James Bryce Bryce.

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class with those of the crown, and by
this means also in Italy the allegiance to

the empire, which was re-
Conrad s j i_ -^ L t_

. . cognised by most, if not by
Successful ,, b ,, /. , , .-',

,. all the bishops, was laid

Policy , ', .

upon broader foundations.
The success of this policy was most
obvious in the powerful position which it
gave to Conrad's heir, Henry III. He
restored the balance between the conflict-
ing powers of Bohemia and Poland
Bohemia in this case being the aggressor

359 1


and secured the obedience of both to the
empire ; in Hungary the monarchy recently
established by Stefan was involved in the
fierce confusion of a struggle with old
Magyar conservatism. Here the emperor
was able to assert the feudal supremacy
of the empire in 1044-1045, though it
was a relationship which soon afterwards
was very loosely interpreted.
Henry'* Q n t ^ e ecclesiastical side
Ascetic Henry's position was deter-
r mined by an education in
spiritual principles and practices which
had given an ascetic turn to his character ;
he was accustomed to lament the secular
nature of his .father's character and policy.
After Gunhild's death he was confirmed
in this point of view by his marriage with
Agnes of Poitou ; she was a zealous pupil
of the strict reforming movement which
originated at Cluny. The struggle had
begun against simony that is to say,
against the purchase of offices, or the return
of ecclesiastical revenues to the patron
and against other secular influences
within the Church, which were the con-
sequence of its enormous temporal posses-
sions. Henry considered this business the
empire's special task, and placed himself
entirely at the service of the high aims
which had been pointed out to the Church
and the papacy. He checked the tendency
of the German episcopate to form an inde-
pendent national Church ; and partly in
the interests of the authority of the crown
he repressed the simoniacal leanings of the
bishops, who had become temporal princes
of wide power, by emphasising the ascetic
theory of the worthlessness of earthly
possessions and by supporting the monas-
teries founded upon the principles of the
Cluniac reforms in which Henry II. had
already shown special interest.

Three Popes who were fighting simul-
taneously for precedence in Rome were
deposed by Henry in 1046. His action
aroused considerable surprise, but it was
not a difficult task, and was
anything but a victory over the
Church. He thus made room
for a papacy conducted in
opposition to simoniacal principles and
with a higher conception of the import-
ance of its office. He chose, as occupants
of the Holy See, Germans upon whose
pure zeal he could rely, men unbiassed
by the nepotism of Roman competitors.
Although in every individual case he
exercised the free and independent right


Three Popes
by Henry

of the emperor to choose his own Popes,
his object was rather to secure a proper
occupant for the Apostolic Church than to
fortify the interests of the crown. After
Swidger of Bamberg, who died in 1047, and
Poppo of Brixen. who died in 1048, the Alsa-
tian Bruno of Egisheim, Bishop of Toul, was
appointed Pope as Leo. IX. Henry then
allowed his nominee to submit his election
to the approval of the Romans, and thus
to recover the right of confirmation or
election for the " clergy and people of
Rome." Leo then arranged that the
papal election should be made by the
college of cardinals ; he also secured the
help of the Norman conquerors of Southern
Italy as the protectors of the papacy, and
left to future Popes his scholar Hilde-
brand as their adviser and practical guide.
In 1054 Leo was succeeded by another
German Pope, Gebhard of Eichstatt,
whose appointment was also confirmed by
an election at Rome. Thereupon Roman
interests proceeded to break away from all
German influences, even from that which
had most zealously striven to secure the
elevation of the papacy through the
agency of German Popes.
ft *p S Henry's imperial supremacy
apa was also expended in conflicts

Throne V

with the German princes.
Until 1049 he had a severe struggle
to wage with the capable Duke Godfrey
of Upper Lorraine, who, after the loss of
his duchy, had gained a new position by
his marriage with the widowed Countess
Beatrice of Tuscany, the mother of the
famous Countess Matilda. The wide
possessions of this family in North Italy,
the Italian home of which was the castle
of Canossa, tended more than ever to
alienate it from the imperial power, and
to incline it to political co-operation with
the papal struggles for independence
a tendency fostered by the ecclesiastical
leanings of the two countesses. After
i55 when Henry III. was making a
further stay in Italy, the existence of the
empire was threatened by a great con-
spiracy of the South German princes, who
had traitorously entered into alliance with
the Hungarians. An open breach was
averted rather by the death of important
participants, such as Wolf of Carinthia
and Conrad of Bavaria, than by the
measures of the emperor ; it was,
however, a bad omen for the reign of
the six-year-old boy, whose succession
the emperor had acknowledged in 1053,


and whom he left to hold his crown
in 1056.

Henry IV. had many weak qualities,
which, however, being entirely human,
were insufficient to extinguish his manly
characteristics and his capacity, and made
him not unworthy of his later popularity ;
he is, to an extent rarely so obvious as in
this case, a product of the conditions under
which he grew. In women so entirely
estranged from worldly desires as was the
Empress Agnes the feminine desire for
support and friendship finds expression

The great struggle for regency and
supremacy was then continued between
Anno and Adalbert, the brilliant Archbishop
of Bremen ; he was anxious to be the founder
of a Low German patriarchate and to
become the temporal administrator of the
empire. This he preferred to the papacy,
which he might have attained at an earlier
date. Between these two leaders, Anno and
Adalbert, the factions of the remaining
princes wavered as their inclinations varied.
The reasonable nature of their policy
gradually disappeared, as neither of the

When the bitter antipathy existing between Pope Gregory VII. and King Henry IV. broke into open war in 1076,
Gregory summoned the emperor to appear before him at Rome, there to answer for various breaches of the
ecclesiastical law. To that Henry retorted by convoking a Synod at Worms at which the bishops who supported
the emperor renounced their allegiance to Gregory, and served upon him a summons, couched in insulting
terms, calling upon him to leave the apostolic throne which he had usurped. Henry's humiliation soon followed.

only in tenderer forms. The competing
influences of ambitious bishops and ener-
getic laymen, among whom the Burguh-
dian Rudolf of Rheinfelden held an initial
advantage, ended in a victory for the clergy.
The stern, harsh Swabian Anno, Archbishop
of Cologne, was by no means a man who
could compete for the favour of a great lady
with a Gunther of Bamberg or a Henry of
Augsburg. In conjunction with some
princes, he pushed the queen-mother aside
and secured forcible possession of that
valuable hostage for power, the young king.

two archbishops hesitated to use the royal
prerogative for their own purposes, and
many a powerful layman was seduced by
the idea that he could himself be a better
king. As regards the young king himself,
his character was destroyed by Anno's
unsympathetic training, which made the
boy mistrustful, reserved, and suspicious.
The ill-advised flattery and epicureanism
of the cheerful and self-satisfied Adalbert
were equally pernicious, since they only
resulted in producing in Henry a pre-
cocity of the very worst kind.



A Pope
who Elected

Such being the state of affairs, Rome
proceeded to aggression at an early date.
Hildebrand was the real author of the
election decree, issued in 1059 by Nicholas
II., which placed the election of the Pope
in the hands of the cardinals and left only
an unimportant right of appeal to the
people of Rome ; in other words, the decree
deprived the great Roman
families of that useful imple-
ment they had formerly en-
joyed, a friendly pontiff. For
the crown was reserved only the show of
responsibility ; but the royal representa-
tives, Agnes and her advisers, replied to
this blow merely by an expression of dis-
content. Very different was the action of
the Roman factions and the bishops of
Upper Italy. But Hildebrand was ready
for any attack. He secured the friendship
of the Normans, to whom the papacy had
granted investiture of their conquests, in
virtue of the suzerainty conferred by the
donation of Constantine ; he encouraged
<he democratic and reforming party of the
' Pataria " in its opposition to the Lom-
bard bishops, and entirely disregarded the
ordinary forms of election if they seemed
likely to delay the immediate appointment
of the Pope. When the time came, he
himself, in open disregard of the decree,
assumed the pontificate in 1073 as Gregory
VII., without any formality whatever.

Meanwhile, it had become clear that,
together with the Normans and the
Pataria, a third resource was at his dis-
posal in Germany namely, the princes and
the laity. The king had now attained his
majority, and was proceeding to deal with
the insubordination of his chief vassals ;
he took Bavaria from Otto of Northeim.
Otto's Saxon friends and kinsmen revolted
as a result of long-growing irritation with
the Salian dynasty, which they could
regard only as alien. Its imperial pre-
rogatives, its demesnes and its Saxon
palaces seemed the outward signs of a
Wk tk foreign despotism. Fortunately
. for Henry, the narrow particu-

aaxons did , / . ,

Not See "UTsm of the Saxons blinded
their eyes to the alliance that
was awaiting them among the malcontents
of Southern Germany and in the Roman
Curia. Their political wisdom had not
increased since the time of their own wars
with Charles the Great. On the other hand,
the Swabian duke, Rudolf of Rheinfeld,
and Welf, who had received through
Rudolf's influence the Bavarian duchy for-


feited by Otto of Northeim, and Berthold
of Zahringen the greatest secular lord in
Swabia and duke-elect of Carinthia, though
he was unable to make head there against
local revolts all sought the friendship of
Gregory VII. After a severe struggle, with
varying success, Henry IV. finally con-
quered the humiliated Saxons in the
autumn of 1075. His sole secure support
was the citizen class, now rising to power
and beginning in many quarters the struggle
with the territorial lords, ecclesiastical and
princely, in order to secure the autonomy
of their own towns.

Hitherto Henry had based his opposition
to the Curia upon no broad political prin-
ciple. All his energies and resources were
engrossed by the war in Germany ; in
view of this main object he considered
that the task of explanations with the
Pope might be deferred. To the Pope he
sent a superfluous and extravagant ex-
pression of homage, without considering
the political or constitutional dangers
which this act might imply ; in fact, to all
complaints of Gregory he replied only in
terms of the most extreme submission.
Tk B id Gregory accepted these overtures
Bt e r quietly ; and at a moment when

Stroke of 7 T J , '

. p Henry s attention was occupied
entirely by domestic troubles,
in February, 1075, he declared his policy
by prohibiting lay investitures that is
to say, by forbidding the king to make
appointments to bishoprics and abbeys
within the empire, or invest their occu-
pants with lands and revenues. This papal
policy implied that the class which might be
regarded as the most valuable support of
the monarchy was entirely emancipated
from its allegiance, and could henceforward
be used upon the side of the opposition.
Only at this moment did Henry recognise
the full extent of the danger which was
entailed by an understanding between the
papacy and. the revolted South German

After his victory over the Saxons he
proceeded to secure his position against
Hildebrand. Upon this question he was
supported by the German bishops, who
were by no means anxious to surrender their
previous connection with the empire for
incorporation in the close hierarchical
system with its powerful and aggressive
Pope. Thus a violent and perhaps prema-
ture counter-stroke was delivered by the
imperial diet of January, 1076. Only one
duke was present, the younger Godfrey of


Lorraine ; he was the son of the above-
mentioned Godfrey, whose unhappy mar-
riage with Gregory's friend, Matilda of
Tuscany, had driven him to the king's
support. On the other hand, twenty-six
ecclesiastical princes were present, and
were inspired by comparative unanimity.
Gregory's papacy was declared to be
illegitimately acquired and he himself was
deposed, while his friendship with Matilda
was also misrepresented.

Gregory relying upon the principles of
the false decretals, replied by deposing
the king, and releasing his subjects in the
three realms from their fidelity and
allegiance to Henry. Upon this occasion
and in this situation the excommunication
of the emperor, which had never before
been attempted and had not therefore
lost its power, produced full effect.
The hostile secular princes carried the
sentence of deposition to its logical con-
clusion, while several bishops recognised,
though they had been present at the
Diet of Worms, the stronger position of
Gregory, and deserted to him. The old
secular spirit of the Saxon peasantry could
not be induced to look beyond

the special interests of Saxony
Deposed by , , , ,

alone, and was brought only

the Pope .,, -,-rr ,,

with difficulty to take action
upon the wider question. Concurrently with
this determined action of the hierarchy,
a parallel movement of Cluniac reform was
proceeding throughout Germany. The
central point of it was the Swabian monas-
tery of Hirsau ; clergy educated in this
school and inspired with its spirit were
gradually placed in the various bishoprics.
The election of a new king in place of the
Salian monarch who had been deposed
by the Pope was deferred, for the most
part owing to the selfishness and ambition
of the leading parties. Moreover, Pope
Gregory, though anxious to secure the sub-
jection and humiliation of the actual
monarch, who was at the point of ruin, was
not desirous to set up a new king supported
by some powerful faction, who might
oblige him to begin his work again from
the beginning. Against the strong oppo-
sition of the princes, he proceeded to dis-
cuss the question of Henry's absolution
from the sentence of excommunication,
and secured an armistice. In order to
secure his control over details, which were
greatly complicated by the opposition of
the princes, he set forth to visit Germany
in person.

The king hastened to meet him on his
way at Canossa, the castle of Gregory's
fellow-traveller, Matilda. Here Henry IV.
secured his release from excommunication
by a display of unwearied and extreme
humility and by a readiness to make
atonement which Gregory in vain strove
to break by the severest measures. In
, this way the Pope was able to
separate the chief penitent from

Humiliation ,, r ,. , . , r .... .

. ~ the hierarchical politicians,

at Canossa ,

who were anxious to make

themselves masters of the whole situation
in Germany. But this was not all. Gregory
merely absolved the king in his private
capacity, and expressly retained his right
to influence the situation in Germany.
The vexation and impatience of the princes
now came to the support of King Henry
and justified his expectations that in
this way he would most speedily emerge
from his difficulties.

Gregory again joined the opposition to
Henry for the reason that the king was
growing too strong in Germany. He
excommunicated Henry a second time, but
the latter upon this occasion was less dis-
turbed at the sentence. On October i5th,
1080, Rudolf was mortally wounded at
Grune, near Pegau according to others,
at Hohenmolsen. His death was due to the
loss of that right hand with which he had
once sworn fidelity to his king, though
victory remained with him through the
bravery of the Saxons, who remained faith-
ful through all the increasing embarrass-
ments of their favourite and leader, Otto
of Northeim. The opposition thus became
more confused and less effective, while the
new opposition king, Count Hermann of
Salm (1080-1088), proved of no importance.
Henry was able to travel to Italy in 1084
and to receive the imperial crown at
Rome in St. Peter's from the hand of the
imperialist anti-Pope, Clement III. ; the
true Pope was so closely besieged in the
neighbouring Castle of St. Angelo that
,_,_.., he welcomed the relief
i he Kings brought bythe Normans at
Indifference to i- j T> u

p . his summons, under Robert

Guiscard. Gregory retired
to Lower Italy, and died at Salerno
on May 25th, 1085, embittered by the
thought that he had been defeated in a
great and righteous cause. In Germany
the Guelfs and Zahringers made peace
with the emperor ; the latter party for the
second time renounced the ducal power
in Swabia which they had claimed after



the extinction of the Rheinfeld family
though they received certain compen-
sation and retained the ducal title in 1098.
The duchy remained in the hands
of the house of Hohenstauffen, to which
it had been given by King Henry im-
mediately after his journey to Canossa
in 1079.

Meanwhile, in 1090, a new opponent to
the emperor arose from the Zahringen
family. This was Gebhard, formerly a
monk of Hirsau and now
Bishop of Constance, a man
of unusual energy and tenacity.
He was also the confidential
adviser of Pope Urban II.
(1088-1099), upon whose ac-
cession the papacy, despite
the despondent words of
Gregory upon his death bed,
reaped the fruits of that great
statesman's labours and re-
sumed his aims. At an earlier
date the revolt of Conrad, the
emperor's eldest son, and his
opposition kingdom (1093-
1101) led to no great result;
the rising of the future heir,
Henry, who had already been
crowned in 1099, began in
1104, as a result of disagree-
ment and intrigue, and became
important owing to the co-
operation and conduct of
Gebhard of Zahringen. He
accompanied the young king
to Saxony, where the bishop
secured not merely full political
agreement but also the
accomplishment of Gregory's
reforms. The result was a
very confused campaign of

munication. At the same moment the
chief gaoler of the emperor who was kept
in the castle of Bokelheim the former
Abbot of Hirsau, then Bishop of Speier,
succeeded by some means in securing his
abdication. The son and his advisers,
however, did not venture to bring this
act of abdication before the imperial
diet, an intention which they had
originally pretended.

Henry IV. was forced to abdicate on
December 3ist, at Ingelheim,
amid a gathering of his deadly
enemies and under threats of
excommunication from the
legates. Afterwards, relying
upon the fidelity which he
knew to exist in many
quarters, he attempted to
reverse this last of the many
defeats he had suffered in his
restless life, but died before
the appeal to arms, at the
early age of fifty-six, in Liege,
on August yth, 1106.

Henry V. was a ruler of
ability in whom the deceitful
and treacherous elements so
alien to his father's nature
reached their full development
and were combined with stern
determination. As soon as he
became king that is to say,
when he had secured the re-
cognition of both parties he
pushed aside his ecclesiastical
teachers and guides, to whom
he had been profuse in his
promises of important con-
cessions. He invested newly
appointed ecclesiastical

princes, and calmly informed

father against son ; eventually, KING RUDOLF OF SWABIA the Pope, Paschal II., that
in 1105, their quarrel was gj" *&? fiSgfS***** the custom was traditional
settled by more reliable p^gory Yul' : . and _" en f7 i V j w 5 an d that lay investitures

Elected as an

the German princes when Pope

Gregory VII. and Henry IV. were

measures of treachery and RudoFf g enjoyed Ut^brief reign', were absolutely essential to
violence. The younger man f/ in t f ke n n ^^ I^bVonzl^piate 1 the crown. In ino he marched
proposed a meeting with the in the cathedral at Merseburg. to Italy with two formidable
hope of reconciliation, and took his father armies, himself going over the St. Bernard,
prisoner by a breach of faith.

At an imperial diet, summoned to Mainz
at Christmas, 1105, the papal legates,
Cardinal Richard of Albano and Gebhard
of Constance, who were entrusted with
full powers, successfully intimidated the
numerous princes who supported the
emperor and were indignant at the son's
action by reiterating old personal charges
and producing the former bull of excom-


through Burgundy, while the duke of
Bohemia went over the Brenner Pass.

Paschal, who was a hot-tempered
doctrinaire, when confronted with this
inevitable difficulty, suddenly discovered
the most remarkable of all solutions, the
actual accomplishment of which was an
almost inconceivable achievement, and to
this Henry V. q :ietly agreed on February
4th, iii i. It was arranged that the




crown should resume all the imperial fiefs
held by the ecclesiastical principalities,
together with the remaining regalia, with
the result that no form of property requir-
ing lay investiture would remain to them.
This was a measure of secularisation
analogous to that completed to the horror
of the Church in the Roman Catholic
portions of Germany in 1803, though
without inflicting any damage upon, the
spiritual power and inward strength of the
Church. Had any attempt 'been made to
accomplish this enormous transference of
property and power in the year mi, it
would have been an event remarkable in

from the old Countess Mathilda a bequest
of her property.

No permanent victories are ever secured
by such violent measures as Henry had
used ; the forces of the opposition
remained unimpaired. An archbishop,
Guido of Vienna, made himself leader of
the ecclesiastical resistance in the Bur-
gundian principality, while the secular
opposition centred round Lothair of Suplin-
burg, who had succeeded the Billungs as
duke of Saxony. He was a capable
administrator of the Low German duchy,
and had successfully revived the policy of
a political expansion to the Baltic and



In the long struggle for supremacy between the two potentates, Emperor and Pope, little quarter was shown on either
side. When Henry V. ascended the throne he invested newly appointed ecclesiastical princes, and calmly informed
the Pope, Paschal II., that the custom was traditional and that lay investitures were absolutely essential to the
crown. It was arranged that the crown should resume all the imperial fiefs, and when this measure of secularisation
led to an up: oar, the crafty emperor laid all the blame at the door of Paschal and arrested him at Rome in 1111.

the history of the world ; but the secular
and ecclesiastical princes made a tremen-
dous uproar at the immense loss with_
which they were threatened the secular
princes in so far as they occupied ecclesias-
tical fiefs, while the dominant position
which the crown would acquire was no
less a cause of dissension.

Henry made the Pope responsible for
this indignation, and threw him into
confinement. On April nth he forcibly
abolished the prohibition of the investi-
tures and secured his coronation as emperor
two days afterwards. On the homeward
journey he was clever enough to secure


beyond the Elbe a policy the more suc-
cessful as it coincided with the economic
interests of his subjects, the rising spirit of
nationality, and the energetic character
of the laity.

On February nth, 1115, the opposition
defeated Henry V. at the Welfesholz
at Mansfield ; a series of concessions
and attempts to secure peace culminated
on September 23rd, 1122, with the
Concordat of Worms, which was con-
cluded with Calixtus II.; and with the
secular and ecclesiastical, princes. The

Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 13 of 55)