III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 3. Western Europe and the Age of the Cathedrals, 1000–1300 > d. Germany
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1006–7)
d. Germany
The Franconian (or Salian) house. Dawn of the great imperial age.  1
Conrad II (the Salian). He continued the general policy of Henry: personally interested only in the churches of Limburg and Speyer, he was firm in his dealings with the Church in general and relied on the lesser nobles to balance the clergy and magnates. The ministeriales, laymen of servile origin, were used to replace the clergy in many administrative posts; regalian rights were retained and exploited. Dukedoms were not regranted as they fell vacant, but were assigned to Conrad's son Henry, who, on his accession to the crown, held all but the duchies of Lorraine and Saxony. By encouraging the making of fiefs heritable, Conrad weakened the dukes and got the support of the lesser nobles but ensured the ultimate feudalization of Germany. Conrad's brilliant imperial coronation (1027), in Rome, was witnessed by two kings, Canute the Great and Rudolf III of Burgundy. Burgundy, willed to Conrad by Rudolf III and guardian of one road to Italy, was reincorporated (1033) in the empire on the death of Rudolf. Failure of an expedition (1030) against Stephen of Hungary; successful disciplinary expedition (1031) against the Poles; recovery of Lusatia; payment of homage by the Poles.  2
Henry III (the Black). Imperial authority at its height. A period of great town prosperity, due to development of trade. His wife, Agnes of Poitou, was an ardent devotee of Cluny; Henry, an honest reformer, abandoned simony and purified the court along Cluniac lines, but retained a firm hold on the Church. Strongest of the German emperors, he asserted his mastery in parts of Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary; Saxony was the only duchy to keep a trace of its original independence; resumption of the dangerous practice of granting duchies outside the royal house made Germany a feudal volcano; use of the ministeriales in administration, but retention of the bishops as principal advisers and administrators. Henry's reforms alienated the bishops, the magnates, and the nobles.  3
Henry proclaimed the Day of Indulgence, forgiving all his foes and exhorting his subjects to do likewise; Brtislav of Bohemia forced (1041) to do homage; pagan reaction in Hungary put down (1044); final peace in Hungary (1052), which became a fief of the German crown. Homage of Denmark, repudiated soon after.  4
Synods of Sutri and Rome. Deposition, at Henry's instigation, of three rival popes, and election of his nominee, Clement II, the first of a series (Clement, Leo IX, and Nicholas II) of reforming German popes; reaffirmation of the imperial right of nomination to the papacy.  5
Godfrey the Bearded, duke of Upper Lorraine, joined Baldwin of Flanders in a revolt at first supported by Henry of France (1047); he married (1054) Beatrice, widow of Boniface, marquis of Tuscany, one of the most powerful Italian supporters of the popes.  6
While France and England witnessed the slow beginnings of centralized national states through royal efforts to check or reduce powers of independent feudal barons, Germany experienced the development of territorial lordships. German emperors consciously supported princely territorial power and legal jurisdictions.  7
Henry IV. (Age six at his accession; nine-year regency of his pious mother, Agnes.) During the regency, lay and clerical magnates appropriated royal resources and sovereign rights with impunity, and dealt a serious blow to the monarchy.  8
Anno, archbishop of Cologne, kidnaped the young king and, with Adalbert, archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, governed in his name; they divided the monasteries (one of the chief resources of the crown) between themselves.  9
The Diet of Tribur, thanks to the reaction of the clergy and nobles against Adalbert, freed Henry from Adalbert, and his personal government began.  10
Henry was a remarkable but undisciplined man, intelligent, resolute, headstrong, with the odds against him from the start; under papal pressure he was reconciled (1069) with his wife, Bertha, reformed his personal life, and began a vigorous rule. His policy was a return to the Ottonian habit of using the Church as a major source of revenue; simony was open, and the reforming party appealed to Rome against Henry. Henry began the recapture, reorganization, and consolidation of royal lands and revenues, especially in Saxony, and probably planned to consolidate the monarchy in the Capetian manner, around a compact core of royal domain in the Harz-Goslar region.  11
A great conspiracy of the leading princes led to a rising of virtually all of Saxony. Henry came to terms with the pope, played one faction off against the other, won the South German baronage, and finally defeated the rebels (1075).  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.