web counter









The civil war had had disastrous results for Germany. Philip, Otto, and Frederick, in order to win the support of powerful nobles, churches, towns, had granted away lands, privileges, rights, prerogatives, all that had in the past meant the strength of the German kingdom and of the Holy Roman Empire. The Church had been emancipated from royal control; the princes of the Empire were becoming more and more independent, they were rapidly changing into territorial sovereigns, domini terrae as they are designated in the famous privilege of 1231; the towns had come to realise their strength, had proved themselves to be a power to be reckoned with. Slowly but surely Germany was moving along the path of dissolution, was becoming a conglomeration of semi-independent princedoms instead of a unified State. Frederick’s German policy, as we shall see, far from checking it, all tended to hasten the course of this movement. He alienated with a lavish hand the royal rights in favour of the princes, and especially the ecclesiastical princes on whose support during the greater part of his reign he principally relied. Such a policy, however unfortunate in its results, was perhaps inevitable when there were two rival kings, each of whom could only gain or keep the adherence of powerful lords by outbidding his opponent. But when with the death of Otto in 1218 the real need for it had passed, the number of grants of privileges, instead of diminishing, enormously increased. So we find Frederick in these years moving about his kingdom conciliating his subjects to his rule, rewarding the loyalty of some, buying the favour of others, settling disputes, and attempting to restore some semblance of order in the land—always by the expensive and disastrous method of sacrificing the regalian rights. When the business of the Empire did not require his presence elsewhere, he would take up his residence at Spires or Nuremberg which had always been conspicuous for their attachment to the house of Hohenstaufen, or still more frequently at Hagenau in Alsace; the fine palace there, built by his grandfather, was his favourite home north of the Alps, inter alia patrimonialia cariorem, and there he would spend months at a time busily engaged in granting away the lands and rights of the Empire.

The compliant, we might almost, say weak, attitude that Frederick adopted towards the princes is exemplified early in his reign at the diet of Wurzburg on 15 May 1216 when he issued the Sententia de non alienandis princapatibus. By an arrangement with the Bishop of Ratisbon, Frederick had alienated by exchange the two imperial abbeys of Ober- and Niedermünster. The abbesses, who were not consulted in the transaction, made their complaint at the diet of Wurzburg. The princes, who regarded the precedent as a dangerous one, not only got the exchange annulled, but forced Frederick to make a general declaration against such alienations in the future, “that no principality could or ought to be exchanged or alienated from the Empire or be transferred to another prince against the will of the prince of that principality and without the full consent of the ministeriales”. The same fear of irritating and so losing the support of the ecclesiastical princes is perceptible in his policy towards the towns. As regards the imperial towns he acted with his customary liberality; so Aix-la-Chapelle (1215), Goslar and Nuremberg (1219), Dortmund (1220) received very ample charters of privileges. He would have liked to adopt the same policy towards the seignorial towns if the lords would have let him; but when he tried it, he met with a rebuff. In 1215 he was obliged at the instance of the bishop to deprive the citizens of Cambrai of the privileges they had received from him only a year before; again, in 1218 he recognised the rath set up by the citizens of Basle, but the bishop complained, and the recognition had to be withdrawn.

It may be argued in excuse of Frederick’s policy that the princes had grown over-powerful during the civil war, they were already past controlling, and they had learnt how to use their strength to their own advantage; but in this Otto’s death made a difference. For although for the last two years of his life Otto had not been a serious menace to Frederick’s position, his very existence had given opportunities to discontented nobles to rise in rebellion. Herman, the Landgrave of Thuringia, was, it seems, contemplating yet another desertion, notwithstanding the fact that it was his own intrigues which were largely responsible for Frederick’s summons to Germany, when death, on 25 April 1217, happily removed him from the field of politics. Perhaps the most conspicuous, but also one of the most treacherous characters in the civil war, he had by his repeated changes from one side to the other profoundly influenced the fortunes of the parties; he was dangerous as an opponent, but almost equally so as an ally. One could wish that he had kept out of politics and devoted himself altogether to patronage of the arts, to minstrels’ contests, and to the entertainment of the somewhat indiscriminate collection of artistic and literary men that Waltlier von der Vogelweide tells us gathered together at the Wartburg. For in these things he was without a master. His son Louis was a more stable character, a loyal friend, not obsessed with a love of intrigue and gain, the husband of the austere St Elizabeth, at whose inspiration he w asled to follow a life of piety and good works.

Another prominent figure of the civil war, the man first chosen to contest the crown with Philip, Berthold V of Zähringen, died a month or two before Otto (18 February 1218). But after giving up his candidature for the throne he had joined Philip, and, except for the short period of Otto’s uncontested power, he had been a fairly steady adherent of the Hohenstaufen party. His death was the cause of trouble and confusion, for he left sisters and cousins but no children. The inheritance was a rich one, comprising large tracts of Jurane Burgundy and Swabia, and was keenly sought after by the relatives and by Frederick himself, who, in his anxiety to get what he could out of it, went so far as to buy out the claim of one of the collaterals, the Duke of Teck. A partition of the estate satisfactory to the parties concerned was ultimately arranged at Ulm in September 1219: the lands on the right bank of the Aar fell to one brother-in-law of the late duke, the Count of Kyburg, while those mainly situated north of the Rhine, the district of the Black Forest and Breisgau, went to the other, Egeno Count of Urach; Frederick’s share was considerable; it included much of what is now northern Switzerland and the towns of Bern, Zurich, Schaffhausen, and Solothurn, which were soon raised to the position of imperial cities. The extinction of the house of Zähringen had another important consequence: it broke one of the real ties between Germany and the kingdom of Burgundy, over which the Dukes of Zähringen had intermittently exercised authority in the capacity of rectors. This title was later conferred upon the young King Henry; but in the hands of a boy of nine years old it could have been little more than a title. From the point of view of German influence in the Arelate, the childless death of Berthold of Zähringen was a serious loss.

There had been troubles also in Bohemia, which, in consequence of a quarrel between King Ottokar and the Bishop of Prague, had been laid under interdict, and in Lorraine where Duke Theobald, by an unjustifiable interference in a dispute in the neighbouring Champagne, had gravely endangered the Franco-German alliance. It led in fact to a quarrel with Frederick, and Theobald declared for Otto (1216). The king took arms against him, occupied his duchy, and ultimately brought him to submission (June 1218). Nevertheless the enmity continued, and when, a little more than a year later, this prince met his end by poison administered by a harlot, common report attributed the instigation of the act to Frederick.

Although Frederick was recognised as king throughout Germany he was still without the symbols of his office, the royal insignia; these Otto’s brother, the ex-Count Palatine Henry, obstinately clung to even after the period of twenty weeks fixed for their retention by Otto in his testament. Pope Honorius, anxious to remove every obstacle to Frederick’s departure for the Crusade, was urgent with entreaties and threats which at last had the desired result. At Goslar in July 1219 Henry accepted the advantageous conditions Frederick was prepared to offer: he surrendered the insignia in return for 11,000 marks and the office of imperial vicar in the lands between the Weser and the Elbe. This was the end of the long struggle between the families of Welf and Hohenstaufen which had begun far back in the twelfth century with the rivalry of Henry the Proud and the first Hohenstaufen king Conrad. The people of Germany could once more devote themselves to the occupations of peace; they could, as the Magdeburg chronicle puts it, again begin to work the land and sow corn.

But with the establishment of peace the question of the Crusade had to be faced. There can be no doubt that, when at his coronation at Aix- la-Chapelle in 1215 Frederick had taken the crusading vow, he had done so in all sincerity. Nor had he been urged to it by an importunate legate; he had taken the vow of his own free will. The early postponements were the necessary results of the political situation in Germany. It was imperative that he should restore some sort of order into the country which had just passed through nearly twenty years of civil war before setting out for a prolonged absence in the East. On 1 June 1216, the date appointed by the Lateran Council for departure, his rival was still living and the affairs of Germany were in chaos. There was no question of Frederick going. So in the summer of 1217 the Crusade started without him. But on 24 June 1218, the date to which his de­parture had been deferred, although Otto was dead, Frederick had, as we have seen, other difficulties to deal with before he could safely set out upon his journey, and particularly the resistance of Otto’s brother Henry; this was put forward as the need for a further delay, in which Honorius acquiesced without much demur. It was postponed for a year, and then once more on the same grounds for another three months—till Michaelmas 1219. But after this the excuses became more slender, and Honorius correspondingly was more loth to accept them. When in October, in response to Frederick’s renewed request for delay, he fixed a third term for March 1220, he threw out a hint of excommunication in the event of the non-fulfilment of his vow.

Honorius, wholly absorbed with the idea of carrying through the Crusade, was anxious to avoid doing anything which might hinder its accomplishment; and of this attitude Frederick took the fullest advantage in the matter of Sicily and the election of his son Henry as King of the Romans. It was these things that occupied his attention during the last months of his stay in Germany. On 1 July 1216 he had taken a solemn oath to Innocent III that as soon as he should be crowned Emperor he would altogether resign the kingdom of Sicily to his son Henry, who had already been crowned, king in 1212; he was to hold it of the Roman Church, be released from all paternal control, and due provision was made for its government during his minority. The object of this arrangement was to avoid the union of Sicily and the Empire in the hands of Frederick; a union in the hands of his son, not contemplated at the time, without being opposed to the actual wording of the oath, was none the less opposed to its intention. But Frederick could not lightly renounce the home of his childhood, his hereditary kingdom, the one spot in Europe perhaps where his astonishing character was really understood. His plan was somewhat to reverse the parts; he was to rule Sicily, his son Germany. We find him pleading with Honorius for a relaxation of the conditions of his oath to Innocent. On 10 February 1220 he repeated the promise with the proviso that he might succeed his son on the throne of Sicily in the event of the latter predeceasing him without children; on the 19 February he begged the Pope to allow him to retain the kingdom of Sicily during his own lifetime. That it was his intention to root his son in Germany  is equally unmistakeable. In1 216 the boy with his mother, Queen Constance, was brought to Germany. He was created Duke of Swabia in 1217 and Rector of Burgundy in 1220. Frederick now meant, if he could manage it, to get him elected King of the Romans.

His intention was apparently known and complained of at the papal court early in 1219, for in May Frederick wrote stating his motives: they were to ensure the good government of the Empire during his absence on crusade and to secure for his son the possessions of his house in the event of anything befalling him in the East. But, the anxiety at Rome was not allayed, and after the election, which took place at the diet of Frankfort in April 1220, Frederick wrote his excuses to Honorius, protesting his entire ignorance of the whole affair, nobis insciis et absentibus, and that it had been done by the princes owing to a dispute between the Archbishop of Mayence and the Landgrave of Thuringia which threatened to lead to civil war; he even professed that he had refused his consent until it had been ratified by the Pope. That the election of a child could avert civil disturbances was of course absurd, more­over it was wholly untrue that he refused his consent, for it was in grateful acknowledgement of their act that he made on 26 April the famous privilegium in favorem principum ecclesiasticorum, which indeed was framed with the very object of inducing the ecclesiastical princes to permit that to which they were naturally keenly opposed. They were opposed to it both on the ground that it implied that the kingship was in fact hereditary, and because it ran counter to the whole trend of papal policy. Only the most far-reaching concessions could tempt them to ignore the remonstrances of Rome; but Frederick to gain his end was prepared to grant them far-reaching concessions, and they yielded.

Frederick, after repeating his former renunciation of the ius spolii, granted to the ecclesiastical princes free testamentary power; he renounced the right of imposing new tolls and mints within their territories and jurisdictions without their consent, while he recognised all tolls and rights of coinage which had already been conceded to them; he denied to the serf of the ecclesiastical prince the method of gaining his freedom by residence in a city for a year and a day. The abuse of power by the steward was checked by making him liable to a fine of 100 marks for damage done to the property of churches, and the jurisdiction of royal officials in episcopal cities was restricted to eight days preceding and following the holding of a diet. He placed the man excommunicated by the Church beyond the pale of the courts; he may neither act as witness or plaintiff; he may only appear as the defendant to charges brought against him, and then he is denied the assistance of an advocate; if after six weeks he has failed to get absolution, he falls under the ban of the Empire. So too Frederick surrendered the right of erecting castles and cities on church lands.

By the Bull of Eger the German Church had been emancipated from the imperial control; the old influence exercised by the Crown over elections was no more; disputed elections came to be decided at Rome; only the bare formal investiture with the regalia remained to the king. By the privilegium of 1220 and subsequent additions made by Frederick and his son, the ecclesiastical princes became territorial sovereigns. By a clause in the constitution issued at the time of his coronation at Rome Frederick exempted the clergy altogether from secular jurisdiction both in civil and criminal causes. Moreover, as the influence of the Crown in ecclesiastical matters diminished, the influence of the Papacy proportionately increased. Papal legates and papal agents were constantly resident in Germany, exercising authority over the Church in all kinds of ways, especially over matters of discipline and heresy, developing by this means the papal policy of centralisation. Frederick was led to adopt this policy so injurious to the position of the Crown, not because he was particularly interested in the welfare of the Church, but because it served, or at least he thought it served, his purpose; he was anxious to devote his attention to Italy and to Sicily, and. for this it was essential that Germany should remain at peace, which he believed could be most easily secured by an alliance with the princes, and especially with the ecclesiastical princes. Similar motives led him to select one of the most powerful of their number, Engelbert, Archbishop of Cologne, as the guardian of his son and his vicegerent in Germany during his absence. The arrangements for the Italian expedition were made at the diet of Frankfort; at the end of August he set out to cross the Brenner for his imperial coronation.

These first eight years (1212-1220) form the only protracted stay that Frederick made in Germany. He returned in the summer of 1235 to deal with the situation created by the rebellion of his son, and except for a break of a few months spent in north Italy in the latter part of 1236 he remained north of the Alps till August 1237. He then departed never to return. So in his long reign of nearly forty years he gave but eight in all to Germany; and when he came, he came as a stranger into a foreign land, neither understanding nor much caring for the country, its people, or its institutions; hating the climate and the, to him, dreary scenery. This Norman-Italian-Oriental-southerner, this puer Apulus, who travelled with a harem and a menagerie, was an exotic in Germany, incomprehensible to his German subjects who understood him even less than he understood them. Moreover, not only did he not come to Germany, but he did not repose his complete confidence in those men in whose hands he left the government of the country. His representatives were continually hampered in their administration by inconvenient instructions from the absent Emperor.

In the first period he placed his chief reliance on the ecclesiastical princes whose firm support he had secured before his departure for Italy by the privilegium of 1220, and the Hohenstaufen ministeriales who exercised a marked influence on the upbringing of the young King Homy. That Germany enjoyed a period of comparative peace was almost wholly due to the wise statesmanship of Engelbert, who was placed at the head of the administration. He was the fifth of his house to occupy the see of Cologne; through family influence he had at an early age obtained high preferment in the Church; at fourteen he was provost of the cathedral, and he was only just over thirty when in 1216 he was consecrated arch­bishop. During the civil war he had followed the fortunes of his uncle Archbishop Adolf, first as a zealous supporter of Otto, then as a deserter to Philip; for this last act he fell with Adolf under the Pope’s displeasure, was excommunicated, and only reconciled with the Church on performing the penance of taking part in the Albigensian Crusade. In 1215 he joined Frederick and remained henceforth a firm adherent of the house, of Hohenstaufen. The civil war had left Cologne heavily encumbered with debt. His careful and thrifty handling of the finances removed the burden and proved his ability as an administrator. Towards the nobility and especially towards the lay stewards, whose oppressions and exactions had become an intolerable abuse, he took a firm line; he put down the insubordination of the counts, nobles, ministeriales, and burghers of his diocese, wrote his biographer, Caesarius of Heisterbach, so that no one dared oppose him. In his city, his diocese, and his duchy of Westphalia he made his authority felt effectively; elsewhere he could not exercise such a direct control; the independent sovereignty of the princes had already become too firmly established. He did what he could by a policy of maintaining the landfrieden, and the years of his administration are remarkable for the absence of any serious feuds.

In his foreign policy Engelbert was less successful; this was chiefly due to the fact that Frederick took a more lively interest in the relations of the Empire with her neighbours than he did in her purely domestic concerns, and his views frequently did not coincide with those of his representative in Germany. The power of Denmark under Waldemar II had increased to an alarming extent; she had occupied the German territory north of the Elbe including the two important towns of Hamburg and Lubeck, and her conquests were recognised by treaty in 1214; the whole area of German colonisation along the Baltic coast was threatened. By a bold but treacherous stroke the Count of Schwerim succeeded in capturing the Danish king and his son in the island of Lyöe near Fünen (6 May 1223) and thrust them into prison at Danneberg. Although the method of capture was generally disapproved, the opportunity of using it to the advantage of the Empire was too good to be neglected. The government therefore immediately took steps to induce the count to hand over the royal prisoners. This was achieved at Nordhausen in September. Frederick had already intimated in a letter to the Bishop of Hildesheim his general consent to the policy of using the occasion for the recovery of the lands beyond the Elbe; but difficulties arose owing to the intervention of the Pope, to whom the Danes had appealed. He ordered the count to release his prisoners unconditionally under pain of excommunication. The attitude of Honorius seems to have modified Frederick’s views, for Herman of Salza, who acted as his representative in the matter, ultimately negotiated a treaty (July 1224), the terms of which were far more lenient than those contemplated in the preliminaries at Nordhausen; they were however rejected by the Danes, and Waldemar remained a prisoner, while Nordalbingia was slowly reconquered by the counts of the district. The Danish leader, Albert of Orlamünde, was defeated at Mölln, Hamburg and Lubeck were recovered, and Waldemar was forced to submit to the terms demanded by the Count of Schwerin: the lands north of the Elbe were surrendered unconditionally and the king’s ransom was fixed at 45,000 marks of silver. But Waldemar was no sooner at liberty than he appealed to the Pope to release him from the terms to which he had agreed. The Pope promptly complied with the request, with the inevitable result that war once more broke out between Denmark and the princes of north Germany. Waldemar, aided by his nephew, the Wolf Otto of Brunswick, invaded Holstein in the autumn of 1226. But after some initial success he was decisively defeated at Bornhövede between Kiel and Lubeck (22 July 1227).

The overthrow of the Danish power on the southern shore of the Baltic opened the way for the further development of German colonisation and missionary enterprise. The work of the Knights of the Sword in Livonia and Esthonia proceeded uninterrupted by Danish rivalry. The year before the final settlement of the entanglement with Denmark Frederick had confirmed the grant of Prussia made by the Polish Duke Conrad of Masovia to the Teutonic Knights. This was the beginning of the conquest and colonisation of that region which centuries later gave its name to the dominating power in Germany.

In his attitude towards the western kingdoms, France and England, Engelbert found himself acutely at variance with his master. After the death of Philip Augustus war again broke out between England and France, and Louis VIII approached Frederick with the object of renewing the alliance concluded, at Vaucouleurs in 1212, he succeeded so far as to obtain from the Emperor a promise that neither he nor any of his subjects should conclude any alliance with England (Catania, November 1223). This was merely continuing the traditional and natural Hohenstaufen policy. Engelbert, on the other hand adopted a different course, and he may be accused of acting in this matter too much as the representative of Cologne, too little as the statesman of the Hohenstaufen. The commercial interests of Cologne were inseparably bound up with those of England, and the archbishop had much at heart the welfare of his city; he had done much to foster its economic prosperity, and so greatly did it flourish that already in his day it became a common saying “wer Köoln nicht gesehen hat, hat Deutschland nicht gesehen”. He set to work therefore to bring about an alliance with England, which he hoped to seal by the marriage of the young Henry, whom he had crowned king at Aix-la-Chapelle on 8 May 1222, with Princess Isabella, the sister of Henry III.

He was successful in quashing a counter-proposal for a marriage of the young king with a French princess, which seems to have been put forward at an interview with Louis VIII near Toul in November 1224. But he could make no headway with his own project. An embassy Treaded by Walter Mauclerc, Bishop of Carlisle, did indeed visit Germany to negotiate the business, but the ambassadors found opinion in Germany decisively against the match, and they returned home without accomplishing anything. Neither an English nor a French marriage commended itself to the princes, for they had a candidate of their own, the daughter of Ottokar, King of Bohemia, with whom an enormous dowry was offered as an inducement to the Emperor. Duke Leopold of Austria was dis­patched to San Germano to gain the Emperor’s consent; but it was not Ottokar’s but Leopold’s own daughter Margaret whom Frederick selected as the bride for his son. The marriage took place at, Nuremberg on 29 November 1225.

Three weeks earlier Engelbert had been assassinated by his cousin Frederick of Isenburg, near the town of Schwelm. The actual motive for the murder was Engelbert’s action in checking the oppressive conduct of his nephew towards the convent of Essen of which he was steward; but there is no doubt that the archbishop’s stern measures in putting down the lawlessness that prevailed at the end of the civil war had met with fierce and widespread resentment among the local nobility. It was not a spontaneous act, but a premeditated conspiracy in which many persons of high rank and influence were involved. Count Frederick was put under the ban of the Empire and excommunicated by the Church; after nearly a year he was rounded up, confessed his guilt, and was broken on the wheel; his brothers the Bishops of Münster and Osnabrück, his chief accomplices, were deprived of their sees.

It was easy to avenge the murder, not so easy to deal with the situation which resulted from it. There was no one fitted by position and ability to fill the place at the head of the government that Engelbert had occupied. Many of those ecclesiastical princes who had enjoyed the Emperor’s confidence when he left Germany in 1220 had since died: Otto of Wurzburg, for example, in 1223 and Conrad the Chancellor, Bishop of Metz and Spires, in 1224. The administration passed into the hands not of one of the leading churchmen but into those of a secular prince, Louis, Duke of Bavaria, a man who had neither the strength of character nor the gift of statesmanship possessed in such a marked degree by Engelbert. Moreover the position of regent was becoming every year a more difficult one; for as he grew up the young king began to weary of tutelage and to develope ideas and a policy of his own which did not always conform to those of his guardian. Unlike his predecessor, who made the maintenance of the landfrieden the central feature of his domestic policy, Louis took no steps to check or to intervene in the numerous feuds which broke out in all parts of the country. On the rare occasions when he departed from this policy of non-intervention or perhaps what is better described as impolitic inactivity, he did so from motives of self-interest rather than from reasons of state, as when he and King Henry disputed the inheritance of Otto of Brunswick-Luneburg to the Welf estates on the death of Henry, the Count Palatine of the Rhine. They both raised counter-claims of the slenderest description, and together made an expedition against Brunswick; but they achieved nothing and were compelled ignominiously to retreat.

In the autumn of 1227 the news of the Emperor’s excommunication reached Germany, but it made little or no impression on the country at large: neither the ecclesiastical nor the secular princes availed themselves of the Pope’s release from their oaths of fealty; only one bishop, the Bishop of Strasbourg, published the sentence against Frederick, and he did so rather from private motives than from any sincere belief in the justice of the papal cause. The excommunication of Frederick may have influenced to some extent the conduct of Louis of Bavaria, who quarrelled with his master towards the end of the year 1228. The cause of the rupture is obscure; it was probably chiefly due to the natural desire of King Henry, who was now seventeen years old, to have a more independent position in the government of the country. Friction was the inevitable result; at the Christmas court at Hagenau it came to an open quarrel, and the duke joined the papal side and went off to Bavaria to raise a rebellion. Pope Gregory, in the meanwhile, was doing all in his power to undermine the imperial government in Germany. In pursuance of this object be dispatched in February 1229 Otto, Cardinal-deacon of St Nicholas in Carcere. But the legate was unable to enter the heart of Germany; he spent months of enforced inactivity at Valenciennes; the councils which he summoned were prevented from taking place; his attempts to set up an anti-king met with little encouragement. Otto of Brunswick was invited to undertake the part, as his uncle Otto IV had done before him; but although urged to do so by Henry III of England, he, after some hesitation, wisely declined. The rebellion raised by the Duke of Bavaria was crushed without difficulty; Strasbourg, the other centre of resistance, was blockaded, and through the mediation of the Abbot of St Gall was brought to terms (August 1229). Frederick had in the meanwhile returned from his successful if unorthodox Crusade (June 1229) and had made short work of the opposition stirred up against him in Italy by Gregory IX. In July 1230 peace was made at San Germano, and in August Frederick was released from the sentence of excommunication. Both in Italy and in Germany the Pope’s efforts to undermine the power of the Hohenstaufen had signally failed.

The German towns during the first half of the thirteenth century presented a difficult problem to the government. In spite of the resistance of their feudal superiors, they were always growing more powerful and more independent. A group of towns on the middle Rhine even ventured to form a league, and this just at the moment when the second Lombard league had been established and had had the audacity to prevent King Henry from crossing the Alps to attend the diet of Cremona at his father’s summons in the summer of 1225. The Rhine league was quickly suppressed at the instance of the Archbishop of Mayence against whom it was primarily directed (Wurzburg, 27 November 1226). Normally, as in this case, the Duke of Bavaria continued the policy of Engelbert, and indeed of Frederick himself, of supporting the bishops against their aspiring townsmen; but once at any rate he diverged from it with unfortunate consequences. This was the case of Verdun. At the end of March 1227, on the occasion of the coronation of the queen, Margaret of Austria, he granted to the city in the name of the young king a constitution which was permitted to carry out its functions even despite the opposition of the bishop. A week later, 6 April, the king was forced to revoke the charter in the most humiliating manner “at the request of the envoys of the bishop” on the ground that he had no right to grant it without first consulting the bishop. It was only granted, he explained in a subsequent letter, because of the importunity of the burghers and in the press of business. This forced revocation might indeed have been expected, for the ecclesiastical interest was exceedingly strong, and even Frederick had suffered similar reverses on the rare occasions when he had ventured upon a course of action in opposition to the bishops. But this was not the end of the Verdun affair; scarcely more than two months later the king and his minister again changed their policy, and once more granted the charter to the city.

This action is symptomatic of the attitude which Henry adopted when he came to be freed from the control of a guardian; and he vigorously pursued it in the face of the formidable opposition not only of the princes but of the Emperor himself. It was the main cause of the friction and ultimately of the quarrel between father and son; for the father had learnt to rely for support on the princes of Germany whose interest it was to check the development of municipal power. The strikingly different political outlook of the two accounts to a large extent for the different attitude they adopted towards these conflicting elements of German society—the princes and the burghers. Frederick’s was imperial; Henry’s national. The latter held the princes in suspicion; their independence within their dominions, their acquisition of what had been royal preroga­tives, altogether their over-mighty power he regarded, and rightly so, as a very serious menace to the position of the Crown. The towns, on the other hand, whose economic prosperity benefited the country, might, with due encouragement, come to act, as in England and France, as a valuable check on the dangers inherent in an uncontrolled feudal, society. Unfortunately Henry had neither the character nor the ability to carry through such a policy, and the forces against him were too great. His attempts were defeated, and the victory of the princes was on each occasion marked by fresh concessions of prerogatives and privileges at the expense of the Crown.

Many of the princes joined the Emperor in Italy on his return from the Crusade and took an active part in the negotiations which led to the peace of San Germano. Their absence from Germany provided Henry with an excellent opportunity to set on foot his new policy. He was supported by a number of the smaller nobility and ministeriales and also by Duke Louis of Bavaria, with whom he was now completely reconciled and who had during his regency shown a slight inclination in the same direction. In April the king confirmed a former charter in favour of Liège, in June he recognised a league of Netherland towns with Liège at its head. A few months later he went even farther: he would enter into no engagement with the Bishop of Liège without reserving the inviolability of the rights and privileges of the league. He conferred on the burghers of Nijmegen all the liberties and customs enjoyed by Aix-la-Chapelle and other imperial towns, and the right to carry their merchandise free of toll by land and water throughout the Empire; they might also receive whomsoever they would as burghers.

The return of the princes to Germany quickly put an end to his work. At Worms in January he was forced to issue a general edict against town leagues: no city or town was permitted to form communiones, constitutions, colligationes, confederationes vel coniurationes aliquas. Then in the following May the princes wrung from him the famous constitutio in favorem principum. It practically made the prince the absolute authority within his domain to the exclusion of the rights of the Crown; he became, as indeed he is described in the document, the dominus terrae. Some of the clauses were direct limitations of the power of the Crown. Such for instance is that which binds the king to construct no new fortress or city to the prejudice of the princes (cl. 1), or those which impose restrictions on the royal rights of establishing markets and mints (cl. 2 and 17) and on jurisdiction. The Centumgravius (Schultheiss), who was responsible for local justice, was to receive his office no longer from the king but from the lord of the land (cl. 7). Others again were directed especially against the power of the towns: so the pfahlburgers, that is, citizens who did not reside within the walls, but nevertheless acquired the protection and the rights of the city, were suppressed (cl. 10); escaped serfs were no longer to be received in imperial towns (cl. 12); the jurisdiction of the town was confined (cl. 18). Some of the privileges contained in this document were not entirely new; some of them had been granted or had been assumed before in individual cases. But the constitution of 1231 made them general and made them statutory; together with the privileglwm in favorem principum ecclesiasticorum of 1220, it provides the legal foundation for the territorial sovereignty of the princes. To prevent the worst results that might follow from this position, a safeguard in the form of a royal edict was published the same day: it forbade the princes from making new laws on their own account; the consent of the meliorum et maiorum terrae must first be obtained.

In the meanwhile the relations between the Emperor and his son were growing more and more strained. It was not only in the different attitude that he adopted toward the towns that Henry earned his father’s displeasure and distrust; it was his whole manner of life. “Ve terre, ubi rex puer est!” the chronicler of Ebersheim quotes not ineptly in recounting the events of these years. He relied upon advisers, especially the lower nobility and the ministeriales, in whom the Emperor had little confidence; he con­sorted with poets and actors; his court was luxurious and prodigal; his married life was anything but successful, and he made some efforts to obtain a divorce from Margaret of Austria with a view to marrying Agnes of Bohemia. In all these respects his conduct met with the severe dis­approval of Frederick. Then the mysterious and unaccountable murder of Duke Louis of Bavaria added to the difficulties of the political situation in Germany; it nearly caused an outbreak of civil war. He was killed on 16 September 1231 at Kelheim near Worms by a hired assassin—a Saracen emissary of the Old Man of the Mountains who was in league with the Emperor, as the story went in Germany. There is no doubt that it was widely believed, though without adequate foundation, that Frederick had a hand in the deed. The state of things in Germany had become so strained that it was imperative that the Emperor should come to an understanding with his son. For this purpose he summoned Henry and the German princes to attend the diet at Ravenna.

The diet of Ravenna had been first arranged for November to deal with the affairs of Lombardy; but the Lombards in July had renewed their league at Mantua, and they again, as in 1226, closed the Alpine passes to prevent the ingress of King Henry and the princes into Italy. The diet had to be postponed till Christmas when some of the Germans managed to put in an appearance, having travelled thither by way of Aquileia and the sea. But the barring of the routes through the Alps provided Henry, who had no wish for the meeting with his father, with a tolerable excuse for remaining in Germany, and the work of the diet proceeded without him. Frederick, embittered by the obstinate resistance of the Lombard cities, and fearing perhaps that the example might be followed in Germany, issued a sweeping edict against all communes, councils, civic magistrates or rectors or other officials set up without the leave of the bishop; he similarly annulled all gilds, artificii confraternitates seu societates. To the princes on the other hand he was, as usual, bountiful; they were to enjoy their liberties in the widest interpretation (latissima interpretacione gaudeant). But Frederick was legislating against a power already too strongly established; the position of the German towns could not be shaken by a general edict issued from Italy by an absent Emperor. In spite of the anti-municipal legislation, the towns continued to prosper, to grow more powerful, and to defy both Frederick and the ecclesiastical princes. Indeed, at this very time, notwithstanding the Constitution in favour of the princes, Henry had reverted to his policy of befriending the towns and was issuing edicts to their advantage. The Emperor adjourned the diet of Ravenna to Aquileia to give another opportunity to his disobedient son to render himself before him; there could now be no excuse on the ground of the closing of the Alpine passes to justify his non-appearance, and Henry allowed himself to be persuaded by the imperial chancellor, Siegfried, Bishop of Ratisbon, to comply. He was reconciled with his father, but only under the most humiliating conditions: he not only promised on oath to obey the imperial commands and especially to bestow his favour upon the princes, but these were ipso facto to be released from their oaths of fealty in the event of his breaking his promise. It appears that Frederick contemplated stronger measures, even deposition, but the princes, now assured of their position, intervened in his favour, and bound themselves to support the Emperor should Henry revert to his evil ways (Cividale, April 1232).

The outstanding feature of German history during the two years following Henryk submission to his father was that remarkable wave of persecution of heresy which spread through the country and which was carried out with an almost unparalleled fanaticism and ferocity. Little had been done in this respect in the earlier years of Frederick’s reign. Occasionally we hear of the condemnation of a heretic: a certain Henry Minnike of Goslar was burnt for heresy in 1225; a wealthy citizen of Strasbourg in 1229. But it was not till 1231 that energetic steps were taken to root out the evil: in that year Gregory IX commissioned the Dominicans and also Conrad of Marburg with the task of tracking down heretics and bringing about their condemnation; that they might the more effectually accomplish this work they were further granted judicial authority. So the trial of heretics passed from the control of the bishops into the power of the inquisition. The harsh edict against heretics published by  Frederick at the diet of Ravenna in March 1232 added the imperial authority to the inquisition which had been set working in Germany by the decrees of Gregory IX. All heretics throughout the Empire were to be condemned and handed over to the secular arm to suffer death at the stake; even those who repented and were willing to return to the faith were to be thrust into prison, there to serve out a life-sentence. The Dominicans were taken under the special protection of the Emperor. An orgy of killing followed. In the centre of it all was Conrad of Marburg, the index sine misericordia, a secular priest of Mayence, who had already been much employed both by Gregory and by his predecessor Honorius first as a preacher of the Crusade, then as an instrument for the suppression of heresy. He had been the confessor of St Elizabeth who, after the death of her husband, the Landgrave Louis, at Brindisi in 1227, had been driven from the Thuringian court by Henry Raspe and had taken refuge at Marburg, where, submitting herself wholly to the influence of Conrad, she soon wore out her strength by asceticism and good works (1231). It was after this that heretic-hunting became an all-absorbing passion, indeed almost a disease, with Conrad. He and his satellites grossly misused the judicial power entrusted to them; “on the same day that anyone was accused,” wrote the chronicler of Cologne, “whether justly or unjustly, without the power of appeal or the opportunity of defence being afforded him, he was condemned and thrown to the cruel flames”. In answer to protests made at this slaughter of innocents they are reported to have said: “We would willingly burn a hundred innocent persons so long as there is one guilty one among them”. The first victims were the humbler folk; but flushed with success the inquisitors soon began to attack the upper classes, and it led to their undoing. The atrocity of their proceedings and their total disregard of the elements of justice had by this time aroused the disgust and the hostility not only of laymen but of the clergy. With the exception of the Bishop of Hildesheim, whose sincere but misguided zeal for the faith had induced him to take a prominent part in the persecu­tion, the bishops were unanimous in their opposition. The end came when the Count of Sayn, a man of blameless character and apparently perfectly orthodox, was charged with heresy. The case was brought before the court at Mayence in July 1233 and, in spite of the pleadings of Conrad of Marburg, was adjourned for a further hearing; this took place at Frankfort in February of the next year and his innocence was proved up to the hilt, no less than eight bishops besides many other clergy supporting him as oath­helpers. Conrad was dead; he had been murdered in the neighbourhood of Marburg on his way from the court of Mayence in the previous summer. The movement died down as rapidly as it had arisen. The efforts of the Pope to stir up a crusade for the eradication of heresy met with little success. A clause was introduced into the Peace Constitution published at Frankfort in February 1234 according to which heretics were to be dealt with by the properly constituted judges who were to have regard to the principles of equity. A reflexion of the movement against heresy may be seen in the wholly selfish and unwarranted attack upon the unfortunate peasant-community dwelling to the west of the mouth of the Weser—the Stedingers. Their only faults appear to have been their independence of the neighbouring lords and their refusal to pay tithes to the Archbishop of Bremen. They were proceeded against as heretics; a crusade was proclaimed; and in the summer of 1234 they were all but annihilated by the princes of the Low Countries in a battle fought at Oldenesche.

King Henry had little sympathy for the extreme violence of the measures taken for the suppression of heresy. The charge made by the Annalist of Worms that the inquisitors won Henry’s support for their ruthless pro­ceedings by their proposal that the property of a burnt heretic should be shared between the king and the bishop concerned, seems quite without foundation. For, far from acceding to such a suggestion, he issued in June 1231 an edict whereby the family property of a condemned heretic was to go to the heirs, the fiefs were to revert to the lord who was also to have the moveables. It is to Henry’s credit that throughout he adopted a temperate attitude; he was prepared to deal with heretics by proper judicial methods, but he did nothing to favour the wild excesses of Conrad of Marburg and his fellow inquisitors. While his moderation in this respect brought him undoubtedly into better relations with the bishops, it added a new cause for dissatisfaction with his father who, perhaps rather to please Gregory with whom he was at this time on the most friendly terms than from any great zeal on his own part, was actively engaged in the suppression of heresy in Italy.

Henry was a wayward son, thoughtless, unsteady, injudicious; he was also ill advised by men who themselves had received little of the Emperor’s favour, though they and their like had in former times been the chief prop of the house of Hohenstaufen, the smaller nobility and the ministeriales, Anselm of Justingen, Henry of Neiffen, Conrad of Winterstettin. Notwithstanding the oath by which he had bound himself at Aquileia in 1232 despite the repeated warnings sent by Frederick, from Italy, Henry had’ soon reverted to his old practices and to his old associates. Although by his attitude towards heresy he had to some extent improved his relations with the higher clergy, he had quarrelled with most of the lay princes, and with some irretrievably: with Duke Otto of Bavaria against whom he made an unwarranted attack in 1233, with the Margrave of Baden, and with Godfrey of Hohcnlohe. Feuds among the princes themselves broke out and continued unchecked and uncontrolled. Matters were fast moving to a crisis. In September 1234 he issued a manifesto addressed to Conrad, Bishop of Hildesheim, in which he justified his past conduct and especially emphasised the services he  had rendered to his father while the latter was under sentence of excommunication. The letter clearly reveals how fundamentally Henry’s view of his own position differed from that of Frederick: the Emperor regarded his son merely as his representative in Germany, there to carry out implicitly his own commands; Henry considered himself as an independent ruler, free to act or to follow what line of policy he chose. A few days later at an assembly held at Boppard he made the first preparations for revolt; there “by threats, prayers, and money”, he began to canvass for supporters against his father, “and he found”, adds the Cologne chronicle, “not a few”. As a matter of fact, outside his intimate circle of ministeriales and lesser nobles he had not many adherents of any value. He had exacted an extraordinary oath of allegiance from several towns to aid him against every man, not excepting the Emperor himself; but when the time came not a single town put up the least show of resistance to Frederick’s advance. He had on his side a few bishops, those of Spires, Wurzburg, Worms, and Strasbourg, but not one secular prince except perhaps the quarrelsome Duke Frederick of Austria, and even he was ready to sell himself to the Emperor if the latter would supply him with money for his feud with the King of Bohemia. Henry also intrigued with foreign powers. He sent Henry of Neiffen and the Bishop of Wurzburg to attempt to detach Louis IX from his alliance with Frederick. The fact that the Emperor was at this time negotiating his marriage with Isabella, sister of Henry III of England, might indeed give him grounds for hope in this quarter. But thanks to the mediation of Pope Gregory, the marriage proposal did not affect the political relations between France and the Empire, and Henry’s plan failed. With better success he made overtures to the Lombard cities. On 17 December the Marshal, Anselm of Justingen, to whom the business was entrusted, arranged a treaty with them for ten years. This was the unforgiveable sin, an act of open treason whereby Henry placed himself on the side of the most determined enemies of the Empire, and its object too was outrageous: it was to prevent Frederick reaching Germany by getting the Lombards once more to bar the passes of the Alps.

The moment for rebellion was ill-chosen. Frederick was now at the height of his power and at peace with the Church; for the Pope, who resented Henry’s lack of zeal in the matter of the German heretics, energetically supported the father against the son. He wrote letters of admonition, he threatened excommunication, he released the princes from the oaths of fealty they had taken to him. Frederick, confident in his own strength and his son’s weakness, was completely unconcerned by the turn events had taken. He did not even take an army with him when he set out by ship to Aquileia on his way to Germany. He merely took his court in all its glory and splendour, which duly impressed his German subjects with a sense of the greatness of their lord, his collection of wild animals, and a handful of soldiers. He had prepared the way for his coming by an encyclical letter addressed to the princes from Barletta. He flattered them, called them “the pupils of his eyes”, and declared that it was Henry’s oppressive measures against their class that made his presence in Germany imperative. Frederick was not disappointed in the trust he had imposed in them; they readily responded to his summons, and a large number of them met him when he appeared in Styria in May 1235. The rebellion crumpled up with surprising speed; Henry’s attack on Worms, which maintained the imperial cause against its bishop, failed completely; his supporters deserted in large numbers as Frederick advanced; he was prevailed upon by Herman of Salza, who always acted as mediator in quarrels in which the Emperor was concerned, to make his submission at Wimpfen, on the Neckar, where the Emperor held his court. Henry’s fate was not immediately decided; the question was postponed to the great diet held at Worms in July. Frederick was at first, it seems, inclined to a lenient course: Henry might have at least his liberty if he performed certain conditions, among them the surrender of the strong castle of Trifels; but failing to comply with the terms, he was thrust into prison first at Heidelberg, then at Alerheim near Nörd­lingen, and finally in Apulia, whither he was conducted by the Patriarch of Aquileia. There in one prison or another he eked out a wretched existence till 1242, when he died from cither a premeditated of accidental fall from his horse while journeying to the castle of Martorano.

The diet of Worms which terminated the unhappy reign of Henry (VII) witnessed also a very different scene. For there was carried out, with all the pomp and gala celebrations for which Frederick’s court was famous, his third marriage with Isabella, the sister of Henry III of England. The negotiations for this had begun some time before: in November of the previous year Peter della Vigna had been dispatched to England; on 22 February the formalities were arranged at London. In May, accompanied by the Archbishop of Cologne, the Duke of Brabant, and the Bishop of Exeter, the princess sailed from Sandwich to Antwerp; thence she proceeded to Cologne, where she was welcomed amid great rejoicings and magnificent decorations. There she remained till six weeks later she was summoned to Worms for the marriage ceremony. Her brilliant reception was in tragic contrast to the grimness of her married life; she was soon to undergo the treatment which had worn out the youth and spirit of her predecessor, the Empress Yolande; she was placed under the close custody of Moorish eunuchs.

Besides the obvious political consequence of bringing the Empire into closer and better relations with England, the marriage had another effect scarcely less important: it improved very greatly Frederick’s position in the north-west of Germany, in those districts of the lower Rhine which were so nearly bound to England by political and economic ties, and which had since the time of Frederick Barbarossa been the centre of revolts against the house of Hohenstaufen. It was a step towards the final reconciliation of the great family feud of the Wolfs and the Hohenstaufen. The present representative of the former house, Otto of Brunswick-Luneburg, had had the good sense not only to refuse the papal offer of the German crown at the time of the Emperor’s excommunication, but also to abstain from involving himself in the quarrel between Henry and his father. At the groat diet at Mayence in August he had his reward: he yielded up his possessions to the Emperor and received them back as the duchy of Brunswick-Luneburg with the much prized privilege of hereditary succession in the male and female line.

The diet of Mayence, which took place a month after Frederick’s marriage with Isabella, was attended by nearly all the princes of Germany. Its object was the restoration of peace and order after the confusion and lawlessness which had prevailed almost unceasingly since the death of Engelbert of Cologne. The famous peace ordinance, which was promulgated both in Latin and in the vernacular language, was intended to secure as far as possible the maintenance of order and the regulation of justice even in the absence of the Emperor. It embodied much that had already been established in earlier constitutions, especially the Frankfort Landfriede issued by King Henry in 1234; but it also contained a great deal of new legislation. Severe punishments were prescribed for breach of the peace; private war might only be resorted to under certain circumstances, self-defence for example, and even then it must follow a carefully regulated procedure. For the better and more expeditious execution of the law a chief justice was set up as the head of a central court of judicature. The Emperor reserved to himself jurisdiction over princes and in other very important cases; he also kept in his hands the power of imposing the ban of the Empire and of removing it; but for the rest the justiciar was to be supreme. He was to be a freeman, and he was to hold office for at least a year. At his side was placed a lay notary whose duty it was to receive indictments, and to record sentences and rulings of the court to serve as precedents for the future. The Peace of Mayence was frequently confirmed by later kings; it became indeed not only the basis of all future peace legislation, but the starting point of the later development of the law of the Empire.

The ecclesiastical princes were still the pillar of Frederick’s strength in Germany; twelve bishops had attended his entrance at the gates of Worms on 4 June. In the Peace of Mayence the liberties of the Church were confirmed; the oppression of the stewards restrained; tolls and mints and other regalian rights of the princes defended against usurpation. Nevertheless the towns, in spite of the severe measures taken against them in the Privilege of the Princes of 1231 and in the edict of Ravenna of 1232, in spite also of the vigorous attempts of King Henry to win their support for his rebellion, had remained loyal to the Emperor, and received their reward in more sympathetic treatment. The Mayence Constitution contains few restrictions affecting them, and only one clause—the prohibition of the pfahlburgari and muntmanni (clause 13)—imposes a direct limitation on their power of development. During his stay in Germany between 1235 and 1237 the Emperor was more generous in his charters to towns, especially of course to the imperial, such as Nuremberg and Oppenheim, but also to the episcopal towns; in the latter cases usually with the concurrence of the bishops, who were beginning to realise that it was not to their interest to struggle against the inevitable constitutional and economic advance of their cities.

The Emperor spent the months before setting out on the campaign against the Lombards, which had been arranged at the diet of Mayence, in ordering the affairs of the kingdom, in making arrangements for the maintenance of peace, and in strengthening his territorial position. At Augsburg in the autumn of 1235 he bought out the claim of the King of Bohemia through his wife Cunigunda, daughter of King Philip, to a part of the Hohenstaufen estates in Swabia. Among his multifarious duties he found time to attend on 1 May 1236 the great ceremony of the translation of the bones of Elizabeth of Hungary, who had been canonised by Pope Gregory in 1234, to the church of Marburg.

In the following June the army assembled in the Lechfeld for the conquest of Lombardy. The Emperor was, however, unable to lead his full strength across the Alps, for there remained in Germany one rebel whom he had not succeeded in reducing to obedience. This was Frederick, Duke of Austria, the last of the Babenberg dukes, a violent, quarrelsome, impetuous man, who had persistently disobeyed the Emperor’s summons, and whose conduct in the revolt of Henry (151) had been very dubious; he had in fact after the collapse of the rebellion welcomed at his court one of the ringleaders, Anselm of Justingen. At Augsburg in June 1236 he was placed under the ban of the Empire, and the princes of the south-east of Germany, the King of Bohemia, the Duke of Bavaria, and several bishops, were entrusted with its execution. This they accomplished with remarkable ease: the greater part of Austria and Styria, including Vienna itself, fell into their hands; so satisfied were they with their success that they returned home, leaving the Burgrave of Nuremberg in charge of their conquests. Duke Frederick immediately took the field, defeated the burgrave at Steinfeld to the south of Neustadt, captured the Bishops of Freising and Passau, and recovered the greater part of his possessions. The news of these events brought the Emperor back to Germany; he spent Christmas at Graz; in January 1237 he was in Vienna, which in April he made an imperial city. At the same time  hemade Styria directly dependent on the Empire. But his intention to do the same with Austria was too ambitious; preoccupied as he was with the affairs of Lombardy, he had not the time nor the military strength to spare for the undertaking. No sooner was his back turned than the duke again managed to establish his authority in the greater part of his duchy.

The influence which Frederick had gained over the princes of Germany is shown by the ease with which he succeeded in inducing them to elect his son Conrad, then nine years old, as King of the Romans and future Emperor. This was done at Vienna in February and confirmed at Spires in July 1237. Born in Apulia in 1228, he had as an infant been recognised as King of Jerusalem (1229). He had accompanied his father to Germany in 1235 and might have been elected king at the great diet of Mayence had it not been for the opposition of the Pope. As it was, he was left as the nominal regent when Frederick recrossed the Alps in the summer of 1236. He now succeeded his imprisoned brother as king, and when the Emperor departed from Germany once more in August 1237, never to revisit it, Conrad remained behind as his representative under the guardianship of Siegfried, Archbishop of Mayence, who stood by him hot personal and in a public capacity: he was his magister et amicus, issued his documents as sacri imperii per Germaniam archicancellarius procurator; he occupied, that is to say, a position similar to that held by Archbishop Engelbert during the boyhood of King Henry. But like his brother, the young king soon surrounded himself with the official class, the Swabian and Franconian ministeriales, of whom Conrad of Winterstettin and Godfrey of Hohenlohe were the most prominent. It was men from this class who were chiefly responsible for his education, who became his intimate circle,  who acted as his advisers. But Frederick, warned by bitter experience, kept a watchful eye on his son’s upbringing; he would frequently write letters to him full fatherly counsel and of advice respecting the duties of a king.

The uncompromising attitude adopted by the Emperor towards the Duke of Austria had unfortunate consequences. Neither the Duke of Bavaria nor the King of Bohemia, who had been the most urgent in pressing the Emperor to impose the ban and who had been among the foremost of those charged with its execution, desired to push matters to extremes. So much did they dislike Frederick’s plan of absorbing the duchy into the Empire that they not only ceased to take any active part in the war against the duke, but early in 1238 (7 March) they actually entered into an alliance with him against the Emperor. This was partly at any rate contrived by Pope Gregory, who intended to use the three princes of the south-east as instruments to work the ruin of Frederick in Germany. When on Palm Sunday (20 March) 1239 Frederick was for the second time excommunicated, these princes at the instigation of the Pope broke out into open rebellion. They tried to raise up an anti-king to Frederick; but neither Abel, the second son of King Waldemar of Denmark, nor Robert of Artois, the brother of King Louis IX of France, who was approached later, were prepared to entertain the project. The general feeling in the country seems to have been that the sentence of excommunication was unjustified and occasioned by political motives; indeed not a bishop could be found to publish the sentence; the Landgrave of Thuringia and the Margrave of Meissen who had inclined towards the papal side were won back by the efforts of the Archbishop of Maynce; the three princes of Bohemia, Bavaria, and Austria stood alone. However much the other princes might differ in their views of the respective merits of the causes of Pope and Emperor—and they certainly differed very materially—they were at least unanimous in desiring peace, and at Eger on 1 June they agreed to entrust the task of mediation to Conrad of Thuringia, who had just succeeded Herman of Salza as Grand Master of the Teutonic Order; he died at Rome in June 1240 without having accomplished anything. However, the failure to do so was due to no fault of his own, but solely to the stubborn obstinacy of Gregory who wanted no peace. For him it was a fight to the death. Nevertheless he was disappointed in his hopes from Germany. He thought he would be able to rouse German sympathy for the papal cause; instead he found princes who wanted peace and people who were definitely hostile; the towns of South Germany sent contingents to fight Frederick’s battles in Lombardy; the clergy, especially in Bavaria, paid not the slightest regard to the excommunication; the Teutonic Order, to which Frederick had always been particularly generous in grants of lands and privileges, was solid in its support of its patron. And not the least shattering blow, the Duke of Austria in the autumn of 1239 was reconciled with the Emperor and reinstated in his dukedom; his example was soon followed by the King of Bohemia, and Otto of Bavaria alone remained to represent the papal party. But Gregory only redoubled his efforts to raise Germany against its Emperor: in November he instructed the bishops to publish the sentence of excommunication in all towns and villages with ringing of bells and burning of lights; he threatened to excommunicate all who gave their support to the Emperor; then early in 1240 he ordered a crusade to be preached against “the son of perdition”. But the more violent his methods became, the more stubbornly were they resisted. Moreover Gregory was singularly unfortunate in his choice of an agent. Albert Behaim, Arch­deacon of Passau, enthusiastic to fanaticism as he was in his devotion to the Holy See, was tactless and injudicious, and he only embittered his opponents by his wholesale and unauthorised excommunications and interdicts. Not unlike Conrad of Marburg a few years earlier, he ruined a papal policy by excess of zeal. In the spring of 1240 he excommunicated half the bishops of Germany, including the chancellor, Siegfried, Bishop of Ratisbon, the Archbishops of Mayence, Treves, and Salzburg; he excommunicated the Duke of Austria, the Landgrave of Thuringia, the Margrave of Meissen; he excommunicated many cathedral chapters and abbots; he laid Austria under interdict and meted out the same treatment to those towns which had sent troops to assist the Emperor in Lombardy. The Archbishop of Salzburg and the Bishop of Brixen became so exasperated that they closed the passes of the Alps to prevent him from communicating with the Pope. Even the Duke of Bavaria grew tired of the extravagant conduct of the papal agent, and it was he who ultimately expelled him from Bavaria.

While the Pope was devoting all the forces at his command, excom­munications, crusades, intrigues, to crush the Emperor, and was refusing even to entertain overtures for peace, a real danger was threatening the whole Christian world. The Mongols, who during the early years of the thirteenth century had spread over the greater part of Asia, were now, under Batu Khan pressing farther and farther westward. They had subdued the Cumans on the north-west shore of the Black Sea. They had overrun southern Russia: Moscow and Vladimir fell in 1238; Kiev in 1240. They had pushed on into Poland, seized Cracow (March 1241), crossed the Oder, and defeated, and killed Duke Henry of Silesia, who attempted to check their advance, at Liegnitz (9 April 1241). Simultaneously another swarm under Batu himself had crossed the Carpathians and attacked Hungary; the army of King Bela was surprised and annihilated, and the king fled to Austria for help. There was no doubt of the seriousness of the peril. The vast Mongolian army was not a mere horde of undisciplined bar­barians; it was well organised, well trained, and well led. Frederick protested with some justice that he was himself unable to leave Italy, but he wrote to all the kings of Europe urging them to prepare to meet the common danger by united action. The bishops of Germany preached a crusade, King Conrad himself took the cross at Esslingen (19 May), and the army was to assemble for the campaign at Nuremberg on 1 July. But by then the imminent danger had passed. The Mongolian attacks on Bohemia and Austria had been successfully repulsed; then came the news of the death of the Great Khan Ogdai, and of the political disturbances in central Asia resulting from it. The Mongols withdrew eastward, and Germany was freed from the threat of invasion.

During the last eight years of Frederick’s reign the Pope waged a relentless war for the extermination of the house of Hohenstaufen, a war which threw the whole of Germany into confusion and anarchy. Innocent IV, who was elected to the pontificate on 25 June 1243, was more successful as a politician and as an agitator than Gregory IX had been, and he had better material to work upon; for no less a person than Siegfried, Archbishop of Mayence, Frederick’s vicegerent in Germany, deserted his post and turned papalist. He may have been influenced by the Emperor’s neglect of his country in the hour of need, for the latter had remained in Italy during the Mongolian invasion; it was even whispered, though of course without a particle of truth, that Frederick had himself invited in the Asiatic hordes. He may have considered the measures taken by Frederick against Pope Gregory, such as the seizure of the cardinals and bishops who were proceeding to the council at Rome in May 1241, as too violent to be honestly approved. It is enough that on 10 September 1241 he had an interview with Conrad, Archbishop of Cologne, who all along had had leanings towards the papal side, and concluded with him an alliance which was definitely directed against the Emperor. Shortly after, they were joined by Arnold of Isenburg, who after a disputed election became Archbishop of Treves. The three Rhenish archbishops with several of their suffragans formed a very powerful nucleus of an anti-Hohenstaufen party in Germany.

The desertion of the Archbishop of Mayence necessitated fresh arrangements for the government of Germany, for Conrad was still but a boy, not yet fourteen years old. The changes carried out in 1242 mark a complete reversal of Frederick’s previous policy. He could no longer rely on the great churchmen in whom he had hitherto reposed his confidence and whom he had singled out for exceptionally generous treatment in the way of grants of lands and privileges; they had failed him. In the spring Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia, and Wenceslas, King of Bohemia, were named his deputies in Germany, each with the title sacri per Germaniam imperii procurator. But the appointment of two prominent lay princes was not the only indication that the Emperor had ceased to count upon the higher clergy. He now turned to the cities of Germany, not only to the imperial towns which he had generally patronised, but to the bishops towns which, in order to please their ecclesiastical masters, he had usually downtrodden, and he found that, with few exceptions, they rewarded his confidence and his bounty by staunch loyalty. Cologne itself was largely imperialist, influenced no doubt by the English alliance which resulted from the marriage of Frederick with Isabella; the burghers took part in the campaign which ended in the capture and imprisonment of their papalist archbishop (February 1242); it was only by granting extraordinary privileges that William of Holland ultimately gained admittance into the city (October 1247).

Worms enthusiastically supported Conrad, and in the fighting in the region of the upper Rhine in 1242-1243 they rendered him great service, especially with their fleet of boats which on one occasion sailed down the river and relieved the fortress of Castel which the Archbishop of Mayence was besieging. Erfurt suffered the imposition of an interdict rather than desert their king; the burghers of Ratisbon drove out their disloyal bishop, Siegfried, once the trusted chancellor of Frederick, and, when he died shortly after, they refused him burial within their city; Frederick handsomely rewarded them by expressly exempting them from the terms of the edict of Ravenna of 1232 and by permitting them to set up a town council with a burgomaster and civic officials independent of their bishop (November 1245). The financial support supplied by the towns com­pensated to some extent for the serious losses caused by the alienation and pawning of crown and personal property to which the Hohenstaufen were compelled to resort in order to gain assistance in other quarters.

With the formal deposition of the Emperor at the Council of Lyons in July 1245 we enter on the last and the most deplorable phase of the war. In the autumn of the same year Innocent sent Philip of Ferrara as legate to Germany; he was the first of a series of legates commissioned with almost unlimited powers to carry out the Pope’s political aim—the overthrow of the Hohenstaufen and the election and recognition of an anti-king. The election of an anti-king was achieved without much difficulty: Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia, had joined the papal side in April 1244; he was really the only lay prince available, and he was chosen “at the Pope’s command” at Veitshochheim near Wurzburg on 22 May 1246, by the archbishops of the Rhineland and a few other bishops. Not a lay prince was present; it was merely an affair of the Church party; Henry was, as Albert of Stade justly calls him, rex clericorum. Indeed there was a strong feeling in the country, as the same author records, that the Pope was meddling in matters that were no business of his: the Pope was not concerned in the institution or in the deposition of an Emperor, but only in his coronation. Henry so far acknowledged that he was the instrument and the champion of Rome as to have the heads of SS. Peter and Paul engraved on the obverse of his seal.

Nevertheless it was calmer to bring about the election of an anti-king than to win for him recognition. This had already been proved when Innocent III had tried to force Germany to accept Otto IV. Innocent IV was if possible more determined and certainly far less scrupulous in his methods than any of his predecessors. He and his agents stopped short at nothing; nothing was too dishonourable, too undignified, too unchristian, so long as it served their ends. Excommunication was pronounced against the supporters of the Hohenstaufen and their lands were laid under interdict. Masses ceased to be said in many churches throughout the country and in consequence large numbers were cut off from the exercise of their religion; their marriages were not recognised by the Church; their children went unbaptised; they were denied Christian burial. A crusade was proclaimed against Frederick and his son, and was actively preached by the mendicant orders in the villages and towns of Germany; those who had taken the cross for the redemption of the Holy Land were persuaded to perform their vow in the war against the Hohenstaufen. Every inducement was offered to entice imperialist clergy to turn papalist; while entrance into Holy Orders was deniecT not only to the actual partisans of Frederick but also to their sons and their grandsons, it was permitted even to the natural sons of the clergy who supported the Pope; the irregularities and crimes of the latter were connived at, and their sins were covered by dispensations. Bribery was practised on an enormous scale, and to provide the necessary money the Church, not only in Germany and Italy but in England, was taxed to the limit of its resources. Benefices were granted by papal provision as rewards for zeal in the cause of Rome; indeed in Germany practically all Church appointments were at this time controlled by the Pope’s agents. No chapter could proceed to the election of a bishop without first obtaining the advice and consent of the Pope or his legate; Innocent even stooped so low as to nominate a layman, Henry of Guelders, to the see of Liege and to dispense him from the obligation of consecration (1247), and he held his bishopric as a layman till his deposition in 1273.

Henry Raspe at first met with success. King Conrad, who tried to prevent him holding his first diet which had been summoned to Frankfort, was defeated on 5 August 1246,mainly owing to the treachery of the Counts of Würtemberg and Grüningen who, bribed by the Pope with seven hundred marks of silver, deserted with two thousand Swabians. Henry was therefore able to hold his diet; but the fact that the legate, Philip of Ferrara, excommunicated and summoned to Rome no less than two archbishops, those of Salzburg and Bremen, ten bishops, and four abbots for non-attendance there, shows that even among the higher clergy there was still a preponderance that favoured the Hohenstaufen. The efforts of the anti-king were now directed to an attempt to subdue Swabia, the home of his opponents. At Frankfort he formally deprived Conrad both of the duchy and of his family possessions; some Swabian counts and nobles had already joined him; and in the winter 1246-7 he ventured to embark upon a campaign. He made however little headway; in January he laid siege to Ulm, but the stubborn resistance of the inhabitants and the severity of the weather forced him to abandon it. The winter campaign had seriously affected his health; he withdrew to the Wartburg near Eisenach, where he died in February 1247. He was the last of his house, which had ruled Thuringia for nearly a century and a half. It now escheated to the Empire and was in course of time granted by Frederick to Henry, Margrave of Meissen, who was connected by marriage with the last landgrave.

The Thuringian landgraves had on many occasions during the civil disturbance of the last fifty years given trouble to the ruling house, which gained considerably by their end. Not many months before (June 1246) Duke Frederick of Austria died fighting against Hungary, and another of the great German families became extinct; for this turbulent prince was the last of the Babenbergs in the male line. Austria, like Thuringia, fell into the Empire, but contrary to feudal custom it was not regranted after the lapse of a year and a day, but was retained in the hands of the Crown and ruled by a captain-general. The arrangement, though it caused much internal discord, on the whole strengthened the Hohenstaufen position in the south-east. Indeed, this region, which had stood out prominently as the centre of papal influence in the crisis of 1239, was in 1246 a stronghold of the imperialists. Duke Otto of Bavaria, who on the former occasion had been the German champion of the papal cause, was now not only the ally but the father-in-law of Conrad IV. For the latter married the duke’s daughter Elizabeth in September 1246 at Vohburg. How seriously this alliance was regarded at the papal court may be judged from the letter written shortly before the marriage took place to Duke Otto by his former friend, Albert of Passau, who was at the time at Lyons with Innocent IV. He was willing to contrive that the Pope should annul the betrothal and arrange a better match for his (the duke’s) daughter; be would procure a reconciliation with Henry Raspe and the removal of the sentences of excommunication and interdict which the legate had imposed upon him and his dominions. He then made an alternative suggestion: he would get the Pope to confirm the marriage, and permit Conrad to retain Sicily and the kingdom of Jerusalem, provided that he would desert his father; Henry Raspe in this case would keep Germany and the Empire. That these proposals were made with the approval of Innocent there can be little doubt. Besides showing the importance the Pope attached to the friendship of Bavaria, it reveals the lengths he was prepared to go, the sacrifices he was prepared to make, to achieve the ruin of Frederick.

The Bavarian marriage and the death of Henry Raspe were serious blows to Innocent’s policy. Moreover, among the powers of Europe the Pope had not met with the sympathy he had hoped for; the Kings of England and France ignored the sentence of deposition pronounced at the Council of Lyons, and continued to regard and to address Frederick as Emperor. If the Pope’s arbitrary methods of appointing papalists to German bishoprics gave him the controlling hand over the higher clergy, he failed completely to shake the loyalty of the lay princes. It was not an easy matter to find a suitable successor to Henry Raspe; and the choice finally fell on a young man who was not even of princely rank, William, the Count of Holland. He was elected in the presence of Peter Capocci, the legate who had taken the place of Philip of Ferrara, at Worringen near Cologne on 3 October. Besides the ecclesiastics, he was supported by one layman of a substantial position, his uncle the Duke of Brabant. But essentially he was another rex clericorum. Although by his family connexions he had influence in the districts of the lower Rhine, he nevertheless found it by no means easy to gain access to the principal towns. He won Cologne by a quite exceptional charter: besides granting privileges in the way of tolls and jurisdiction, he bound himself to lead no army into the city, to hold no diet within its walls, to build no fortress on its territory, to impose no taxation upon its inhabitants; he resigned in fact all royal prerogatives in its favour. In consequence of this we find him seldom in the chief town of the lower Rhine, and then only on peaceable business; he was present at the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the new cathedral (July 1248), and there also he was received at the house of the Dominicans by the schoolman Albertus Magnus (January 1249). But it was not, as it had been under Otto IV, the political and military centre of this Netherland king. It took him several months to force his way into Aix-la-Chapelle where, a little more than a year, after his election, he was crowned by Archbishop Conrad of Cologne in the presence of two legates (1 November 1248). The royal fortress of Kaiserswerth was only starved into submission after a siege lasting a whole year. Boppard held out against three separate attacks and only succumbed when besieged for the fourth time in August 1251. In these first years he was kept fully occupied in improving his position in those parts where his kingship was more or less acknowledged, by making grants and confirming charters and by a judicious use of the papal money placed at his disposal; in this way Duke Matthew of Lorraine was brought over to his side. He was also engaged in feuds in his own country—one particularly long and troublesome with Margaret of Flanders. So he seldom ventured far afield during Frederick’s lifetime. He made however two expeditions up the Rhine; on the first of these, in 1249, he captured Ingelheim, where he confirmed the old Eger Bull of Frederick II in favour of the Pope. But during the siege he suffered severe blow: his most powerful supporter, Archbishop Siegfried of Mayence, fell ill and was taken to Bingen where he died. His successor, Archbishop Christian, was a peaceable person and altogether disinclined to fight for the papal cause by the means prescribed by Innocent IV; he was indeed deposed from his see for his inactivity in this respect in July 1251. With Siegfried of Mayence, William of Holland and the Pope lost their greatest champion in Germany. The capture of Ingelheim was the only result of the campaign; William attacked but failed to capture Frankfort in July; but by the autumn he was back in the Low Countries without having struck a serious blow at his opponents. The second campaign up the Rhine in the summer of the next year was still less eventful. Conrad was also in the field, and on one occasion the two rivals were encamped within a few miles of each other in the neighbourhood of Oppenheim; but William would not risk a pitched battle and withdrew. At the end of the year he was still only king in the district of the Lower Rhine; in the east of Germany he was ignored; in the south he was bitterly opposed. Up to the time of the Emperor’s death at Fiorentino in December 1250 the policy of Innocent IV in Germany had met with little real success. He had set up two anti-kings, but neither had been recognised outside a comparatively small area; all he had achieved was to introduce chaos and anarchy, civil war and bloodshed, into the whole of Germany.