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With the death of the Emperor Henry VI the great schemes of the House of Hohenstaufen for universal dominion and hereditary rule collapsed completely. The chaos that followed reveals the slenderness of the foundations on which Frederick Barbarossa and his son had built; when the master hand and the master mind were taken away, the whole edifice crumbled. It is not to be supposed, however, that a statesman so acute and so far-sighted as Henry VI was blind to the dangers of the future. Indeed his last acts, his release of Richard I of England from his feudal obligations and his testament, were clearly intended to minimise the disaster which his death before he had completed his task would inevitably bring. During the last years of his life he had spent much time and effort in the attempt to secure the friendship of those powers which were his natural enemies—the Papacy and England—both so nearly allied with his opponents at home, the Welfs. With England he had been successful; but Celestine III had stubbornly resisted all his advances, had uncom­promisingly rejected the very big concessions Henry had been prepared to make in order to obtain a lasting peace with the Curia. Nevertheless, what he had failed to bring to pass in his lifetime, Henry hoped might be achieved after his death. This clearly was the intention of the testament. It was his hope that by making substantial concessions to the Pope he would save what he deemed essential for his son—the Empire and Sicily. These concessions amounted to the recognition of the feudal relationship of the kingdom of Sicily to the Papacy and the restoration of the lands of the Countess Matilda. It was further stipulated that Markward of Anweiler should hold his extensive possessions in Central Italy, the dukedom of Ravenna and the March of Ancona, in fee from the Pope. This is the substance of the fragment of the original document which the author of the Gesta Innocentii III has thought fit to record. That the testament did not affect the situation was due to the fact that the man to whom it was entrusted, Markward, did not disclose it, and it only accidentally came to light in July 1200 when the victorious papal troops rifled his baggage after the battle of Monreale and discovered it. By this time the whole position was altered by three years of civil disturbances.

It may however be doubted whether, even if the document had been made public immediately after Henry’s death, it would have proved acceptable to the parties concerned. Frederick, it is true, had been elected King of the Romans during his father’s lifetime; but there was a strong feeling among some of the princes that this practice savoured too much, of hereditary succession, that it prejudiced their right of free election, and at any rate that an infant of two years old was not the appropriate person to set at the head of affairs at so critical a moment in German history. Moreover there was the Pope to reckon with. Celestine, despite his ninety years, had battled manfully against the aggressive policy of Henry VI and had refused many tempting offers in his efforts to maintain the independence of the Curia. Would not the acceptance of the will entail the sacrifice of much that he had been fighting for? It would mean at least the union of Sicily with the Empire. Celestine outlived his opponent but a few months, and the interests of the Church passed into younger, abler, and more energetic hands.

Of the five sons of Frederick Barbarossa three were already dead. Of the two survivors, Otto, Count Palatine of Burgundy, was too inefficient and too much occupied with the concerns of his county to be seriously thought of. Philip, the youngest and in character the most attractive of the family, though trained for the Church and even elected while still a boy to the see of Wurzburg, had subsequently renounced his orders; in 1195 he had been enfeoffed with the duchy of Tuscany and with the lands of Matilda, and on the death of his brother Conrad in the following year he had succeeded to the family duchy of Swabia. He was now a handsome young man of some 22 years of age, with fair hair and a comely and pleasing expression; his mild, kindly, and generous disposition won for him the affection of his friends, the respect of his opponents. Arnold of Lubeck, whose sympathies were on the side of the Wells, does not stint his praise “he was a man endowed with many virtues, for he was gentle, humble, and courteous”. But perhaps his very virtues made him less fitted to cope with the difficulties of his position: he was too refined, too much of a gentleman for the rude times in which he lived; he was not a great statesman or a great soldier; he lacked judgment, the power of decision, the gift of leadership; he could command the affection but not the discipline of his supporters. But even before Henry’s death his good qualities had marked him out as the future champion of the fortunes of his house. He had been closely in the confidence of the Emperor, who early in 1197 had entrusted him with the task of conducting his son from Foligno to Germany for his coronation; he had already crossed the Alps and had reached Montefiascone in the neighbourhood of Rome on his way to meet the boy when he heard the news of his brother’s death. The event was heralded by risings against German rule in all parts of Italy. Philip, in danger for his life, was compelled hastily to retrace his steps, and not without difficulty regained Germany in safety.

There everything was already in a state of anarchy and confusion. To the obvious causes for such a state of things was added the misery created by the failure of the harvest in two successive years and the consequent high price of corn. It was not a time to set a child on the throne; Frederick had not been baptised when he was elected King of the Romans; this was excuse enough for nullifying an election to which scarcely anyone wished to adhere. However honestly Philip may have wished to promote the cause of his young nephew—and there is no reason to doubt that he sincerely tried to do so—he must soon have been persuaded that the interests of his country no less than those of his house required him to abandon a course of action which it would have been sheer madness to pursue. At a meeting of his supporters held at Christmas at Hagenau he was adopted as a candidate; at Ichtershausen inThuringia on 6 March 1198 he gave a reluctant consent, and two days later at Muhlhausen near Erfurt he was duly elected by a large and representative gathering of princes.

But in the meanwhile the opponents of the house of Hohenstaufen, a powerful group of nobles in Westphalia and the district of the lower Rhine, had not been idle. Their leader, Adolf of Altena, Archbishop of Cologne, was, in the absence of the Archbishop of Mayence, who was away on crusade, the chief primate in Germany. Both in his private and in his official capacity he was a man of much consequence. The family had almost secured the great see as an appanage of their house, for no less than five of its members held the archbishopric in the course of a hundred years. The family possessions, which included the counties of Berg, Altena, Mark, and Isenburg, surrounded the city of Cologne on the right bank of the Rhine, the rich fiefs attached to the see enclosed it on the left; by the partition of the Welf estates on the fall of Henry the Lion, the Archbishops of Cologne had acquired ducal authority over Westphalia. Archbishop Adolf was therefore in a strong position. Already he had taken a prominent part in opposing the ambitious policy of the Hohenstaufen when he had resisted successfully the plan of Henry VI of making the German kingship hereditary. Then, as now in the present crisis, his importance was enhanced by the fact that long custom had attached to his office the function of crowning the king-elect.

About Christmas 1197 he called together his party at Andernach to consider possible candidates; many names were suggested and canvassed before a suitable person could be found to accept the expensive and hazardous honour of becoming the chosen rival of the Hohenstaufen. It was even said that the Kings of England and France were considered and rejected. Duke Bernard of Saxony was approached, but he gave a peremptory refusal: it would cost, he said, too much money and bloodshed, besides he was too fat to undertake so energetic a role; so he drifted away to the other side and took a prominent part in the election of Philip. Berthold of Zähringen, to whom the crown was next offered, was at first prepared to consider the idea; but he found it altogether beyond his means to satisfy the exorbitant demands of his supporters; moreover, he seems on second thoughts to have had some care for the interests of his country, for he declared that for his part he would not be the cause of a schism in the kingdom. So he withdrew his candidature, and he too crossed over to Philip who was ready with his purse to recoup him for the large sums of money he had already incurred on his abortive election.

The English ambassadors were present at the adjourned meeting of the anti-Hohenstaufen party which met at Cologne in February, and it was their influence that brought Richard’s nephews, the sons of Henry the Lion, into the field. The eldest, Henry, Count Palatine of the Rhine, was away on crusade, and so was passed over in favour of his younger brother, Otto. Born about 1175, Otto was almost an exact contemporary of his rival; he had spent his boyhood chiefly at the English court, whither he had followed his exiled father in 1182, in England itself, in Normandy, or in Aquitaine. His uncle Richard, whom in character he somewhat resembled, had from the beginning of his reign shown a marked interest in the boy’s fortunes. As early as 1190 he had given him the earldom of York, but owing to resistance on the part of the Yorkshiremen to their new lord, he had changed the gift to the county of La Marche. In 1194 Otto was one of the hostages at the court of the Emperor Henry VI for the payment of his uncle’s ransom. Released from captivity, Richard continued to promote his nephew’s welfare; a project was set on foot to secure for him the succession to the Scottish throne by marrying him to Margaret, the daughter and heiress of William the Lion, and when this fell through he was enfeoffed with the county of Poitou (1196). It would be a great stroke of policy if Richard could now secure for his nephew the imperial throne; for it would strengthen enormously his position against Philip Augustus. He was prepared to spend much money and labour to carry a project so much to his advantage to a successful conclusion.

Personally Otto was not a man to attract supporters. To the gentle Hohenstaufen, the rather boorish Welf presents a striking contrast. He was a tall, powerfully built, athletic young man; like his uncle, King Richard, a brave, dashing, impetuous soldier who “roaring like a lion’s whelp, incited by the desire of plunder, eager for the battle, fought for victory or death”. But this is all that can be said for him. He had no intellectual gifts; he was proud and stupid, obstinate and lacking in diplomatic skill. In this regard he may seem strangely unsuited for the position he had been chosen to fill; but other and more obvious men had been approached without success, for it was not altogether an enviable task to lead a small group of malcontents against the great power that the Hohenstaufen could command in Germany. Otto was something of a pis aller, and as such he had much to commend him; the money which was forthcoming from England appealed strongly to the German princes, and the close commercial connexion between England and Cologne assured him a welcome in that city, which had long been prominent as the centre of anti-Hohenstaufen feeling. So at an adjourned meeting held at Andernach about Easter time his candidature was definitely adopted; Count Emich of Leiningen was despatched to fetch him from Poitou. On 17 May he was at Liège whence, accompanied by Archbishop Adolf, he proceeded to Cologne.

From the arrival at Cologne events moved rapidly. Immediately after his formal election on 9 June he marched on Aix-la-Chapelle; the handful of knights that Philip had thrown into the town could offer no effective resistance to the large forces Otto brought against it. After a short siege it fell into his hands (10 July). On the 11th he strengthened his position among the princes of the Netherlands by betrothing himself to the daughter of the Duke of Brabant; on the 12th he was crowned by the Archbishop of Cologne in the great church at Aix-la-Chapelle. However irregular and unrepresentative his election might be, the fact that he had been crowned in the traditional place of coronation and at the hands of the man whose right to perform it was sanctioned by the custom of two centuries weighed heavily in his favour. It was nearly two months later, 8 September, that Philip was crowned, and then not at Aix but at Mayence, not by the Archbishop of Cologne but by the Archbishop of Tarantaise.

The circumstances of the coronation, however, were the only real asset in Otto’s favour; the position of parties showed an overwhelming prepon­derance on the side of his opponent. Outside his narrow sphere in the north-west of Germany Otto could count only on two princes, the Bishop of Strasbourg and the Count of Dagsburg, who happened to be at feud with the house of Hohenstaufen. “While only Cologne and part of Westphalia favoured Otto”, Arnold of Lubeck tells us, “the whole strength of the Empire supported Philip”, and he mentions the princes of Franconia, Saxony, Swabia, Bavaria, and Thuringia; Ottokar of Bohemia was won for his cause by the judicious grant of a royal title. Even Innocent III himself was bound to admit that Philip was elected by the majority and the more dignified of the princes; the powerful body of imperial ministeriales, the court officials, so numerous they were, Philip tells us, that he can scarcely count them, were ranged on the same side. Even in that part of Germany—the north-west—where Otto’s influence was strongest, Philip could rely upon some support, on the Bishop of Liège, for example, on Walram, son of the Duke of Limburg, and on the Archbishop of Treves; for although the latter had been associated with Adolf in the negotiations with Berthold of Zähringen, he had changed over to the side of Philip before the election of Otto. While Philip had the wide and rich personal estates of the Hohenstaufen family and the great treasure amassed by the late Emperor at his disposal, Otto had merely the relatively small estates of the Welfs round Brunswick and Luneburg and but a slender income. He was indeed financed almost entirely by his uncle, the King of England. This reliance of Otto on a foreign power made the question an international one; for in consequence of it Philip hastened to revive the old Hohenstaufen-Capetian alliance which Henry VI had broken off. The compact with Philip Augustus was made a few days after the election of Otto (29 June) and was directed not only against Otto and the King of England, but against their ally, Baldwin of Flanders, whose lands within the Empire (imperial Flanders) the French king was given permission to plunder and occupy.

At the critical time of the elections many of the German princes were still absent in Syria; their gradual return in the course of the following year was therefore a matter of the keenest interest to the two combatants. Archbishop Hartwig of Bremen, Count Adolf of Holstein, Dietrich, Margrave of Meissen, who brought with him the whole weight of the family of Wettin, added considerably to the strength of Philip’s position in the north and east of Germany; for Otto, on the other hand, the return of his brother, the Count Palatine, and of his intended father-in-law Henry, Duke of Brabant, counterbalanced the gains of his rival. Then Herman, the Landgrave of Thuringia, returned, ready now, as at all times during the civil war, to place his services in the hands of the highest bidder; and he was promptly bought by Otto. Almost last of all to arrive was the man who, had he been on the spot at the critical moment, might have saved the situation, Conrad, Archbishop of Mayence, the Arch-Chancellor, who threw in his lot with neither side, but hoped to retrieve the position by maintaining the legality of the election of Frederick in 1196.

An interval of about three months separated the elections of the two kings. It is a remarkable fact that no attempt was made by Philip to use this valuable time to crush his opponents in the Rhineland. On the contrary, it was not until well on in the summer of 1198 that he struck the first blow. This was an unsuccessful attempt to bring to submission the two supporters of the Welf cause in Alsace, the Bishop of Strasbourg and the Count of Dagsburg, who, from the geographical position of their lands, were a constant menace to Philip’s own family estates in Swabia. The attack was characteristic of the warfare which intermittently for some sixteen years spread desolation and ruin throughout Germany: the country was devastated, the towns pillaged and burnt, the inhabitants subjected to the most loathsome ignominies. Little can be said for the conduct of any of the armies that shared in this wanton work of destruction, but the most brutal, the most revolting atrocities, if we may believe contemporary accounts, were perpetrated by the Bohemian soldiers lighting under the standard of King Ottokar, who, we are told, “would never undertake a campaign unless they were given free licence of plundering.”

The raid against Strasbourg took place before his coronation. After that event Philip pushed northward down the Rhine, and, with only a little fighting at the crossing of the Moselle, managed to get within a couple of miles of Cologne itself. He might then and there, thought the historian of Treves, have taken the city, whose ruined walls offered no obstacle to an assault, and so have ended the civil war in the year of its outbreak. But the advance of the Duke of Brabant made Philip cautious, and the opportunity was lost, for soon the news from Thuringia brought the rival kings hurrying eastward to this new theatre of war. Here the Landgrave Herman was trying to get possession of the two imperial towns, Nordhausen and Saalfeld, which had been granted him as part of the bribe which had secured his services for Otto. Both were captured before the end of the year, and Goslar was only saved by the timely appearance of Philip (5 January 1199).

Neither side had gained any decisive advantage by the fighting of 1198, and each seemed reluctant to renew hostilities in the next year; the first six months, from the military point of view, were a blank. At last in June Otto attempted an advance up the Rhine, but he could get no farther than Boppard, a few miles south of Coblenz which he had burnt on his march—the only recorded incident in this otherwise uneventful campaign. Nevertheless, uneventful as it was, it had serious consequences for Otto: it displayed his weakness to the world; the confidence of his supporters was shaken, and even the burghers of Cologne entertained doubts of the wisdom of their archbishop in promoting a rival to the Hohenstaufen.

Philip’s fortunes rose as rapidly as Otto’s declined. On his second expedition against Strasbourg, the Bishop, Conrad, and his ally, the Count of Dagsburg, made their submission. In Alsace he was joined by Henry of Kalden, Marshal of the Empire, and Conrad of Urslingen, Duke of Spoleto, two of the finest soldiers of their day, trained in the Italian wars of the Emperor Henry VI. These successes and the obvious waning of Otto’s cause were sufficient to bring the Landgrave of Thuringia to Philip’s side. Herman by his numerous tergiversations amassed a great treasure in money and estates; but in justice it should be said of him that he made better use of his perhaps misgotten gains than many a noble who acquired wealth out of the civil wars. He was a great patron of art and literature; minnesingers thronged his hospitable court; Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbash, and many others enjoyed his liberal patronage. The magnificent halls of the Wartburg, the scene of the part-legendary, part-historical contest of minstrels, the Wartburgkrieg, still stand to commemorate perhaps the greatest among the promoters of the arts in the thirteenth century.

By the end of the year Philip’s position in the north-east of Germany was assured. The Bishops of Halberstadt and Osnabruck, who had hitherto remained neutral, now definitely declared for him; and the Christmas festival, when he rode crowned with his queen Irene through the streets of Magdeburg, marks the official recognition of his title in Saxony. It closed for Philip a year of conspicuous success.

Otto on the other hand, who spent Christmas in the neighbourhood of Goslar, could look back on the events of the year with anything but satisfaction. He had lost ground steadily; his allies in Alsace and Thuringia had deserted him, and, most calamitous of all, King Richard, to whose energy and financial aid he largely owed his election, died of an arrow wound while besieging the castle of Chaluz on 6 April. He could expect little from John. There is evidence for the payment of certain sums in the summer of 1199, but in the following January the preliminaries were arranged for the treaty with Philip Augustus which was finally concluded at Le Goulet in May; by the terms of that treaty John bound himself to withdraw his support from Otto. When therefore the latter sent his brothers Henry and William to England in September for the legacy in jewels bequeathed to him by Richard, John refused to hand it over, taking his stand on his agreement with the King of France. If Otto meant to continue the contest, he must seek for allies elsewhere; he must get the Pope to declare openly in his favour.

In Italy a strong reaction against German domination had followed immediately on Henry VI’s death. Everywhere the German officials were attacked and driven out, the German garrisons were expelled from their fortresses. The Papacy was not slow to take advantage of these general rebellions. Celestine III in his last days had begun the work of annexation which his successor Innocent III carried on with characteristic energy. Papal legates fomented and made use of the prevalent anti-German feeling. In his duchy of Spoleto Conrad of Urslingen made what resistance he could, but he was isolated and could expect no help from Germany; he tried to save his position by attempting unsuccessfully to bribe the Pope; then he submitted unconditionally at Narni in April 1198, and retired a little later across the Alps to the camp of Philip. A papal rector superseded an imperial duke in Spoleto. Markward of Anweiler, after struggling vainly against the adverse forces, was driven from the March of Ancona which, like Spoleto, was annexed to the Papal States. Markward withdrew to the south, to Apulia and Sicily, where he and Diepold of Acerra, despite the efforts of Innocent, were long able to hold their own.

In Lombardy and Tuscany anti-imperialist leagues were revived under papal influence. But though they were anxious enough to throw off German domination, to cast out German officials, they were not prepared to submit to papal domination or papal officials in their place. Innocent, not content with the annexation of southern Tuscany and of the long-disputed bequest of Matilda, claimed the whole of Tuscany as an integral part of the domain of the Church of Rome (21 February 1198), and to this claim the Tuscan towns offered a stubborn resistance.

But the success that Innocent had achieved in Italy was in no small measure due to the civil war in Germany, and the prolongation of the war while he was consolidating his gains would be of inestimable service to him. This fact accounts for the attitude of neutrality which he adopted in the opening phase of the struggle. But that he must ultimately be involved was obvious; with the election of the King of the Romans the Pope had properly nothing to do—that was an affair of the German princes alone—but it was admitted on all sides that only the Pope could confer the imperial title and dignity. Accordingly, both parties addressed letters to Innocent announcing their respective elections and soliciting what he alone could give the imperial crown.

Otto in a letter written probably in the late summer of 1198, reminded Innocent of the services his father had rendered to the Holy See by championing its cause against the Hohenstaufen; he tells of his coronation and how he had then sworn to maintain the rights and possessions of the Church of Rome and of the other churches of the Empire, and finally how he would renounce for the future “the detestable custom” of the ius spolii. In return he asks that the Pope will grant him the imperial crown, excommunicate the electors of Philip, absolve his partisans from their oath of allegiance, and lastly publish broadcast through Germany the sentence of excommunication against Philip himself. Here there was nothing derogatory to the position and prerogatives of the king: a mere formal oath to maintain the rights and possessions of the Church and the renunciation of an admitted abuse. Not so with his electors. In the letter signed by Archbishop Adolf, the Duke of Brabant, and six other princes, not only imperial coronation but papal confirmation of the election is requested. This was admitting a dangerous claim of the Pope, and one which led directly to papal interference in the election itself.

Philip, in the letter which he addressed to the Pope either on the day of his coronation or soon after, makes no other allusion to the event than in styling himself Dei gratia, Romanorum rex et semper augustus; it simply contains an excuse for having retained the Pope’s legate, the Bishop of Sutri, so long at his court, and the first real intimation of the facts was made in the impressive declaration of his supporters at Spires on 28 May 1199. It was signed by twenty-six princes, and twenty-four others, who were not present at the diet, intimated their consent in writing. The two lists, taken together, reveal the overwhelming strength of the Hohenstaufen party in Germany. They include the Patriarch of Aquileia, the Archbishops of Magdeburg, Treves, Bremen, and Besançon, and twenty-three bishops, among them three out of the five suffragans of the diocese of Cologne. The secular princes were represented by the King of Bohemia and his brother the Margrave of Moravia; the Dukes of Saxony, Bavaria, Austria, Meran, Lorraine, Zähringen, and Carinthia; Philip’s brother, the Count Palatine of Burgundy, and the Margraves of Meissen and Brandenburg. After informing the Pope that they have lawfully elected Philip in imperatorem Romani solii they explain how, on account of the resistance of a few princes, they met together in the preceding January at Nuremberg, and there unanimously promised to give him their support against all who opposed his authority “in the Empire and in the lands which his most serene brother held”; they request the Pope not to interfere in any way with the rights of the Empire, while they for their part will see that the rights of the Church are not diminished or infringed; they beg him further to lend his support to Markward, Marquess of Ancona, Duke of Ravenna, and procurator of the kingdom of Sicily—an array of titles which could scarcely fail to arouse the anger of Innocent. They close by announcing a speedy expedition to Italy for the imperial coronation. The letter may rank with the best efforts of the chancery of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI. It is a bold, unequivocal assertion of the Hohenstaufen policy as maintained by these two Emperors. There is no request for confirmation; the lawfulness of the election is taken for granted; so too is the right to the imperial crown. Innocent is merely asked not to interfere in matters that do not concern him, but to render assistance to the imperial representative in Italy, Innocent’s greatest enemy, Markward.

But before this uncompromising letter had been dispatched, Innocent had already abandoned his neutrality. The death of Richard I (6 April 1199), on whom Otto staked all his hopes, meant the almost inevitable victory of the Hohenstaufen. Innocent, who had no illusions about the character of Richard’s successor, might now expect to see the Victorious Philip inarching through Italy, re-establishing as he went the imperial control in those lands which he, Innocent, had so recently annexed to the Papal States, but where papal authority was as yet but infirmly rooted. The civil war in Germany must continue for a while longer, and Innocent must provide the support which hitherto Richard had rendered to main­tain the cause of the Welf; the attitude of neutrality must be given up.

Conrad of Wittelsbach, Archbishop of Mayence, was at the time of the double election, absent from Europe, crusading in Syria. His views on the question that was convulsing Germany, when they came to be known, were likely to be listened to by the two parties, for he commanded the respect of both. His natural inclination one might expect would be to resist the Hohenstaufen candidate. For in the course of his chequered career he had been deprived of his archbishopric by Frederick Barbarossa in consequence of his recognition of Pope Alexander III (Wurzburg, 1165). Alexander had rewarded him for his loyalty by creating him Cardinal­bishop of Sabina, and after the peace of Venice he acquired the archbishopric of Salzburg which he held till, in 1183, a fresh vacancy occasioned his return once more to his former primacy at Mayence.

To this old but influential and highly esteemed statesman, Innocent addressed on 3 May 1199 the letter with which he opened his campaign of intervention in the German dispute. After outlining the situation as he saw it, Innocent asks the archbishop to send in writing a statement to the effect that he will consider as binding whatever decision he, the Pope, might make; he is further to instruct all who are in obedience to him to recognise as king and give their support to him whose nomination is approved by the apostolic see. On the same day he wrote to the German princes claiming the right of the Curia to decide the question. There is at present no hint as to which side he means to support; and even the letter written to the electors of Otto two or three weeks later (20 May), the long-awaited answer to their letters of the previous summer in which they had informed the Pope of Otto’s election, contains no more than a general promise that he would show Otto his favour provided that he persevered in the devotion which his family had hitherto shown to the Church. But Otto wanted more than this. His position was becoming every day more desperate; the campaign of the summer of 1199 had, as we have seen, gone ill with him; and he confessed to Innocent that since the death of Richard he, the Pope, was “his sole comfort and support”. He prayed him therefore to declare openly for him.

A diversion in the diplomatic negotiations with the Curia was introduced by the return of Archbishop Conrad. He landed in Apulia in July, occupied himself for a time in a fruitless endeavour to bring about an understanding between Markward and the Pope with regard to the southern kingdom, and then journeyed north to Rome where he spent the autumn. Innocent’s attempt to wring from him a pledge to abide by his ruling on the German dispute had not been conceded. The archbishop had his own views on the matter, and proposed to keep his hands free to try what he could do to solve the problem by mediation. Neither of the rivals was, in his opinion, a lawful king; both should stand aside in favour of Frederick whose election he regarded as binding. But things had already gone too far to draw back; all that he could accomplish, as a result of an interview with Philip at Nuremberg, was a truce for the Rhineland to last until 11 November of the same year. In the meanwhile a court of arbitration composed of eight representatives of each party under his presidency was to meet near Coblenz on 28 July to decide the question.

Otto was not a little alarmed. He could not conceal from himself the fact that a representative body of arbitrators would inevitably give a verdict against him; his only hope was to get the Pope to forestall such a decision by deciding himself for Otto. So in desperation he wrote once more to Innocent (April 1200), imploring him to recognise him openly as king and to write to the sixteen arbitrators bidding them to do likewise. In return he expressed his readiness to agree to the conditions which his ambassadors had already arranged with the Pope nearly a year before (May 1199). For a long time Otto had stood out against these humiliating terms—they were the terms to which he subsequently set his seal at Neuss—but the trend of events in Germany, the ill success of his campaigns, and more than anything else the arbitration scheme of the Archbishop of Mayence, allowed him no choice but to yield. This promise was what the Pope was waiting for. Once assured of Otto’s submission to his conditions, which amounted to the sacrifice of the imperial position in Italy, he proceeded with the course of action he had already planned. He wrote to the German princes declaring that, while he had no wish to infringe their rights, they must choose a king whom he could and ought to crown; at the same time he intimated quite plainly that Philip was not such a person but that Otto was. He sent an emissary to Germany to further his plans; he canvassed the princes by promising to use his influence with the successful candidate to insure the inviolability of their lands and positions. This was as far as he was able to go at the moment, for there was still an obstacle in his path.

Conrad of Mayence, on whom he had at first relied to second his efforts, so far from doing so, was working independently on different lines. Conrad’s influence among the German princes was very great; it might well happen that his and not Innocent’s plan might prevail, and Innocent’s intervention would result only in loss of prestige. He wished to avoid this at all costs; and so he delayed until the archbishop’s plan of arbitration had failed. Conrad, weary of the whole business, went off to Hungary to settle a dispute between the sons of the late king Bela and to promote a crusade; and on his return to Germany in the autumn he died, leaving Innocent free to pursue his course unimpeded.

Innocent, however, did not take the important step of recognising Otto openly without first fully considering the question in all its aspects in a secret consistory held probably at the close of the year 1200. In the opening sentence of the Deliberatio de facto imperii super tribus electis he claims the right of providing an Emperor on the ground that the Empire principaliter et finaliter belongs to the apostolic see: principaliter by reason of the supposed translation of the Empire from the Greeks to the Franks by Leo III—a fiction now for the first time officially expressed—finaliter by reason of the fact that by the Pope the Emperor is crowned and invested with the Empire. He then proceeds to examine the individual claims of the three candidates—for Frederick’s interests are not overlooked—from the three points of view of legality, suitability, and expediency. The frankness with which the points for and against each candidate are discussed is conclusive evidence of the strict secrecy of the debate.

Against the otherwise lawful election of Frederick it was urged that he was manifestly unsuitable on the ground of age; for he who himself is in need of a guardian surely is incapable of governing others. Moreover it is certainly inexpedient, for it would involve the union of Sicily with the Empire, which would be disastrous to the Church. The legality of Philip’s election must be admitted, since a pluribus et dignioribus sit electus, and further it would be most inexpedient to make an enemy of a man so powerful in land, wealth, and supporters. On the other hand, he was at the time of his election under sentence of excommunication, and that a brother should succeed a brother might appear too much like hereditary succession. Innocent closes his case against Philip by declaring that he was obviously unsuitable because he was a persecutor of the Church and comes from a race of persecutors; and in a long passage he enumerates the attacks made against the Church by the Emperors from the time of Henry V onwards, concluding with the invasion of papal territory by Philip himself as Duke of Tuscany.

The case for Otto was manifestly the weakest and occupies a very small space in the long document; the only real argument in his favour was that it suited papal policy, but this Innocent would like to disguise. He therefore, while admitting that but few of the princes participated in his election, argues that among those few were “the majority of those who have the right to elect. We cannot here enter into the history of the development of the College of Electors; suffice it to say that by 1198 but four of the later seven can claim any sort of right to be first in the election”—the three Rhenish archbishops and the Count Palatine of the Rhine who represented the ancient right attached to the extinct dukedom of Franconia; and of these four, two—the Archbishop of Mayence and the Count Palatine—were at the time of the election out of Germany, while the Archbishop of Treves was not a promoter of Otto but on the contrary was present at the coronation of Philip and a signatory of the Spires declaration. Only the Archbishop of Cologne represented those to whose votes special significance was attached. But Otto in contrast to Philip is not only himself devoted to the interests of the Church but comes from families on both sides similarly devoted. So Innocent argued, and so gave his verdict in Otto’s favour.

The decision at which Innocent had arrived was not immediately put into effect nor even published. In his letters to the German princes of 5 January 1201, after explaining the grounds for his assumption of the right to decide the question in terms similar to those used in the Deliberation he merely requests them to agree upon a king whom he might properly crown Emperor or to leave the decision to him; he then informs them, of his intention to send a legate to Germany, Guy, Cardinal-bishop of Palestrina. Guy was to co-operate with Octavian, Cardinal-bishop of Ostia, who was already in France, engaged, among other things, in trying to persuade Philip Augustus to give up Philip and to espouse the cause of Otto.

Armed with a mass of letters dated from the papal chancery on 1 March, the legate, travelling through France in order to confer at Troyes with his colleague Cardinal Octavian, reached Aix-la-Chapelle about the middle of June. Here he was met by Otto, who had in the meantime, at Neuss on 8 June, set his seal to the terms which Innocent demanded. These amounted to no less than a complete surrender of the imperial position in Italy. Not only was he obliged to recognise the conquests and annexations which Innocent had already made, but he was further required to assist in the acquisition of the remainder of the lands to which the Holy See laid claim. These are then defined: all the land from Radicofani to Ceprano, that is to say, the Patrimony, the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Pentapolis, the March of Ancona, the Duchy of Spoleto, the land of the Countess Matilda, the County of Bertinoro, with other adjacent territory mentioned in many privileges of the Emperors from the time of Louis the Pious. He further agreed to assist in defending the kingdom of Sicily for the Church. By another clause his relations with France were to be controlled by the Pope; and at the end of the document he pledged himself to repeat these same promises when he had been crowned Emperor. Otto made desperate efforts to free himself from these last two conditions. Freedom of action in his relations with Philip Augustus he regarded as essential, while, if he could but manage to omit the last clause referring to the confirmation of the promises after his imperial coronation, he might render the whole document so much waste paper. For he thought that what he had sworn as king he might renounce as Emperor. To this end he did not hesitate, it seems, to tamper with the document in such a way that these two last clauses might be suppressed; the attempt failed, and a new draft was made.

The fact that Otto’s most influential supporter, the Duke of Brabant, was wavering in his loyalty probably more than anything else determined him to subscribe to the Pope’s conditions and to implore the legate to recognise him publicly as king. Together they proceeded to Cologne, where a meeting of the princes had been arranged. There on the appointed day, 3 July, Otto was proclaimed king “by the grace of God and of the Pope” as he came to style himself, and Philip and his partisans were excommunicated. But the gathering was an insignificant one: few of the princes had answered the summons of the legate; the messengers who carried them were received with hostility; often they were refused admission into the towns, and sometimes, Cardinal Guy tells in reporting these events to Innocent, they ended their lives on the nearest gallows. This was not encouraging. The proclamation was repeated at Maastricht and again at Corvey—an attempt to win over the Saxon bishops—but we have no evidence to show that the attendance at these meetings was better than that at Cologne. Only at Rome do we hear of anything like enthusiasm. There, if we may believe Hoveden, who may have been at Rome at the time, Otto was proclaimed on the Capitol and throughout the city, “Vivat imperator noster Otho.”

The princes of the Hohenstaufen party, undaunted by the sentence of excommunication pronounced against them by the legate, renewed their oath to Philip at Bamberg on 8 September, and at the same time prepared a vigorous protest against papal interference which was ultimately dispatched to Rome from the diet of Halle early in the next year. In his reply, which he addressed to the Duke of Zähringen, Innocent, besides recapitulating much that he had recorded in the secret Deliberation explained fully what he regarded to be the position of the Pope in the matter of the election of the King of the Romans. The particular interest and importance of the Bull Venerabilem is that it later found a place among the Decretals of Gregory IX, and so became embodied in Canon Law. Again, as in the Deliberation Innocent sets out from the argument for the dependence of the Empire on the Papacy based upon the fictitious translatio. He does not depute the right of those princes “to whom by law and ancient custom it is known to belong” of choosing the king; for this right came to them from the apostolic see when it transferred the Empire from the Greeks to the Germans. But as the man they choose is afterwards crowned Emperor by the Pope, he, the Pope, must have the power of scrutinising the person elected to see that he is a man worthy of the dignity; for they might choose an obviously unsuitable person, an imbecile, an excommuni­cate, a heretic. Sorely, Innocent asks, we ought not to anoint, consecrate, and crown a man of this sort? Absit omnino! He must therefore have the ius et auctoritas examinandi personam electam, from which clearly follows the power of rejecting the unsuitable. Philip, on examination, proved unsuitable; hence Innocent has rejected him and confirmed the election of Otto.

In some aspects the course of events in Germany might encourage Innocent to hope that his verdict might ultimately meet with acceptance there. For Otto’s prospects had perceptibly brightened in the latter part of the year 1200. Even in the field he had met with some success: Saxony had not been covered by the truce arranged by Archbishop Conrad for the seven months from April to November; that had been restricted to the Rhineland. So in August Philip took the opportunity to attack the home of the Welfs—Brunswick. The Count Palatine, who was engaged in the siege of Hildesheim, hastened to defend it, and held it against all the assaults of the besiegers. At last Philip was constrained through lack of supplies to relinquish the siege and to agree to a brief truce.

This was the first real set-back that he had hitherto encountered; but it was not the only one of this year. The constant quarrels between the Count of Holstein and Canute VI of Denmark finally led to the entry of the latter into the war on the side of Otto. It had come about by Count Adolf’s capture of the Welf town of Lauenburg, and his subsequent attack on Ditmarschen which was subject to Denmark (1201). Canute retaliated: Adolf himself was defeated and captured; Holstein was overrun and occupied by the Danes. This alliance was cemented a year later by two marriages between the Welfs and the Danish royal house. The connexion however brought little credit and not much real assistance to Otto. Neither Canute nor his brother Waldemar, who succeeded him in December 1202, had any serious interest in Otto’s cause; they entered the war for their own political advantage and devoted their efforts to establishing their control over Nordalbingia, which they did with such success that when in August 1203 Waldemar entered Lubeck he was hailed, Arnold tells us, joyously as “King of the Danes and the Slavs and lord of Nordalbingia”; and this frontier territory remained for many years subject to Danish rule.

Philip’s position in the north and east, already weakened by his failure at Brunswick and by the Welf-Danish alliance, was further damaged by the outbreak of a violent family quarrel among his supporters. Ottokar of Bohemia divorced his wife Adela, the sister of Dietrich of Meissen, and thereby gave offence to the whole house of Wettin and their powerful connexions, the Duke of Saxony and the Margrave of Brandenburg. The feud was the cause of Ottokar’s desertion to Otto in 1202.

But Otto found his own party by no means easy to manage. He was prevented from taking advantage of the weakened position of his rival in the north-east of Germany by feuds in the ranks of his own supporters: the Duke of Brabant, the Count of Guelders, the Count of Holland, were all quarrelling among themselves. Adolf of Cologne himself was shewing signs of wavering. The restoration of the head of the Welf family, the Count Palatine, in the county of Stade and in the Bremen fiefs, and his assumption of the title of Duke of Saxony, had alarmed those princes who had grown rich out of the spoils of Henry the Lion hardly twenty years before; and the Archbishop of Cologne had been the greatest gainer of them all. The Count Palatine might have ambitions to recover in their entirety the great estates his father had once held. There were other grievances as well: Otto had promised at the time of his election large rewards to Archbishop Adolf, and they had not yet been paid. The loyalty of the citizens however saved Otto from the importunity of his creditor; they realised the value to the city of the trade connexion with England. Otto they deemed more essential to their prosperity than their archbishop. So, in the agreement of September 1202, the four orders in the town, the priors of the church, the nobles, the ministeriales and the burghers, not only swore allegiance to Otto, but also declared that their obedience to the archbishop was dependent upon his continued adherence to the same side. Adolf was satisfied in the matter of the promised payments and the burghers were rewarded by privileges in respect of mints and tolls. Again all Cologne was united in support of the Welfs.

The towns of Germany, which at this period were rapidly growing in wealth and importance, were eagerly bargained for by the rival kings. The pact with Cologne is not an isolated instance. In the same year Philip made a substantial grant of trading privileges to the city of Treves. He had already done so even before his actual election (January 1198) to Spires; after his coronation at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1205 he made grants to Cambrai (whose bishop was a strong partisan of the Welfs) and to Stras­bourg, and in 1207 to Ratisbon. Such concessions of privileges made to acquire or maintain the allegiance of towns are not without their importance in municipal history; but more important still was the very injurious effect of the sacrifice of the royal right of markets and tolls on the financial position of the Crown. For with the great development of trade and commerce in the twelfth century these rights had become one of the most lucrative sources of royal revenue.

Elections to vacant sees also affected the position of parties in Germany. “Scarcely was there a bishopric, an ecclesiastical dignity, even a parish church that did not become litigious”, Burchard of Ursperg remarks with pardonable exaggeration. These disputes on the whole improved the position of Otto. The death of Archbishop Conrad of Mayence in the autumn of 1200 gave rise to a schism. The majority, acting, we may imagine, under the influence of Philip who presented himself at the electoral meeting, chose Lupold, Bishop of Worms, a strong Hohenstaufen partisan, but a man of secular rather than spiritual interests; and Philip, without waiting for papal confirmation, immediately invested him with the regalia of the see. The minority—three or four at the most, if we may believe Philip’s account of the affair—protesting against the king’s presence, went off to Bingen, where they elected the provost of the cathedral, Siegfried of Eppstein. In spite of the great popular acclamation with which Lupold’s election was at first received, Siegfried seems soon to have gained the ascendancy in the city, and was the means whereby Otto succeeded in gaining a footing within the walls of what had hitherto been a stronghold of Hohenstaufen interest (Christmas 1200). He managed also to intercept Philip’s treasure as it was being taken from the city, a material gain to his impoverished resources. But Otto’s influence here was only transient; for in the next summer we hear that the citizens closed their gates against the emissaries of Innocent III.

In a contested election at Liège, Hugh of Pierrepont, a not very reput­able person who had nothing but his Welf sympathies to recommend him, was recognised and consecrated by Cardinal Guy (April 1202). Recognition of Otto was a necessary condition of the confirmation of the appointment of Eberhard to the archbishopric of Salzburg; but this amounted to little more than a public pronouncement; in his heart he remained anti-Welf, and was the bearer of the Hohenstaufen protest sent to the Pope from Halle. The position of parties was more seriously affected by the conduct of Conrad of Querfurt, who had been Bishop of Hildesheim since 1194 and Chancellor to Henry VI since 1195, and was translated by Philip to the see of Wurzburg without papal license in 1198. Deprived of both bishop­rics by the Pope, he remained obdurate, and for a time styled himself in Philip’s documents as Bishop of Hildesheim and Bishop-elect of Wurzburg. But by 1201 he had submitted to the Pope, was confirmed in the see of Wurzburg, and while retaining the chancellorship and outwardly the friendship of Philip, secretly worked in the interests of Otto for the downfall of his master. On him mainly rests the responsibility for the lack of decision and enterprise which at this time characterised Philip’s movements. He was in close correspondence with Ottokar of Bohemia and with Herman of Thuringia, both of whom largely through his agency deserted to Otto. His career of duplicity was cut short by assassination in December 1202.

It cannot be denied that in these ecclesiastical disputes the Pope and his legate were guided in their decisions by political rather than by spiritual motives. But, in spite of their efforts, the German Church clung to the side of the Hohenstaufen with striking solidarity. Two archbishops and eleven bishops put their names to the Halle protest; one—the Bishop of Halberstadt—rather than give way to Innocent, left Germany and went on a pilgrimage to the East. A few, under threat of deprivation, submitted go far as to take the oath to obey the Pope in the matter of the German kingship; but their oaths were insincere, wrung from them by duress, and little affected their real political attitude.

This staunch attitude of the German episcopate may be partly ac­countable for that curious episode of the war, Innocent’s negotiations with Philip in the year 1203. The Pope feared, it seems, that he might be backing a losing side. So with that astuteness which marks all his diplomacy he prepared himself to meet either eventuality. Without in any way breaking with Otto, in fact while continuing publicly and vigorously to support him, he secretly admitted overtures from Philip. It was not merely the position in Germany that caused him anxiety; it was also Philip’s connexion with the Fourth Crusade. In the winter of 1201 Philip had received at his court both his brother-in-law, Alexius IV, who, having escaped from Constantinople, was seeking assistance against his usurping uncle, Alexius III, and Boniface of Montferrat, the chosen leader of the Crusade. It is on the whole probable that at his court at Hagenau in December the plan of diverting the Crusade to Constantinople was formed. Philip negotiated with the Venetians and with the crusading army at Zara; there is no doubt that he was deeply involved in the movement. Innocent, little as he liked the idea of the expedition against the Greek capital, could not shut his eyes to the fact that it might lead to the much desired union of the Greek with the Latin Church. This indeed was one of the inducements which Philip instructed his ambassador, Otto of Salem, to hold out to the Pope. Innocent, without in any way committing himself, allowed the Prior of Camaldoli, a man much employed in papal business, to accompany the monk of Salem back to Germany, where their conversations with Philip resulted in the drafting of a formal document containing the concessions which the latter was prepared to make. These included the restoration of all lands which he or his predecessors had taken from the Church, the renunciation of the ius spolii, the canonical election of bishops and other prelates, the reform of monasteries; he repeated his crusading vow; he promised to introduce a law by which anyone who should be excommunicated by the Pope should also fall under the ban of the Empire; he offered to cement the compact by marrying his daughter to a nephew of the Pope. But on the crucial question of the lands in central Italy nothing was said. It is evident that Philip was not prepared, as Otto had been at Neuss, to sacrifice the imperial interests south of the Alps. Nevertheless his offers were not to be despised; and had it not been for the turn of events in Germany they might have anticipated the reconciliation between Philip and the Pope four years later.

Otto, aided by the transference to his side of Herman and Ottokar, and by Philip’s own mismanagement of the campaign, was gaining ground rapidly. At the court at Ratisbon in May Philip had planned to take the field against Herman; at first he seems to have been successful; but with incredible lack of judgment he granted the landgrave a week’s truce, which gave time for the latter’s allies, the Count Palatine and the King of Bohemia, to come up. The odds were now against him; he was driven into Erfurt, besieged, and forced secretly to escape to the friendly shelter of the Margrave of Meissen. He returned once more to Erfurt where his army was besieged for a month, but with no better success; he was again compelled to withdraw, this time to Swabia. This Thuringian campaign is particularly conspicuous for that relentless cruelty, that wanton destruction of life and property, which characterised the whole war. Arnold of Lubeck records that no less than sixteen monasteries and three hundred and fifty parish churches were destroyed by the Bohemian army in a campaign that lasted little more than a month.

In August Otto, accompanied by the legate, joined his allies in Thuringia; at Merseburg Herman renewed his homage and Ottokar was crowned by the Pope’s legate King of Bohemia. The remainder of the campaign was less successful, and the attempts to win Halle, Halberstadt, and Goslar, were unavailing. But the work of the summer of 1203 taken as a whole was a marked success for the Welfs. For the first time in the course of the war the superiority was on Otto’s side. No longer was his influence confined within the narrow limits of the lower Rhine. He had sufficient confidence in the strength of his position to make preparations to carry the war into the heart of the enemy’s country, for he proposed at his court at Soest to open the next campaigning season by an attack on Swabia. In November he wrote hopefully to the Pope that his position was improving from day to day. Without undue optimism the Pope might now think that his policy was triumphing; at any rate there was no longer any need to dally with Philip’s envoys.

The projected attack on Swabia never matured. Otto had overestimated the strength of his position. The weakness lay in the lack of any real bond to unite his party. Philip could rely on the tradition of his house, which had undeniably done great things for Germany; on the personal attachment and loyalty of the mass of Germans to his family and more especially to himself, for he, perhaps more than any of the Hohenstaufen, was an attractive and even lovable character. Otto could look for no such sentiments towards himself among the German people. Jealousy of the Hohenstaufen, personal gain, petty rivalries, by such slender ties was his party attached, to him, and the year 1204 witnesses their unloosing.

A dispute over the inheritance of Count Dietrich of Holland, who died in February, dislocated the Welf party in the Netherlands. The nobility, more interested in the local than in the national quarrel, ranged themselves on the side of one or the other of the disputants and ceased to be concerned in the fortunes of Otto. More serious still was the defection of his own brother Henry. The latter had suffered heavily through the war; he had lost the Palatinate of the Rhine, and not unnaturally expected compensation; but his demands were greater than Otto could afford to satisfy, for they comprised, the best part of what, remained of the Welf inheritance—Brunswick and the castle of Lichtenberg. Otto refused, and at Burgdorf, near Goslar, when the rival armies were preparing for battle, Henry crossed over to Philip, who rewarded him not only by restoring to him the Palatinate but by giving him in addition the valuable imperial stewardship of Goslar.

This was the first of a series of desertions. Herman and Ottokar came next. Philip devoted the summer to the subjection of Thuringia; the siege of Weissensee, which held out for some six weeks, was the only notable incident in the campaign; Ottokar came to its relief, but the sight of Philip’s formidable army daunted him; he left his camp and stole back by night to Bohemia. Herman in despair made his submission (17 September), and it is worthy of remark that on this occasion alone he gained nothing by his changing of sides; indeed he had to give up the fiefs he had acquired by his previous tergiversations. The King of Bohemia was not long in following his example; the payment of a substantial fine brought him again into Philip’s good graces.

The desertion of the Landgrave and the Bohemian king from one side or the other had become such a common occurrence that we may believe that little confidence can have been placed in their loyalty; their action in September 1204 can hardly have been a matter for surprise. The desertion of the Rhine princes, the promoters of Otto, in November, although not altogether unexpected, was a much more serious affair. Both the Duke of Brabant and the Archbishop of Cologne had before now shown signs of wavering in their loyalty, the one in 1201, the other a year later; but in each case the danger had for the time been averted. Nevertheless their grievances had remained, and they made little attempt to conceal their growing discontent. They only awaited a suitable moment for desertion, and that moment came with Otto’s misfortunes in the summer of 1204. The success of Philip and the success of Philip’s ally, the King of France, over Otto’s ally, the King of England, made the time opportune. There was also in the case of the Duke of Brabant the question of Otto’s marriage; since 1198 he had been betrothed to the Duke’s daughter, and the pledge had been solemnly renewed, at the court at Maastricht in 1201, when the papal legate had proclaimed Otto as king. But unaccountably, as it seems to us, Otto had not taken, nor was he apparently proposing to take, any steps to fulfil his engagement. The duke began to entertain other ideas for his daughter’s future; a marriage in the other camp might be arranged; Philip’s nephew, Frederick of Sicily, was spoken of as a possible and suitable alliance. Philip was prepared to offer very attractive terms to the two; for their desertion would practically complete the ruin of Otto, and besides the confirmation of existing privileges and rich rewards, Philip, perhaps having in mind the possibility of a family alliance, granted to the Duke of Brabant the exceptional privilege that his fiefs might descend in the female line. The Archbishop of Treves and the Bishops of Constance and Spires acted as mediators, and on 12 November the Archbishop of Cologne and the Duke of Brabant took the oath to Philip at Coblenz. The suffragan bishops of the Cologne diocese followed the example of their metropolitan; the bishops of Münster, Liège, and Osnabrück passed over to the side of Philip. Innocent was enraged at this wholesale desertion. Particularly he vented his wrath on Archbishop Adolf, that son of Belial who had deprived him of victory, who had ruined his hopes of making the Curia the arbiter of the affairs of Europe. Innocent might heap his vitupera­tion upon the deserters, might thunder against them his excommunica­tions, might lay their lands under interdict; he might encourage the few remaining supporters of Otto. But his anathemas and his exhortations were alike unavailing. The position of the Welf party was past retrieving. Only in his native Brunswick and in the city of Cologne was Otto’s cause still maintained.

Cologne did not follow the example of its archbishop. They held to their agreement of 1202. If for no other reasons, commercial considerations imperatively demanded that they should remain firm in their loyalty to Otto; for this very year King John had written that the safe-conduct afforded to merchants of Cologne only held good so long as they supported his nephew. So they hounded out their archbishop and gave themselves strenuously to the rebuilding of their walls against Philip’s attack, which for the next two years was to be concentrated against their city. As Adolf failed to respond to the threats and to the summons of Innocent, a new archbishop, Bruno of Sayn, the Provost of Bonn, was elected in his place. But the schism thus created only added to the existing troubles; for though Bruno was gratefully welcomed in the city, in the diocese at large Adolf continued to be recognised.

To complete his triumphs, Philip was crowned with his wife Irene at Aix-la-Chapelle by Archbishop Adolf on 6 January 1205—this time by the right man at the right place. His opponents could no longer use the irregularity of his previous coronation by the Archbishop of Tarantaise at Mayence as an excuse for refusing him recognition. His position in Germany had by this second coronation been regularised.

The greater part of the year 1205 was taken up with preparations for the great attack upon Cologne, where the remnant of the Wolf faction, the Duke of Limburg and his son Walram, Archbishop Siegfried of Mayence, and the Bishop of Cambrai, were collected. The Rhine was blocked above and below the city to prevent supplies from reaching the garrison; Adolf, whose influence in the neighbourhood of Cologne was very strong, was left to harass it; while Philip himself withdrew to the south to muster his forces. The Dukes of Austria and Bavaria and the Count Palatine of the Rhine joined him with their levies. In September everything was in readiness; the Moselle was crossed, and the army passed without encountering any opposition through Andernach and Bonn. Between Bonn and Cologne Philip halted to refresh his troops and to await the coming of the Duke of Brabant. His camp stretched, we are told, over the better part of two miles, a fact which affords us some idea of the strength of the force considered necessary to wear down the obstinate resistance of the burghers of Cologne. The Duke of Brabant at last made his appearance, immediately quarrelled with his chief, and only agreed to give his services at the price of five hundred marks a week—an illuminating example of the mercenary attitude adopted by the greater number of princes during the civil war.

On 29 September Philip’s army was before Cologne, and the attack began. The assault led by the Dukes of Austria and Bavaria lasted five days and resulted in huge losses to both sides. On one occasion Otto, with that impetuous courage which was one of his few redeeming features, sallied from the town, was met by the marshal, Henry of Kalden, and was unhorsed, wounded, and only saved from capture by the bravery of Walram of Limburg. But the main attack failed. For another year the city held out, and the only result of this elaborately planned campaign was the capture of the small town of Neuss in the beginning of October. The season for campaigning was already far advanced; and it had been a bad season, for we hear that even on Philip’s march on Cologne in September his troops had suffered terribly from exposure; many horses and some men had perished through the inclemency of the weather; since then they had been through some hard fighting, and the Rhine fleet, left behind at Bonn, with food supplies, munitions, money, and stores of all kinds, had been destroyed by the enemy. It would have been useless to prolong the campaign further. Philip therefore again withdrew to the, south in order to make fresh preparation for another attack on the stubborn city in the following year.

This took place in July and, owing to the treason of Duke Henry of Limburg, was decisive. The latter, who was in command at Cologne, instead of keeping his troops within the strongly fortified city, led them out into the open country. Unprepared for the attack and hopelessly outnumbered, they were overwhelmed by Henry of Kalden near the castle of Wassenberg; the bulk of the army was killed or captured; Bruno, the newly consecrated Archbishop of Cologne, was among the prisoners and was thrown in chains into the castle of Trifels; Otto with Walram of Limburg, who, unlike his father, remained loyal, escaped by devious paths to Cologne. This was really the end. Further resistance was clearly useless. Shortly after the battle the two kings had for the first time a personal interview in Philip’s camp between Bonn and Cologne; but Otto still obstinately clung to his pretensions and nothing came of it. But if Otto failed to realise that his cause was irretrievably lost, the people of Cologne admitted it. An influential party in the town was favourable to peace with the Hohenstaufen. Their town was practically in a state of blockade; the Rhine and the principal roads leading to the city were closed. The Duke of Brabant acted as mediator, and at Coblenz on 11 November the preliminaries were agreed to. Philip was not vindictive, for the terms which, were finally settled in January 1207 were certainly lenient. The main difficulty was what to do about Archbishop Adolf. He had been excommunicated and deprived of his see by the Pope; he had been thrown out of the city by the burghers; but he had made himself extremely useful to Philip during the past two years, and Philip was therefore not prepared to sacrifice him in the moment of victory. It was arranged that the citizens should use their influence with the Pope on Adolf’s behalf; but if the Pope would not restore him, they were to accept a bishop of Philip’s choosing. Before the capitulation Otto left the city. He betook himself first to Brunswick, whence by the help of Waldemar of Denmark early in 1207 he reached Ripen on the Schleswig coast, and so to his uncle in England.

Innocent had done his best for Otto. But he had his own difficulties to contend with in Italy. The weakness of his position in the lands he had annexed, in Ancona and Spoleto, was revealed when in the autumn of 1204 Lupold, the Hohenstaufen Archbishop of Mayence, had suddenly appeared there with an armed force in the capacity of imperial legate. Philip, flushed with the successes of that year, was, it seems, contemplating an attempt to revive the imperial power in Italy. His legate passed unmolested through Lombardy; for the Lombards had no desire to interfere with the present state of things in Germany which gave them the opportunity they needed to strengthen their political independence. He was welcomed at Ferrara, at Ancona, and at Assisi, to the last of which he granted a charter subsequently confirmed by Philip. Innocent was infuriated not only by the presumption of Philip in sending an imperial legate to Italy at all, but also by the person he sent, a man whom he had excommunicated and deprived of his see. He can scarcely find seemly language with which to refer to this intruder of Mayence, the diabolical Lupold, this pestilent fellow. Lupold was some time in the late summer of 1205 defeated by the papal troops, and made his way back to Germany with but a remnant of his army. But Innocent never forgot the outrage, and when in 1206 he received once more the overtures of Philip, he made the sacrifice of Lupold an indispensable condition.

Innocent’s attempt to browbeat the German bishops had signally failed. It was clearly necessary to relax to some extent the unbending attitude he had hitherto adopted. Ludolf of Magdeburg, the loyalest supporter of Philip and the leader of the Hohenstaufen party in Saxony, was in 1205 reconciled with the Pope, and, after his death in August of the same year, his successor, a man of strong Hohenstaufen sympathies, was, after some delay and demur, accepted by the Pope. Conrad, Bishop of Halberstadt, who, rather than take the oath that Innocent had required of him, had gone off to the east, now returned, and though still a staunch adherent of Philip, he too was reconciled with the Pope. A similar change of attitude is perceptible in his relations with Philip himself. In June 1206 he dispatched Wolfger, the Patriarch of Aquileia, to Germany to request Philip to give up Lupold. Philip answered in a long letter, addressed to the Pope himself, remarkable for its sincerity and for its conciliatory tone. It opens with a detailed account, perhaps the most interesting that we possess, of the circumstances that led to his own election and to that of his opponent. He then comes to the crucial question of the moment, the schism in the diocese of Mayence. His proposal, is an eminently reasonable one: he will give up Lupod, if Innocent will give up Siegfried; and he is prepared to provide for the latter out of his own revenues until a place of suitable dignity can be found for him. But he cannot agree to having the foremost metropolitan see in Germany in the hands of his avowed enemy. He sees difficulties in the way of a truce with Otto, but on the main point, as he regards it, pro reformanda pace et concordia inter vos et nos, inter sacerdotium et imperium, he makes the very sensible suggestion that it should be submitted to a court of arbitration composed of cardinals and German princes.

Innocent in his answer rejected the proposal for the solution of the Mayence difficulty, and continued to press for a truce with Otto. In this last phase of the struggle—the phase of negotiation—it was Innocent rather than Otto that impeded the re-establishment of law and order, for Otto was now almost a negligible factor. Innocent’s German policy was anything but disinterested, anything but highminded; it was detrimental alike to the Church and to the people of Germany. It was he who span out the negotiations, who played for time in the vain hope that, if a long truce could be arranged, Otto might sufficiently recover his resources and with foreign help might even yet come out victorious. Of the three principals concerned, Philip alone sincerely wished to put an end to the business, and with this object was prepared to make any concessions consistent with his dignity and his position as acknowledged King of Germany. So in February 1207 he sent again to the Pope. His ambassadors, Wolfger of Aquileia at their head, were given plenipotentiary powers to settle the questions at issue. But this attempt to hasten matters to a conclusion only led to the dispatch of legates and more tedious delays and more wearisome negotiations. The legates, Ugolino, Cardinal-bishop of Ostia, afterwards Pope Gregory IX, and Leo, Cardinal­priest of Santa Croce, did however accomplish something: they disposed of some of the difficulties that obstructed the path to peace. Philip was released from the papal ban, Bruno of Sayn was liberated from the castle at Trifels, Lupold was virtually abandoned, and Siegfried in effect was recog­nised by Philip as Archbishop of Mayence. But no progress was made on the main issue between Philip and Otto. The latter was approached to no purpose, for he thought to renew the struggle with the help of foreign powers—England and Denmark. In this he was encouraged by Innocent, who repeatedly urged King John to take more active steps on his nephew’s behalf.

In the truce concluded between England and France in the autumn of 1206 the clause of the previous truce forbidding John to assist Otto was omitted. John therefore was at liberty to give what help he would to his defeated nephew when the latter visited the English court early in 1207; he did in fact receive a sum of six thousand marks from the English exchequer on account of Richard’s bequest. From the side of Denmark there were also encouraging signs: the conflict of German and Danish interests in Livonia had led Waldemar once more to take an active part on Otto’s side, and his enmity to Philip was increased when the Hohenstaufen party at Bremen elected in succession to Archbishop Hartwig in November 1207 Waldemar, Bishop of Schleswig, a most determined enemy of the Danish king. Although therefore with Wassenberg and the capitu­lation of Cologne the Welf party in Germany may be said to have been practically annihilated, yet there was still a chance that Otto, furnished with foreign gold and foreign troops—there was already a Danish garrison at Brunswick—might at least make Philip’s position uncomfortable. So Otto obstinately refused to entertain the idea of renouncing his pretensions. Philip was at Quedlinburg and Otto near Goslar; two interviews took place between them and the legates, at which Philip made handsome offers to compensate his rival; he should marry one of his daughters and have the duchy of Swabia or the kingdom of Arles. But it was to no purpose. All that was accomplished was a truce to last till June in the following year.

The legates, and with them Philip’s envoys, returned to Rome early in the next year (1208) to report such progress as they had made. Then it was that Innocent capitulated: he recognised Philip as king and promised him the imperial crown. In a moment he threw up the claims upon which he had been so insistent, of being the arbiter in the German election and of examining the fitness of the person elected. He even yielded his claim to the lands he had annexed in central Italy—Tuscany, the March of Ancona, the Duchy of Spoleto. To what was this sudden and extraordinary reversal of policy due? Was it indignation at the obstinacy of Otto or was it the effect of a personal bribe? for among the conditions of peace it was agreed that Philip’s daughter Beatrix should marry the Pope’s nephew, and this nephew should be enfeoffed with these disputed lands in Central Italy. The legates once more set out for Germany in order to clear up the few outstanding difficulties that yet remained; they were still on their journey when the news of Philip’s death reached them.

Philip was at Bamberg, where his army had been mobilised, awaiting the expiration of the truce (24 June) to deal a decisive blow against his rival. On the 21st he attended the wedding of his niece Beatrix and the Duke of Meran; he had retired to his quarters in the bishop’s palace to rest after the fatigues of the morning when he was struck down in revenge for a private grievance by Otto of Wittelsbach, Count Palatine of Bavaria. The murderer escaped; but it is to the credit of Otto that one of his first acts as undisputed king was the punishment of his late opponent’s assassin. He was put under the ban of the Empire, hunted down in a barn near Ratisbon, and slain by that most faithful of Hohenstaufen ministeriales, Henry of Kalden (March 1209).

The German princes were wearied of wars. To raise Frederick to the throne would have made a continuance of the civil war inevitable. It would also involve them in difficulties with Innocent, who would go to almost any lengths to avoid the union of Sicily with the Empire, and who wrote at once on hearing the news of Philip’s death to the bishops bidding them under no circumstances to permit the election of a new candidate. Innocent would be interfering once more in German affairs, causing schisms in the dioceses, throwing broadcast his excommunications, besieging the princes with letters. They had had enough of this sort of thing, they longed for a little peace and quiet. Otto’s course, if he behaved sensibly, was an easy one. The first step was taken only a week or so after Philip’s murder by Albert, Archbishop of Magdeburg, the leader of the Hohenstaufen party in Saxony; he visited Otto in his camp at Sommerschenburg and came to terms with him, much to the advantage of his church, his diocese, his family, and himself. But apart from this personal reconciliation he gained his main object, for he persuaded Otto not to thrust his way to the throne by force of arms, taking his stand on the validity of his election in 1197, but to submit himself peaceably to a fresh election and to trust, to the diplomacy and the conciliatory endeavours of the archbishop to induce the princes to accept him. To this point the princes attached great weight, and in fact Otto, in a compliant mood, dated his documents for a week or two after his election at Frankfort as in the first year of his reign. But he soon gave it up; the end of the year 1208 is in his documents no longer the first but the eleventh year of his reign.

In the north-east of Germany Otto’s position was a strong one. The influential Wettin and Ascanian families even before Philip’s death had shown some inclination to join him; the promise to abandon the Danish alliance and to re-establish Count Adolf in Holstein brought the rest of the border nobles to his side; and a gathering of Saxons and Thuringians summoned by Archbishop Albert to Halberstadt on 22 September accepted him unanimously. The Count Palatine reverted again to his brother. The two Welf Archbishops of Mayence and Cologne, Siegfried and Bruno, who were at the time of Philip’s murder at Rome prosecuting their claims against their respective anti-bishops, immediately hastened home and were able to use their influence on behalf of Otto, to whom, at least indirectly, they owed their promotion. The Hohenstaufen ministeriales were brought over in a body by their leader Henry of Kalden, and even the strongest supporter and intimate friend of Philip, Conrad, Bishop of Spires, adopted the same course. Louis of Bavaria, who hesitated for some time, was finally won by the grant of the confiscated fiefs of Philip’s murderer. The betrothal of Otto to Philip’s daughter Beatrix, formally carried out in the following May when the legates brought the papal dispensation for a marriage within the prohibited degrees, did much to reconcile the Hohenstaufen party to the idea of a Welf king. The only real opposition came from France. Philip Augustus, who had a dread of a Welf on the throne of Germany, supported by Philip’s widow Irene, put up Henry of Brabant. But Irene died in August, and the nobles of the lower Rhine did not fall in with the proposal, which was accordingly dropped. The few princes, the King of Bohemia and his brother, the Duke of Moravia, the Dukes of Zähringen, Lorraine, and Brabant, who still hung back, offered no resistance, and indeed accepted the fait accompli at the diet of Wurzburg (24 May 1209).

There could have been little doubt what the result of the election at Frankfurt on 11 November would be. The fifty-five princes who attended were unanimous. The Franconians, Bavarians, and Swabians who had not been present at the meeting at Halberstadt now formally recognised Otto. The business was concluded by the promulgation of a general land peace, “all the princes swore to keep the peace by land and sea”, and, wrote Otto of St Blaise, “the troubled kingdom enjoyed a rest for a little while”.

Innocent III regarded the murder of Philip as the judgment of God, and worked busily for Otto in these months, encouraging his supporters, exhorting those who hesitated, threatening those who opposed. Otto was deeply grateful to the Pope and humbly submissive. The Pope could not wish for fuller acknowledgment of his services. But he intended to profit by the favourable opportunity to increase permanently the influence of the Curia and its authority over the German Church, and at least on paper he got what he wanted. On 22 March 1209 from Spires Otto issued a diploma by which he acknowledged the territorial claims of the Papacy in their widest extent; further he permitted unrestricted appeals to Rome in ecclesiastical causes; he renounced not only the right of appropriating the moveable, property of a deceased bishop as he had done in 1198 and 1201, but also the right to the revenues of vacant churches. As regards ecclesiastical elections, he practically surrendered all those rights which had been preserved for the Emperor by the Concordat of Worms. Briefly, he resigned that control over the German Church which his predecessors, and particularly Frederick I and Henry VI, had exercised, on the whole to the mutual advantage of Church and State alike, since the days of Otto the Great.

What is remarkable is that this document made far wider concessions than that issued at Neuss at the moment of Otto’s deepest abasement, when the Pope’s help alone could save him. He was now king without a rival, and king not “by the grace of the Pope” as he. used to style himself, but by the unanimous election of the German princes. There was no need in 1209 as there had been in 1201 to make an abject submission to the Pope. Innocent was, however, soon to learn the value of such promises. It is more than probable that Otto never seriously intended to abide by them. It was easy enough to say, as he did say later, that they were not binding on the ground that they had not received the sanction of the princes. There are indications during the months in which he was making his preparations for the expedition to Rome that he was contemplating the re-establishment of imperial power in Italy, that he, the Welf, was purposing to adopt the Hohenstaufen policy. In his relations with Italy he was guided by the Patriarch of Aquileia, whole-heartedly Hohenstaufen in outlook, whom he made imperial legate with the widest powers and sent across the Alps to prepare the ground for his own coming to Italy.

In August he led the army which had assembled at Augsburg across the Brenner; in October he received the imperial crown. His actions even before the coronation clearly reveal his intention to pursue, despite his promises, the policy of Henry VI in central Italy. As time went on his design became more ambitious and more aggressive. Before the end of the year 1209 he was planning with Diepold, whom he appointed Duke of Spoleto (February 1210), with the Pisans, and with the disaffected barons of Apulia, the conquest of Sicily; and it is clear from a letter Innocent wrote to the Sicilian chancellor, Walter of Palear, which may perhaps be dated as early as December 1209, that he, Innocent, knew of the Emperor’s intentions. It was the cause of the quarrel. Already in January 1210 Innocent wrote to the Bishop of Ratisbon complaining of Otto’s ingratitude, and of his persecution of the Church and of the orphaned Frederick; for against Frederick also Otto entertained a strong and growing antipathy, which was not lessened by the fact that Frederick showed that he did not regard himself merely as King of Sicily but as Duke of Swabia and the heir to the Hohenstaufen family possessions. Innocent showed on the whole greater forbearance than might have been expected under such provocative circunstances. For a time he contented himself with complaints, warnings, and threats; and with quietly stirring up agitation against him in Germany and the Italian cities. But Otto paid no heed; he only became more aggressive. In August he launched his attack against the Tuscan patrimony, and in November began his conquest of Apulia. Then it was that Innocent carried out his threats, published the sentence of excommunication against the Emperor and released his subjects from their oath of allegiance.

From the beginning of the year the Pope had been in close correspondence with Philip Augustus who, for his part, had been energetically engaged in working up discontent, among the princes of Germany. But their aims were not quite similar. Innocent, it would seem, had grave misgiving about bringing forward the only alternative to Otto, Frederick; for it would mean the sacrifice of all that he had been fighting for, the separation of Sicily and the Empire. He still therefore clung to the idea of a reconciliation with Otto. Innocent’s hope was that a rebellion in Germany would merely force Otto to abandon his campaign against Sicily. But this was not at all the view of Philip Augustus and of the group of princes associated with him; they wanted to get rid of Otto once and for all; they were ready to rebel, but only if the Pope would agree to their conditions: namely, that he would never make peace with Otto, that he would pronounce their release from their oath of allegiance, and finally consent to the election of a new king. Innocent, however, was not yet prepared to take so decided a step; he tried once more to negotiate with Otto, and only when this failed did he repeat the sentence of excommunication (March 1211). In the meantime opinion in Germany was tending more and more in the direction of revolt. Philip of France had found a ready agent in the Landgrave of Thuringia, and with him was soon associated the scarcely less shifty King of Bohemia. These two with Siegfried of Mayence appear to have taken the lead at the diet of Bamberg where Frederick’s election was for the first time openly proposed; but the meeting was divided; more canvassing and more negotiating were required before the proposal was accepted at the diet of Nuremberg in September 1211.

The news of the rebellion determined Otto, who had conquered Apulia, to desist from the attack on Sicily and to return home. But he can have scarcely realised the full extent of the danger, for he did not hurry his journey. He set out from Calabria in the beginning of November; he did not roach Germany till the following March. Gravis Italicis, Alamannis gravior, suis ingratus fines attigit Alamannie; a nullo sibi principe occurritur; nulli gratus excipitur. Such, according to the contemporary monk of St Gall, Conrad of Fabaria, was the gloomy welcome Otto met with on his return to his native land. He was never popular, he had never gained the affections of his subjects. Nevertheless his presence in Germany did to some extent check the tide of revolt. At Frankfort in March the Duke of Bavaria and the Margrave of Meissen joined him; the Duke of Austria followed their example shortly after. The Duke of Brabant and the Count Palatine were still loyal, and a number of the smaller nobility attended his court during the first months after his return. Dietrich of Cologne, who in spite of the papal ban continued to support Otto, was deposed by Siegfried of Mayence in virtue of his legatine authority; and the former archbishop Adolf was re-established in his place. But Cologne, true to its Welf tradition, clung to its Welf archbishop, and would have nothing to do with Adolf; only the clergy accepted him.

Otto himself acted swiftly against the leaders of the rebellion. He deprived Ottokar of his kingdom (March) and he led his army against Herman (July). He had taken several Thuringian strongholds and was besieging Weissensee when he heard the news that Frederick, the priests’ king as he contemptuously called him, was on his way to Germany. With the hope of retaining the support of at least some of the Hohenstaufen party, he now hurriedly married Beatrix, to whom he had been betrothed since 1209. But it failed in its purpose, for she died within three weeks of her marriage (August 11). Swabia and Bavaria declared for Frederick, and Otto in alarm threw up the siege of Weissensee and turned southward to meet his new rival.

Frederick, after some hesitation and against the advice of his wife Constance and many of his Sicilian councillors, had accepted the offer of the German crown made by the princes at the diet of Nuremberg. In the spring he set out on his journey, and travelling by way of Rome and Genoa, and thence across Lombardy, he reached Trent only to find the Brenner barred against him. Turning north-west along the valley of the Adige, he made his way, probably over the Ofen and Fluela passes, to Chur and so down the Rhine to Constance. He arrived there in the nick of time, three hours before Otto, who by forced marches had hastened from Thuringia to prevent his entering Germany. Arriving too late, Otto retired down the Rhine, and tried again to check his advance at Breisach. But the citizens there revolted and he had to save himself by a rapid retreat to the friendly shelter of Cologne. Frederick too moved from Constance slowly down the Rhine, the number of his supporters continually increasing as he went; even Louis of Bavaria, who had so recently made a solemn compact with Otto, was among these new adherents. He reached Frankfort, where he was formally elected on 5 December. Four days later he was crowned by Archbishop Siegfried in the Cathedral of Mayence.

The parties were fairly evenly divided: Frederick was the accepted king in South Germany, in Bohemia—for he had reinstated Ottokar in his kingdom (Basle, 26 September)—and in Thuringia. He held the Palatinate which Henry resigned in favour of his son and namesake; the son joined Frederick, while the father withdrew northward to defend the family estates round Brunswick for his brother. The lower Rhine districts and the greater part of North Germany, and especially the north-east, still stood by the Emperor; for the Ascanian house in Saxony and Brandenburg and the Wettin in Meissen and the East Mark remained loyal. The campaigning of the summer of 1213 was on the whole uneventful and indecisive. In June Otto took the offensive against the Archbishop of Magdeburg, who once again headed the Hohenstaufen party in Saxony, won a victory over him (Remkersleben, 11 June), and for a brief moment held him a prisoner. But it seldom came to an engagement in the open field; the campaign for the most part consisted of the usual ineffective plundering raids, devastations of property, sieges, but rarely captures, of castles. Frederick, who joined in the lighting in September, did achieve one success: he managed to detach the powerful Margrave Dietrich from the side of Otto.

But the result of this somewhat dreary warfare left the position of parties very little altered. More important, more interesting, and in the end more decisive, was the international aspect of the struggle. In the first place there was the Pope who required from Frederick what he had required from Otto, but this time with some kind of guarantee that the concessions granted would be carried out. The importance of the Golden Bull of Eger (12 July 1213) which mutatis mutandis is a verbal transcript of Otto’s grant made at Spires in 1209, lies in the fact that unlike its prototype it received the sanction of a large number of distinguished and influential princes. Three archbishops, four bishops, the King of Bohemia, the Dukes of Bavaria and Austria, the Landgrave of Thuringia, and several counts and ministeriales set their signatures to the document, which thus became a properly executed law of the Empire. By its terms the territorial aspirations of the Papacy were recognised in their fullest extent; the German Church was emancipated from imperial control.

Innocent, however, was hampered in his diplomatic relations by the fact that Otto, his bitterest enemy, was allied with King John who, after his submission in May 1213, was his feudal dependant; he was forced to do what he could to curb the efforts of Frederick’s ally, Philip, to crush Frederick’s enemy, John. In this Innocent failed, and in the end John, his protégé, was involved in the ruin of Otto, his enemy, at the hands of Philip of France.

Frederick, who owed his promotion mainly to the zealous intrigues of Philip, had, before his coronation at Frankfort, held an interview with Louis, the French king’s heir, at Vaucouleurs (19 November 1212) and concluded an alliance with him and received a substantial subsidy. Likewise, similarity of circumstances and of interests drew John of England into closer alliance with his nephew; before May 1213, when John submitted to the Pope, it was only natural that the two excommunicated sovereigns should make common cause against their common enemies. English subsidies poured into Germany during the year 1212. Both sides indeed depended mainly on their allies for financial support, for neither could rely to any extent on the resources of the kingdom, so chaotic had become the financial, organisation after sixteen years of civil war. Both sides were busy buying the support of the venal princes of Germany, Frederick with French, Otto with English money.

Frederick had made less headway than his initial successes would have led one to anticipate. The French fleet for the invasion of England had been destroyed in a harbour on the Flemish coast near Bruges. Otto was confident, and planned with John a joint attack against their common enemy Philip Augustus. In the spring of 1214 he was busily engaged with preparations, trying to introduce some harmony among the quarrelsome nobles of the Netherlands; in May, in order to bind the restless and unstable Duke Henry of Brabant more firmly to his side, he married his daughter Mary, and so at this eleventh hour carried out the engagement into which he had entered seventeen years before. His efforts to make the princes of the lower Rhine work together were successful. Nearly all of them brought their levies in July to Nivellcs, south of Brussels, which had been fixed as the starting point of the campaigns This army, despite the advantage of numbers and position, despite the reckless bravery which Otto himself displayed, was almost annihilated on the field of Bouvines near Lille on 27 July 1214.

The battle was decisive. Otto with the remnant of his army made his way to Cologne. Frederick, who had taken no part in the campaign, was not slow to take advantage of the discomfiture of his rival; soon after the battle he crossed the Moselle and received the submission of the princes of the Netherlands. The Welf interest in the Palatinate had also in this year become extinct with the death of the younger Henry. It was granted to the Duke of Bavaria, and his son Otto, who, by marrying Agnes, the daughter of the elder Henry, Count Palatine, acquired too the allodial estates of the Welfs in that neighbourhood. In this manner the Palatinate as well as the dukedom of Bavaria came into the hands of the powerful house of Wittelsbach.

The whole Rhineland was now Frederick’s but for Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, and the imperial palace at Kaiserswerth. These too fell into his hands in the campaign of the following summer. He entered Aix-la-Chapelle on 4 July 1215, and on the next day, adopting the precedent of Philip, was crowned a second time in the traditional place of coronations. He also on this occasion, to the surprise of his court and to his own lasting regret took the crusading vow, which, while it satisfied Innocent of the good intentions of his former ward, was to cause all manner of trouble between the Emperor and Innocent’s successors. With the surrender of Kaiserswerth on 24 July and of Cologne on 4 August the Welf resistance in the west was at an end.

Before the capitulation of Cologne Otto had betaken himself to Saxony, where he could still reckon on substantial support: there was his brother Henry at Brunswick and a powerful group of nobles on the north-east frontier who strongly resented the attitude Frederick adopted in German-Danish politics; for in December 1214 he had ceded to Waldemar Nordalbingia, that is to say, the country north of the rivers Elbe and Elde, a district in which many of these border nobles had important interests. Frederick’s campaign in the beginning of 1215 had done nothing to break down this opposition. So for a time the struggle dragged on in this region; Albert, Archbishop of Magdeburg, and Waldemar of Denmark on the one side, Otto, his brother Henry, and the Ascanian family on the other. The long-continued fighting, however, wore down the strength of the Welf armies; the widespread devastations of the country caused a serious shortage of supplies; no foreign power was prepared to waste its energies on a cause already lost. The Lateran Council, which confirmed the result of the German civil war by the formal deposition of Otto and recognition of Frederick, hastened the end and brought many waverers to the winning side. When Frederick in September 1217 again took the field in person he found his opponent too weak to risk a battle in the open. But a decisive action was not needed; Frederick’s presence was in itself sufficient to break down further serious resistance.

Otto himself fought on with dogged perseverance and unfailing courage, still claiming to be Emperor, but an Emperor almost without subjects and without land, till an overdose of medicine prematurely ended his life at the Harzburg on 19 May 1218. Henry complied with his brother’s request expressed in his will executed the day before he died and retained in his possession the imperial insignia for a period of twenty weeks. He then delivered them over to Frederick. With the submission of Henry and of the Duke of Saxony, who alone among the leading nobility had remained true to Otto to the last, the opposition to the Hohenstaufen was at an end. The family estates of the Welfs passed to Otto, son of the Emperor’s younger brother William, who regained the confidence of the rival family, was created Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg by Frederick, and was the ancestor of the long line of Welfs, who eventually in the twelfth generation acquired the throne of England.