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WHEN Otto III, still a youth, expired at Paterno in January 1002, it seemed as if the life work of his grandfather Otto the Great had been completely undone. Animosity pursued the Emperor even after death; for only by hard fighting could his friends succeed in transporting his remains through the plain of Lombardy for interment in Germany. The fate therefore, alike of the Western Empire and of the German kingdom upon which it was based, depended far more than usual upon the qualities of the man who might be called to occupy the vacant throne.

To this grave crisis there was added the misfortune of a disputed succession. Otto III, the last descendant in the male line of Otto the Great, had died unmarried; nor was there any one person naturally destined to succeed him. Descent and election were the two factors by which accession to the throne was legally determined; but the relative influence of these varied according to circumstances. On the present occasion it was election, in practice confined to the magnates, which was bound to be preponderant. For though a candidate was forthcoming from the royal house, he was met at once by powerful opponents. And his claim in itself was not indisputable. The true representative of the Ottos was the son of the late Emperor's only wedded sister Matilda, wife of Ezo, son of Herman, Count Palatine in Lorraine. But this heir was a child, and was the offspring of a marriage which had been deemed unequal. Matilda’s son therefore was now passed over in silence. There were also two men who could assert some right to be accepted as head of the Liudolfing house. The one was Otto, Duke of Carinthia, grandson (through his mother Liutgard) of Otto the Great, and son of the famous Conrad, once Duke of Lorraine, who had fallen gloriously at the Lechfeld. To his great position Otto added the personal qualities of dignity and uprightness. He must have been at this time at least fifty years of age. The other was a far younger man, Henry, Duke of Bavaria, son of Duke Henry “the Wrangler”, and grandson of that earlier Henry, the younger brother of Otto the Great, who was the first of his family to rule in Bavaria. The present duke therefore was the actual representative in the male line of King Henry "the Fowler," the first of the Saxon kings. As it happened, no rivalry arose between the two kinsmen. For when Henry expressed his readiness to accept Otto as king, the latter declined to come forward and, acknowledging Henry to be the fitter man, urged him to secure election for himself.

But election also was legally necessary; and the magnates were not disposed to let slip the present opportunity of choosing a king at their own pleasure. When therefore the funeral train of the late Emperor reached Augsburg on its way to Aix, Henry, anxious to assert his claim, first took forcible possession of the imperial insignia, and then sought by profuse promises to win over the attendant magnates for the support of his cause, but he met with little success.

Already indeed a formidable rival had appeared. The chief men of Saxony had met at Frohse, and there the Margrave Eckhard of Meissen had revealed his purpose of gaining the throne. He was the foremost warrior of his time; he had fought with distinction against the Saracens in Italy, and at Rome in 998 it was he who had brought about the surrender of the castle of Sant' Angelo and the death of its defender Crescentius. As Margrave of Meissen he had repelled the Wends, reduced Bohemia to vassalage, and restrained the Polish duke Boleslav from assailing the kingdom. Though not of royal descent, he was sprung of an ancient Thuringian stock, and was connected with the Billungs, the new ducal house of Saxony. But a powerful enemy, the Margrave Liuthar of the North Mark, now set himself to frustrate Eckhard’s ambitious design. Having secured a sworn promise from most of the Saxon magnates to take no part in electing a king until a further conference, Liuthar secretly visited the Duke of Bavaria, upon whom he urged the necessity of sending an envoy to represent his interests at the postponed meeting. And so skillfully did Henry's emissary, by means of lavish promises, work upon the Saxon nobles when they met at Werla, that he won from them a unanimous recognition of Henry's hereditary right to the throne and a solemn pledge of service. Eckhard’s haughty abstention from the meeting had ruined his cause.

By this time a third competitor for the crown was in the field. This was Herman II, Duke of Swabia. Timorous and retiring by nature, Herman had come forward at the suggestion of others. After the obsequies of Otto III had been performed at Aix on 5 April, most of the magnates there present had expressed their disinclination to accept Henry of Bavaria as his successor. In the Duke of Swabia they saw a candidate more to their liking; and certainly Herman’s descent from a great Franconian house, one member of which had formerly occupied the throne, and his position as ruler of one of the chief races of Germany were plausible reasons for his elevation. In reality it was his very gentleness of character that recommended him to his proposers, who might hope to find in him a king to be obeyed or not as they pleased.

Through the Duke of Swabia Eckhard hoped to revenge himself upon Henry. But on his way to Duisburg, where Herman then was, he received an intimation that he would not be admitted to the counsels of the Swabian party. Returning homewards after this second rebuff, he was waylaid at Pöhlde on the night of 30 April by four brothers who cherished a private grudge against him and was slain.

This tragic event removed a dangerous enemy from Henry's path, but the contention with Duke Herman proved long and bitter. Henry could count upon the magnates of Bavaria, of East Franconia, and of Saxony, while Herman had the support only of those of Swabia and of West Franconia. The Swabian faction, however, was resolute, and the Lorrainers were still doubtful. Archbishop Willigis of Mayence, the mainstay of the last two Emperors, now stood for the principle of legitimate succession. At the beginning of June, Henry, with his Bavarian and Franconian adherents, approached the Rhine at Worms, evaded Herman, and entered Mayence. There his election followed; and on 7 June that act was ratified by his solemn unction and coronation.

This success decided the wavering Dietrich, Duke of Upper Lorraine. But the election had been carried through in haste by a few partisans of the new king; and not only did the Duke of Swabia and his friends remain defiant, but the nobles of Lower Lorraine still held aloof, while those of Saxony took umbrage at their total exclusion from the proceedings at Mayence. To force Herman to submission Henry turned southwards and began to ravage Swabia. But the duke retaliated by assaulting and sacking his own city of Strasbourg, whose bishop had declared for his rival, and refused to be drawn into a decision by battle. Baffled in the South, Henry proceeded to make sure of the rest of the kingdom. In Thuringia, in July, he received full acknowledgment from Count William of Weimar and the other chief men, and gratefully abolished the ancient tribute of swine, due from the Thuringians to the crown. But from the Saxon magnates Henry obtained a less easy recognition. There had assembled to meet him at Merseburg on 23 July a great company of the bishops and counts of Saxony, at whose head stood the Archbishops of Bremen and Magdeburg with their Duke Bernard and the Margraves Liuthar and Gero. Duke Boleslav of Poland also, fresh from an attack on the mark of Meissen made after the death of Eckhard, presumed to appear among them. These men, though they received the new king with deference, were not prepared to offer him an unconditional allegiance. They stood upon their separate rights, and the next day, before any homage was paid, Bernard came forward in their name and in that of the Saxon people to assert their peculiar claims, and to demand of Henry how far he would pledge himself to respect them. Henry replied by extolling the steadfast loyalty of the Saxons to their kings; it was only with their approval that he now came among them as king; and so far from infringing their law he would be careful to observe it at all points, and would do his utmost to fulfill their reasonable wishes. The speech satisfied the magnates; and Duke Bernard taking the sacred lance in his hands, delivered it to the king; their homage and oath of fealty then followed. From Merseburg Henry hastened to Lower Lorraine. In the course of his journey he was joined by his wife Kunigunda, whom he saw crowned queen at Paderborn on 10 August by Archbishop Willigis. A fierce conflict, which broke out between the king's Bavarian followers and the Saxon inhabitants of the city, marred the rejoicings. In Lower Lorraine Henry found no ready acceptance. Two bishops only received him; others hesitated to join them; and Archbishop Heribert of Cologne, indulging a personal grudge, purposely held aloof. At length the prelates concurred in choosing Henry to be king, and after tendering him their oath of fealty, accompanied him to Aix. There, on 8 September, the remaining Lorrainer magnates joined in placing Henry on the coronation chair of his predecessors, and in paying him homage. Nothing therefore was now wanting but the submission of the Duke of Swabia. Herman, however, finding himself now so far outmatched, was already prepared to yield. Through mediators he besought the king's grace for himself and his adherents; and then on 1 October appeared in person before Henry at Bruchsal. On swearing allegiance, Herman was suffered to retain both his duchy and his fiefs, but was required to make good the damage he had caused to the city of Strasbourg.

Henry's title to reign, thus acknowledged in Germany, was also accepted by peoples outside. The Venetians renewed with Henry the treaty of friendship concluded with Otto II. In the vassal state of Bohemia a revolution had lately set up a new ruler who at once sought formal investiture at the hands of Henry. Lastly, from Italy, there came letters and envoys of the imperialist party, urging Henry to intervene in rebellious Lombardy.

Henry of Bavaria, the fifth of his house to occupy the German throne, is known in history as Henry II, both as King and Emperor. He was born on 6 May 973, and had therefore lately completed his twenty-ninth year when he was crowned at Mayence in June 1002. His early life had been molded by adversity. By the rebellion of his father, Duke Henry "the Wrangler", he had been deprived of his home; and after some time spent under the care of Abraham, Bishop of Freising, he had been sent, still a child, to be brought up at Hildesheim. There he received his first grounding in an education which made him in all ways a cultivated man, well learned both in Holy Scripture and in ecclesiastical lore. He became acquainted at the same time with the methods of church government, as he was meant for the clerical career; but his father’s restoration in 985 brought him back to Bavaria. Further training under Bishop Wolfgang of Ratisbon helped to form those decided ideas upon Church and State which afterwards shaped his policy as king. Upon the death of his father in August 995 Henry succeeded without question to the duchy of Bavaria. The last exhortation of the repentant Wrangler to his son had been to remain ever loyal to his king; and by that advice Henry steadily walked during the next six years. Otto III had no more faithful subject than his cousin of Bavaria, who twice accompanied him to Italy, and on the second occasion was instrumental, with Marquess Hugh of Tuscany, in saving him from the wrath of the Roman mob. Moreover, when the German magnates were scheming to dethrone the absent Emperor, Henry refused to take any part in their conspiracy. Until Otto's premature death opened to him the prospect of succession, he had been, as Duke of Bavaria, a just and vigorous ruler.

Of Henry’s outward appearance nothing certain is known. Later tradition indeed gives him the attribute of ‘the Lame’, and two varying legends profess to account for the supposed infirmity. A real hindrance, however, was the liability to severe attacks of a painful internal complaint; Henry was in truth a sickly man, and his bodily weakness may have sometimes interfered with his plans. His life and actions were regulated by a strict conscientiousness and by a piety sober and restrained. The Christian faith and its Founder, the saints and their sanctuaries, the German church and its officers, were the objects of his reverence; he punctually attended, and sometimes took part in, the ceremonies of the Church; he was the determined foe of ecclesiastical abuses; and if he shared the prevailing superstition in regard to relics, this was balanced by an ungrudging liberality to the poor and a splendid munificence in the founding and maintenance of religious institutions. With all this, Henry was no mere devotee. He was sociable, and took pleasure in the ordinary amusements of his day; he was not above playing a practical joke on a troublesome bishop, and once even incurred rebuke for encouraging a brutal form of sport. The chase was to him a welcome recreation. Henry was thus utterly unlike Otto III. He loved his ancestral land of Saxony; the glamour of Italy did not entice him away from his proper task as a German king; nor did he entertain any visionary idea of universal dominion under the form of a revived Roman Empire. The whole bent of his mind was practical; his undertakings were limited in scope and were pursued with caution. Prudence indeed was the quality by which he most impressed his contemporaries. Yet he was not without the kingly ideals of his day. He had a passion for law and order; and in his conception of the kingly office he was the guardian of the realm against attack from without and against disturbance within, the champion of the weak and the enemy of all wrongdoers, the defender of the Church and the promoter of its spiritual work. No king before him was more untiring in travel to dispense justice among his people; no ruler could be more stern on occasion in executing judgment on rebels and lawbreakers. In spite of his weak health he did not shrink from taking his full share in the dangers and hardships of a campaign. And with this courage there was joined a royal humanity which could show mercy to the vanquished. Alike in the limitation of his aims and the steady persistency of his rule, he showed no little resemblance to the earliest Henry of his race. In moral dignity, it may be safely said, he excelled any monarch of the Saxon house.

The Empire presented a complication of difficulties such as only patience and prudence could overcome. Nearly every province was seething in unrest. Not only were the lay magnates, as ever, at feud with their ecclesiastical neighbors, but each order was rent by quarrels among its own members. Among the clergy of every degree, worldliness and neglect of duty, avarice and loose living, were widely prevalent. It was a heavy task, therefore, that Henry undertook, and he had now to restore by his own efforts the sovereign power in face of men who had hitherto been his equals.

In these adverse circumstances the new reign began, and by them its course was set. The history of the reign is confused; but through it all may be traced the king's unwavering purpose of bringing about a more settled state of things. The large measure of success that he achieved therein entitles Henry to a high place among the sovereigns of Germany; but his zeal for the suppression of ecclesiastical abuses was felt over a wider sphere, and has set him among the reformers of the Western Church. And it is in the ecclesiastical policy that he pursued, combining as it did the political system of Otto the Great with the reforming energy of Henry the Third, and thus linking him with both those monarchs, that the chief interest of his career is to be found.

The beginning of Henry's reign was marked by two grave losses to the Empire; in the South, of the Lombard kingdom; in the East, of the tributary duchy of Bohemia. The former event, indeed, had taken place even before Henry had become a candidate for the throne. For within a month of the death of Otto III Lombardy broke into open revolt; and on 15 February 1002 Ardoin, Marquess of Ivrea, was elected King of the Lombards and crowned in the basilica of St Michael at Pavia. This new king was nearly related to, if he did not actually spring from, the marquesses of Turin, and was connected also with the late royal house of Ivrea, with whose hereditary March he had been invested about twelve years since. His career as Marquess had been a stormy one. During a quarrel with Peter, Bishop of Vercelli, Ardoin had taken that city by assault, and in the tumult the bishop was slain. Soon after, his violence towards Warmund, the Bishop of his own city of Ivrea, had brought down upon him a severe rebuke from Pope Gregory V. Through the influence of Leo, Bishop of Vercelli, Ardoin was summoned to Rome in 999 to answer for his alleged misdeeds. Yet, in spite of papal censure and imperial forfeiture, he had kept fast hold both of his March and of his possessions until the turn of fortune raised him to the Lombard throne.

Ardoin may have been in truth little more than a rough soldier. Yet he proved himself a skilful leader in war; and if his reign was unfortunate it was not through any lack on his part of energy or courage. He certainly inspired his family and his friends with a devotion that shrank from no sacrifice. To the lay magnates he was their champion against the domination of the prelates, some few of whom also, free from German sympathies, were on his side. But it was chiefly the smaller nobles, the secundi milites or lesser vavassors, holding their lands at the will of episcopal or secular overlords, and with nothing to hope for from a foreign sovereign, who turned naturally to a native king whose domestic enemies were their own. Beside them stood many of the secular clergy, equally impatient of episcopal control; while lower down were the serfs, the voiceless tillers of church lands, many of whom had obtained their freedom, but all of whom it was now sought to reduce to perpetual bondage. In this endeavor the two bishops of Vercelli, Peter and Leo, had been especially active; and it was the latter who, but a short while before, had drafted the terrible decree of Otto III that no serf of the Church should ever be allowed to issue from his servitude. And to Ardoin therefore these freedmen and bondmen now looked as their only possible savior.

The revolt, if primarily social, was so far national that it was directed against those elements of authority which leaned on foreign support. The German interest in Lombardy was still strong. Some prelates, the Archbishop of Ravenna and the bishops of Modena, Verona, and Vercelli, were openly hostile to Ardoin from the first; and in agreement with them was the Marquess Tedald, holder of the five counties of Reggio, Modena, Mantua, Brescia, and Ferrara, whose family had risen to eminence by service to the Ottos. But the real soul of the opposition was Leo of Vercelli, a German by birth, whose energetic character, strong intellect, and immense acquirements made him a dangerous enemy. For he was at once an accomplished man of letters, an able lawyer, and a practiced man of affairs. Worldly-minded, though zealous for good order in the Church, he was ever eager to advance his material interests; and the disappearance of the imperial system would mean his own utter ruin. His whole energies, therefore, were bent to the overthrow of the national king.

A progress through Lombardy secured Ardoin general acknowledgment, and the administration went on without break. The hostile magnates were helpless; while the rest, whatever their secret inclinations, gave outward obedience to the monarch in possession. But Ardoin’s insolent bearing enraged his opponents, and so both sides looked abroad for help. Ardoin sent an envoy to France to obtain a promise of armed support from King Robert; Leo of Vercelli in person, backed by the prayers of other Italian magnates, besought Henry, now recognized as king in Germany, to intervene in Italy. Accordingly, Henry in. December 1002 dispatched a moderate force under Duke Otto of Carinthia, in whose hands was the March of Verona, to the aid of his Italian adherents. The latter, headed by Archbishop Frederick of Ravenna and the Marquess Tedald, were already on their way to join the duke, when Ardoin with superior forces threw himself between the allies, occupied Verona, and seized the mountain passes beyond. A few days later he made a surprise attack upon the enemy in the valley of the Brenta, and routed them with heavy loss. This victory for the time made Ardoin’s authority secure.


Boleslav of Poland

Only a few weeks after Lombardy had thus asserted its independence, Bohemia was severed from Germany. Boleslav Chrobry (the Mighty), since succeeding his father Mesco as Duke of Poland in 992, had built up a powerful Slav monarchy beyond the Elbe. The various tribes occupying the plains watered by the Oder, the Warta, and the Vistula were united under his rule; he was allied by marriage with the neighboring princes of Bohemia, Hungary, and Kiev; by the indulgence of the late Emperor he had been relieved of the annual tribute due to the German crown. Through Otto also he had secured from Pope Sylvester II the ecclesiastical independence of his country, with the establishment of Gnesen as a metropolitan see. Only in his vassalage to the Empire was there left any sign of political subjection. Now Boleslav saw an opportunity for enlarging his dominion in the West and achieving full independence. He overran the whole of the East Mark, or Mark of Gero, as far as the Elbe; then, turning southwards, he seized the towns of Bautzen and Strehla, and with the aid of its Slavonic inhabitants gained possession of the city of Meissen itself. Pushing westwards, he occupied the mark of Meissen as far as the White Elster, securing it with Polish garrisons. He had thus mastered all the territory known later as the Upper and Lower Lausitz, and the Elbe had here ceased to be a German river. Then Boleslav appeared at the diet of Merseburg to make sure of his conquest. But his offer to Henry of a large sum for the retention of Meissen was rejected: and Gunzelin, brother of the late Eckhard and half-brother of Boleslav, was invested by the king with the mark of Meissen, while Boleslav himself was allowed to keep only the districts to the east of the Black Elster.

Thenceforth the Polish duke became Henry’s determined foe. He found support at once in German disaffection. The Babenberg Henry of Schweinfurt, Margrave of the Nordgau, hitherto a staunch adherent of the king, claimed investiture with the duchy of Bavaria as the promised reward for his aid in the succession contest. Incensed by the king's hesitation in granting the request, the margrave now made common cause with Boleslav, whose own wrath was further inflamed by an assault made upon himself and his followers, though without the privity of the king, on their departure from Merseburg.

And the opportunity soon came to Boleslav for revenge. In Bohemia there had ruled for the last three years, as a tributary of the German crown, his cousin and namesake, Duke Boleslav the Red, a tyrant whose jealousy had sent his half-brothers, Jaromir and Udalrich, with their mother, into exile, and whose cruelty now impelled his subjects to drive him out and to set up his kinsman Vladivoi as duke. While Vladivoi, to secure himself, took investiture from King Henry, the dispossessed prince sought refuge in Poland. But when Vladivoi’s own vices brought his rule to an end early in 1003 and the Bohemians recalled Jaromir and Udalrich, the Polish duke intervened by force, drove the two princes a second time into banishment, and reinstated Boleslav the Red. It was not long before the ferocious vengeance which the restored duke took upon his enemies constrained the Bohemians in terror to implore protection from Boleslav of Poland. Seizing the desired occasion, Boleslav craftily enticed his kinsman into his power, caused him to be blinded, and then, hastening to Prague, secured his own acceptance as duke by the Bohemians. The act was an insolent defiance of Henry's authority; but the king, controlling his indignation, sent envoys to Boleslav offering recognition if the duke would acknowledge himself his vassal. Boleslav, however, haughtily rejected the proposal, and for the time Bohemia was lost to the German crown.

Nothing, indeed, could be done as yet for its recovery because of serious trouble in Germany itself. Already, early in the year, Henry had had to suppress disaffection in Lorraine with a strong hand; and now he learnt that the Margrave Henry, secretly aided by the Polish duke, was in open revolt in the Nordgau. From Bavaria the king took vigorous action against the rebel. But the margrave found two unexpected allies in his cousin Ernest of Babenberg and the king's own brother Bruno. Between King Henry and these three men a petty war was waged during the autumn of 1003, of which the Nordgau, the wide district lying north of the Danube between Bohemia and East Franconia, was the scene. Here the Babenbergs were firmly established; but the king’s energy soon forced the margrave to forsake his strongholds for lurking places in the countryside. The operations culminated in the siege of Creussen, a fortified town near the sources of the Main, which was valiantly held against the royal forces by Bucco, the brother of the margrave, while the latter himself harassed the besiegers from outside. A surprise attack on his camp drove the margrave into flight, scattered his followers, and delivered Ernest a prisoner into the hands of the king. Thereupon Bucco surrendered Creussen. Boleslav endeavored first to seduce Gunzelin into betraying Meissen to him, and on his refusal laid waste an entire land west of the Elbe. But this diversion brought no relief to the duke's confederates. The margrave gave up further resistance, and, accompanied by Bruno and other rebels, sought safety with Boleslav. Though hostilities were renewed early in 1004 by a fierce attack by Boleslav upon Bavaria, replied to by Henry with an incursion into the Upper Lausitz, which was frustrated by a change of weather, the confederacy was soon after dissolved. Impelled by remorse, the two German nobles sought forgiveness of the king; Bruno through his brother-in-law King Stephen of Hungary, Margrave Henry of Schweinfurt through powerful friends at home. The margrave suffered imprisonment for some months, but both he and his adherents were spared the forfeiture of their lands. Bruno also was pardoned, and having later been ordained, became his brother's chancellor and eventually Bishop of Augsburg.

With the failure of this domestic revolt Henry was free for action abroad. The recovery of Italy and of Bohemia were equally urgent tasks; but the entreaties of certain Lombard magnates, including a special emissary from the Marquess Tedald and the faithful Leo of Vercelli, prevailed; and Henry, leaving the Saxons and Bavarians to hold Boleslav in check, started from Augsburg late in March at the head of an expeditionary force composed of Lorrainers, Franks, and Swabians, and after severe toil reached Trent on Palm Sunday, 9 April. In the face of this grave peril King Ardoin sent forward to secure the passes, while he himself gathered troops and took post as before in the plain of Verona. Henry thus found his advance checked along the Adige, and turning eastwards into the valley of the Brenta, seized a pass from the Val Sugana by surprise, and pitched camp on the left bank of the river. There he celebrated Easter (16 April). At the critical moment Ardoin had been deserted by most of the Italian leaders, and he had then no choice but to retreat hurriedly to the West. Henry entered Verona, and advanced thence by Brescia and Bergamo to Pavia, being joined at each stage of his march by successive groups of Italian magnates, of whom the Archbishops of Milan and Ravenna, and the Marquess Tedald, were the chief. At Pavia, on Sunday, 14 May 1004, he was elected King of the Lombards, and crowned in St Michael’s the following day.

Henry had thus attained his object with surprising ease; and the ceremony he had just gone through, omitted as superfluous by his Saxon predecessors, was the formal annulment of Ardoin's coronation within the same walls two years before. The same afternoon a quarrel on slight cause arose between the Pavese and the Germans, and the citizens, rushing to arms, attacked the palace. Most of the German troops were quartered outside; but the royal partisans within the city rallied to Henry's side, and the assault on the palace was repelled. A furious conflict then ensued; and, as night fell, the royalists for their own protection fired the neighboring buildings. The troops outside, attracted by the conflagration, stormed the walls in the face of a stiff resistance. The Pavese were now overpowered; numbers were cut down in the streets; and such as continued to fight from the housetops were destroyed along with their dwellings by fire. The slaughter was stopped by Henry's command, but not before many hundreds of the citizens had perished and a great part of their city had been consumed. The survivors were admitted to grace, and either in person or by hostages swore fealty to the king.

The fate of Pavia struck terror throughout Northern Italy. All thought of further resistance was crushed, except in the remote West, where Ardoin in his Alpine castle of Sparone was holding out manfully against a besieging force of Germans. The Lombards generally now made their submission to Henry, who a few days later, at Pontelungo near Pavia, held a general diet for the settlement of the kingdom. But the king's mind was already made up to leave Italy; and he started at the beginning of June on his way to Germany. After receiving, as his last act on Italian soil, the proffer of their fealty from certain Tuscan delegates, he reached Swabia by the middle of the month.

The expedition had in fact failed. For in spite of his coronation, of the homage of the magnates, and of the forced submission of most of the Lombards, Henry had not ventured beyond Lombardy; and even there he left behind him an unsubdued rival and a disaffected people. The horror of the burning of Pavia sank deep into the hearts of the Lombards, for whom he had destroyed the hope of settled order under their native king without giving them a stable government of his own. And for himself the sole advantage he had secured was the renewed assertion of the German claim to the crown of Lombardy.

Want of time was the cause of this meager result; for Henry could not remain long enough in Italy to effect its settlement without neglecting the peril which menaced Germany from the East. It was necessary before everything to oust Boleslav from Bohemia. Henry gathered an army at Merseburg in the middle of August. The men of Saxony, East Franconia, and Bavaria, who had been exempted from the Italian expedition, were now called upon to serve against their nearest enemy. By gathering boats on the middle Elbe, as though for a direct invasion of Poland, the king hoped to mask his real intention of entering Bohemia from the North. But the flooding of the rivers hindered his movements and gave Boleslav time to prepare his defence. In spite, however, of resistance by the Polish archers, Henry forced his way over the Erzgebirge (Miriquidui), where he was joined by Jaromir, the exiled duke. On the arrival of the Bavarian contingent, which had been delayed, Henry sent forward Jaromir and his Bohemians, with some picked German troops, in order to surprise Boleslav in Prague. Boleslav, however, received timely warning to make his escape. He attempted no further defence, and Jaromir forthwith occupied Prague, where, amid general rejoicing, he was once more enthroned as duke. Henry soon after reached Prague, and solemnly invested Jaromir. In less than a month from the time he set out Henry had made so sure of Bohemia that not only could he send the Bavarians home, but could claim the help of Jaromir for the recovery from Boleslav of the Upper Lausitz. The task proved difficult through the stubborn defence of Bautzen by its Polish garrison; but the surrender of the town at length released the king and his wearied troops from the toils of war.

The recovery of Bohemia closed the earliest stage of Henry’s career, a space of nearly three years, during which he had made good his claim to the German throne, and had first tried his strength upon the tasks that lay before him. No striking events, indeed, mark off the reign into definite periods, its course being one of slow and often interrupted accomplishment; yet the three Italian expeditions, made at long intervals, form convenient milestones for recording its progress. Nearly ten years were to elapse before he should again cross the Alps. The interval was occupied by an unceasing struggle in which Henry was able by sheer tenacity to win some success.

The enmity of the Polish duke was a constant menace. Though hostilities with Boleslav were not continuous, yet three actual wars were waged. The campaigns themselves present little of military interest. Whichever side took the offensive, the operations had generally the character of an extensive foray, in which few pitched battles were fought, and decisive results were rarely attained. Boleslav, after losing Bohemia, possessed no chief city the capture of which would have meant his ruin; and thus final victory was only possible for Henry by the seizure or destruction of Boleslav himself. The duke in turn, however successful he might be in the field, could not seriously endanger the German kingdom, though he might enlarge his border at German expense. This he sought to achieve in the region of the middle Elbe. The territory lying to the east of that river, the northern portion of which constituted the East Mark and the southern belonged to the Mark of Meissen, was the usual scene of contention and the prize waiting on its decision. Not without difficulty indeed was Boleslav prevented from winning a foothold on the west of the Elbe. In Henry's absence the jealousies of the Saxon leaders, upon whom lay the duty of defence, hindered united action. Some of them had become secret partisans of Boleslav; some were lukewarm in their service of the king. Especially those ecclesiastical magnates who felt real zeal for the Church were reluctant opponents of a prince who enjoyed the favor of the Roman See, and who had done much to further the cause of Christianity among his own people. A strange act of policy on the part of Henry increased their repugnance to serve against Boleslav. For during the Easter season of 1003, he had received at Quedlinburg envoys of the Redari and of the Lyutitzi, heathen Wendish tribes dwelling in the North Mark and had made a compact with them. None of the Wends had been more stubborn in resistance to the German domination, which they had long ago shaken off; with it had gone their compulsory Christianity. Fear of a fresh subjection and forcible conversion by the sword of Boleslav drove them to negotiate with Henry, to whom they could offer protection on his north-eastern frontier and active help in the field against the Polish duke. These advantages he secured by allowing them to retain their practical independence and still to hold to their heathen religion. The treaty did in fact prove of no small value. Yet this alliance of a Christian king with pagan tribesmen against another Christian prince gave deep offence to many of his subjects; and German warriors saw with impatience the idols of their Wendish associates borne as standards on the march to overcome a foe who held the same true faith as themselves.

Henry was not satisfied merely to regain Bohemia and to stand on the defensive against Polish attack. He aimed at recovering the whole of the lost territory between the Elbe and the Oder, once conquered and Christianized by Otto the Great. After suppressing early in 1005 a rising of the Frisians Henry summoned a general levy at Leitzkau, half-way between Magdeburg and Zerbst, on the farther side of the Elbe; and thence, in the middle of August, the king led his army forward through the East Mark, where he was joined by the Bavarians under their new Duke, Henry of Luxemburg, and by the Bohemians under Duke Jaromir. But the troops, delayed by false guides who entangled them in the marshes about the Spree, were harassed by ambushed attacks of the enemy. Just before the Oder was reached, the Lyutitzi, headed by their heathen images, attached themselves to the royal host. On pitching camp by the Bobra (Bober) near its junction with the Oder, Henry found Boleslav stationed in strong force at Crossen. The discovery of a ford enabled the king to send over part of his troops, whose appearance drove Boleslav into hasty retreat. The march was continued to within two miles of the city of Posen. But the German army was wearied, and now halted to collect supplies. Its want of vigilance, however, while it was scattered in foraging parties, allowed it to be taken unawares and defeated with heavy loss. This reverse, though not the crushing disaster represented by Polish tradition, disposed Henry to accept an offer made by Boleslav to come to terms. Envoys, with the Archbishop of Magdeburg at their head, were sent to Posen to negotiate with the duke; and a peace, the conditions of which are unknown, was established. The treaty, in any case, was hardly flattering to German pride, for at the utmost Henry can have won from Boleslav no more than a recognition of his authority in the Upper and the Lower Lausitz, and a renunciation of the duke's claim to Bohemia.


Troubles on the West

During the interval of uneasy peace that followed, Henry’s attention was claimed on his western frontier. The Frisian coast was being harried by piratical Northmen; Valenciennes had been seized by the count of Flanders; the kingdom of Burgundy was in a state of turmoil. In Burgundy King Rodolph III, the last male of his house, was struggling vainly to uphold the royal authority against a defiant nobility. To Henry, the son of Rodolph’s sister Gisela and his nearest heir, the present unsettlement, which imperiled his chance of succeeding to his uncle's crown, was a matter of serious concern. In 1006, therefore, he made his hand felt in Burgundy. The extent of his intervention is unknown; but the fact is clear that he now took possession of the city of Basle. This step, however brought about, was never reversed; and the sequel showed it as the earliest in a series by which the independence of the Burgundian kingdom was destroyed.

The incursions of the Northmen, this year and the next, into Frisia were left to the local counts to deal with. It was otherwise when the ambitious Count Baldwin IV of Flanders, one of the mightiest vassals of the West Frankish crown, into whose hands had already fallen the castle set up by Otto the Great at Ghent, presumed to violate German territory east of the Scheldt and take forcible possession of the town of Valenciennes. Henry, whose repeated demands for his withdrawal had been ignored by the count, in June 1006 sought a meeting with Baldwin's overlord, King Robert, the result of which was a joint expedition of the two monarchs in September for the recovery of the town. But the undertaking, though supported by Duke Richard of Normandy, the lifelong foe of the house of Flanders, came to naught; and Henry, to retrieve the failure, in the summer of 1007 led a great host to the Scheldt, crossed it, and then proceeded to lay waste the country. At Ghent, upon the supplication of the brethren of St Bavo’s, he stayed his hand; but by this time Baldwin was ready to treat. His humble submission soon after, with the surrender of Valenciennes, won for him full forgiveness from the king. He swore peace; and also took an oath of fealty to Henry, by which, as it seems, he became his vassal for the royal castle at Ghent. Two years later, to secure his help against disaffection in Lorraine, Henry granted Baldwin in fief Valenciennes, to which the island of Walcheren was afterwards added. In thus accepting vassalage to the German crown, Baldwin won for the counts of Flanders their first footing beyond the Scheldt.

But while engaged upon this successful enterprise in the West, Henry had been overtaken by disaster on his Eastern frontier. Since the Polish campaign of 1005, he had been at pains to keep the Wends true to their compact, but, in the spring of 1007, he was visited at Ratisbon by a triple embassy from the Lyutitzi, from a considerable town in their neighborhood, and from Duke Jaromir of Bohemia, which came to denounce the assiduous efforts of the Duke of Poland, by bribes and promises, to seduce them from their allegiance. They declared that, if Henry should remain any longer at peace with Boleslav, he must not count on further service from them. The king, then preparing for the invasion of Flanders, consented, on the advice of the princes, to a renewal of war against Poland. The issue was unfortunate; for the Saxons, the proper guardians of the Elbe and of the Marches beyond, proved utterly wanting. In the absence of the king, Boleslav invaded the Marches in force, wasting a wide district east of Magdeburg, and carrying away captive the inhabitants of Zerbst. The Saxon levies slowly gathered to repel him, and, with Archbishop Tagino of Magdeburg in supreme command, sullenly followed the duke as he returned home. But at Jüterbogk, long before the Oder had been reached, the heart of their leaders failed them, and their retreat enabled the Polish prince to reoccupy the eastern half of the Lower Lausitz, and soon after to secure possession once more of the Upper Lausitz. He had thus regained all the German territory that he had previously held and lost; he had established himself firmly on the west of the Oder; and from the ground thus gained no subsequent efforts of Henry availed to expel him.

In another sphere of activity, this same year of mingled success and disaster brought Henry, before its close, a peculiar triumph. This was the establishment, on 1 November 1007, of the new see of Bamberg. The completion of this cherished scheme was at once the fruit of Henry's religious zeal and the witness to his supremacy over the German Church. Nevertheless, it was just his claim to such supremacy in a particular case that involved him soon after in a bitter domestic quarrel, which ran its unhappy course for several years, and, combined with other troubles at home, effectually hindered further action abroad. At this point, then, it is necessary to explain Henry’s ecclesiastical policy, upon which his whole system of government was based.

In right of the Crown, Henry had small material means at command to enforce his authority. The obedience due to him as their chosen and anointed king might be readily acknowledged by all his subjects, but was just as readily withheld when it conflicted with private interest. Especially was this the case with the higher nobility. The counts, though still in theory royal officials and responsible to the sovereign for the maintenance of public order in their several districts, had become in fact hereditary territorial magnates, whose offices, like their fiefs and their family estates, usually passed from father to son in regular succession. The privilege of “immunity” which many enjoyed, and the feudal relation now generally subsisting between them and their tenants, still further strengthened their position. These petty potentates however, who should have been the upholders of law, were too often its worst transgressors. Their greed for landed wealth urged them into perpetual feuds with one another or with their ecclesiastical neighbors, while the abuse of their seignorial rights made them the oppressors of the classes below them. In these evil tendencies they had been encouraged by the lax administration of the last two reigns. Yet even more were the greater lay magnates, the dukes and margraves, disposed to regard themselves as hereditary princes. The dukes, in spite of past efforts to reduce their pretensions, were the recognized chiefs of the separate races which made up the German nation, and, like Herman of Swabia, were generally too strong, even in defeat, to be displaced without risk. The margraves, holding an office less venerable, had also won, by effective service on the frontiers, a firm position in the State. Though dukes and margraves alike required investiture by the king, it was rarely that a son was not preferred to his father's place. The control of men so firmly established in power and dignity could be no easy task; yet it now depended upon the vindication of the royal authority whether the nation should preserve its political cohesion, or be split up, like the adjacent kingdoms on the West, into a loose aggregation of almost independent principalities under a nominal sovereign.

It was the second Henry who by his energy postponed for two gene-rations the process of disintegration which set in under Henry IV. To restore the rule of law was his prime object. In the decay, however, of local justice, the Royal, or Palatine, Court, over which the king presided in person, was the only tribunal where redress could be sought against a powerful adversary, or whither appeal could be made from decisions in the inferior courts. Henry knew, as his biographer tells us, that the region left unvisited by the king was most often filled with the complaints and groans of the poor, and he did his utmost, by incessant journeys through the land, to bring justice within reach of all his subjects. In many cases he punished with severity high-born disturbers of the peace. Yet the conditions were now such that the Crown was not strong enough of itself to compel obedience to the law. To make his will prevail, alike in judicial administration and in large measures of policy, he had to secure the co-operation of the magnates assembled in general or provincial diets. At these meetings, which became more frequent under him than under his predecessors, he was generally able, by his fixity of purpose and his skilful address, to win consent to his designs. Even so, however, he was largely dependent for their accomplishment upon such material aid as the good will of the nobles might afford him. There existed no standing army. The national levy could still be summoned by royal command for the defence of the realm; but the only permanent force at the disposal of the king consisted of unfree retainers (ministeriales) drawn from the crown lands or from his patrimonial estates. But they were insufficient for making expeditions abroad or for preserving order at home; and it was upon the feudal contingents furnished by the magnates that the monarch had to rely in the last resort.

Furthermore the royal revenues had for years been in steady decline. The immense crown estates, the villae on which Charles the Great had bestowed such care, had been broken up and largely dissipated by the later Carolingians, partly through the granting of fiefs to reward their supporters, partly though their lavish endowment of churches and monasteries. And in similar fashion the peculiar royal rights of coinage, tolls, and markets, with others of the same kind, all extremely profitable, had been also freely alienated to laymen and ecclesiastics. In the hands of Otto the Great this practice had been turned to account for the strengthening of the throne; but under his son and grandson it had rather served to establish the local powers in their independence. What crown lands remained to the monarch lay scattered in fragments throughout the kingdom, and were therefore less profitable and more difficult to ad-minister. Henry was a wealthy king, but more through his possession of the great Liudolfing inheritance in Saxony and of the patrimony of his Bavarian ancestors, than through his command of such resources as were proper to the Crown.

Faced then by the growing power of the secular magnates, Henry, if he were to restore the German monarchy, had to seek some surer means than the bare authority of the Crown. But the task was one beyond the powers of a single man, and required the steady action of an ordered administration. This was found in the organization of the Church. Its dignitaries Henry employed as crown officials, whom he appointed himself. Though the bishops and greater abbots were spiritual chiefs, they were called upon to act also as servants of the king, advising him in council, fulfilling his missions abroad, preserving his peace within their own territories. Further, they, even more than lay princes, had to provide him with military contingents of their vassals, often to follow him in person into the field, sometimes even to conduct his campaigns. And while heavy calls were continually being made upon their revenues for the public need, the right to dispose of their vacant fiefs was frequently claimed by the king for some purpose of his own. More especially did the royal monasteries suffer loss at Henry's hand; for the pious king in several cases did not hesitate at extensive confiscation of monastic lands. Yet these severe measures were not the outcome of caprice or greed, but of a settled policy for the kingdom's weal.

In thus employing the Church Henry resumed the policy adopted by Otto the Great. But while Otto, in using the Church to fortify the throne, had cared little to interfere in matters purely ecclesiastical, Henry sought to exercise over the Church an authority no less direct and searching than over the State. Filled with the ecclesiastical spirit, he set himself to regulate Church affairs as seemed to him best in the Church's interest; and the instinct for order which urged him from the first to promote its efficiency developed at last into a passionate zeal for its reformation.

To achieve his purpose it was essential for Henry to secure an effective mastery over the Church. But only through its constitutional rulers, the bishops, could he, without flagrant illegality, obtain command of its wealth, engage its political services, and direct its spiritual energies. In order, however, to be sure of bishops who should be his willing agents, the decisive word in the appointment to vacant sees must be his. In the Frankish kingdom the old canonical rule that the choice of a new bishop rested with the clergy and laity of the diocese had never been quite forgotten; but from early times the kings had claimed and been allowed the right of confirming or disapproving an episcopal election, and this had been enlarged into the greater right of direct nomination. The claim of the Crown to intervene in episcopal appointments had been fully revindicated by Otto the Great. In a few German dioceses the privilege of free election had been expressly confirmed or granted afresh by charters, yet Otto had never allowed the local privilege to hinder the appointment of any man he desired. The effect of such methods was to fill the bishoprics with royal nominees. Though the procedure was prejudicial to the independence of the Church, yet it freed episcopal elections from those local influences which would have made the bishops mere creatures of the secular magnates, or at best their counterparts in an ecclesiastical disguise.

Otto's practice was followed by Henry, who insisted on his right to nominate the bishops. He made no fresh grants of privilege of free election; he often qualified it by reserving the right of royal assent as at Hamburg, Hildesheim, Minden, Halberstadt, and Fulda, and sometimes he withheld it altogether as at Paderborn. His general practice is fairly illustrated by the case of Magdeburg, which fell vacant four times in the course of his reign. This church had not received from its founder, Otto the Great, the right of choosing its own pastor; and it was by gift of his son, in terms unusually solemn, that the privilege was conferred in 979. Yet Otto II made light of his own charter when, on the first vacancy of the see, he allowed his favorite, the crafty Bishop Gisiler of Merseburg, to supplant the canonically elected nominee. At Gisiler's death in January 1004, the clergy of Magdeburg forthwith unanimously elected their Provost Waltherd. But Henry was resolved that no Magdeburg cleric should occupy the see; and demanded the election of his own attached friend, the Bavarian Tagino. Neither the plea of right nor the humble entreaty of the electors was accepted by the king, whose insistence at length won the consent of Waltherd and his supporters to Tagino's promotion. Through their presence at his investiture by Henry they acquiesced in the reversal of their own previous act. Tagino died in June 1012. Again Henry intervened by sending an envoy, but this time to ask the electors to submit a candidate for his approval. The clergy and vassals of the see once more chose the same candidate, Waltherd, as archbishop. Only with great reluctance did Henry agree, and that upon condition of a fresh election being held in his presence, at which he himself proposed, and the electors concurred in, the nomination of the Provost. Within two months, however, Waltherd was snatched away by death. Next day, the Magdeburg clergy, still anxious to preserve their right, elected Thiedric, a youthful cleric, to the vacant see; and the day following repeated the act. Henry, greatly indignant at this proceeding, determined to enforce his will on the presumptuous Church. He made Thiedric a royal chaplain, and then, coming to Magdeburg, directed another meeting to be held for the election of Gero, one of his chaplains, whom he had designated for the archbishopric. The electors, with an express reservation of their right for the future, obeyed, and Gero was chosen. Yet this reservation appears to have been no hindrance to Henry when, in the last year of his reign, the see of Magdeburg was again vacated by the death of Gero, and he secured the succession of Hunfrid (Humphrey), another royal nominee.

To Henry, therefore, the right of election was useful for giving canonical sanction to a choice made by himself, and the utmost allowed to electors was to name a candidate; thus in course of time most of the German bishoprics were filled by his nominees. Yet Henry's bishops were men far from unworthy of their office. If few of them were learned, the lives of few gave occasion for reproach; if capable men of affairs rather than sound spiritual guides, they were not generally neglectful of pastoral duty; some were even distinguished for evangelical zeal. They were chosen oftenest, it would seem, for their practical capacity, and for a sympathy with his political and ecclesiastical aims gained by long service in the royal chapel or chancery; some, like the historian Thietmar, were chosen for their wealth, part of which they were expected to bestow on their impoverished sees; not a few were recommended by their Bavarian birth. Henry was not the man to dishonor the Church by giving it worthless prelates. Nevertheless, the bishops were his creatures, from whom he demanded obedience; in a word, the Church had to accept a position of strict subordination to the State.

It was not all at once that Henry was able to bring this about. The bishops whom he found in office at his accession owed nothing to him; and even when of proved loyalty they were not inclined to be sub-servient. Some indeed were openly disaffected. Of such were the Archbishops Heribert of Cologne and Gisiler of Magdeburg, and among bishops, the celebrated Bernward of Hildesheim. Whether indifferent or hostile, however, it was not the spiritual independence of the Church for which most of them were jealous, but for the temporal power and dignity of their own sees. Their sense of ecclesiastical unity was faint; nor did any voice sound from Rome to remind them of their allegiance to the Church Universal. To many even the welfare of their own national branch thereof was of small concern beside the interests of their particular dioceses. Papal impotence left Henry a free hand; and with the rise of a new episcopate the cohesion of the German Church was strengthened, and its energies were revived, but only at the cost of its independence. For the bishops learned to acquiesce in Henry's claim to ecclesiastical authority, and zealous churchmen were not slow to enjoin obedience to the Crown as a duty of divine ordinance. But with the Church thus submissive, all fear that the bishops might use their means and their privileges in a spirit defiant of the secular power was removed. They had become, in truth, royal officials; and the more, therefore, that their position was enhanced, the better service could they render to the king. Accordingly, it was with no sparing hand that Henry, following the example of the Ottos, bestowed territory and regalities upon the episcopal churches. His charters reveal also two other special features of his policy. The one is the frequency with which he annexed royal abbeys of the lesser rank to bishoprics, to be held by them as part of their endowment; the other is his extension of the recent practice of giving vacant counties into the hands of prelates. In the former case, the purpose was achieved of turning the smaller religious houses to better account for the service of the State than they could be as isolated corporations; in the latter, advantage was gained for the Crown by the transfer of local authority from secular to ecclesiastical hands, since the bishops were now more amenable to royal control than were the lay counts. Thus the process, by which the bishops became territorial princes, went rapidly forward; although the Crown was strengthened rather than weakened by their exaltation.

It is indisputable that the alliance between the Church and the Monarchy brought immense advantages to both. The former, favored by the Crown, still further improved its high position. The king, on his side, obtained the services of men highly educated and familiar with business; who could form a counterpoise to the hereditary nobility, and yet could never establish themselves as an hereditary caste; who set an example within their dioceses of upright and humane administration; and who showed themselves prudent managers of their estates. Besides all which, the revenues of their churches and the military aid of their vassals were at his command. Their corporate feeling as members of a national church had revived; and their general employment in the service of the Crown, which claimed the headship of that church, made them the representatives of national unity on the secular no less than on the ecclesiastical side.

Yet the coalition of the two powers contained the seeds of future calamity to the Church. It was inevitable that bishops so chosen and so employed could not rise to their spiritual vocation. Even within their own dioceses they were as much occupied by secular as by pastoral work. Insensibly they became secularized; and the Church ceased to be either a school of theologians or a nursery of missionaries. At such a price were its temporal advantages secured. Nor was the gain to the Crown without its alloy. For the royal supremacy over the Church depended on the monarch keeping a firm hold on episcopal appointment. That prerogative might become nominal; and during a minority it might disappear. The result in either case would be the political independence of the bishops, whose power would then be all the greater through the favors now lavished upon their churches. This was the latent political peril; and beside it lurked an ecclesiastical danger yet more formidable. Henry had mastered the German Church; and, so long as it remained the national institution he had made it, the tie of interest which bound it to the throne would hold. Yet it was but part of a larger ecclesiastical whole, whose acknowledged head was the Pope. The present thralldom of the Papacy to a local despot made its claim to the obedience of distant churches a shadowy prerogative which could be safely disregarded; but with a future recovery of freedom and of moral influence the pretension of the Roman See to apostolic authority over the Western Church would revive; and the German prelates would have to choose between King and Pope. Within sixty years of Henry's death that question presented itself.

In his government of the Church Henry was accustomed to act both on his own sole authority and in co-operation with the bishops in synod. No sharp distinction is apparent between the matters he decided himself and those he referred to the synods; in general, however, breaches of external order the king dealt with alone, while strictly ecclesiastical questions were more often disposed of in synod.

How vigorously Henry meant to assert his right to regulate Church affairs was seen soon after his accession in his revival of the see of Merseburg. That bishopric, established in 968 by Otto the Great as part of his scheme for evangelizing the Wends, had been held by Gisiler for ten years before his elevation to Magdeburg. Such a translation was liable to be impugned as invalid, and the astute prelate therefore induced his patron Otto II and Pope Benedict VII to decree the abolition of Merseburg as superfluous, and to distribute its territory among the neighboring dioceses, including Magdeburg. Under Otto III Gisiler managed by skilful procrastination to maintain his ill-won position. Henry however made peremptory demand upon Gisiler to vacate the archbishopric and return to Merseburg. The prelate's death before he complied, enabled Henry by the appointment of Tagino to Magdeburg, to bring back the old position. Tagino’s first episcopal act was to consecrate Wigbert to the revived Merseburg bishopric, of which the king by his sole act, without reference to synod or to Pope, had thus become the second founder. No less independent was Henry's procedure in settling the ignoble quarrel between two of Germany's noblest prelates over the monastery of Gandersheim. From its foundation by Henry's ancestor Duke Liudolf of Saxony in 842, and after an early subjection to Mayence, this religious house for women had been without question for nearly a century and a half under the spiritual authority of the bishops of Hildesheim. In an unhappy hour Archbishop Willigis claimed jurisdiction over it for Mayence; and the dispute so begun with one bishop was continued later with his successor Bernward, and by him referred for decision to Pope Sylvester II. The papal edict in favor of Hildesheim, when promulgated in Germany, was treated with open disrespect by Willigis. To end the scandal, Henry won the promise of both bishops to abide by his ruling, and then, at a diet in 1006, gave judgment for Hildesheim. The result was loyally accepted by Willigis and his next successor.

This protectorship of the Church led Henry, whom Thietmar calls the Vicar of God on earth, to undertake on its behalf tasks of the most diverse kind. Thus he asserted his right, both to order the due registration of monastic lands, and to require strict observance of German customs in public worship; he took it upon him, not only to enforce ecclesiastical discipline, but to prevent heresy from raising its head. In such matters the synods had a right to speak, although they did so rather as organs of the royal will than as independent church assemblies. For they met upon Henry's summons; he presided over, and took active part in, their discussions; he published their resolutions as edicts of his own. But he called them to account in the tone of a master, and at the very first synod of his reign he rebuked them severely for slackness in their discipline. In pressing for the removal of irregularities Henry certainly showed himself a conscientious ruler of the Church, but gave no proof of a desire to initiate any far-reaching ecclesiastical reform. His views at this time were bounded by the needs of the German Church; and so strictly national were the synods he convoked that they cared but little whether the measures they agreed upon were in consonance with general church law.

With reform, however, in one wide sphere of organized religion Henry had long shown his active sympathy. For already, as Duke of Bavaria, he had used his authority to impose a stricter life upon the monasteries of that land. He had thus helped forward the monastic reformation which, beginning in Lorraine in the early decades of the tenth century, had spread eastwards into Germany, and had won a footing in Bavaria through the energy of the former monk, Wolfgang, Bishop of Ratisbon. In his early years Henry had seen the beneficent change wrought in Bavaria, and exemplified at St Emmeram’s in Ratisbon. After becoming duke, he had forced reform upon the reluctant monks of Altaich and Tegernsee through the agency of Godehard, a passionate ascetic, whom, in defiance of their privilege, he had made abbot of both those houses. In the same spirit and with like purpose Henry treated the royal monasteries after his accession. They became the instruments of his strenuous monastic policy; while he also, as in the case of the bishoprics, insisted on the right of the Crown to appoint their heads, notwithstanding the privilege of free election which many of them possessed. By this time, however, some of the greater monasteries had acquired immense landed wealth, and their abbots held a princely position. The communities they ruled for the most part led an easy existence. Not a few houses, it is true, did admirable work in art and learning, in husbandry, and in care for the poor. Much of the land, specially reserved to the abbot, was granted out in fief to vassals, in order to acquit his military service to the Crown; but these might also be used against the Crown, if the abbot were not loyal.

Henry’s monastic policy was revealed in 1005 by his treatment of the wealthy abbey of Hersfeld. Complaints made to him by the brethren gave him the opportunity for replacing the abbot by the ascetic Godehard of Altaich, who offered the monks a choice between strict observance of the Rule and expulsion. The departure of all but two or three enabled Godehard to dispose of their superfluous luxuries for pious uses, while Henry seized on the corporate lands reserved for the brethren, and added them to the abbot's special estate, which thus became liable to the Crown for greater feudal services. In the end Hersfeld, under Godehard, became again an active religious community. Between 1006 and 1015 Reichenau, Fulda and Corvey were likewise dealt with and with like results. Further, the Crown, by placing several abbeys under one head, was able, out of land hitherto required for the upkeep of abbatial households, to make grants to vassals. In these measures the king was supported by the bishops, some of whom followed his example in monasteries under their control. The result was a general revival of monastic discipline, and a serious curtailment of the resources of the greater abbeys.

The lesser royal monasteries, from whose lands new fiefs could not be granted, needed the king's special protection to keep their independence. Henry had no use for feeble institutions, and subjected seventeen of them to various sees or greater abbeys. If they were not abolished altogether, they were generally transformed into small canonries, while part of their property fell to the bishop.

Henry proclaimed his belief in the episcopal system by the foundation of the see of Bamberg. Near the eastern border of Franconia dwelt a population almost entirely Wendish. Left behind in the general retreat of their kinsfolk before the Franks, these Slavonic tribesmen still kept their own language and customs, and much of their original paganism. Baptized by compulsion, they neglected all Christian observances, while the bishops of Wurzburg, to whose diocese they belonged, paid little heed to them. Close by them was the little town of Bamberg, dear to Henry from his boyhood. It was a favorite home with him and his wife, and he resolved to make it the seat of a bishopric. The scheme required the assent of the Bishops of Wurzburg and Eichstedt. But Megingaud (Meingaud) of Eichstedt flatly refused to agree, and Henry of Wurzburg, though a devoted subject, was an ambitious man, and demanded, in addition to territorial compensation, the elevation of Wurzburg to metropolitan rank. After a synod at Mayence (May 1007), at which Bishop Henry was present, had given its solemn approval, envoys were sent to the Pope to secure ratification. By bull issued in June John XVIII confirmed the erection of the see of Bamberg, which was to be subject only to the authority of the Papacy. Wurzburg, however, was not made an archbishopric, and Bishop Henry thought himself betrayed. At a synod at Frankfort (1 November 1007) there assembled five German archbishops with twenty-two suffragans, five Burgundian prelates including two archbishops, two Italian bishops, and, lastly, the primate of Hungary Willigis of Mayence presided, but Henry of Wurzburg held aloof. The king, prostrating himself before the bishops, set forth his high purpose for the Church, reminding them of the consent already given by the Bishop of Wurzburg. Bishop Henry's chaplain replied that his master could not allow any injury to his church. But the absence of the bishop had displeased many of his colleagues, while the agreement he had made was on record. Thus, finally, the foundation of the see of Bamberg was unanimously confirmed, and the king nominated as its first bishop his kinsman the Chancellor Everard, who received consecration the same day.

Henry’s intention to make God his heir was amply fulfilled; he had already endowed Bamberg with his lands in the Radenzgau and the Volkfeld, and he lavished wealth on the new see. Thus Bamberg was among the best endowed of German bishoprics, and the comital jurisdiction, given by, Henry to some other sees, can hardly have been with held here. Yet Everard was for some time a bishop without a diocese. Only in May 1008 did Henry of Wurzburg transfer to Bamberg almost all the Radenzgau and part of the Volkfeld. From this moment the new see grew. Just four years later, in May 1012, the now finished cathedral was dedicated in the presence of the king and a great assembly, six archbishops and the patriarch of Aquileia, besides many bishops, taking part in the ceremony with Bishop Everard. Less than a year afterwards, the episcopal rights of Bamberg received the papal confirmation; and the last stage was reached in 1015, when, after the death of Megingaud of Eichstedt, the king was able by an exchange of territory with Megingaud’s successor to enlarge the Bamberg diocese to the limit originally planned.

It was to be the fortune of the first bishop of Bamberg to receive a Pope within his own city, and of the second himself to become Pope. Yet even these unusual honors shed no such real glory over the bishopric as did the successful achievement of the purpose for which it was founded. For from Bamberg Christianity spread over a region hitherto sunk in heathenism, and the social arts made way among an uncultured people. A secondary result of its activities, whether intended or not, was the fusion of an alien race with the German population. For a far wider sphere than its actual diocese Bamberg was a wellspring of intellectual energy. Its library grew to be a great storehouse of learning; its schools helped to diffuse knowledge over all Germany. This may have been beyond Henry's aim; yet it was through the Bamberg which he created that the sluggish life of the district around was drawn into the general stream of European civilization.

The action of dynastic and local politics upon the Church was notably shown in the queen's own family. Her eldest brother Henry of Luxemburg had been made Duke of Bavaria: a younger brother Dietrich contrived to gain the see of Metz (1005) against Henry's nominee. On the death (1008) of Liudolf, Archbishop of Troves, a third brother Adalbero, still a youth, was elected successor there. Henry refused his consent and nominated Megingaud; civil war arose and the king's nominee, although approved by the Pope, was kept out of his own city. In Lorraine there were other malcontents to be dealt with, and thence the discontented family of Luxemburg carried the revolt into Bavaria, where Henry had with the consent of the magnates deprived Duke Henry and taken the duchy into his own hands. Dietrich, the Bishop of Metz, supported his brothers, and all Lorraine was plunged into misery. Dietrich of Metz did not return to allegiance until 1012, and even then his brothers Henry and Adalbero kept hold of Treves. Lorraine was in smoldering strife.  


Fresh war with Poland

In East Saxony, in the North Mark, and in Meissen the story was the same. Lawless vassals wrought misdeeds, and attempts at punishment brought on rebellion. And behind Saxony lay Boleslav of Poland always ready to make use of local disloyalty. Against him in August 1010 Henry assembled an army of Saxons and of Bohemians under Jaromir. The sickness of the king and many of his troops made this campaign fruitless, and others were as futile. The Saxons were slow to aid; Henry was often busied elsewhere; and when Jaromir was driven from Bohemia his help was lost. Henry, anxious for peace towards the East, recognized the new Duke Udalrich, and Jaromir remained an exile. Thus Bohemia was an ally and the Lyutitzi had long been such. Peace with Poland was therefore easier. And on Whitsunday 1012 Boleslav did homage to Henry at Merseburg, carried the sword before his lord in the procession, and then received the Lausitz as a fief. Boleslav promised help to Henry in Italy whither the king had long been looking: Henry promised a German contingent to Boleslav against the Russians. Henry had gained peace, but Boleslav had won the land he had fought for.

Within the realm Henry's firmness was forming order: he was able to rule through the dukes. In Saxony a faithful vassal, Bernard I, had died (1011) and was succeeded by his son Bernard II. When in Carinthia Conrad (1004-11), Otto's son, died, Henry passed over his heir and nominated Adalbero of Eppenstein, already Margrave there. The next year, with the boy Herman III, Duke of Swabia, died out a branch of the Conradins, and perhaps with Duke Otto of Lower Lorraine, a branch of the Carolingians. To Swabia Henry appointed Ernest of Babenberg, an old rebel (1004) but brother-in-law of Herman, and to Lower Lorraine Count Godfrey of the Ardennes, sprung from a family marked by loyalty and zeal in monastic reform. The duchy of Bavaria he kept in his own hands, and thus all the duchies were safe under rulers either proved or chosen by himself. Upon Godfrey of Lower Lorraine a special burden lay, for Treves was disaffected and the Archbishop of Cologne was hostile. In the other arch-see of Mayence Willigis died (1011) after thirty-six years of faithful rule. As his successor Henry chose Erkambald, Abbot of Fulda, an old friend in affairs of state and a worthy ecclesiastic. Next year Henry had twice to fill the see of Magdeburg, naming Waltherd and then Gero. Early in 1013, too, died Lievizo (Libentius) of Hamburg, where Henry put aside the elected candidate and forced on the chapter a royal chaplain, Unwan. When (1013) all these appointments had been made, Henry could feel he was master in his own house, and able to turn towards Italy. For a year at least he had felt the call. The years between 1004 and 1014 were in Lombardy a time of confusion. Ardoin had broken out from his castle of Sparone (1005), only to find his authority gone; in the west he had vassals and adherents; some greater nobles, bishops, and scattered citizens wished him well. But he was only the king over the middle and lower classes, and even that only for a small part of the realm.

Yet even so, Henry was only nominally Italian king. Real power rested with the ecclesiastical and secular magnates; and though it might suit prelates and nobles alike to profess to Henry a formal allegiance, few of either order desired his presence among them. To be independent within their own territories was the chief aim of both. The bishops by tradition inclined to the German side. Some few, like Leo of Vercelli, remained steadfast for the German cause from political convictions; while the holders of the metropolitan sees of Milan and Ravenna stood haughtily indifferent to the claims of either king. But if the bishops generally might be counted as in some sort Henry's partisans, this was not true of the great noble families with which they were perennially at strife. Of these, the house of Canossa alone was firmly attached to the German interest; its chief, the Marquess Tedald, and after him his son Boniface, continuing faithful. The rest, the most powerful of whom were those other marquesses who had sprung up in Lombardy half a century before, by accumulating counties and lordships in their own hands, had formed a new order in the State especially inimical to the bishops, although equally ready with them to make outward acknowledgment of Henry. But no class could be less desirous of the reappearance of a sovereign who would be sure to curtail their independence, and, in particular, to check their encroachment on ecclesiastical lands. On the other hand, they had little mind to help Ardoin in regaining an authority which would be exercised over themselves for the benefit of their humbler fellow-subjects. So far as can be discerned, the Aleramids, the progenitors of the house of Montferrat, whose power was concentrated about Savona and Acqui, appear to have played a waiting game; while the Marquesses of Turin, represented by Manfred II, inclined first to the German, and then to the Italian side. Only in the Otbertines, the great Lombard house which held the comital authority in Genoa and Milan, in Tortona, Luni, and Bobbio, whose present head was the Marquess Otbert II, and from which sprang the later dukes of Modena and of Brunswick, can be found some signs of genuine patriotism. But in general, these powerful dynasts, and the lay nobles as a class, had little sense of national duty, and were selfishly content to pursue the old evil policy of having two kings, so that the one might be restrained by fear of the other.

Year after year Ardoin sallied forth from his subalpine fastnesses to attack his enemies and especially the bishops. Leo of Vercelli was forth-with driven out of his city, to become for years an exile. The Bishops of Bergamo and Modena also felt the weight of Ardoin's revenge, and even the Archbishop of Milan, by whom Henry had been crowned, was forced to a temporary recognition of his rival. The Marquess Tedald himself was threatened, while Bishop Peter of Novara only escaped capture by fleeing across the Alps. Yet Ardoin was no nearer being in truth a king. The Apennines he never crossed; the Romagna remained in turmoil. Tuscany obeyed its powerful Marquess.

Henry had never dropped his claim to Italian sovereignty. Royal missi were sent at irregular intervals into Lombardy; Italian bishops took their place in German synods; from Italy came also abbots and canons to seek redress at the German throne for injuries done by their bishops. Thus Henry kept alive his pretension to rule in Italy. But he was bound sooner or later again to attempt the recovery of the Lombard crown.

Yet after all it was Rome that now drew Henry once more into Italy. Before the death of Otto III the Romans had repudiated German domination; and soon after that event they had allowed John Crescentius, son of the Patricius slaughtered in 998, to assume the chief authority over the city and its territory, which he ruled thenceforth for ten years. But his power was finally established by the death in May 1003 of Sylvester II, which removed the last champion of the German cause in Rome, and laid the Papacy as well as the city at the feet of the Patricius: he raised three of his nominees in turn to the papal throne. Nevertheless, Crescentius lived in dread of the German king, and spared no pains, therefore, to conciliate him. John died about the beginning of 1012, and with the death a few months later of Sergius IV, his last nominee, there began a struggle between the Crescentian family and the house of the counts of Tusculum, like themselves connected with the infamous Marozia. In the contention that arose for the Papacy, Gregory, the Crescentian candidate, at first prevailed, but had to yield in the end to Theophylact of Tusculum, who became Pope as Benedict VIII. Driven out of Rome, Gregory fled to Germany, and at Christmas 1012 presented himself in pontifical array before Henry at Pählde. But the king was not likely to help a Crescentian Pope, and he had already obtained from Benedict a bull of confirmation for the privileges of Bamberg. He now met Gregory's request for help by directing him to lay aside the pontifical dress until he himself should come to Rome.

Honor and interest alike urged Henry to seize the occasion for decisive intervention in Italy. If his promises to return were to remain unfulfilled, the German cause in Lombardy would be lost. So, too, would be his hope of winning the imperial crown, which was to him the symbol of an enhanced authority both abroad and at home. As Emperor he would have a further, though indefinite, claim upon the obedience of his subjects on both sides of the Alps, and would regain for Germany her former primacy in Western Europe. Moreover, through a good understanding with the Papacy, if not by entire mastery over it, he would secure finally his hold upon the German Church and so be able to frustrate the intrigues of Duke Boleslav at the Papal court for recognition as king. During the earlier half of 1013 Henry had therefore sought an agreement with Pope Benedict. Through the agency of Bishop Walter of Spires, a compact, the terms of which are unrecorded, was ratified by mutual oath.

Later in 1013 Henry, accompanied by Queen Kunigunda and many bishops, marched to Italy. Boleslav sent not aid but envoys who intrigued against his lord.

The king reached Pavia before Christmas, while Ardoin withdrew to his fortresses, thus yielding up to Henry nearly the whole of Lombardy without a blow. Then he sent to Pavia offering to resign the crown if he were put in possession of some county, apparently his own march of Ivrea. But Henry rejected the proposal and Ardoin was left in helpless isolation. At Pavia, meanwhile, a throng of bishops and abbots, including the two great champions of monastic reform, Odilo of Cluny and Hugh of Farfa, surrounded Henry, while many lay nobles, even the Otbertines, and others friendly to Ardoin, also came to make submission.

In January 1014 Henry passed on to Ravenna. At Ravenna there reappeared, after ten years of obscurity, Bishop Leo of Vercelli. But beside him stood Abbot Hugh of Farfa, the man who had so firmly upheld in Italy the ideals of monasticism, resolved as ever both to combat vigorously the nobles, especially the Crescentian family who had annexed the possessions of his house, and to make his community a pattern of monastic discipline. Like many others, he had acquired his abbacy by unworthy means: partly in expiation of this offence, partly to get Henry's help against his enemies, he had resigned his office, though still deeply concerned for the prosperity of Farfa. His strenuous character, the moral dignity which placed him at the head of the abbots of Italy, and the identity of his aims for monasticism with those of the king, made Hugh an ally too important to be left aside. In Italy the monasteries supported Henry, and there he showed them favor, especially Farfa with its command of the road to the south, without any of the reserve he had shown in Germany.

At Ravenna a synod was convoked, the first business of which was to settle the disputed right to the archbishopric of Ravenna. Adalbert, its actual holder for the last ten years, was generally recognized in the Romagna; but Henry in 1013 had treated the see as vacant, and had nominated thereto his own natural half-brother, Arnold. The intruder, however, failed to establish himself in possession, and now came back to be declared, with the authority of the Pope and the advice of the synod, the rightful archbishop. Thereupon followed the issue in Henry’s name of decrees for the suppression of certain ecclesiastical abuses then prevalent in Italy: the simoniacal conferment of Holy Orders, the ordination of priests and deacons below the canonical age, the taking of money for the consecration of churches, and the acceptance by way of gift or pledge of any articles dedicated to sacred use. Of no less serious import for the Church and for the nation at large was the further decree that all bishops and abbots should make returns of the property alienated from their churches and abbeys, of the time and manner of the alienation, and of the names of the present holders. Such a record was a preliminary to any measure of restitution; but this could not fail to arouse the anger of the territorial lords, against whom chiefly it would be directed.

After Ravenna came Rome. On Sunday, 14 February 1014, he made his entry into the city amid applause. Twelve senators escorted the king and queen to the door of St Peter's, where the Pope and his clergy awaited them.

The two chiefs of Western Christendom, whose fortunes were to be closely linked together for the rest of their joint lives, now met for the first time. Benedict VIII was a man of vigorous, though not exalted, character; belonging to the turbulent Roman nobility, raised to the papal throne while yet a layman and after a faction contest, he was not likely to show any real religious zeal. Though his life was free from scandal, Benedict shone, not as a churchman but as a man of action, whose principal aim was to recover for the Papacy its external dignity and its material power. Already he had repelled the Crescentians from Rome, and taken many of their castles in the Sabina. He had even wrested the duchy of Spoleto out of the hands of John, the elder nephew of the late Patricius. But these enemies, nevertheless, were still formidable, and it was not a mere formality when the Pope demanded of the king, before they entered the basilica, whether he would be a faithful patron and defender of the Roman Church, and be true in all points to himself and his successors. The pledge was heartily given, and then, within the church, Henry offered at the high altar the crown he had worn hitherto as king, and received unction and coronation as Roman Emperor at the hands of Benedict. Queen Kunigunda at the same time was crowned Empress. Soon afterwards the Pope confirmed Henry’s acts and canons passed at Ravenna, Adalbert was deposed, and Arnold recognized as Archbishop of Ravenna.

Henry was on the point of starting for the south to force the Crescentii to disgorge the remnant still held of Farfa’s lands, most of which Benedict had already regained for the monastery, when a sudden tumult broke out in Rome. After two days' riot the Germans were victorious but, nevertheless, Henry did not venture to remain longer in Rome. Only a week had passed since his coronation and already he had to make sure of his retreat. After another fruitless effort, therefore, to bring the case between the Crescentian brothers and the Abbot of Farfa to legal decision, the Emperor, with the concurrence of the Pope and the judges, as his last act invested Hugh with the possessions claimed from the Crescentii. Having charged Benedict to give actual effect to this decision, the Emperor left Rome.

Nearly two months Henry spent in securing his hold upon Tuscany, the fidelity of which province, as commanding the route between Lombardy and Rome, was of prime importance for him. Since the death in 1012 of the Marquess Boniface, an ineffective ruler and a dissolute man, the March had remained vacant; and Henry now gave it to Rainier, a Tuscan, who had lately, through the influence of the Pope, replaced the Crescentian John as Duke of Spoleto. Since the Marquess of Tuscany enjoyed an authority superior to that of any other lay subject of the Italian crown, the union in a single hand of these two provinces, which had not been held together since the time of the Duke-marquess Hugh "the Great," gave special significance to the choice of Rainier. In the new marquess Henry must have expected to find a stout upholder of the imperial cause. The fact that like Henry he was a generous and enlightened patron of monasticism, probably recommended him to the Emperor. The monastic question was acute in Tuscany as elsewhere and families like the Otbertines, who there held wide territories, had incessant quarrels over property with the ecclesiastical foundations. At Easter 1014 Henry was again in Pavia. In Lombardy, although his authority was not openly disputed, and most of the prelates were on his side, and the secular lords paid outward obedience, disaffection permeated all classes. The Archbishop of Milan held aloof, some of the great families still refused submission, and the hatred of the common people was shown by their reluctance to furnish supplies. Renouncing therefore any attempt to crush Ardoin by force, Henry sought to strengthen himself by administrative measures. He renewed an institution of Otto the Great by appointing two permanent missi for the counties of Pavia, Milan, and Seprio. He thus secured for royal officials the exercise of supreme judicial authority where disaffection was rife, and, significantly enough, Henry now gave an Italian city its first measure of municipal freedom. The Aleramids, who were lords of Savona, had not shown themselves especially hostile to Henry, and were even now taking some share in the public administration. Yet just at this time the men of Savona obtained through their bishop a royal charter which curtailed the feudal rights of the marquesses over their city, and relieved its inhabitants of many burdensome imposts. But Henry could not stay in Italy to secure the success of his administrative acts; after a month’s stay in Pavia he passed on to Verona, and thence to Germany.

Henry’s second expedition to Italy, though it fell far short of complete success, ensured the continuance of the Western Empire. It renewed the alliance between the Empire and the Papacy, and it vindicated afresh the pre-eminence of the German monarchy in Western Europe.

But in Lombardy Henry had left his work half done. A hostile population, an alienated nobility, and an uncrushed rival remained as proofs of his failure. And hardly had he recrossed the Alps in June 1014 when a fresh outburst of nationalist fury threatened to overwhelm his adherents. Ardoin at once issued from Ivrea, and attacked Vercelli with such suddenness that the Bishop Leo scarcely avoided capture. The whole of that diocese fell into Ardoin's hands. Thence he went on to besiege Novara, to overrun the diocese of Como, and to bring ruin upon many other hostile places. Though more of a punitive foray than regular warfare, this campaign against the imperialists had yet some of the dignity of a national uprising. For besides the vavassors and small proprietors of his own neighborhood, not a few nobles in all parts of Lombardy took up arms on Ardoin's behalf. The four sons of the aged Marquess Otbert II, Count Hubert ‘the Red’, a man powerful in the West, with several other counts, and even the Bishop of distant Vicenza, were of the number. These men, assuredly, were not inspired by pure patriotism. But their association for a common purpose with other classes of their fellow-countrymen, under their native king, affords some proof that they had also in view the higher purpose of throwing of an alien yoke.

The fury of the nationalists found vent in ruthless devastation of the episcopal territories, and made them for a few weeks masters of Lombardy. But sudden dismay fell upon them through the unexpected capture of all four sons of the Marquess Otbert, the chief pillar of their cause. Though two soon escaped, the others were sent as prisoners to Germany, whither Leo of Vercelli also now went to arouse the Emperor's vengeance against the insurgent Lombards. At his instigation, Henry struck, and struck hard, at his opponents. At a judicial inquiry held in Westphalia during the autumn, the Lombard law of treason was invoked against the captive Otbertines and their associates still in arms. For having waged war upon their sovereign, they were declared liable to forfeiture. Thereupon, a series of confiscatory charters, mostly drafted by Leo himself, was issued. Though the full penalty was not exacted of the chief offenders, the Otbertine family was mulcted of 500 jugera of land, and Count Hubert the Red of 3000, for the benefit of the see of Pavia; the Church of Como was compensated out of the private inheritance of Bishop Jerome of Vicenza; and to that of Novara was awarded a possession of the archbishopric of Milan. Far more heavily, however, fell the Emperor's hand upon the lesser men. "They had above all grievously afflicted the church of Vercelli," and Bishop Leo was only satisfied with their total forfeiture. To his see, accordingly, were transferred at a stroke the lands of some six score proprietors in the neighborhood of Ivrea, nearly all men of middle rank.

The recovery of Vercelli itself about this time was an important success, chiefly because it led to Ardoin’s death. The spirit which had borne him up through so many vicissitudes sank under this blow; and he withdrew to the monastery of Fruttuaria, where he laid aside his crown to assume the cowl of a monk. There, fifteen months later, on 14 December 1015, he died.

So passed away the last monarch to whom the title of King of the Lombards could be fitly applied. Yet for many months after his abdication the insurgents kept the mastery in Western Lombardy. This struggle is revealed in a series of letters addressed by Leo to the Emperor. They show Leo, early in 1016, amid serious difficulties. He is backed, indeed, by some of his fellow bishops, as well as by a few powerful nobles; and he can count now upon Archbishop Arnulf and the men of Milan, who are kept true by the presbyter Aribert. But he can hardly maintain himself in his own city; and he appeals to Henry for a German army. He has against him the brother and the sons of Ardoin, the astute Marquess Manfred of Turin with his brother, Alric, Bishop of Asti, and, most dangerous of all, the mighty Count Hubert. These men are intriguing for the support of King Rodolph of Burgundy, and are even negotiating for reconciliation with the Emperor through their friends Heribert of Cologne and Henry of Wurzburg. Not only, however, did Leo repel their attack on Vercelli, but, by a successful offensive, he recovered the whole territory of his diocese. Yet the siege of the castle of Orba, which was undertaken at the Emperor's command by Leo with other bishops and some lay magnates, including the young Marquess Boniface of Canossa, ended in an accommodation. At the suggestion of Manfred of Turin, who was anxious for peace, the rebel garrison was allowed to withdraw and the castle itself was burnt.

This agreement was the starting point of serious negotiations. On the one side, the Marquess Manfred and his brother sought the Emperor's favor, while Count Hubert sent his son to Germany as a hostage; on the other, Pilgrim, a Bavarian cleric lately made chancellor for Italy, was sent by Henry into Lombardy to bring about a complete pacification. Pilgrim's success was soon seen in the arrival of Italian envoys at Allstedt in January 1017 to offer greetings to the Emperor. On returning to Germany in the autumn of 1017 Pilgrim left Upper Italy at peace, and the release (January 1018) of the surviving captive Otbertine marked the Emperor's reconciliation with the Lombards.

Leo of Vercelli, indeed, was dissatisfied because no penalty was laid on Count Hubert, and although he secured a grant to his church of the lands of thirty unfortunate vavassors, the vindictive prelate was not appeased until, by a sentence of excommunication issued many months later, he had brought the Count and his family to ruin. Leo’s personal victory indicated the political advantage that had been gained by his order over the secular magnates. For the Emperor was bent on forcing the lay nobles into the background by an alliance with the bishops. Hence the great office of Count Palatine, the chief judicial authority of the realm, hitherto always held by a layman, now practically ceased to exist. The granting of palatine rights to bishops, already begun by the Ottos, was continued; similar rights were conferred upon missi; while the presidency of the Palatine Court itself was annexed to the royal chancery, and thus invariably fell to a cleric.

In Italy not only did Leo of Vercelli regain his lost influence, but the bishops generally won a new predominance. Yet this predominance was bound up with control from Germany, whence the Emperor directed affairs in Church and State, thus working against Italian independence. The imperial crown enhanced Henry's position in Europe but it added little to his power in Germany; for seven years after his return from Italy he had to face foreign warfare and domestic strife. Polish affairs claimed him first. Boleslav had not sent his promised help to Italy: he had tried to win over Udalrich of Bohemia. Henry tried diplomacy and on its failure set out on a Polish campaign (July 1015). An elaborate plan of an invasion by three armies did not succeed, and Henry himself had a troubled retreat.


Peace with Poland; Burgundy

During 1016 Henry was busied in Burgundy, and Boleslav was entangled with Russia, where Vladimir the Great was consolidating a principality. In January 1017 Boleslav attempted negotiations, but as he would make no great effort for peace a new expedition was made in August 1017, this time by one strong army and with the hope of Russian help. Sieges and battles did little to decide the issue and Henry again retreated in September 1017. But now Boleslav was inclined for peace, since Russia although it had done but little was a threatening neighbor. The German princes who had suffered heavily were anxious for peace and at Bautzen (30 January 1018) terms were made: a German writer tells us they were the best possible although not seemly; he speaks of no court service or feudal obligations on Boleslav’s part. Moreover he kept the marks he had so long desired. Henry had not gained much military glory but he had the peace which was needed. He kept Bohemia as a vassal; he held firmly the German lands west of the Elbe. For the rest of the reign he had peace with Poland.

On the western frontier Burgundy had steadily grown more disordered since 1006. It was the stepping-stone to Italy and Otto the Great had therefore played the part of a protector and feudal superior to the young King Conrad. This connection had continued and it, as well as disorder, called Henry to Burgundy. The Welf dynasty had lost its former vigour. Conrad ‘the Pacific’ (937-993) was content to appear almost as a vassal of the Emperors. His son, Rodolph III, far from throwing off this yoke became by his weakness more dependent still. Henry for his part had to support Rodolph unless he meant to break with the Saxon tradition of control in Burgundy and to surrender his inherited claim to succession. But in Count Otto-William, ruler of the counties later named Franche-Comte, he found a resolute opponent. It is probable that Otto-William, himself the son of the exiled Lombard King, Adalbert of Ivrea, aimed at the throne, but in any case, like most of the nobles, he feared the accession of a foreign monarch whose first task would be to curb his independence.

By 1016 the ceaseless struggle between Rodolph and his unruly subjects had reached a climax. Rodolph sought for aid from Henry: he came in the early summer to Strasbourg, again acknowledged Henry’s right of succession, and promised to do nothing of importance without his advice. Henry acted at once on his newly won right by nominating to a vacant bishopric.

But the proceedings at Strasbourg were met by Otto-William with defiance, and even the bishop whom Henry had appointed was forced to forsake his diocese. Henry undertook an expedition to reduce Burgundy: it was unsuccessful and was followed by the renunciation of his treaty with Rodolph. The moment, however, that the peace of Bautzen left him safe on his eastern frontier Henry turned to Burgundy again. In February 1018 Rodolph met him at Mayence and again resigned to him the sovereignty which he himself found so heavy. But once again the Burgundian lords refused to acknowledge either Henry's authority in the present or his right to succeed in the future. A fresh expedition failed to enforce his claims, and he never again attempted intervention in person. Possession of Burgundy with its alpine passes would have made the control of Italy easier, but the attempt to secure this advantage had failed.

Thus in four successive years, alternately in Poland and Burgundy, Henry had waged campaigns, all really unsuccessful. His own kingdom meanwhile was torn by domestic strife. Throughout the two Lorraines and Saxony, above all, disorder ruled. In Upper Lorraine the Luxemburg brothers still nursed their feud with the Emperor. But on the death (December 1013) of Megingaud of Treves, Henry appointed to the archbishopric a resolute great noble, Poppo of Babenberg. Before long Adalbero and Henry of Luxemburg both came to terms. At the Easter Diet of 1017 a final reconciliation was made between the Emperor and his brothers-in-law, which was sealed in November of the same year by the reinstatement of Henry of Luxemburg in the duchy of Bavaria. This submission brought tardy peace to Upper Lorraine, but Lower Lorraine proved as difficult a task.

Since his elevation in 1012, Duke Godfrey had been beset by enemies. The worst of these was Count Lambert of Louvain, whose wife was a sister of the late Carolingian Duke Otto, and whose elder brother Count Reginar of Hainault represented the original dukes of undivided Lorraine. Thus Lambert, whose life had been one of sacrilege and violence, had claims on the dukedom. He was defeated and killed by Godfrey at Florennes in September 1015, but another obstinate rebel, Count Gerard of Alsace, a brother-in-law of those stormy petrels of discontent and strife, the Luxembourgers, remained, only to be overthrown in August, 1017. With all these greater rebellions were associated minor but widespread disturbances of the peace, and not until March 1018 was the province entirely pacified, when, in an assembly at Nimeguen, the Emperor received the submission of the Count of Hainault and established concord between Count Gerard and Duke Godfrey.

But the duke was soon to experience a temporary reverse of fortune. In the far north of his province Count Dietrich of Holland, by his mother (the Empress Kunigunda’s sister) half a Luxembourger, had seized the thinly peopled district at the mouth of the Meuse, made the Frisians in it tributary, and, violating the rights of the Bishop of Utrecht, built a castle by the river whence he levied tolls on sea-bound craft. On the bishop's complaint Henry ordered the count to desist and make amends; when he disobeyed, Duke Godfrey and the Bishop (Adalbold) were commissioned to enforce order. But their expedition miscarried; Godfrey was wounded and taken prisoner. Yet the prisoner interceded at court for his captor and peace with friendship was restored.

Saxony was disturbed like Lorraine, but chiefly by private quarrels, especially between lay magnates and bishops. In a diet at Allstedt (January 1017) Henry attempted a pacification. But a rising of the half-heathen Wends brought slaughter on the Christian priests and their congregations, with destruction of the churches. Bernard, Bishop of Oldenburg (on the Baltic), sought but did not get Henry's help, and then Thietmar, brother of the Billung Duke Bernard, revolted. After he had been subdued, his brother the duke himself rebelled, but a siege of his fortress Schalksburg on the Weser ended in a peace. Emperor and duke joined in an expedition against the Wends, reduced the March to order and restored the Christian prince Mistislav over the pagan Obotrites (Obodritzi, or Abotrites). But though civil order was enforced to the north, the Wends remained heathen.

Happily the rest of Germany was more peaceful. In Swabia alone arose difficulty. Ernest, husband of Gisela, elder sister of the young Duke Herman III, had been made duke, but after three years' rule he died in the hunting field (31 May 1015). The Emperor gave the duchy to his eldest son Ernest, and as he was under age his mother Gisela was to be his guardian. But when she soon married Conrad of Franconia the Emperor gave the duchy to Poppo of Treves, the young duke's uncle. Gisela's new husband, Conrad, afterwards Emperor, head of the house which sprang from Conrad the Red and Liutgard, daughter of Otto the Great, had already one grievance against the Emperor. He had seen in 1011 the duchy of Carinthia transferred from his own family to Adalbero of Eppenstein. Now a second grievance made him Henry's enemy. He had fought alongside Gerard of Alsace against Duke Godfrey: two years later he waged war against Duke Adalbero. For this the Emperor banished him, but the sentence was remitted, and Conrad henceforth kept the peace.

Henry's general policy was one of conciliation; as a commander in the field he had never been fortunate, and therefore he preferred moral to physical means. He had learnt this preference from his religion and he well understood how greatly ecclesiastical order could help his realm. In church reform, greatly needed at the time, he took ever more interest as his life went on. One question indeed which came up at the synod of Goslar in 1019 was a foreboding of trouble to come. Many secular priests, serfs by birth, had married free women: it was asked whether their children were free or unfree: the synod at Henry’s suggestion declared both mother and children unfree. This decision tended to throw discredit upon marriages which furthered the secularization of the Church. For married clergy often sought to benefit their own families at the expense of their churches. But on the side of reform Henry was greatly helped by the monastic revival which, largely beginning from Cluny, had spread widely in Lorraine. William, Abbot of St Benignus at Dijon, and Richard, Abbot of St Vanne's near Verdun, were here his helpers. William had been called in by the Bishop of Metz: Richard worked in more than one Lorraine diocese. Outside their own order such monks influenced the secular clergy and even the bishops. Simony and worldliness were more widely reproved; Henry would gladly have seen such a reformation spreading and with some such hope he asked the Pope to visit Germany.

Benedict VIII was, it is true, more a man of action than a reformer. He had faced worse foes than the Crescentii at Farfa, for the Saracens under Mujalid of Denia (in Spain) had (1015) conquered Sardinia and were harrying the Tuscan coasts. He urged on the Pisans and Genoese before their three days' victory at sea (June 1016): a battle which brought the victorious allies into Sardinia. And he had (1016) made use of Lombard rebels and Norman help to try and shake the Byzantine hold upon Southern Italy. But rebels and Normans had suffered defeat and the Byzantines held their own. Benedict might hopefully turn to the Emperor for further help: when on Maundy Thursday (14 April 1020) he reached Henry's favorite Bamberg, he was the first Pope to visit Germany for a century and a half. With him there came Melo, leader of the Apulian rebels, and Rodolph, the Norman leader, who had helped them. Melo was invested with the new title, Duke of Apulia, and held the empty office for the remaining week of his life. Thus Henry entered into the Italian schemes of Benedict. The Pope on his side confirmed at Fulda the foundation of Bamberg, taking it under special papal protection: Henry gave the Pope a privilege nearly identical with that given by Otto the Great to John XII.


Henry’s third expedition to Italy

The second half of the year 1020 was spent in small campaigns, including one against Baldwin in Flanders, where in August the Emperor captured Ghent. The other was against Otto of Hammerstein, whom we shall mention later. When Henry kept Easter in 1021 at Merseburg he could look on a realm comparatively peaceful. His old opponent Heribert of Cologne had died (16 March 1021) and was replaced by Henry’s friend and diplomatist, Pilgrim. Later (17 August) died Erkambald of Mayence, and was succeeded by Aribo, a royal chaplain and a relative of Pilgrim’s. The three great sees were now all held by Bavarians. In July a diet at Nimeguen decided on an expedition to Italy. There the Byzantine forces had occupied part of the principality of Benevento, drawing the Lombard princes to their side, and (June 1021) the Catapan Basil seized the fortress on the Garigliano which the Pope had given to Datto, an Apulian rebel. Thus Rome itself was threatened nearly. In November 1021 Henry left Augsburg for Italy: early in December he reached Verona, where Italian princes joined his Lorrainers, Swabians and Bavarians: among them were the Bavarian Poppo, Patriarch of Aquileia, and the distinguished Aribert, since 1018 Archbishop of Milan. Leo of Vercelli of course was there, and if some lay magnates kept away others made a welcome appearance. Christmas Henry spent at Ravenna and in January moved southwards. Before he reached Benevento Benedict joined him. The army marched in three divisions and the one which Pilgrim of Cologne commanded met with brilliant successes, taking Capua. Henry himself was delayed for three months by the fortress of Troia, built with almost communal privileges by the Catapan in 1018 to guard the Byzantine province and strong enough to surrender on merely nominal terms. But sickness had assailed the Germans and after visiting Rome Henry came in July to Pavia. So far he had made Rome safer and had subjugated the Lombard states. Then in a synod at Pavia (1 August 1022) with Benedict's help he turned to church reform. Clerical marriage, as common in Lombardy as in Germany, was denounced. And the ever growing poverty of the Church was also noted: lands had been alienated and married clerics were trying to endow their families. As at Goslar it was decided that the wives and children of unfree priests were also serfs, and could thus not hold land. These ecclesiastical decrees, meant to be of general force although passed in a scanty synod, the Emperor embodied in an imperial decree. Leo of Vercelli probably drafted alike the papal speech and the imperial decree and he was the first bishop to enforce the canons.

Then in the autumn of 1022 Henry returned to his kingdom. The following Easter he sent Gerard of Cambray and Richard of St Vannes to beg Robert of France to become his partner in church reform. The two kings met (11 August) at Ivois just within Germany. It was agreed to call an assembly at Pavia of both German and Italian bishops: the assembly would thus represent the old Carolingian realm.

But now Germany was not ecclesiastically at peace either within itself or with the Pope. Aribo of Mayence, on the death of his suffragan Bernward, of Hildesheim, had revived the old claim to authority over Gandersheün. But Henry had taken sides with the new Bishop, Godehard of Altaich, although his settlement left irritation behind. Aribo had also a more important quarrel with Pope Benedict arising out of a marriage.

Count Otto of Hammerstein, a great noble of Franconia, had married Irmingard, although they were related within the prohibited degrees. Episcopal censure was disregarded: excommunication by a synod at Nimeguen (March 1018), enforced by the Emperor and the Archbishop of Mayence, only brought Otto to temporary submission. Two years later, after rejoining Irmingard, he attacked in revenge the territory of Mayence. At length his disregard of synod and of Emperor alike forced Henry to uphold the Church's law by the sword. But Otto's irregular marriage a few years later raised even greater difficulties. For the present Henry had shown his ecclesiastical sympathies and his readiness to enforce the Church's decisions even in a field where many rulers disregarded or disliked them. A synod at Mayence in June 1023 separated the pair, whereupon Irmingard appealed to Rome. This appeal was looked upon by Aribo as an invasion of his metropolitan rights, and he persuaded a provincial synod at Seligenstadt to take his view. Here were forbidden all appeals to Rome made without episcopal leave, and also any papal remission of guilt, unless the ordinary penance imposed locally had been first performed. Henry sent the diplomatic Pilgrim of Cologne to explain matters to Benedict, who nevertheless directed a fresh hearing of Irmingard’s case, and also significantly sent no pallium to Aribo. In reply the Archbishop called his suffragans to meet at Hochst 13 May 1024; and it was hoped through the Empress Kunigunda to draw thither bishops of other provinces also: meanwhile all the suffragans of Mayence except two signed a remonstrance to the Pope against the insult to their metropolitan. But Benedict died (11 June 1024) before the matter was settled, being succeeded by his brother Romanus, hitherto called Senator of all the Romans by Benedict's appointment, who passed from layman to Pope as John XIX within a day. The new Pope had no religious and few ecclesiastical interests, and the matter of the marriage went no further.

Soon after Benedict Henry himself passed away. During 1024 he had suffered from both illness and the weakness of advancing years; on 13 July the end came. His body was fittingly laid to rest in his beloved Bamberg, itself an expression of the religious zeal which was shown so strongly and so pathetically in his closing years. Religion and devotion to the Church had always been a leading interest in his active life; as death drew nearer it became an all-absorbing care. The title of Saint which his people gave him fittingly expressed the feeling of his age.