Germany History – The Feudal Revenge Against the Hereditary Monarchy and the Struggle for Investitures (1056-1125) Part III

In 1090 another of the leaders of the feudal coalition Egberto Margravio di Misnia disappeared, whose brand was transferred to Enrico Margravio di Lusazia. Saxony could now be said to be pacified, nor did the rebellion of Conrad, who was crowned king in Italy (1093), have serious repercussions in Germany. The last flashes of the fire languished also in Swabia for the reconciliation with the emperor of the Duke Guelph (1096). At the diet of Worms (1098) the princes ruled the forfeiture of Conrad (who died in 1105) from any right to the throne; Guelph was reinstated in the Duchy of Bavaria, Frederick of Hohenstaufen was reconfirmed in Swabia, and Bertoldo II of Zähringen, who had disputed it in those last years, was satisfied with western Switzerland, Zurich and the title of duke. In the subsequent diet of Mainz the princes elected the second son of the emperor, Henry, king, who was consecrated in Aachen (January 1099), where they swore allegiance to him. The opponents, exhausted by the long struggle, had given up on both sides to maintain the positions from which they had started, the princes recognizing Henry IV again and re-admitting the hereditary principle to his family, the sovereign bending to treat the princes more as equal than as inferior. In 1103 the Diet of Mainz proclaimed a general peace for four years. A long period of quiet had finally begun, when Germany was again upset by the impatient ambition of the heir who, rebelling against his father (December 1104), again gave a head to the feudal opposition and to the proponents of papal doctrines. It was the last fight in which the Rhenish cities, especially Mainz and Cologne, supported Henry IV. And in a city of Lower Lorraine, Liège, he closed his entire life spent in the most bitter battles, and a kingdom in which he had given the German cities an effective impetus to the development of their municipal activity (7 August 1106).

According to Collegesanduniversitiesinusa, the death of Henry IV marked the victory of his rebellious son, who could now reign as Henry V. But he had conquered the throne against the cities, the lesser aristocracy and the ministeriales, who had constituted his best support in the face of the feudal and religious opposition, with which he had allied himself. His was therefore above all the victory of the princes, with whom Henry V was forced to divide the government of Germany. When he wanted to react, and to resume his father’s footsteps, the same forces that had fought Henry IV for over thirty years also rose up against him, and they still had the greatest nourishment in Saxony, but under new leaders. The inheritance of the counts of Nordheim, of Brünswick and of the Billung, whose male descendants had died out in 1103, 1090 and 1106 respectively, was collected, through women, in Count Lothair of Supplimburg, who also took over as duke from the Billung of Saxony, while their family possessions passed, always in the female line, to the Guelphs dukes of Bavaria, in the western part, and to Alberto l’Orso, of Ballenstedt, founder of the power of the Ascania house, in the eastern part. The powerful archbishop of Mainz, Adalbert, also aimed at forming a territorial state in Saxony and neighboring regions. Adalberto and Lotario took the lead of the feudal opposition (1112), when Henry V showed that he wanted to return to his father’s politics; and the cities, which could not have had the same trust in him as they had in Henry IV, did not show too much perseverance and enthusiasm in supporting the emperor. The princes of southern Germany remained neutral; the Duke of Swabia, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, actually sided with Henry V. In general, all the secular and ecclesiastical princes of northern Germany adhered to the revolt, Westphalia and Lorraine, and, of course, the proponents of the papacy, who had gained a lot of ground. Defeated in Welfesholz (11 February 1115), the emperor found himself besieged in his palace by the citizens in Mainz, who rose up in defense of their archbishop to whom they were grateful for the favor he showed towards the economic interests of the city (November 1115). The general peace proclaimed at the Diet of Würzburg (October 1121) essentially marked the upper hand of the princes, who also assumed the office of intermediary between the emperor and the pope. Under their auspices the Worms Concordat (23 September 1122) was made possible, and the princes reaffirmed their influence in the state government by ratifying the Concordat to the Bamberg Diet (November 1122).

After raging for half a century, the struggle for investitures ended, leaving the monarchical authority exhausted and the feudal opposition victorious. Not only had the policy of the Saxon and Franconian emperors failed to subjugate the dukes; but the tendency to withdraw from the control of central power had made new progress also in the royal officials, such as the accounts, the margravies, even in those of more recent institution, such as the palatine accounts. Of them, those who did not obey their dukes as true sovereigns, had managed to continue their efforts to create their own territorial lordship. In Bavaria the Guelphs, in Swabia the Hohenstaufen, had consolidated their dominions, and were working to transform them into a hereditary and independent state. In Saxony Lothair of Supplimburg already exercised his sovereign attributes in investing, against the will of the emperor, in the March of Misnia Corrado di Wettin and in the Marca dell’Est Alberto l’Orso (1123). The influence of the papacy had also asserted itself in Germany, where the reform movement had firmly rooted not only in Swabia, but also in Carinthia, Bavaria, Franconia, Thuringia. To the west in Burgundy and Lorraine, imperial authority was little more than a name. To the east, Poland, despite the interventions of Henry V (1109), and Hungary, despite the military efforts of the regency government under Agnes (1060 and 1063), Henry IV (1074) and Henry V (1108 -1109), had shaken the high German sovereignty. Only in Bohemia the German influence had been able to maintain his positions, but even here Henry IV had been imprudent in conferring, “ad personam”, the title of king to Duke Vratislao (1085). On the other hand, no longer the monarchy, but the princes will direct the expansion of Germanism in the Slavic East in the future. This is the balance of the imperial and Italian politics of the German kings. The death of Henry V (23 May 1125), who at the end of his reign had not even been able to be followed by his princes in the planned war against France, and who left no offspring, would have confirmed the succession of the unitary-hereditary monarchy in front of him. to the feudal-elective one.

Germany History - The Feudal Revenge Against the Hereditary Monarchy 3