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THE reign of Henry III is the summit of the older German imperialism. The path uphill had been made by the persevering energy of the Saxon kings and Emperors; under Henry’s successors the Empire rushed, though with glory, into ruin. Henry himself, sane, just, and religious, has the approval of reason, but could never have raised the white-hot zeal, and the fiercer hatred, which burned round the Hohenstaufen.

His father and mother were among those rare men and women who wrest from circumstances their utmost profit. Conrad, trained by adversity, attempting nothing vaguely or rashly, almost invariably attained his object, and left the “East-Frankish” Empire stronger within and without than ever before. His education of his son in statecraft was thorough and strenuous: very early he made him a sharer in his power, and then showed neither mistrust nor jealousy, even when faced by markedly independent action. Henry, for his part, though he judged adversely some of his father’s conduct, honored him and kept his memory in affection.

Henry’s mother Gisela (of the blood of Charlemagne, of the royal house of Burgundy, and heiress of Swabia) used fortune as Conrad used adversity. To power and wealth she added great beauty, force of character, and mind. Her influence is seen in the furtherance of learning and of the writing of chronicles. It was to her that Henry owed his love of books, and she made of her son “the most learned of kings”. Gisela’s share in public affairs during her husband’s reign was considerable, even taking into account the important part habitually assigned to the Emperor’s consort. Under Henry III the part of the Empress, Mother or Consort, in the Empire begins to dwindle, and there are indications of misunderstandings later between her and Henry. The chronicler Herman of Reichenau speaks of Gisela dying “disappointed by the sayings of soothsayers, who had foretold that she should survive her son”.

Conspicuous in Henry’s early circle was his Burgundian tutor, Wipo, the biographer of Conrad and the staunch admirer of Gisela. According to Wipo, a king’s first business is to keep the law. Among the influences which were brought to bear upon Henry in his youth, that of Wipo cannot be overlooked.

Henry was a boy of seven when at Kempen, in 1024, Conrad was elected king. In 1026, Conrad, before setting out on his coronation expedition into Italy, named Henry as his successor and gave him in charge to an acute and experienced statesman, Bishop Bruno of Augsburg, brother of the late Emperor and cousin to the Empress Gisela. The energy with which Bruno held views different from those of his brother had, in the last reign, led him into conspiracy and exile. With the same independence in church matters, he, alone in the Mainz province, had taken no part in the collective action of the bishops against Benedict VIII. From such a guardian Henry was bound to receive a real political education. Under his care, Henry attended his father’s coronation in Rome. Three months later, Conrad, in accordance with his policy of the absorption of the old national duchies, gave to Henry the Duchy of Bavaria, vacated by the death of Henry of Luxemburg. Then, on Easter Day, 1028, in the old royal Frankish city of Aix-la-Chapelle, Henry, after unanimous election by the princes and acclamation by clergy and people, was, at the age of eleven, crowned king by Pilgrim of Cologne.

In the inscription ‘Spes imperii on a leaden seal of Henry’s in 1028 Steindorff sees an indication that this election at Aix implied the election to the Empire. He draws attention also to the title ‘King’ used of Henry before his imperial coronation in the Acts emanating from the imperial Chancery in Italy, as well as in those purely German; and to the fact that Henry was never re-crowned as King of Italy. He argues therefore that contemporaries regarded the act of Aix-la-Chapelle as binding the whole of Conrad's dominions, and as a matter of fact this cannot be doubted.

On the death of Bishop Bruno in April 1029, Henry, whose place as its duke was in Bavaria, was placed in charge of a Bavarian, Bishop Egilbert of Freising. Egilbert had in the early years of Henry II's reign taken active part in public affairs, but of late he had devoted himself chiefly to provincial and ecclesiastical duties. Under him Henry played his first part as independent ruler, basing his actions on motives of justice rather than on those of policy. Conrad in 1030 had led an unsuccessful expedition into Hungary; he was planning a new expedition when Henry, “still a child”, taking counsel with the Bavarian princes but not with his father, received the envoys of St Stephen and granted peace, “acting with wisdom and justice”, says Wipo, “towards a king who, though unjustly attacked, was the first to seek reconciliation”.

In 1031 Henry was present with his father in the decisive campaign against the Poles. In 1032 Rodolph of Burgundy died, after a long and feeble rule. Conrad, though he snatched a coronation, had still to fight for his new kingdom against the nationalist and Romance party supporting Odo II (Eudes) of Champagne, and throughout 1032 the imperial diplomas point to Henry’s presence with his father, in company with the Empress and Bishop Egilbert. In the following years, Henry was deputed to act against the Slavs of the North-East and against Bratislav of Bohemia. In these, his first independent campaigns, he succeeded in restoring order. In August 1034, Conrad was fully recognized as king by the Burgundian magnates, and in this recognition the younger king was included. Henry had already in the previous year come fully of age, the guardianship of Bishop Egilbert being brought to an end with grants of land in recognition of his services.

The deposition in 1035 of Duke Adalbero of Carinthia led to a curious scene between father and son. In the South the deposition was regarded as an autocratic act (Herman of Reichenau curtly notes that Adalbero “having lost the imperial favor, was deprived likewise of his duchy”); and Bishop Egilbert won a promise from his late ward that he would not consent to any act of injustice against the duke. The princes accordingly refused to agree to the deposition without Henry’s consent, which Henry withheld in spite of prayers and threats from Conrad. The Emperor was overcome and finally borne unconscious from the hall; on his recovery, he knelt before Henry and begged him to withdraw his refusal. Henry of course yielded, and the brunt of the imperial anger fell on Bishop Egilbert.

In 1036, at Nimeguen, Henry wedded Kunigunda, or Gunnhild, daughter of Knut, a wedding which secured to Denmark, for over eight hundred years, the Kiel district of Schleswig. The bride was delicate and still a child, grateful for sweets as for kindness. In England songs were long sung of her and of the gifts showered on her by the English people. Her bridal festivities were held in June in Charlemagne’s palace at Nimeguen, and on the feast of SS. Peter and Paul (June 29) she was crowned queen. Conrad was soon after called to Italy by the rising of the vavassors against the great lords. Henry was summoned to help, and with him went Kunigunda and Gisela. In August 1038, on the march of the Germans homeward, camp and court were pitched near the shores of the Adriatic. Here a great sickness attacked the host; among the victims was Queen Kunigunda, whose death “on the threshold of life” roused pity throughout the Empire. Her only daughter Beatrice was later made by her father abbess of the royal abbey of Quedlinburg near Goslar.

Another victim of the pestilence was Henry’s half-brother Herman, Gisela’s second son. His duchy of Swabia devolved on Henry, already Duke of Bavaria. To these two duchies and his German kingship was added, in 1038, the kingship of Burgundy. Then in the spring of 1039 Conrad died at Utrecht.

The position of public affairs at Henry’s accession to sole rule was roughly this. There had been added to the Empire a kingdom, Burgundy, for the most part non-German, geographically distinct, yet most useful if the German king was to retain his hold upon Italy. The imperial power in Italy had been made a reality, and an important first step had been taken here towards incorporating the hitherto elusive South, and towards absorbing the newcomers, the Normans. On the north-eastern frontiers of the Empire both March and Mission were suffering from long neglect. Poland had been divided and weakened, and turned from aggression to an equally dangerous anarchy: Bohemia had recently slipped into hostility: Hungary was tranquil, but scarcely friendly. In the North the Danish alliance tended to stability. In the duchies of Germany itself, Lorraine was indeed growing over-powerful, but Bavaria, Swabia and (a few months later) Carinthia were held by the Crown; Saxony was quiescent, though scarcely loyal; in Germany as a whole the people and the mass of fighting landowners looked to the Crown for protection and security. The Church, as under Henry II, was a State-department, and the main support of the throne. Over this realm, Henry, in the summer of 1039, assumed full sway, as German, Italian, and Burgundian king, Duke of Swabia and of Bavaria, and “Imperator in Spe”. The Salian policy of concentrating the tribal duchies in the hands of the sovereign was at its height.

In his father’s funeral train, bearing the coffin in city after city, from church-porch to altar, and finally at Spires, from the altar to the tomb, Henry the Pious inaugurated his reign. A young man in his twenty-second or twenty-third year, head and shoulders taller than his subjects, the temper of his mind is seen in his sending away cold and empty the jugglers and jesters who swarmed to Ingelheim for the wedding festivities of his second bride, Agnes of Poitou, and in his words to Abbot Hugh of Cluny, that only in solitude and far from the business of the world could men really commune with God.

The re-establishment of the German kingship, after the disintegration caused by the attacks of Northmen and Magyars, had been a gradual and difficult process. For the molding of a real unity, not even yet attained, there was need of the king’s repeated presence and direct action in all parts of the realm. What Norman and Plantagenet rulers were to do later in England by means of their royal commissioners, judges and justices, the German king had to do in person.

Following in this the policy of his predecessors, Henry opened his reign with a systematic progress throughout his realm, a visitation accompanied by unceasing administrative activity. He had already, before leaving the Netherlands, received the homage of Gozelo, Duke of both Lorraines; of Gerard, the royalist-minded and most energetic bishop of Cambray; and of a deputation of Burgundian magnates who had been waiting on Conrad in Utrecht when death overcame him. He had passed with the funeral procession through Cologne, Mayence, Worms, and Spires. Immediately after the conclusion of the obsequies he returned to Lower Lorraine, to Aix-la-Chapelle and Maestricht, where he remained some eight or nine days, dealing justice to the many who demanded it. Thence he went to Cologne, the city which competed with Mayence for precedence in Germany; it was already governed by Henry's life-long and most trusted adviser, Archbishop Herman, whose noble birth and strenuous activity contrast strongly with the comparative obscurity and the mildness of Bardo of Mayence.

In the first days of September, accompanied by the Empress Gisela and Archbishop Herman, Henry made his first visit as sole ruler to Saxony, of all the German lands the least readily bound to his throne and destined to play so fatal a part in the downfall of his heir. This weakness in the national bond Henry seems to have tried to remedy by personal ties. The obscure township of Goslar was to be transformed by his favor into a courtly city. Here in the wild district of the Harz was Botfeld, where, now and throughout his life, Henry gave himself up at times to hunting, his only pleasure and relaxation from the toils of state. Near at hand was the Abbey of Quedlinburg, whose then Abbess, the royal Adelaide, he distinguished as his ‘spiritual mother’; while her successors in turn were Henry's own two daughters, his eldest, Beatrice, niece of the Confessor, and his youngest, Adelaide.

Disquieting news reached Henry in Saxony of events in Bohemia, whose Duke Bratislav had, late in August, returned triumphantly to Prague after a whirlwind campaign throughout the length and breadth of Poland, a land recently made vassal to the Empire, the prince of which, Casimir, an exile in Germany, was the nephew of Herman of Cologne. From Saxony Henry passed through Thuringia towards Bohemia, and there consulted with Eckhard of Meissen, guardian of the Marches against Bohemia, a veteran of staunchest loyalty, in whose wise counsels Henry placed unfailing confidence in spite of his unsuccess in war. There can be no doubt that Henry in Thuringia was at the head of an armed force, and that he meant war with Bohemia; but an embassy with hostages from Bratislav, together, doubtless, with the need for completing the visitation of the German duchies, determined him for the time to peace. So he dismissed his forces, and turned south to Bavaria.

From Bavaria, at the beginning of the new year, 1040, he moved to his mother's native duchy of Swabia; while after his departure Peter of Hungary, ally of Bratislav, sent his Magyars raiding over the Bavarian borders. In Swabia, Henry visited, among other places, the famous monastery of Reichenau, the chief and most brilliant centre of learning in Germany, the home of Herman, the noble cripple, whose genius was extolled throughout Germany, and to whose pen we owe a very large, if not the chief part, of our knowledge both of his times and of Henry himself, a knowledge but little tinged with enthusiasm or sympathy for the king. As he passed through Constance, Henry shows for a moment a touch of human sympathy, as he visited, in the Church of Saint Mary, the tomb of his unfortunate eldest brother, Ernest of Swabia.

At Ulm he summoned his first ‘Furstentag’, the assembly of princes, bishops, and abbots from all parts of the realm. Here came among others Gunther, the German hermit of the Böhmer Wald, no less notable than any of the great princes, and soon to render a signal service to his king and countrymen in distress. To Ulm there came also the first formal embassy from Italy to the new ruler.

From Ulm Henry passed to the Rhine. He spent April at his palace at Ingelheim, where he received both a formal embassy from his Burgundian kingdom, and more important still, Archbishop Aribert of Milan, his father’s stubborn opponent in Italy. Henry had never approved of Conrad’s proceedings against him; and the siege of Milan, carried on by Italian princes at Conrad's command, had ceased automatically with Henry’s accession. By receiving the explanations and the homage of the archbishop, Henry healed an open wound in the Empire. Thus auspiciously, with an act of justice and reconciliation, he opened the period of his lordship in Italy; thus too closed his inaugural progress through the realm.

During its course had died Henry’s cousins, Conrad, Duke, and Adalbero, ex-Duke of Carinthia, after whom, as next heir, he succeeded automatically to the duchy. He was now therefore Duke of Swabia, Bavaria, and Carinthia; of the five great duchies, only Lorraine and Saxony remained apart from the Crown.

The progress through the German lands completed, Henry was free to turn to the Bohemian campaign, the necessity of which had been clearly shown by the raids of Bratislav’s Hungarian ally. Two months more Henry spent, apparently peacefully and piously, after his own heart, in both the Lorraines and in Alsace, at the ancient royal palaces of Nimeguen and Utrecht, at Liege, Metz, Nancy and Moyen-Vic; giving grants to churches; showing marked favor to the reforming ascetic monasteries; attending, especially, the consecration of the new Minster at Stablo, under Poppo, the pioneer and leader of monastic reform in Germany. Probably it was from Stablo, a scene of peaceful and pious magnificence, that Henry issued the summons for the army to assemble against Bohemia. In July, 1040, at Goslar he again met Eckhard of Meissen, to formulate the plan of campaign. At Ratisbon he joined his forces and proceeded to Cham at the entrance to the Bohemian pass, by which he meant to attack; and on 13 August he broke camp for Bohemia.

The expedition failed speedily and disastrously; his troops were ambushed, their leaders slain. The mediation of the hermit Gunther, and the promise to restore the Bohemian hostages, including Bratislav’s son, alone rescued hundreds of German captives. Bratislav was left exultant master of the situation.

Henry, silent and as it were dismissing Bohemia from his mind, retraced his steps through Bavaria. On 8 September he filled up the newly-vacant see of Bamberg by appointing Suidger, a Saxon, who was a few years later, as Clement II, the first of the reforming German popes. Going north, he held an open court, dealing justice, at Aldstedt; and received there envoys from Yaroslav, Prince of Kiev. Then at Munster he met the princes, laid before them the Bohemian situation, and dismissed the Bohemian hostage-prince to his own country. This year nature conspired with fortune against Germany. The rain fell, the rivers rose, destructive floods swept the countryside, many lost their lives. To crown all, “grapes were scarce and the wine sour”.

But Henry’s calm attention to other matters by no means meant submission to defeat. At Seligenstadt, in the April of 1041, the princes again met to discuss active measures, and overtures from Bohemia were rejected. Fortune was veering, for Bratislav was now deprived of his Hungarian ally Peter, who lost his throne by a sudden insurrection and only saved his liberty by flight to Germany, where Henry received him kindly, “forgetting for the sake of God the wrong towards himself”. Bohemia, however, he did not forget, but pressed forward his preparations. At Aix, in June 1041, he met the princes and bishops of the West, Gozelo and Godfrey of Lorraine, Herman of Cologne, Poppo of Treves, Nithard of Liege. At Goslar and at Tilleda, the royal seat in Thuringia, he concerted final measures with Eckhard of Meissen; and on 15 August, the anniversary of his previous expedition, he crossed the Bohemian frontier.

By Michaelmas he was back in Germany a victor. A fortnight later Bratislav followed him to Ratisbon, and there did public homage and underwent public humiliation. Probably Peter also appeared there as a suppliant before Henry. Henceforth Peter was Henry’s client and Bratislav Henry’s friend. Great was the joy in Germany at this Bohemian victory. With it we can undoubtedly connect the “Tetralogus” of Henry’s tutor Wipo, a chant of praise and exhortation to the “fame-crowned King”, who “after Christ rules the world”, the lover of justice, the giver of peace. It is in the midst of the turmoils and rejoicings of 1041 that the Augsburg Annals record “by his (Henry’s) aid and diligence very many excelled in the arts, in building, in all manner of learning”.

But in this same year misfortune after misfortune fell upon the land. There were storms and floods. Everywhere the harvest failed and famine reigned. Nor could Henry rest on his oars. The fall and flight of Peter of Hungary had increased, rather than removed, the Hungarian menace, even if it opened new vistas of extended power; while Burgundy, newly in peace, clamoured for attention lest this young peace should die. And although to the great Christmas gathering of princes round Henry at Strasbourg (1041) there came envoys from Obo of Hungary to know “whether might he expect certain enmity or stable peace”, it was to Burgundy that Henry first gave his attention. Since his appearance as Burgundian king in 1031 he had not again visited the country.

He kept Christmas (1041) at Strasbourg amid a brilliant gathering of princes; and when immediately afterwards he entered Burgundy, it was at the head of armed vassals. We are told by Herman of Reichenau that the Burgundian nobles made submission, that many were brought to justice, that Henry entered Burgundy, ruled with vigour and justice, and safeguarded the public peace; finally Wipo tells us that “he ruled Burgundy with magnificence”.

Some notion of the state of the land before Henry’s arrival may be gathered by the history of the archdiocese of Lyons. Here Archbishop Burchard, characterized by Herman of Reichenau as tyrannus et sacrilegus, aecclesiarum depraedator, adulterque incestuosus, and moreover strongly anti-German, had been cast into prison and chains by Conrad in 1036. The city was then seized upon by a Count Gerard, who, desirous it would appear of playing at Lyons the part played by the Patrician at Rome, thrust into the see of Lyons his son, a mere boy. This boy later secretly fled, and since then Lyons had contentedly lacked a bishop.

The filling of the see thus left vacant was one of Henry’s first cares in Burgundy: at the recommendation of the Cluniac Halinard of Dijon, who refused the sacred office for himself, it was given to a pious and learned French secular priest, Odulric (Ulric), Archdeacon of Langres. That the peace and order enforced under Henry were after all but comparative may be judged from the murder of Odulric himself only a few years later. There was much to attract Henry in Burgundy; for side by side with its lawlessness and violence were the strivings for peace and holiness embodied in the Treuga Dei and in the austerity of Cluny and its monasteries. Henry's approbation of Cluniac ideals is evident, and throughout his whole life he shows real ardor, almost a passion in his striving to realize throughout the Empire that peace founded on religion, upon which the Treuga Dei, if in somewhat other fashion, strove to insist locally.

After some six weeks in Burgundy, he must have heard at Basle on his way back of the havoc played among the Bavarians on the frontier, a week earlier, by the new King Obo of Hungary and his raiders. Henry, himself the absentee duke of the unfortunate duchy, at once handed it over (without waiting, as it would seem, for the formality of an election, as right was, by the Bavarians) to Count Henry of Luxemburg, who was akin to the last Duke Henry of Bavaria, and nephew to the Empress Kunigunda, wife of Henry II. Trusting to the vigour of the new duke to protect Bavaria for the time being, Henry next, a few weeks later, summoned all the princes, including of course Eckhard of Meissen, to Cologne, there to decide upon further steps to be taken with regard to Hungary. They unanimously declared for war.

Some four or five months elapsed before the expedition was launched. From Wurzburg, at Whitsuntide, Henry strengthened his hold on his Burgundian realm by dispatching Bishop Bruno to woo for him Agnes of Poitou. A few months he spent in comparative quiet, probably with his mother, in Thuringia and Saxony; then later, in August 104, he entered Bavaria and started, early in September, on the Hungarian expedition.

It was a success. Henry overcame, not Obo himself, who retired to inaccessible fastnesses, but at least the Western Magyars. He set up a new king, not Peter, but an unnamed cousin of his, and then returned fairly well satisfied to Germany. Directly his back was turned, Obo emerged from his fastness, and the reign of Henry’s candidate came to an abrupt end. Yet a lesson against raiding had undoubtedly been given to “the over-daring Kinglet”.

The king spent the Christmas of 1042 at Goslar; whither in January came envoys from the princes of the northern peoples. Bratislav of Bohemia came in person, bearing and receiving gifts. The Russians, though they bore back to their distant lord far more magnificent presents than they could have offered, departed in chagrin, for Henry had rejected their offer of a Russian bride. Casimir of Poland also sent his envoys; they were not received, since he himself did not come in person. Lastly Obo too, who had just ejected his second rival king, sent to propose peace. His messengers received an answer ominously evasive.

Early in the following month, at Goslar, the Empress-Mother died. That there had been some measure of alienation between Henry and Gisela is suggested by Wipo’s exhortation to Henry to “remember the sweetness of a mother’s name”, and by his recording in his Tetralogus the many benefits conferred by Gisela on her son; as well as by Herman of Reichenau’s acid comment. Yet there is no evidence that the alienation was serious. Henry's grants and charters on his mother's petition are numerous. In all probability he spent with her the only long interval of comparative leisure (1042) that he had enjoyed since his accession; she died whilst with him at Goslar.

Soon after the funeral ceremonies were over, Henry had his first meeting with the King of France, Henry I. Its place and object are obscure; but probably it was on the frontier at Ivois, and it may very well have been in connection with Henry’s approaching marriage with Agnes of Poitou.

The king’s mind was now bent on the preparations for yet another Hungarian expedition. Twice Obo sought to evade the conflict. Obo did not, it is true, show much tact, if indeed he really desired peace; for in his second embassy he demanded that Henry should himself swear to any terms agreed upon, instead of merely giving the oath in kingly fashion by proxy; this request was deemed an insult. 

The blow when it came was effective. Henry in the space of four weeks brought Obo to a promise of humble satisfaction, a satisfaction never made effectual, because the promises of Obo were not fulfilled. Far more important and of solid and lasting advantage to Germany, was the restitution by Hungary of that territory on the Danube ceded to St Stephen pro causes amicitiae in 1031.

Since the frontier won by Henry remained until 1919 the frontier between German Austria and Hungary, it is worth while considering it in detail. 

The land ceded, or rather restored, was ex una parte Danubii inter Fiscaha et Litacha, ex altera autem inter Strachtin et ostia Fiscaha usque in Maraha. South of the Danube, that is to say, the Leitha replaced the Fischa as boundary as far south as the Carinthian March. North of the river, the old frontier line seems to have run from opposite the confluence of the Fischa with the Danube to a fortress on the Moravian border, Strachtin or Trachtin. This artificial frontier was now replaced by the river March. Thus among other things was secured permanently for Germany the famous ‘Wiener Wald’.

The realm was now at peace: Burgundy in order, Italy contented (in contrast to the early days of Conrad) with German overlordship, not one of the great princes or duchies of Germany a danger to the realm. The fame or the arms of the king had induced the princes on its borders to seek his friendship and acknowledge his superiority. Nothing remained to mar the public peace save private enmities. To private enemies the king might, without danger to the commonwealth, offer reconciliation. On the ‘Day of Indulgence’ at Constance, in late October 1043, Henry from the pulpit announced to the assembled princes and bishops and to the whole of Germany, that he renounced all idea of vengeance on any who had injured him, and exhorted all his princes, nobles and people in their turn to forget all private offences. The appeal of the king was ordered to be made known throughout the whole land, and this day at Constance became known as the “Day of Indulgence” or “Day of Pardon”.

The object was to abolish violence and private war, and so far the attempt bears a strong resemblance to the contemporary Franco-Burgundian institution, the ‘Truce of God’, with which, however, it cannot be confounded, since although the ends were the same, the means were only superficially alike. Since however the ‘Indulgence’ has sometimes been confused with, sometimes considered as deliberately rivaling, this ‘Treuga Dei’, it is worthwhile to consider some relations and dissimilarities between the two movements.


Peace and Truce of God

The ‘Truce of God’ endeavoured to mitigate and limit violence by an appeal to Christian sentiment rather than to Christian principle. The Christian, under heavy church penalties, was to reverence certain days and times regarded as sacred by abstaining on them from all violence not only in aggression but even under provocation. This ‘Truce’ was created in France, the country where private feuds were most general and fiercest, and where therefore there was greatest need of it. Its birth place was Aquitaine, in the year of Henry's accession; and nowhere was it more eagerly adopted than in Burgundy, where religious zeal burnt whitest and private feuds were most universal and devastating.

Now this ‘Truce of God’ was an addition made to the original proclamation of a Peace of God (c. 980), which forbade private violence against non-combatants, by oath and for a fixed time, as contrary to Christian precept.

Like most medieval legislation, both Peace and Truce were largely failures.

Henry’s Indulgence struck at the root of the evil as they had not. The Indulgence, it is true, was not so sweeping as would have been the Peace of God, because no provision was made for the protection of non-combatants, in case private war did arrive. The Indulgence, being a pardon of actual enemies, could by its nature refer only to the present and the actual without a word as to the future, although Henry no doubt hoped that the one must entail the other.

Another distinction between the Treuga Dei and the Indulgence consists in the ecclesiastical character of the former. The Truce was conceived by the Church, proclaimed by the Church, its breach punished by heavy ecclesiastical penalties. The Indulgence was an example and exhortation from a Christian king to his subjects, compliance being in appearance voluntary, though royal displeasure might threaten him who refused it. But the distinction does not, as some have thought, imply any sort of opposition. Henry approved of the Truce as churchmen approved of the Indulgence. One adversary of the Truce opposed it, indeed, on the ground that by it the Church usurped a royal function. But this was the ultra-royalist Gerard of Cambray, one of the few bishops who did not enjoy Henry’s favor. On the other hand, the chief supporters of the Truce in Burgundy were the bishops, firm imperialists. Only a year before Henry’s visit to Burgundy the Bishops and Archbishops of Arles, Avignon, Nice, Vienne and Besançon, had met Pope Benedict IX at Marseilles and had in all probability obtained his approval for the measure promulgated by the Burgundian synod at Montriond in 1041, extending the time of the Truce to the whole of Lent and Advent. Cluny, whose ideal the king revered as the highest ideal of all monasticism, had, through Abbot Odilo, appealed on behalf of the Treuga Dei to all France and Italy. Within the French part of the Empire, in the diocese of Verdun, Henry’s friend the Abbot Richard of St Vannes was a promoter and zealous supporter of the Truce.

To sum up: Henry knew the working of the Truce: its friends were his friends, its aim was his aim. In the same spirit and with the same object he took a different method, neither identical with, nor antagonistic to, the sister-movement in the neighboring Latin kingdoms, but worked independently, side by side with it, in sympathy and harmony, although their provisions were different. Henry was not given to ardors, enthusiasms and dreams. His endeavors to found a public peace on the free forgiveness of enemies shows a real belief in the practicability of basing public order on religion and self-restraint rather than on force. As little can Henry’s Indulgence be confused with the Landfrieden of a later date, which were in the nature of laws, sanctioned by penalties; not a free forgiveness like Henry’s Pardon.


Empress Agnes of Poitou

This year, 1043, which had witnessed in its opening months the homage of the North, in the summer the defeat of Hungary, in the autumn the proclamation of peace between Germans, saw at its close the consummation of the policy by which Henry sought to link the South more closely with the Empire.

His first marriage had allied him with the northern power, whose friendship from that time on had been, and during Henry’s lifetime continued to be, of great value to the Empire. His second marriage should strengthen his bond with Italy and Burgundy, and, some have thought, prepare his way in France. From Constance the king journeyed to Besancon, and there, amid a brilliant gathering of loyal or subdued Burgundian nobles, wedded Agnes of Poitou.

Agnes, that “cause of tears to Germany”, was a girl of about eighteen, dainty and intelligent, the descendant of Burgundian and Italian kings, daughter to one of the very greatest of the French king’s vassals, and stepdaughter to another. Her life so far had been spent at the court, first of Aquitaine, during the lifetime of her father Duke William the Pious; then of Anjou, after the marriage of her mother Agnes with Geoffrey the Hammer (Martel). The learning and piety of the one home she exchanged for the superstition and violence of the other. For Geoffrey was certainly superstitious, most certainly violent, and constantly engaged in endeavors, generally successful, to increase his territory and his power at the expense of his neighbors, or of his suzerain, the French king. He and William of Normandy were by far the strongest of the French princes contemporary with Henry, so much the strongest, that a great German historian has seen in the alliance by marriage of Henry with the House of Anjou a possible preparation for the undermining of the French throne and the addition of France to the Empire.

The marriage was held in strong disapproval by some of the stricter churchmen on account of the relationship between Henry and Agnes, which, although distant, fell within the degrees of kinship which, by church law, barred marriage (Agnes and Henry were great-grandchildren respectively of two step-sisters, Alberada and Matilda, granddaughters of Henry the Fowler. They were descended also respectively from Otto the Great and his sister Gerberga). Abbot Siegfried of the reformed monastery at Gorze wrote very shortly before to his friend Abbot Poppo of Stablo, who possessed the confidence and respect of Henry, urging him even at the eleventh hour, and at risk of a possible loss of the king’s favor, to do all that he possibly could to prevent it. Neither Poppo, nor Bishop Bruno of Toul (later Pope Leo IX), to whom Siegfried addresses still more severe reproaches, nor Henry himself, paid much heed to these representations. The marriage plans went on without let or hindrance; twenty-eight bishops were present at the ceremony at Besançon.

Not only the consanguinity of Agnes with the king, but also her nationality, aroused misgivings in the mind of this German monk. He cannot suppress his anxiety lest the old-time German sobriety shown in dress, arms, and horse-trappings should now disappear. Even now, says he, the honest customs of German forefathers are despised by men who imitate those whom they know to be enemies.  We do not know how Agnes viewed the alleged follies and fripperies of her nation, thus inveighed against by this somewhat acid German saint. She was pious, sharing to the full and encouraging her husband’s devotion to Cluny; she favored learned men; her character does not however emerge clearly until after Henry’s death. Then, in circumstances certainly of great difficulty, she was to show some unwisdom, failing either to govern the realm or to educate her son.  After the coronation at Mayence and the wedding festivities at Ingelheim, Henry brought Agnes to spend Christmas in the ancient palace at Utrecht, where he now proclaimed for the North the Indulgence already proclaimed in the South. So with a peace “unheard of for many ages” a new year opened. But in the West a tiny cloud was rising, which would overshadow the rest of the king’s reign. For, in April 1044, old Duke Gozelo of Lorraine died.

Gozelo had eventually been staunch and faithful, and had done good service to Henry’s house; but his duchy was over-great and the danger that might arise from this fact had been made manifest by his hesitation in accepting, certainly the election of Conrad, and also, possibly, the undisputed succession of his son. The union of the two duchies of Upper and Lower Lorraine had been wrung by him from the necessities of the kings; Henry now determined to take this occasion again to separate them. Of Gozelo’s five sons the eldest, Godfrey, had already during his father's lifetime been duke in Upper Lorraine, and had deserved well of the Empire. He now expected to succeed his father in the Lower Duchy. But Henry bestowed Lower Lorraine on the younger Gozelo, ‘The Coward’, alleging a dying wish of the old duke’s that his younger son might obtain part of the duchy. Godfrey thenceforth was a rebel (sometimes secretly, more often openly), imprisoned, set at liberty, deprived of his duchy, re-installed, humbled to submission, but again revolting, always at heart a justified rebel. If, in spite of its seeming successes, Henry’s reign must be pronounced a failure, to no one is the failure more due than to Godfrey of Lorraine.

The beginning of the Lorraine trouble coincided with the recrudescence of that with Hungary. Obo, perhaps prevented by nationalist opposition, had not carried out his promises of satisfaction; there was also growing up in Hungary a party strongly opposed to him and favoring Germanization and German intervention. Preparations for another campaign had been going on strenuously in Germany; by the summer of 1044 they were complete. After a hasty visit to Nimeguen, whither he had summoned Godfrey, and a fruitless attempt to reconcile the two brothers, Henry with Peter in his train set out for Hungary.

With Hungarian refugees to guide him, he was, by 6 July, on the further bank of the Raab. There the small German army confronted a vast Hungarian host, among whom, however, disaffection was at work. In a battle where few Germans fell, this host was scattered; and Hungary was subordinated to Germany. By twos and threes, or by crowds, came Hungarian peasants and nobles, offering faith and subjection. At Stühlweissenburg Peter was restored to his throne, a client-king; and Henry, leaving a German garrison in the country, returned home. On the battlefield the king had led a thanksgiving to Heaven, and his German warriors, at his inspiration, had freely and exultingly forgiven their enemies; on his return, in the churches of Bavaria, Henry, barefoot and in humble garment, again and again returned thanks for a victory which seemed nothing short of a miracle.

It was now that Henry gave to the Hungarians, at the petition of the victorious party amongst them, the gift of ‘Bavarian Law’, a Germanization all to the good. But Hungary was not being Germanized merely and alone by these subtle influences, by the inclination of its kings and the German party towards things German, nor by the adoption in Hungary of an ancient code of German law. After the battle of the Raab, Hungary was definitely and formally in the position of vassal to Germany; not only its king, but its nobles too, swore fealty to Henry and his heirs; Peter formally accepted the crown as a grant for his lifetime; and Hungary was thenceforth to pay a regular yearly tribute. Obo had been captured in flight and beheaded by his rival. The victory over Hungary seemed even more complete than the victory over Bohemia; the difference in the duration of their effects was partly due to a fundamental difference in the character of the two vassal princes. While Bratislav, a strong man, held Bohemia firmly, and, giving his fealty to Henry, gave with it the fealty of Bohemia; Peter, subservient and cringing to his benefactor, let Hungary slip through his fingers. Within two years he was a blinded captive in his twice-lost kingdom; and Hungary, freed from him, was freed too from vassalage.

This summer saw the gathering of the western clouds. Godfrey of Lorraine had himself taken part in Henry’s former Hungarian campaign, but deeply disappointed by the outcome of the meeting at Nimeguen, had held himself aloof in stubborn disobedience from this last expedition. He now sent envoys to Henry, who declared himself ready to forget the duke's contumacy should he at the eleventh hour consent peaceably to the division of the duchies. But Godfrey would submit to no ‘wrong’, and having failed to move Henry, he began actively and secretly to engage in treason. And here at once becomes evident the peculiar danger to Germany of disaffection in Lorraine. For Lorraine was, in truth, not German as the other German lands were German; and the first ally made by Godfrey was rex Carlingorum, Henry I of France. His other allies, the Burgundian nationalists of the “Romance” party, were, like himself, of the oft disputed ‘Middle Kingdom’. In his own duchy he prepared for resistance by gaining from his vassals an oath of unlimited fealty for the space of three years to aid him against all men whatsoever.

As yet there had been no overt act of rebellion; but Henry had been given proof of Godfrey’s plots, and in the autumn summoned him before a great assembly of the princes in Lower Lorraine itself, at Aix-la-Chapelle. Godfrey could have defied the king and disobeyed the summons; but to do so would have been to acknowledge his guilt. He must have hoped that there was no evidence against him, or that the princes would sympathize with him in his wrongs. He came, was convicted, and condemned to the loss of all the lands, including the duchy of Upper Lorraine and the county of Verdun, which he held in fief from the king. Godfrey now left Aix, and broke into fierce and open rebellion. Arms were distributed to the cities and country people, cities were garrisoned; and the duke fell with fire and sword upon all within reach who were faithful to Henry.

So ended the year that had seen Hungary subdued. Henry, however, did not yet foresee the stubborn nature of the danger that threatened from Lorraine. He spent Christmas 1044 at Spires, “a place beloved by him”. It is true that he summoned the princes to consultation over Godfrey’s revolt. Yet, after the feast was over, it was only the forces of the neighborhood that he led against the ‘tyrant’ that threatened them. Even these forces he could not maintain, because of the terrible famine in the land. He succeeded, after a short siege and with the help of siege-engines, in taking and razing Godfrey's castle at Bockelheim, near Kreuznach. The seizure of other castles was entrusted to local nobles, while Henry himself, leaving sufficient men to protect his people against Godfrey’s raids, departed to Burgundy.

Here Godfrey’s efforts had borne fruit in feuds which had broken out in the preceding year between Imperialist and Nationalist partisans. They ended in victory for the former, for Count Louis of Montbeliard (who had married Henry's foster-sister) with a small force overcame Godfrey’s ally Prince Raynald, who was uncle of Henry’s queen and son of Count Otto-William, the former head of the anti-German party. When Henry now approached Burgundy, Raynald along with the chief of his partisans, Count Gerald of Geneva, personally made submission to him. Thus died out the last flicker during Henry’s life of Burgundian opposition to union with the Empire.

Henry took Burgundy on his way to Augsburg, where he arrived in February 1045, and whither he had summoned the Lombard magnates to discuss with them the affairs of Italy. He kept Easter at Goslar. Here, not wishing to set out for the East without taking steps to protect the West from Godfrey, he handed over to Otto, Count Palatine in Lower Lorraine, his mother's native duchy of Swabia, which he himself had held since 1038. Otto’s mother had been the sister of Otto III. His family was widespread and illustrious. His aunt Abbess Adelaide of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim, and his brother Archbishop Herman of Cologne (who won for that see the right to crown the king of the Romans at Aix) were among Henry’s truest friends. His sister, Richessa, had been daughter-in-law of Boleslav the Mighty; his nephew, her son, was Casimir, Duke of the Poles. Another nephew, Henry, succeeded Otto in the Palatinate, and within a year was regarded by some as a fit successor to the Empire. Yet another nephew was Kuno, whom the king first raised to the Bavarian dukedom and afterwards disgraced. The youngest sister, Sophia, about this time succeeded her aunt as Abbess of the important Abbey of Gandersheim; a niece, Theophano, was Abbess of Essen.

Otto himself had been one of the chief of those in the disputed duchy whose loyalty to Henry had drawn upon themselves the vengeance of Godfrey at the beginning of the year. His appointment now to the duchy of Swabia, so long left without a special guardian, and neighbor to Lorraine, recalls the appointment, when trouble threatened from the Magyars, of a duke to Bavaria, neighbor to Hungary. He ruled his new duchy, to which he was a stranger, with success and satisfaction to its people; not, however, for long, for within two years he was dead.

One more step Henry took for the protection of the West from Godfrey. For such (viewed in the double light of Henry's general policy of strengthening the local defence against Godfrey rather than leading the forces of the Empire against him, and of Godfrey’s policy of winning the neighbors of Lorraine to his cause) must be considered the grant in this year of the March of Antwerp to Baldwin, son of Count Baldwin V of Flanders. The grant of Antwerp, however, instead of attaching Baldwin to the king's party, increased the power of a future ally of Godfrey’s.

Having thus spent the early months of 1045, from Christmas onwards, in local measures against Godfrey and his allies, Henry after a short visit to Saxony prepared to spend Pentecost with Peter of Hungary. On his way he narrowly escaped death through the collapse of the floor of a banqueting room, when his cousin Bishop Bruno of Wurzburg was killed. Henry, notwithstanding this calamity, arrived punctually in Hungary, and on Whitsunday in Stühlweissenburg, in the banqueting-hall of the palace, Peter surrendered the golden lance which was the symbol of the sovereignty of Hungary. The kingdom was restored to him for his lifetime, on his taking an oath of fidelity to Henry and to his heirs. This was confirmed by an oath of fidelity in the very same terms taken by the Hungarian nobles present. After the termination of the banquet, Peter presented to Henry a great weight of gold, which the king immediately distributed to those knights who had shared with him in the great victory of the preceding year.

How far was this scene spontaneous, and how far prepared? The oath taken by the Hungarian nobles, without a dissentient, points to its being prepared; and if prepared, then most certainly not without the co-operation, most probably on the initiative, of Henry. This is what Wipo has in mind when he says that Henry, having first conquered Hungary in a great and noble victory, later, with exceeding wisdom, confirmed it to himself and his successors. But Henry’s victory, on which so much was grounded, was a success snatched by a brilliant chance; it could furnish no stable foundations for foreign sovereignty over a free nation.

More than ever Henry appeared as an all-conquering king; and in the West even Godfrey “despairing of rebellion” determined to submit. During July, either at Cologne or at Aix-la-Chapelle or at Maastricht, he appeared humbly before the king, and in spite of his submission was sent in captivity to Gibichenstein, the German ‘Tower’, a castle-fortress in the dreary land by Magdeburg beyond the Saale, very different from his own homeland of Lorraine. And so the realm for a short time had quiet and peace.

Godfrey was perhaps taken to his prison in the train of Henry himself. For while he had been schooling himself to the idea of peace, the further Slavs, growing restive, had troubled the borders of these Saxon marches on the Middle Elbe. Godfrey’s submission perhaps decided theirs; and when Henry with an armed force entered Saxony from Lorraine, they too sent envoys, and promised the tribute which Conrad had imposed on them.

Henry spent the peaceful late summer and early autumn of 1045 in Saxony. For October he had summoned the princes of the Empire to a colloquy at Tribur. The princes had begun to assemble, and Henry himself had reached Frankfort, when he fell ill of one of those mysterious and frequent illnesses which in the end proved fatal. As his weakness increased, the anxiety of the princes concerning the succession to the Empire became manifest. Henry of Bavaria and Otto of Swabia, with bishops and other nobles, met together and agreed, in the event of the king's death, to elect as his successor Otto’s nephew Henry, who had followed Otto in the Lorraine palatinate, and was likewise a nephew of the king's confidant, Archbishop Herman, and a grandson of Otto II. The king recovered. Happily for the schemers, he was not a Tudor; but the occurrence must have deepened his regret when the child just at this time born to him proved to be another daughter. This eldest daughter of Henry and Agnes, Matilda, died in her fifteenth year as the bride of Rudolf of Swabia, the antagonist of her brother Henry IV.



Attempt at settlement in the West

The year 1046 opened again, as so many before and after it, with misery to the country people. In Saxony there was widespread disease and death. Among others died the stout old Margrave Eckhard, who, “wealthiest of margraves”, made his kinsman the king his heir.

The king, after attending Eckhard’s funeral, turned to the Netherlands, where Duke Godfrey’s incapable younger brother, Gozelo Duke of Lower Lorraine, was dead; here too Count Dietrich (Theodoric) of Holland was unlawfully laying hold on the land round Flushing, belonging to the vacant duchy.

At Utrecht, where he celebrated Easter, Henry prepared one of his favorite river campaigns against Dietrich. Its success was complete, both the lands and the count falling into Henry’s hands. Flushing was given in fief to the Bishop of Utrecht, and Henry, keeping Pentecost at Aix-la-Chapelle, determined to settle once for all the affairs of Lorraine.

The means he used would appear to have been three: the conciliation of Godfrey, the strengthening of the bishops, and the grant of Lower Lorraine to a family powerful enough to hold it. At Aix Godfrey, released from Gibichenstein, threw himself at Henry’s feet, was pitied, and restored to his dukedom of Upper Lorraine. This transformation from landless captive to duke might have conciliated some; but Henry did not know his man. Duke Godfrey's hereditary county of Verdun was not restored, but granted to Richard, Bishop of the city. Lower Lorraine was given to one of the hostile house of Luxemburg, Frederick, brother of Duke Henry of Bavaria, whose uncle Dietrich had long held the Lorraine bishopric of Metz.

At the same assembly there took place an event of importance for the North and in the history of Henry’s own house, viz. the investiture of Adalbert, Provost of Halberstadt, with the Archbishopric of Bremen, the northern metropolis, which held ecclesiastical jurisdiction, not only in the coast district of German Saxony, but in all the Scandinavian lands and over the Slavs of the Baltic.

Adalbert of Bremen had all virtues and all gifts, save that he was of doubtful humility, humble only to the servants of God, to the poor and to pilgrims, but by no means so to princes nor to bishops; accusing one bishop of luxury, another of avarice. Even as a young man he had been haughty and overbearing in countenance and speech. His father, Count Frederick, was of a stock of ancient nobility in Saxony and Franconia. His mother Agnes, of the rising house of Weimar, had been brought up at Quedlinburg, and valued learning. Adalbert quickly rivaled, or more than rivaled, Archbishop Herman of Cologne in the councils and confidence of the king. He made many an expedition “with Caesar” into Hungary, Italy, Slavonia, and Flanders. He might at Sutri have had from Henry the gift of the Papacy, but that he saw greater possibilities in his northern see. His close connection with the king caused him to be regarded with suspicion, indeed as a royal spy, by the great semi-loyal Duke of the North, the Saxon Bernard II. It was Adalbert who moved the bishop's seat from Bremen to Hamburg, “fertile mother of nations”, to recompense her long sorrows, exposed to the assaults of Pagan Slays.

But Henry was not only looking northwards. To this same congress he summoned to judgment one of the three great Italian prelates, Widger of Ravenna. He had, before his nomination by Henry to the see, been a canon of Cologne, and although unconsecrated, “had for two years inefficiently and cruelly wielded the episcopal staff”. Wazo, the stalwart Bishop of Liege, famous as an early canonist, was one of the episcopal judges chosen, but without pronouncing on Widger’s guilt, he significantly denied the right of Germans to try an Italian bishop, and protested against the royal usurpation of papal jurisdiction. This trial is the first sign either of clash between royal and ecclesiastical claims, or of Henry’s preoccupation with Italy, where, while these things were doing, church corruption and reform were waging a louder and louder conflict. To Italy Henry was now to pass. Before doing so he once more visited Saxony and the North. At Quedlinburg he invested his little eight-year-old daughter Beatrice in place of the dead Abbess Adelaide, and at Merseburg he held court in June, receiving the visits and gifts of the princes of the North and East, Bratislav of Bohemia, Casimir of Poland and Zemuzil of the Pomeranians.

By the festival of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, 8 September 1046, he was at Augsburg, whither he had summoned bishops, lords, and knights to follow him to Italy. The news of the sudden downfall of Peter of Hungary grieved, but did not deter, him. Crossing the Brenner Pass, he reviewed his army before the city of Verona.

When Henry came to Italy (1046), he came to a realm where among the cities of Romagna and the hills of Tuscany a new age was coming into life. He had not visited Italy since he had accompanied his father in 1038, and now the state of things was greatly changed, while his own policy was different from his father's. Conrad had been at strife with Aribert, the great Archbishop of Milan, but Henry before he left Germany made at Ingelheim (1039), as the Milanese historian tells us, “a pact of peace with the Archbishop, and was henceforth faithfully held in honor by him”. But in 1045, when peace between the populace and nobles of Milan was hardly restored, Aribert died. Henry rejected the candidate put forward by the nobles and chose Guido supported by the democracy. Politics were intertwined with Church affairs, and Henry’s dealings with the Papacy were the beginning of that church reform, which gave Rome a line of reforming German Popes and led to the Pontificate of Gregory VII. The story of that progress will come before us later, and this side of the history is therefore here left out. But it was the evil state of Rome, where the Tusculan Benedict IX, the Crescentian Sylvester III, and the reforming but simoniacal Gregory VI, had all lately contested the papal throne and the situation was entangled, that chiefly called Henry into Italy. By the end of October he was at Pavia, where he held a synod and dispensed justice to the laymen. At Sutri (20 December 1046) he held a second synod, in which the papal situation was dealt with and the papal throne itself left vacant. Two days later he entered Rome, where a third synod was held. No Roman priest was fit, we are told, to be made a Pope, and after Adalbert of Bremen refused Henry chose on Christmas Eve the Saxon Suidger of Bamberg, who after “was elected by clergy and people”, and became Clement II.

On Christmas Day the new Pope was consecrated, and at once gave the Imperial crown to Henry; Agnes was also crowned Empress at the same time. Then too the Roman people made him ‘Patrician’: the symbol of the Patriciate, a plain gold circlet, he often wore, and the office, of undoubted but disputed importance, gave the Emperor peculiar power in Rome and the right to control every papal election, if not to nominate the Pope himself. The new Patrician was henceforth officially responsible for order in the city; so it was fitting that, a week after his coronation, he was at Frascati, the headquarters of the Counts of Tusculum, and that, before leaving for the South, he seized the fortresses of the Crescentii in the Campagna. At Christmas-tide Clement II held his first synod at Rome, and it was significant of the new era in church affairs that simoniacs were excommunicated, and those knowingly ordained by simoniacs, although without themselves paying a price, sentenced to a penance of forty days; a leniency favored by Peter Damiani as against those who would have had them deprived. After this the Empress went northwards to Ravenna, while the Emperor along with the Pope set out for the South.

At Capua he was received by Guaimar, recognized by Conrad as Prince of Salerno and also of Capua, from which city Paldolf (Pandulf) IV had been driven out. But Henry restored Paldolf, “a wily and wicked prince” formerly expelled for his insolence and evil deeds. Conrad had also recognized Guaimar as overlord of the Norman Counts of Aversa and of the Norman de Hautevilles in Calabria and Apulia. Now Ranulf of Aversa and Drogo de Hauteville of Apulia, as they went plundering and conquering from the Greeks, were recognized as holding directly from Henry himself. So at Benevento the gates were shut in the Emperor’s face and he had to stay outside. Thence he went to join the Empress at Ravenna: early in May he reached Verona and then left Italy. There was trouble in the South, but otherwise he left Italy “in peace and obedience”. In the middle of May he was again home in Germany, which during his eight months’ absence had also been in quiet.

With Henry’s return he steps upon a downward path: the greatness of his reign is over; troubles are incessant and sporadic; successes scanty and small. During his absence Henry I of France, with the approval of his great men and perhaps at the instigation of Godfrey of Lorraine, made a move towards claiming and seizing the duchies of Lorraine. When the unwonted calm was thus threatened, Wazo of Liege wrote to the French king appealing to the ancient friendship between the realms and urging the blame he would incur if, almost like a thief, he came against unguarded lands. Henry I called his bishops to Rheims, reproached them for letting a stranger advise him better than his native pastors, and turned to a more fitting warfare along with William of Normandy against the frequent rebel Geoffrey of Anjou. But in his duchy of Upper Lorraine the pardoned Godfrey was nursing his wrongs: his son, a hostage with Henry, was now dead, and he also heard that his name had not been in the list of those with whom Henry at St Peter’s in Rome had declared himself reconciled. Godfrey found allies in the Netherlands, Baldwin of Flanders, his son the Margrave of Antwerp, Dietrich, Count of Holland, and Herman, Count of Mons, all united by kinship and each smarting under some private wrong. Dietrich wished to recover from the Bishop of Utrecht the land round Flushing; Godfrey to recover the county of Verdun from its bishop. It was almost a war of lay nobles against the bishops so useful to Henry in the kingdom. At the moment Henry was busied in negotiations with Hungary and in giving a new duke to Carinthia: this was Welf, son of the Swabian Count Welf, and as his mother was sister to Henry of Bavaria, related to the house of Luxemburg. Now too Henry filled up a group of bishoprics. A Swabian, Humphrey, formerly Chancellor for Italy, went as Archbishop to Ravenna; Guido, a relative of the Empress’s, to Piacenza; a royal chaplain, Dietrich (Theodoric), provost of Basle, to Verdun; Herman, provost of Spires, to Strasbourg; another chaplain, Dietrich (Theodoric), Chancellor of Germany, provost of Aix-la-Chapelle, to Constance, where he had been a canon. Mainz and Treves, two sees important for Lorraine, were vacant: to the one Henry appointed Adalbero, nephew of the late bishop, to the other Henry, a royal chaplain and a Swabian.

Henry, now at Mainz (July 1047), was thus busy with ecclesiastical matters and the Hungarian negotiations, when he was forced to notice the machinations of Godfrey. Adalbert of Bremen had become suspicious of the Billung Duke Bernard, doubly related to both Godfrey and Baldwin of Flanders. Much was at stake; so Henry quickly made terms with Andrew of Hungary, summoned the army intended for use against him to meet in September on the Lower Rhine, and then went northwards to visit Adalbert. Bernard had always dreaded Adalbert and now, when the Emperor both visited him and enriched him with lands in Frisia, formerly Godfrey’s, his dread turned against Henry too. Thietmar, Bernard’s brother, was even accused by one of his own vassals, Arnold, of a design to seize the Emperor, and killed in single combat; the feud had begun. Henry's power was threatened, and the succession was causing him further anxiety, so much so that his close friend Herman of Cologne publicly prayed at Xanten, whither Henry had come, for the birth of an heir (September 1047).

The Emperor had begun the campaign by a move towards Flushing, but a disastrous attack from Hollanders, at home in the marshes, threw his army into confusion, and then the rebels took the field. Their blows were mostly aimed at the bishops, but one most tragic deed of damage was the destruction of Charlemagne’s palace at Nimeguen: Verdun they sacked and burnt, even the churches perished. Wazo of Liège stood forth to protect the poor and the churches; Godfrey, excommunicated and repentant, did public penance and magnificently restored the wrecked cathedral. In his own city, too, Wazo stood a siege; with the cross in his unarmed hand he led his citizens against the enemy, who soon made terms.

On the return from the Flushing expedition Henry of Bavaria died: after a vacancy of eighteen months his duchy was given to Kuno, nephew of Herman of Cologne. Early in October 1047 Pope Clement II died. Then in January 1048 Poppo, Abbot of Stablo, passed away, the chief of monastic reformers in Germany, who had given other reforming abbots to countless monasteries, including the famous houses of St Gall and Hersfeld.

Against Godfrey Henry held himself, as formerly against Bohemia, strangely inactive. To Upper Lorraine, Godfrey’s “twice-forfeited duchy”, he nominated “a certain Adalbert”, and left him to fight his own battles. Christmas 1047 Henry spent at Pöhlde, where he received envoys from Rome seeking a new Pope; after consultation with his bishops and nobles he ‘subrogated’ the German Poppo of Brixen, and to this choice the Romans agreed. Wazo of Liege, great canonist and stoutest of bishops, had been asked for advice and had urged the restoration of Gregory VI, now an exile in Germany, and, as he held, wrongly deposed. This was one of Wazo’s last acts, for on 8 July he died. And the new Pope also died on 9 August 1048. At Ulm in January Henry held a Swabian diet and nominated to the duchy, which had been left vacant for four months, Otto of Schweinfurt, Margrave in the Nordgau, a Babenberg by birth and possibly nephew to Henry’s own mother Gisela.

Lorraine remained to be dealt with. In mid-October the two Henries, of France and Germany, met near Mainz: France might easily have succored Godfrey who, spreading “slaughter of men and devastation of fields, the greatest imaginable”, had slain his new rival Adalbert. But ecclesiastical matters also pressed at Christmas the formal embassy from Rome came to speak of the vacant papal throne. They asked for Halinard, Archbishop of Lyons and formerly at Dijon. This prelate, a strict reformer, had refused Lyons in 1041, and asked again to take it later he refused unless he need swear no fealty to Henry. Most German bishops disliked this innovation, but Henry, on the advice of Bruno of Toul, Dietrich of Mainz and Wazo of Liege, consented. While archbishop, Halinard had been much in Rome, where he was greatly beloved. But he hesitated long to take new and greater responsibilities, and in the end Bruno of Toul became Pope, and as Leo IX began a new epoch in the Western Church.

To Upper Lorraine Henry had given a new duke, Gerard of Chatenois, who, himself of Lorraine, was brother or uncle of the slain Duke Adalbert and related to Henry and also to the Luxemburgers, while his wife was a Carolingian: he was also founder of a dynasty which ruled Lorraine until 1755. The Bishops of Liege, Utrecht and Mainz, together with some lay nobles, had been preparing the way for a larger expedition. In the cold winter of 1048-1049, favored by the lengthy frost, they defeated and slew Count Dietrich, whose brother Florence followed him in Holland. Then came a greater stroke and in this, too, bishops helped, for Adalbert of Bremen was Henry’s right hand. He had already dexterously won over the Billungs; but an even greater triumph was the treaty he had brought about with Svein of Norway and Denmark, who had succeeded Magnus in 1047. Svein was in sympathy with the Empire because of his missionary zeal, and now he brought to its aid his sea-power as his fleet appeared off the Netherland coast. England too, which was friendly since Kunigunda’s marriage to Henry and had also seen Flanders under Baldwin become a refuge for its malcontents, kept more distant guard; Edward the Confessor “lay at Sandwich with a multitude of ships until that Caesar had of Baldwin all that he would”. Thus Baldwin was unable to “aet-burste on waetere”. Another kind of aid was given when Leo IX excommunicated Godfrey and Baldwin at Cologne, where Pope and Emperor kept the feast of St Peter and St Paul (29 June). Godfrey was smitten with fear and, leaving Baldwin in the lurch, surrendered. His life was left him, but liberty and lands he forfeited, “for he merited no mercy because of his cruel deeds”. He had claimed two duchies and governed one: he was now for the second time a landless captive. Then, when Henry systematically ravaged Baldwin's lands, he too gave in, came to terms and gave hostages for his faith. So the desolating war was over and there was again, for a short time, peace within the Empire.

Thus the Emperor was free to watch with friendly eye the reforming work of the German Pope as he held a synod at Rheims (3 October 1049). Here appeared not only French bishops in goodly numbers but also English because of the friendliness of Edward with Henry; as the synod was to be ‘Gallic’ there also came to it the prelates of Treves, Mainz, Verdun, Besançon and Lyons. A fortnight later Leo held a German synod at Mainz, attended by a throng of bishops and abbots from all parts of the kingdom. This inner peace Henry secured by outward guard: he urged the Bavarian princes and nobles to watch the Danube; he brought Casimir of Poland to a sworn friendship. Thus he could better face the threatening Hungarian war. Grievous sickness had again attacked him when the birth of an heir gave him a new and dynastic interest in the future.


Birth of Henry IV

The young Henry was born on 11 November 1050, at Goslar, the scene of so many events in his life. “In the autumn of this year”, says the annalist of Altaich, “the Empress bore a son”, and Herman of Reichenau adds “at last”. Even before his baptism all the bishops and princes near at hand promised him faith and obedience. At Easter the infant prince was baptized at Cologne and Hugh of Cluny, who was again to be his sponsor at Canossa, was specially summoned to be his sponsor now. In this year Henry completed his work at Goslar, which “from a little mill and hunting-box he made into so great a city”. Besides the great new palace he built a church, and set up there canons regular to carry on its work. Two bishops, Benno of Osnabruck and Azelin of Hildesheim, were placed over the work of the new foundation, and soon for ardor in learning and strictness in discipline Goslar had no equal in the province.

After the royal baptism Henry with greater hope for his realm had started on the Hungarian campaign. But the king, Andrew, partly withstood and partly eluded him: the German army could only burn and ravage whole districts until hunger forced their return. Soon after, Adalbert of Austria made a compact with Andrew and peace ensued.

Lower Lorraine still called for Henry’s care. Count Lambert of Louvain first gave trouble, and then Richeldis, heiress of Hainault and widow of Herman of Mons, by a marriage with Baldwin’s son, the Margrave Baldwin of Antwerp, roused Henry’s fear and local strife. Needed on the Hungarian frontier, Henry took a risky but generous step: he restored to Godfrey of Lorraine a former fief of his in the diocese of Cologne and set him to guard the peace against Baldwin. From this summer of 1051 until his marriage with Beatrice of Tuscany in 1054 Godfrey was outwardly an obedient vassal.

The earlier part of 1052 was marked mainly by ecclesiastical cares and appointments, and then by another Hungarian expedition. The siege of Pressburg was begun, when Andrew induced Leo IX to act the mediator, for which purpose the Pope came to Ratisbon. Andrew had promised the Pope to give all satisfaction and tribute, but when Henry had raised the siege he withdrew the promise. Leo, in just anger, excommunicated him, but Henry could not renew the campaign, which was his last against Hungary. He had other matters, and notably the Norman danger in Italy, to talk over with the Pope. From January 1052 to February 1053 Leo was in Germany: Henry sent off an army to help him in his Italian wars and then quickly recalled it. Leo had to set out with a motley band of his own raising, some sent by their lords, some criminals, some adventurers, and most of them Swabians like himself.

Events were moving towards the deposition of Kuno of Bavaria: since Christmas 1052 he and Gebhard, Bishop of Ratisbon, had been at daggers drawn. The enemies, thus breaking the peace, were summoned to Merseburg at Easter 1053; there Kuno for his violence against Gebhard and “dealing unjust judgments among the people” was deposed by the sentence of “some of the princes”. He took his punishment badly, and on returning to the South he, like Godfrey, began to “stir up cruel strife”, sparing neither imperialists nor his own late duchy. Bavaria was visited, too, by a famine so sore that peasants fled the country and whole villages were left deserted, and “in those days both great men and lesser men of the realm, murmuring more and more against the Emperor, were saying each to the other that, from the path of justice, peace, divine fear and virtue of all kind, on which in the beginning he had set out and in which from day to day he should have progressed, he had gradually turned aside to avarice and a certain carelessness; and had grown to be less than himself”.

But if the diet at Merseburg saw Kuno turned to an enemy it also saw Svein of Denmark made a friend. In the North, Adalbert’s parvula Bremen had become almost instar Romae. Adalbert’s chance lay in the haphazard fashion of the conversion of the Scandinavian nations to Christianity. Before the days of Knut, Bremen had been the missionary centre for the North, although it had not wrought its work as carefully as did the English missionaries under Knut. As Denmark grew more coherently Christian, Bremen began to lose control, and its loss of ecclesiastical prestige meant a loss of political influence to Germany: whether the Danish bishops were consecrated at Rome or even at Bremen they were autonomous. The older alliance between Conrad II and Knut had brought tranquility to the North in the earlier part of Henry's reign, and in 1049 Svein had sent his fleet to help Henry in the Flemish war. But between 1049 and 1052 the alliance was strained by Adalbert’s assertion of his ecclesiastical authority. In 1049 Adalbert had obtained a bull from Leo IX recognizing the authority of Bremen over the Scandinavian lands and the Baltic Slays up to the Peene. Anxious for peace, at first Svein had acquiesced, but when Adalbert reprimanded him for his moral laxity and his marriage with his kinswoman Gunnhild, he threatened war. Yet prudence or maybe religious scruples won the day. Gunnhild was sent home to Sweden and king and bishop made friends (1052). Thus Svein was ready to renew the ancient friendship as useful to Henry against Baldwin as it was to Svein against Harold Hardrada.

In 1052, a papal brief of Leo IX gave Adalbert wider and more definite power to the farthest North and West: Iceland, Greenland, the Orkneys, the Finns, Swedes, Danes and Norwegians, the Baltic Slavs from the Egdor to the Peene, all were definitely put under the ecclesiastical headship of Bremen, as were, indeed, inclusively, all the nations of the North. The Slavs under Godescalc “looked to Hamburg (Bremen) as to a mother”: Denmark was submissive: Sweden, at first reluctant, was brought round by a change of kings in 1056: Norway fell in later. It is true that Svein, made proposals, approved by Leo IX, for a Danish archbishopric, which would issue in a national Danish church. Adalbert failed to carry out his large scheme of a Northern Patriarchate for Hamburg-Bremen, for which, had he been able to count twelve suffragans, he could have pleaded the sanction of the Pseudo-Isidore. Yet even so he was himself papal legate in the North, and the greatness of Hamburg-Bremen under him is a feature of German history under Henry III.

Early in 1053 at Tribur an assembly of princes elected the young Henry king and promised him obedience on his father's death, but conditionally, however, on his making a just ruler. Thither too came envoys from Hungary, peace with which was doubly welcome because of trouble raised by the ex-Duke Kuno in Bavaria and Carinthia. King Andrew, indeed, would have become a tributary vassal pledged to military service everywhere save in Italy, had not Kuno dissuaded him. Rebellions in Bavaria and Carinthia, intensified by Hungarian help, kept Henry busy for some months. But the duchy of Bavaria was formally given to the young king under the vigorous guardianship of Gebhard, Bishop of Eichstedt. In Carinthia some quiet was gained by the appointment of Adalbero of Eppenstein (son of the former Duke Adalbero deposed by Conrad II, and cousin to the Emperor) to the bishopric of Bamberg, vacant through Hartwich’s death. Early in 1054 Henry went northwards to Merseburg for Easter and then to Quedlinburg; Casimir of Poland was threatening trouble, but was pacified by the gift of Silesia, now taken from Bratislav, always a faithful ally.

From Italy had come the news of the Norman victory over Leo IX at Civitate (18 June 1053) which left the Pope an honored captive in Norman hands; then, when he was eagerly looking for help from the Emperors of both East and West, he died, having reached Rome. Henry, influenced by Gebhard of Eichstedt, had been slow to help the great Pope. But he was to make one more expedition to Italy, not because of Norman successes but because of a new move by his inveterate enemy, Godfrey of Lorraine. The exiled duke had married Beatrice, like himself from Upper Lorraine, foster sister of Henry, and widow of the late Marquess Boniface of Tuscany, whose lands she held. On the side of Flanders the two Baldwins were in rebellion and attacking episcopal territories, and so, after having the young Henry crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle (July 17), the Emperor went to Maastricht. John of Arras had long coveted the castle of Cambray, but was kept out by the bishops, first Gerard and then Liutpert. When Liutpert had gone to Rheims for consecration, John seized the city, ejected the canons, and made himself at home in the bishop’s palace. On his return Liutpert found himself shut out not only from his bed but from his city. But Baldwin of Flanders led him home in triumph, and the angry John of Arras turned to the Emperor for help. He offered to lead Henry to Flanders itself, if the Emperor would induce Liutpert, a prelate of his own appointment, to recognize him as holder of the castle of Cambrai. This was the reason why Henry now took the offensive against Baldwin. He invaded Flanders, systematically ravaging it bit by bit; he got as far as Lille, and there the city forced him to halt; siege and hunger made the citizens capitulate and so the Emperor could go home “with glory” as we are told, but with little solid gain. John of Arras, despite Henry’s appeal to the bishop, did not gain his longed-for castle. To the South-East there were still Hungarian raids in Carinthia, arid in Bavaria Kuno was still ravaging. But the men of Austria (under their old Margrave Adalbert of Babenberg until his death in May 1055) successfully withstood him. Earlier in the year died Bratislav, who had, according to one account, regained Silesia from Casimir of Poland.

Christmas was spent by Henry at Goslar; a little later at Ratisbon in another diet, Gebhard of Eichstedt consented to become Pope, although earlier, when an embassy from Rome had asked for a Pontiff, he had refused. His words “to Caesar” were significant. “Lo, my whole self, body and soul, I devote to St Peter; and though I know myself unworthy the holiness of such a seat, yet I obey your command: but, on this condition, that you also render to St Peter those things which rightfully are his”. At the same diet Henry invested Spitignev, son of Bratislav, formerly a hostage at his court, with Bohemia, and received his homage. Then he passed to Italy and by Easter was at Mantua.

In North Italy the Emperor tried to introduce order by holding many royal courts, including one at Roncaglia (afterwards so famous), and by sending special missi to places needing them. His enemy Godfrey had fled before a rising of the “plebs”, and had naturally gone to join Baldwin of Flanders. Late in May Henry was at Florence, where, along with Pope Victor II, he held a synod. Here too he met Beatrice and her daughter the Countess Matilda. For her marriage to a public enemy she was led captive to Germany, and with her went Matilda. Boniface, her son and heir to Tuscany, “feared to come to Henry” and a few days later died. On his way homewards at Zurich, Henry betrothed his son Henry IV to Bertha, daughter of Otto of Savoy and of Adelaide, Countess of Turin, and widow of Herman of Swabia, brother to the Emperor.

In Germany Henry had to suppress a conspiracy in which Gebhard of Ratisbon, Kuno, Welf and others were probably concerned: according to other accounts it was their knights and not the princes themselves who conspired. But Kuno died of plague, and Welf after deserting his comrades also died. In Flanders Baldwin, now joined by Godfrey, was besieging Antwerp, but was defeated. Death was now removing friends as well as foes, and the loss of Herman of Cologne (February 1055) was a real blow to the Emperor. His successor was Anno, a man not of noble birth, a pupil at Bamberg and Provost at Goslar. At Ivois (May 1056) the Emperor met for the third time his namesake of France, and the matter of Lorraine made the meeting a stormy one, so much so that Henry of France challenged Henry of Germany to single combat. On this the Emperor withdrew in the dead of night. But in Germany itself the disaffected were returning to obedience; not only those who had conspired but Godfrey himself made submission. On the North-East the Lyutitzi were again in arms, and even as Henry was turning northwards against them a great defeat on the Havel and Elbe had made the matter serious, the more so as the Margrave William had been slain. To disaster was added famine, and when all this had to be faced Henry was smitten with illness. Hastily he tried to ensure peace for his son: he compensated all whom he had wronged: he set free Beatrice and Matilda: all those at his court confirmed his son’s succession and the boy was commended to the special protection of the Pope, who was at the death-bed. Then 5 October 1056 Henry died: “with him”, said men afterwards, “died order and justice”. His heart was taken to its real and fitting home in Goslar, while his body rested beside Conrad's at Spires.

The East and North-East throughout Henry’s reign had called forth his full energy, and their story is in very large part the story of two men—the Slav Duke Godescalc and the Bohemian Duke Bratislav. The Bohemian duke was the illegitimate son of Duke Udalrich. When still quite young, “most beautiful of youths and boldest of heroes”, he had shown energy in his reconquest of Moravia from the Poles, and romance in his carrying off the Countess Judith, sister of the Franconian Margrave Otto the White of Schweinfurt, of royal blood. Bratislav, fresh from his Moravian conquests, had fallen in love with the reported beauty of Judith “fairer than all other maidens beneath the sun”, whose good father and excellent mother had confided her to the convent at Zuinprod (Schweinfurt), “to learn the Psalter”. Bratislav, desiring her as bride, preferred action to asking; for “he reflected on the innate arrogance of the Teutons, and on the swollen pride with which they ever despise the Slav people and the Slav tongue”. So he carried her off by night, on horseback; and, lest the Germans should wreak vengeance on Bohemia, took her to Moravia.  

Bratislav could be as unswervingly faithful as he was audacious and vigorous. His friendship or enmity meant everything to Henry in Bohemia, much elsewhere. Yet, since he was naturally a man of strong ambitions, it was not friendship that he offered.  He had begun his career as the ally of Conrad (against the Poles); and had held Moravia under the joint overlordship of his father and the Emperor. But on his succession to Bohemia in 1037, his horizon was bright with promise. Poland had fallen from aggressive strength into disunion and civil war; the German rulers were absent in Italy. Bratislav saw his opportunity to take vengeance on Poland for old wrongs, and to ensure Bohemia's permanent freedom from the Empire.

In unhappy Poland, Mesco, son of Boleslav the Mighty, had died in 1034, leaving a boy, Casimir, under the guardianship of his German mother, Richessa. While Mesco lived divisions had been fomented and Poland at last partitioned by the Emperor Conrad. Now, first the duchess, and later on her son, when a man, were forced to fly before the violence of the Polish nobles—the duke (says the Polish Chronicle), lest he should avenge his mother’s injuries. Casimir wandered through Russia and Hungary, and finally reached Richessa in Germany. Meanwhile Poland was given over to chaos. “Those were lords who should be slaves” says the same chronicle, “and those slaves who should be lords”. Women were raped, bishops and priests stoned to death. Upon the distracted country fell all its neighbors, including “those three most ferocious of peoples, the Lithuanians, Pomeranians and Prussians”. Bratislav seized his chance. Sending the war-signal round Bohemia, he fell “like a sudden storm” upon Poland “widowed of her prince”. In the South, he took and burnt Cracow, rifling her of her ancient and precious treasures. Up to the North he raged, razing towns and villages, carrying off Poles by hundreds into slavery. He finally ended his career of conquest and slaughter by solemnly transferring, from their Polish shrine at Gnesen to Prague, the bones of the martyred apostle, Adalbert.


Bohemian wars

While these things were happening Henry became Emperor. In the very year of his accession he prepared an expedition against Bohemia, which did not mature. Herman of Reichenau tells of envoys who came to Henry, in the midst of his preparations for war, bringing with them Bratislav’s son as a hostage; and of a promise made by Bratislav that he himself would soon come to pay homage. This might well, for the time, seem sufficient.

It was in the year 1040 that the first important expedition was launched against Bohemia. Bratislav’s intentions were by this time quite clear; for he had, in the interval, not only demanded from Rome the erection of Prague into an archbishopric, a step which meant the severing of the ecclesiastical dependence of Bohemia upon Germany, but had also formed an alliance with Peter, the new King of Hungary, who had signalized the event by winter raids over the German frontiers.

The wrongs of Poland and of Casimir, and the danger to Germany; were reasons amply justifying Henry's interventions. Preliminary negotiations probably consisted in Henry’s ultimatum demanding reparation to Poland, and the payment of the regular tribute to Germany. On Bratislav’s refusal, the expedition was launched, but failed (August, 1040).

Henry, humiliated for the moment, was not defeated. He “kept his grief deep in his heart”, and the Bohemian overtures were rejected, as we have seen. Even before this refusal, the Bohemians and their ally, Peter of Hungary, were already raiding the frontier.

In 1041 the German forces, which were “very great”, advanced more cautiously, and Henry, breaking his way into the country in the rear of its defending armies, found the country-side living as in the midst of peace. It was in August. For six weeks the German forces lived at ease, the rich land supplying them plentifully with corn and cattle. Then, burning and destroying all that was left, and devastating far and wide, “with the exception of two provinces which they left to their humbled foes”, the armies towards the end of September moved to the trysting-place above Prague. Meanwhile Austrian knights, under the leadership of the young Babenberger prince, Leopold, made a successful inroad from the South.

Bratislav, unable to protect his land, made ineffectual overtures. Then he was deserted by his own people. The Archbishop of Prague, Severus, had been appointed by Udalrich in reward for his skill in catering for the ducal table. This traitor now led a general desertion. The Bohemians promised Henry to deliver their duke bound into his hands. Bratislav perforce made an unqualified surrender. He renounced the royal title, so offensive to German ears; he promised full restitution to Poland; he gave his duchy into Henry’s hands. In pledge of his faith he sent as hostages his own son Spitignev and the sons of five great Bohemian nobles. These, if Bratislav failed, Henry might put “to any death he pleased”. Henry at last accepted his submission.

Bratislav himself built a way back to Bavaria for the booty-laden invaders; and a fortnight later he himself appeared at Ratisbon, and there before the king and assembled princes and many of his own chieftains, “barefooted, more humiliated now than formerly he had been exalted”, offered homage to Henry. His duchy was restored to him, with half the tribute remitted; he was moreover confirmed in the possession of Silesia, seized from the Poles, and then actually in his hands. His own splendid war-horse which Bratislav offered to Henry, with its saddle “completely and marvelously wrought in gold and silver”, was given, in the duke’s presence, to Leopold of Austria, the hero of the expedition.

Once having sworn fealty, Bratislav maintained it loyally until the close of his life; and his advice on military matters was of great service to Henry. The re-grant of Breslau and the Silesian towns to Poland in 1054 was, however, a great strain even on his loyalty; and in spite of Henry's award, he recovered the lost cities for a time from Casimir, by force of arms, in the following year. Thence he would have proceeded to Hungary, but on his way he died. His successor, Spitignev, although his succession was ratified by Henry, plunged into a riot of animosity against everything German, expelling from Bohemian soil every man and woman of the hated nation, rich, poor and pilgrim.

Duke Casimir of Poland played throughout a less prominent part than his vigorous neighbor. Affairs at home kept him fully occupied; while his close early connection with Germany, and the memory of the partition of Poland by Conrad, would further deter him from any thought of imitating his father Mesco, who, like Boleslav, had claimed the title of King.  Of his part in events between 1039 and 1041 we know little. With 500 horse, he went to Poland, where he was “gladly received”; he slowly recovered his land from foreigners; and finally (1047) overcame the last and greatest of the independent Polish chiefs, Meczlav of Masovia. He had secured the greater part of his inheritance; it remained to recover Silesia, seized by Bratislav in 1039 and confirmed to the Bohemian duke by Henry.

It is in 1050 that serious trouble first threatened. In this year, Casimir was definitely accused of “usurping” land granted by Henry to Bratislav; as well as of other, unrecorded, misdemeanors against the Empire. Henry actually prepared an expedition against him, and war was averted only by the illness of the Emperor and the alacrity and conciliatory spirit shown by Casimir. Coming to Goslar of his own free will, he exculpated himself on oath of the charge of aggression against Bohemia, and consented to make the reparation demanded for the acts of which he was duly judged guilty by the princes. Thence he returned home with royal gifts.

Strife however continued between Casimir and Bratislav; and at Whitsuntide 1054 both dukes were summoned before Henry at Quedlinburg. It is plain that in the meantime Casimir had made good his hold on Breslau; for the town and district are now confirmed to him by Henry, under condition (according to the Bohemian Chronicler) of annual tribute to Bohemia. The dukes departed “reconciled”. In the following January Bratislav died, having apparently again temporarily seized Silesia. Peace was eventually ratified between Poland and Bohemia by the marriage of Casimir’s only daughter to Bratislav’s successor.

In spite of the wanderings of his youth, and the long years spent in conflict, Casimir was a scholar (he is said to have addressed his troops in Latin verse!) and a friend of monks among whom he had been trained. That he was himself a monk at Cluny is a later legend. His last years were spent in the peaceful consolidation through Church and State of what he had so hardly won. He died soon after Henry, in 1058.

The affairs of Hungary in the years 1040-1045 group themselves around King Peter, driven from his realm by the Magyar nobles and restored, but in vain, by Henry. His aid to Bratislav in the first years of Henry’s reign had been prompted more by youthful insolence than by any fixed anti-German feeling. He was a Venetian on his father’s side and on succeeding his uncle St Stephen in 1039, had promised him to maintain his widow Gisela, sister of Henry II, in her possessions, but after a year or so he broke his faith and she fell into poverty. This marks the time when, along with Bratislav, he began his raids into Germany.

Two such raids, in 1039 and 1040, had been successful, when a rebellion drove him from his realm into Germany. The new government was anti-German and inclined towards paganism, while the new king, Obo, was chosen from among the Magyar chiefs. Peter came, as we have seen, to Henry as a suppliant in August 1041. But Burgundian troubles forced Henry to put Hungary aside and Obo himself began hostilities. “Never before did Hungary carry off so great a booty” from the duchy of Bavaria as now, although a gallant resistance was offered by the Margrave Adalbert of Babenberg, founder of the Austrian house, and his warlike son Leopold. At Easter 1042 Obo was crowned as king.

The puppet-king set up by Henry in his first counter-expedition (1042) was at once expelled, but in 1043, as we saw, Henry obtained solid gain; the land from the Austrian territory to the Leitha and March was by far the most lasting result of all his Hungarian campaigns. The boundary thus fixed remained, but the Hungarian crown could not be brought into any real dependence. A third expedition (1044) restored Peter as a vassal, but by autumn 1046 he had fallen, to disappear in prison amid the depths of Hungary. His cousin Andrew, an Arpad, took his throne. He dexterously used the renascent Paganism, although it was covered over with a veneer of Christianity, and he did not wish for permanent warfare with his greater neighbor. Apologetic envoys gave Henry an excuse for delay and for two years Hungary was left alone. Then the peace was disturbed by Henry’s restless uncle, Gebhard of Ratisbon, who (1049) made a raid into Hungary.

In 1050, following raid and counter-raid, Henry “grieving that Hungary, which formerly, by the plain judgment of God, had owned his sway, was now by most wicked men snatched from him”, called the Bavarian princes together at Nuremberg, which ancient city now for the first time appears in history. The defence of the frontiers was urged upon them, and next year the Emperor himself invaded Hungary with an army gathered from all his duchies and tributary peoples. Disregarding Andrew's offer, he entered Hungary by the Danube, but when he had to leave his boats he was entangled in the marshes and fighting had small result. The Altaich annalist dismisses the campaign as “difficult and very troublesome”.

Shortly afterwards, however, Andrew seems to have made some sort of agreement, but in 1052 Henry had again to make an expedition, though “of no glory and no utility to the realm”. Pressburg was besieged for two months before it fell. Then once more came an agreement, made this time by the Pope’s mediation. It was only of short duration: Kuno, the exiled Duke of Bavaria, was in arms against Henry and urged Andrew to war. Carinthia was invaded (1054) and the Hungarians returned rejoicing with much booty. The Bavarians themselves forced Kuno into quietness: Henry was busy in Flanders. Thus, inconclusively, ends the story of his relations with Hungary: German supremacy, in fact, could not be maintained.

The darkness in which the great king died was a shadow cast from the fierce and pagan lands beyond the Elbe and the Oder.  The Slavs of the North-East were a welter of fierce peoples, whose hands were of old against all Christians, Dane, German or Pole. Here and there a precarious Christianity had made some slight inroad; but, in general, attempts at subjugation had bred a savage hatred for the name of Christian. The task of Christian civilization, formerly belonging to the German kings, was now taken up by Pole and Dane as rivals, in a day of able rulers and of nations welded together by their new faith. Boleslav the Mighty of Poland, an enthusiastic apostle of Christianity, had subdued the Pomeranians and Prussians. After his death his nephew, Knut of Denmark, made his power felt along the Baltic as far as, and including, Pomerania. This extension of his sway was rendered easier by the alliance with Conrad in 1025 and resulted in ten years’ peace. But 1035, the year of Knut’s death, saw a general disturbance and one of the most savage of recorded Slav incursions.

Among the many Wendish tribes it is necessary to distinguish between the Slavs on the Baltic beyond the Lower Elbe, Obotrites and others, and the inland Slavs beyond the Middle Elbe, the Lyutitzi. The former were more accessible to both Germans and Danes, and as they lived under princes were partly Christianized and partly though uneasily subject to Germany. But the Lyutitzi, wild and free communities living under elected rulers, were a more savage people. They might be useful as allies against the Poles, whom they hated more than they did the Germans under the tolerant Conrad, but there could be for them nothing approaching even semi-subjection. With them in the years preceding Henry’s accession direct conflict had arisen through the avarice of the Saxons, upon whom Conrad had thrown the responsibility of defense. Repeated raids followed and Henry’s first trial in arms was against them. Then a campaign in 1036, followed by great cruelty on Conrad's part enforced quiet, which lasted until the end of Henry’s reign.

The other Slavs, those of the Baltic, had dealings with the Dukes of Saxony and the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen, rather than with the Emperor. Archbishop Albrand (1035-1045) built in Hamburg a strong church and palace as a refuge from Slav raids; Duke Bernard II followed his example with another stronghold in the same city; duke and bishop attended to their respective duties, one of exacting tribute and the other of evangelization. But there was frequent restlessness and grumbling at tribute demanded by the Duke and episcopal dues demanded by the Bishop of Oldenburg which, until 1160 when the see of Lübeck was founded, was the episcopal centre for the Obotrites; also, when Adalbert (1045) succeeded Albrand, duke and archbishop fell into strife. Bernard looked upon Adalbert as a spy in Henry’s service; Adalbert strove to free his see from ducal encroachments. He finished the stone fortifications of Bremen as a protection against Bernard rather than against the Slavs: he added to those of Hamburg, and as further defense built a fortress on the banks of the Elbe, which its garrison made into a robber hold until the outraged inhabitants destroyed it.

In spite of large schemes for a province with more suffragans, Adalbert did little for the Slavs. It was neither archbishop nor Saxon duke who maintained peace among these Slavs of the Elbe, but Duke Godescalc. This remarkable noble was studying at Luneburg when his father, an Obotrite prince, was murdered for his cruelty by a Saxon. Godescalc at once renounced Christianity and learning alike, and at the head of a horde of Lyutitzi set out to avenge his father’s death. Suddenly his heart smote him for the woe and death he was dealing out: he gave himself up to Duke Bernard, who sent him into Denmark. There he took service with Knut and went with him to England. After the deaths of Knut and his sons he came home. He found the Obotrites suffering from a heavy defeat at the hands of Magnus of Norway, in which the family of Ratibor, their leading chief, had been all slain. He was able to regain his father's place and the leadership of the Obotrites. He extended his power as far as the country of the Lyutitzi, and the wide district of the Bremen diocese “feared him as a king” and paid him tribute. With the neighboring Christian rulers, Scandinavian and German, he kept up a vigorous friend ship. It was he who bore the burden of keeping peace, and shortly before Henry’s death we find him, the Saxon duke and the Danish king in allied expedition against the Lyutitzi. To the Church, which stood for civilization, he was also a friend. He established monasteries and canons regular in Lübeck, Oldenburg and elsewhere. Throughout the land he built churches and to their service he summoned missionary priests who “freely did the work of God”; like Oswald in Northumbria he travelled with them and often acted as interpreter. “Had he lived”, says the chronicler, “he would have brought all the pagans to the Christian faith”. He survived Henry some ten years, being murdered in 1066.


Duke Godescalc

The peace imposed by Conrad upon the Lyutitzi was twice broken under Henry. In 1045 he had to lead an expedition against them, but they promptly submitted and returned to tribute. When ten years later they again broke bounds, Henry sent against them William of the Nordmark and Count Dietrich. At Prizlava, where a ruined castle still overlooks the confluence of Havel and Elbe, the Margrave was ambushed, and both he and Dietrich fell. These tidings reached Henry before his death, and with it the frontier troubles grew more intense.

To this great King and Emperor there has sometimes been ascribed a conscious attempt at a restoration of the Empire of Charlemagne, limited geographically but of worldwide importance through its control of the Western Church from its centre, Rome. But there is little real trace of such a conception on Henry’s part, save in the one feature of that ordered rule which was inseparably bound up with Charlemagne’s Empire. Too much has been sometimes made of Henry’s attitude towards Cluny, and of his marriage with Agnes of Poitou and Aquitaine, as paving the way for the acquisition of France. But this is a mere conjecture based upon a wish to reconcile later German ideals with the work of one of their greatest kings. He did use the sympathy of the Church, and especially of Cluny, in Burgundy, as a help towards the stability of ordered imperial rule, and that was all. It was no new and subtle scheme but an old-established procedure; a piece of honest policy, not a cynical design to trap France by means of piety. Henry’s mind was, it is true, preoccupied with the Middle Kingdom, but there is no trace of any endeavor to pave the way for an eventual reunion under the scepter of his heirs of the whole Carolingian Empire. There is, however, far stronger basis for the belief that he meant an imperial control over the Papacy than that he aimed at an eventual supremacy over France.

For it is plain that Henry not only unmade and made Popes, but that he accepted the offer of the Patriciate in the belief that it meant control over papal elections, and that he secured from the Romans a sworn promise to give to himself and to his heir the chief voice in all future elections. Whatever the exact force of the Emperor’s control, the promise meant that no one could be Pope except with his approval. It put the Roman see almost, if not quite, into the position of a German bishopric. And Henry used the power placed in his hands. Whether the Romans would ever have revolted against Henry's choice we do not know, for his wisdom never put them to the test. But what worked well under Henry at a time when churchmen and statesmen had roughly the same practical aims, although maybe divergent theories, might not work well under a less high-minded ruler under whom Church and State had grown into divergent ideals.

Henry did not aim at imperial aggrandizement; he did not wish to lower the Papacy any more than he wished to conquer France. He was a lover not of power but of order, and order he meant to guard. Moreover he was a man of fact and actuality: he respected law, he respected custom: they must, however, be law and custom that had worked and would work well. He showed this in his dealings with the Papacy: he showed it in his dealings with the tribal duchies in Germany. When it is a case of giving a duke to Bavaria, although custom was absolutely on the side of Bavaria in electing its duke, he ignored custom and nominated. He flouted the Bavarian’s right of election, not because he thought little of law and custom but because he was concerned with the practical enforcement of order. It was so too with abbots and monasteries; sometimes he allowed free election, sometimes he simply nominated. He was guided by the circumstances, and by the state of the monastery: he always aimed at a worthy choice but cared little how it came about, and corrupt monks were little likely to elect a reforming abbot.

In Germany with its tribal duchies he had no settled policy. A few months after Conrad’s death Henry himself was Duke of Swabia, Bavaria and Carinthia, as well as king. He followed his father’s policy in uniting the duchies with the Crown unless he saw good reason for the contrary. Hence he gave away one great duchy after another when it seemed good. He gave Bavaria to Henry of Luxemburg when it was threatened by Obo of Hungary; Swabia to the Lorrainer Otto when Godfrey was troubling the neighboring Lorraine. And he did not fear to raise houses that might become rivals in the Empire if they served the present use. It was so with his patronage of Luxembourgers and of Babenbergs. And yet it must be confessed that Henry’s dealings with the duchies were not happy. Bavaria and Carinthia he left largely hostile to the Crown. Lorraine was torn by rebellion because in the case of Godfrey Henry had misjudged his man. Personal genius was lacking, too, in his dealings with the border-land states, although with Bohemia and Hungary he could claim success. And in Burgundy, if anywhere, he did succeed.

Upon internal order he had set his heart. We recall his “Declarations of Indulgence” and the “peace undreamt of through the ages” which followed. Yet the peace was itself precarious, though his example was fruitfully followed afterwards; and Germany, breathing awhile more peacefully during recurring Landfrieden, had cause to bless the day at Constance.

In himself he seems to have lacked breadth and geniality: with humble fidelity he took up the task of his inheritance: his single-mindedness and purity of character are testified to by all: there were great men whom he chose out or who trusted him: Herman of Cologne, Bruno of Toul (Leo IX), Peter Damiani. Yet he could fail with great men as with smaller: Leo IX towards the end, and Wazo of Liege he misjudged; the difficult Godfrey of Lorraine, whom he failed to understand, well-nigh wrecked his Empire. It was this personal weakness that made him, in his last years, fall below his own high standard, unable to cope with the many difficulties of his Empire. He seems weary when he comes to die. Germany looked back to him, not for the good that he had done, but for the evil which came so swiftly when his day was over.

In Germany he did not build to stand. One great thing he did to change history, and in doing it he raised up the power that was to cast down his son and destroy his Empire. His tomb and his monument should be in Rome.