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The kingdom of Burgundy down to the annexation of the kingdom of Provence



THE unity of the Empire, momentarily restored under Charles the Fat, had, as we have seen, been once more and finally shattered in 888. As in 843, the long strip of territory lying between the Scheldt, the mouth of the Meuse, the Saône and the Cevennes on one hand, and the Rhine and the Alps on the other, was not reincluded in France; but the German king was no more capable than his neighbor of keeping it as a whole under his authority. The entire district south of the Vosges slipped from his grasp, and for a moment he was even in danger of seeing a rival put in possession of the whole of the former kingdom of Lothar I.

In fact, very shortly after the Emperor Charles the Fat, abandoned on all hands, and deposed at Tribur, had made a wretched end at Neidingen, several of the great lay lords and churchmen of the ancient duchy of Jurane Burgundy assembled in the basilica of St Maurice d’Agaune, probably about the end of January 888, and proclaimed the Count and Marquess Rodolph king. Rodolph was a person of no small importance. His grandfather, Conrad the Elder, brother of the Empress Judith, count and duke in Alemannia, and his uncle, Hugh the Abbot, had played a prominent part in the time of Charles the Bald, while his father, Conrad, originally Count of Auxerre, had taken service with the sons of the Emperor Lothar about 861, and had received from the Emperor Louis II the government of the three Transjurane dioceses of Geneva, Lausanne and Sion, as well as the abbey of St Maurice d’Agaune. Rodolph had succeeded to this Jurane duchy which now chose and proclaimed him king.

The significance of the declaration was at first far from clear. Still, in the minds of Rodolph and his supporters it must necessarily have involved more than a mere change of style. The Empire, momentarily united, was once more falling apart into its earlier divisions, and there being no one capable of assuming the Carolingian heritage in its entirety, the state of things was being reproduced which had formerly resulted from the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Such seems to have been the idea which actuated the electors assembled at St Maurice d’Agaune; and Rodolph, without forming a very precise estimate of the situation, left the western kingdom to Odo and the eastern to Arnulf, and set to work at once to secure for himself the former kingdom of Lothar II in its integrity.

At first it seemed that circumstances were in the new king’s favor. Accepted without difficulty in the counties of the diocese of Besançon, Rodolph proceeded to occupy Alsace and a large part of Lorraine. In an assembly which met at Toul the bishop of that town crowned him king of Lorraine. But all his supporters fell away on the appearance in the country of Arnulf, the new king of Germany, and Rodolph, after in vain attempting to resist his army, had no choice but to treat with his rival. He went to seek Arnulf at Ratisbon, and after lengthy negotiations obtained from him the recognition of his kingship over the Jurane duchy and the diocese of Besancon, on condition of his surrendering all claims to Alsace and Lorraine (October 888). Thus by force of circumstances the earlier conception of Rodolph’s kingship was taking a new form; the restoration of the kingdom of Lorraine was no longer thought of; a new kingdom, the kingdom of Burgundy, had come into being.

It was only with reluctance that Arnulf had recognized the existence of this new kingdom. A Caroling, though illegitimate, he might seem to have inherited from Charles the Fat a claim to rule over the whole of the former empire of Charlemagne. Not satisfied that Rodolph should have been forced to humble himself before him by journeying to Ratisbon to seek the confirmation of his royal dignity, he attempted to go back upon the recognition that he had granted. In 894, as he was returning from an expedition to Lombardy, he made a hostile irruption into the Valais, ravaging the country and vainly attempting to come to close quarters with Rodolph, who, a few weeks earlier, had sent assistance to the citizens of Ivrea, a town which the king of Germany had been unsuccessfully besieging. Rodolph took refuge in the mountains and evaded all pursuit. Nor could Zwentibold, Arnulf’s illegitimate son, who was sent against him at the head of a fresh army, succeed in reaching him. The dispossession of the king of Burgundy was then resolved on, and in 895 in an assembly held at Worms, Arnulf created Zwentibold “king in Burgundy and in the whole of the kingdom formerly held by Lothar II”. But these claims were not prosecuted; Rodolph maintained his position, and on his death (25 October 911 or 912) his son Rodolph II succeeded unchallenged to his kingdom.

Germany, indeed, since the death of Arnulf in 899 had been struggling in the grip of terrible anarchy. Conrad of Franconia, who in 911 had succeeded Louis the Child, was too busy defending himself against the revolted nobles to dream of intervention in Burgundy. Not only had Rodolph II nothing to fear from this quarter, but he saw a favorable opportunity for retaliation.

On the side of Lorraine it was too late; the king of Burgundy had been forestalled by the King of France, Charles the Simple, who as early as November 911 had effected its conquest. Rodolph II indemnified himself, it would appear, by attempting to lay hands on the two Alemannic counties of Thurgau and Aargau, the districts lying on the eastern frontier of his kingdom, between the Aar, the Rhine, the Lake of Constance and the Reuss. He was, indeed, repulsed by the Duke of Swabia at Winterthür in 919, but none the less succeeded in preserving a substantial part of his conquests. Other events, however, called his attention and diverted his energies to new quarters.

The state of affairs in Italy was then extremely disturbed. After many rivalries and struggles, both the Lombard crown and the imperial diadem had been placed in 915 upon the head of Berengar of Friuli. But Berengar was far from having conciliated all sections, and at the end of 921 or the beginning of 922 a number of the disaffected offered the Lombard crown to Rodolph. The offer was a tempting one. Though separated from Lombardy by the wall of the Alps, Jurane Burgundy was still naturally brought into constant relations with it; the high road, which from St Maurice d'Agaune led by the Great St Bernard to Aosta and Vercelli, was habitually followed by pilgrims journeying from the north-west into Italy. Besides, owing to their origin, many nobles of weight in the Lombard plain, notably the Marquess of Ivrea, were in personal communication with King Rodolph. Finally, memories of the Emperor Lothar, who had been in possession of Italy as well as Burgundy, could not but survive and necessarily produced an effect upon men's minds.

Rodolph listened favorably to the overtures made him. He marched straight upon Pavia, the capital of the Lombard kingdom, entered the city, and induced the majority of the lay lords and bishops to recognize him as king (February 922). Berengar was defeated in a great battle fought at Fiorenzuola not far from Piacenza on 17 July 923, and forced to fly with all speed to Verona, where he was murdered a few months later (7 April 924). Yet before long Rodolph was forced to change his tone. With their usual instability, the Italian barons lost no time in deserting him to call in a new claimant, Hugh of Arles, Marquess of Provence. Rodolph asked help of the Duke of Swabia, Burchard, whose daughter he had married a few years before, but the duke fell into an ambuscade and was killed (April 926) and Rodolph, disheartened, had no choice but to retrace his steps disconsolately across the Great St Bernard.

Events, however, were soon to convince him that his true interest lay in renouncing the Lombard crown and coming to an understanding with his rival in order to seek the satisfaction of his ambition in another direction.



The kingdom of Provence down to its annexation to the kingdom of Burgundy.


The wide region lying to the south of Burgundy, between the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Cevennes, had been for several years without a ruler, and was in such a state of confusion and uncertainty as was likely to tempt King Rodolph to seek his advantage there.

In the middle of the ninth century (855) a kingdom had been formed there for the benefit of Charles, third son of the Emperor Lothar. On the death of the young king (863) the inheritance had been divided between his two brothers, and was soon after occupied by Charles the Bald, who entrusted its administration to his vassal Boso (870). The latter, who was of Frankish origin, was among the most influential personages of the Western Kingdom; his sister, Richilda, had been first the mistress and later the wife of the king; he himself, apparently, was an ambitious man, energetic, skilful, and unscrupulous. In 876 he married Ermengarde, daughter of the Emperor Louis II, and secured the favor of Pope John VIII who, on the death of Charles the Bald in October 877, even thought for a moment of drawing him to Italy. Later, on the death of Louis the Stammerer, Boso openly revolted and ventured on having himself crowned king at Mantaille (15 October 879). Before this date, Boso had been in possession of Provence and of the counties of Vienne and Lyons, and he now obtained recognition as king in the Tarentaise as well as in the Uzège and Vivarais districts and even in the dioceses of Besançon and Autun. But his attempt was premature; the united Carolingians, Louis III and Carloman, supported by an army promptly dispatched by Charles the Fat, invaded the country in 880; the war was a tedious one, but at last in September 882 Vienne yielded, and Boso, driven from the Viennois, remained in obscurity till his death (11 January 887).

For more than three years the fate of the kingdom of Provence remained in suspense. From the beginning of 888 the public records are dated “in such a year after the death of Boso” or “after the death of Charles” (the Fat). The kingdom of Burgundy had been formed, yet neither Rodolph, its king, nor Odo, King of France, nor Arnulf, King of Germany, all too fully engaged elsewhere, ever thought of laying claim to the vacant throne of Provence.

But if Arnulf were unable to undertake the occupation of the kingdom of Provence, at least it was plainly his interest to further the setting up of a king who would recognize his overlordship and might also serve as a counterpoise to the ambitious and encroaching Rodolph. Now Boso had left a son, still quite young, named Louis, who having been protected and even adopted by Charles the Fat, might be looked upon as the rightful heir of the Provençal throne. His mother, Ermengarde, set herself energetically to bring about his coronation; in May 889 she repaired to Arnulf's court, and by means of rich gifts secured his help. Louis’s claims, supported also by the Pope, Stephen V, were generally recognized, and towards the end of 890 he was proclaimed king in an assembly held at Valence, and brought under his rule the greater part of the territory lying to the south of Rodolph’s dominions.

But the exact nature of his kingship can hardly even be conjectured from contemporary records. We hear of him only as having journeyed about his kingdom and granted privileges to churches. Moreover, from the year 900 his energies are diverted to the other side of the Alps, whither he is invited by the lords of Italy, who, weary of their king, Berengar, offer him the crown. Louis closed with their proposals, as, later on, Rodolph II was to do, marched at once upon Pavia, and there assumed the crown as king of Italy, about the beginning of October 900. Then, continuing his march, he entered Piacenza and Bologna, and in February 901 received the imperial crown at Rome from the hands of Pope Benedict IV. Some few engagements with Berengar’s troops were enough to secure to him the adhesion of the majority of the nobles.

But if Italy was quickly won, it was quickly lost. Driven from Pavia, which Berengar succeeded in reentering (902), Louis in 905 made a fresh attempt to thrust out his rival. But he was surprised at Verona on 21 July 905', and made prisoner by Berengar who put out his eyes, and sent him back beyond the Alps.

Thenceforward, the unhappy Louis the Blind drags out a wretched existence within his own dominions. While continuing to bear the empty title of Emperor, he remained shut up in his town and palace of Vienne, leaving the business of government to his cousin Hugh of Arles, Marquess of Provence, who, holding both the March of Provence and the county of Vienne, acts as master throughout the kingdom. We find him for instance interfering in the affairs of the Lyonnais, although this district had a count of its own, and again in the business of the church of Valence, the bishop of which see is described as his vassal. Again, if any question of alliance with a neighboring king arises, it is he who intervenes. At the beginning of 924 he has an interview with Raoul, King of France, in the Autunois on the banks of the Loire. In the same year the Hungarians, who for some time had been devastating the Lombard plain, crossed the Alps and threatened at once the kingdoms of Rodolph II and Louis the Blind. Again it is Hugh of Arles who opens communications with Rodolph and concerts with him a common plan of action against the dreaded barbarians. The two princes joined their forces to stay the course of the robber bands by penning them up in a defile, whence, however, they escaped. Hugh and Rodo1ph together pursued them to the Rhone and drove them into Gothia.

This concord between Hugh of Arles and King Rodolph was not to be lasting. We have already seen how Rodolph, called in by the lords of Lombardy and crowned king of Italy in 922, had the very next year been abandoned by a large number of his supporters who had offered the kingdom to the Marquess of Provence. The latter had then come into collision with Berengar’s troops, and had been obliged to pledge himself to attempt nothing further against him. But when in 926 Rodolph definitively withdrew from Italy, Hugh embarked from Provence and landed near Pisa. In the beginning of July 926, at Pavia, he received in his turn the crown which he was to succeed in retaining for twenty years without encountering any rival of importance.

About a year later Louis the Blind died. Of his children only one seemed capable of reigning, Charles Constantine, often held illegitimate; he was Count of Vienne, a district which he had been virtually ruling since the departure of Hugh. But the new king of Italy, who was still all-powerful in the kingdom of Provence, was not disposed to favor him. For several years this state of uncertainty prevailed, and charters were again dated either by the regnal year of the dead sovereign, or, according to a formula widely used in times of interregnum, “God reigning, and a king being awaited”.

About 933 events occurred which cleared up the situation. “At this time”, says the Lombard historian Liudprand, “the Italians sent into Burgundy to Rodolph’s court to recall him. When King Hugh heard of it, he dispatched envoys to him and gave him all the lands that he had held in Gaul before he ascended the throne, taking an oath of King Rodolph that he would never return to Italy”. This obscure passage is our only source of information as to the agreement arrived at between the two sovereigns. What was its exact purport it is impossible to say, but the whole history of the succeeding years goes to prove that the cession then made consisted of the sovereign rights which Hugh had practically exercised for many long years in the dominions of Louis the Blind. It amounted, in fact, to the union of the kingdom of Provence with that of Burgundy. 



The kingdom of Burgundy and its annexation to the Empire.


Rodolph II did not long survive this treaty. He died on 12 or 13 July 937, leaving the government to his young son Conrad, in after years called the Peaceful, and then aged about fifteen at most.

The youth and weakness of the new king were sure to be a temptation to his neighbors. Apparently Hugh of Arles, King of Italy, planned how he might turn the situation to account, for as early as 12 December 937, we find him on the shores of the Lake of Geneva, where he took to wife Bertha, mother of young Conrad and widow of Rodolph II. Soon afterwards, he married his son Lothar to Bertha's daughter, Adelaide. The new King of Germany, Otto I, who in 937 had just succeeded his father, Henry I, could not look unmoved on these maneuvers. Without loss of time he set out for Burgundy, and, as his biographer tells us, “received into his possession the king and the kingdom”. In reality it was a bold and sudden stroke; Otto, cutting matters short, had simply made young Conrad prisoner. For about four years he kept him under a strong guard, taking him about with him on all his journeys and expeditions, and when he released him, at about the end of 942, he had made sure of his fidelity.

Thenceforward the king of Burgundy seems to be no more than a vassal of the German king. When in 946 Otto went to the help of Louis IV d’Outremer, against the aggressions of Hugh the Great, Conrad with his contingent of troops accompanied him. In May 960 we find him at Otto's court at Kloppen in the neighbourhood of Mannheim. Gradually the bonds that unite the king of Germany and the king of Burgundy were drawn closer; in 951 Otto married Adelaide, sister of Conrad, and widow of Lothar, King of Italy; ten years later he was crowned king of Italy at Pavia, and (2 February 962) received the imperial crown at Rome. From this time onward, apparently, he looks upon the kingdom of Burgundy as a sort of appendage to his own dominions; not only does he continue to keep Conrad always in his train (we find him for instance in 967 at Verona), but he makes it his business to expel the Saracens settled at Le Frainet (Fraxinetum) in the district of St-Tropez, and in January 968 makes known his intention of going in person to fight with them in Provence.

Under Rodolph III, son and successor of Conrad, the dependent position of the king of Burgundy in relation to the Emperor, becomes more and more marked. Rodolph III, on whom even during his life-time his contemporaries chose to bestow the title of the “Sluggard (ignavus)”, does not seem, at least in the early part of his career, to have been lacking in either energy or decision. Aged about twenty-five at the time of his accession (993), he attempted to re-establish in his kingdom an authority which, owing to the increasing strength of the nobles, was becoming daily more precarious. A terrible rebellion was the result, against which all the king’s efforts broke helplessly. Incapable of subduing the revolt, he was obliged to have recourse to the German sovereign. The aged empress, Adelaide, widow of Otto I and aunt of young Rodolph III, hastened to him in 999 and journeyed with him through the country, endeavoring to pacify the nobles.

At the end of the same year, 999, she died, and hardly had two years passed when the Emperor Otto III followed her to the grave (23 January 1002). Under his successor, Henry II of Bavaria, German policy soon showed itself aggressive and encroaching. In 1006 Henry seized the town of Basle, which he kept for several years; soon afterwards he exacted from Rodolph an oath that before he died he would name him his heir, and ten years later events occurred which placed the king of Burgundy completely at his mercy.

For reasons which are still to some extent obscure, the Count of Burgundy, Otto-William, and a large group of the lords had just broken out into revolt against Rodolph. In his character of count of Burgundy Otto-William was master of the whole district corresponding to the diocese of Besançon, and as he held at the same time the county of Macon in the kingdom of France, and was brother-in-law of the powerful bishop Bruno of Langres, and father-in-law of Landry, Count of Nevers, of William the Great, Duke of Aquitaine, and of William II, Count of Provence, he was the most important person in the kingdom of Burgundy. As a contemporary chronicler Thietmar, Bishop of Merseburg, says while the events were yet recent, “Otto-William” though “nominally a vassal of the king” had a mind to live as “the sovereign master of his own territories”.

The dispute broke out on the occasion of the nomination of a new archbishop to the see of Besancon. Archbishop Hector had just died, and immediately rival claimants had appeared, Rodolph seeking to have Bertaud, a clerk of his chapel, nominated, and Count Otto-William opposing this candidature in the interest of a certain Walter. The real question was who was to be master in the episcopal city, the king or his vassal? Ostensibly the king won the day; Bertaud was elected, perhaps even consecrated. But Otto-William did not submit. He drove Bertaud out of Besançon, installed Walter by force, and, as the same Bishop Thietmar relates, carried his insolence so far as to have Bertaud hunted by his hounds in order to mark the deep contempt with which this intruder inspired him. “And”, adds the chronicler, “as the prelate, worn out with fatigue, heard them baying at his heels, he turned round, and making the sign of the cross in the direction in which he had just left the print of his foot, let himself fall to the ground, expecting to be torn to pieces by the pack. But those savage dogs, on sniffing the ground thus hallowed by the sign of the cross, felt themselves suddenly stopped, as if by an irresistible force, and turning back, left God’s true servant to find his way through the woods to a more hospitable region”.

Otto-William was triumphant. Rodolph, having exhausted all his resources, was obliged to ask help of Henry II. An interview took place at Strasbourg in the early summer of 1016. Rodolph made his appearance with his wife, Ermengarde, and two of her sons who did homage to the Emperor. Rodolph himself, not satisfied with renewing the engagement to which he had already sworn, to leave his kingdom on his death to Henry, recognized him even then as his successor and swore not to undertake any business of importance without first consulting him. As to Otto-William, he was declared to have incurred forfeiture, and his fiefs were granted by the Emperor to some of the lords about his court.

Next came the carrying-out of this programme, a matter which bristled with difficulties. The Emperor himself undertook the despoiling of the Count of Burgundy. But entrenched within their fortresses, Otto-William and his partisans successfully resisted capture. Henry could only ravage the country, and being recalled by other events to the northern point of his dominions, was obliged to retreat without having accomplished anything. Thus the imperial intervention had not availed to restore Rodolph’s authority. Again abandoned to his own resources, and incapable of making head against the rebels, the king of Burgundy gave ear to the proposals of the latter, who offered to submit on condition that the engagements of the Treaty of Strasbourg were annulled. Just at first, Rodolph appeared to yield. But the Emperor certainly lent no countenance to the expedient, the result of which would be disastrous to himself, and as early as February 1018 he compelled the king of Burgundy, his wife, his step-sons and the chief nobles of his kingdom solemnly to renew the arrangement of Strasbourg. He then directed a fresh expedition against the county of Burgundy. It is not known, however, whether its results were any better than those of the expedition of 1016.

A few years later, when Henry II died (13 July 1024) Rodolph attempted to shake off the Germanic suzerainty, by claiming that former agreements were ipso facto invalidated by Henry’s death. The latter’s successor, Conrad II of Franconia, at once made it his business peremptorily to demand what he looked upon as his rights, and Rodolph was forced to submit. He even went as a docile vassal to Rome, to be present at the imperial coronation of the new prince (26 March 1027), and a few months later, at Basle, he solemnly renewed the conventions of Strasbourg and Mayence.

Rodolph III himself only survived this new treaty a few years. On 5 or 6 Sept. 1032 he died, without legitimate children, after having sent the insignia of his authority to the Emperor.

It seemed as though the Emperor Conrad had nothing to do but come and take possession of his new kingdom. The chief opponent of his policy in Rodo1ph's lifetime, Otto-William, Count of Burgundy, had died several years before in 1026, and the principal nobles of the kingdom had in 1027 come with their king to Basle to ratify the conventions of Strasbourg and Mainz. The course of events, however, was not to be so smooth.

Already, for some time Odo II, Count of Chartres, Blois, Tours, Troyes, Meaux and Provins, the most formidable and turbulent of the king of France’s vassals, had been intriguing with the Burgundian lords to be recognized as the successor of King Rodolph. He had even attempted, though without success, to inveigle the latter into naming him as his heir, to the exclusion of his imperial rival. He put himself forward in his character of nephew of the king of Burgundy, his mother being Rodolph’s sister, whereas the Emperor Conrad was only the husband of that king's niece.

No sooner had Rodolph closed his eyes, than Odo II, profiting by the Emperor's detention at the other end of his dominions, owing to a war against the Poles, promptly crossed the Burgundian frontier, seized upon several fortresses in the very heart of the kingdom, such as Morat and Neuchâtel, and thence marching upon Vienne, forced the Archbishop, Léger, to open the gates and, with a view to being crowned, made sure of his adhesion. The expedition thus rapidly carried out, with a decision all the more remarkable as Odo II had at that very moment to reckon with the hostility of the king of France against whom he had rebelled. certainly had the result of deciding a large number of the Burgundian lords, whether willingly or unwillingly, to declare for the Count of Blois. The Archbishop of Lyons and the Count of Geneva pronounced against the Emperor. It was high time for the latter to intervene.

Having secured the submission of the Polish duke, Mesco II, Conrad hastened back and in the depth of winter marched without stopping upon Basle (January 1033). From thence he quickly reached Soleure and then the monastery of Payerne, to the east of Lake Neuchâtel. He took advantage of the Feast of Candlemas (2 February) to have himself solemnly elected and crowned there as king of Burgundy by the nobles who favored his cause and had come to meet him. From thence he advanced to lay siege to Morat, which was held by the partisans of the Count of Blois. But the cold was so intense and the resistance of the besieged so determined that Conrad was forced to abandon the enterprise and fall back upon Zurich, and from thence return to Swabia until the season should be more favorable.

Luckily for the Emperor, Odo was obliged during the spring of 1033 to make head against Henry I, King of France, who for the second time had made an attempt upon Sens, and he was for several months quite unable to follow up his early successes in Burgundy. Some months later hostilities were resumed between Conrad and his rival, but already the latter had begun to cherish new projects, and instead of entering Burgundy he invaded Lorraine and threatened Toul. Conrad replied by an invasion of Champagne. Both parties having grown weary of the fruitless struggle decided on opening negotiations. A meeting took place; according to the German chroniclers Odo took an oath to abandon all claims upon Burgundy, to evacuate the fortresses he still held there, and to give hostages for the fulfillment of these promises; finally, he undertook to give the nobles of Lorraine, who had suffered by his ravages, every satisfaction which the imperial court should require.

These promises, if they were really made, were too specious to be sincere. As soon as the Emperor had withdrawn in order to suppress a revolt of the Lyutitzi on the borders of Pomerania, Odo renewed his destructive expeditions through Lorraine. Conrad realized that he must first of all make a good ending of his work in Burgundy; he gained the help of Humbert Whitehands, Count of Aosta; he was therefore able in May 1034 to make a junction at Geneva with some Italian troops brought to him by Boniface, Marquess of Tuscany; without difficulty he reduced most of the strongholds in the northern part of the Burgundian kingdom, forced the Count of Geneva and the Archbishop of Lyons to acknowledge his authority, and again caused the crown to be placed solemnly upon his head at a curia coronata held at Geneva. Morat still held out for the Count of Blois; it was taken by storm and given up to pillage. The cause of the Count of Blois was now lost beyond redemption in Burgundy, and Conrad, recognized by all, or practically all, could promise himself secure possession of his new kingdom.

Meanwhile, Odo, no more successful in his enterprise against Lorraine than in his Burgundian expedition, was soon to meet his death before the walls of Bar (15 November 1037).

From the day that the submission of the kingdom of Burgundy to the Emperor Conrad became an accomplished fact, the history of the kingdom may be said to come to an end. Yet it is not well to take literally the assertions of late chroniclers who sum up the course of events in such terms as these: “The Burgundians, not departing from their habitual insolence towards their king, Rodolph, delivered up to the Emperor Conrad the kingdom of Burgundy, which kingdom had, from the time of the Emperor Arnulf, for more than 130 years, been governed by its own kings, and thus Burgundy was again reduced to a province”. But there was really a short period of transition; in fact at an assembly held (1038) at Soleure, Conrad, doubtless feeling the need of having a permanent representative in the kingdom, decided on handing it over to his son Henry. Whatever may have been said on the subject, it appears that Henry was in fact recognized as king of Burgundy; the great lords took a direct oath of fealty to him, and the Emperor doubtless granted him the dignity of an under-kingship, with which the Carolingian sovereigns had so often invested their sons.

But this form of administration did not last long. As early as 4 June 1039 King Conrad died, and now Henry III, the young king of Burgundy, found the kingdoms of Germany and Italy added to his first realm. The title of king of Burgundy was now, however, only an empty form. The domains which the sovereign had at his disposal in Burgundy were so insignificant that during the latter years of Rodolph III the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg could write in reference to him: “There is no other king who governs thus; he possesses nothing but his title and his crown, and gives away bishoprics to those who are selected by the nobles. What he possesses for his own use is of small account, he lives at the expense of the prelates, and cannot even defend them or others who are in any way oppressed by their neighbors. Thus they have no resource, if they are to live in peace, but to come and commend themselves to the lords and serve them as if they were kings”.

The very name of “Kingdom of Burgundy” covered a whole series of territories without unity, without mutual ties, and over which the king's control was quite illusory. Rodolph III, in his latter years, hardly ever so much as showed himself outside the districts bounded by the valleys of the Saone and the Doubs and between the Jura and the upper course of the Rhone. The greater part of the lords, shutting themselves up within their own domains, made a show of ignoring the king’s authority, or else merely deferred their revolt because, knowing the king near at hand, they might fear being constrained by him. “O king!” exclaimed the Chancellor Wipo to Henry III a few years later, “Burgundy demands you; arise and come quickly. When the master tarries long absent, the fidelity of new subjects is apt to waver. The old proverb is profoundly true: ¡Out of sight, out of mind! Although Burgundy is now, thanks to you, at peace, she desires to view in thy person the author of this peace and to feast her eyes upon the countenance of her king. Appear, and let your presence bring back serenity to this kingdom. Formerly, you did with difficulty subdue it; profit now by its readiness to serve you”.

As a matter of fact, Burgundy could spare her king very well, and the efforts made by Henry III to render his government in these parts a little more effective were to be unavailing. Despite his frequent visits, and the attempts that he made to reduce to obedience his rebellious vassals, notably the Counts of Burgundy and Genevois, Henry III accomplished nothing lasting. On his death (1056), his widow, the Empress Agnes, tried as fruitlessly to restore the royal power by sending Rudolf of Rheinfelden, Duke of Swabia, to represent her in the kingdom. Later on, Henry IV, when he had attained his majority, and after him Henry V in his struggle with the Papacy, met with hardly anything but indifference or hostility in Burgundy as a whole. Henry V's successor, Lothar of Supplinburg, himself supplies the proof of the purely nominal character of his authority in these distant provinces, when, on summoning the lords of Burgundy and Provence to join an expedition which he was preparing for Italy, he exclaims: “At sundry times we have written to you to demand the tribute of your homage and submission. But you paid no heed, thus emphasizing in an indecorous manner your contempt for our supreme power. We intend to labor henceforward to restore in your country our authority, which has been so much diminished among you as to be almost completely forgotten.... Thus we command you to appear at Piacenza, on the Feast of St Michael, with your contingent of armed men”.

This summons was to produce no result. The Emperors tried by every means to make their power a reality. Following the example of the Empress Agnes, who had sent Rudolf of Rheinfelden to represent her, Lothar of Supplinburg, and afterwards Frederick Barbarossa were to try the experiment of delegating their authority to various princes of the Swiss house of Zahringen whom they appointed “rectors” or viceroys. This rectorate, soon to be called the Duchy of Burgundia Minor (lesser Burgundy), was, however, only effective to the east of the Jura, that is, practically over modern Switzerland, and it disappeared in 1217 on the extinction of the elder line of Zahringen. In 1215 Frederick II was to try a return to the same policy, making choice of William of Baux, Prince of Orange, then in 1220 of William, Marquess of Montferrat; from 1237 onwards, he was to be represented by imperial vicars. We shall see the Emperors make an appearance, in an intermittent fashion, in the kingdom and sometimes seeming to repossess themselves of a more or less real authority in this or that district. Frederick Barbarossa, in particular, after his marriage with Beatrice, the heiress of the county of Burgundy, will appear as unquestioned master in the diocese of Besancon, and be crowned king of Arles in 1178; Frederick II will for a time recover a real power of action in Provence and the Lyonnais; and again in the fourteenth century, Henry VII, strong in the support of the princes of Savoy, will rally to his standard large numbers of the nobles of the kingdom. Charles IV will characteristically go through the empty form of coronation in 1365. But these will be isolated exceptions, leading to nothing.

Incapable of enforcing their authority, the Emperors, from the latter part of the twelfth century onwards, more than once will even meditate restoring the kingdom of Arles, as it is now most frequently called, to its former independence, reserving the right to exact from its new king the recognition of their suzerainty. Henry VI will offer it to his prisoner, Richard Coeur de Lion in 1193; Philip of Swabia to his competitor, Otto of Brunswick in 1207; Rudolf of Habsburg will consider entrusting it in 1274 to a prince of his family, and later on to an Angevin prince, an idea to be revived by Henry VII in 1310.

But all these efforts prove vain. For long centuries the kingdom of Arles remains in theory attached to the Empire, but little by little, this kingdom, over which the German sovereigns could never secure effective control, will crumble to pieces in their hands. Out of its eastern portion the Swiss confederation and the duchy of Savoy will be formed; the kings of France, in the course of the fourteenth century, will succeed in regaining their authority over the Vivarais, the Lyonnais, the Valentinois and Diois, and Dauphine, successively. To these, a century later, will be added Provence, which had already been long in French hands