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to Henry. At the end of Conrad's reign, Saxony and Lorraine
were the only duchies still held by independent princes.
Like his predecessors, Conrad used the bishops as the means
of carrying on the government and checking the growth of
the lay aristocracy. Following the example of the chief
ecclesiastics, he encouraged the development of a new class
of hereditary ministeriales, who devoted their lives to the
service of the crown, and soon built up a new official body
that enabled his successors to largely dispense with the
interested help of the episcopate in carrying on the daily task
of the administration of the kingdom.

Conrad was so successful with this policy in Germany and
Burgundy that he desired to extend it to Italy. But the spirit
of independence was already deeply rooted south of the Alps,
and the very prelates who had called Conrad to help them
against their lay rivals, now looked with suspicion on a policy
that deprived churchman and lay noble alike of their cherished
immunities. Aribert of Milan had long aspired
to a position of almost complete independence.
Aribert, His dream was to make the see of St. Ambrose
a sort of North Italian patriarchate, and at the
same time he wished to combine with ecclesiastical ascen-
dency an organised temporal power. His twofold ambition

The Later Saxon and Early Salian Emperors 59

was exactly that of the Papacy at a later period, and for
the moment Milan seemed stronger than Rome. The citizens
of Milan, more obedient to their bishops than the turbulent
Romans, were zealous partisans of Aribert ; but the smaller
nobles, who saw in the fulfilment of his plans the destruction
of their own independence, rose as one man against him.
Civil war broke out in Lombardy between the friends and
foes of Aribert. So dangerous was the outlook that in 1036
Conrad again crossed the Alps in the hope of restoring peace
in North Italy.

Aribert was summoned to a Diet at Pavia ; but he loftily
declared that he would surrender no single right of the church
of St. Ambrose, and was soon in open war against the
Emperor. Conrad saw his only chance of overcoming the
archbishop in winning over the smaller nobility to his side.
In 1037 he issued the famous edict which made fiefs heredi-
tary in Italy, thus doing for the south by a single stroke what
gradual custom and policy had slowly procured for the north.
He also promised to exact from his vassals no greater burdens
than those already usually paid to him. But these measures,
though increasing the party of Conrad in Italy, were not
enough at once to overcome Aribert, who, secure in the
hearty support of the Milanese citizens, defied not only the
threats of Conrad but also the condemnation of Rome,
which the Count of Tusculum, who then occupied the papal
throne, willingly put at the service of the Emperor. In
1038 Conrad was forced by urgent business to recross the
Alps, leaving Aribert unsubdued. Next year he died suddenly
at Utrecht. ' No man,' says a Saxon annalist, ' regretted his
death.' Yet if Conrad was unpopular, he was singularly suc-
cessful. Though he had failed to get the better of Aribert,
he had obtained his object in everything else that he under-
took. He left the royal authority established on such a
solid basis that his son, King Henry, already crowned King
of Germany and Burgundy, and already Duke of Bavaria
and Swabia, now stepped into the complete possession of his

6o European History, 918-1273

father's power, as if he were already the heir of an hereditary
state. Henry in. was the first German king to succeed
without opposition or rebellion.

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

A series of signal triumphs in the east first proclaimed to
the world the greatness of the new king. Poland, Bohemia,
and Hungary were all alike matters of concern to Henry.
Poland, But Poland, so mighty a few years before, was

Bohemia ' and distracted by civil strife, and attacked by the

Hungary . . ,

made fiefs of rising power of Bohemia, now the strongest
the Empire. Slavonic state. It was a light matter for Henry to
retain Poland as a feudatory of the Empire. But it involved
a long struggle before Bohemia, under its warlike Duke

The Later Saxon and Early Salian Emperors 6 1

Bretislav, could be forced to accept the same position. It
was Bretislav's ambition to make himself a king, and to secure
for the Bohemian bishopric at Prague the position of an arch-
bishopric, so that a great Slavonic kingdom, independent
both in Church and State, might centre round the Bohemian
table-land. But Henry forced his way through the moun-
tains of the border and threatened Prague itself. In despair
Bretislav did homage to him for Bohemia and Moravia, and
even for the outlying district of Silesia, which he had con-
quered from the weak Polish monarchy and made an integral
part of the Bohemian kingdom. Even greater difficulties
beset Henry in Hungary, where a heathen reaction had set
Aba, a member of the hero race of Arpad, on the throne. In
1042 Henry invaded Hungary and dethroned Aba, but the
Hungarian king was soon restored, and it was not until a
third expedition in 1044 that Henry finally succeeded in
destroying his power. Aba's defeat secured the complete
triumph of the German king. Peter, the new king of
Hungary, performed homage to Henry, thus making Hun-
gary, like Poland and Bohemia, a fief of the Empire. In
1045 Henry visited Hungary, and received the submission of
the Magyar magnates. In pious gratitude for his victory
Henry sent the gilded lance, which Peter had given to him as
an emblem of his dependence, as a votive offering to the
Papacy. A few years later another Arpad, Andrew, dethroned
the weak Peter, and gave a more national direction to
the fierce Magyar nation, though he was too conscious of
Henry's power to break openly with him. With a row of
vassal kingdoms extending to the extremest eastward limits
of Roman civilisation, the Holy Empire was fast becoming in
a very real sense the mistress of the world.

With all his power, Henry could not hope to obtain from
the princes of the west the same formal acknowledgment of
his supremacy that he had wrested from the lords Henry in
of the east. The France of Henry i. was indeed and France,
feeble and helpless, but the early Capetian monarchy was

62 European History, 918-1273

still the centre of a great system, and its feudatories, though
constantly at war with their king and with each other, would
be likely to make common cause against a German pretender
to universal rule. Henry in. was content to keep on friendly
terms with his neighbours beyond the Rhine, and, as a good
means of securing French friendship, he chose a wife from
among the greater vassals of the Capetian throne. In 1043
he married Agnes of Poitou, the youngest daughter of that
Count William of Poitou who, in his youth, had competed
with Conrad the Salic for the crown of Italy. Agnes exer-
cised henceforth strong influence over her husband, and in
particular upon his ecclesiastical policy.

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

Italy demanded Henry's utmost care, and the critical
position of the Papacy closely connected his policy with
his attitude towards the Church. Since his marriage
with Acne*. Henry had become more attentive to the

The Later Saxon and Early Salian Emperors 63

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

A synod assembled at Rome, and called on Henry HI.
to put an end to the crisis. In 1046 he crossed the Alps,
and held a Church Council at Pavia, in which he issued an
edict condemning simony. In December 1046 he held
another synod at Sutri, near Rome, where two synod of
of the three claimants to the Papacy were de- Sutri> I0 * 6 -
posed. The third claimant was deposed in a third synod
held in Rome itself. Suidgar, Bishop of Bamberg, was chosen
Pope through Henry's influence, and enthroned on Christmas
Day as Clement IL, conferring on the same day the imperial
crown on Henry and Agnes. Accompanied by Clement,
the Emperor made a progress through southern Italy,
which he reduced to submission. Grave troubles on the

64 European History, 918-1273

Lower Rhine now brought Henry back to Germany ; yet
even in his absence his influence remained supreme in Italy.
Clement 11. died in 1048; but a whole succession of German
Popes, the nominees of the Emperor, were now accepted by
the Romans with hardly a murmur. The first of these
Damasus n., formerly Poppo, Bishop of Brixen, died after a
few weeks' reign. His successor, the Emperor's kinsman,
Bruno of Toul, took the name of Leo ix. (1048-1054). Short
as was his pontificate, the result of his work was epoch-
making in several directions. During the reign of his suc-
cessor, Victor n. (1054-1057), Henry in. paid his second and
last visit to Italy, the results of which we will speak of later.
No sooner was he over the Alps than a rebellion broke out
in Bavaria that necessitated his immediate return. The pre-
sence of the Emperor soon extinguished the revolt, but the
rising taught Henry the insecurity of his position, and he
now sought to conciliate his foes.

In the summer of 1056 Henry held his court at Goslar,

where he was visited by Victor n. ; but in September he fell

sick, and had only time to take further measures

Death of

Henry in., to secure his son s succession, when death over-
"s 6 - took him, on 5th October, in the thirty-ninth

year of his age. Under him the mediaeval Empire attained
its apogee. Germany was now almost a nation ; Italy a
submissive dependency ; the Papacy had been reformed, and
the Church purified. A child of six years old was now
called to the throne, whose burden had been almost too
heavy for his father. With the accession of Henry iv. the
decline of the Empire begins.

The Later Saxon and Early Salian Emperors 65


HENRY I., THE FOWLER, Duke of the Saxons,

German King (919-936)

in. Matilda






d. 938

m. i. Edith of

Duke of Archbishop of
Bavaria, Cologne

m. i. Giselbert,
Duke of Lorraine

m, Hugh the


m. Judith,

2. Louis iv.,

2. Adelaide,

daughter of

King of West

widow of



Lot lair,

Duke of


King of







II. LIUTGARDE, WILLIAM Duke of wi.Burkhard.

Duke of (973-983) ttt. Conrad the (illegitimate), Bavaria, the Duke of

Swabia m. 1'heophano, Red, Duke of Archbishop of Quarrelsome Swabia


Duke of

daughter of

Romanus n.,








m. St.

m. Cunigunde of Hungary



Pope Gregory v.


Duchess of THE SALIC

Swabia (1024-1039)

Duke of



rrc. Agnes, daughter of William,
Count of Poitou


/. i. Bertha

2. Praxedis of Russia


rival to
Conrad II.


Bishop of Tonl,

Pope Leo ix.




tn. Matilda of England


m. Frederick,
Duke of Swabia,
ancestor of the




The last Carolingians Hugh the Great Election of Hugh Capet, and its
results The first four Capetians, Hugh. Robert 11., Henry I., Philip I.
The great Fiefs under the early Capetians Normandy Brittany
Flanders Vermandois Champagne and Blois Anjou Burgundy
Aquitaine and Poitou Toulouse Beginnings of French influence.

WHILE the first great Saxon kings were reviving the power
of their eastern kingdom, the expiring Carolingian house
The last still carried on an unavailing struggle for the
Carolingian possession of the old realm of the West Franks,
the" west Charles the Simple was the last Carolingian
Franks. to exercise any real authority in France. He
had obtained a powerful ally by his concession of Nor-
mandy to Rolf and his vikings. He had witnessed the revolt
of the Lotharingians from Germany to France, and had
lesth atta i ne d rnany successes through their support,
simple, Yet the concluding years of his reign were
896 " 9 ** troubled in the extreme, until he succumbed be-
fore the formidable coalition of Robert, Count of Paris, the
brother of the dead King Odo, and the chief representative

1 Luchaire's Institutions Monarchiques de la France sous Us Premier?
Capttiens (987-1180) includes, besides its detailed studies of institutions,
an admirable summary of the political history. Special works include
Lot's Les Derniers Carolingiens, Monod's tudes sur FHistoire de
Hugues Capet, and Pfister's tude sur U Regne de Robert le Pieux.

France under the Early Capetians 67

of the new order, with his two mighty sons-in-law, Herbert,
Count of Vermandois, and Rudolf, Duke of Burgundy.
Robert got himself crowned king in 922, but was Robert,
slain in battle in 923, leaving his famous son, 933-9*3.
Hugh the Great, too young to succeed to his disputed king-
dom. This left Rudolf of Burgundy as king of the Franks,
or, rather, of those who still resisted Charles the Rudolf,
Simple [see Period I., pp. 503-5]. When Charles 923-936.
died in prison in 929, Rudolf had no longer a nominal rival.
He reigned until his death in 936. /But his power was miser-
ably weak, and real authority still resided with the great
feudatories, whose possessions had now become hereditary
for so long a time that they were now associated by close
ties to the districts which they ruled, f

Hugh the Great was a man of very different calibre from
his fierce ancestors. Robert the Strong, the founder of
the house, had been a warrior pure and simple. His
sons, Odo and Robert, the two dukes who had in turn
grasped the sceptre, had faithfully followed in his footsteps.
Wanting in policy and statecraft, they had been less powerful
as kings than as dukes. ^Hugh the Great, the first statesman
of the Robertian house, was a shrewd tactician,

' Policy of

who saw that his fortunes could best be estab- Hugh the
lished by playing a waiting game. } He heaped Great
up treasure, and accumulated fresh fiefs, but on the death of
his Burgundian brother-in-law he declined the loyal dignity,
preferring to exercise an unseen influence over a king of his
own choice to exposing himself to the certainty of exciting
the jealousy of every great lord in France, by raising himself
above them as their king.

There was only one sacred family which every lord admitted
to be above himself. Even in its humiliation the Cajglingian
name was still one to conjure with. As Hugh Louis iv.,
would not be king himself, he wisely fell back on 936-954.
the legitimate stock of the West Prankish royal house. He
turned his eyes over the Channel, where Louis, son of Charles

68 European History \ 918-1273

the Simple, and his West Saxon queen, Eadgifu, daughter of
Edward the Elder, was living quietly at the court of his uncle
Athelstan. Louis was only fifteen years old, and was likely
to be grateful to his powerful protector. He was elected
king by the Frankish lords, and duly crowned at Reims.
In memory of his exile he was called ' Louis from beyond
sea ' ( Ultramarinus, Outremer). In the list of French kings
he is reckoned as jxauis iv.

Hugh the Great was rewarded by the renewal in his favour
of the title ' Duke of the French,' which had already been
borne by his father Robert in the days of Charles the Simple.
This title suggested a power, half military and half national,
The Duke of analogous to that held by the dukes of the nations
the French. j n Germany. But if this were the case, Hugh's
power as duke would have probably been restricted to
'Francia,' a region which, in common speech, was now
limited to the Gaulish regions north of the Seine. It is not
clear, however, that the power of the Duke of the French had
any territorial limitation other than that of the limits of the

y* West Frankish kingdom as prescribed by the treaty of Verdun.

If Wherevejr Louis ruled as 'king,' Hugh wielded authority as
'duke.' / He was a permanent prime minister, a mayor of the
palace, a justiciar of the Anglo-Norman type, rather than a
territorial duke. Indeed, Hugh's chief domains were not in
'Francia' at all. Despite his possession of Paris, his chief
fiefs were still in the cradle of his house, the district between
the Seine and Loire, to which the term Neustria was now
commonly applied. Here his authority stretched as far west-
wards as the county of Maine, which he had obtained in his
youth from the weakness of Rudolf of Burgundy. Moreover,
in the lack of all central royal authority, half the chief vassals
of the north had thought it prudent to commend themselves to
the mighty lord of Neustria, and, with the Duke of Normandy
at their head, had become his feudal dependants. Hugh was
no longer simply a great feudatory. Even in name, he was
the second man in Gaul. In fact, he was a long way the first.

France under the Early Capetians 69

/The last Carolingians were in no, wise puppets and do-
nothings like the last Merovingians, f; Louis iv. proved a
strenuous warrior, with a full sense of his royal dignity. He
ruled directly over little more than the hill-town of Laon and
its neighbourhood, but he did wonders with his scanty re-
sources. He married a sister of Otto the Great, and with
German help was able to press severely his former patron.
But Otto soon withdrew beyond the Rhine, and Louis,
deprived of his help, and ever planning schemes too vast
for his resources, was soon altogether at Hugh's mercy.
In 946 he was driven out of Laon : ' the only town,'
as he complained, 'where I could shut myself up with my
wife and children, the town that I prefer to my life.' In his
despair he laid his wrongs before King Otto and a council of
bishops at Ingelheim. Hugh prudently yielded before the
threatened thunders of the Church. He renewed his homage
to King Louis, and restored Laon to him. 'Henceforth,'
says the chronicler, 'their friendship was as firm as their
struggles had formerly been violent.' When Louis died
suddenly in 954, his__thirtepn-ypar-nlH son. Lothair. was
chosen king through Hugh's influence. Two years later the
great duke died.

Hugh the Great's son and successor was also named Hugh.
He is famous in history by the surname of ' Capet,' which he
obtained from bearing the cope of the abbot of St. Martin's
at Tours, but which, like most famous surnames, has no
contemporary authority. Brought up in his father's school,
he was clear-headed, cunning, resourceful, and
cold-blooded. He soon extended the power of

his house, establishing one of his brothers in Lot hair,
Burgundy, and marrying Adelaide, the heiress of
Poitou, so as to be ablfe to push forward claims in the
lands beyond the Loire. JBoth in policy and resources he
overmatched the young king Lothair, who tried as he grew
up to play his father's part; but his means were too small,
and he embarked on contradictory policies which destroyed

70 European History \ 918-1273

each other. His father had relied upon the support of Otto I.,
but Lothair, tempted by the long tradition of loyalty which
bound Lotharingia to the Carolingian house, sought to find
a substitute for his dwindling patrimony in northern France
by winning domains for himself in that region. The
strong Saxon kings would not ; olerate the falling away of
Lorraine from their Empire. Otto n. invaded France [see
page 38] and vigorously punished the presumptuous Caro-
lingian. Henceforth Lothair had no support against the subtle
policy of the new Duke of the French. He even alienated
Adalbero, the famous Archbishop of Reims, and the last
prominent ecclesiastical upholder of the tottering dynasty,
so that he repudiated the traditional policy of his see, and
allied himself with the duke and the Emperor. Gerbert, the
'scholasticus ' of Adalbero's cathedral school, and the author
of his policy, established an alliance between Hugh Capet
and Otto in., and was soon able to boast that Lothair was but
king in name, and that the real king was Duke Hugh. After
losing the support of the Germans and of the Church, the
Carolingiansj had absolutely nothing left but their own paltry
resources, ^fet Lothair gallantly struggled on till his death,
Louis v., m 986, after a nominal reign of thirty-two years.
986-987- His son, Louis v., who had reigned jointly with

him since 979, succeeded to his phantom kingship, and con-
trived to win over Duke Hugh, at whose instigation he led
an expedition into Poitou. But Louis also quarrelled with
Archbishop Adalbero, and alienated the Church. Adalbero

Online LibraryT. F. (Thomas Frederick) ToutThe empire and the papacy, 918-1273 → online text (page 6 of 45)