchies to which they were appointed. Berthold of Zäringen, the most powerful noble in Swabia, was a nonentity as Duke in Carinthia; Otto of Nordheim, one of the leading nobles in Saxony, could not maintain himself in his duchy of Bavaria when he revolted in 1070.

In other words, the noble depended on his domain, and this is equally true of the king. There was no direct taxation as in England, and the king had in a very real sense to live of his own. The royal domain was scattered throughout the kingdom; in each duchy there were royal estates and royal palaces, though the largest and richest portion lay in eastern Saxony, stretching from Goslar to Merseburg, the inheritance of the Saxon kings. In the first place, it supplied the needs of the royal household, and this, as well as the maintenance of royal authority, made necessary the continual journeyings of the king and his court. The domain, too, provided a means whereby the king could make grants of lands whether in reward for faithful service or, more usually, in donations to bishoprics and abbeys. And, finally, in these manors, as also in the manors of nobles and ecclesiastics, there emerged out of the mass of half­free tenants a class of men who played an important and peculiar role in Germany. These royal ministeriales were employed by the king in administrative posts, as well as in the management of his estates; they were armed and mounted, and provided an important part of the king’s army. On them he began to rely, therefore, to counteract the growing independence of the greater nobles, both in his Council and on military expeditions. In return, they were granted fiefs, and rose often to knightly rank, sometimes even to episcopal. The same process was occurring in the domains of the nobles. The ecclesiastical nobles had probably set the example, which was followed by the secular nobility and by the king. As it provided him with the possibility of making himself self-sufficient and so independent of princely support, it provided them too with a means of furthering their independence of him.

The royal domain, then, plays a central part in the policy of the Salian kings, as it was to do with the Capetians in France. During the regency it had been grievously depleted. But there were many ways in which it could be increased and in which gaps could be made good—by inheritance, by exchange, by conquest, by escheat. There were also other sources of royal revenue, notably the sovereign rights, of justice and the like, which were assumed by the king wherever he might happen to be and which were frequently lucrative. From the towns too, as well as from the domain, he could levy contributions, and, as has been indicated above, could look to them for valuable support especially in time of war. The loyalty and devotion of the Rhine towns is most marked, particularly when the episcopal lord of the town was disloyal. But only in a few cases was the bishop himself among the king’s enemies, and so a direct alliance with the townsmen, which might have been as useful to the German monarchy as it was to the French, occurred only in isolated cases. It was not to the king’s interest to make the bishops antagonistic.

For the alliance with the episcopate had, from the time of Otto I, been a cardinal factor in the policy of the king of Germany. The political importance of the ecclesiastical nobles was evident: on them, as well as on ministeriales and lesser nobles, the king relied both for his Council and government and for his military expeditions. They could never make their offices and fiefs hereditary, and they could be depended upon as a counterpoise to the dangerous power of the dukes; while in the continual civil wars of this period the summons to the host was not of much avail, nor could it be made effective without the consent of the nobles. But they were equally valuable to the king from the economic point of view. In the first place, the royal abbeys made annual payments in kind, which began to be converted into money payments or at any rate to be reckoned on a monetary basis early in the twelfth century ; from these abbeys, too, when he visited them, he could claim hospitality. There is no evidence that the episcopal services included fixed payments in kind, but the obligation seems to have been imposed upon the bishops of main­taining the king and his retinue during the king’s stay in their towns, whether or no these contained a royal palace. It is at any rate noticeable how prominently they figure in the itineraries of the Salian kings. And on the death of a bishop the king exercised his rights of regalia and took possession of the revenues of the see during the vacancy, and sometimes of spolia as well, seizing the personal effects of the dead bishop. These great ecclesiastical offices were regarded by the king as very distinctly part of his personal possessions. His lavish grants to them of territory were therefore not lost to the Crown, and the ecclesiastical as distinct from the lay nobles remained essentially royal officials. Royal control of appointments to bishoprics and abbeys was a reality and at the same time a necessity; and the royal chapel, which was a natural centre for the training of ecclesiastics, was also a stepping-stone to advancement. From among the royal chaplains, trained under the king’s eye and experienced often in the work of his chancery, appointments were commonly made to vacant bishoprics.

This was bound to lead sooner or later to conflict with the reformed Papacy, though the conflict might have been delayed and would certainly have been less fatal in result had not this control of the German king in ecclesiastical matters been extended to Italy and to the Papacy itself. To the crown of Germany were attached the crowns of Burgundy and Italy, and finally the imperial crown as well. These additional dignities brought little real advantage to the German king. In Burgundy, the royal authority was slight and rarely asserted; it was, however, of some importance to the Emperor that his suzerainty and not that of the French king should be recognised. In Italy, the royal domain and episcopal support were sometimes of definite advantage, but usually the interest of the king in his Italian kingdom prejudiced his position in Germany. And the imperial title was a similar handicap. It magnified the importance of his office and gave him increased prestige, but it added enormously to his responsibilities and prevented him from concentrating on his real interests. The imperial title added nothing to the royal authority in Germany. In a sense it added nothing in Italy either. The title “rex Romanorum” was used before imperial coronation occasionally by Henry IV, frequently by Henry V, and as Emperor-designate the king acted with full imperial authority in Italy and with regard to the Pope. But the imperial crown was the right of the German king, to his mind an essential right, and it was by virtue of this right that he claimed the control from which the Papacy was now beginning to free itself, with results fatal to the monarchy in Germany.

The task that Henry IV set before himself was to undo the damage that had been wrought during his minority and to restore imperial authority both in Germany and Italy; he was determined to be master as his father had been at the height of his power. In Germany, he had first of all to build up the royal domain, to force the nobles to a direct subordination to his will, and to break down the independence of Saxony. In Italy, where imperial authority was practically ignored, there were the special problems of Tuscany, the Normans, and above all the Papacy. But, determined as he was to revive the authority over the Papacy that his father had exercised from 1046 until his death, the question of Germany had to come first, and so for a time he was willing to make concessions. Control of the Church in Germany and Italy was so essential to him that he could not be in sympathy with the reform policy of the Papacy. This was now beginning to be directed not only against the simony and secularisation that resulted from lay control but against the lay control itself; and it was a definite feature of that policy to demand from the higher clergy an obedience to papal authority which could not fail to be prejudicial to the royal interests. But at present the king was anxious to keep on good terms with the Pope; as he was obedient to his orders on the divorce question in 1069, so in 1070 he allowed Charles, whom he had invested as Bishop of Constance, to be deposed for simony, and in 1072 Abbot Robert of Reichenau to suffer the same penalty. The Papacy was given no indication of his real intentions.

His compliant attitude to the Papacy on this question was in accor­dance with his general policy. He worked patiently for his ends, and strove to do the task first that lay within his power, careful to separate his adversaries and to placate one while he was overcoming the other. Adversity always displayed him at his best. Again and again he revived his fortunes, shewing a speedy recognition and making a wise use of the possibilities at his disposal, dividing his enemies by concessions and by stimulating causes of ill-feeling between them, biding his time patiently till his opportunity came. Nor was he prevented from following out his plan by considerations of personal humiliation. Not only at Canossa but also in 1073 a personal humiliation was his surest road to success, and he took it. He was not the typically direct and brutal knight of the Middle Ages, and he was not usually successful in battle; he generally avoided a pitched battle, in contrast to his rival Rudolf, to whom he really owed his one great victory in the field—over the Saxons in 1075. He recognised his limitations. His armies were rarely as well-equipped as those of his opponents: they were often composed of ministeriales, royal and episcopal, and of levies from the towns, which were not a match for the Saxon knights; also he had more to lose than they had by staking all on the result of a battle. In an unstatesmanlike generation he showed many statesmanly qualities, which was the more remarkable in that he had received so little training in the duties of his office. His enemies, when they comment with horror on his guile and cunning, are really testifying to these qualities; for it was natural that they should give an evil name to the ability which so often overcame their perfidy and disloyalty.

But, as his greatness is best seen in adversity, so in the moment of victory were the weaknesses of his character revealed. He allowed himself to be overcome by the arrogance of success both in 1072 and 1075. Having decisively defeated his Saxon enemies, he made a vindictive use of his victory, when clemency was the right policy; by his arbitrary actions he alienated the other nobles whose assistance had ensured his success, and they formed a coalition against him to anticipate his too clearly revealed intentions against themselves. His victory gave him so false a sense of security that on both occasions he chose the moment to throw down the challenge to the Pope, entirely miscalculating both the reality of his position in Germany and the strength of his new adversary. He profited by his lesson later, but never again did he have the same opportunity. He certainly showed a clear sense of the strength of the papal position in the years 1077-1080, and also of the means by which this strength could be discounted. On the whole he was a good judge of the men with whom he had to deal. It may appear short-sighted in him to pardon so readily a man like Otto of Nordheim and to advance him to a position of trust in 1075; but he was faced with treachery on every side and he had to attempt to bind men to his cause by their interests. At any rate he was successful with Otto’s sons, and also even in detaching Duke Magnus himself from the party of Rudolf. The only occasions when he was really overwhelmed were when the treachery came from his own sons, and there is no more moving document in this period than his letter to King Philip of France, in which he relates the calculated perfidy and perjury of his son Henry V. For he was naturally of an affectionate and sympathetic disposition, a devoted father and a kind master, especially to the non-noble classes throughout his dominions. Even if we discount the glowing panegyric of the author of the Vita Henrici IV, we cannot ignore the passionate devotion of the people of Liege, who, scorning the wrath of all the powers of Church and kingdom, refused to dissemble their grief or to refrain from the last tokens of respect over the body of their beloved master. That tribute was repeated again at Spires; and, though for five years his body was denied the rites of Christian burial, few kings have had so genuine a mourning.

The reconciliation of Henry with his wife in 1069 marked a definite stage in his career. From this time he devoted himself wholeheartedly to affairs of state, and his policy at once began to take shape. The particularist tendencies of the German princes in general had to be overcome, but the extreme form which particularism took was to be found in Saxony. Saxony, ever since it had ceased to supply the king to Germany, had held itself aloof and independent. In various ways was its distinctive character marked. It held proudly to its own more primitive customs, which it had translated into rights, and the maintenance of which had been guaranteed to it by Conrad II and Henry III; especially was the royal system of justice, with inquest and oath-takers, foreign to Saxon custom, which stood as a permanent bar to unity of government. These customary rights formed a link between the classes in Saxony, giving it a homogeneity lacking in the other duchies. Allodial lands were more ex­tensive here than elsewhere, and the nobles accordingly more independent. Among them the duke took the leading place, but only in precedence. Margraves and counts did not recognise his authority over them; on the other hand, the ducal office was hereditary in the Billung family, and so it was not at the free disposal of the king. Finally, beneath the nobles, the proportion of free men was exceptionally high; they were trained to arras, and, though they usually fought on foot, were formidable soldiers in an age when cavalry was regarded as the decisive arm. It was a bold policy for a young king to attempt, at the beginning of his reign, to grasp the Saxon nettle. It was essential that he should obtain assistance from the other duchies, and this he might expect. The Saxons looked with contempt on the other German peoples, who in their turn were jealous of the Saxons and irritated by their aloofness. The ill-feeling between the two was always a factor on which he could count.

But the determination of Henry IV to attack the problem of Saxony had a further and more immediate cause. The effects of his minority had not merely been to give the opportunity to particularism, here as elsewhere. It had been disastrous also to the royal domain, that essential basis of royal power, which had suffered from neglect or deliberate squandering at the hands of the unscrupulous archbishops who had controlled the government for their own advantage. The first task of the young king was to concentrate on the domain, to fill up gaps and make compact areas where possible, to take effective measures to recover services that had been lost, and finally to protect it against further usurpation. It was natural that his attention should first be directed to eastern Saxony and Thuringia, where lay by far the richest portion of the domain, and which afforded the best opportunity for creating a compact royal territory. It was here, moreover, that the domain had suffered most; it had not only been wasted by grants, but also services had been withheld, ministeriales had usurped their freedom, and probably neighbouring lords had made encroachments. One of Henry’s first measures was the building of castles on an extensive scale in this region, designed primarily for the recovery and maintenance of the domain and the services attached to it, and having at the same time the strategic advantage of being situated so as to divide the duchy and in case of revolt to prevent a coalition of Saxon princes. This was a menace to the independent spirit of the Saxons, and he irritated them still more by appointing royal ministeriales from South Germany as officials in the domain-lands and as garrisons in the castles. There were clearly grievances on both sides, which only made the subsequent contest the more bitter. The Saxons had infringed royal rights by neglect and usurpation. The South German ministeriales in their turn showed little respect for Saxon customs, and acted in an oppressive manner in making requisitions and forcing labour. And probably the Saxons were right in their suspicion that the king would take every opportunity of increasing the royal domain at their expense, and that he was anxious to suppress their customary rights which stood in the way of the centralising policy of the monarchy.

It is significant in this connexion, firstly, that the two nobles mentioned as Anno’s colleagues in his coups d’état at Kaiserswerth in 1062 and at Tribur in 1066 were Otto of Nordheim and Ekbert of Brunswick, whose allodial territories were adjacent to the main portion of the royal domain and were so extensive as to make them, next to the duke, the most powerful nobles in Saxony. Otto was already Duke of Bavaria, and in 1067 Ekbert was appointed Margrave of Meissen; on his death in 1068 his son Ekbert II succeeded to the margravate as well as to Brunswick. Similarly adjacent, and equally concerned in the great revolt of 1073, were Anno’s two relatives, Archbishop Werner of Magdeburg and Bishop Burchard of Halberstadt. In the second place, the actual outbreak of civil war, which was to be henceforth almost continuous, had its origin in the downfall of Duke Otto in 1070. Probably Henry rather seized than created the opportunity. Otto’s military skill had been of considerable assistance to him on more than one occasion, and there is no actual evidence either to justify the charge of treachery brought against Otto or to convict Henry of a deliberate intention to ruin the duke. A diet at Mainz left the decision to the test of battle between Otto and his low-born accuser. Otto refused to submit to the indignity of such a contest, and was accordingly condemned in his absence by a diet of Saxon nobles at Goslar and deprived of his possessions in Saxony. His duchy was forfeited and, at the special instance of Duke Rudolf of Swabia, was given by Henry to Welf, the first of the new line of that name. The fall of Otto was not viewed with alarm in Upper Germany; the replacement of a Saxon by a Swabian noble was rather a cause for congratulation. The ill-feeling of the rest of Germany towards Saxony was very pronounced, and only identity of interest against the king could lead to common action.

In Saxony, however, where Otto immediately took refuge, he obtained the powerful support of Magnus, son and heir of Duke Ordulf. This brought the king into direct conflict with the Billung family. The rebels were not able to resist for long—revolt was not yet organised—and they had to submit unconditionally to the king in 1071. Otto, after a year’s detention, was released, and was allowed to retain his hereditary possessions in Saxony; Magnus was kept in close confinement at the castle of Harzburg. In this can be seen the influence of Archbishop Adalbert, who in the last year of his life entered into public affairs again to revenge himself for the humiliations he had suffered from the Billungs in 1066. He brought about a meeting with King Svein of Denmark, and a regular coalition was concerted against the Billungs. The king’s interests were all in the same direction. Magnus, by his marriage with the sister of Geza, cousin and rival of Henry’s brother-in-law Salomo, had allied himself with the anti-imperial party in Hungary. Moreover, when Duke Ordulf died in 1072, Magnus was recognised as duke throughout Saxony. Henry did not deny Magnus’ right of succession, but it was the more necessary to him to retain so important a hostage. The king’s policy in Saxony could now be definitely advanced in both directions. The building of the castles was continued and extended, and the king took possession of Lüneburg, the chief town of the Billungs, and placed in its castle a garrison of seventy men under Count Eberhard of Nellenburg.

The victory had been an easy one: too easy, because it deluded him as to the strength of the forces he had to counteract. Saxony was thoroughly alarmed, and in the mood for a more serious revolt than the previous one; with Magnus in his hands, Henry perhaps discounted this danger. But the other German princes were alarmed too. Henry had shewn his hand too plainly, and it was a fatal misjudgment that led him to rely on their further concurrence against the Saxons. To him, however, it seemed that he had recovered his position in Germany, and that the necessity to humour the Pope no longer existed. It can hardly be due to chance that at this very time he threw down a deliberate challenge to the Pope, to whose injunctions he had previously so meekly submitted, over the archbishopric of Milan. Just before his death, at the Lenten synod of 1073, Alexander II replied by excommunicating the counsellors of the king. Henry did not refrain from communion with them, and so, when Alexander died and Gregory VII became Pope, there was a breach between the German king and the Roman Church.

In spite of his commitments in Saxony and Italy, Henry chose the occasion for an emphatic assertion of imperial majesty in another quarter. In 1071 the Dukes of Poland and Bohemia had been summoned to appear before the king at Meissen, and had received the royal command to keep the peace. This was significant of the recovery that Henry had already effected, and, when the Duke of Poland disobeyed the injunction in 1073, it was necessary to take immediate measures to punish him. The king accordingly summoned an expedition against Poland to assemble on 22 August, and came to Goslar himself, probably to ensure obedience to the summons. The expedition was not destined to take place. Under cover of the assembling of troops for the Polish campaign, a formidable conspiracy was organised in eastern Saxony. The bishops, led by Werner of Magdeburg and Burchard of Halberstadt, played a leading part. All the chief nobles were concerned in it, especially Margrave Ekbert of Meissen and the Margraves of the North and East Marks. Count Otto of Nordheim was soon induced to join. Count Herman, uncle of Magnus and so the acting-head of the Billung family, needed no inducement. Moreover, the Thuringians, equally affected by the building of the castles, with customary rights of their own to defend, and having a private grievance arising out of the claims of the Archbishop of Mainz to the payment of tithes, soon threw in their lot with the Saxons. Their plans were concerted to anticipate the date for the expedition, and so to take Henry by surprise before the troops from the rest of Germany were assembled.

The plot was successful. Taken completely by surprise, the king sought refuge in his castle at Harzburg, but the sudden appearance of a large Saxon army made his further stay there impossible. On the night of 9-10 August he made his escape with a few followers, and after four days of hardship and peril arrived at the monastery of Hersfeld. Count Herman had recaptured Luneburg and taken captive the royal garrison; to effect their release the king on 15 August had to consent to the surrender of Magnus; the castles were now closely besieged, and his hold on Saxony was lost. But the day appointed for the Polish expedition (22 August) was close at hand. The army was assembling, and he determined to use it against the Saxons. He summoned the princes to meet him at the village of Kappel near Hersfeld, to obtain their consent to this change of plan. And now the fundamental insecurity of his position was to be revealed to him. The princes debated, and finally decided to postpone the expedition to October. They were determined to make it clear that on their will was the king dependent, and the royal authority suffered a blow more serious than defeat in battle. Henry had to submit, and he retired to the Rhine district, conscious that the initiative had passed from his hands. There he came to a wise decision. Germany must for the time engage his whole attention; the challenge to the Papacy must be postponed to a more favourable opportunity. He wrote, accordingly, to the Pope a humble letter acknowledging his faults and asking for absolution. The Pope, as anxious as Henry for peace, welcomed this apparent repentance, and the breach was healed. This left the king free to concentrate on Germany. Enlightened at last as to the true state of affairs, he shewed remarkable judgment in appreciating the factors that could be turned to his advantage, and great patience and skill in so making use of them that he was able gradually to build up again the shaken edifice of royal power.

He had, first of all, to endure further humiliation. The princes met in October for the deferred expedition, but having obtained the upper hand they were determined to maintain it; in place of an expedition they instituted negotiations on their own account with the Saxons. Henry had no choice but to acquiesce; he was sovereign in name only. But at this crisis he found assistance in a new quarter. Coming to Worms, whose bishop, Adalbert, was his constant foe for more than thirty years, he met with an enthusiastic reception from the citizens, who expelled their bishop on news of the king’s approach. In return he granted them, on 18 January 1074, the first charter given directly to the citizens of a town, and in the preamble he expressed his gratitude for the loyalty which set so striking an example amid the disloyalty of all the magnates of the kingdom. The action of Worms was contagious, and from this time he was able to rely on the support of the Rhine towns, whatever the attitude of the bishops. The serious rising of the trading classes at Cologne in 1074, on the occasion of the Easter fair, against Archbishop Anno, was probably inspired by the example of Worms. The towns indeed had everything to gain from royal favour. A strong central authority, able to enforce peace and order throughout the kingdom, was a necessity if trade was to flourish and expand, and from the king alone could the privileges dear to the trading classes be obtained.

The king’s circumstances were immediately improved, and he was able, in spite of the aloofness of the leading nobles, to raise an army and , march north again; he was accompanied by a number of bishops, who in view of the independent action of the towns found it to their interest to render material support to the king once more. But he was not yet strong enough to meet the Saxons in the field, and was forced to come to terms with them, which were confirmed in an assembly at Gerstungen on 2 February 1074. The castles built by both sides during his reign were to be destroyed, a general amnesty was to be proclaimed, and the Saxons returned to his allegiance on condition that in matters concerning their duchy the king should be advised by Saxons only. He had to pardon the rebels, but the peace was a sign of recovered authority. The South German dukes had no part in it, and did not readily forgive the Saxons’ for thus depriving them of their control of the king’s actions. Henry by this peace divided his enemies in Germany.

The peace had an immediate result in the changed attitude of the dukes, who were reconciled with Henry just after Easter, at the same time that he made his formal reconciliation with the Pope. In the meantime, an outrage had occurred which he was able to turn to his own advantage. In accordance with the peace terms at Gerstungen, the fortifications of Harzburg had been destroyed; but the church and other ecclesiastical buildings remained intact. The local peasantry, indignant that a stone of this obnoxious place should be left standing, took the law into their own hands and violently demolished the sacred buildings, even in their passion going so far as to scatter to the winds the bones of Henry’s son and brother who had died there in infancy. The Saxon nobles protested that the crime was the work of a few ignorant peasants (though indeed they took no steps to punish them), but Henry was determined to fasten the guilt of it on the whole people, and proclaimed far and wide that the Saxons had broken the peace. He was able to use this argument with effect upon the South German princes, who were already irritated against the Saxons on their own account. Before the year was out he had succeeded in obtaining their agreement to an expedition against the Saxons in the following spring.

Hungary had, meanwhile, occupied Henry’s attention. The rivalry between King Salomo, Henry’s brother-in-law, and his cousin Geza had resulted eventually in the success of Geza. Salomo with his wife took refuge in Germany, placed his kingdom under Henry’s overlordship, and appealed to him for help. Henry led an expedition into Hungary in the autumn, but without success, and imperial authority was not recovered. The Pope tried to avail himself of the opportunity, giving his support to Geza and declaring Salomo’s deposition a judgment of God upon him for handing over to the Empire a kingdom which was subject to St Peter. But Geza, though he had sought papal aid while his position was still insecure, was determined to be free of Pope and Emperor alike and to break every link which bound Hungary to the West; and in the following year he had himself crowned king with a crown which he received from the Eastern Emperor, Michael VII.

The opening months of 1075 were occupied with preparations for the reduction of Saxony. The Saxons in alarm endeavoured to appease the king; they further claimed to be judged by a diet of all the nobles, and appealed to the South German princes, trying to establish direct negotiations with them as in 1073. Their efforts were wholly unavailing: the king was determined to be revenged, the nobles could not forgive the peace made without their concurrence. Henry issued his summons to the host, which assembled at Bredingen on 8 June; never again was he to be at the head of so powerful and representative an army. The Dukes of Swabia, Bavaria, Carinthia, Upper and Lower Lorraine, and Bohemia were all present with strong contingents, and all the other leading nobles, lay and spiritual. On 9 June, the day after the army had assembled, the king by a forced march surprised the Saxons encamped by the river Unstrut. Duke Rudolf, claiming the Swabian privilege of fighting in the van of the royal host, led the charge, supported by Duke Welf with the Bavarians. It was a battle of knights, and, when the superior numbers of the king’s army had finally decided the issue, the Saxon foot-soldiers suffered severely. The losses indeed were heavy on both sides, but the king won a decisive victory and advanced to the invasion of Saxony. Lack of provisions caused him to disband his troops in July, and another ex­pedition was arranged for October. On 22 October the army assembled at Gerstungen, but this time the Dukes of Swabia, Bavaria, and Carinthia were absent, on the insufficient plea of their losses in June. The king, however, was strong enough without them, and was probably not sorry to be independent of them. The Saxons had lost their cohesion; the common soldiers in particular felt that they had been selfishly sacrificed on the Unstrut. The nobles, therefore, made an unconditional surrender, throwing themselves on the king’s mercy. Contrary to expectation, but in accordance with his fixed determination, he treated them with great severity: all the leaders, both laymen and ecclesiastics, were imprisoned in different parts of Germany, entrusted to the custody of South German nobles. Much of their territory was confiscated and given to his supporters or added to the royal domain, and the building of the castles was taken in hand once more. When the king disbanded his army in November, he seemed to have won a complete triumph.

The situation was remarkably similar to that in 1072. The Saxon rebels had been forced to an unconditional surrender and their leaders were in captivity. Now, as then, the situation at Milan gave the opportunity to the king, at what seemed a particularly favourable moment, to re-assert imperial authority in Italy by a direct challenge to the Pope. The defeat of the Pataria and the election of Tedald by the suffragan bishops of Milan had occurred earlier in the year, but Henry was then perhaps contemplating imperial coronation, and even the victory on the Unstrut had not achieved the submission of Saxony. When this was certain, he invested Tedald with the archbishopric and sent the embassy to Italy which was, probably designedly, responsible for the rupture with the Pope. Once more his position in Germany seemed strong enough to justify the recovery of the authority that had been lost in Italy. And the moment seemed to be well-chosen, because he could count on the enthusiastic support of the episcopate in Germany and in North Italy in any venture against Gregory VII. But he had grievously miscalculated the strength of the spiritual power and the greatness of his opponent, and once more he had misunderstood, or foolishly disregarded, the real feelings of the German princes. The absence of the three dukes from the final campaign against the Saxons was ominous, and was certainly not sufficiently accounted for by their plea of the losses they had suffered in the June campaign. As before, it was the completeness of the royal victory, and the arbitrary use that Henry made of it, that caused them to stand aloof. Though their absence was at the time satisfactory to him, he ought to have realised its import and that they too needed to be mastered before he could take in hand the new task of Italy and the Papacy.

The king spent Christmas 1075 at Goslar, and the nobles there present took an oath to accept his son Conrad, born in February 1074, as his successor. Some measure of leniency was shewn in allowing the exiled Saxon bishops to return to their sees pending trial, but of the lay princes Count Otto of Nordheim alone received the king’s clemency, and he was even advanced to high office and power in his native land. The king was still at Goslar at the beginning of January 1076 when the papal embassy arrived with the verbal message threatening excommunication if the king refused obedience. This was as unexpected as it was distasteful to the royal dignity. In an uncontrolled passion, which was unusual with him, he summoned the Council of Worms that pronounced Gregory’s deposition, and dispatched to Piacenza and then to Rome the messenger to the Lenten synod. Before the papal sentence at the synod reached the king, the murder of Duke Godfrey of Lower Lorraine in February had deprived him of one of his staunchest adherents, and of a strong support of the Empire on its western frontier, where Robert the Frisian, successful in Flanders, whose intrigues probably brought about the murder of Godfrey, was a constant menace. Still confident in his own position, Henry bestowed the duchy on his infant son Conrad, and Godfrey’s nephew and heir, Godfrey of Bouillon, had to be content with the Mark of Antwerp.

Then at Easter came the news of the Lenten synod and its decrees, and both the strength of the spiritual power and the weakness of his own position were speedily revealed to the king. The excommunication had an immediate effect in alienating from him his lay subjects. The German bishops, too, who had welcomed the deposition of the Pope, trembled before the papal sentence and again hastily abandoned the cause of the king. Accordingly his summons to diets at Worms and Mainz were practically disregarded, and he was rapidly becoming isolated. His weakness was the Saxon opportunity. The Saxon leaders were able to effect their escape from captivity, or were deliberately released by the nobles to whose custody they had been entrusted. Bishop Burchard took the lead in a new revolt, and, Otto of Nordheim turning traitor once more, the whole of East Saxony was in arms. Henry’s one faithful ally, Duke Vratislav of Bohemia, was driven from Meissen by Margrave Ekbert. The victory of 1075 had been completely undone. And, finally, the dukes of Upper Germany saw their opportunity and took it. Acting in unison they had been able to make their intervention effective whether against the king or against the Saxons. Satisfied with the Saxon defeat in June 1075, they had abstained from the further expedition in October, but the king’s ability to bring the Saxons to submission without their aid, and his high-handed treatment of them when he had obtained the mastery, must have already determined them to throw their weight into the balance against him. The excommunication and its results gave them the decisive voice in the government of the kingdom. Meeting at Ulm, they decided on a diet at Tribur, where the future of the kingdom was to be debated and the royal authority made subservient to particularist interests. To this diet the Saxon nobles were invited, and the grievances of 1074 were forgotten.

The diet met at Tribur on 16 October 1076. The Saxons came in force, and the papal legates were present, to give spiritual sanction to the triumph of the nobles. The king, to whom this assembly was in the highest degree dangerous, arrived at Oppenheim on the other side of the Rhine with an army. But his chief supporters deserted him to obtain absolution from the papal legates, and he was abandoned to the tender mercies of the diet. The Saxons advocated his deposition and the appointment of a new king. For this revolutionary step the other princes were not yet prepared. The choice of a successor would raise difficulties and jealousies that might dissolve the harmony, and such an action would compromise the high moral pose which they had adopted in their attitude against Henry. The deliberations of the diet were complicated too by the ill-feeling, with difficulty restrained, which still persisted between Saxons and South Germans. But in one respect they were all of one mind: the king must be humiliated, and the government of Germany must be subject to the dictation of the princes. Towards the victory over the king, the papal sentence first, the papal legates later, had largely contributed. The nobles were anxious to retain the valuable papal support, and to represent themselves as fighting for the cause of right against a wicked king. The Papacy, therefore, must be given an important share in the fruits of victory. So, first of all, the king was forced to publish his repentance and his promise of obedience and amendment for the future—to do justice in both the papal and the feudal sense. The diet then proceeded to make two important decisions. Firstly, recognising the validity of the papal sentence, they decreed that Henry would lose his kingdom if he failed to obtain absolution within a year and a day of his excommunication (22 February); secondly, recognising the papal claim to a principal share in the final judgment, they invited the Pope to a council at Augsburg on 2 February 1077, where under his presidency the future of the kingdom was to be decided.

This shows the lengths to which the nobles were prepared to go for their own selfish interests to satisfy papal claims which in different circumstances they were fully prepared to repudiate. It also shews that the Pope held the key to the whole situation, a fact which he and Henry alike were swift to recognise. If it promised the immediate realisation of the Pope’s highest ideals, it at the same time revealed to the king the avenue of escape from his dangerous position. The conjunction of his enemies in Germany meant the final ruin of his power; if he could obtain absolution from the Pope in Italy, he not only removed opposition from that quarter for a time but also deprived the German nobles of their most effective weapon against him. With this aim in view he made his escape and his memorable journey over the Mont Cenis pass, finally arriving in January 1077 outside the fortress of Canossa. Here by his humiliation and outward penitence he was able to force the Pope to grant him absolu­tion, and the purpose of his journey was achieved. Though the importance of the royal humiliation has been grossly exaggerated, it is equally absurd to proclaim the absolution at Canossa as a striking victory for the king. He had been forced to accept the justice of the papal excommunication, and consequently the right of the Pope to sit in judgment upon him, and by this acceptance the relations of the two powers had been fundamentally altered. The absolution was in a sense a recognition of the king’s defeat; on the other hand, it limited the extent of the defeat and prevented a far worse calamity.

Yet, as far as Henry’s enemies in Germany were concerned, it was a real victory for the king, and they were staggered at the news. The absolution of Henry they regarded as a betrayal of their cause, and they expressed their indignation as strongly as they dared. They could not, indeed, risk alienating the Pope, whose alliance was so necessary to them; but they were not impressed by his optimistic view that the decision to hold the council in Germany still held good. They did what they could, however, to nullify the effect of the absolution. The story soon became current among them that the absolution had been granted on certain conditions which Henry immediately broke, so that it became void and the king returned to his state of excommunication. The papal legates, though not the Pope, gave encouragement to this view.

Their more immediate need, however, was to complete what had been begun at Tribur, and, with papal co-operation if possible, to prevent the restoration of Henry’s authority in Germany and so to counteract the disastrous effects of Canossa. A preliminary meeting at Ulm, in issuing summons to a diet at Forchheim in Franconia, where the last of the German Carolingians (Louis the Child) and the first of his successors (Conrad I) had been elected, shewed that the Saxon proposals had been accepted. The diet met on 13 March and, in the presence and with the approval of two papal legates, Duke Rudolf of Swabia, with all the customary formalities of procedure, was designated and elected king. This was a reactionary and indeed a revolutionary step, recalling the anarchy of the later Carolingians. The electoral right of the nobles, when it was not a mere formality, had been strictly limited in practice. Ever since the Saxon kings had restored the monarchy, the hereditary principle had been dominant; when there was no son to succeed, the king had been chosen from a collateral branch of the royal family. Now the electors usurped a plenary power—the power to depose the established king and to exercise complete freedom of choice as to his successor. Behind this lay the theory that the relation of king and nobles was one of contract, and that an unlawful exercise of his power justified the breach of their oath of fealty. The bishops at Worms in 1076 had taken this line with regard to the Pope. It was a natural development of feudal ideas, which were not, however, to prevail in the Church as they did in the kingdom. There were other points of novelty in this election. In the first place, the formal right of election, which was the prerogative of all the princes, was here assumed by a small minority. This minority included, indeed, the Archbishop of Mainz, whose right to the prima vox was uncontested, numerous Saxon nobles, and the three South German dukes; perhaps these latter, in anticipation of fourteenth-century conditions, regarded themselves as adequate to represent their duchies. Secondly, the presence of the papal legates was a recognition of the Pope’s claim to a share in the election. And, finally, the electors emphasised the contractual nature of the royal office, and ensured the maintenance of their own control, by imposing conditions on the king of their choice: Rudolf had to renounce the hereditary right of his son and royal control of episcopal elections, while he also made a promise of obedience to the Pope. But the German princes at Forchheim got no advantage from their triumphant particularism; the revolt gained no additional supporter from the fact that its leader styled himself king. On the contrary, their attempt to ride roughshod over tradition and legitimacy put Henry in a strong position; the bishops (except in Saxony), the lesser nobility, the peasantry, and above all the towns, preferred a single ruler, however absolute, to a government dominated by the selfish interests of the princes. All the more, then, had Rudolf and his party to depend on the support of the Church. The Pope certainly recognised the electoral rights of the princes, and accepted the election of Rudolf as a lawful election. He did not, however, recognise their power to depose Henry; this he regarded as a matter for his own decision, and in the meanwhile spoke continually of two kings. Yet his legates had been quite decided in their support of Rudolf, and the rebels naturally inferred that the Pope would abide by their decision.

Meanwhile Henry had resumed his royal functions in Lombardy, though he had to act with extreme caution. The Lombards resented his refusal to take direct action against the Pope, and Milan, in opposition to its archbishop, had reverted to the papal alliance; nor could he obtain coronation at Pavia with the iron crown of Lombardy. He dared not, moreover, alienate the Pope, while policy made it essential to prevent the journey to Germany on which the Pope had set his heart. Then came the news of the election at Forchheim, and he had to return at once to Germany to counter the revolutionary government of the princes. The sentiment in favour of the lawful ruler, now that he was restored to communion, was immediately made evident. As before, the Rhine towns set the example, beginning with a riot at Mainz where Rudolf was crowned and anointed king by Archbishop Siegfried on 26 March. Rudolf was compelled to abandon Mainz and make his way to Saxony, where alone he could maintain himself as king. In Saxony, with few exceptions, the lay and ecclesiastical nobles were on his side, and to Saxony was his kingdom confined. Elsewhere the balance was predominantly in favour of Henry, especially in the south-east. As Rudolf was still in the Rhine district, Henry returned to Germany by way of Carinthia and Bavaria, in both of which duchies he received an enthusiastic welcome. Carinthia, where Duke Berthold had always been ignored, was wholly on his side; on Bavaria he could also rely, except for the hostility of Margrave Liutpold of Austria and two important ecclesiastics, Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg and Bishop Altmann of Passau, who however could not maintain themselves in their sees. On Duke Vratislav of Bohemia he could count for loyal assistance, and though King Ladislas I of Hungary, who married a daughter of Rudolf, was hostile, he gave no assistance to Henry’s opponents. Burgundy, in spite of Rudolf’s possessions there, was apparently solid for Henry, as were the Rhine towns. In Swabia the position was more equal. The bishops and lesser nobles were mainly on Henry’s side, but Berthold and Welf had considerable power in their ancestral domains, and the great reforming Abbot, William of Hirschau, organised a strong ecclesiastical opposition which was to be continually dangerous to Henry; his work was to be carried still further by one of his monks, Gebhard, son of Duke Berthold, who as Bishop of Constance and papal legate was more than anyone else responsible for the existence and gradual increase of a strong papal party in South Germany. The struggle was thus in the main between Saxony and Thuringia under Rudolf and the rest of Germany under Henry, though in Swabia Berthold and Wolf were able to maintain themselves and were supported, in spite of the Pope’s neutrality, by an advanced section of Church reformers.

Henry’s first move after Rudolf’s withdrawal was to raise a force of Bavarian and Bohemian troops and invade Swabia, which suffered terribly from the constant depredations of both sides, neither of which was able to obtain complete mastery. At the end of May he held a diet at Ulm, where the three rebel dukes of South Germany were formally deprived of their duchies. Carinthia was given to Liutold of Eppenstein, head of the most important family in the duchy. Bavaria and Swabia he retained for the time in his own hands. But in 1079 he founded the fortunes of the Hohenstaufen family by appointing to the duchy of Swabia the Swabian Count of Staufen, Frederick, to whom he married his daughter Agnes. From him he obtained loyal support, and Rudolf vainly attempted to create a counter-influence in the duchy by having his son Berthold proclaimed at Ulm as duke, and by marrying his daughter Agnes to Berthold, son of Duke Berthold (who had died at the end of 1078).

During these years Rudolf was bitterly disappointed in his expectation of a direct intervention of the Pope against Henry. The papal legates were as emphatic as he could wish, both at Forchheim in March and at Goslar in November 1077, when the Cardinal-deacon Bernard united with Archbishop Siegfried in excommunicating Henry; but they were not upheld by their master, who persisted in his neutrality. Henry, during the same period, shewed himself in diplomacy to be far astuter than his impetuous rival. He was successful in preventing a conference of nobles on both sides, which Rudolf tried to arrange in 1078 in recollection of the success of this policy in 1073. He contrived, moreover, to prevent a coalition between the forces of Rudolf and his South German allies, though he failed to defeat them separately as he had hoped. On 7 August 1078 he fought an indecisive battle with the troops of Rudolf at Melrichstadt in Franconia, where, though his own losses were the heavier, his enemy was forced to retire; and, on the same day, an army of peasants, hastily recruited from Franconia, was decisively defeated on the Neckar by Dukes Berthold and Welf. But Henry maintained himself at Wurzburg, and so prevented the threatened junction of the enemies’ forces. Above all he was successful in keeping the Pope neutral, while at the same time disappointing Gregory’s hopes of making his judgment decisive between the two kings. He was not, however, on this account any the more compliant with the ecclesiastical decrees. He continued to appoint, as it was essential to him that he should appoint, and invest to bishoprics and abbeys vacant by death or occupied by supporters of his opponent. Rudolf imitated his example, though he was careful to leave episcopal elections free, and so, besides the rival kings in the kingdom and dukes in the duchies, there were rival bishops in several sees. Germany was devastated by civil war, in which the peasants, especially in Swabia, suffered the greatest hardships, and the trading opportunities of the towns were severely handicapped. The whole country sighed for peace and order, and it was becoming increasingly evident to the majority that in Henry’s victory lay the best hope of this being attained.

So in 1080 he was able to carry the war into the enemy’s country and invade Saxony. The battle of Flarchheim in Thuringia (27 January) was indecisive and Henry had to retire again to Bavaria; but his diplomacy was successful in detaching from Rudolf’s cause the leaders of the Billung family, Duke Magnus and his uncle Herman, and also Margrave Ekbert of Meissen. And now the time had arrived when the Pope was to make the fateful decision that was to prolong and embitter the struggle of which Germany was already so weary. The moment seems to have been chosen by Henry himself. His envoys to the Lenten synod of 1080 were instructed no longer to appeal, but to threaten the Pope, and Henry had doubtless foreseen the result. He could hardly expect a judgment in his favour, but an adverse decision, while it would be welcomed by few, would be regarded with indignation by the vast majority. He contrived in fact to throw upon the Pope the odium of starting the new struggle. The sentence of Gregory VII not only upset the hopes of peace; it also outraged German sentiment in its claim to depose the king and to set up a successor in his place. The German bishops of Henry’s party met at Bamberg (Easter) and renounced obedience to Gregory; a diet attended by king, nobles, and bishops assembled at Mainz (Whitsun) and repeated this renunciation; and finally, in an assembly mainly of North Italian bishops at Brixen on 25 June, Gregory was declared deposed and Archbishop Guibert of Ravenna, nominated by Henry, was elected to succeed him. With his compliant anti-Pope, Henry could now entertain the prospect, impossible in 1076, of leading an expedition into Italy to establish his will by force.

But he could not leave Germany with Rudolf still powerful in Saxony, and he hastened back from Brixen to settle the issue with his rival. In the autumn he collected an army and marched through Thuringia to the Elster; there, in the neighbourhood of Hohen-Molsen, a battle was fought, in which Henry was defeated. But this was more than compensated by the mortal wound which Rudolf received, from the effects of which he died on the following day. To many this appeared as the judgment of God, not only on Rudolf but on the Pope as well. Though Henry was still unable to win over Saxony by force or negotiations, his position was sufficiently secure in Germany; now at last he could give his whole attention to the decisive contest with the Pope. From the spring of 1081 to the summer of 1084 he was in Italy. He succeeded in defeating his great adversary, he established Guibert as Pope Clement III, and by him was crowned Emperor in St Peter’s. At Rome he seemed to have realised his ambition and to have raised himself to his father’s height. But he was forced to retire before the arrival of the Normans, he could not overcome the resistance of Countess Matilda, and his Pope did not receive the recognition necessary to make him a useful tool. Imperial authority had been revived in Italy, but not so effectively as he had contemplated.

In Germany, his enemies took advantage of his absence to elect a successor to Rudolf. The obvious candidate was Otto of Nordheim, whose military skill had been conspicuous throughout. But, partly owing to jealousy among the leaders, partly perhaps from the desire to obtain western support, their choice fell on the Lotharingian Count Herman of Salm, brother of Count Conrad of Luxemburg and nephew of Herman, Count-Palatine of the Rhine. At any rate, he failed to win over his powerful relatives, and his kingdom, like that of Rudolf, was confined to Saxony. He had neither the ducal prestige nor the military prowess of his predecessor, nor does he seem to have entered into relations with the Pope; there was nothing to recommend this feeble rival of Henry. Towards the end of 1082 he did indeed advance south into Swabia, and the possibility of his leading an expedition into Italy caused Henry some anxiety. But it came to nothing; the death of Margrave Udo of the North Mark in 1082 and in January 1083 of Otto of Nordheim, whose sons were too young to play any part, deprived him of his chief military support. On the news of Otto’s death he hastily returned to Saxony, and henceforward was of no account. So insignificant did he become that in 1088 he retired to his native Lorraine, and shortly afterwards was killed in front of a castle he was besieging.

It was the Church party that formed the chief danger to Henry when he returned to Germany in 1084. Archbishop Siegfried of Mayence had died in February, but his authority in his province had long disappeared; like the two anti-kings he had been forced since 1080 to remain in Saxony. To succeed him Henry appointed Werner (Wezil) as archbishop and arch-chancellor; in the latter office Siegfried had not been supersededit was clearly a merely titular dignity, and the chancellor did the real work. The organisation of a papal party was actively conducted by the legate Otto, Cardinal-bishop of Ostia and afterwards Pope Urban II. With the assistance of Abbot William of Hirschau he combined monastic reform with opposition to Henry. The election of Gebhard as Bishop of Constance in December was an important result of their joint efforts; for Gebhard later succeeded Otto as permanent legate, and was probably Henry’s most dangerous enemy in Germany for the rest of his reign. In the work of reform, not only did numerous Swabian monasteries adhere to the rule of Hirschau, but the reform attracted laymen of the upper classes who came in numbers to the monastery as conversi. From Swabia Otto went on to Saxony. Here his influence was decisive against peace, the desire for which led to a meeting of princes of both sides at Gerstungen in January 1085. The Church party used the excommunication of Henry and his supporters to prevent a reconciliation. In this the legate was prominent, and still more so at a partisan synod held at Quedlinburg just after Easter. The excommunication of the anti-Pope and his. adherents was a matter of common agreement, but Otto had the cause of Church reform and reorganisation equally at heart. Decrees were passed asserting the primacy of the Apostolic See and the supremacy of papal jurisdiction; others enforced Roman against local customs and strengthened the central authority by creating uniformity; finally, a few upheld the main principles of Church reform. It was at this point that a cleavage of interests became manifest. The Saxon nobles, who had been most zealous for Church reform when it was a useful weapon against Henry IV, firmly resisted it when it meant the restoration by them of churches and ecclesiastical property in their possession. Otto discovered that the bishops supported their secular allies in this, and that political interests in Saxony over-rode religious considerations.

While discord was thus beginning to make its appearance in Saxony, Henry was establishing his hold more firmly in the rest of Germany. At an imperial diet held at Easter 1085 at Mainz, the deposition of Gregory VII and his supporters and the election of Guibert were confirmed, and the Peace of God was proclaimed. Already in 1081 Bishop Henry of Liege had proclaimed the Peace in his diocese, and in 1083 Archbishop Sigewin of Cologne had done the same in his province. Henry had ratified their action, and now extended it to the whole kingdom. It was a sign, perhaps, of royal weakness that he could not by his own authority enforce the maintenance of peace, but had recourse to an expedient adopted in days of anarchy and royal impotence by the Church in France and Burgundy. It was also an unfortunate moment to choose in which to appeal to the sanction of the Church, when many of his subjects regarded him and his followers as schismatics. But it seemed for a time as if peace would result. Lorraine, which he visited in June, was wholly loyal; Henry confiscated the territory held there by Matilda, and allotted it mainly to Godfrey of Bouillon and Bishop Dietrich of Verdun. There followed a much greater triumph in July, when, taking advantage of the divisions in Saxony to win over the lay nobles, he was able for the first time for many years to enter the duchy in peace, and to progress as far as Magdeburg.

His success, however, was short-lived, and for this his failure to appreciate the Saxon temper was responsible. Many bishops were still hostile, especially the Archbishop of Magdeburg, and Henry proceeded to appoint bishops of his own party to replace them. Nothing was more calculated to cause a revulsion of feeling among the lay nobles than this exercise of royal authority without their concurrence, and the introduction of aliens into episcopal office in the duchy. Accordingly in September Henry was forced to abandon Saxony once more. In the following year (1086) Welf and his Swabian adherents were able to join forces with the Saxons and to besiege the important town of Wurzburg. Henry, hastening to its relief with an army mainly composed of peasants and levies from the towns, was severely defeated at the battle of Pleichfeld on 11 August. It was not the usual encounter of knights. The troops of Welf and of the city of Magdeburg dismounted and fought on foot, with the cross as their standard and encouraged by the prayers of the Archbishop of Magdeburg. As a result of the battle, Wurzburg was captured and its Bishop, Adalbero, was restored, though only temporarily, to his see. The position of affairs, so favourable to Henry the previous year, seemed to have been entirely reversed. But his enemies were not able to gain any permanent advantage from their victory, or even to retain Wurzburg for long. Negotiations were resumed, to break down continually over the impediment of Henry’s excommunication and his recognition of the anti-Pope. At last, in the summer of 1088, a renewal of discord in Saxony caused a reaction in Henry’s favour, and in a short time, for good and all, the revolt in Saxony was ended.

The most powerful noble in Saxony at this time was Margrave Ekbert of Meissen. Of violent and audacious temper, like his father, he had taken the lead in welcoming the king in Saxony in July 1085 and in expelling him two months later. His Mark had previously been transferred by Henry to Duke Vratislav of Bohemia, who received the title of king in 1085; but Vratislav was unable to enter into possession of it. In 1087 Ekbert came to terms again with Henry, perhaps as the result of a Bohemian invasion. But he immediately broke his word, having conceived the bold scheme of getting himself appointed king in place of the helpless Herman. This was too much for his jealous confederates. The bishops in particular rejected his scheme, and the murder of Bishop Burchard of Halberstadt, who had been in the forefront of every Saxon rising against Henry, was believed to be Ekbert’s revenge for his rebuff. The ambition and violence of this noble were more dangerous than the royal authority; the rest of Saxony hastened to make its peace with the Emperor, and, while safeguarding its own independence, recognised him as king of Germany. The bishops indeed would not recognise Guibert; they compromised by regarding Urban II as the rightful Pope, and at the same time disregarding his excommunication of Henry. Ekbert was isolated, and was condemned at a Saxon diet held at Quedlinburg in 1088; at Ratisbon in 1089 he was proscribed as a traitor, and on Margrave Henry of the East Mark (Lusatia) was conferred the margravate of Meissen. Ekbert remained defiant, and even posed as the champion of the Church against Henry; at the end of 1088 he inflicted a severe defeat on the king in front of his castle of Gleichen. But he was murdered in 1090, and so all opposition in Saxony came to an end. His county of Brunswick passed to his sister Gertrude, who married, as her second husband, Henry the Fat, the son of Otto of Nordheim.

The years 1088-1090 mark the climax of Henry’s power in Germany. Except for Margrave Ekbert, against whom he had the assistance of the rest of Saxony, and the few Swabian counts that supported Welf, he was universally recognised as king. The succession had been secured by the coronation of his son Conrad as king in May 1087. The Church party was dispirited and quiescent, and it lost its chief champion in Bavaria with the death of Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg in 1088. In Lorraine, in 1089, Bishop Herman of Metz was reconciled with the king and restored to his see, and the duchy of Lower Lorraine was conferred on Godfrey of Bouillon. To the see of Cologne, vacant by the death of Archbishop Sigewin, Henry appointed his chancellor Herman; and, during his stay at Cologne for this purpose, he was married (his first wife, Bertha, had died in 1087) to Praxedis (Adelaide), daughter of the Prince of Kiev and widow of Margrave Henry of the North Mark. The marriage was celebrated by Archbishop Hartwig of Magdeburg, with whom, in spite of his prominent share in the king’s defeat at Pleichfeld in 1086, Henry was completely reconciled. The archbishop, however, refused to recognise the anti-Pope, and this was the chief weakness in Henry’s position. It seems that on more than one occasion he could have come to terms with the Church party and returned to communion, had he consented to abandon Guibert. He was himself unwilling both to betray so faithful a servant and to discard so useful a tool; while many of his chief supporters and advisers among the bishops, feeling that their own fate was implicated in that of Guibert, influenced him in the same direction. He might also have expected the ultimate success of his anti­Pope. There was nothing to lead him to anticipate the fatal results to himself of the election of Urban II as Pope in March 1088. Urban, like his predecessor, had to live under Norman protection, and Guibert remained securely in possession of Rome.

As in 1072 and 1075, the position in Germany appeared favourable for the recovery of authority in Italy; and again a situation had arisen vitally affecting imperial interests. In 1089, Countess Matilda of Tuscany, now over forty years of age, devoting herself to furthering the political advantage of the Papacy, had married the younger Welf, a lad of seventeen. The elder Welf, having lost his Saxon allies, had turned his ambitions to the south, and hoped for great things from this marriage. His Italian inheritance adjoined the territories of Countess Matilda, and he doubtless anticipated for himself a position in Italy such as Duke Godfrey, the husband of Matilda’s mother Beatrice, had held during the minority of Henry IV. The Emperor came into Italy in April 1090 to counteract the dangerous effects of this alliance, and at first met with considerable success. But the papal party was rapidly gaining strength, and unscrupulous in its methods worked among his family to effect his ruin. The revolt of Conrad in 1093 under Matilda’s influence, accompanied by a league of Lombard cities against the Emperor, not only reduced him to great straits but even cut off his retreat to Germany. The next year another domestic blow was struck at the unfortunate Emperor. His wife Praxedis, suspected of infidelity to her husband, escaped to take refuge with Matilda and to spread gross charges against Henry. False though they doubtless were, they were eagerly seized upon by his enemies, and the Pope himself at the Council of Piacenza in 1095 listened to the tale and pardoned the unwilling victim. Praxedis, her work done, disappears from history; she seems to have returned to Russia and to have died as a nun. Her husband, stunned with the shock of this double treachery of wife and son, remained in isolation at Verona. But the conflicting interests of Welf and the Papacy soon broke up the unnatural marriage-alliance. Matilda separated from her second husband as she had done from her first, and the elder Welf, who had no intention of merely subserving papal interests, took his son back with him to Germany in 1095. The next year he made his peace with the Emperor; the road to Germany was opened again, and in the spring of 1097 Henry made his way by the Brenner Pass into Bavaria.

The long absence of Henry in Italy had less effect than might have been expected on his position in Germany. Saxony remained quiet, and the government by non-interference was able to ensure the loyalty of the lay nobles, among whom Henry the Fat, with Brunswick added to Nordheim by his marriage with Gertrude, now held the leading place. In Lorraine the Church party won a success in the adhesion of the Bishops of Metz, Toul, and Verdun to the papal cause. Otherwise the only centre of dis­turbance was Swabia. The government of Germany during Henry’s absence seems to have been entrusted to Duke Frederick of Swabia, in conjunction with Henry, Count-Palatine of the Rhine, who died in 1095. In 1091 the death of Berthold, son of the anti-king Rudolf, brought the house of Rheinfelden to an end. He was succeeded both in his allodial territories and in his pretensions to the duchy of Swabia by his brother-in-law Berthold of Zäringen, son of the former Duke of Carinthia, a far more formidable rival to Duke Frederick. The successes of Henry in Italy in 1091, combined with the death of Abbot William of Hirschau, brought to the king’s side many adherents in Swabia. But the disasters of 1093 caused a reaction, and the papal party began to revive under the lead of Bishop Gebhard of Constance, Berthold’s brother. An assembly held at Ulm declared the unity of Swabia under the spiritual headship of Gebhard and the temporal headship of Berthold, and a land-peace was proclaimed to last until Easter 1096, which Welf with less success attempted to extend the next year to Bavaria and Franconia. The Church party took the lead in this movement, and papal overlordship was recognised by Berthold and Welf, who did homage to Gebhard as the representative of the Pope. This coalition was entirely ruined by the breach of Welf with Matilda, which led to his reconciliation with Henry and to a complete severance of his alliance with the Papacy.

The comparative tranquillity during Henry’s absence was due, not to the strength of the government but in part to its weakness, and above all to the general weariness of strife and the desire for peace. To this cause, too, must be attributed the feeble response that Germany made when in 1095 the summons of Urban II to the First Crusade resounded throughout Europe. Some, and among them even a great ecclesiastic like Archbishop Ruthard of Mayence, were seized with the crusading spirit so far as to join in the massacre of Jews and the plunder of their property. But, except for Godfrey of Bouillon, who had been unable to make his ducal authority effective in Lower Lorraine, no important German noble actually went on crusade at this time. Indeed, it does not seem that the position of Henry was to any material extent affected by the Crusade. But, if the immediate effect was negligible, it was otherwise with the ultimate effect. Important results were to arise from the circumstances in which the crusading movement was launched—the Pope, the spiritual head of Christendom, preaching the Crusade against the infidel, while the Emperor, the temporal head, remained helpless in Italy, cut off from communion with the faithful. Gregory VII in 1074 had planned to lead a crusade himself, and wrote to Henry IV that he would leave the Roman Church during his absence under Henry’s care and protection. This plan was typical of its author, though it was a curious reversal of the natural functions of the two heads of Christendom. Had Pope and Emperor been working together in the ideal harmony that Gregory VII conceived, it would certainly have been the Emperor that would have led the crusaders to Palestine in 1095, and under his suzerainty that the kingdom of Jerusalem would have been formed. As it was, the Papacy took the lead; its suzerainty was acknowledged; in the war against the infidel it arrogated to itself the temporal as well as the spiritual sword. And not only was the Emperor affected by the advantages that accrued to his great rival. His semi-divine character was impaired; when he failed to take his natural place as the champion of the Cross, he prejudiced his claim to be the representative of God upon earth.

At any rate, on his return to Germany Henry found but slight opposition to his authority. The reconciliation with Welf was confirmed in a diet at Worms in 1098, and was extended to Berthold as well. Welf was formally restored to his duchy, and the succession was promised to his son. The rival claims to Swabia were settled: Frederick was confirmed in the duchy, Berthold was compensated with the title of Duke (of Zäringen) and the grant of Zurich, to be held as a fief directly from the Emperor. At the price of concessions, which implied that he had renounced the royal ambitions of his earlier years, Henry had made peace with his old enemies, and all lay opposition to him in Germany ceased. At a diet at Mainz the princes elected his second son Henry as king, and promised to acknowledge him as his father’s successor; the young Henry took an oath of allegiance to his father, promising not to act with independent authority during his father’s lifetime. For the Emperor, though anxious to secure the succession, was careful not to allow his son the position Conrad had abused. The young Henry was anointed king at Aix-la-Chapelle the following year; on the sacred relics he repeated the oath he had taken at Mainz, and the princes took an oath of fealty to him.

Ecclesiastical opposition remained, but was seriously weakened by the defection of Berthold and Welf. It gained one notable, if not very creditable, adherent in the person of Ruthard, who had succeeded Werner as Archbishop of Mainz in 1089. The crusading fervour had manifested itself, especially in the Rhine district, in outbreaks against the Jews, who, when they were not murdered, were maltreated, forcibly baptised, and despoiled of their property. Henry on more than one occasion had shewn special favour to the Jews, who played no small part in the prosperity of the towns. Immediately on his return from Italy, he had given permission to the victims to return to their faith, and he was active in recovering for them the property they had lost. Mainz had been the scene of one of these anti-Jewish outbreaks, and the archbishop was suspected of complicity and of having received his share of the plunder. Henry opened an enquiry into this on the occasion of his son’s election, to which the archbishop refused to submit and fled to his Thuringian estates. Apart from this, there is, until 1104, a period of unwonted calm in Germany, and in consequence little to record. During these years the chief interest lies in Lorraine, owing to the ambition of Count Robert II of Flanders and the recrudescence of a communal movement at Cambrai. Defence against the count was its object, and so the commune received recognition from the Emperor and Bishop Walcher; but it found itself compelled to come to terms with the count, who made peace with Henry in 1103. Having enjoyed independence, the commune continued to exist, and entered into a struggle with the bishop, who was handicapped by a rival and pro-papal bishop. For a time it maintained its independence, until in 1107 it was overthrown by Henry V and episcopal authority restored.

Henry, then, might seem to have at last accomplished his object in Germany, and by the universal recognition of his authority to have achieved the mastery. But in reality he had failed, and the peace was his recognition of failure. For it was a peace of acquiescence, acquiescence on both sides, due to weariness. The nobles recognised him as king, and he recognised the rights they claimed. Not as subjects, but almost as equals, the Saxons, Welf, Berthold, had all made terms with him. No concessions, however, could reconcile the Papacy. The death of Urban II in 1099 made no difference; his successor, Paschal II, was even more inflexible. There seemed a prospect of peace when the anti-Pope Guibert died in 1100, and a diet at Mainz proposed an embassy to Rome. The following year Henry proposed to go to Rome himself’ In January 1103, at another diet at Mainz, besides promulgating a land-peace for the Empire for four years, Henry announced his intention, provided he could be reconciled with the Pope, of going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But to all these proposals the Pope turned a deaf ear. Henry had been excommunicated and deposed, and the sentence was repeated by Paschal in 1102. There was no hope of ending the schism during Henry IV’s lifetime.

This state of affairs led to the final catastrophe. To no one did the situation give so much cause for dissatisfaction as to the heir to the throne—the young Henry V. The longer his father lived the weaker he felt would be the authority to which he would succeed. Self-interest determined him, in defiance of his oath, to seize power before matters became worse. He knew that he might expect the reconciliation with the Pope that was denied to his father, and that the Germans would willingly accept the leadership of one who was at the same time lawful king and in communion with the Pope. Probably the disturbances that broke out at Ratisbon while the court was staying there at the beginning of 1104 decided him in his purpose. Many nobles had disliked the promulgation of a land-peace, which interfered with their customary violence; then the murder of a Bavarian count by one of his own ministeriales, and the Emperors neglect to punish the offender, provoked such discontent that Henry IV found it wiser to leave Bavaria and go to Lorraine. Henry V went with him, but he had already the nucleus of a party and began to mature his plans. In Lorraine his father was among friends, but when at the end of the year he marched north to punish a breach of the peace by a Saxon count, the young Henry decided that the moment was ripe for his venture. At Fritzlar on 12 December he escaped by night and went rapidly south to Ratisbon, where he placed himself at the head of the discontented nobles. His father, abandoning his expedition, returned to the Rhine; he was brokenhearted at his son’s treachery and made frantic appeals to him to return. Henry V sanctimoniously refused to listen to an excommunicated man, and made overtures to the Pope which were immediately successful.

The revolt was well-timed, and events turned out as Henry V had planned. The papal legate, Bishop Gebhard of Constance, met him in Bavaria and gave him the papal absolution. The Saxon and Thuringian princes, with whom was the exiled Archbishop Ruthard of Mainz, sent him an invitation which he eagerly accepted, and with the papal legate at his side he arrived at Quedlinburg for Easter 1105. A synod was held at Nordhausen on 21 May, at which he adopted an attitude of humility that was immediately successful. The Church party was won over by his action against imperialist bishops, and by his placing in the forefront the excommunication of his father as the cause of his revolt; the lay princes were equally attracted by his promise to act always in accordance with their direction. He could now count on Saxony wholly, and largely on Bavaria; Duke Welf seems on the whole to have remained neutral. He was fortunate, too, in the death this year of his brother-in-law, Duke Frederick of Swabia, whose sons were too young to intervene.

He now took the field against his father, and marched on Mainz with the intention of restoring the archbishop. But the Rhine towns stood firm in their loyalty, and, after taking Wurzburg, he was forced to retire to Ratisbon. His father followed hard on his tracks, retook Wurzburg, and nearly surprised the son at Ratisbon. Here the Emperor was reinforced by Margrave Liutpold of Austria and Duke Borivoi of Bohemia. Henry V marched against him, and managed to entice from his father his two chief supporters. The Emperor found himself abandoned on all sides, and had to make a hurried escape to avoid capture. After an adventurous and perilous flight through Bohemia and Saxony, he arrived safely at Mainz at the end of October. Driven from there by his son’s approach, he took refuge at Cologne, and then followed the second and most shameful treachery of the young Henry. Promising to assist his reconciliation with the Pope, he persuaded his father to meet him and accompany him to Mainz. Nothing was wanting that hypocrisy could suggest— tears, prostration at his father’s feet, solemn and repeated pledges of safe-conduct. By these means he induced him to dismiss his retinue, and, on arriving at Bingen, represented the danger of going to Mainz and enticed him into the castle of Bockelheim, where he kept him a close prisoner. At Christmas a diet was held at Mainz in the presence of papal legates, who dominated the proceedings. The Emperor was brought before the diet, not at Mainz where the townspeople might have rescued him, but at Ingelheim; crushed in spirit by his sufferings in prison and in fear for his life, he surrendered the royal insignia, promising a humble confession of his misdeeds and even resignation of his throne. It was a scene that moved the lay nobles to compassion, but the legates, having gained their ends, calls it “the most devilish deed in all German history.” declared themselves not competent to grant absolution. Henry V was equally obdurate, and his father was kept in confinement at Ingelheim. An invitation was sent to the Pope inviting his presence at a synod in Germany. Henry V for his own purposes was willing to allow the papal decision so much desired by Gregory VII.

But the year 1106 saw a change of fortune. The Emperor escaped from captivity and was strongly supported in Lorraine and the Rhine towns. In the spring Henry V was severely defeated outside Liege by a coalition of Duke Henry of Lower Lorraine, Count Godfrey of Namur, and the people of Liege; in the summer he signally failed before Cologne. In face of this devoted loyalty to his father he was powerless; then sud­denly death came to his aid, and the opposition collapsed. The Emperor, worn out by sorrow and suffering, fell ill at Liege and died on 7 August. On his death-bed he sent his last message to his son, requesting pardon for his followers and that he might be buried beside his father at Spires. His dying appeal was disregarded. Henry V deposed the Duke of Lower Lorraine, and appointed Godfrey of Brabant in his place; the town of Cologne was fined 5000 marks. The Pope refused absolution and Christian burial to the excommunicated Emperor. The people of Liege, in defiance of king and Pope, had given his body a royal funeral in their cathedral amid universal lamentation; the papal legates ordered its removal. It was taken to the cathedral at Spires, where again the people displayed their grief and affection. The bishop ordered it to be removed once more to an unconsecrated chapel. Five years later, when Henry V wrung from the Pope the cession of investiture, he also obtained absolution for his father, and on 7 August 1111 the body of Henry IV was at last solemnly interred beside those of his father and grandfather in the cathedral he had so richly endowed at Spires.

The story of this long reign of fifty years reads like a tragedy on the Greek model. Mainly owing to conditions for which he was not responsible, Henry was forced to struggle, in defence of his rights, against odds that were too great for him, and finally to fall a victim to the treachery of his son. The mismanagement of the imperial government during his minority had given the opportunity for particularism in Germany and for the Papacy in Italy to obtain a position from which he could not dislodge them. As far as Germany was concerned, he might have been successful, and he did at any rate acquire an important ally for the monarchy in the towns, especially in the Rhine district. How important it was is seen in 1073-4, when the example set by Worms turned the tide that was flowing so strongly against him; and, more notably still, in the resistance he was able to make to his son in the last year of his life. But the reason that prevented his making full use of this alliance prevented also his success in Germany. The fatal policy of Otto I had placed the monarchy in a position from which it could not extricate itself. Essentially it had to lean on ecclesiastical support, and from this two results followed. In the first place, as the important towns were under episcopal authority, a direct alliance with them took place only when the bishop was hostile to the king. Secondly, the success of Otto I’s policy, in Germany as in Italy, depended now on the Papacy being subservient, or at least obedient, to imperial authority. The Papacy regenerated by Henry III, especially with the opportunities it had had during Henry IV’s minority, could not acquiesce in its own dependence or in the subordination of ecclesiastical appointments to lay control. A contest between sacerdotium and imperium was inevitable, and, as we can see, it could only have one end. Certainly it was the Papacy that caused the failure of Henry IV. He was unfortunate in being faced at the beginning by one of the greatest of all the Popes, and yet he was able to defeat him; but he could not defeat the Papacy. It was the long schism that partly prompted the revolt of Henry V, and it was the desire to end it that won him the support of most of Germany. Papal excommunication was the weapon that brought Henry IV to his tragic end, and avenged the death in exile of Gregory VII. And, apart from this, it was owing to the Papacy that his reign in Germany had been unsuc­cessful. He made peace with his enemies, but on their conditions; and the task that he had set out so energetically to achieve—the vindication of imperial authority—he had definitely failed to accomplish.

With the passing of the old king, many others of the leading actors disappear from the scene. Especially in Saxony, old houses were becoming extinct, and new families were rising to take their place in German history. The Billungs, the Counts of Nordheim, the Ekberts of Brunswick, had each in turn played the leading part against the king; and now the male line had failed in all these families, and the inheritance had fallen to women. In 1090 by the death of Ekbert II the male line of the Brunswick house became extinct; his sister Gertrude was left as heiress, and she married (as her second husband) Henry the Fat, the elder son of Otto of Nordheim. He was murdered in 1101, his brother Conrad suffered the same fate in 1103, and the elder daughter of Henry and Gertrude, Richenza, became eventually heiress to both these houses. Lothar, Count of Supplinburg, by his marriage with Richenza in 1100, rose from an insignificant position to become the most powerful noble in Saxony. In 1106 died Duke-Magnus, the last of the Billungs. His duchy was given by Henry V to Lothar, his family possessions were divided between his two daughters: the eastern portion went to the younger, Eilica, who married Count Otto of Ballenstadt and became the mother of Albert the Bear, the Saxon rival of the Welfs; the western portion to the elder, Wulfhild, who married Henry the Black, son of Duke Welf of Bavaria.

Thus were laid the foundations of the Welf power in Saxony; the structure was to be completed when the son of Henry and Wulfhild, Henry the Proud, married Gertrude, daughter and heiress of Lothar and Richenza; for the house of Supplinburg also failed in the male line. Duke Welf of Bavaria himself died on crusade in 1101, and his duchy, now hereditary, passed to Welf V, Countess Matilda’s husband, and on his death in 1120 to his brother Henry the Black. Finally, in 1105, Duke Frederick of Swabia died and was succeeded by his son Frederick II; while his widow Agnes, daughter of Henry IV, married in 1106 Liutpold III, Margrave of Austria, and so became the ancestress of Babenbergers as well as Hohenstaufen.

Henry V, born in 1081, had been elected king in 1098; so that, young as he still was, he had already been associated in the government for eight years. He will always, apart from the Concordat of Worms, be remembered primarily for his treatment of his father and, five years later, of the Pope; in both these episodes he shewed himself brutal and un­scrupulous. Perhaps to modern minds the studied treachery and hypocrisy of 1105-6 will appear more repulsive than the direct and unconcealed violence of 1111; his contemporaries, however, viewed the two incidents quite differently, regarding rather the nature of the victim than the quality of the crime. His action in deposing his excommunicated father met with fairly general approval; while the horror inspired by his treat­ment of the Pope did considerable damage to his prestige. He was not capable, like his father, of inspiring devotion, but he could inspire respect. For he was forceful, energetic, resourceful, and he did for some time manage to dominate the German nobles. With more prudence too than his father he conserved imperial resources, and, except in Italy in 1116 when policy demanded it, he was very sparing of grants from the royal domain, even to bishops. Of diplomatic cunning he frequently gave proof, especially in the circumstances of his revolt and in his negotiations with Paschal II. In particular he had a strong sense of the importance of influencing opinion. There was nothing unusual in the manifestoes he issued in justification of his actions on important occasions, but he went farther than this. He prepared the way. The publication of the anonymous Tractatus de investitura episcoporum in 1109 preluded his embassy to Paschal II by expounding to all the righteousness of the imperial claims. And he went beyond manifestoes. When he started on his journey to Rome in 1110, he took with him David, afterwards Bishop of Bangor, as the official historian of the expedition. David’s narrative has unfortunately not come down to us, but it was made use of by others, especially by the chronicler Ekkehard. It was assuredly propaganda, not history; but it was an ingenious and novel way of ensuring an authoritative description of events calculated to impress contemporary opinion.

To prevent the further decline of imperial authority, he had allied himself with the two powers responsible for that decline. His real policy was in no whit different from that of his father, so that he was playing a hazardous game; and it is doubtful whether, even from his own purely selfish standpoint, he had taken the wisest course. To obtain the assistance of the Pope, he had recognised the over-riding authority of the sacerdotium he had justified his revolt against his father on the ground of the unfitness of an excommunicated man to be king, and had used the papal power of absolution to condone his perjury. To obtain the co­operation of the nobles, he had to abandon for a time the support of the towns and the reliance on the ministeriales which had been so valuable to his father. The nobles were, as usual, anxious to make their fiefs and offices hereditary, to obtain the recognition of independent powers, and to prevent the establishment of an over-riding royal justice. This they expected to ensure by the participation in the government that Henry had promised, and in this he humoured them for the time. Their names appear as witnesses to royal charters; all acts of government, even the nomination of bishops, are done consilio principum. For their support was still necessary to him, and he skilfully made use of it to oppose a united Germany to the claims of his other ally, the Pope. He had allowed the legates to sit in judgment on his father, and to wreak their vengeance to the full; he had shown himself zealous in deposing schismatic bishops at their dictation. All this was to his interest; but, his father dead, he was not long in throwing off the mask. It was essential that the bishops should be loyal subjects, and so he was careful to control elections; and, worst of all to the mind of Paschal II, he refused to discontinue the practice of lay investiture. In this, and against all claims of the Pope to interfere in the affairs of Germany, he had the nobles, lay and ecclesiastical, almost to a man enthusiastically on his side.

For the first five years of his reign the issue with the Pope was the leading question. Apart from Count Robert of Flanders, against whom Henry had to lead an expedition in 1107, there was no serious disturbance in Germany. In 1108-9 he was principally occupied on the eastern frontiers, where he successfully asserted himself in Bohemia but failed signally in his attempt to intervene in Hungary and Poland. All this time negotiations with the Pope had been in progress, without any satisfactory result, and at last in 1110 Henry decided to go to Rome to effect a settlement in person and to obtain the imperial crown. At the diet at Ratisbon at which he announced his intention, the nobles unanimously pledged themselves of their free will to accompany him. The summons to the expedition was universally obeyed, and it was at the head of an imposing army that he entered Italy in August. The absence of incident in Germany in these years, and the ready response to the summons, show the unity of the country both under the king and against the Pope. The events of 1110-11 established his authority in Italy and over the Pope as well. He wrung from the Pope the concession of investiture and received from him the imperial crown. Countess Matilda shewed herself well-disposed; the Normans in South Italy were overawed by the size of his army. At the end of 1111 his power in both kingdoms was at its height.

But it rested on insecure foundations. He had dominated the Pope by violence, and had extracted from him a concession which provoked the unyielding hostility of the Church party. Already in 1112 Paschal retracted his concession, and in Burgundy in the same year Archbishop Guy of Vienne declared investiture to be a heresy and anathematised the Emperor, undeterred by the efforts of Henry to rouse the nobles and bishops of Burgundy against him; while Archbishop Conrad of Salzburg, who had always opposed Henry’s ecclesiastical policy, abandoned his see and took refuge with Countess Matilda. Moreover, Henry’s government of Germany was only government by consent; it depended on the good-will of the princes. Some of the bishops were alienated by his treatment of Paschal II; the lay nobles, who had concurred in his ecclesiastical policy, were justly apprehensive of the independence and high-handedness of his actions in 1111.

He was determined to free himself from their tutelage, now that they had served his purpose. So he returned to the policy of his father of relying on ministeriales and lesser nobles, whose share in the government, dependent as they were on his favour, would be effective in his interests and not in their own. Above all, he concentrated on the royal domain, and was so sparing in his grants that he gave the appearance of miserliness. He had not followed the common practice of making himself popular by large donations on his accession. He bountifully rewarded faithful service, but that was all. Such grants as he made to ecclesiastical foundations were usually of little importance and for purely religious purposes. The bishops fared especially badly under his regime, but, with the working of the leaven of reform and the increasing authority of the Papacy, they were becoming less reliable as agents of monarchical government. To him, as to his father, the building of castles was a necessary step to protect the royal estates from the continual encroachments of the nobles. They too had adopted the same method of protecting their own domains, and against this usurpation of his prerogative he used his best endeavours, on the whole not unsuccessfully. It was, however, one of the causes of friction between him and his two chief enemiesDuke Lothar of Saxony and Archbishop Adalbert of Mainz. Like his father again, the rich domain in Saxony at first attracted his main attention; it was there that he went immediately after the successful inauguration of his revolt in Bavaria in 1105. But after his defeat in 1115 Saxony had to be abandoned. He then turned to a new quarter, to the south-west, where lay the rich lands of the middle and upper Rhine. We find him engaged in exchanges, revocations of previous grants, even confiscations, which all point to the policy of creating in this new region a centralised and compact domain. Finally, he attempted to revive the alliance with the towns. Especially to Spires in 1111 and to Worms in 1114 he gave important charters, which raised the status and independence of the citizens by removing the most vexatious of the seignorial powers over their persons and property. He could not, however, count on their loyalty. Worms revolted more than once, Mayence was won over by privileges from its archbishop, Cologne was sometimes for and sometimes against him. He was unable to win their confidence fully or to inspire the devotion that had been so serviceable to his father.

In all this he was engaged in building up his resources, and in attempting to establish a basis for the royal authority which would make it independent of princely support. But he was by no means content merely to shake off their control. He was determined to enforce the recognition of his sovereign rights, and opposition only enraged him and revealed the arbitrary tendency of his ideas. In January 1112, at Merseburg, he intervened as supreme judge to prohibit the unjust imprisonment of Count Frederick of Stade by Duke Lothar of Saxony and Margrave Rudolf of the North Mark. When they refused obedience to his judgment, they were deprived of their dignities, which were only restored after they had made submission and released Frederick. Two other Saxon counts were punished with close confinement for a breach of the peace. In July, at Mainz, he exercised another sovereign right in sequestrating the fiefs of Count Udalric of Weimar who had died without heirs; he also, it seems, with the consent of a diet, added the allodial territory to the royal domain. Siegfried, Count-Palatine of the Rhine, claimed to succeed as next-of-kin to Udalric; and, in his disappointment, he started a conspiracy among the Saxon and Thuringian nobles, which was joined by Lothar and Margrave Rudolf, and eventually the whole of Saxony was ablaze with revolt. Finally, as Henry was preparing an expedition to Saxony, came the breach with his former chancellor, now the greatest ecclesiastic in the land, Archbishop Adalbert of Mainz.

Adalbert, son of Count Sigehard of Saarbrucken, owed his rise to fame almost entirely to the favour of Henry V. By him he had been appointed chancellor in 1106, before the death of Henry IV, and had received lavish preferment and grants from his master. On Archbishop Ruthard’s death in 1109, Adalbert was nominated as his successor by the king, who, perhaps because he did not wish to be deprived of Adalbert’s assistance on his important expedition to Italy, deferred investiture; the see remained vacant for two years, during which Henry, by virtue of his rights of regalia, doubtless enjoyed its revenues. On his return to Germany in 1111, he immediately invested Adalbert, who thereupon entered into possession of the temporalities of the archbishop, though not yet consecrated. At once a change was manifest. As chancellor he had been an ardent imperialist, the right-hand man of the king, who recognised his services and rewarded them with his confidence and with material benefits. He was probably the chosen instrument of Henry’s policy of emancipation from the control of the nobles. But as archbishop his interests diverged, his ambition led him to independence, and the cause of the princes became his. He took a strong Church line, and professed an ultra-papalist standpoint, though it was he who had been chiefly con­cerned in all the leading events of 1111; it was interest and not principle that influenced his change of view. Personal ambition was the mark of his career. His great aim was to establish an independent principality. At first he planned this in the Rhine district, and, as this brought him into contact with the royal domain, he was soon in conflict with the king. Thwarted in this endeavour, he later turned his attention with more success to the eastern possessions of his see, in Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony.

In November 1112 the breach took place which definitely ranged Adalbert on the side of the king’s enemies. It was only a year after his investiture, but Adalbert had already had time to realise his new environment and to adopt his new outlook. It is probable that a leading cause of friction was the king’s exercise of the rights of regalia during the two years’ vacancy. The final cause seems to have been a quarrel over two castles in the palatinate, which Adalbert refused to abandon. At any rate the breach was complete, and the king’s indignation, which found expression in a violent manifesto, was unbounded. He, like in this period—Siegfried, Werner, and Ruthhard. Adalbert seized upon them at once, and founded the greatness of his successors. Henry II of England afterwards, raised his faithful chancellor to be the leading archbishop of his kingdom, expecting to gain a powerful supporter, and found in him his most dangerous opponent. Adalbert set off to join his new associates in Saxony; the king was marching thither at the same time, and their ways converged. The quarrel broke out afresh. Adalbert firmly refused to yield what he held; he was taken prisoner and exposed to severe privations. This arbitrary act, in which the judgment of the princes played no part, increased the alarm and suspicion which had already caused revolt to break out in Saxony.

The first revolt against Henry V was ill-organised, and was effectively suppressed in 1113. The royal army under Count Hoier of Mansfeld won a decisive victory at Warmstadt near Quedlinburg. Siegfried died of wounds, and the palatinate of the Rhine was conferred on Henry’s faithful supporter, Count Godfrey of Calw. Count Wiprecht of Groitsch was taken prisoner and condemned to death; the sentence was commuted to three years’ imprisonment, but his possessions were confiscated and his two sons rendered homeless. Of the other leaders, Count Louis of Thuringia and Bishop Reinhard of Halberstadt made submission and received the royal pardon. Henry was triumphant, and hoped that Adalbert would have learnt from their failure and his own sufferings the folly of resistance; the archbishop was brought before the king at Worms, but he refused to yield and was taken back to his prison. The next year, on 7 January 1114, the Emperor celebrated his victory by his marriage at Mayence with Matilda, the eleven-year-old daughter of Henry I of England. To Mainz came Duke Lothar to make humble submission and to be restored to favour. But the concord was immediately broken by Henry’s sudden and arbitrary imprisonment of Count Louis of Thuringia. This further breach of the custom, by which the nobles claimed to be condemned only by the sentence of their peers, roused widespread resentment, and in other quarters besides Saxony. To Henry’s arbitrary treatment of the archbishop and the count may be ascribed the disasters that immediately followed.

They started in an unexpected quarter. Henry had just commenced a punitive expedition against the Frisians in May, when the town of Cologne suddenly revolted. It was not left alone to face the wrath of the Emperor. Not only the Archbishop, Frederick, but also the leading nobles of Lorraine, the lower Rhine, and Westphalia joined in the insurrection. Henry failed before Cologne, and on 1 October was decisively defeated at Andernach in Westphalia. The news of his defeat gave the necessary encouragement to the disaffected nobles in East Saxony and Thuringia. This time the revolt was better organised, with Duke Lothar at the head, and all the other nobles, lay and ecclesiastical, participating. The two armies met at Welfesholze on 11 February 1115, and again Henry suffered a severe defeat. Utterly discomfited, he was forced to abandon Saxony and retire to Mainz, where he negotiated for peace; but Lothar refused his terms. And meanwhile the Saxons revived their old alliance with the Church party, which was able to take advantage of Henry’s defeat to raise its head in Germany once more. First the Cardinal-bishop Cuno pronounced excommunication on Henry at Cologne and in Saxony; then the Cardinal-priest Theodoric, who had been sent as papal legate to Hungary, came by invitation to a diet at Goslar, and repeated the same sentence. In the north and north-west Henry was practically friendless. But he was not reduced to the humiliation of his father in 1073 and 1076. The southern nobles did not join in the revolt; and, though only his nephew Duke Frederick of Swabia was actively on his side, the other leading princes at any rate remained neutral. They did not make use of his weakness to acquire a share in the government.

At this moment the death of Countess Matilda of Tuscany (24 July) made it imperative for Henry to proceed to Italy to make good his claim to her inheritance. It was all the more necessary to procure peace in Germany. A diet for this purpose was summoned to meet at Mainz on 1 November. Henry waited there in vain; his enemies refused to appear, and only a few bishops obeyed the summons. Taking advantage of his weakness, the people of Mainz suddenly assailed him in force and compelled him to release their archbishop, giving securities for his good behaviour; and at Spires in December Adalbert was reconciled with the Emperor, taking an oath of fealty and giving his nephews as hostages. The hardships suffered during his three years’ imprisonment had not daunted the spirit of the archbishop. Neither his oath nor the safety of his nephews deterred him from his purpose of active hostility. He went at once to Cologne, where the bishops under Archbishop Frederick, the nobles under Duke Lothar, were awaiting the arrival of the Cardinal­legate Theodoric to complete the plans of the new alliance. The legate died on the journey, and Adalbert soon dominated the proceedings. First of all he was consecrated archbishop by Bishop Otto of Bamberg; for, though he had been invested four years previously, he had not yet received consecration. Then, in conjunction with Archbishop Frederick of Cologne, he held a synod at which the ban of the Church was pronounced against the Emperor. Henry sent Bishop Erlung of Wurzburg to negotiate on his behalf, but Erlung himself was won over, and on his return refrained from communion with the Emperor. In revenge Henry deprived him of the semi-ducal position held by the Bishops of Wurzburg in Eastern Franconia, and conferred the judicial authority there, with the rank of duke, on his nephew Conrad, brother of Duke Frederick of Swabia.

In spite of the dangerous situation in Germany, Henry embarked on his second expedition to Italy in Lent 1116 and was absent for two years. In the acquisition of Matilda’s allodial territories, as well as the disposition of the fiefs she had held from the Empire, he obtained considerable advantages. He was able naturally to increase the royal domain, to acquire a new source of revenue, and also to gain adherents among the towns by generous grants of charters. His further attempt to crush papal resistance and to establish an anti-Pope was, as usual, a failure. His absence made little difference to Germany. The north was hopeless from his point of view, and the southern nobles remained quiet. The government of Germany was entrusted by him to Duke Frederick of Swabia and Godfrey, Count-Palatine of the Rhine. They performed faithfully and with no small success the task entrusted to them. The position rather improved than otherwise; the area of disturbance was at any rate diminished. The centre and mainspring of revolt was Archbishop Adalbert; his settled determination was to injure the royal power by every means at his disposal, to win over or to ruin all Henry’s supporters. Without him the desire for peace might have prevailed, but he kept alive the civil war. We read of continual fighting, though always on a small scale, of sieges and counter-sieges, of attempts at negotiation that came to nothing, and of a general disregard for law and order which gave to the robber and the brigand an undreamt-of security.

At last, however, events in Italy affected the German situation and necessitated the Emperor’s return. The definite revival of the schism between Empire and Papacy with the excommunication of Henry V by Pope Gelasius II in April 1118, and the activity of the Cardinal-bishop Cuno as papal legate, gave renewed vigour to the Church party in Germany. Adalbert ensured the fidelity of Mayence by an important grant of privileges, and the Bishops of Worms and Spires (the latter his own brother) now joined him. The episcopate as a whole was no longer subservient to the Emperor, whose control of elections had been considerably weakened; while Adalbert, on the other hand, by his appointment this year as papal legate, gained increased authority over it. The anti­imperialists, lay and ecclesiastical, now revived the plan of 1076 of a diet, to be held at Wurzburg, to which the Emperor was to be summoned to answer the charges against him. Henry returned from Italy in August, just in time to prevent this, and his appearance in Lorraine speedily restored the balance in his favour. The situation did not permit of his acting with the masterfulness that had given so much offence before, but his diplomatic skill was able to make use of the strong desire for peace. He gave earnest of his own intentions when he opened negotiations with the new Pope, Calixtus II, in 1119; he could hardly be blamed for their failure, and he was little affected by the renewal of excommunication. In Lower Lorraine his position decidedly improved, especially when the town of Cologne declared for him and expelled its archbishop. Frederick made his way to Saxony, but even that duchy was no longer a sure refuge for the Emperor’s enemies. For Henry himself was at Goslar in January 1120, able to visit his Saxon domain for the first time since his defeat in 1115; and a number of Saxon nobles, including Duke Lothar, were with him at court. The bishops, obedient to the papal sentence, held aloof, but the lay nobles were anxious above all for peace, though a peace of their own making. Henry wisely took no steps to revenge himself for the excommunication, and, by withholding support from the anti-Pope, facilitated the re-opening of negotiations. Adalbert alone was stubborn against reconciliation, but his very obstinacy caused the German princes to take action. When in June 1121 he marched with an army from Saxony to the relief of Mayence, which was threatened by the Emperor, they intervened decisively for peace, and a diet was summoned to meet at Wurzburg.

The diet met on 29 September, and an armistice was arranged which, besides re-establishing order in Germany, created the necessary conditions precedent to a settlement of the issue between Pope and Emperor. Henry was to recognise the Pope, and meanwhile king, churches, and individuals were to be in undisturbed possession of their rights and lands; bishops who had been canonically elected and consecrated were to be left in peaceful occupation of their sees, and the Bishops of Worms and Spires were to be reinstated, though the town of Worms was to remain in royal hands; prisoners and hostages were to be mutually restored. The princes then bound themselves to use their mediation between Emperor and Pope to bring about a settlement on the question of investiture which would not impair the honour of the kingdom, and on the other hand to act in concert against any attempt of the king to avenge himself on any of his enemies. The Bavarian nobles, who were not present at Wurzburg, gave their assent to these conditions on 1 November. The princes had thus taken affairs into their own hands, and by their unanimity had restored peace and order to the kingdom. In this they rendered it a great service, and probably the same result could have been achieved in no other way. But it was a restoration of their control of the government, and was a measure of the weakness of the royal authority. The king had no alter­native but to acquiesce; and indeed he welcomed their intervention as a means of extricating himself from the impasse in his relations with the Pope. An embassy was sent at the beginning of 1122 to Rome, where it was well received by Calixtus, and three cardinal-legates with full powers were dispatched to Germany. Archbishop Adalbert alone, in spite of a letter from the Pope expressing his earnest desire for peace, did his best to prevent a reconciliation, and made what use he could of the disputed election at Wurzburg which followed on the death of Bishop Erlung. But the papal legates resisted his attempts to promote discord, and by their tactful management of the difficult preliminaries were able to get general consent to the holding of a council. This was summoned by them to meet at Mainz on 8 September. The place of meeting was, however, naturally distasteful to Henry, and, as a concession to him, the Council eventually took place at Worms on 23 September 1122.

The Concordat of Worms was a treaty for peace between the two great powers, the spiritual and the temporal heads of Western Christendom. As such it gave public recognition to the position the Papacy had acquired in the course of the struggle. It gave recognition too to another fact—the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal functions of the episcopate. Over the bishops in Italy and Burgundy royal control was appreciably diminished; in Germany it was in effect retained. The king abandoned investiture with ring and staff, but he could now claim papal sanction for his control of elections, and the grant of the regalia was recognised as implying the performance of duties to the king in return. On 11 November a diet was held at Bamberg, composed mainly of the princes who were not present at Worms. They unanimously ratified the Concordat, which thereby became a constitution of the kingdom. The relations of the king with the bishops and abbots of Germany were thus put on a legal basis, and the election of Udalric as Abbot of Fulda gave an immediate occasion to put the new practice into effect. Even Adalbert had been constrained to subscribe at Worms, but he immediately wrote to the Pope attempting to prejudice him against the Emperor. He was quite unsuccessful, however. He saw his old associates welcoming the Concordat at Bamberg; and finally the ratification of the Church was given at the Lateran Council in March 1123, to which the Pope, in anticipation of the greatness of the event, had issued a general summons in June of the preceding year, and which ranks as the First Ecumenical Council to be held in the West. The concord between Empire and Papacy was not to be broken again in Adalbert’s lifetime.

Peace without mastery was the conclusion of Henry’s struggle with the Pope. In Germany he achieved neither peace nor mastery. The course of time had produced a great change in the relation of the nobles, originally royal officials, with the king. The counts had in many cases ceased to hold directly from the king, and as a result of marriages, divisions of the inheritance, and the like, their possessions often bore little relation to their titles. Above all the dukes, whose power and independence the first two Salian kings had successfully combated, had during the long civil wars and the Church schism recovered much of their old authority. In Bavaria the Welfs were creating an almost independent state: a hereditary duchy with the subordinate nobles—margraves and even the count-palatine as well as ordinary counts—in a vassal relationship to the duke. There was no hostility to Henry V who did not interfere, but Bavaria seems to hold itself aloof and to act as a separate, unit; at the Diet of Wurzburg in 1121 Bavaria was not represented, but gave its assent later. The Hohenstaufen were working to the same end in Swabia, but the influence of the Dukes of Zähringen prevented them from achieving complete mastery, and their participation in the government of the kingdom was more important to them than a policy of isolation. But both Duke Frederick and his brother Conrad were actively employed in increasing the Hohenstaufen domains, and in protecting their acquisitions by castles. This was likely soon to conflict with the similar policy of the Emperor in the neighbouring districts, and perhaps it is for this reason that signs of friction between Henry and his nephews began to appear towards the end of his reign. No such policy was possible in Lorraine, where the division into two duchies, the weakness of the dukes, and the strength of the other nobles, lay and ecclesiastical, had destroyed all cohesion; in this region and in Franconia it was more possible for royal authority to recover ground.

But the most important centre of particularism had always been Saxony, and it became increasingly so under Duke Lothar. The son of a petty count, he had acquired the allodial territories, and the consequent prestige, of the two most powerful antagonists of Henry IV—Otto of Nordheim and Ekbert of Brunswick. He held a position greatly superior to that of his predecessors, the Billungs, and by his victory in 1115 became the acknowledged leader of the Saxons. His intention evidently was to unite Saxony under his rule and to exclude the royal authority. The Saxon nobles were by no means prepared to submit to the first part of this programme, but Lothar vigorously encountered opposition and usually with success; his activity extended to expeditions against the Wends, and by these aggressive measures he protected the north-eastern frontiers. His policy of isolation was indicated by his abstention from the Diet of Wurzburg and the Concordat of Worms. He departed from it to some extent in 1123 when he supported, rather half-heartedly, his step­sister Gertrude of Holland, who was allied with Bishop Godebald of Utrecht against the Emperor. But he was quite determined to resist royal interference within his duchy. On the death in 1123 of Henry, Margrave of Meissen and the East Mark and step-brother to Lothar’s wife, the Emperor appointed Herman II of Winzenburg to Meissen and Wiprecht of Groitsch (a former rebel, now tamed to loyalty by imprisonment) to the East Mark. Lothar treated these appointments as being in his own gift, and gave Meissen to Conrad of Wettin and the East Mark to Albert the Bear, son of Count Otto of Ballenstadt and grandson of Duke Magnus. Henry V summoned Duke Vladislav of Bohemia to support his candidates, but Lothar successfully resisted him and made effective his claim to usurp a sovereign right. In 1124 Henry, victorious over Gertrude and Godebald, assembled a diet at Bamberg before which Lothar was summoned to appear. He did not obey the summons, but the expedition decreed against him was deferred owing to Henry’s preoccupations in the west. Lothar remained defiant, and no further action was taken against him.

Unsuccessful in the internal struggle, the king could not restore imperial authority in the eastern states once subject to the Empire. In the peaceful years at the beginning of his reign he had made a determined effort. In Bohemia his suzerainty was recognised, and his decision was effective in favour of Svatopluk who expelled his cousin Duke Borivoi in 1107, and on Svatopluk’s murder in 1109 in favour of Vladislav, Borivoi’s son; from both he obtained the payment of tribute. But, like his father, he had to be content with Bohemian allegiance. His intervention in Hungary (1108) and in Poland (1109) ended in hopeless failure. Immediately afterwards his attention was diverted to his Italian expedition, and he had no opportunity, even if he had the inclination, to intervene again. But, in the north-east, German influence began to spread by another agency. The great missionary work of Bishop Otto of Bamberg in Pomerania started at the end of Henry V’s reign; idols and temples were overthrown, and eight churches built. This was a revival of the old method of penetration by missionaries, and though Otto’s work was done by the invitation and under the protection of Duke Boleslav III of Poland, who wished to Christianise where he had conquered, it was German influence that permeated the country; the new churches were closely attached to Bamberg, and the first bishop in Pomerania was Otto’s friend and helper, Adalbert. This was to be the beginning of a new wave of German penetration among the Slavs.

Henry V, indeed, had no part in this. In the last year of his life he was turning his attention to a novel foreign policy. He had come into close touch, owing to his marriage, with the English king, and he was induced by Henry I to enter into an alliance against King Louis VI of France, from which he hoped perhaps to recoup himself by conquest for his loss of authority in his own kingdom. But the expedition was unpopular in Germany; he could only collect a small force, and he was obliged to retire ignominiously before the large army which assembled to defend France from invasion. In 1125 he is said to have conceived the plan, also suggested by his father-in-law, of raising money by a general tax on the English model; it would have made him independent of the nobles, who strongly resisted the innovation. The only result was to add to his unpopularity, which was increased by a severe famine and pestilence; though this was the natural result of two hard winters, the common people attributed to him the responsibility for their sufferings. It was in these circumstances that he fell ill and died in his forty-fourth year on 23 May 1125. On his death-bed he made his nephew, Duke Frederick of Swabia, his heir and named him as his successor; the royal insignia were placed in the castle of Trifels under the charge of the Empress Matilda. At Spires the last of the Salian house was given royal burial beside his three predecessors, but there were few to mourn the ruler who had been able to win the affection of none. Fear he had inspired, and there were soon stories current that he was not dead, and a pretender even arose in Burgundy claiming to be Henry V; no one wished him back, but there was much popular apprehension of his return.

His personality was such as to inspire fear but not affection. The one was a useful attribute in dealing with the nobles, but without the other he could not gain the support necessary to keep them in check. The middle and lower classes in the towns, and the lower classes in the country­side as well, had felt a regard for Henry IV which was not merely due to privileges obtained from him. Henry V was never able to win this regard despite his privileges, and the revolts of important towns were often a serious handicap to him. So the nobles, whom he had used to defeat his father and to defeat the Pope, had proved too strong for him in the end. Only by their renewed participation in the government was peace restored to Germany and the schism in the Church healed. And so particularism prevailed, and ducal authority rose again even in Swabia and Bavaria, but especially in Saxony, where Lothar had challenged an undoubtedly royal right by his claims to appoint his subordinates. To the end he was defiant, a rebel against royal authority. But the imperial idea was still strong, and so too was the hereditary principle. Had Henry had a son, he would doubtless have succeeded to the throne with fair chances of success. That Henry died childless was a fact of the first importance in the history of Germany, and incidentally in the history of England as well. His bitterest enemy, the Archbishop of Mainz, was still alive, and it was the Archbishop of Mainz who by prescriptive right had the first voice in the election of a king. Skilfully Adalbert used his advantage to get possession of the royal insignia and to defeat the candidature of Henry’s heir, Duke Frederick of Swabia. Led by him, the princes triumphantly vindicated the claim they had vainly tried to assert at Forchheim in 1077, and deliberately rejected the next-of-kin. The election of Lothar was a step forward towards the eventual victory of the electoral over the hereditary principle.