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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




GERMANY IN THE LATER
MIDDLE AGES



BY THE SAME AUTHOR

HISTORICAL INTRODUCTIONS TO
THE ROLLS SERIES. Svo, 12s. 6d. net.

LECTURES ON EUROPEAN HIS-
TORY. Svo, I2S. 6d, net.

LECTURES ON EARLY ENGLISH

HISTORY. Svo, I2S. 6d. net.

GERMANY IN THE EARLY MIDDLE
AGES, 476-1250. With 2 Maps. Svo, 6s. net

THE EARLY PLANTAGENETS. With
2 Maps. Fcap. Svo, 2s. 6d. {Epochs of Moder
History. )

VISITATION CHARGES. Svo, 3s. 6d. net

ORDINATION ADDRESSES. Crown
Svo, 3s. 6d. net.



LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.

LONDON, NEW YORK, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA



GERMANY IN THE LATER
MIDDLE AGES, 1200-1500

BY WILLIAM STUBBS, D.D., FORMERLY
BISHOP OF OXFORD, AND REGIUS
PROFESSOR OF MODERN HISTORY
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD



EDITED BY



ARTHUR HASSALL, MA.

STUDENT, TUTOR, AND SOMETIME CENSOR OF CHRIST
CHURCH, OXFORD



LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON

NEW YORK, BOMBAY, AND CALCUITA

1908

All rights reserved



h'-') ?;



PREFATORY NOTE



This volume completes the series of Lectures given by
Bishop Stubbs on Germany in the Middle Ages. A
previous volume dealt with the history of Germany
from 476 A.D. to the middle of the thirteenth century ;
the present volume carries on that history to the close
of the fifteenth century.

While the earlier volume was concerned especially
with the characters and careers of the Emperors in the
Dark Ages, the present volume follows the history of
Germany in a more detailed fashion, and may be de-
scribed as a storehouse of facts and generalisations.

No such history of Germany in the English language
exists, and it may confidently be assumed that the ap-
pearance of this volume will be received with immense
pleasure by all students of the History of Europe in the
Middle Ages.

The thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries
present to the student of European history difficulties
of no ordinary kind. The period which marks the tran-
sition from the Middle Ages to modern times, and which
saw the rapid break-up of a Christendom which had
for its centre the Holy Roman Empire, and in its place
the gradual formation of the modern European States-
system, requires for its elucidation a close acquaintance
with the history of Medieval Europe.
I No English historian has yet appeared who was so
eminently qualified to undertake the task of describing



1650111,



vi PREFATORY NOTE

the history of Germany and indeed of Europe during
this period of transition as was Bishop Stubbs. , In the
present as in the previous volume the character-sketches
are the work of a master hand, while the account of the
institutions and constitution of Germany will enable
the historical student to follow and to comprehend the
peculiar and exceptional developments which took place
in the Holy Roman Empire.

ARTHUR HASSALL.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I



PAGE



Summary of results arrived at — Germany in the twelfth century — The
chief points in its history between 1200 and 1600 — The Empire
and the Papacy — The death of Frederick Barbarossa an epoch in
German history .1



CHAPTER n

Frederick II. — His supremacy in Italy — Its fatal effects — The nine
years of peace — The great Diet at Mainz — Election of Innocent IV.
1243 — Its importance — Deposition of Frederick, 1245 — His death,
1250 — Conradin's fate . . . . . .21



CHAPTER HI

Events in Germany and Italy after Frederick's death — William, Count
of Holland — Conrad's death, 1254 — Death of William of Holland,
1256 — Election of Richard of Cornwall and of Alfonso X. of Castile
as rival emperors, 1257 — Richard's fortunes in Germany — Battle of
Benevento, 1265 — Battle of Tagliacozzo, 1268 — Death of Con-
radin — Death of Richard of Cornwall, 1272 . . • ■ . 41



CHAPTER IV

The year 1272 — Political situation in Germany — The rise of new families
in Germany — The Princes— The Diet— Imperial elections — The
electors — Rudolf of Hapsburg — His election as emperor — His
reign— His relations with Burgundy and England .... 60



viii CONTENTS



CHAPTER V

PAGE

Rudolfs immediate successors— Adolf— His relations with England-
Loss of Burgundy — Albert of Hapsburg — His relations with
Bohemia, Hungary, and Switzerland — His character — Accession of
Henry VH. — Attitude towards the Papacy— The Templars— His
expedition to Italy — His death, 1313 . . . ... 80

CHAPTER VI

Disputed succession in the Empire — Frederick of Austria — Lewis of
Bavaria — John XXH.'s intervention — Success of Lewis — Expedition
to Italy— Death of John XXII., 1334 — Germany and the Hundred
Years' War — Cregy — Condition of Germany — The growing inde-
pendence of Switzerland — Death of Lewis, 1347 .... ICX3

CHAPTER Vn

Charles IV. — Giinther of Schwartzburg — The Golden Bull — Its pro-
visions — Its significance— The Tyrol — His rule in Germany —
Crowned King of Aries, 1365 — Relations with England and France
— His character 121

CHAPTER Vni

Political condition of Europe at the close of the fourteenth century —
Richard II. — Wenzel — Charles VI. — The great schism — City
leagues in Germany — Switzerland — Deposition of Wenzel — Com-
parison with deposition of Richard II. — Accession of Rupert of the
Palatinate — His Italian expedition — The Wetterau league — Death
of Rupert, 1410 . . . 142

CHAPTER IX

The disputed succession — Election of Sigismund — His previous history —
The great schism — The Council of Constance — ^John Huss — Sigis-
mund in France and England — Election of Martin V. — The
Bohemian War — The Council of Basel — Sigismund's death, 1437 —
The situation in Germany — Accession of Albert of Austria — His
acts — His death, 1439 ...... ... 162



CONTENTS ix



CHAPTER X

PAC

The reign of Frederick III. — An epoch in the history of Germany and
of the Hapsburgs — The discovery of printing — Frederick's char-
acter — Close of the Council of Basel — Wars in Germany, 1440- 1452
— Bohemia and Hungary — Matthias Corvinus — The Turkish in-
vasions — Death of Filippo Maria Visconti, 1447 — John Hunyadi
— Death of Albert of Austria, 1463 — Results of Frederick's reign —
His son Maximilian . . . . . . • . . li



CHAPTER XI

Accession of Maximilian I. — The Burgundian inheritance — Maximilian's
position in Europe — His marriages — The Diet of Worms, 1495 —
Its importance — The imperial chamber — The circles — The towns
— The Aulic Council — War with the Swiss League, 1499 — New
problems for France and Germany ....... 205



CHAPTER Xn

The Princes in Germany — The Empire in abeyance — The real unity of
Germany — The growth of the religious question — The character-
istics of North and South Germany — The importance of the acquisi-
tion of the Netherlands to the Hapsburgs — The Empire and France
face to face ...........



MAPS

Medieval Europe : Thirteenth Century . . Frontispiece

Europe during the Fifteenth Century. . . To face page i2i^



SOME AUTHORITIES



JOINVILLE : Vie de Saint Louis.
Philippe de Commines : Memoires.



Lavisse ET Rambaud : Histoire Gendrale.

MiLMAN : Latin Christianity.

Gibbon : The Decline and Fall (Bury's Edition).

Coxe : House of Austria.

Cambridge Modern History, Vol. L

Lavisse : Histoire de France.

KiTCHiN : History of France, Vols. L and II.

Rambaud : Histoire de la Civilisation en France.

Creighton : History of the Papacy.

Armstrong : Lorenzo de' Medici.

Blok : History of the People of the Netherlands (Translated).

Hallam : Middle Ages.

Tout : The Empire and the Papacy.

Lodge : The Close of the Middle Ages.



Historical Maps, ed. Poole (Clarendon Press).
Chronology : Hassall, " A Handbook of European History Chrono-
logically Arranged."



GERMANY IN THE LATER
MIDDLE AGES

1200-1500
CHAPTER I

Summary of results arrived at — Germany in the twelfth century — The
chief points in its history between 1200 and 1600 — The Empire
and the Papacy — The death of Frederick Barbarossa an epoch in
German history.

The Object of this Book. — My intention in this work is
not to treat the history of Germany so much in its
imperial as in its national aspect, and that intention
will be carried out as rigorously as possible by the
exclusion of all imperial questions which do not
touch German life and nationality, such as all minute
investigations into the imperial policy in Italy, and
the antagonism outside of Germiany between the
imperial and papal ideas. This plan I have attempted
hitherto to pursue, even at periods at which the personal
history of the popes and emperors was most closely
interwoven ; and it ought not to be less easy to do so
in periods like that to which we are coming, in which
the Italian campaigns of the emperors became few and
far between, and their influence upon the papacy was
being quickly reduced to a shadow of what it had been.

But, in general, I am not one of those who think
that all the interest of a national history necessarily



2 GERMANY IN THE LATER MIDDLE AGES

centres about the personal adventures of its rulers. To
a certain extent it is so, but simply because the ancient
writers to whom we are indebted for nearly all the
details of the events of these ages have so treated
history, possessing, indeed, by force of circumstances,
so limited a field of view that they were obliged, if
they would record anything at all, to record the actions
mainly of kings and princes. But, true as this is, it is
a truth which it is easy to exaggerate ; for even the most
courtly of historians, the most devoted of biographers
preserves some particulars showing the real under-
current of national history, and besides the biographers
we have large quantities of legal and other documents
which are of far wider than mere antiquarian interest.

From a comparison of such remains it is possible to
get a notion of national life and development, separated
from the mere adventures of kings, and from the
noise and tumult of wars, and the minute investiga-
tions of births, deaths, and marriages. Well, in pur-
suance of some such idea, we have, in the preceding
volume,^ read the history of Germany down to the
reign of Frederick II., and the following are some of
the results that we have reached, such as it is necessary
to recapitulate for our guidance, and for the connec-
tion of the history of the period to which we are now
come.

Recapitulatio7i. — We began by tracing very briefly the
movements of the different nations of Germany to the
period at which modern history may be said to begin,
at the commencement of w-hich the movements ceased
and the lines of demarcation between the several tribal
families which constitute the Germany of the Middle
Ages permanently fix themselves. We traced and

^ " Germany in the Early Middle Ages,"



RECAPITULATION 3

accounted for the limits and the divisions between the
five nations — the Franks, the Alemanni, the Saxons,
the Bavarians, and the Lotharingians. Of these we
saw that the Bavarians were the only nation that
could, strictly speaking, be called a distinct nation ;
the Saxons, Franks, and Alemanni being rather asso-
ciations of separate tribes, and the Lotharingians
the inhabitants of a district variously tenanted and
arbitrarily named.

Having defined their origin, so far as we were able to
do in the great obscurity of tradition and in the absence
of contemporary evidence, we traced the variety of the
discipline to which the several nations had been exposed
between the dates of Clovis and Charles the Great. We
saw Bavaria the creation of the Ostrogothic power, the
close ally of Lombardy, the unwilling subject ally of
the Austrasian kings, proud and uneasy under the yoke
because it possessed a national character, a national
history, and a national Christianity, which it did not
owe to the Merovingian conquerors. Alemannia we saw
lying quietly under the sway of the Frank kings, not
possessing any territorial or dynastic unity, and, after
the overthrow of the Burgundian kingdom, peacefully
assimilating itself with the rest of the Frank empire.

Franconia and what was afterwards Lotharingia we
regarded as integral and substantive portions of the
demesne of the house of Clovis. Saxony continued
heathen and hostile, and, forced by the constant
pressure of the Wends on one side and the Franks
on the other, into a national unity and consolidation,
so marked and so lasting as to be one of the great
features of German history, but of which we are unable
to say how far it was created from a mass of tribal
individualities by this pressure, or how far it retained



4 GERMANY IN THE LATER MIDDLE AGES

the original unity of nationality which had subsisted
from earlier times, and which, from the peculiarly free
and popular character of the Saxon institutions, rendered
it less likely to be broken up by the greed and ambition
of individual leaders. Out of these distinct elements
Charles the Great formed the medieval Germany;
moving from the basis of Austrasia he reduced Bavaria,
bereft of her mainstay on the Italian side in the Lombard
kingdom, and he conquered the Saxons. He did more ;
by carrying his conquests beyond Bavaria and beyond
Saxony he united the interests of the Saxons and
Bavarians with those of his own house, with his own
empire, and the interests of his own church. Charles
the Great made Germany first by reducing it, and,
secondly, by administering it.

The conversion of Saxony to Christianity supplied
what was for a long time — that is, until the conversion
of the Wends and Slavs — a more binding link between
his German subjects than their own common origin and
their own common tongue. But a stronger and a longer
and a more equable pressure than any that Charles could
bring to bear on the nations was necessary to keep
Germany in the unity which he had for the moment
produced. The divisions of the kingdoms under his
sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons — divisions some-
times vertical and sometimes horizontal, but determined
in detail rather by the ancient nationalities than by their
more modern substitutes — tended rather perhaps to a
laxity of friction than to any permanent disruption, but
preserved and intensified the old lines of disunion. We
do not indeed read again of the old Frank divisions of
Neustria and Austrasia, nor even, in the same sense, of
Aquitaine and Burgundy ; but we have kings of Saxony,
Franconia, Alemannia, and Bavaria, and the new name



GROWTH OF NATIONALITY 5

of Lotharingia, with its many differences of meaning
and modifications of application.

Growth of Nationality. — And now we begin to trace
in the nations distinct marks of policy and sentiment
that long outlived the sentiment of nationality. We
see in Franconia, the most anciently consolidated and
completely feudalised of the nations, an exemplification
of the identical causes which were producing disruption
in Western France. Full of an ancient nobility rivals
and enemies to one another ; smaller in territorial extent,
and fuller of imperial cities than the other divisions,
Franconia as a nation never exercises that influence on
the German kingdom that Saxon}' and Bavaria do, and
it is the first to disappear from the list of the great
duchies of the imperial administration. Alemannia
retains its character as an artificial construction such
as it was when it originated in the congeries of broken
Suevian tribes. Its territory, broken and rugged, divided,
moreover, into two plain countries, Alsace and Swabia,
separated by the forests, lakes, and mountains, rendered
it especially liable to internal weakness : it is only after
Swabia has permanently disengaged itself from Alsace
and the intervening lands that it has such a unity as
makes it under the Hohenstaufen and Welfs a real
influence in Germany. Lotharingia, again, lies too mAich
on one side of the kingdom to have a fair chance of
deciding any contest, nor does Lotharingia once give a
king to Germany so long as the strength of the German
kingdom lasts. When the true life and spirit is departed
we shall find her borrowing her rulers from Lotharingia
in the house of Luxemburg whose reigns cover 150
of her weakest and most futile years. Saxony and
Bavaria remain as the two great influences of German
life in these ages. Saxony has been described as



6 GERMANY IN THE LATER MIDDLE AGES

the most thorough and longest lived nationality, the
last conquered and the least feudalised; possessing
a f^reater number of ancient allodial Saxon nobles
strong in the clannish affection of their followers;
and in its comparatively free institutions a more per-
manent security for union than the casualties of con-
quest or the artificial uniting force of administration;
and as it possessed the strongest national unity, we
see it representing more strongly than the other nations
the sentiment of German nationality.

Saxonj'. — Saxony is not only more thoroughly Saxon
than Bavaria is Bavarian, but it is more thoroughly
German than any of the other nations. This may be
in a measure accounted for by the fact that Saxony
was the first of the nations that acquired a hold on the
royal dignity after the extinction of the Karlings, and
that under Henry the Fowler and the three Ottos,
Saxon princes, Germany awoke to the possibility of a
working unity and to the possession of the empire.
But it must have originated in something earlier and
deeper, and that earlier and deeper sentiment can be
attributed to nothing more certainly than to the com-
parative freedom of Saxony from Roman influence,
her long and continued liberty, and the bracing
character of her national institutions. And that it
was not easily satisfied appears by the uneasiness of
the nation even under Otto the Great after his imperial
prospects in Italy had distracted and diverted his
energies from their proper German work.

To go over this again would, however, be to run too
much into detail, but I must add that the Saxon or
German policy of the Saxons, which was to keep a
Saxon on the throne, and, having him there, to keep
him in Germany if not in Saxony itself — a strong



BAVARIA 7

Saxon feeling that is tempered by the pride of having
been the first of the nations to give a dynasty to
Germany — is a clue to the position taken up by the
Saxons generally with regard to the papacy. They
were, it is true, probably better Christianised than the
South Germans, though their Christianity was of later
date and partook more strongly, as did that of Boniface
their apostle, of devotion to the apostolic see. Their
natural foes were the great prelates on the Rhine, whose
constantly increasing power and ambition were met by
a close alliance between the Saxons and Rome, whose
rivals these prelates were. But there was still, I think,
the powerful national instinct working with and giving
energy to these accidental sentiments, that the German
king was for Germany and not for Italy. The imperial
idea met with very little support in this the least
imperialised part of Germany.

Bavaria. — Contrasted with this is the position of South
Germany, represented earlier by Bavaria and later by
the Swabian princes. Bavaria, accustomed from the
beginning to look towards Italy as in later times she has
always looked towards France ; ^ retaining throughout
a pride of nationality, but not so much desiring, like
Saxony, to give rulers to Germany, as to preserve her
own identity as a national kingdom. Disabled by the
extinction of her old royal house from creating a
dynastic opposition to the imperial governors, but
curiously assimilating those imperial governors to her-
self and making them, in spite of their own antecedents,
the exponents of her national ambition, Bavaria, the
representative nation of South Germany, clings most
closely and faithfully to the shadow of the imperial
dignity. We have seen exemplified under the Ottos

^ i.c. till 1870.



8 GERMANY IN THE LATER MIDDLE AGES

this disintegrating tendency of Bavaria. A Saxon
prince is made Duke of Bavaria ; the Saxon becomes
a Bavarian, and heads the opposition to his brother,
nephew, and cousin. The Saxon dynasty ends, and a
Bavarian duke ascends the throne, and resumes his
Saxon character : but immediately Bavaria is in arms
against him as king whom she has obeyed implicitly as
duke ; and so on, until the Welfic times into which new
influences are imported and in which new features appear.

All this has been traced in its causes, and in some
degree in its consequences, through the reigns of
the Ottos and Henry II. Its consequences not less
important but more remotely ran on even to 1870,
the principle of national union being sought in North
Germany the ancient Saxony, and that of disintegration
being exemplified in Bavaria and in the foreign longings
of Austria.

Growth of Feudalism. — But there are other influences
besides nationality and the differences of national dis-
cipline which help to make up the history of the Middle
Ages. There is the diffusion of feudalism, and there is
the evoking and results of the counter influences of the
empire and the papacy. The progress of feudalism, its
gradual development, and the main distinctions between
its effects in Germany and its effects in France, England,
and Italy have already been exemplified. Nor is it
indeed necessary to recapitulate them, for the distinctions
originate chiefly on the growth of the institution and
on the extent of the ground it gradually covers ; once
full grown and spread generally over a surface, its effects
are much the same in all countries.

Feudal government, as distinguished from mere
feudal tenure, grew up more slowly in Germany than
in France, and was less universally diffused ; but when



FRENCH AND GERMAN HISTORY 9

it had come to its growth, and reached the extent of its
diffusion, its tendency and effect was the same, to dis-
ruption, and the permanent division of the kingdom
amongst a number of little potentates under nominal
obedience to a suzerain. That nominal obedience in
France had reality enough to be made under a series
of strong and unscrupulous princes a basis of union.

French and German History compared. — From the
twelfth century to the sixteenth the struggle between
the princes and the crown continued, and at last France
became one, at the price of becoming a kingdom ab-
solutely governed. For in France the King of France
was nothing but King of France; he had no other right
to the obedience of his vassals, and only with the strong
hand could he be content to govern them, or they to be
governed. In Germany it was otherwise. Not only was
the feudal principle less generally diffused and later in
growth — that is, there were other tendencies towards dis-
ruption, as I have just shown, besides feudalism — but
owing to circumstances even that modicum of uniting
and centralising force which generally existed in feu-
dalism at certain periods of its development was want-
ing in Germany ; the principle of imperialism being
substituted for it. The princes might be feudally sub-
ject to the emperor, or allodially free as the birds of the
air, so far as their tenure was concerned, but as emperor
they were all his subjects ; and the force of the obliga-
tion to obedience being in the imperial dignity, not in
the feudal relation only or primarily, the strength of the
union varied directly with the reality or the unsubstanti-
ality of the imperial power. And when the imperial
power was distracted and diverted to Italy, as it was
from the tenth century to the thirteenth, Germany lost
the one force of cohesion she possessed ; for feudalism



lo GERMANY IN THE LATER MIDDLE AGES

could not support the strain for which in Germany it
was not constituted, imperiaHsm having taken its place.

And this accounts for the later differences between
French and German history. The shadow, the dry
bones of feudalism in France are revived and made the
basis of a union under an absolute prince. Feudalism
has no such uniting power in Germany. The imperial
power becomes a nonentity, the imperial rights are
bartered away for money, Germany ceases to have even
a possibility of union. And happily, as she loses the
possibility of union, she is saved from the payment of
the price that France has paid. She remains disunited,
but she continues free ; her institutions are deeply
rooted in freedom : her little tyrants, where she has them,


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Online LibraryWilliam StubbsGermany in the later Middle Ages, 1200-1500 → online text (page 1 of 19)