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The death ofMerseburg, in December 918, ended the Franconian dynasty. In April 919 the Franconian and Saxon magnates met at Fritzlar to elect a new king. On the proposal of Eberhard of Franconia, and brother of the dead king Conrad, Henry, Duke of the Saxons, called Henry the Fowler, was elevated to the vacant throne (912-936). Henry had been already marked out for this dignity, both by the great position of his house and nation, and by the wish of the last king. Yet the voluntary abdication of the Franconian and the transference of the monarchy to the Saxon forms one of the great turning-points in the history of the German nation. The existence of a separate German state had been already secured by the work of Louis the German (843-876, son of Louis the Pious) and Arnulf of Carinthia (887-89, nephew of Charles the Fat, grand-son of Charlemagne). Yet so long as the sceptre remained in the Carolingian hands, the traditions of a mighty past overpowered the necessities of the present. Down to the death of Conrad, the Franks were still the ruling nation, and the German realm was East Frankish rather than German. The accession of the Saxon gave the best chance for a more general development on national lines. For of all the five nations of Germany, the Saxons were the least affected by the Carolingian tradition. Christianity was still less than a century old with them, and formal heathenism still lingered on in the wilder moors and marshes of the north. Roman civilisation was still but a sickly exotic; and, free from its enervating influences, the Saxons still retained the fierce barbaric prowess of the old Teutonic stock, while the primitive Teutonic institutions, which were fast disappearing in the south before the march of feudalism, still retained a strong hold amidst the rude inhabitants of northern Germany. In the south the mass of the peasantry were settling down as spiritless and peaceful farmers, leaving the fighting to be done by a limited number of half-professional soldiers. But among the Saxons every freeman was still a warrior, and the constant incursions of heathen Danes and Wends gave constant opportunities for the practice of martial habits. The old blood nobility still took the leadership of the race. Not only were the Saxons the strongest, the most energetic, and most martial of the Germans, but the mighty deeds of their Ludolfing dukes showed that their princes were worthy of them. It was only the strong arm of a mighty warrior that could save Germany from the manifold evils that beset it from within and without. The Ludolfings had already proved on many a hard-fought field that they were the natural leaders of the German people. The dying Conrad simply recognised accomplished facts, when he urged that the Saxon duke should be his successor. The exhausted Franconians merely accepted the inevitable, when they voluntarily passed over the hegemony of Germany to their northern neighbours.

There were, however, insuperable limitations to the power of the first Saxon king of the Germans. Henry the Fowler was little more influential as king than as duke. There was no idea whatever of German unity or nationality. The five nations were realities, but beyond them the only ties that could bind German to German were the theoretical unities of Rome—the unity of the Empire and the unity of the Church. From the circumstances of his election and antecedents, Henry could draw no assistance from the great ideals of the past, by which he was probably but little influenced. He feared rather than courted the support of the churchmen. When the Church offered to consecrate the choice of the magnates by crowning and anointing the new king, Henry protested his unworthiness to receive such sacred symbols.

Thus Germany became a federation of great duchies, the duke of the strongest nation taking precedence over the others with the title of king. Even this result was obtained only through Henry’s strenuous exertions. His power rested almost entirely on the temporary union of the Saxons and Franconians. The southern and western nations of Germany were almost outside the sphere of his influence. Lotharingia fell away altogether, still cleaving to the Carolings, and recognising the West Frankish king, Charles the Simple, rather than the Saxon intruder. Henry was conscious of the weakness of his position, and discreetly accepted the withdrawal of Lotharingia from his obedience, receiving in return an acknowledgment of his own royal position from Charles the Simple. Swabia and Bavaria were almost as hard to deal with as Lotharingia. They had taken no practical share in Henry’s election, and were by no means disposed to acknowledge the nominee of the Saxons and Franconians. It was not until 921 that Henry obtained the formal recognition of the Bavarians, and this step was only procured by his renouncing in favour of Duke Arnulf every regalian right, including the much-cherished power of nominating the bishops. Henry was no more a real king of all the Germans than Egbert or Alfred were real kings over all England. His mission was to convert a nominal overlordship into an actual sovereignty. But he saw that he could only obtain the formal recognition necessary for this process by accepting accomplished facts, and giving full autonomy to the nations. His ideal seems, in fact, to have been that of the great West Saxon lords of Britain. He strove to do for Germany what Edward the Elder and Ethelstan were doing for England. It is, from this point of view, of some political significance that Henry married his eldest son Otto, afterwards the famous Emperor, to Edith, daughter of Edward, and sister of Athelstan. Yet, like England, Germany could hope for national unity only when foreign invasion had been successfully warded off. The first condition of internal unity was the cessation of the desolating barbarian invasions which, since the break­up of the Carolingian Empire, had threatened to blot out all remnants of civilisation. Saxony had already suffered terribly from the Danes and Wends. To these was added in 929 a great invasion of the Magyars or Hungarians, the Mongolian stock newly settled in the Danube plains, and still heathen and incredibly fierce and barbarous. The Magyars now found that the Bavarians had learnt how to resist them successfully, so that they turned their arms northwards, hoping to find an easier foe the Saxons. Henry, with his Franks and Saxons, had to bear the full brunt of the invasion, and no help came either from Swabia or Bavaria. Henry had the good luck to take prisoner one of the Hungarian leaders, and by restoring his captive and promising a considerable tribute, he was able to procure a nine years’ truce for Saxony. Two years later the Magyars again swarmed up the Danube into Bavaria, but Henry made no effort to assist the nation which had refused to aid him in his necessity.

Thus freed from the Magyars, Henry turned his arms against the Danes and the Wends. In 934 he established a strong mark against the Danes, and forced the mighty Danish king, Gorm the Old, to pay him tribute. He was even more successful against the Slavs. In 928 Brennabor (the modern Brandenburg), the chief stronghold of the Havellers, fell into his hands, and with it the broad lands between the Havel and the Spree, the nucleus of the later East Mark. But more important than Henry’s victories were his plans for the defence of the frontiers. He planted German colonists in the lands won from the barbarian. He built a series of new towns, that were to serve as central strongholds, in the marchland districts. The Saxon monk Widukind tells us how Henry ordered that, of every nine of his soldier-farmers, one should live within the walls of the new town, and there build houses in which his eight comrades might take shelter in times of invasion, and in which a third part of all their crops was to be preserved for their support, should necessity compel them to take refuge within the walls. In return, the dwellers in the country were to till the fields and harvest the crops of their brother in the town. Moreover, Henry ordered that all markets, meetings, and feasts should be held within the walled towns, so as to make them, as far as possible, the centres of the local life. Some of the most ancient towns of eastern Saxony, including Quedlinburg, Meissen, and Merseburg, owe their origin to this policy. Henry also improved the quality of the Saxon cavalry levies, teaching his rude warriors to rely on combined evolutions rather than the prowess of the individual horseman. So anxious was he to utilise all the available forces against the enemy, that he settled a legion of able-bodied robbers at Merseburg, giving them pardon and means of subsistence, on the condition of their waging war against the Wends.

The effect of these wise measures was soon felt. Henry had laid the foundation of the great ring of marks, whose organisation was completed by his son. He had also inspired his subjects with a new courage to resist the barbarian, and a new faith in their king. When the nine years’ truce with the Hungarians was over, the Saxons resolved to fight rather than continue to pay them a humiliating tribute. A long series of victories crowned the end of Henry’s martial career. He was no longer forced to strictly limit himself to the defence of his own duchy of Saxony, and the southern nations of Germany could honour and obey the defender of the German race from the heathen foe, though they paid but scanty reverence to the duke of the Saxons. Lotharingia reverted to her allegiance after the sceptre of the western kingdom had passed, on the death of Charles the Simple, from her beloved Carolings. Yet Henry never sought to depart from his earlier policy, and still gave the fullest autonomy to Saxon, Bavarian, and Lotharingian. He still lived simply after the old Saxon way, wandering from palace to palace among his domain-lands on the slopes of the Harz, and seldom troubling the rest of the country with his presence. Yet visions of a coming glory flitted before the mind of the old sovereign. He dreamed of a journey to Rome to wrest the imperial crown from the nerveless hands of the pretenders, whose faction fights were reducing Italy to anarchy. But his end was approaching, and the more immediate task of providing for the succession occupied his thoughts. His eldest son, Thankmar, was the offspring of a marriage unsanctioned by the Church, and was, therefore, passed over as illegitimate. By his pious wife Matilda, the pattern of German housewives, he had several children. Of these Otto was the eldest, but the next son, Henry, as the first born after his father had become a king, was looked upon by many as possessing an equally strong title to election. The king, however, urged on his nobles to choose Otto as his successor. He died soon after, on 2nd July 936, and was buried in his own town of Quedlinburg, where the pious care of his widow and son erected over his remains a great church and abbey for nuns, which became one of the most famous monastic foundations of northern Germany. “He was”, says the historian of his house, “the greatest of the kings of Europe, and inferior to none of them in power of mind and body”. But Henry’s best claim to fame is that he laid the solid foundations on which his son built the strongest of early mediaeval states.

Otto I was a little over twenty years of age when he ascended the throne. While his father had, shunned the consecration of the Church, his first care was to procure a pompous coronation at Aachen. As strong a statesman and as bold a warrior as his father, the new king was so fully penetrated with the sense of his divine mission, and so filled with high ideals of king­craft, that it was impossible for him to endure the limitations to his sway, in which Henry had quietly acquiesced. Duke Eberhard of Franconia was the first to resent the pretensions of the young king. He felt that he was the author of the sway of the Saxon house, and resolved to exercise over his nation the same authority that he had wielded without question in the days of King Henry. Meanwhile, the death of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria gave Otto an opportunity of manifesting his power to the south (938-941). He roughly deposed Arnulf’s eldest son, Eberhard, who had refused to perform him homage, and made his younger brother Berthold duke, but only on condition that the right of nominating to the Bavarian bishoprics, which had been wrung from the weakness of Henry, should now be restored to the crown. Moreover, he set up another brother, Arnulf, as Count Palatine, to act as a sort of overseer over the new duke. But while Franconia and Bavaria were thus deeply offended, Otto’s own Saxons were filled with discontent at his policy. They resented Otto’s desire to reign as king over all Germany, as likely to impair the dominant claims of the ruling Saxon race. They complained that he had favoured the Franks more than the Saxons, and the sluggish nobles of the interior parts of Saxony were disgusted that Otto had over­looked their claims on his attention in favour of Hermann Billung and Gero, to whom he had intrusted the care of his old duchy along with the government of the Wendish marches. Thankmar, the bastard elder brother, Henry, the younger brother who boasted that he was the son of a reigning king, were both angry at being passed over, and put themselves at the head of the Saxon malcontents. In 938, a revolt broke out in the north. The faithfulness of Hermann Billung limited its extent, and the death of Thankmar seemed likely to put an end to the trouble. But Henry now allied himself with Duke Eberhard of Franconia; and Duke Giselbert of Lotharingia, Otto’s brother-in-law, joined the combination. A bloody civil war was now fought in Westphalia and the Lower Rhineland. The army of Otto was taken at a disadvantage at Birthen, near Xanten; but the pious king threw himself on his knees, and begged God to protect his followers, and a victory little short of miraculous followed his prayer. However, the rebels soon won back a strong position, and the bishops, headed by Archbishop Frederick of Mainz, intrigued with them in the belief that Otto’s term of power was at an end. But the king won a second unexpected triumph at Andernach, and the Dukes of Franconia and Lotharingia perished in the pursuit. Henry fled to Louis, king of the West Franks, whose only concern, however, was to win back Lotharingia from the eastern kingdom. At last Henry returned and made his submission to his brother; but before long he joined with the Archbishop of Mainz in a plot to murder the king. This nefarious design was equally unsuccessful, and Henry, under the influence of his pious mother, sought for the forgiveness of his injured brother. At the Christmas feast of 941 a reconciliation was effected. The troubles for the season were over.

Otto now sought to establish his power over the nations by setting up members of his own family in the vacant duchies. Franconia he kept henceforth in his own hands, wearing the Frankish dress and ostentatiously following the Frankish fashions. Over Lotharingia he finally set a great Frankish noble, Conrad the Red, whom he married to his own daughter, Liutgarde. The reconciled Henry was made Duke of Bavaria, and married to Judith, the daughter of the old Duke Arnulf. Swabia was intrusted to Otto’s eldest son, Ludolf, who in the same way was secured a local position by a match with the daughter of the last duke. But the new dukes had not the power of their predecessors. Otto carefully retained the highest prerogatives in his own hands, and, by the systematic appointment of Counts Palatine to watch over the interests of the crown, revived under another name that central control of the local administration which had, at an earlier period, been secured by the Carolingian missi dominici.

The new dukes soon fell into the ways of their predecessors. They rapidly identified themselves with the local traditions of their respective nations, and quickly forgot the ties of blood and duty that bound them to King Otto. Henry of Bavaria and Ludolf of Swabia soon took up diametrically different Italian policies, and their intervention on different sides in the struggle between the phantom Emperors, that claimed to rule south of the Alps, practically forced upon Otto a policy of active interference in Italy. Ludolf was intensely disgusted that his father backed up the Italian policy of Henry, and began to intrigue with Frederick of Mainz, Otto’s old enemy. Conrad of Lotharingia joined the combination. Even in Saxony, the enemies of Hermann Billung welcomed the attack on Otto. At last in 953 a new civil war broke out which, like the troubles of 938, was in essence an attempt of the ‘nations’ to resist the growing preponderance of the central power. But the rebels were divided among each other, and partisans of local separatism found it doubly hard to bring about an effective combination. The restless and turbulent Frederick of Mainz died during the struggle. Conrad and Ludolf made their submission. A terrible Hungarian inroad forced even the most reluctant to make common cause with Otto against the barbarians. But the falling away of the dukes of the royal house had taught Otto that some further means were necessary, if he desired to continue his policy of restraining the ‘ nations ’ in the interest of monarchy and nation as a whole. That fresh support Otto found in the Church, the only living unity outside and beyond the local unities of the five nations.

Even King Henry had found it necessary, before the end of his reign, to rely upon ecclesiastical support, especially in his efforts to civilise the marks. There the fortified churches and monasteries became, like the new walled towns, centres of defence, besides being the only homes of civilisation and culture in those wild regions. But King Henry had not removed the danger of Wendish invasion, and the civil wars of Otto’s early years gave a new opportunity for the heathen to ravage the German frontiers. In the midst of Otto’s worst distress, Hermann Billung kept the Wends at bay, and taught the Abotrites and Wagrians, of the lands between the lower Elbe and the Baltic, to feel the might of the German arms. His efforts were ably seconded by the doughty margrave, Gero, of the southern Wendish mark. By their strenuous exertions the Slavs were definitely driven away from German territory, and German rule was extended as far as the Oder, so that a whole ring of organised marchlands protected the northern and eastern frontiers. These marks became vigorous military states, possessing more energy and martial prowess than the purely Teutonic lands west of the Elbe, and destined on that account to play a part of extreme prominence in the future history of Germany. Owing their existence to the good-will and protection of the king, and having at their command a large force of experienced warriors, the new margraves or counts of the marches, who ruled these regions, gradually became almost as powerful as the old dukes, and, for the time at least, their influence was thrown on the side of the king and kingdom. Under their guidance, the Slav peasantry were gradually Christianised, Germanised, and civilised, though it took many centuries to complete the process. Even to this day the place-names in marks like Brandenburg and Meissen show their Slavonic origin, and a Wendish-speaking district still remains in the midst of the wholly Germanised mark of Lausitz. To these regions Otto applied King Henry’s former methods on a larger scale. Walled towns became centres of trade, and refuges in times of invasion. Monasteries arose, such as Quedlinburg, and that of St. Maurice, Otto’s favourite saint, at Magdeburg. A whole series of new bishopricsBrandenburg and Havelberg, in the Wendish mark; Aarhus, Ripen, and Schleswig, in the Danish mark — became the starting-points of the great missionary enterprise that in time won over the whole frontier districts to Christianity. Hamburg became the centre of the first missions to Scandinavia. Never since the days of Charles the Great had the north seen so great an extension of religion and culture. There was many a reaction towards heathenism and barbarism before the twelfth century finally witnessed the completion of this side of Otto’s work.

The Hungarians were still untamed, and, profiting by the civil war of 953, they now poured in overwhelming numbers into south Germany. But the common danger was met by common action. On 10th August 955, Otto won a decisive victory on the Lechfeld, near Augsburg, at the head of an army drawn equally from all parts of Germany, and including among its leaders Conrad the Red, the former Duke of Lorraine, who died in the fight (955). This crushing defeat damped the waning energies of the Magyars, and the carrying out of the same policy against them that had been so successful against their northern neighbours resulted in the setting up of an east mark (the later Austria), which carried German civilisation far down the Danube, and effectually bridled the Magyars. In these regions Henry of Bavaria did the work that Hermann Billung and Gero were doing in the north. The final defeat of the barbarian marauders, and the definitive extension of German soil through the marks, are among Otto’s greatest titles to fame. Moreover, Otto forced the rulers of more distant lands to acknowledge his sovereignty. In 950 he invaded Bohemia, and forced its king, Boleslav, to do him homage. Nor did he neglect the affairs of the more settled regions of the west. Already in 946 he had marched through north France as far as the frontiers of Normandy, striking vigorous blows in favour of the Carolingian Louis iv—who had married his daughter Gerberga, Duke Giselbert’s widow— against his other son-in-law, Hugh the Great, the head of the rival Robertian house. He also took under his protection Conrad the Pacific, the young king of the Arelate.

In civilizing the marks Otto had striven hard to use the Church to secure the extension of the royal power. But the lay nobles were not slow to see that Otto’s trust in bishops and abbots meant a lessening of their influence, and resented any material extension of ecclesiastical power. The Saxon chieftains —half-heathens themselves at heart— did their very best to prevent the Christianisation of the Wends, knowing that it would infallibly result in a close alliance between the crown and the new Christians against their old oppressors. Even the churchmen of central Germany watched Otto’s policy with a suspicious eye. Typical of this class is Archbishop Frederick of Mainz, the centre of every conspiracy, and the would-be assassin of his sovereign. If his policy had prevailed, the Church would have become a disruptive force of still greater potency than the dukedoms. But a new school of churchmen was growing up willing to co-operate with Otto. His youngest brother, Bruno, presided over his chancery, and made the royal palace as in Carolingian times the centre of the intellectual life of Germany. Bruno ‘restored,’ as we are, ‘the long-ruined fabric of the seven liberal arts,’ and, like our Alfred, was at the same time the scholar and the statesman. From his efforts sprang that beginning of the general improvement of the German clergy that made possible the imperial reformation of the Papacy. Moreover, Bruno carried out a reform of discipline and of monastic life that soon made Germany a field ripe to receive the doctrines that were now beginning to radiate from Cluny to the remotest parts of the Christian world. Side by side with the religious revival came the intellectual revival that Bruno had fostered. Widukind of Corvey wrote the annals of the Saxons; the abbess Hrotswitha of Gandersheim sang Otto’s praises in Latin verse, and wrote Latin comedies, in which she strove to adopt the methods of Terence to subjects chosen in order to enhance the glories of religious virginity. The literary spirit touched Otto himself so far that he learnt to read Latin, though he never succeeded in talking it. Under Bruno’s care grew up a race of clerical statesmen, far better fitted to act as Otto’s ministers than the lay aristocracy with its insatiable greed, ruthless cruelty, and insufferable arrogance. It now became Otto’s policy, since he had failed to wrest the national duchies to subserve his policy, to fill up the great sees with ministerial ecclesiastics of the new school. The highest posts were reserved to his own family. His faithful brother, Bruno, became Archbishop of Cologne, and was furthermore intrusted with the administration of Lotharingia. Otto’s bastard son, William, succeeded the perfidious Frederick as Archbishop of Mainz. Otto now stood forth as the protector of the clergy against the lay nobles, who, out of pure greed, were in many cases aiming at a piecemeal secularisation of ecclesiastical property. The incapacity of a spiritual lord to take part in trials affecting life and limbs had already led to each bishop and abbot, who possessed feudal jurisdiction, being represented by a lay ‘Vogt’ (advocattis) in those matters with which he was himself incompetent to deal. The lay nobles sought to make their ‘advocacy’ the pretext of a gradual extension of their power until the bishop or abbot became their mere dependant. But this course was not to the interest of the crown. If the domains of the crown were to be administered by the local magnates or to be alienated outright, if the jurisdiction of the crown was to be cut into by grants of immunities to feudal chieftains, it was much better that these should be put into spiritual rather than into secular hands. Otto therefore posed as the protector and patron of the Church. Vast grants of lands and immunities were made to the bishops and abbots, and the appointment to these high posts, or at least the investiture of the prelates with the symbols of their office, was carefully kept for the king. The clergy, who in the days of Henry had feared lest the king should lay hands on their estates, joyfully welcomed Otto’s change of front. It was not clear to them as it was to Otto, that the royal favour to the Church was conditional on the Church acting as the chief servant of the State. Otto would brook no assertion of ecclesiastical independence, such as had of old so often set bounds to the empire of the Carolings. He desired to attach the Church to the State by chains of steel; blit he carefully gilded the chains, and the German clergy, who were neither strong theologians nor sticklers for ecclesiastical propriety, entered as a body into that dependence on the throne which was to last for the best part of a century, and which was in fact the indispensable condition of the power of the Saxon kings in Germany. The unity of the Church became as in England the pattern of the unity of the State, and in a land which had no sense of civil unity, Saxon and Frank, Lorrainer and Bavarian were made to feel that they had common ties as citizens of the Christian commonwealth.

The first efforts of Otto towards the conciliation and subjection of the clergy were surprisingly successful. He next formed a scheme of withdrawing eastern Saxony and the Wendish march from obedience to the Archbishop of Mainz, and setting up a new Archbishop of Magdeburg as metropolitan of these regions. It was a well-designed device to give further unity to those warlike and loyal regions upon which Otto’s power was ultimately based. But his own son, Archbishop William, violently opposed a scheme which deprived the see of Mainz of the obedience of many of its suffragans. William’s representations to Rome induced the Pope to take no steps to carry out Otto’s plan. The king was deeply incensed, but the check taught him a lesson. He learnt that after all, the German Church was not self-contained or self-sufficing. Over the German Church ruled the Roman Pope. He could only ensure the obedience of the German Church by securing the submission or the co-operation of the head of the Christian world. So long as the Pope was outside his power, Otto’s dream of dominating Germany through churchmen seemed likely to end in a rude awakening. To complete this aspect of his policy required vigorous intervention in Italy.

The condition of Italy had long been one of deplorable anarchy. After the death of the Emperor Berengar in 924 had put an end to the best chance of setting up a national Italian kingdom, things went from bad to worse. The Saracens, having plundered its coasts, settled down in its southern regions side by side with the scanty remnants of the Byzantine power. Thus all southern Italy was withdrawn altogether from the sphere of western influence. But in the centre and north things were far worse. The inroads of the barbarians were but recently over, and had left their mark behind in poverty, famine, pestilence and disorder. Great monasteries like Subiaco and Farfa were in ruins. The Hungarians had penetrated to the heart of central Italy. The Saracens from their stronghold of Freinet, amidst the ‘mountains of the Moors’ of the western Riviera, had devastated Provence, and had held possession of the passes of the Alps. If the growth of feudalism, with its permanent military system and its strong castles, had already repelled the barbarians, the price paid for deliverance was the cutting up of sovereignty among a multitude of petty territorial lords. The rising tide of feudal anarchy had almost overwhelmed the city civilisation which had been, since Roman times, the special feature of Italian life. A swarm of greedy feudal counts and marquises struggled against each other for power, and a series of phantom Emperors reduced to an absurdity the once all-powerful name of Caesar. There was still a nominal Italian or Lombard king, who claimed the suzerainty over all northern and central Italy. But in their zeal for local freedom, the Italians had encouraged quarrels for the supreme power. ‘The Italians,’ said Liutprand of Cremona, ‘always wish to have two masters, in order to keep the one in check by the other.’ After the death of the Emperor Berengar, in 924, Rudolf of Burgundy reigned for nearly three years. On his fall in 926, Hugh of Provence was chosen his successor, and held the name at least of king till his death in 946. There then arose two claimants to the Italian crown—Lothair, son of Hugh of Provence, and Berengar, Marquis of Ivrea, the grandson of the Emperor Berengar. Neither was strong enough to defeat the other, and both looked for help from the warlike Germans. It is however significant that they sought support, not from the distant Saxon king, but from the neighbouring dukes of Swabia and Bavaria, whose dominions extended to the crest of the Alps. Lothair begged the help of Ludolf of Swabia, while Berengar called in Henry of Bavaria. The latter gave the most efficient assistance, and Lothair in despair was negotiating for help from Constantinople when he was cut off by death (950), leaving his young and beautiful widow, Adelaide of Burgundy, to make what resistance she might to Berengar of Ivrea. But there was no chance of a woman holding her own in these stormy times, and Adelaide was soon a prisoner in the hands of the victorious marquis. She naturally looked over the Alps to her German friends and kinsfolk, and both Ludolf and Henry, already on the verge of war on account of their former differences as to Italian policies, were equally willing to come to her assistance.

Since 949, Henry had acquired the great city of Aquileia and the north-eastern corner of the Italian peninsula. He now aspired, as the protector of Adelaide, his former foe, to unite the Bavarian duchy with the Italian kingdom. Ludolf, more active than his uncle, appeared in the valley of the Po intent on a similar mission. Otto, ever on the watch to prevent the extension of the ducal powers, saw with dismay the prospect of his brother’s or son’s aggrandisement. He resolved by prompt personal intervention to secure the prize for himself.

In 951, Otto successfully carried out his first expedition to Italy. He met with no serious resistance, and on 23rd September entered in triumph in to Pavia, the old capital of the Lombard kings. Adelaide was released from her captivity, and appeared in Pavia. Otto, who was now a widower, forthwith married her, assumed the crown of Italy, and fruitlessly negotiated with the Pope to bring about his coronation as Emperor. But Otto soon crossed the Alps, leaving Conrad of Lorraine to carry on war against Berengar. Next year, however, a peace was patched up. Berengar was recognised as vassal king of Italy, with Otto as his overlord, and the lands between the Adige and Istria—the mark of Verona and Aquileia—were confirmed to Duke Henry, who thus drew substantial advantage from his brother’s intervention. The revolt of Ludolf and Conrad in 953 was largely due to their disgust at Otto’s vigorous and successful defeat of their schemes.

Nine years elapsed before Otto again appeared in Italy. Though he needed the help of the Papacy more than ever, its condition was not one that could inspire much hope. It was the period of the worst degradation into which the Roman See ever fell. For more than a generation the Popes had almost ceased to exercise any spiritual influence. The elections to the Papacy had been controlled by a ring of greedy and corrupt Roman nobles, conspicuous among whom was the fair but dissolute Theodora and her daughters Marozia, wife of the Marquis Alberic I of Camerino, and the less important Theodora the younger. Imperialist partisans like Liutprand of Cremona have drawn the character of these ladies in the darkest and most lurid colours ; but, allowing for monastic exaggeration, it is hard to see how the main outlines of the picture can be untrue. With all their vices, they did not lack energy. Pope John X (914-928), an old lover and partisan of Theodora, was not destitute of statecraft, and did much to incite the Italians to drive away the Saracens of the south; but, quarrelling with Marozia, he had to succumb to her second husband, Guido, Marquis of Tuscany. After John’s death in prison in 928, Marozia became mistress of Rome, and made and unmade Popes at her pleasure. She married as her third husband, Hugh of Provence, the nominal king of the Italians, and procured the election of her second son, a youth of twenty, to the Papacy, under the name of John XI. About 932 her elder son, Alberic II, a strong, unscrupulous but efficient tyrant, whose character found many parallels in later Italian history, drove his father-in-law out of Rome, and reduced the city to some sort of order under his own rule. His policy seems to have been to turn the patrimony of St. Peter into an aristocratic republic, controlled by his house, and leaving to the Pope functions that were not purely spiritual. He took the title of ‘Prince and Senator of all the Romans.’ He kept his brother, Pope John XI (931-936), and the subsequent Popes, in strict leading­strings, and retained his power until his death in 954. His dreams of hereditary power seemed established when his young son Octavian succeeded him as a ruler of Rome, and in 955 also ascended the papal throne as John XII.

But the new Pope, who thus united the ecclesiastical with the temporal lordship of Rome, looked upon things purely with the eye of a skilful but unscrupulous statesman. His great ambition was to make his house supreme throughout middle Italy, and he soon found that King Berengar, whose claims grew greater now that Otto was back beyond the Alps, was the chief obstacle in the way of carrying out his designs. He therefore appealed to Otto for aid against Berengar. In 957 Ludolf of Swabia was sent by his father to wage war against Berengar, but, after capturing Pavia, Ludolf was carried off by fever, and Berengar then resumed his successes. In 960 John sent an urgent appeal to Otto to come to his assistance.

Otto had, as we have seen, long felt the need of the support of the Papacy in carrying out his schemes over the German Church. The wished-for opportunity of effecting a close alliance with the head of the Church was now offered by the Pope himself, and the monastic reformers, disciples of Bruno, or of the new congregation of Cluny, urged him to restore peace and order to the distracted Italian Church. In 961 Otto procured the election and coronation of Otto, his young son by Adelaide, as king of the Germans. In August he marched over the Brenner at the head of a stately host. On 31st January 962 he entered Rome. On 2nd February he was crowned Emperor by John XII.

The coronation of Otto had hardly among contemporaries the extreme importance which has been ascribed to it by later writers. Since the fall of the Carolingians there had been so many nominal emperors that the title in itself could not much affect Otto’s position. Neither was the assumption of the imperial title the starting-point so much as the result of Otto’s intervention in Italy. But the name of Roman Emperor, when assumed by a strong prince, gave unity and legitimacy to Otto’s power both over Germany and Italy. And in Germany no less than in Italy there was no unity outside that which adhered to the Roman tradition. Yet the imperial title made very little difference in the character and policy of Otto. He never sought, like Charles the Great, to build up an imperial administrative system or an imperial jurisprudence. Even in Germany there was still no law but the local laws of the five nations. And there was no effort whatever made to extend into Italy the rude system on which Otto based his power in Germany. Still the combination of the legitimacy of the imperial position with the strength of the Teutonic kingship did gradually bring about a very great change, both in Germany and Italy, though it was rather under Otto’s successors than under Otto himself that the full consequences of this were felt. Yet Otto was the founder of the mediaeval ‘Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation,’ and the originator of that close connection of Germany with Italy on which both the strength and the weakness of that Empire reposed. Modern Germans have reproached him for neglecting the true development of his German realm in the pursuit of the shadow of an unattainable Empire. The criticism is hardly just to Otto, who was irresistibly led into his Italian policy by the necessities of his German position, and who could hardly be expected to look, beyond the immediate work before him, to far-off ideals of national unity and national monarchy that were utterly strange to him and to his age. Otto came into Italy to win over the Pope to his side. He looked upon his Roman coronation as mainly important, because it enabled him to complete his subjection of the German Church with the help of his new ally Pope John.

The first result of the alliance of Pope and Emperor was the completion of the reorganisation of the German Church for which Otto had been striving so long. The Pope held a synod at St. Peter’s, in which Otto’s new archbishopric of Magdeburg was at last sanctioned. But Otto, who looked upon the Pope as the chief ecclesiastic of his Empire, was as  anxious to limit Roman pretensions as he had been to curb the power of the see of Mainz. He issued a charter which, while confirming the ancient claims of the Papacy to the whole region in middle Italy that had been termed so long the patrimony of St. Peter, reserved strictly the imperial supremacy over it. He provided that no Pope should be consecrated until he had taken an oath of fealty to the Emperor. The Pope was thus reduced, like the German bishops, to a condition of subjection to the state.

Otto now left Rome to carry on his campaign against Berengar, who had fled for refuge to his Alpine castles. John XII now took the alarm, and quickly allied himself with his old foe against his new friend. Otto marched back to Rome, and in 963 held a synod, mostly of Italian bishops, in which John was deposed for murder, sacrilege, perjury, and other gross offences, and a new Pope set up, who took the name of Leo VIII, and who was frankly a dependant of the Emperor. John escaped to his strongholds, ‘hiding himself like a wild beast in the woods and hills,’ and refusing to recognise the sentence passed upon him. The need of fighting Berengar again forced Otto to withdraw from Rome. During his absence the fickle citizens repudiated his authority, and called back John. But hardly was the youthful Pope restored to authority than he suddenly died in May 964. His partisans chose at once as his successor Benedict V.

Otto now hurried back to Rome, and attended a synod, held by Leo VIII, which condemned Benedict and reaffirmed the claims of Leo. There was no use in opposing the mighty Emperor, and Benedict made an abject submission. Sinking on his knees before Otto, he cried, ‘If I have in anywise sinned, have mercy upon me.’ He was banished beyond the Alps, and died soon afterwards. His fall made patent the dependence of the Papacy on Otto. A last revolt of the Romans was now sternly suppressed. When Otto, flushed with triumph, marched northwards against Berengar, Leo’s successor, John XIII, humbly followed in his train. The young king Otto now crossed the Alps, and accompanied his father on a fresh visit to Rome, where, on Christmas day 967, John XIII crowned him as Emperor. Henceforth father and son were joint rulers. Otto had done his best to make both German kingdom and Roman Empire hereditary.

The last years of Otto’s reign were full of triumph. Secure in the obedience of the Church, he ruled both Germany and Italy with an ever-increasing authority. The Magdeburg archbishopric received new suffragans in the sees of Zeiz, Meissen, and Merseburg. A new era of peace and prosperity dawned. The dukes were afraid to resist so mighty a power. The division of Lotharingia into the two duchies of Upper and Lower Lorraine which now took place was the first step in the gradual process that soon began to undermine the unity of the traditional ‘nations’ of the German people. Beyond his Teutonic kingdom the kings of the barbarous north and east paid Otto an increasing obedience. The marauding heathens of an earlier generation were now becoming settled cultivators of the soil, Christian and civilised. Their dukes looked up to Otto as an exemplar of the policy which they themselves aspired to realise. The dukes of Poland and Bohemia performed homage to Otto as Emperor. Ambassadors from distant lands, France, Denmark, Hungary, Russia, and Bulgaria, flocked around his throne. He intervened with powerful effect in the West Frankish kingdom. He aspired to the domination of southern Italy, and, having won over to his side the powerful Pandulf, prince of Capua and Benevento, he enlarged that prince’s dominions and erected them into a mark to withstand the assaults of the Arabs and Greeks of southern Italy. But while waging war against the Mohammedans, Otto was anxious to be on good terms with the Romans of the East. The accession of John Zimisces to the Eastern Empire gave Otto his opportunity. The new lord of Constantinople offered the hand of Theophano, daughter of his predecessor Romanus II, as the bride of the young Otto II, with Greek Italy as her marriage portion. The Emperor welcomed the opportunity to win peacefully what he had sought in vain to acquire by war. Early in 972 Theophano was crowned by John XIII at Rome, and immediately afterwards married to the young Emperor. The gorgeous festivities that attended this union of East and West brought clearly before the world the reality of Otto’s power.

Otto was now growing old, and had outlived most of his fellow-workers. His brother Henry had died soon after the battle on the Lechfeld. His bastard son William had already sunk into a premature grave. Now came the news of the death of the faithful Hermann Billung. In the spring of 973 Otto went on progress for the last time through his ancestral domains on the slopes of the Har. Death came upon him suddenly as he was celebrating the Whitsuntide feast in his palace at Memleben. He was buried beside his first wife, the English Edith, in his favourite sanctuary of St. Maurice of Magdeburg, raised by his care to metropolitan dignity. His long and busy life had not only restored some sort of peace and prosperity to two distracted nations, but his policy had begun a new development of western history that was to last nearly three centuries, and was to determine its general direction up to the Reformation. He had built up a mighty state in an age of anarchy. He had made Germany strong and peaceful, and the leading power of Europe. He had subjected the Church and pacified Italy. Under him the Roman Empire had again acquired in some real sense the lordship of the civilised world.






Otto II was one-and-twenty years of age when the death of his father made him sole ruler. His education and surroundings gave his policy a very different direction from that of Otto I. The elder prince was purely German, and even in winning the imperial crown sought to subserve a Teutonic object. His son, born and reared in the purple, Burgundian or Italian on his mother’s side, and married to a Byzantine Emperor’s daughter, took wider views. To Otto n. Italy was as important as Germany, and his ambition was to weld the two realms together in a solid imperial unity, while constantly keeping his eyes even beyond these two kingdoms. To him the Emperor’s lordship of the world was a reality, and he strove with all the force of an ardent, impetuous, and impulsive nature to give effect to his ideal. But while Otto II’s short reign witnessed the Empire assuming a more universal character, it also saw the first signs of that essential incompatibility between the position of German king and Roman Emperor which, in after ages, was to bear such bitter fruit.

Despite the quietness of Otto II’s last years, the difficulties against which the old Emperor had struggled still remained. The separatist spirit of the national dukedoms still lived on in Bavaria, and had only been temporarily glossed over by the good understanding between Otto I and Duke Henry. Judith, the widow of Duke Henry, now ruled Bavaria in the name of her son Henry II, surnamed the Quarrelsome, while she controlled Swabia through her influence on her daughter Hedwig, and Hedwig’s aged husband, the Swabian Duke Burkhard. Otto n. saw the danger of a close union between the two southern duchies, and, on Burkhard’s death, invested his nephew Otto, Duke Ludolf’s son, with Swabia. Judith and her partisans were instantly aroused. A new civil war was threatened, in which the Bavarians did not scruple to call in the help of the’Bohemians and Poles. But the young Emperor’s vigorous measures proved fatal to the attempted rebellion, and Otto took the opportunity of his triumph to lessen the influence of the Bavarian dukes by intrusting, to separate margraves, the east mark on the Danube (the later Austria), and the north mark between the Danube and the Bohemian Forest. The great highland marchland of Carinthia and Carniola, with which still went the Italian March of Verona, or Friuli, was constituted a seventh duchy. The rest of the Bavarian duchy was con­signed to the care of the faithful Otto of Swabia. Judith was shut up in a convent. Henry the Quarrelsome fled to Bohemia, whence he made subsequent unsuccessful attempts to recover his position. Thus the Emperor triumphed, but he had simply to do over again the work of his father. It was a thankless business, and showed how insecure were the very foundations of the German kingdom. But for the rest of his short reign Germany gave Otto but little trouble. The extension of Christianity among Wends, Poles, and Bohemians gave Magdeburg and Mainz new suffragans in the Bishops of Gnesen and Prague, though renewed attacks on the marches soon taught Otto that the Christianised Slavs were scarcely less formidable enemies than their heathen fathers had been.

In 978 Otto marched with a great army almost to the walls of Paris to avenge on the Carolingian king, Lothair, his attempt to withdraw Lorraine from the imperial obedience. Few of his acts bring out more clearly his imperial position than this long progress through hostile territory. But Italy was the scene of Otto II’s most famous actions, and best illustrates his high conception of the imperial dignity. Rome was, as usual, a constant source of trouble. A series of insignificant Pontiffs succeeded John XIII; but above them towered the noble Roman, Crescentius, called Duke of the Romans, the son of the younger Theodora, Marozia’s sister, who aspired to renew the great part played by Alberic II. In 980 Otto crossed the Alps for Italy, and on his approach the opposition was shattered. In 981 he restored the Pope to Rome, whence he had fled from fear of Crescentius, and forced Crescentius himself to withdraw into the seclusion of a monastery, where a few years later he died. The need of protection still kept the Papacy faithful to the imperial alliance.

Otto now assumed new responsibilities directly flowing from his position as Emperor. The Mohammedan lords of Sicily had re-established themselves in southern Italy, and threatened the march of Benevento. Otto marched to the help of the Lombard Duke of Benevento. At the same time he sought to make a reality of the cession of Greek Italy, the promised portion of Theophano, but which, owing to the unwillingness of the Byzantines, had never actually come into his hands. In 981 and 982 Otto carried on successful war in southern Italy. A whole series of Greek towns—Salerno, Bari, Taranto—fell into his hands. In the summer of 982 Otto traversed the old road of Pyrrhus, along the Gulf of Taranto, and defeated the Arabs at Cotrone (the ancient Croton), slaying Abul Cassim, the Ameer of Sicily, in the fight. A few days later Otto fell into a Saracen ambush as he pursued his route along the narrow road between the Calabrian mountains and the sea. His army was almost destroyed, though he himself, after a series of remarkable adventures, succeeded in eluding his enemies.

Germans and Italians vied with each other in their efforts to restore the Emperor’s preponderance. In 983 a remarkable Diet assembled at Verona, in which magnates of Germany and Italy sat side by side, to show that the two realms constituted but one Empire. The spirit that a century later inspired the Crusades first appeared in this remarkable assembly. It was resolved to follow the Emperor on a holy war against the Mussulmans. That the succession might be peacefully secured during his absence the magnates chose as their future ruler the little Otto, his three-years-old son by Theophano. Preparations were then made for the war against Islam. But the rising commercial city of Venice, jealous of the imperial policy, and already enriching itself by trade with the enemies of the Christian faith, refused to supply the necessary ships for an expedition against Sicily, the centre of the infidel power. Otto sought to block up the land approaches to the recalcitrant town, but, secure in her impregnable lagoons, Venice was able to defy the Emperor. The news of a Wendish invasion now came from Germany; and the disturbed condition of Rome again demanded Otto’s personal presence. There he laboured with feverish earnestness to prepare for his mighty task; but there he was smitten with a sudden and deadly disease, that carried him off on 7th December 983. He was only twenty-eight years old. His body was buried, as became a Roman Emperor, in the Church of St. Peter’s. The difficulties which had proved almost too much for the strong and capable grown man, were now to be faced, as best they might be, by his young widow Theophano, the regent of the new lord of the world, a child scarcely four years of age.

The German Empire rested almost entirely on the warlike character of its head, and any failure of the central military power involved the gravest evils. A wave of heathen re­action burst from the Wendish and Danish lands into the very heart of the Saxon Empire. In the south, Islam, excited by the threatened Crusade, menaced the centre of the Christian world. It seemed as if the Empire of the Ottos was on the verge of dissolution, when Henry the Quarrelsome, the deposed of Duke of Bavaria, came back, and, by claiming the regency from Theophano, added the terrors of internal discord to those of barbarian invasion. At first Henry made good progress, and, advancing in his claims, began to covet the crown itself. The Dukes of Poland and Bohemia paid him homage, and Lothair of France eagerly supported him. It was more important that Henry had won over many of the bishops, who, as the natural result of Otto I’s policy, had the balance of power in their hands. He also secured the person of the young Otto hi. But, as the Archbishop of Magdeburg favoured Henry, the lay nobles of the Wendish mark, who hated their clerical supplanters, and Archbishop Willegis of Mainz, who still looked with detestation on the mushroom primacy on the Elbe, declared for Theophano. The adhesion of the mass of the Saxon nation at last secured the victory of the Greek. Henry was forced to submit, and was pacified by being restored to his duchy of Bavaria.

Otto III owed his throne to the clergy. The influence of the bishops kept Germany quiet during the regency of Theophano. The fall of the last of the West Frankish Carolingians, and the accession of Hugh Capet in 987, prevented any further danger from the French side, while on the east, the Margrave Eckhard of Meissen hurled back the Slavonic invaders, and cleverly set the Bohemians and the Poles by the ears. Adelaide, Otto’s grandmother, ruled Italy from the old Lombard capital of Pavia. She was less fortunate than her daughter-in-law, with whom, moreover, her relations were not cordial. Rome fell away almost altogether, so that a French synod at Reims (995) was able, with good reason, to denounce the scandals that degraded the Papacy, and to threaten that France, like the east, might be provoked into breaking off all connections with the See of Peter. John Crescentius, son of the man driven by Otto II into a cloister, renewed the policy of his father, and, taking the name of Patrician, ruled over Rome with little opposition.

Theophano died in 996. No new regent was appointed, but a council of regency set up, prominent among its members being the Empress Adelaide, Willegis of Mainz, Eckhard of Meissen, and Henry, Duke of Bavaria, son and successor of Henry the Quarrelsome. The composition of this body was a further proof of the extension of ecclesiastical influence. But an even more significant indication of this was the fact that the young king was brought up almost entirely under the direction of highly-placed churchmen. Willegis of Mainz, and Bernward, Bishop of Hildesheim, the future saint, were the two prelates most directly responsible for his education. The result was that, though the young king spent his early years amidst his fierce and half-barbarous Saxon subjects, he became still less of a German than Otto II, and was possessed by ideals that stand in the strongest contrast with those of his predecessors. Bernward caused him to be schooled in the best culture of his time, and gave him an abiding love of letters and learned men. He also strongly inspired the quick-witted and sympathetic youth with the ascetic views and the sacerdotal sympathies of the Cluniacs. Thus Otto became enthusiastically religious, and ever remained a devout pilgrim to holy places and seeker out of inspired anchorites and saints. Moreover, Otto inherited from Theophano all the high Byzantine notions of the sacredness of the Empire, and, seeking to combine the two aspects of his education, his mind was soon filled with glowing visions of a kingdom of God on earth, in which Pope and Emperor ruled in har­mony over a world that enjoyed perfect peace and idyllic happiness. Otto’s ideals were generous, noble, and unselfish; but in the iron age in which he lived they were hopelessly unpractical. The young king lived to become the ‘wonder of the world’ and the ‘renewer of the Empire.’ But his early death came none too soon to hide the vanity of his ambitions. At best, he was the first of that long line of brilliant and failures which it was the special mission of the medieval Empire to produce.

In 996 Otto attained his legal majority, and crossed the Alps to seek his coronation at Rome as Emperor. The king and his army marched as though bound on a pilgrimage, or like the crusading hosts of a century later. As he entered the Lombard plain, the news came that the Papacy was vacant, and a deputation of Romans, tired of the tyranny of Crescentius, begged Otto to nominate a new Pope. The young king at once appointed his cousin, Bruno, grandson of Conrad the Red and Liutgarde, daughter of Otto I, a youth of four-and-twenty, and a zealous champion of the Cluniacs, who took the name of Gregory V. On 25th May 996, Otto was crowned by Gregory at Rome.

Pope and Emperor strove at once to embody their theories in acts. The proceedings of the anti-papal synod of Reims were annulled; its nominee to the see of Reims, Gerbert of Aurillac, was forced to yield up his post to the worldly Arnulf that the synod strove in vain to depose. The whole French episcopate bowed in submission before the new Pope, and Gerbert soon repudiated his earlier teachings. The French king, Robert, was visited with the severest censures of the Church for contracting a marriage within the prohibited degrees. The holy Adalbert, the apostle of Bohemia, but driven from his see of Prague by a pagan reaction, was sternly ordered to return to his bishopric, or, if that were impossible, to engage in a new mission to the heathen. Adalbert chose the latter alternative, and his early death at the hands of the heathen Prussians made him the proto­martyr of the new order that Otto and Gregory were striving to introduce. But while the two enthusiasts were busy in the regeneration of the universe, they were unable to maintain themselves in the very centre of their power. A new Roman rebellion brought back Crescentius. Only through the help of the iron soldiery of the Saxon borders, headed by the valiant Eckhard of Meissen, could Otto win back the Eternal City to his obedience. In 998 Rome surrendered, and Crescentius atoned for his rebellion on the scaffold.

An early death now cut off Gregory V, and Otto raised Gerbert of Aurillac to the papal throne. Gerbert was quite the most remarkable man of his age. A poor Frenchman of obscure birth from the uplands of the centre, he received his first schooling in a cloister at his native Aurillac, where he took the monastic vows. Borrel, a pious Count of Barcelona, made his acquaintance while visiting Aurillac on a pilgrimage, and took him back with him to the Spanish march. There Gerbert abode some years, and there he acquired that profound knowledge of mathematics which had perhaps filtered into the march from the Mussulman schools of Cordova, and which gave him in the unlearned north a reputation for extraordinary learning, if not for magical skill. Ever eager for knowledge, he accompanied his patron to Italy, and attracted the notice of Otto I. Finally he settled down at Reims, attracted by the fame of a certain archdeacon who taught in the cathedral school. The good Archbishop Adalbero made Gerbert ‘scholasticus’ of the school at Reims. Accompanying the archbishop to Italy, Gerbert received from Otto II the headship of Columban’s old abbey of Bobbio, and speedily reformed its lax discipline. On Otto II’s death, the angry monks drove him away, and he went back to Reims and resumed his teaching as ‘scholasticus.’ He dominated the policy of the archbishop in the critical years that saw the accession of Hugh Capet to the French throne, but on Adalbero’s death was ungratefully passed over by Hugh, whose interests procured the election of Arnulf, an unlearned but high-born Carolingian, to the great see. A few years later, Arnulf was deposed by the synod of 995, and Gerbert put in his place. But Arnulf still claimed to be archbishop, and Gerbert went to Italy to plead his cause with Gregory V. Finding his chances hopeless, he closely attached himself to Otto IIi, with whom he had strong affinities in character. Gerbert loved pomp and splendour, was attracted by Otto’s high ideals, and was of a pliant, complaisant, and courtier-like disposition. He was made Archbishop of Ravenna to compensate him for the loss of Reims. When elevated to the Papacy, he chose to call himself Sylvester II. As Sylvester I had stood to the first Christian Emperor, so would Sylvester II stand to the new Constantine. Under him the close alliance of Pope and Emperor was continued as fervently as during the lifetime of Gregory V.

Otto’s plans grew more mystical and visionary. Rome, and Rome alone, could be the seat of the renewed Empire, and Otto began the building of an imperial palace on the Aventine on the site of the abode of the early Caesars. He abandoned the simple life of a Saxon etheling, which had been good enough for his father and grandfather, and secluded his sacred person from a prying world by all the devices of Byzantine court­etiquette and Oriental exclusiveness. His court officials dropped their old-fashioned Teutonic titles, and were renamed after the manner of Constantinople. The chamberlain became the Protovestiarius, the counsellor the logothetes, the generals were comites imperialis militia, and their subordinates protospatharii. The close union of the Pope and Emperor in a theocratic polity was still better illustrated by the institution of the Judices palatii ordinarii. They were of the mystic number of seven, ecclesiastics by profession, and were to act as supreme judges in ordinary times, but were also to ordain the Emperor (a new ceremony to be substituted for coronation) and to elect the Pope. But apart from its fantastic character, the whole policy of Otto’s depended upon a personal harmony between Pope and Emperor. Even under Otto himself this result could only be secured by the Emperor’s utter subordination of his real interests to the pursuit of his brilliant but illusive fancies.

Otto’s cosmopolitan imperialism soon brought him in collision with Germany, and especially with the German Church. He set up a new archbishopric at Gnesen in Poland, where reposed the relics of the martyred. Adalbert, and surrounded it with the mystical number of seven suffragans. In the same way, Sylvester, in recognising Stephen, the first Christian Duke of Hungary, as a king, established a Hungarian archbishopric at Gran. These acts involved a recognition of the national independence of Poland and Hungary. Wise as they were, they were resented in Germany as being directly counter to the traditional Saxon policy of extending German influence eastwards, by making the bishops subject to the German metropolitans at Magdeburg and Salzburg. The practical German bishops saw with disgust the Emperor giving up the very corner-stone of the policy of Henry and Otto I. The deep differences of sentiment came to a head in a petty dispute as to whether a new church for the nuns of Gandersheim should be consecrated by Bernward of Hildesheim, the diocesan, who favoured Otto’s fancies, or by the metropolitan Willegis of Mainz, who bitterly lamented the outlandish ideas of his old pupil. Sylvester upheld Bernward, but the German bishops declared for Willegis, and paid no heed to the papal censures that followed quickly on their contumacy. They refused even to be present at the Councils in which Sylvester professed to condemn the Archbishop of Mainz. The German clergy were thus in open revolt from Rome, and they were, as we have seen, the leaders of the German nation.

While the outlook was thus gloomy in Germany, the march of events in Italy gave but little encouragement to Pope and Emperor, and demanded the personal presence of Otto, who had been forced to return to Germany in the vain hope of appeasing the general opposition to his policy. Before he crossed the Alps for the last time, Otto went to Aachen, and, if we can believe one of his followers’ statement, visited the vaults beneath the venerable palace-chapel to gaze upon the corpse of Charles the Great, sitting as in life upon a throne, with crown on head and sceptre in hand. When he reached the south, he found to his dismay that lower Italy had fallen altogether from his obedience, and that even Tivoli, in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome, had rebelled against him. Otto made feverish efforts to restore his authority. He clamoured for Byzantine help, and begged for a Byzantine wife. He paid a flying visit to the Venetian lagoons, seeking for a fleet from the great Doge Peter Orseolo. But worse news now reached him. Rome itself now rose in revolt, and Otto, postponing in despair his warlike operations, could only find consolation in visits to the holy Romuald in his inaccessible island hermitage amidst the swamps of Ravenna, and in the practice of penances, mortifications, and scourgings. Recovering his energy, he now sought to obtain an army from Germany to procure, as in the old days, the subjection of Italy; but it was the very moment of the crisis of the Gandersheim struggle, and no German help was forthcoming. A sharp fever now attacked Otto at the very moment of the collapse of all his plans. He died on 23rd January 1002, at Paterno, near Rome, when only twenty-eight years old. With him perished his lofty ambitions. He had made himself the wonder of the world; but all that he had accomplished was to play the game of the high ecclesiastical party. The tendency of his policy, like the latter Carolings, was to subordinate the visionary Empire to the practical Papacy, thus exactly reversing the ideas of the great Saxons, and bringing out in its most glaring contrast the incompatibility of the union of the German kingship with the imperial claims to universal domination. Within a year Sylvester II followed him to the tomb.

For eighty years the Saxon kings and emperors had succeeded from father to son, and even a minority had not broken down the tendency towards heredity which seemed rapidly divesting the German kingdom of the elective character which it had shared with the Empire itself. Otto III’s death without direct heirs now reminded the German magnates that they still could choose their king, and, in the absence of any strong claimant, there was a whole swarm of aspirants after the vacant dignity. The friends of the Saxon traditions, which Otto in. had so violently set at naught, hoped for the election of the brave and experienced Eckhard of Meissen; but as Eckhard was travelling to the south to pursue his candidature, he was murdered to satisfy a private revenge. His removal secured the appointment of Henry, Duke of Bavaria, the son of Henry the Quarrelsome, and the nearest kinsman of competent age and position to the dead ruler. Thus the throne was retained in the hands of the Saxon house, though it now was held by a branch that had long attached itself to the traditions of its southern duchy. Bavarians, Lorrainers, and Franks accepted Henry at once; the Saxons and Swabians only after a short hesitation.

It was a great thing that the succession had been peaceably settled. Yet the new king had neither the power nor the energy of the Ottos. Raised to the throne by the great magnates, Henry II never aspired to carry on the despotic traditions of the earlier Saxon kings, but thought to rule with the help of frequent Diets and Councils. He had more authority over the Church, and his personal piety and zeal for good works, in which he was well supported by his wife Cunigunde, procured for him in after times the name and reputation of a saint, and in his own day kept him on good terms with the clergy, though he was never their slave. He used his bishops and abbots as instruments of his temporal rule, and systematically developed Otto in.’s system of making the bishops and abbots the local representatives of the imperial power by granting them the position of Count over the neighbouring Gau. On one great matter he gave much offence to the German bishops. He set up a new bishopric at Bamberg in Franconia, laying in 1064 the foundations of its new cathedral, and conferring on it such extensive privileges that every bishop in Germany was annoyed at the new prelate holding a position next after the archbishops, while the Archbishop of Mainz resented the merely nominal ties of obedience that bound the Bishop of Bamberg to him as his metropolitan. Henry was a friend of the Cluniac monks, and it was through his efforts that these zealous Church reformers first got a strong position in Germany.

Henry had no trouble with the Hungarians, whose great king, St. Stephen, the founder of the settled Magyar state, was his brother-in-law and friend. But it was and the among his chief cares to uphold the old Saxon supremacy over the Slavs, which Otto III had generously or fantastically neglected. Poland was now a formidable state, and its Duke Boleslav, who had become a terror to the marks before the death of Otto, aspired to build up a strong Slavonic power, and drive back the Germans over the Elbe. It was no longer the frontier warfare of the days after Otto the Great’s victories. It was rather a stern fight between two vigorous nations, in which Henry only won the upper hand after long and costly efforts. Even at the last he was forced to hand over the mark of Lausitz to the Poles, to be held as a fief of the German kingdom. Henry’s laborious policy, his shrinking from great efforts, and his fixed resolve to concentrate himself on little objects within his reach, stand in the strongest contrast to the vast ambitions of his predecessor. Yet, in his slow and determined way, Henry brought back the German kingdom to a more national policy, and did much to restore the havoc wrought by Otto’s vain pursuits of impossible ideals. As a German king, he was in no wise a failure, though he raised the monarchy to no new heights of power.

Henry’s success in Germany was closely connected with his failure in Italy. Under his cautious rule the plans of Otto IIi were quickly lost sight of. On the death of Sylvester II, the Papacy fell back into its old dependence on the local nobles. At first a third Crescentius, son of Otto III’s victim, assumed his father’s title of Patrician, ruled Rome at his pleasure, and nominated two puppet Popes in succession. But a stronger power arose, that of the Counts of Tusculum. Before long a series of Tusculan Popes, set up by the good­will of these powerful lords, again degraded the Papacy, and threatened to deprive it of the obedience and respect of Europe. It was the same in the secular as in the spiritual sphere. Before the German succession had been settled, Ardoin, Marquis of Ivrea, had got himself elected King of Italy, and held his own for many years against the partisans of Henry reinforced by German armies. In 1004 Henry went over the Alps, and submitted to be elected and crowned king at Pavia, though the Ottos had borne the Italian crown without condescending to go through such formalities. Despite this Ardoin long maintained himself. At last, in 1013, Henry went down to Italy again, and on 14th February 1014 received the imperial diadem from Pope Benedict VIII. But no sinking result followed this renewal of the Empire. Benedict, who was a zealous partisan of the Count of Tusculum, now sought, by advocacy of the Cluniac ideas, to maintain himself against an Antipope of the faction of Crescentius. In 1020 Benedict visited Germany to consecrate the cathedral of Bamberg, and signalised his visit by taking Henry’s foundation under his immediate care. It seemed as if the old alliance of Papacy and Empire were renewed. Next year Henry crossed the Brenner at the head of a strong German army, which traversed all Italy, in three divisions, commanded respectively by Henry himself, the Patriarch of Aquileia, and the Archbishop of Cologne. But by the time the Lombard dukes of Capua and Salerno had made their submission, and Henry was marching through Apulia, a deadly sickness raged in his host and compelled its immediate retreat. Next year Henry was back in Germany. It is significant that the office of Count Palatine of Italy ceased to exist during his reign. The Emperor was no longer an effective ruler of the peninsula.

In the latter years of his life Henry attached himself still more strongly to the Cluniac party, and, as with Otto III, his friendship for foreign priests brought him into renewed conflict with the German bishops. Aribo, Archbishop of Mainz, led the opposition to Henry and Benedict. But just as the conflict was coming to a head, Benedict VIII died (1024). He was quickly followed to the grave by Henry himself. With him perished the last king of the male stock of the Ludolfing dukes of Saxony. His dull and featureless reign was but a tame conclusion to the brilliant period of the Ottos.

The ecclesiastical differences that had troubled Germany during Henry II’s lifetime lay at the root of the party struggles that now raged round the appointment of his successor. As in Henry’s case, there was no specific candidate marked out by birth and special fitness for the choice of the German nation. The bishops, led by Aribo of Mainz and Burkhard of Worms, resolved to take full advantage of this freedom of election to prevent the accession of any prince inclined, like the late Emperor, to favour the spread of Cluniac ideas. They therefore urged the claims of Conrad of Swabia. Conrad was the great-grandson of Conrad the Red and his wife Liut- garde, Otto the Great’s daughter, and consequently nephew of Pope Gregory V, and descended from the Ludolfings on the female side. Though only the possessor of part of his rich family estates in the Rhineland, Conrad had made a lucky marriage with the widowed Gisela, Duchess of Swabia, the granddaughter of Courad, king of Arles, and a descendant of the Carolingians. This gave him the guardianship of the young Duke Ernest of Swabia, Gisela’s son by her former husband, and secured for him a leading position among the German magnates. Conrad was a valiant and experienced warrior, and an intelligent statesman, possess­ing a clear head and a strong will, resolutely bent on securing practical objects immediately within reach. He had persistently held aloof from the ecclesiastical policy of his predecessor, with whom he had been more than once in open feud. He was still more hostile to his cousin, Conrad, Duke of Carinthia, the son of another Conrad, a younger brother of his father Henry, who, through the caprice of their grandfather, had inherited the mass of the Rhenish estates of Conrad the Red, usurping the position of the elder line. This second Conrad was now the candidate of the Cluniac party against Conrad of Swabia. But the great prelates were still all-powerful; despite the opposition of the Lorrainers, among whom Cluniac ideas had gained a firm hold, Conrad of Swabia was elected king. His path to the throne was made smooth by the generosity of his rival, who, at the last moment, abandoned his candidature, and voted for his cousin. Aribo of Mainz crowned Conrad in his own cathedral, regardless of the claims of the rival Archbishop of Cologne, the diocesan of Aachen, the proper place for the coronation. But Aribo refused to confer the crown on Gisela, since the Church regarded her marriage with Conrad as irregular by reason of their affinity. Pilgrim of Cologne now saw his opportunity for making terms with the victor. He gave Gisela the crown which Aribo had denied her. Thus Conrad entered upon his reign with the support of all the leaders of the German nation. The younger Conrad remained faithful to his old rival; while his younger brother Bruno, who became Bishop of Toul, soon became one of the greatest supports of the new dynasty.

When Conrad II became king, he found everything in confusion : but within two years of his accession he had infused a new spirit and energy into every part of his dominions. His first difficulty was with Lorraine, whose two dukes had opposed his election, and now refused to acknowledge its validity. They sought the help of King Robert of France, whose weak support availed them but little. Conrad soon put down their rebellion, and with almost equal ease quelled the revolt of his ambitious and unruly son-in-law, Ernest of Swabia. Germany was thus appeased, but Italy, where the imperial power had become very feeble in the later part of the reign of Henry II, was still practically outside Conrad’s influence. His authority was only saved from complete ruin by the policy of the Lombard bishops, who saw in the Emperor their best protection against the proud and powerful lay aristocracy, and especially against the warlike margraves, who now aspired to renew the part played by Ardoin of Ivrea. But conscious that they did not possess sufficient strength to continue successfully a policy in which even Ardoin had failed, the leaders of the north Italian nobility looked elsewhere abroad for help to counterbalance the German soldiery of the Emperor. When King Robert of France rejected their advances, they found what they sought in William V, the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou, an aged and experienced warrior, and a strong friend of the Cluniacs, who hoped to find in Italy a suitable endowment for his young son William. This was the first occasion in which the policy of calling in the French to drive out the Germans was adopted by the Italians. But the times were not yet ripe for the intervention of a French prince in Italy. William crossed the Alps, but found that he could make but little progress against the vigorous opposition of the Lombard bishops, headed by Aribert of Milan, and tried to make up for his weakness in Italy by uniting himself with the Lorraine rebels, and by stirring up an anti-German party in the kingdom of Arles. But nothing came of his elaborate schemes, and in ro25 he went home in disgust.

Early in 1026 Conrad crossed the Brenner, and in March received the Lombard crown from Aribert in the cathedral of Milan. Pavia, the old Lombard capital, shut its gates on the Emperor, who was thus unable to imperial be hallowed in the usual place. For a whole year coronation, Conrad remained in northern Italy, and gradually  forced his enemies to make their submission. In the spring of 1027 the way to Rome at last lay open, and on Easter Sunday Conrad was crowned Emperor by Pope John XIX. The function was one of the most striking and memorable ceremonies in the whole history of the mediaeval Empire. It was witnessed by two kings—Rudolf III, the last of the kings of Arles, and Canute of Denmark, the conqueror of England and Norway, then at Rome on a pilgrimage. But the clear head of Conrad was not in the least turned by the mystic rite. Content that his twofold coronation gave him a firm hold over Italy, he quickly recrossed the Alps and resumed his proper work as a German king, taking good care that there should be no clashing between his German and Italian interests. Before his return he visited southern Italy, and ensured the obedience of the Lombard dukes, who still guarded the frontier against the Greeks of Calabria.

On his return to Germany, Conrad felt that his power was sufficiently secure to take steps towards retaining the Empire in his own family. In 1028, he persuaded the magnates to elect, and Pilgrim of Cologne to crown, as his successor his eldest son Henry, who was but ten years of age. This act roused the jealousy of the greater nobles, who found in Conrad’s son-in-law, Ernest of Swabia, an eager champion of their views. Ernest again plunged into revolt; and when pardoned, at the instance of his mother the Empress, still kept up his close friendship with the open rebel, Werner of Kyburg, Count of the Thurgau, a district including the north-eastern parts of the modern Switzerland. In 1030 Conrad ordered Ernest to break off from all dealings with his friend, and, as a sign of his repentance, to carry out in person the sentence of outlawry and deprivation pronounced against him. Ernest refused to give up Werner, whereupon Conrad deprived him of his duchy. Bitterly incensed with his father-in-law, the young duke left the palace, and wandered from court to court, seeking help to excite a new rebellion. But Conrad was so strong that neither foreign prince nor discontented German noble would make common cause with Ernest. In despair he took to a wild robber life of adventure, lurking with a few faithful vassals amidst the ravines and woods of the Black Forest. Before the summer was out Ernest was overpowered and slain. His commonplace treason and brigandage were in after ages glorified in popular tales, that make his friend Werner a model of romantic fidelity, and he himself a gallant and chivalrous warrior. After his fall, Conrad reigned in peace over Germany.

The inroads of the Hungarians and Poles now forced fresh wars on Conrad. In 1030 he waged a doubtful contest against Stephen of Hungary. In the succeeding years he obtained great successes against the Poles, winning back in 1031 Lausitz and the other mark districts that Henry II had been forced to surrender to their king Boleslav, and compelling his successor Miecislav, in 1032, to do homage to him for the whole of his kingdom. But greatas were Conrad’s successes in the east, they were surpassed by his brilliant acquisition of a new kingdom in the west, where in 1032 he obtained the possession of the kingdom of Arles.

The kingdom of Arles or Burgundy had fallen into evil days. During the long reigns of Conrad the Pacific (937-993) and Rudolf III (993-1032) all power had fallen into the hands of the territorial magnates, and Arelate with now the threatened extinction of the royal house the Empire, seemed likely to plunge the Arelate into worse confusion. Rudolf III was old and childless, and had long sought to make arrangements to prevent the dissolution of his kingdom with his death. In 1007 he had concluded with Henry II, his nephew, an agreement by which Burgundy was to fall on his death to the German monarch, but the Burgundian nobles had more than once forced him to renounce his treaty. An increasing sense of his powerlessness drew Rudolf, who was Gisela’s uncle, more closely to Conrad II. He hurried to Rome to be present at his coronation, and he trusted entirely to him for protection against his turbulent nobility. The contract of succession was renewed, and on Rudolf’s death, in 1032, Conrad entered into possession of the Arelate. Count Odo of Champagne set himself up as a rival and national king, but the German portions of the Arelate favoured Conrad from the beginning. In 1033 he was chosen king, and crowned at Ueberlingen, near Constance; and in 1034 Odo was forced into submission, while Conrad triumphantly wore his crown at Geneva and received the homage of the lords of Burgundy. Henceforward the kingdom of Arles was indissolubly united with the Empire. Despite the small amount of power which even the strongest Emperors could exercise in the Arelate, the acquisition was one of no small importance. The Arelate was for the most part a Romance land, and its union with the Empire made the Empire less German, and, for some generations at least, prevented the natural tendency to union between France and the Burgundian lands from being carried out. Moreover, the acquisition of the Arelate, by virtue of a'contract of succession, increased the already strong tendency towards hereditary monarchy in Germany and Italy. Again, Burgundy was the chief home of the Cluniacs, and one very important consequence of its absorption by Conrad was a gradual increase of Cluniac influence all over the Empire. And most of all, the new-won kingdom was useful to the Emperors as acting as a sort of buffer-state to protect Italy from French interference. The attempt of William of Poitou had taught Conrad the necessity of thus guarding the Italian frontier. For the next few generations the acquisition of the Arelate made such projects more difficult. Supplementing the final adhesion of Lotharingia to the Eastern Kingdom, the lapse of the Arelate completed the absorption of the ‘Middle Kingdom’ in the German Empire. Of the threefold partition of Europe by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, only the ancient dominions of Charles the Bald—France, in the narrower sense—were outside the powers of the Emperor. Henceforth Conrad ruled not only all the lands that had gone in 843 to Louis the German, but also over the districts that had then fallen to the share of the Emperor Lothair. Two-thirds of the Carolingian Empire were thus concentrated under Conrad.

Ten years of Conrad’s rule had now brought the Holy Empire to a point of solid prosperity that was seldom surpassed. But Conrad saw that there were still great dangers inherent in his position, and most among these was the smallness of the number of the feudal dignitaries with whom he had direct legal dealings. There were no longer indeed the five national dukedoms in their old united strength and dignity. There were no longer dukes of Franconia; Lorraine was already divided into two distinct duchies, of Upper and Lower Lorraine. Swabia was showing signs of a similar tendency to bifurcation; Bavaria, after the rearrangement of 976, was in a much less imposing position than under the Saxon Emperors, and even in Saxony the margraves were a strong counterpoise to the more imposing but not more powerful dukes. In the last generations the more vigorous of the counts and margraves had shaken off their dependence on the dukes, and aspired to stand in immediate relations with the Emperor. Yet the whole drift of the time was towards feudalism, and towards making a limited number of tenants-in-chief, whether dukes, margraves or counts, the sole persons with whom the Emperor had any direct relations. Secure in their own hereditary, tenure of their fiefs and allodial properties, the great lords of Germany claimed an absolute control over all their vassals. The old tie of national allegiance that bound every subject to his sovereign had fallen into neglect as compared with the new link of feudal dependence of vassal on lord. The leading tenants-in-chief considered that their powers over their vassals were so absolute that it was the bounden duty of a tenant to follow his lord to the field, even against his overlord. With the same object of strengthening their own position, the great lords strove to prevent the fiefs of their vassals from assuming that hereditary character which they had already acquired in practice, if not in theory, for their own vast estates.

Conrad showed a shrewd sense of self-interest in posing as the friend of the lesser tenants against the great vassals of the crown. Whether he also secured the best interests of Germany is not quite so clear. The great vassals were strong enough to maintain order; the lesser feudalists had neither their resources nor their traditions of statecraft. It was too late to revive with any real effect the national tie of allegiance, and the scanty means of an early mediaeval king had always made somewhat illusory great schemes of national unity. Conrad did his best for the protection of the under-tenants by establishing for them also that hereditary possession of their benefices which gave them some sort of permanent position over against their overlords. This was secured in Germany by a mere recognition of the growing custom of heredity, though in Italy a formal law was necessary to attain the same end. Another advantage won by Conrad by this action was that in securing the recognition of the principle of heredity in every fief, he made a long step towards securing the heredity of the crown. For Conrad, much more distinctly than his Saxon predecessors, sought definitely to make both the royal and imperial crown hereditary in his house. As a further step towards breaking down the greater nobility, he strove to get rid of the national duchies altogether. He persuaded the Bavarians to elect the young King Henry as their duke, and, on the death of his last stepson, gave Swabia also to his destined successor. On the death of his old rival, Conrad of Carinthia, the great Carinthian mark was also handed over to Henry. At the end of Conrad’s reign, Saxony and Lorraine were the only duchies still held by independent princes. Like his predecessors, Conrad used the bishops as the means of carrying on the government and checking the growth of the lay aristocracy. Following the example of the chief ecclesiastics, he encouraged the development of a new class of hereditary ministeriales, who devoted their lives to the service of the crown, and soon built up a new official body that enabled his successors to largely dispense with the interested help of the episcopate in carrying on the daily task of the administration of the kingdom.

Conrad was so successful with this policy in Germany and Burgundy that he desired to extend it to Italy. But the spirit of independence was already deeply rooted south of the Alps, and the very prelates who had called Conrad to help them against their lay rivals, now looked with suspicion on a policy that deprived churchman and lay noble alike of their cherished immunities. Aribert of Milan had long aspired to a position of almost complete independence. His dream was to make the see of St. Ambrose a sort of North Italian patriarchate, and at the he wished to combine with ecclesiastical ascendency an organised temporal power. His twofold ambition was exactly that of the Papacy at a later period, and for the moment Milan seemed stronger than Rome. The citizens of Milan, more obedient to their bishops than the turbulent Romans, were zealous partisans of Aribert; but the smaller nobles, who saw in the fulfilment of his plans the destruction of their own independence, rose as one man against him. Civil war broke out in Lombardy between the friends and foes of Aribert. So dangerous was the outlook that in 1036 Conrad again crossed the Alps in the hope of restoring peace in North Italy.

Aribert was summoned to a Diet at Pavia; but he loftily declared that he would surrender no single right of the church of St. Ambrose, and was soon in open war against the Emperor. Conrad saw his only chance of overcoming the archbishop in winning over the smaller nobility to his side. In 1037 he issued the famous edict which made fiefs hereditary in Italy, thus doing for the south by a single stroke what gradual custom and policy had slowly procured for the north. He also promised to exact from his vassals no greater burdens than those already usually paid to him. But these measures, though increasing the party of Conrad in Italy, were not enough at once to overcome Aribert, who, secure in the hearty support of the Milanese citizens, defied not only the threats of Conrad but also the condemnation of Rome, which the Count of Tusculum, who then occupied the papal throne, willingly put at the service of the Emperor. In 1038 Conrad was forced by urgent business to recross the Alps, leaving Aribert unsubdued. Next year he died suddenly at Utrecht. ‘No man,’ says a Saxon annalist, ‘ regretted his death.’ Yet if Conrad was unpopular, he was singularly successful. Though he had failed to get the better of Aribert, he had obtained his object in everything else that he undertook. He left the royal authority established on such a solid basis that his son, King Henry, already crowned King of Germany and Burgundy, and already Duke of Bavaria and Swabia, now stepped into the complete possession of his father’s power, as if he were already the heir of an hereditary state. Henry III was the first German king to succeed without opposition or rebellion.

Henry III (1039-1056) was now two-and-twenty years of age, and had been carefully educated for his great position. Gisela had procured for him the best of literary teachers, while Conrad himself had taken care that he should excel in all knightly exercises, and go through a sound drilling in war, law, and statecraft. He had already won martial glory against the Poles and Hungarians, while he had acquired political experience as virtual, if not formal, co-regent with his father. He was now able to take up his father’s work, and while carrying it on essentially in the old lines, to infuse it with a new spirit. For the gifted young king, though inheriting to the full the practical wisdom of his father, soared far above the cold self-seeking and hard selfishness of the least attractive of the great German Emperors. Under his strong and genial rule, the Holy Empire again became a great ideal, though it was now an ideal that had little that was visionary or fantastic about it. The seventeen years of his reign witnessed the culminating point of the power of the mediaeval Empire. Under him Germany effectively ruled the destinies of the world. The early troubles that had attended the building up of the kingdom were over. The later troubles that sprang from the struggle of the ecclesiastical and temporal power had not yet begun.

A series of signal triumphs in the east first proclaimed to the world the greatness of the new king. Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary were all alike matters of concern to Henry. But Poland, so mighty a few years before, was distracted by civil strife, and attacked by the rising power of Bohemia, now the strongest Slavonic state. It was a light matter for Henry to retain Poland as a feudatory of the Empire. But it involved a long struggle before Bohemia, under its warlike Duke Bretislav, could be forced to accept the same position. It was Bretislav’s ambition to make himself a king, and.to secure for the Bohemian bishopric at Prague the position of an arch­bishopric, so that a great Slavonic kingdom, independent both in Church and State, might centre round the Bohemian table-land. But Henry forced his way through the mountains of the border and threatened Prague itself. In despair Bretislav did homage to him for Bohemia and Moravia, and even for the outlying district of Silesia, which he had conquered from the weak Polish monarchy and made an integral part of the Bohemian kingdom. Even greater difficulties beset Henry in Hungary, where a heathen reaction had set Aba, a member of the hero race of Arpad, on the throne. In 1042 Henry invaded Hungary and dethroned Aba, but the Hungarian king was soon restored, and it was not until a third expedition in 1044 that Henry finally succeeded in destroying his power. Aba’s defeat secured the complete triumph of the German king. Peter, the new king of Hungary, performed homage to Henry, thus making Hungary, like Poland and Bohemia, a fief of the Empire. In 1045 Henry visited Hungary, and received the submission of the Magyar magnates. In pious gratitude for his victory Henry sent the gilded lance, which Peter had given to him as an emblem of his dependence, as a votive offering to the Papacy. A few years later another Arpad, Andrew, dethroned the weak Peter, and gave a more national direction to the fierce Magyar nation, though he was too conscious of Henry’s power to break openly with him. With a row of vassal kingdoms extending to the extremest eastward limits of Roman civilisation, the Holy Empire was fast becoming in a very real sense the mistress of the world.

With all his power, Henry could not hope to obtain from the princes of the west the same formal acknowledgment of his supremacy that he had wrested from the lords of the east. The France of Henry I was indeed feeble and helpless, but the early Capetian monarchy was still the centre of a great system, and its feudatories, though constantly at war with their king and with each other, would be likely to make common cause against a German pretender to universal rule. Henry in. was content to keep on friendly terms with his neighbours beyond the Rhine, and, as a good means of securing French friendship, he chose a wife from among the greater vassals of the Capetian throne. In 1043 he married Agnes of Poitou, the youngest daughter of that Count William of Poitou who, in his youth, had competed with Conrad the Salic for the crown of Italy. Agnes exercised henceforth strong influence over her husband, and in particular upon his ecclesiastical policy.

With the eastern kings paying him tribute and the monarch of the west seeking his friendship, Henry had now leisure to improve the internal condition of his dominions. Despite all that his predecessors had done, Germany and Italy were still in the utmost disorder. Conrad II’s policy of encouraging the smaller nobility had greatly increased the private wars and local feuds that made existence so difficult and dreary for the simple freeman, and so dangerous even to the great lord. Henry now made strenuous efforts to restore peace to Germany. At a diet at Constance Henry solemnly forgave all his enemies, and craved their forgiveness in turn, calling upon the magnates to follow his example and lay aside their feuds with each other. Some degree of success followed this appeal, especially as Henry had partly abandoned his father’s policy of concentrating the national duchies in his own hands. Germany was so vast that it could hardly be effectively ruled from a single centre, and Henry hoped that henceforth the dukes whom he set up would be faithful ministers, and not champions of local inde­pendence.

Italy demanded Henry’s utmost care, and the critical position of the Papacy closely connected his policy with his attitude towards the Church. Since his marriage with Agnes, Henry had become more attentive to the teachings of Cluny, and was keenly alive to the scandals which still disgraced the Roman Church. No ecclesiastical reformation could be complete which did not begin with the head of the Church, and it was only by a great manifestation of his power that Henry could purify the Papacy. The Counts of Tusculum still kept Italy, their tight hold over the Roman Church, which had almost become their hereditary possession. After two brothers—the reforming Benedict VIII (1012-1024) and the reactionary John XIX (1024-1033)—had held in turn St. Peter’s chair, a third member of the Tusculan house, their nephew, Benedict IX, succeeded, despite his extreme youth, to the papal throne (1033). His excesses soon gave occasion to universal scandal, and in 1044 the Romans set up an Antipope in Sylvester III. Family influence still upheld Benedict, but next year new troubles arising, he sold the Papacy in a panic to a new pretender, who called himself Gregory VI, and who, despite his simoniacal election, soon attracted the reformers around him by his zeal in putting an end to abuses. But Benedict soon repented of his bargain, and sought to regain his position as Pope. The result was that three rival claimants to the Papacy distracted Rome with their brawls, and none of them had sufficient power to get rid of the others.

A synod assembled at Rome, and called on Henry III to put an end to the crisis. In 1046 he crossed the Alps, and held a Church Council at Pavia, in which he issued an edict condemning simony. In December 1046 he held another synod at Sutri, near Rome, where two of the three claimants to the Papacy were deposed. The third claimant was deposed in a third synod held in Rome itself. Suidgar, Bishop of Bamberg, was chosen Pope through Henry’s influence, and enthroned on Christmas Day as Clement II, conferring on the same day the imperial crown on Henry and Agnes. Accompanied by Clement, the Emperor made a progress through southern Italy, which he reduced to submission. Grave troubles on the Lower Rhine now brought Henry back to Germany; yet even in his absence his influence remained supreme in Italy. Clement II died in 1048; but a whole succession of German Popes, the nominees of the Emperor, were now accepted by the Romans with hardly a murmur. The first of these—Damasus II, formerly Poppo, Bishop of Brixen, died after a few weeks’ reign. His successor, the Emperor’s kinsman, Bruno of Toul, took the name of Leo IX (1048-1054). Short as was his pontificate, the result of his work was epoch-making in several directions. During the reign of his successor, Victor II (1054-1057), Henry III paid his second and last visit to Italy, the results of which we will speak of later. No sooner was he over the Alps than a rebellion broke out in Bavaria that necessitated his immediate return. The presence of the Emperor soon extinguished the revolt, but the rising taught Henry the insecurity of his position, and he now sought to conciliate his foes.

In the summer of 1056 Henry held his court at Goslar, where he was visited by Victor II; but in September he fell sick, and had only time to take further measures to secure his son’s succession, when death overtook him, on 5th October, in the thirty-ninth year of his age. Under him the mediaeval Empire attained its apogee. Germany was now almost a nation; Italy a submissive dependency; the Papacy had been reformed, and the Church purified. A child of six years old was now called to the throne, whose burden had been almost too heavy for his father. With the accession of Henry IV the decline of the Empire begins.





While the Cluniac movement had at last attained ascendency over the best minds of Europe, and a swarm of monastic reformers had prepared the way for the great revival of spiritual religion and hierarchical pretensions; while in Italy strong papalist powers, like the Countess Matilda and the Normans of the south, had arisen to menace the imperial authority, the long minority of Henry IV sapped the personal influence of Caesar over Italy and brought about a lengthened period of faction and in Germany. On Henry III’s death, his son, was a boy of six. The great Emperor’s power secured the child’s undisputed succession, but was too personal, too military in its character to prove any safe­guard against the dangers of a long minority. Nor did the choice of ruler during Henry IV’s nonage improve the state of affairs. Henry III’s widow, Agnes of Poitou, a pious well-meaning lady, acted as regent for her son, but her weakness of will and inconsistency of conduct gave full scope to discontented nobles ready to take advantage of a woman’s sway. The lay nobles availed themselves of her helplessness to plunder and despoil the prelates, while they complained that Agnes neglected their counsels for those of low-born courtiers and personal favourites. After six years of confusion the Empress was driven from power. Anno, Archbishop of Cologne, a vigorous, experienced, and zealous prelate, full of ambition and violence, joined himself with Otto of Nordheim, the newly appointed Duke of Bavaria, Count Egbert of Brunswick, and some of the bishops, in a well-contrived plot to get possession of the young king. In May 1062 the three chief conspirators visited the king at his palace of Saint Suitbert’s, situated on an island in the Rhine, some miles below Dusseldorf, now called Kaiserswerth. One day after dinner Anno persuaded the boy king to inspect an elaborately-fitted-up barge. As soon as Henry had entered the boat, the oarsmen put off and rowed away. Henry was soon frightened and plunged into the water, but Count Egbert leapt in and rescued him. The king was pacified by flattery and taken to Cologne. The crowd cried shame on the treachery of the bishop, but. Henry remained in his custody, and Agnes made no serious attempt to regain her authority, but reconciled herself with Anno and retired into a monastery. Anno proposed to the magnates that the regency should be exercised by the bishop of the diocese in which the king happened to be staying. By carefully selecting the king’s places of abode, he thus secured the reality of power without its odium. By throwing over the Antipope he procured the support of the Hildebrandine party, and was likened by Peter Damiani to another Jehoiada. But his pride and arrogance soon raised him up enemies; and young Henry, who never forgave his abduction, bitterly resented his tutelage.

Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, took the lead among Anno’s enemies. He was a man of high birth, great experience, and unbounded ambition, an old confidant of Henry III, and filled with a great scheme for making his archbishopric a permanent patriarchate over the infant churches of Scandinavia. He made himself personally attractive to the king, who contrasted his kindness and indulgence with the austerity of Anno. By Adalbert’s influence Henry was declared of age to govern on attaining his fifteenth year in 1065. Henceforth Adalbert disposed of all the high offices in Church and State, and growing more greedy as he became more successful, excited much ill-will among the religious by plundering the monasteries right and left. He appropriated to himself the two great abbeys of Lorsch and Corvey, and sought in vain to propitiate his enemies by allowing other magnates, including even his rival Anno, to similarly despoil other monasteries. The king was made so poor that he hardly had enough to live on. But Adalbert at least sought to continue the great traditions of statecraft of Henry in., and showed more policy and skill than the crowd of bishops who had previously shared power with Anno. At last, in 1066, the nobles combined against Adalbert at a Diet at Tribur, and Henry was roundly told that he must either dismiss Adalbert or resign his throne. Adalbert retired to his diocese, and Anno and Otto of Nordheim again had the chief control of affairs. But neither party could rule with energy or spirit, and Henry, now nearly grown up, showed no decided capacity to make things better. The young king was tall, dignified, and handsome. He was affable and kindly to men of low rank, with whom he was ever popular, though he could be stern and haughty to the magnates, whose power he feared. He had plenty of spirit and fair ability. But he had been brought up so laxly by Archbishop Adalbert that he was headstrong, irresolute, profligate, and utterly deficient in self-control. He never formulated a policy, and if he championed great causes, he did so blindly and in ignorance. Married to Bertha, daughter of the Marquis Odo of Turin, in 1065, he gave offence both to her powerful kinsfolk and to the strict churchmen by refusing to live with her, and talking of a divorce. He had now to put down open rebellions. In 1069 the Margrave Dedi strove to rouse the Thuringians to revolt, and in 1070 Otto of Bavaria, the most important of the dukes surviving, after the death of Duke Godfrey of Lorraine in the previous year, was driven into rebellion. So divided were the German nobles, so helpless the German king, that instead of ruling the Italians, there seemed every prospect of the Italians ruling them. In 1069 Peter Damiani went to Germany as legate, and compelled Henry to reconcile himself with Bertha. Peter was horrified at the unblushing simony of the German bishops, and, on his report, Anno of Cologne and several other of the greatest prelates of Germany were summoned to Rome and thoroughly humiliated. Anno atoned for his laxity by his edifying discharge of the meanest monastic duties in his own great foundation at Siegburg, but his influence was gone and his political career was at an end. His fall brought Adalbert back to some of his ancient influence. The death of the Archbishop of Bremen in 1072 unloosed the last link that connected the new reign with the old traditions.

Henry IV’s reign now really began. A thorough Swabian, his favourite ministers were Swabians of no high degree, and he had no faith in the goodwill or loyalty of the men of the north. He had kept vacant the Saxon dukedom. On every hill-top of Saxony and Thuringia he built strong castles, whose lawless garrisons plundered and outraged the peasantry. There was ever fierce ill-will between northern and southern Germany during the Middle Ages. The policy of the southern Emperor soon filled the north with anger, and the Saxon nobles prepared for armed resistance. In 1073 Henry fitted out an expedition, whose professed destination was against the Poles. It was believed in Saxony that his real object was to subdue the Saxons and hand them over to the Swabians. Accordingly in the summer of 1073 a general Saxon revolt broke out, headed by the natural leaders of Saxony both in Church and State, including the Archbishop of Magdeburg, the deposed Duke Otto of Bavaria, and the fierce Margrave Dedi, already an unsuccessful rebel. The insurgents demanded the instant demolition of the castles, the dismissal of Henry’s evil counsellors, and the restitution of their lands that he had violently seized. On receiving no answer they shut up Henry in the strong castle of Harzburg, whence he escaped with the utmost difficulty to the friendly cloister of Hersfeld. In the course of the summer the rebels destroyed many of the new castles. The levies summoned for the Polish campaign refused to turn their arms against the Saxons, and Henry saw himself powerless amidst the general falling away. A meeting at Gerstungen, where Henry’s friends strove to mediate with the rebels, led to a suggestion that the king should be deposed. Only at Worms and in the Swabian cities did Henry receive any real support. He gathered together a small army and strove to fight a winter campaign against the Saxons, but failed so completely that he was forced to accept their terms. However, hostilities were renewed in 1075, when Henry won a considerable victory at Hohenburg on the Unstrut, and forced the Saxons to make an unconditional submission. Otto of Nordheim, the Archbishop of Magdeburg, and the other leaders were imprisoned. On the ruins of Saxon liberty Henry now aspired to build up a despotism.

Hildebrand was now Pope. During the funeral service of Alexander II at St. John’s in the Lateran, a great shout arose from the  multitude in the church that Hildebrand should be their bishop. The cardinal, Hugh the White, addressed the assembly. ‘You know, brethren,’ he said, ‘how, since the time of Leo IX, Hildebrand has exalted the Roman Church, and freed our city. We cannot find a better Pope than he. Indeed, we cannot find his equal. Let us then elect him, who, having been ordained in our church, is known to us all, and thoroughly approved by us.’ There was the great shout in answer: Saint Peter has chosen Hildebrand to be Pope!’ Despite his resistance, Hildebrand was dragged to the church of St. Peter ad Vincula, and immediately enthroned. The cardinals had no mind to upset this irregular election, strangely contrary though it was to the provisions of Nicholas II. The German bishops, alarmed at Hildebrand’s reputation for severity, urged the king to quash the appointment, but Henry contented himself with sending to Rome to inquire into the circumstances of the election. Hildebrand showed great moderation, and actually postponed his consecration until Henry’s consent had been obtained. This Henry had no wish to withhold. On 29th June T073 Hildebrand was hallowed bishop. By assuming the name of Gregory VII, he proclaimed to the world the invalidity of the deposition of his old master at the Synod of Sutri.

The wonderful self-control which the new Pope had shown so long did not desert him in his new position. Physically, there was little to denote the mighty mind within his puny body. He was of low stature, short-legged and corpulent. He spoke with a stammer, and his dull complexion was only lighted up by his glittering eyes. He was not a man of much learning or originality, and contributed little towards the theory of the papal or sacerdotal power. But he was one of the greatest practical men of the Middle Ages; and his single-minded wish to do what was right betokened a dignity of moral nature that was rare indeed in the eleventh century. His power over men’s minds was enormous, even to their own despite. The fierce and fanatical Peter Damiani called him his ‘holy Satan.’ ‘Thy will,’ said he, ‘has ever been a command to me—evil but lawful. Would that I had always served God and St. Peter as faithfully as I have served thee.’ Even as archdeacon he assumed so great a state, and lived in such constant intercourse with the world, that monastic zealots like Damiani were scandalised, and some moderns have questioned (though groundlessly) whether he was ever a professed monk at all. Profoundly convinced of the truth of the Cluniac doctrines, he showed a fierce and almost unscrupulous statecraft in realising them that filled even Cluny with alarm. His ideal was to reform the world by establishing a sort of universal monarchy for the Papacy. He saw all round him that kings and princes were powerless for good, but mighty for evil. He saw churchmen living greedy and corrupt lives for want of higher direction and control. Looking at a world distraught by feudal anarchy, his ambition was to restore the ‘peace of God,’ civilisation, and order, by submitting the Church to the Papacy, and the world to the Church. ‘ Human pride,’ he wrote, ‘ has created the power of kings; God’s mercy has created the power of bishops. The Pope is the master of Emperors. He is rendered holy by the merits of his predecessor, St. Peter. The Roman Church has never erred, and Holy Scripture proves that it never can err. To resist it is to resist God.’ For the next twelve years he strove with all his might to make his power felt throughout Christendom. Sometimes his enthusiasm caused him to advance claims that even his best friends would not admit, as when William the Conqueror was constrained to repudiate the Holy See’s claims of feudal sovereignty over England, which, after similar pretensions had been recognised by the Normans in Sicily, Gregory and his successors were prone to assert whenever opportunity offered. The remotest parts of Europe felt the weight of his influence. But the intense conviction of the righteousness of his aims, that made compromise seem to him treason to the truth, did something to detract from the success of his statecraft. He was too absolute, too rigid, too obstinate, too extreme to play his part with entire advantage to himself and his cause. Yet with all his defects there is no grander figure in history.

Gregory realised the magnitude of his task, but he never shrank from it. “I would that you knew”, wrote he to the Abbot of Cluny, “the anguish that assails my soul. The Church of the East has gone astray from the Catholic faith. If I look to the west, the north, or the south, I find but few bishops whose appointments and whose lives are in accordance with the laws of the Church, or who govern God’s people through love and not through worldly ambition. Among princes I know not one who sets the honour of God before his own, or justice before gain. If I did not hope that I could be of use to the Church, I would not remain at Rome a day”.

 From the very first he was beset on every side with difficulties. Even the alliance with the Normans was uncertain. Robert Guiscard, with his brother Roger, waged war against Gregory’s faithful vassal, Richard of Capua; and Robert, who threatened the papal possession of Benevento, went so far that he incurred excommunication. Philip of France, “the worst of the tyrants who enslaved the Church”, had to be threatened with interdict. A project to unite the Eastern with the Western Church broke down lamentably. A contest with Henry IV soon became inevitable. But Gregory abated nothing of his high claims. In February 1075 he held a synod at Rome, at which severe decrees against simony and the marriage of clerks were issued. The practice of lay investiture, by which secular princes were wont to grant bishoprics and abbeys by the conferring of spiritual symbols such as the ring and staff, had long been regarded by the Cluniacs as the most glaring of temporal aggressions against the spiritual power. This practice was now sternly forbidden. ‘If any one,’ declared the synod, ‘henceforth receive from the hand of any lay person a bishopric or abbey, let him not be considered as abbot or bishop, and let the favour of St. Peter and the gate of the Church be forbidden to him. If an emperor, a king, a duke, a count, or any other lay person presume to give investiture of any ecclesiastical dignity, let him be excommunicated.’ This decree gave the signal for the great Investiture Contest, and for the greater struggle of Papacy and Empire that convulsed Europe, save during occasional breaks, for the next two centuries.

Up to the issue of the decree as to investitures, the relation between Gregory and Henry IV had not been unfriendly. Henry had admitted that he had not always respected the rights of the Church, but had promised amendment for the future. But to give up investitures would have been to change the whole imperial system of government. He was now freed, by his victory at Hohenburg, from the Saxon revolt. The German bishops, afraid of the Pope’s strictness, encouraged his resistance, and even in Italy he had many partisans. The Patarini were driven out of Milan, and Henry scrupled not to invest a new archbishop with the see of St. Ambrose. Even at Rome, Gregory barely escaped assassination while celebrating mass. In January 1076 Henry summoned a German council to Worms. Strange and incredible crimes were freely attributed to the Pope, and the majority of the German bishops pronounced him deposed. Henry himself wrote in strange terms to the Pope : “Henry, king not by usurpation but by God’s grace, to Hildebrand, henceforth no pope but false monk,—Christ has called us to our kingdom, while He has never called thee to the priesthood. Thou hast attacked me, a consecrated king, who cannot be judged but by God Himself. Condemned by our bishops and by ourselves, come down from the place that thou hast usurped. Let the see of St. Peter be held by another, who will not seek to cover violence under the cloak of religion, and who will teach the wholesome doctrine of St. Peter. I, Henry, king by the grace of God, with all of my bishops, say unto thee—“Come down, come down.’”

In February 1076 Gregory held a great synod in the Vatican, at which the Empress Agnes was present, with a great multitude of Italian and French bishops.  A clerk from Parma named Roland delivered the king’s letter to the Pope before the council. There was a great tumult, and Roland would have atoned for his boldness with his life but for the Pope’s personal intervention. Henry was now formally excommunicated and deposed. ‘Blessed Peter,’ declared Gregory, ‘thou and the Mother of God and all the saints are witness that the Roman Church has called upon me to govern it in my own despite. As thy representative I have received from God the power to bind and to loose in Heaven and on earth. For the honour and security of thy Church, in the Name of God Almighty, I prohibit Henry the king, son of Henry the Emperor, who has risen with unheard-of pride against thy Church, from ruling Germany and Italy. I release all Christians from the oaths of fealty they may have taken to him, and I order that no one shall obey him.’

War was thus declared between Pope and king. Though the position of both parties was sufficiently precarious, Henry was at the moment in the worst position for carrying on an internecine combat, count very little on the support of his German subjects. Those who most feared the Pope were the self-seekers and the simoniacs, whose energy was small and whose loyalty less. The saints and the zealots were all against him. The Saxons profited by his embarrassments to renew their revolt, and soon chased his garrisons out of their land. The secular nobles, who saw in his policy the beginnings of an attempt at despotism, held aloof from his court. It was to no purpose that Henry answered the anathemas of Gregory with denunciations equally unmeasured, and complained that Gregory had striven to unite in his hands both the spiritual and the temporal swords, that God had kept asunder. Hermann, Bishop of Metz, the Pope’s legate in Germany, ably united the forces against him. At last, the nobles and bishops of Germany gathered together on 16th October 1076 at Tribur, where the papal legates were treated with marked deference, though Henry took up his quarters at Oppenheim, on the other bank of the Rhine, afraid to trust himself amidst his disaffected subjects. Henry soon saw that he had no alternative but submission. The magnates were so suspicious of him that it needed the personal intercession of Hugh, Abbot of Cluny, to prevail upon them to make terms with him at all. Finally a provisional agreement was patched up, upon conditions excessively humiliating to Henry. The barons refused to obey him until he had obtained absolution from the Pope, who, moreover, had promised to go to Germany in person and hold a council in the succeeding February. Pending this, Henry was to remain at Speyer without kingly revenue, power, or dignity, and still shut off by his excommunication from the offices of the Church. If Henry could not satisfy the Pope in February, he was to be regarded as deposed.

Abandoned by Germany, Henry abode some two months at Speyer, gloomily anticipating the certain ruin to his cause that would follow the Pope’s appearance in a German council. He realised that he could do nothing unless he reconciled himself to Gregory; and, hearing good news of his prospects in northern Italy, thought that his best course was to betake himself over the Alps, where the Pope might well prove less rigorous, if he found him at the head of a formidable band of Italian partisans. It was a winter of extraordinary severity, but any risks were better than inglorious inaction at Speyer, Accordingly Henry broke his compact with his nobles, and towards the end of December secretly set out on his journey southward. He was accompanied by Bertha and his little son, but only one German noble was included among his scanty following. He traversed Burgundy, and kept his miserable Christmas feast at Besançon. Thence crossing the Mont Cenis at the risk of his life, he appeared early in the new year amidst his Lombard partisans at Pavia. But though urged to take up arms, Henry feared the risks of a new and doubtful struggle. Germany could only be won back by submission. He resolved to seek out the Pope and throw himself on his mercy.

Gregory was then some fifteen miles south of Reggio, at an impregnable mountain stronghold belonging to the Countess Matilda, called Canossa, which crowned one of the northern spurs of the Apennines, and overlooked the great plain. He had sought the protection of its walls as a safe refuge against the threatened Lombard attack which Henry, it was believed, had come over the Alps to arrange. The Countess Matilda and Hugh of Cluny, Henry’s godfather, were with the Pope, and many of the simoniac bishops of Germany had already gone to Canossa and won absolution by submission. On 21st January 1077 Henry left his wife and followers at Reggio, and climbed the steep snow-clad road that led to the mountain fastness. Gregory refused to receive him, but he had interviews with Matilda and his godfather in a chapel at the foot of the castle-rock, and induced them to intercede with the Pope on his behalf. Gregory would hear of nothing but complete and unconditional submission. “If he be truly penitent, let him surrender his crown and insignia of royalty into our hands, and confess himself unworthy of the name and honour of king”. But the pressure of the countess and abbot at last prevailed upon him to be content with abject contrition without actual abandonment of his royal state. For three days Henry waited in the snow outside the inner gate of the castle­yard, barefoot, fasting, and in the garb of a penitent. On the fourth day the Pope consented to admit him into his presence. With the cry ‘Holy father, spare me!’ the king threw himself at the Pope’s feet. Gregory raised him up, absolved him, entertained him at his table, and sent him away with much good advice and his blessing. But the terms of Henry’s reconciliation were sufficiently hard. He was to promise to submit himself to the judgment of the German magnates, presided over by the Pope, with respect to the long catalogue of charges brought against him. Until that was done he was to abstain from the royal insignia and the royal functions. He was to be prepared to accept or retain his crown according to the judgment of the Pope as to his guilt or innocence. He was, if proved innocent, to obey the Pope in all things pertaining to the Church. If he broke any of these conditions, another king was to be forthwith elected.

‘The humiliation of Henry at Canossa is so dramatic and so famous an event that it is hard to realise that it was but an incident in the midst of a long struggle. It settled nothing, and profited neither Henry nor Gregory. Gregory found that his harshness had to some extent alienated that public opinion on which the Papacy depended almost entirely for its influence. Henry found that his submission had not won over his German enemies, but had thoroughly disgusted the anti-papal party in northern Italy, upon which alone he could count for armed support. The Lombards now talked of deposing the cowardly monarch in favour of his little son. But the future course of events rested after all upon the action of the German nobles, who held their Diet at Forchheim in March 1077. To this assembly Henry was not even invited; and for the present he preferred remaining in Italy. The Pope also did not appear in person, but was represented by two legates. The old charges against Henry were brought up once more, and the legates expressed their, wonder that the patient Germans had submitted so long to be ruled by such a monster. Without giving Henry the least opportunity of refuting the accusations, it was determined to proceed at once to the choice of a new king. The suffrages of the magnates fell on Duke Rudolf of Swabia. Before his appointment, Rudolf was compelled to renounce all hereditary claim to the throne on behalf of his heirs, and to allow freedom of election to all bishoprics. He was then crowned at Mainz by Archbishop Siegfried.

The news of Rudolf’s election at once brought Henry back over the Alps. He soon found that he now had devoted partisans in the land that had rejected him when he was under the ban of the Pope. He was warmly welcomed in Bavaria, in Burgundy, and especially in the great towns of the Rhine­land, always faithful to the imperial cause. Rudolf’s own duchy of Swabia rejected its duke in favour of the prince who had ever loved the Swabians. Rebel Saxony was alone strongly on Rudolf’s side. Even the Pope could not make up his mind to ratify the action of his legates and accept Rudolf as king. For more than two years civil war raged between Rudolf and Henry. It was substantially a continuation of the Saxon revolt. At last, in January 1080, a decisive battle was fought at Flarchheim on the banks of the Unstrut, in which Henry was utterly defeated. During all this time Gregory had contented himself with offers of arbitration. Though Henry practised lay investiture as freely as ever, it was not until after his defeat that the Pope once more declared himself against him. Yielding to the indignant remonstrances of Rudolf and the Saxons, he convoked a synod at Rome in March 1080, where he renewed Henry’s excommunication, and again deprived him of his kingdoms of Germany and Italy. “Act so”, said Gregory to the assembled prelates, “that the world shall know that ye who have power to bind and to loose in heaven, can grant or withhold kingdoms, principalities, and other possessions according to each man’s merits. And if you are fit to judge in things spiritual, ought ye not to be deemed competent to judge in things temporal?” Rudolf was now recognised as king, and another universal prohibition of lay investitures was issued.

Gregory boasted that, before the next feast of SS. Peter and Paul, Henry would have lost his throne and his life. But each fresh aggression of the Pope increased his rival’s power. Henry now showed an energy and vigour that contrasted strangely with his spiritless action three years before. Both in Germany and Italy he found himself supported by partisans as enthusiastic as those of the Pope. The bishops of Germany declared for him, and the old foes of the Pope in Italy took courage to continue the contest. In June Henry met at Brixen the German and Italian bishops who adhered to his side. This assembly declared Gregory deposed and excommunicate, and elected Guibert, Archbishop of Ravenna as his successor.

The new Antipope had in his youth served Henry III, and, as chancellor of Italy, had striven to uphold the imperial authority during Henry IV’s minority. He had once been on friendly terms with Gregory, but had quarrelled with him, and had for some time been the soul of the imperialist party in north Italy. He was of high birth, unblemished character, great abilities, and long experience. He assumed the title of Clement III, and at once returned to Ravenna to push matters to extremities against Gregory. The rash violence of the Pope had been answered with equal violence by his enemies. There were two Popes and two Emperors. The sword alone could decide between them.

Fortune favoured Henry and Clement both in Germany and Italy. On 15th October 1080 a great battle was fought on the banks of the Elster, not far from the later battlefields of Lutzen. The fierce assault of Otto of Nordheim changed what threatened to be a Saxon defeat into a brilliant victory for the northern army. But Rudolf of Swabia was slain, and the victorious Saxons wasted their opportunity while they quarreled as to his successor. It was nearly a year before they could agree upon Hermann of Luxemburg as their new king. Before this the back of the revolt had been broken, and Henry, secure of Germany, had once more gone to Italy. Crossing the Brenner in March 1081, he went on progress through the Lombard cities, and abode with Pope Clement at Ravenna. Thence he set out for Rome, meeting little resist­ance on his way save from the Countess Matilda. The Normans of Naples, on whose help Gregory had counted, made no effort to protect their suzerain. In May Henry celebrated the Whitsun feast outside the walls of Rome.

Gregory did not lose his courage even with the enemy at his gate. The Romans were faithful to him, and Henry, who saw no chance of besieging the great city successfully, was forced to retreat northwards by the feverish heat of summer. He retired to Lombardy, where his position was unassailable. Next year he was back again before the walls of Rome, but the occupation of Tivoli was his greatest success. In 1083 a third attack gave him possession of the Leonine city, but even in this extremity Gregory would listen to conciliation. “Let the king lay down his crown atonement to the Church”, was his answer to besought him to come to terms. In the early ro84 Henry invaded Apulia and kept in check the Normans, who at last were making a show of helping the Pope. In March he appeared for the fourth time before Rome. This time the Romans opened their gates, and Gregory was closely besieged in the castle of St. Angelo. A synod was hastily summoned, which renewed his deposition and excommunication. On Palm Sunday, 1084, Guibert was enthroned, and on Easter Day he crowned Henry Emperor at St. Peter’s.

Gregory sent from the castle of St. Angelo an urgent appeal for help to Robert Guiscard. During the troubles of the last few years, Robert’s obligations to his suzerain had weighed very lightly upon him, but Henry’s invasion of Apulia and the certain ruin of the Normans in Naples if the Pope succumbed, at last brought him to decided action. Hastily abandoning his Greek campaign, Robert crossed over to Italy, and in May advanced to the walls of Rome with a large and motley army, in which the Saracens of Sicily were a prominent element. Henry, who had no force sufficient to resist, quitted Rome, and soon crossed the Alps. The Romans tried in vain to defend their city from the Normans. After a four days’ siege treason opened the gates. Rome was ruthlessly sacked, whole quarters were burned down, hideous massacres and outrages were perpetrated, and thousands of Romans were sold as slaves. The Normans then marched home. Gregory could not remain in the desolate city, and followed them to Salerno. The Antipope kept his Christmas amid the ruins of Rome, but soon abandoned the city for his old home at Ravenna. Gregory now fell sick at Salerno. The few faithful cardinals strove to console him by dwelling on the great work which he had accomplished. “I set no store by what I have done”, was his answer. “One thing only fills me with hope. I have always loved the law of God and hated iniquity. Therefore I die in exile”. He passed away on 25th May 1085. Less than two months afterwards, Robert Guiscard died at Corfu.

For a year after Gregory’s death, the Papacy remained vacant. At last, in May 1086, the cardinals, profiting by the Antipope’s return to Ravenna, met at Rome and forced the Papacy on the unwilling Desiderius, Abbot of Monte Casino. The new Pope (who assumed the name of Victor III), was a close friend of Gregory’s and strongly attached to his ideals. But he was too old and too weak to take up Hildebrand’s task, and three days after his election he strove to avoid the troublesome dignity by flight to Monte Casino. Next year he was with difficulty prevailed upon to return to Rome to receive the tiara. But the partisans of the Emperor and of the Countess Matilda fought fiercely for the possession of Rome, and Victor again retreated to his monastery, where death ended his troubles three days after his return (16th September 1087). Next time the cardinals fixed upon a Pope of sterner stuff. Driven from Rome by the Antipope, they made their election at Terracina on 12th March 1088. Their choice fell upon the son of a baron of Champagne named Odo, who had lived long at Cluny as monk and sub-prior, and then served the Roman Court as cardinal-bishop of Ostia. Urban II (this was the title he took) was a man of ability and force of character, as ardent as Hildebrand for the Cluniac ideals, but more careful of his means of enforcing them than the uncompromising Gregory. He made closer his alliance with the Normans, and, thanks to the help of Duke Roger, Robert Guiscard’s son and successor, was able to return to Rome and remain there for some months. But the troops of the Antipope still held the castle of St. Angelo, and Urban soon found it prudent to retire. He mainly spent the first years of his pontificate in southern Italy under Roger’s protection.

Meanwhile, papalists and imperialists fought hard in northern Italy. Germany was now tolerably quiet, and Henry could now devote his chief energies to Italy, which he revisited in 1090. But Urban united the German with the Italian opposition to the Emperor by bringing about a politic marriage between the Countess Matilda and the young son of Welf or Guelf, Duke of Bavaria, the Emperor’s most powerful adversary in Germany. Despite this combination, Henry’s Italian campaigns between 1090 and 1092 were extraordinarily successful. Matilda’s dominions in the plain country were overrun, and her towns and castles captured. But she held her own in her strong­holds in the Apennines, rejected all compromise, and prepared to fight to the last. Henry met his first check when he was driven back in disgrace from an attempted siege of Canossa.

The papalists were much encouraged by Henry’s defeat. Soon after they persuaded his son Conrad, a weak and headstrong youth, to rise in revolt against his father. Half Lombardy fell away from father to son. Before the year was out, Conrad received the Iron Crown at Milan, and Urban ventured back to Rome. Worse was to follow. Henry’s second wife, Praxedis of Russia (Bertha had died in 1087), escaped from the prison to which her husband had consigned her, and taking refuge with the Countess Matilda, gave to the world a story of wrongs and outrages that destroyed the last shreds of the Emperor’s reputation. In high glee at the progress  of his cause, Urban set out on a lengthened progress that reminds us of the memorable tours of Leo IX. After a long stay in Tuscany, he crossed the Apennines early in 1095, and held a great synod at Piacenza, at which the laws against simony and married clerks were renewed, while the Empress publicly declared her charges against Henry, and ambassadors from the Eastern Emperor pleaded for help, against the growing power of the Seljukian Turks. In the summer Urban crossed the Alps, and remained for more than a year in France and Burgundy, being everywhere received with extraordinary reverence. In November 1095 he held a largely attended synod at Clermont in Auvergne. Not content with his quarrel with the Emperor, he here fulminated excommunication against Philip I of France, on account of his adultery with Bertrada, Countess of Anjou. But the famous work of the Council of Clermont was the proclamation of the First Crusade. Nothing shows more clearly the strength and nature of the papal power than that this greatest result of the universal monarchy of the Church should have been brought about at a time when all the chief kings of Europe were open enemies of the Papacy. Henry IV was an old foe, Philip of France had been deliberately attacked, and William Rufus of England was indifferent or hostile. But in the eleventh century the power of even the strongest kings counted for very little. What made the success of Urban’s endeavour was the appeal to the swarm of small feudal chieftains, who really governed Europe, and to the fierce and undisciplined enthusiasm of the common people, with whom the ultimate strength of the Church really lay.

Flushed with his success at Clermont, Urban recrossed the Alps in September 1096. Bands of Crusaders, hastening to the East, mingled with the papal train as he again traversed northern Italy. Rome itself now opened its gates to the homeless lord of the Church. In 1097 Henry IV abandoned Italy in despair. He restored the elder Welf to the Bavarian duchy, and easily persuaded the younger Welf to quit his elderly bride, and resume his allegiance to the Emperor. Conrad was deprived of the succession, and his younger brother Henry crowned king at Aachen on taking an oath that he would not presume to exercise royal power while his father was alive.

Urban was now triumphant, save that his Norman allies were once more giving him trouble, and the castle of St. Angelo was still held for the Antipope. He accordingly again visited southern Italy, and won over Count Roger of Sicily, by conceding the famous privilege to Roger and his heirs that no papal legate should be sent into their lands without their consent, but that the lords of Sicily should themselves act as legates within their dominions. In October 1098 the Pope held a synod at Bari, restored to Catholicism by the Norman conquest in 1071. There, with a view to facilitating the Crusade, the great point of difference between the Eastern and Western Churches—the Procession of the Holy Ghost—was debated at length. Among the prelates attending the council was Anselm of Canterbury, exiled for upholding against William Rufus the principles which Urban had asserted against the Emperor and the King of France. Urban, who had been politic enough not to raise up a third great king against him by supporting Anselm, atoned for past neglect by the deference he now showed to the ‘Pope of the second world’. As the council broke up, the good news came that the castle of St. Angelo had at last been captured. Urban returned to Rome and devoted himself to the work of the Crusade. On 29th July 1099 he died suddenly. It was his glory that the struggle of Pope and Emperor, which had absorbed all the energies of Gregory VII, sank during his pontificate into a second place. Though he abandoned no claim that Gregory had made, he had the good fortune to be able to put himself at the head of crusading Europe, while his opponent shrank into powerless contempt. Next year the Antipope followed Urban to the grave. With Clement, the schism as a real force died. Three short-lived Antipopes pretended to carry on his succession until the death of the Emperor, but no one took them seriously. With the flight of the last pretender in 1106, formal ecclesiastical unity was again restored.

Driven out of Italy by his rebel son, Henry IV found Germany equally indisposed to obey him. Both north and south of the Alps, the real gainers in the long struggle had been the feudal chieftains, and Germany, like Italy, was ceasing to be a single state at all. In 1101 the  rebellious Conrad died at Florence, bitterly regretting his treason. Henry’s main object now was to restore peace to Germany, and to effect a reconciliation with the Church. But the new Pope, Paschal II (1099-1118, Rainerius of Bieda, near Viterbo, elected August 1099), renewed his excommunication, and was as unbending as his predecessors. Before long Paschal was able to extend his intrigues into Germany, and in 1104 the young King Henry raised the Saxons in revolt against his father, and was recognised as king by the Pope. But the Emperor had no spirit left for a fresh contest. At Coblenz he threw himself at his son’s feet, begging only that his own child should not be the instrument of God’s vengeance on his sins. The young king asked for forgiveness, and promised to give up his claims when his father was reconciled with the Church. The Emperor trustfully disbanded his soldiers, and was promptly shut up in prison by his twice-perjured son. On 31st December 1105 he formally abdicated at Ingelheim, and abjectly confessed his offences against the Church. He was told that absolution could only come from the Pope in person, and that it was a boon that he was allowed his personal freedom. He fled from Ingelheim to Cologne, where the goodwill of the citizens showed him that he still had friends. From Cologne he went to Aachen, and from thence to Liége, whose bishop, Otbert, supported him. The Duke of Lorraine declared himself for him, and help was expected from Philip of France and Robert of Flanders. Henry now declared that his abdication was forced on him, but offered any terms, compatible with the possession of the throne, to get absolution from the Pope. But on 7th August 1106 he died at Liege, before the real struggle between him and his son was renewed. The enmity of the Church grudged rest even to his dead body. The Bishop of Speyer refused to allow the corpse of the excommunicate to repose beside his ancestors in the stately church which he himself had built, and for five years it lay in an unconsecrated chapel.

On 5th January 1106 Henry V was crowned for the second time at Mainz. The first months of his reign were disturbed by his father’s attempt to regain power. When Henry V, he was at last undisputed King of Germany, he found that his cold-blooded treachery had profited him very little. The Investiture Contest was still unsettled. Between 1103 and 1107 Anselm of Canterbury, restored to his see by William Rufus’ death, had been carrying on a counterpart of the contest with Henry I of England. But the personal animosities which had embittered the continental struggle were absent, and the dispute did not, as abroad, involve the larger questions of the whole relations of Church and State. It was easy, therefore, to settle it by a satisfactory compromise. Yet at the very moment when Henry had agreed to lay aside investiture with ring and staff, the envoys of Henry V were informing Paschal that their master pro­posed to insist upon his traditional rights in the matter. The result was that the continental strife was renewed with all its old bitterness.

For two years Henry was engaged in wars against Hungary and Bohemia. In 1110 he resolved to visit Italy to receive the imperial crown, and to re-establish the old rights of the Empire. Besides a numerous army, he took with him men of letters able to give reasons to all comers for his acts, among whom was an Irish or Welsh monk named David, who wrote, at his command, a popular account of how the king had gone to Rome to extract a blessing from the Pope, as Jacob had extorted the angel’s blessing. He found Italy too divided to offer effectual resistance. The Countess Matilda was old, and Paschal was no great statesman like Gregory or Urban. Early in 1111 the king’s army approached Rome. The Pope, finding that neither the Romans nor the Normans would help him, sent legates to Sutri to make terms. Even in his supreme distress he would not give up lay investitures or freedom of elections; but he offered to the king that if he would accept those cardinal conditions of papal policy, he would renounce for the Church all its feudal and secular property. It was a bold or rash attempt to save the spiritual rights of the Church by abandoning its temporalities, lands, and jurisdictions. Henry naturally accepted an offer which put the whole landed estates of the Church at his disposal, and reduced churchmen to live on tithes and offerings—their spiritual sources of revenue. Only the temporalities of the Roman see were to be excepted from this sweeping surrender.

On Sunday, 12th February, St. Peter’s church was crowded to witness the hallowing of the Emperor by the Pope. Before the ceremony began the compact was read, and the Pope renounced in the plainest language all intervention in secular affairs, as incompatible with the spiritual character of the clergy. A violent tumult at once arose. German and Italian bishops united to protest vigorously against the light-heartedness with which the Pope gave away their property and jurisdictions, while carefully safeguarding his own. The congregation dissolved into a brawling throng. The clergy were maltreated, and the sacred vessels stolen. The coronation was impossible. The king laid violent hands on Pope and cardinals, and the mob in the streets murdered any Germans whom they happened to come across. After three days of wild turmoil, Henry quitted the city, taking his prisoners with him. After a short captivity, Paschal stooped to obtain his liberty by allowing Henry to exercise investitures and appoint bishops at his will. ‘For the peace and liberty of the Church,’ was his halting excuse, ‘I am compelled to do what I would never have done to save my own life.’ In return Henry promised to be a faithful son of the Church. On 13th April Paschal crowned Henry with maimed rites and little ceremony at St. Peter’s. Canossa was at last revenged. Henry returned in triumph over the Alps, and solemnly interred his father’s remains in holy ground at Speyer.

Henry’s triumph made a deep impression on Europe. The blundering Pope had betrayed the temporal possessions of the clergy, and the necessary bulwarks of the freedom of the spiritual, power. The event showed that there were practical limits even to papal infallibility. Paschal was as powerless to retreat from the position of Hildebrand, as he had been to renounce the lands of all prelates but himself. The clergy would not accept the papal decision. In France, a movement to declare the Pope a heretic was only stayed by the canonist Ivo of Chartres declaring that the Pope, having acted under compulsion, was not bound to keep his promise. The Italians gladly accepted this way out of the difficulty. Paschal solemnly repudiated his compact. “I accept”, he declared, “the decrees of my master, Pope Gregory, and of Urban of blessed memory; that which they have applauded I applaud, that which they have granted I grant, that which they have condemned I condemn”.’

Even in Germany Henry found that he had gained nothing by his degradation of the Pope. The air was thick with plots and conspiracies. His most trusted councillors became leaders of treason. Adalbert, Archbishop of Mainz, his chief minister, formed a plot against him and was imprisoned. The Saxons rose once more in revolt under their new Duke Lothair of Supplinburg. Friesland refused to pay tribute. Cologne rose under its Archbishop, and Henry found that he was quite unable to besiege it successfully. The nobles who attended his wedding with Matilda of England at Mainz, profited by the meeting to weave new plots. Next year the citizens of Mainz shut up the Emperor in his palace while he was holding a Diet, and forced him to release their Archbishop.

Affairs in Italy were even more gloomy. In 1115 the Countess Matilda died, leaving all her vast possessions to the Holy See. If this will had been carried out, Paschal would have become the greatest temporal power in Italy. Henry therefore crossed the Alps in 1116, anxious, if not to save Matilda’s allodial lands, to take possession of the fiefs of the Empire had held. In 1117 Henry occupied Rome and crowned his young English wife Matilda.  Even in his  exile Paschal had not learnt the lesson of firmness. He died early in 1118, before he had even definitely made up his mind to excommunicate Henry.

The new Pope, John of Gaeta, a monk of Monte Casino, who took the name of Gelasius II (1118-1119), was forced to flee from Rome as the Emperor was entering it. Henry now took the decisive step of appointing a Pope of his own. Burdinus, Archbishop of Braga, was in some fashion chosen by a few cardinals, and took the name of Gregory VIII. Gelasius at once excommunicated both Antipope and Emperor. He soon managed to get back to Rome, whence, however, he was again expelled by the malignity of local faction rather than the influence of the Emperor. He now betook himself to Marseilles by sea, and, after a triumphant progress through Provence and Burgundy, held a synod at Vienne. On his way thence to Cluny he was smitten with pleurisy, reaching the monastery with difficulty, and dying there on 18th January 1119.

Guy, the high-born Archbishop of Vienne, was chosen somewhat irregularly by the cardinals who had followed Gelasius to Cluny. He had long been conspicuous as one of the ablest upholders of Hildebrandine ideas in the dark days of Paschal II. The son of William the Great, Count of imperial Burgundy (Franche-Comté), he was the kinsman of half the sovereigns of Europe. He was, moreover, a secular (the first Pope not a monk since Alexander II), and accustomed to diplomacy and statecraft. He resolved to make an effort to heal the investiture strife, and with that object summoned a council to meet at Reims. Henry himself was tired of the struggle. He practically dropped his Antipope, and gave a patient hearing to the agents of the Pope, who came to meet him at Strasburg. These were Hugh, Abbot of Cluny, and the famous theologian, William of Champeaux, now Bishop of Chalons. The two divines pointed out to Henry that the King of France, who did not employ investiture, had as complete a hold over his bishops as the Emperor, and that his father-in-law, Henry of England, who had yielded the point, was still lord over his feudal vassals, whether clerks or laymen. For the first time perhaps, the subject was discussed between the two parties in a reasonable and conciliatory spirit. Before the king and the divines parted, it was clear that a compromise on the lines of the English settlement was quite practicable.

On 20th October 1119, Calixtus II opened his council at Reims. Louis VI of France, who had married the Pope’s niece, was present, and the gathering of prelates was much more representative than usual. Next. day the Pope went to Mouzon, a castle of the Archbishop of Reims, hoping to meet the Emperor. But their agents haggled about details, and mutual suspicion threatened to break off all chance of agreement. Deeply mortified, and without having seen the Emperor, Calixtus went back to the council, where the old decrees against simoniacs and married clerks were renewed, and where a canon forbidding laymen to invest a clerk with a bishopric or abbey was passed. But this canon marked a limitation of the Pope’s claim. While Hildebrand had absolutely forbidden all lay investiture, Calixtus was content to limit the prohibition to the investiture with the spiritual office. Yet, before the council separated, the excommunication of Emperor and Antipope was solemnly renewed. An agreement seemed to be further off than ever.

No Pope ever stood in a stronger position than Calixtus when in February 1120 he at last crossed the Alps. He was received with open arms by the Romans, and with more than ordinary loyalty by the Normans of the south. The Antipope fled before him, and was soon reduced to pitiful straits in his last refuge at Sutri. At last he was captured, contemptuously paraded through the Roman streets, and conveyed to prison, until, after peace had been restored to the Church, he was released to end his life obscurely in a monastery.

The Emperor saw that he had been too suspicious at Mouzon, and again wished to retire with dignity from a conflict in which his prospects of complete triumph had long utterly vanished. Things were now going better in Germany. In 1121 a Diet was held at Wurzburg, at which Henry made peace with Adalbert of Mainz and the Saxon rebels. It was agreed to refer the investiture question to a German council under the Pope’s presidency, and direct negotiations with Rome were renewed. The Pope’s words were now exceedingly conciliatory. ‘The Church,’ he said, ‘is not covetous of royal splendour. Let her enjoy what belonged to Christ, and let the Emperor enjoy what belonged to the Empire.’

On 8th September 1122 the council met at Worms. Cal­ixtus, after some hesitation, did not attend himself, but sent Lambert, Bishop of Ostia, as his legate. Lambert was a citizen of Bologna, who had been archdeacon of his native town, and had learnt from its rival schools of Canonists and Civilians the principles involved in both sides of the controversy. He soon turned his knowledge and skill to good account. The council lasted little more than a week. The Emperor at first stood out for his rights, but was soon persuaded to accept a compromise such as had been suggested previously at Strasburg. On 23rd September the final Concordat of Worms was ratified, which put an end to the investiture strife. Two short documents, of three weighty sentences each, embodied the simple conditions that it had cost fifty years of contest to arrive at. “I, Henry”, thus ran the imperial diploma, “for the love of God, the holy Roman Church, and of the lord Pope Calixtus, and for the salvation of my soul, abandon to God, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to the holy Catholic Church all investiture by the ring and the staff, and I grant that in all the churches of my Empire there be freedom of election and free consecration. I will restore all the possessions and jurisdictions of St. Peter, which have been taken away since the beginning of this quarrel. I will give true peace to the lord Pope Calixtus and to the holy Roman Church, and I will faithfully help the holy Roman Church, whenever she invokes my aid”. The papal diploma was even shorter. “I, Calixtus, the bishop”, said the Pope, grant to Henry, Emperor of the Romans, that the elections of bishops and abbots in the kingdom of Germany shall take place in thy presence without simony or violence, so that if any discord arise, thou mayst grant thy approbation and support to the most worthy candidate, after the counsel of the metropolitan and his suffragans. Let the prelate-elect receive from thee by thy sceptre the property and the immunities of his office, and let him fulfil the obligations to thee arising from these. In other parts of the Empire let the prelate receive his regalia six months after his consecration, and fulfil the duties arising from them. I grant true peace to thee and all who have been of thy party during the times of discord”.

Less clear in its conditions than the English settlement, the Concordat of Worms led to substantially the same result. The Emperor gave up the form of investiture, and public opinion approved of the temporal lord no longer trenching on the domain of the spirituality by conferring symbols of spiritual jurisdiction. But the Emperor might maintain that, if he gave up the shadow, he retained the substance. The Henries had not consciously striven for mere forms, but because they saw no other method of retaining their hold over the prelates than through these forms. The Pope’s concessions pointed out a way to attain this end in a way less offensive to the current sentiment of the time. As bishops and abbots, spiritual men could not be dependent on a secular ruler. As holder of fiefs and immunities, the clerical lord had no more right to withdraw himself from his lord’s authority than the lay baron. By distinguishing between these two aspects of the prelate’s position, the Concordat strove to give Caesar what was Caesar’s and God what was God’s. The investiture question was never raised again. But in its broader aspect the investiture question was only the pretext by reason of which Pope and Emperor contended for the lordship of the world, and sought respectively to trench upon the sphere of the other. The Concordat of Worms afforded but a short breathing-space in that controversy between the world-Church and the world-State—between the highest embodiments of the spiritual and secular swords—that was still to endure for the rest of the Middle Ages. Contemporary opinion, unapt to distinguish between shadow and substance, ascribed to the Papacy a victory even more complete than that which it really won. After all, it was the Emperor who had to yield in the obvious question in dispute. The Pope’s concessions were less clear, and less definite. The age looked upon the Concordat as a signal triumph for the Roman Church. Henceforth the ideals of Hildebrand became part of the commonplaces of European thought.

Neither Henry nor Calixtus long survived the Concordat of Worms. Calixtus died at Rome in December 1124, having previously held a council in the Lateran, where the Concordat was confirmed, and a vast series of canons drawn up to facilitate the establishment of the new order of things. He strove also to restore peace and prosperity in Rome, which had long lain desolate and ruinous as the result of constant tumults. Short as was his reign, it could yet be said of him that in his days there was such peace in Rome that neither citizen nor sojourner had need to carry arms for his protection. He had not only made the Papacy dominate the western world; it even ruled, if but for a time, the turbulent city that so often rejected and maltreated the priest whom all the rest of the world revered.

Henry V’s end was less happy. The war had taught him that the real ruler of Germany was not himself but the feudal aristocracy. He planned, in conjunction with his English father-in-law, an aggressive attack on Louis VI of France, but he utterly failed to persuade his barons to abandon their domestic feuds for foreign warfare. He fought one purposeless campaign as the ally of England. In May 1125 he died on his way back, at Utrecht, saddened, disappointed, and worn out before his time. He is one of the most unattractive of mediaeval Emperors. Cold-blooded, greedy, treacherous, violent, ambitious, and despotic, he reaped no reward from his treasons, and failed in every great enterprise he undertook. Yet despite his constant misfortunes, the strong, hard character of the last Salian Emperor did something to keep up the waning fortunes of the Empire, and the unity of the German kingdom.