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The campaigns of Frederick Barbarossa in Italy form the most celebrated feature of his reign; they reveal his great qualities as a soldier and as a statesman in times both of victory and of defeat; they form a part, and a very important part, of the great contest between Empire and Papacy. The peculiar interest attached to this side of Frederick’s activities has often led historians to underestimate the value of his work in his native kingdom. Yet it is in Germany that the enduring marks of his boundless energies are to be sought. He succeeded to the throne of a kingdom in a state of complete disintegration; a great family feud divided the land into factions in open hostility; internal discord and widespread unrest prevailed everywhere; the country was exhausted by civil war and by the plundering and burning which accompanied it, the people by famine and want which was its natural consequence. The royal authority in the hands of Conrad was too weak to check the lawlessness of the nobility, hopelessly incapable of dealing with the crucial question of the position of the Welfs. Within four years of his coronation Frederick, by his masterful rule, had transformed Germany. Feuds were healed, enemies reconciled; Landfrieden were proclaimed in all the duchies, and offenders were dealt with by stern punishments. Order was restored and the rule of law was established.

Conrad’s elder son Henry had died two years before, and the dying king realized that where he had so signally failed his younger son Frederick, a boy of but six years old, was unlikely to succeed. He therefore designated as his successor his nephew Frederick of Swabia and entrusted to him the royal insignia. He was a man of remarkable promise, of suitable age, and with a distinguished career behind him; and what was of still greater importance he was connected by equal ties of kinship to the two rival houses of Hohenstaufen and Welf. His father was the late King Conrad’s elder brother Frederick; his mother, Judith, was the sister of Henry the Proud. He had already on more than one occasion acted as mediator between the two parties; his sympathies were equally divided; indeed no man was more favorably circumstanced for healing the quarrel which had for so long disturbed the peace of Germany. Seldom during the Middle Ages has a king been chosen to rule Germany with greater unanimity on the part of his subjects. The formalities of election were carried through with scarcely a hint of opposition, and with a promptness and ease truly amazing considering the state of the country at the moment of Conrad's death. On 15 February 1152 the king was dead; on 4 March Frederick was chosen king by the princes at Frankfort; on the next day he set out for his coronation, travelling by boat down the Main and the Rhine as far as Sinzig and so by road to Aix-la-Chapelle. There on 9 March he was crowned by Arnold, Archbishop of Cologne.

Immediately after the event, emissaries—Eberhard, Bishop of Bamberg, Hillin, Archbishop-elect of Trèves, and Adam, Abbot of Ebrach—were dispatched to Rome with letters to Pope Eugenius III in which the king announced his election, promised his obedience, and declared his readiness to protect the Holy See.

The man thus chosen to rule Germany was in the prime of life, some thirty years old, vigorous in mind and body, a fine figure of a man of rather more than middle height, and of perfect proportions; his personal appearance was remarkably attractive, with his fine features, his reddish curly hair, and his expression so genial that, we are told by Acerbus Morena who knew him well, he gave one the idea that he always wanted to laugh; even when moved to anger he would conceal his indignation beneath a smile. Brave, fearless, a superb fighter, he regarded war as the best of games; he gloried in the hardly-contested battle; he was the very embodiment of medieval chivalry.

Though no scholar, he was not without intellectual tastes; he could understand, if he could not speak, Latin, and in his native tongue he was even fluent; he was interested in history, in the deeds of his ancestors. With the qualities necessary for ruling a great empire he was singularly well endowed: shrewd judgment, rapid power of decision, untiring energy, the highest sense of justice. Frederick was no respecter of persons; though normally his temper was of the gentlest, he was inexorable towards wrong-doers, and even on the festive day of his coronation he is said to have refused forgiveness to a malefactor; “I outlawed you not out of malice”, he declared, “but in accordance with the dictates of justice; therefore there is no ground for pardon”. A friend of distinguished Roman lawyers he was himself a lawgiver of no slight ability, and his public acts bulk large in the volumes of Constitutions of medieval Emperors. Not only among writers of his own country or of his own way of thinking is Frederick regarded as nearly reaching to human perfection according to the ideals of the time. German and foreigner, friend and foe, have but one opinion on the character of the great Emperor; they must go back in their histories to Charles the Great to find a worthy parallel.

At the time of the coronation, so Abbot Wibald reports to the Pope, summoned twice in the following year before the Court, at Worms (Whitsuntide) and at Spires (December), but in each case he evaded a decision by finding a flaw in the summons. At last on 3 June 1154 the princes, wearied by the seemingly interminable proceedings, met at Goslar and resolved to bring the matter to a conclusion. The elder Henry was again absent: his continued defiance of the royal authority was sufficient pretext for depriving him of his position. Henry the younger, who had already assumed the title of Duke of Bavaria and Saxony, was now therefore duly awarded the vacant duchy. After his return with the Emperor from the Italian expedition (1154-5), in which he had conspicuously distinguished himself, he was formally invested with the dukedom of Bavaria at Ratisbon (October 1155). But the settlement lacked finality. Henry Jasomirgott obstinately refused to yield to the conciliatory advances of Frederick. It was not until a year later that an arrangement satisfactory to both parties was concluded at Ratisbon on 17 September 1156. It was a diet of the first importance, for it established the power of Henry the Lion and it created the duchy of Austria.

The ex-duke did not enter the town; he set up a magnificent encampment some two miles from its walls, and there the solemn scene, which witnessed the end of the long drawn-out struggle, took place. The details had already been prepared and the terms engrossed in a document read aloud to the assembled princes by Vladislav II of Bohemia. Henry the elder surrendered the seven flags, the insignia of the Bavarian dukedom; these in turn were handed over to Henry the younger, who forthwith returned two to the Emperor, relinquishing by this act all claim to the Austrian March. With this insignia the Emperor enfeofted Henry Jasomirgott with the now created duchy of Austria. With it the new duke received an enviable list of privileges, such indeed as no other prince of the Empire might enjoy. The duchy was granted in fee to Henry and his wife Theodora jointly, and to their children whether male or female; if they should die without issue, they had the right of bequeathing the duchy by will; no one was permitted to exercise jurisdiction within the duchy except with the consent of the duke; furthermore the duke was only liable for attendance at diets held in Bavaria and for military service in Austria or in its neighbourhood.

Frederick’s policy towards the great princes of Germany was at first therefore to strengthen their position with the hope that they would reward his confidence with their loyalty and co-operation. The duchy of Bavaria was not the only accretion to the power of the house of Welf. There were claims also to Italian territories. A Welfic heiress four generations back, Cunegunda, sister of the childless Welf III, had married Azzo, Marquess of Este, and through her the line descended. While the imperial army was encamped near Verona, Henry the Lion had a meeting with his Italian cousin and acquired the family inheritance in return for a payment of 200 marks. At the same time his uncle Welf VI, with Frederick behind him, was able to make good his claim to the wide possessions of the Countess Matilda.

Heinricus Leo dux Bawariae et Saxoniae: such was the name now borne by the great Welf. He ruled an imperium in imperio, but he did not abuse his privileged position; his rule for the twenty years which followed the settlement of Ratisbon was beneficial to Germany, if it was detrimental to the interests of individual princes. Henry threw himself with all his energy into the work of German expansion, the promotion of commercial enterprise, the development of municipal life.


The Danish civil war


The northern frontier had been disturbed for ten years past by a civil war in Denmark. Eric III died in 1146, and Svein the son of Eric II and Canute the son of Magnus disputed for the throne. The rivals had laid their pretensions before Frederick at his first diet at Merseburg (18 May 1152), but the decision had satisfied the successful hardly more than the defeated candidate; for Svein in return for the recognition of his claims had had to acknowledge himself the vassal of the German king, and to compensate his opponent with the island of Zealand. Their feud unappeased, the rival claimants continued their war of devastation, now one, now the other, gaining a temporary advantage. In 1154 Svein, alienated from his subjects on account of his cruelty, and at the end of his resources, fled to Saxony, where he lived for upwards of two years with his father-in-law, Count Conrad of Wettin. In 1156, when the latter withdrew to a monastery which he had founded at Lauterberg, Svein again went in search of help to recover his lost throne. He found the Saxon princes ready for the enterprise; the services of Henry, just returned triumphant from the Diet of Ratisbon, were easily secured in consideration of a subsidy. The campaign was opened with success; Schleswig and Ripen fell into Svein’s hands; but a national resistance and the treachery of the Slavs serving in the German host checked its progress. They withdrew therefore with hostages from the captured towns. Henry, however, did not relinquish his efforts on behalf of his allies; with the help of the Slavonic prince Niclot and by judicious bribery he once more gained a foothold on Danish territory. Thus matters stood when the Danish Church under the guidance of the Bishop of Ripen exercised its influence to end the terrible disorders by means of compromise. There were now three aspirants to the throne, for Waldemar, the son of Canute, the late Duke of Schleswig, had recently advanced his claim. Among these three the country was equally partitioned. Three days later, 7 May 1157, Svein’s character was revealed in its true colors. Suddenly, at a feast held in honor of the reconciliation, he fell upon his opponents: Canute was killed, Waldemar, though wounded, managed to escape under cover of darkness. Svein’s conduct effectively disposed of his chances of the throne. His disgusted supporters deserted in numbers to Waldemar, who was able to win a decisive victory at Viborg. Svein was killed in the battle, and Waldemar, the sole survivor of the three rivals, became the undisputed sovereign of Denmark.

In the exhausted state of the country the new king was powerless to withstand the constant attacks of the Slavonic pirates upon the Danish coasts. He put himself therefore under the protection of the man most capable of defending his kingdom, Duke Henry. In this way Henry established that influence in Danish politics which was to continue for more than twenty years. The influence certainly was not always congenial to Waldemar, who on one occasion even took arms against his protector. He had in 1168 with the help of Henry's vassals captured the island of Rügen; Henry demanded in accordance with an alleged covenant a half-share in the conquest. The king’s refusal caused a war which lasted till 1171. Then at a conference on the Eider the old alliance was restored; Waldemar yielded to the duke’s demands, and the relations were drawn still closer by the marriage of their children, Canute and Gertrude, the widow of Frederick of Rothenburg.

In the intervals between his Italian campaigns Frederick paid hurried visits to Germany to set in order what had gone amiss during his absence. While he was in the kingdom the peace was well kept, but when he was safely beyond the Alps the old feuds broke out once more; private war for the righting of wrongs, for the settlement of disputes, was too much engrained in the feudal nobility to be crushed out in a moment by peace ordinances or by the rule of a strong but absent Emperor. The diocese of Mainz affords a good example of this. Archbishop Arnold soon after his election quarreled with the nobles of the surrounding country, at the head of whom was Herman of Stahleck, Count-Palatine of the Rhine; on his return from his first Italian expedition Frederick suppressed the rebellion with strong measures at the Christmas court (1155) at Worms. There was an old custom among the Franks by which men found guilty of offences of this kind were obliged to undergo the ignominy of carrying certain objects varying according to their rank: for the noble it was a dog, for the ministerialis a saddle, for the rustic the wheel of a plough. It was this penalty that Frederick imposed on the Count-Palatine; he and ten other counts, his accomplices, carried dogs for a full German mile. When, we are told, this dreadful punishment was made known, “all were seized with such terror that they preferred to live at peace than to devote themselves to the turbulence of war”. Soon after, the Count-Palatine died, and Frederick strengthened his own re­sources by conferring the Palatinate on his half-brother Conrad, who, since the death of the old “one-eyed” Duke Frederick II of Swabia, had come into the Hohenstaufen patrimony in Rhenish Franconia. The difficulties of the Archbishop of Mainz were not, however, at an end; in 1158, when somewhat reluctantly he had obeyed the imperial summons to take part in the second Italian campaign, Arnold imposed a war tax on the ministeriales and citizens of Mainz Again there was rebellion and terrible disorders throughout the city. The climax was reached when the archbishop returned triumphant after the fall of Milan. He laid the city under an interdict, but the trouble continued; he prepared for war, but was himself attacked; he sought sanctuary at the monastery of St James, but the monastery was put to the flames and he was butchered at the gates by the infuriated mob (1160). Not only the perpetrators but the whole town suffered punishment for the infamous act when the Emperor returned from Italy in 1163; many were fined, the city was deprived of its privileges, and its walls were destroyed. Two elections to the see were quashed before a man was found who met with the Emperor's approval; and even he, Conrad of Wittelsbach, had afterwards to be removed for the offence of espousing the cause of Pope Alexander III. The diocese of Mainz had a stormy history until in 1165 it fell into the capable hands of Archbishop Christian.


Relations with Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary 


During the third Italian expedition the peace of Germany was disturbed by a feud between Duke Welf and Hugh of Tubingen, the latter supported by Frederick of Rothenburg, Duke of Swabia; the Emperor settled the affair when he was back in Germany in the autumn of 1164, but he was no sooner off again to Italy than it broke out afresh with renewed vigor and on a wider field, for now the house of Zähringen was enlisted on the side of Welf and the King of Bohemia lent aid to Hugh. It was not until 1166 that the Emperor, by severe punishments, forced Hugh to submit. These are but instances; there were many other similar quarrels: Rainald of Dassel against the Count-Palatine of the Rhine, Henry the Lion against the rival princes of Saxony. They were the inevitable consequence in these times of the absence of a king from his kingdom. A king was accounted to have done well if he succeeded in maintaining the peace when he was at home and was strong enough to restore order when he returned after an absence.

The border countries of Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary had been the source of much trouble to Frederick’s predecessors; their rulers found, however, that disobedience to Frederick was a more serious matter. In Poland, Boleslav, having driven out his refractory elder brother Vladislav (Wladislaw), had acquired the government himself (1146); he now refused to pay homage and the accustomed tribute of 500 marks. In the summer of 1157 Frederick set out across the Elbe to punish him for his defiance; in a letter to Wibald of Stablo he describes the difficulties of the journey through the dense forests, the surprise and dismay of the Poles when they saw the German army reach the Oder and the soldiers in their eagerness leaping into the great river and swimming across; he describes the flight and the pursuit to Posen and the humble submission of the duke. Boleslav had to pay a heavy price for his rashness: he not only had to do homage, but also to pay large fines, 2000 marks of gold to the Emperor, 1000 to the princes, 20 to the Empress, and 200 marks of silver to the court. He had further to allow his brother to return from exile and to bring the complaint he had against him before the imperial court at Magdeburg the following Christmas; finally he engaged himself to accompany Frederick on the forthcoming Italian expedition. The Emperor then returned, taking with him hostages as an assurance of the duke's good faith.

Gésa II of Hungary, who had been for some time past on bad terms with the Empire, voluntarily presented himself at a diet at Wurzburg and promised to join the Italian expedition. In return for the cession of Bautzen and the elevation of his duchy into a kingdom, Vladislav II (I) of Bohemia made a similar promise of assistance. He alone of the three princes who had promised to take part in the second Italian campaign fulfilled his engagement.

During the rest of his reign Frederick had need to pay little attention to the affairs of his eastern neighbors. In 1172 he was called upon to settle an internal feud in Poland and a disputed succession in Hungary: but in each case he managed to avoid recourse to armed interference. In Bohemia the cordial relations established in 1158 continued till the appointment in 1168 of Vladislav’s son, Adalbert, to the archbishopric of Salzburg.

Adalbert, being a supporter of Alexander III, was soon deposed, and an estrangement sprang up between the two courts. Without consulting the Emperor or the Bohemian nobles, Vladislav abdicated in favor of his son Frederick; the Emperor cancelled the arrangement and appointed Sobeslav II, the son of that Sobeslav who preceded Vladislav II in the Bohemian duchy, as the successor to the dukedom. But he was so unpopular among his subjects, and made himself so troublesome to his neighbors, that not long after he was removed from his position. Vladislav’s son Frederick was now raised to the dukedom with the Emperor's approval and was duly enfeoffed. Peace was thus satisfactorily restored.


Frederick’s marriage with Beatrix of Burgundy


The German kings had never succeeded in making their authority felt in their Burgundian kingdom. Lothar had improved the position by bestowing on the powerful Swabian house of Zähringen the title and duties of rector Burgundiae (1127), and Duke Conrad had striven hard to secure the interests of Germany; but Conrad was dead (1152), and his son Berthold IV had not yet been able to establish his influence in Burgundy. Trouble arose in the county of Burgundy. Count Rainald died leaving only a daughter Beatrix; his brother Count William of Macon not only seized the custody of the inheritance but thrust the heiress into prison and tried to get her possessions permanently into his own hands. It was to the interest of Frederick no less than of Berthold that strong measures should be taken. At the Diet of Merseburg in 1152 the authority of Berthold as Rector was confirmed and extended; he was to be practically autonomous in Burgundy and Provence in the absence of the Emperor; for his part he agreed to assist Frederick in the projected Italian campaign with a Burgundian contingent of 500 heavy-armed knights and 50 archers. The difficulties with regard to the Count of Macon were to be settled by the judgment of the princes when Frederick should himself visit Burgundy in the following year. In accordance with this plan, in February 1153 Frederick held his court at Besançon; many Burgundian nobles assembled to do him homage, and among them William of Macon; but whether any action was taken against the latter on this occasion, or who retained possession of the countship of Burgundy, is a matter of uncertainty. It appears at any rate that the bargain made at Merseburg was not carried out. It was not till the troublesome Count William was dead that Frederick inaugurated any real change in his Burgundian relations, and the motive was a new one.

Some years previously, at Constance in 1153, the Emperor, under circumstances none too creditable it would seem, divorced his first wife Adelaide of Vohburg. He turned to Burgundy in 1156 with the object of making the rich and attractive Beatrix his wife. The pair were married in gala fashion at Whitsuntide in the town of Wurzburg. The lands which thus came under his sway by right of his wife became the nucleus of a real imperial power over Burgundy; an independent authority such as the Zähringen had possessed no longer suited the Emperor’s schemes, and the compact of 1152 remained unfulfilled; by way of compensation Berthold received the advocateship of the three sees of Lausanne, Geneva, and Sion.

The eventful Diet of Besançon in October 1157, with its brilliant gathering of representatives from all parts of Italy, from France, England, and Spain, was no doubt held with a view of impressing upon the inhabitants of the newly-acquired county a sense of the imperial power. The papal legates brought with them letters from Pope Hadrian complaining of an outrage which had been perpetrated against Eskil, the Archbishop of Lund, in imperial territory. The aged prelate, while journeying homewards after visiting the Pope, was attacked by bandits; his property was seized, he himself, after some rough handling, was earned off into captivity. Hadrian's letter complains of the fact that, although he had informed the Emperor of these distressing events, the perpetrators remained unpunished. The Pope continues by reminding Frederick of his previous kindness towards him in those famous words which hastened on the rupture of the friendly relations which till now had existed between Pope and Emperor. He speaks of “conferring the imperial crown” and of his willingness to bestow upon him “even greater beneficia if it were possible”, and concludes by imputing the blame for Frederick's lapses to evil counselors—a dark reference no doubt to the Chancellor, Rainald of Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne. Now the words conferre and beneficium have technical meanings: they are the terms used in feudal phraseology to connote the grant of a fief by a lord to his vassal. It will never be known what Hadrian himself meant to imply. If he intended his words to be interpreted in the sense that he had bestowed the Empire upon Frederick as a papal fief, there was an end to all amicable relations between the ecclesiastical and secular lords of Christendom. And such indeed was the interpretation put upon it by one of his envoys, in all likelihood Cardinal Roland: “From whom then does he hold it if not from the Pope?”. Feeling ran high among the outraged German princes, and Otto of Wittelsbach would have run the audacious prelate through the body had not Frederick himself interposed to prevent the shedding of blood. The Emperor was, however, deeply incensed; the legates were sent packing to Italy with all haste. He realized that a rupture with the Papacy was imminent, and took steps to secure the loyalty of the German Church by stating his case in a letter. He relates the episode of the Besançon diet; he tells how he has searched the baggage of the cardinals and has found many other letters of a similar tenor and even blank mandates, sealed by the papal Chancery, for the legates to fill in arbitrarily to supply a sanction for their nefarious work of despoiling the churches of Germany. Frederick concludes by refuting the papal claims of overlordship and by stating his own theory of the Empire: it is the doctrine of the two swords, the Empire is an independent and divinely instituted lordship held direct “from God alone by the election of the princes”. Frederick's attitude was upheld by the German bishops; their reply to Hadrian's letter soliciting their support, though moderate in tone, was an emphatic assertion of their belief in the Emperor's right. Hadrian did not feel sufficiently prepared for the contest which he had brought upon himself, more especially as he could not count on the support of the clergy beyond the Alps; more tactful legates were dispatched, who, after suffering capture and robbery at the hands of Alpine brigands, ultimately succeeded in reaching the Emperor's court at Augsburg. Frederick, like Hadrian, had no wish to precipitate a struggle. He was willing enough to listen to the conciliatory letter read out by Bishop Otto of Freising: beneficium, the letter stated, in Rome, as in the Scriptures, had not the technical feudal sense; it implied simply a bonum factum, a good deed; the crowning of the Emperor was admittedly “a good deed”. When we say “we have conferred” the crown, we merely mean “we have imposed” the crown upon the royal head. By such quibbles the Emperor’s anger was appeased, and the legates returned to their master loaded with gifts and messages of friendship.

Ever since the time of Gregory VII extreme papalists had been arguing the theory of the feudal subjection of the Empire to the Papacy. Pope Innocent II had caused the coronation of Lothar III to be commemorated in a picture hung in the palace of the Lateran. The Emperor was portrayed kneeling and receiving the crown from the enthroned Pontiff; below was inscribed this significant couplet:


Rex venit ante fores, iurans prius Urbis honores,

Post homo fit Papae, sumit quo dante coronam.


A picture and inscription so derogatory to the imperial dignity was, we need scarcely remark, destroyed at Barbarossa’s instance; but it revealed a tendency, and with this in our minds it is difficult to avoid the inference that the Curia, in dispatching the famous letter, had intended to set a subtle trap into which it was hoped the Emperor would fall and, by accepting the letter, would tacitly acknowledge the papal overlordship claimed in those both vague and technical phrases. Frederick's legal mind and his astute Chancellor Rainald were not to be so easily caught, and the Curia had to recede along the path of verbal sophistry.


Ecclesiastical policy


The royal influence in ecclesiastical matters had sensibly diminished during the reigns of Lothar and Conrad III. St Bernard had jealously guarded the Church’s interests, and even the rights left to the king by the Worms Concordat were by no means always enforced. Gerhoh of Reichersperg, the powerful champion of Church pretensions, was able to write in Conrad's time: “Thanks to God, episcopal elections now take place without the presence of the king”. But Bernard died in 1153, and a man was on the throne of Germany who would brook no interference with his rights or what he deemed to be his rights, would suffer no encroachments upon the position the law allowed him. Frederick was determined that his influence should be felt in the elections of bishops and abbots. Within two months of his accession he interfered, and interfered with success, in the election to the vacant see of Magdeburg. The votes of the Chapter were divided between the provost, Gerhard, and the dean, Azzo. Frederick himself appeared in the midst of the wrangling electors and recommended Wichmann, Bishop of Zeitz, who was duly chosen and immediately invested with the regalia of his see. It was a bold stroke, justified, it is true, so far as interference in a disputed election went, by the Concordat; but his action was open to attack on other grounds: it was contrary to Canon Law to translate a bishop without a licence from the Pope. Wichmann’s election, though upheld by the German bishops at Ratisbon, was denied at Rome. Eugenius III remained firm till his death in the summer of 1153; but his more compliant successor Anastasius IV yielded, and granted the pallium to the archbishop of Frederick's choice. But the king would not often disturb the electoral gathering with his presence; he would rather work through trustworthy representatives, or he would send letters indicative of his will. So on the death of Rainald he wrote to the electors of Cologne recommending his Chancellor Philip of Heinsberg as his successor, “him only and no other we wish to be elected without delay”; Arnold was appointed to the archbishopric of Treves in succession to Hillin “at the suggestion or advice of the Emperor”. The Concordat had also conceded to the king the right of deciding disputed elections—a right which Conrad had allowed to slip from his grasp. As we have seen, Frederick had exercised his authority in this respect in the case of the disputed election to the see of Magdeburg soon after his own accession, and had established a practice known as Devolutionsrecht to meet such cases, whereby the nomination devolved upon the Emperor; both candidates were set aside and a third, his own nominee, was chosen.

This policy, boldly and successfully carried out, completely changed the character of the German episcopate. The bishops of Frederick’s choice are men of practical experience, of administrative ability, men trained in the imperial Chancery; Philip, the Chancellor, is appointed to the metropolitan see of Cologne for his skill in statecraft. Frederick’s bishops are politicians first, and only in the second place good churchmen. But they are never­theless distinguished men—Rainald of Dassel and Christian of Mainz are notable examples; they are men capable of governing the extensive dioceses of Germany.

Moreover he made the weight of his influence felt in other spheres of the Church’s work; he claimed certain powers of jurisdiction over the clergy. In the peace ordinance of 1152 it is laid down that a clerk committed for breach of the peace shall be punished in the local lay court, that of the count of the district, and in case of disobedience he shall be deprived of his office and benefice. At Ulm in the same year it was decreed that a man accused of damaging the property of the Church shall only be punished if he is found guilty in the lay court. He clung tenaciously to the rights of regalia and spolia. A doctrine had been growing up that property once bestowed upon the Church belonged to the Church for ever without the regrant to a new bishop; this theory made the investiture of the regalia by the Emperor a matter of mere formality. Frederick determined that it should be a real thing, and heavily fined a bishop, Hartwig of Ratisbon, for disposing of the fiefs of his church before he had been duly invested with them. Further, he claimed that what he had granted he could like­wise take away from those who did not fulfill their duties of vassalship. So in 1154 he deprived Hartwig of Bremen and Ulrich of Halberstadt of the regalia for refusing to perform their military service on the Italian campaign. He appropriated the revenues of vacant churches and the moveable property of deceased bishops, and in the exercise of this last right, the ius spolii, caused much bitterness among the bishops; nevertheless, though strongly attacked by Urban III, the vexatious practice continued.


The German clergy and the Schism


These measures and these claims are characteristic of Frederick’s whole attitude towards the relations of Church and State; the exercise of a certain control over the affairs of the Church was part of his duty as Emperor. His ecclesiastical policy was essentially conservative: he wished only to recover and to retain that authority over the Church which had been wielded by his predecessors; he looked back to the tradition of the great Emperors of the past, of Henry III, of Otto I, perhaps even of Charles the Great whom he caused to be canonized in 1166. We are struck by the boldness of such a policy, but more surprising still is the ready compliance with which it was received by the German episcopate, and the comparatively mild treatment meted out by the Curia. The legates at Constance in March 1153 had no doubt their own axe to grind, but it is indeed extraordinary to find them a month or two later sanctioning the deposition of Henry of Mainz on the sole ground that he had opposed the election of Frederick Barbarossa; moreover the royal nominee, the king's own Chancellor Arnold, was raised to the thus vacated archbishopric without the slightest demur. Several others on purely political grounds were removed from their sees, Henry of Minden, Burchard of Eichstatt, Bernard of Hildesheim.

Frederick began his reign with a definite and reactionary Church policy, and he carried it through with remarkably little opposition. The Gregorian party could count but few sympathizers among the German bishops; those who, like Eberhard of Salzburg or Eberhard of Bamberg, approved of the hierarchical views of the Curia, were unfitted to organize and lead a great political party; they were not militant, they were not politicians, perhaps they were too loyal. At any rate Frederick in these early years was able to establish his control firmly over the German Church, firmly enough to be able to count on its support when at a later time he was to create a schism in Europe.

The schism, it is true, roused Eberhard of Salzburg to declare himself openly on the side of Alexander III, and his example was followed by the Bishops of Brixen and Gurk; but his influence did not penetrate beyond the boundaries of his province. The rest of Germany stood firmly by Frederick and his Pope Victor IV till the latter's death in April 1164. Then it was that the German clergy adopted a different attitude; the bishops, who had readily accepted Victor, found a difficulty in accepting Paschal III. Not only was his election outrageously uncanonical, but an obvious opportunity of ending the schism had been allowed to slip by owing to the headstrong action of Rainald of Dassel. Opposition to Frederick's policy was no longer confined to the province of Salzburg. The Archbishops of Mainz, of Treves, and of Magdeburg changed sides; the Archbishop of Cologne, the promoter of Paschal, stood alone among the metropolitans of Germany to champion the imperial cause. It required much compulsion and not a few depositions to bring the German clergy to heel. The oath of Wurzburg, May 1165, never to recognize Alexander or one of his party as Pope, was extorted from an unwilling clergy and a not over-zealous laity under threat of the severest punishments. But it was Frederick’s strong personality and his immense energy which carried the day in Germany. Resistance continued only in the province of Salzburg, and with this Frederick dealt with a high hand. The fiefs of the Church were confiscated and given to laymen; the Archbishop himself, Conrad, Eberhard’s successor, was declared an enemy to the Empire and was obliged to flee his diocese to the shelter of the monastery, of Admont where he died shortly after (1168). His place was taken by Adalbert, a son of King Vladislav of Bohemia and a nephew of the Emperor; when he too declared for Alexander, in spite of his personal relationship to Frederick, he lost his see; but he was a young man and lived to be reappointed to his archbishopric ten years later, when the struggle had long passed by, and to hold it till the end of the century.

Thus Frederick’s position in Germany was gradually retrieved; vacant sees were filled with staunch imperialists, and Frederick could once more enter Italy with the solid support of the German episcopate at his back. But if the German bishops stood loyally by Frederick, he stood loyally by them. He might have made a satisfactory, if not a glorious, peace in 1169 by the sacrifice of his bishops. Alexander refused to admit the validity of their ordination, while Frederick made it an essential prelimi­nary to peace. The negotiations of 1175 broke down on the same point. After Legnano, Wichmann of Magdeburg, Conrad of Worms, and, a little later, Christian of Mainz, proceeded to Anagni to discuss terms. Both Frederick and Alexander were anxious for peace; the Pope’s authority and prestige had suffered more from the schism than had the Emperor’s; peace was even more essential to the conqueror than to the conquered. The crucial question of the German bishops was again raised, and this time not in vain; the bishops were confirmed in their sees. The authority which Frederick had acquired over the German Church survived the peace of Venice unchanged. Frederick continued to control elections, to insist that no vacancy should be filled without his consent, to exact homage and the oath of fealty from the bishop-elect before consecration; he continued to claim and to exercise the right of nomination in cases of disputed elections. In one instance of this kind Frederick was near being beaten; in 1183 the electors to the archbishopric of Treves were divided; the Emperor supported one candidate, the other appealed to Rome, and after a struggle won his case. But even on this occasion Frederick eventually had his way, and the papal candidate had to give place to one who met with the Emperor's approval. So Frederick’s ecclesiastical policy from the beginning to the end of his reign was successful. Nevertheless, it is open to much criticism: it was too conservative, too reactionary; it took no account of changed conditions; it could be maintained by a strong personality such as Frederick possessed, but it could not last. The forces to which Frederick's predecessors had submitted, and against which Frederick himself had striven, would revive ere long and ultimately triumph.


Rainald of Dassel


That Frederick weathered the many storms to which the papal schism gave rise was due in large measure to his own personality and force of character; but a share, and a large share in the success of the Emperor’s policy must be set to the credit of his Chancellor, Rainald of Dassel. The well-built, thick-set figure of Rainald is ever at the Emperor’s hand. He was a man of learning and of great statesmanlike qualities; in character headstrong, but generous, cheerful, and affable. Trained, like his great opponent Alexander III, in the schools of Paris, and with practical ex­perience gained as provost of the cathedral churches of Hildesheim and Munster, he was raised in 1156 to the office of Imperial Chancellor. Henceforth he devoted all his energy and all the ability with which he was so plentifully endowed to the service of the Empire. He is diplomat, administrator, organizer of the imperial policy; he is a good soldier too, fearless and unhesitating in battle. His obstinacy of purpose carried his master through the difficult crises which the schism engendered, carried him farther perhaps than he would himself have liked to go. Had it not been for the influence of Rainald the schism might well have died with Victor IV in 1164; it is perhaps idle to speculate whether, had Rainald not succumbed to the pestilence in 1167, Legnano might not have been an imperial victory, the peace of Venice an imperial triumph.

It is Rainald who is entrusted with the delicate negotiations which brought about the numerous changes in the imperial foreign relations during the schism. Frederick was guided in his policy by the attitude adopted by the European powers towards the schism. Conrad III’s last efforts had been directed towards a close understanding with the Byzantine Emperor, and on his death-bed he had urged his successor to continue this policy. The interests of both Empires were alike threatened by the Norman kingdom. Frederick, though less eager than Conrad, was not averse to the alliance, and in 1153 he even sent ambassadors to Constantinople with proposals for a marriage with a Byzantine princess. On the other hand neither Pope nor Emperor wished to see a revival of Greek influence in South Italy; and this was soon manifestly revealed as Manuel's intention. By the compact of Constance (1153), therefore, both Pope and Emperor bound themselves to concede to Manuel no Italian territory and to expel him if he should attempt a landing. This was virtually the end of the friendly relations between the Eastern and Western Empires. It was followed by the renewal of the Papal-Norman alliance, the victory of the Normans over the Greeks, and, as a result, a truce between these two powers. The Pope and the Eastern Emperor, who at the outset of the reign were allied with Frederick against the Normans, were now allied with the Normans against Frederick. With the schism came the need for allies. The Emperor therefore turned his attention to the West of Europe, to the Kings of France and England.

Louis VII and Henry II were keen rivals; neither was anxious for a German alliance or to recognize an imperial Pope, but still less did either wish to see the other reap the advantage which such an alliance would yield. So their attitude remained undecided; the attempt of Henry of Troves, Count of Champagne, to bring Frederick and Louis together on the Saone (1162) broke down. The quarrel of Henry II and Thomas of Canterbury made the prospect of an English alliance more hopeful; in 1165 Rainald of Dassel visited England and succeeded in bringing about the desired result; the English ambassadors at the Wurzburg diet went so far as to promise recognition to Paschal. But the alliance served little useful purpose and was soon at an end. More important and more permanent results emanated from the second attempt on the part of the Count of Champagne to bring about an alliance between the Hohenstaufen and the Capetians; a meeting of the two monarchs actually took place on 14 February 1171 between Toul and Vaucouleurs. The friendly relations established on this occasion matured later (1187) into a close alliance. Louis VII was now dead, but his son and successor Philip Augustus met Frederick in a conference near Mouzon on the Meuse and there the alliance was sealed. It was a natural one; both kings had over-powerful vassals to cope with, and these vassals, Henry II of England and Henry the Lion of Saxony, were united by a marriage tie, the importance of which was disclosed after the fall of the Saxon Duke. It was to endure, in spite of rash attempts of King Henry to interfere in French affairs on behalf of Philip's enemies in 1185-6, till the joint forces of Welf and Angevin were finally shattered on the field of Bouvines in 1214.


Henry the Lion and the Wends


While Frederick was engaged in fighting for his imperial rights in the Lombard plains, Henry the Lion was building up a strong, well-ordered state in the north-east of Germany. The conquest of the Wendish lands beyond the Elbe, which had never hitherto been successfully achieved, was now systematically undertaken. For the first time in history this country became permanently subjected to German rule. Instead of the haphazard plundering raids, useless burnings, and wholesale massacres which characterized the border warfare of the past, Henry employed the most up-to-date methods of military science; he had learnt at the sieges of Milan and Crema how a siege should be conducted, and the strongholds of the Slavs could not stand against the new forms of siege-engines and battering-rams which he applied to their walls; organized campaigns rapidly put an end to such resistance as they were able to make in the open. They had no choice but to submit or to retire into the swamp and forest land of the interior. There were of course outbreaks of rebellion. In Henry’s absence in the south the Slavs would strike a blow for their lost independence, would take to their ships and ravage the coasts of Denmark; but the years 1160-1162 saw the last serious attempt to throw off the German yoke. In the summer of 1160 Henry crossed the Elbe, while his ally Waldemar advanced with Danish troops from the coast; the Slav strongholds, Ilow, Mecklenburg, Schwerin, and Dobin were abandoned and destroyed; the Slavs themselves retired inland as the German army advanced. At Mecklenburg the sons of Niclot, the chief of the Obotrites, attempted to resist, but they were easily defeated, and Niclot himself fell in a skirmish with a foraging party. So ended the campaign of that year. But the sons of the fallen chief, Pribislav and Vratislav, were yet to give trouble. Of their father's possessions the fortress of Werla alone had been restored to them; the rest Henry had bestowed upon his followers, the most conspicuous of whom, Guncelin of Hagen, became Count of Schwerin, and it was against him that the attack of 1161 was in the main directed. Count Adolf with his Holsteiners penetrated into the swampy waste whither Pribislav had withdrawn, while Henry and Guncelin attacked Vratislav in his fortress of Werla. After an obstinate resistance the place fell into Henry's hands, and with it Vratislav whom Henry retained a captive at Brunswick. His brother held his own for another year. In February 1162 he attacked Mecklenburg, captured and burnt the town, massacred the garrison, enslaved the women and children. The prompt action of Guncelin of Hagen alone prevented further calamities; marching straight for Ilow, the place next threatened, he frustrated the attempts of the Slav prince and compelled him to retreat. Vratislav was hanged for complicity in the plans of his elder brother. Then Henry himself, supported by many of the neighboring princes, Waldemar, Albert the Bear, and Adolf of Schauenburg, took the field. The previous tactics were again adopted: the Danish king attacked by sailing up the river Peene, Henry by inarching across country against the fortress of Demmin. An advance guard was sent forward under Adolf, Guncelin, and Christian of Oldenburg. The necessary precautions were, however, neglected, and a catastrophe followed. On the morning of 6 July, the camp was surprised and, in spite of a brave defense, in which Count Adolf lost his life, the Slavs were temporarily successful. But while the victors were scattered through the camp in search of booty, the German troops rallied under their leaders, made a counter-attack, and little by little regaining the lost ground, finally turned the disorganized ranks of the enemy to flight. Henry arrived in the evening to find the day which had begun so disastrously ended in a brilliant success. Having joined forces with Waldemar, the duke followed up the victory and drove the Slavs, who had fired the fortress of Demmin and retired inland, to surrender. Thus ended the last serious campaign which Henry had to make on his eastern frontier. But its success was overcast by a great blow, the death of Count Adolf of Schauenburg. He it was who had been responsible for much of the development in the Wendish country. Holstein under his organization had prospered as it had never done before; however, the young colonies no longer needed his firm hand and his watchful care; they were now, thanks to him, strong enough to continue their growth unaided.

Christianity too made rapid progress. The Church in Slavonia had passed through many vicissitudes. The see of Oldenburg, founded by Otto I in 968, was divided by Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, into three parts, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg, and Ratzeburg (1052-1054); but, shortly after, the three bishoprics became vacant and remained so for 84 years until they were re-established by Hartwig of Bremen in 1149. Their existence nevertheless continued to be precarious, and it was only when at the Diet of Goslar in 1154 Henry, in spite of the protests of Archbishop Hartwig, was granted the right of investiture to the three bishoprics and to any others which should be founded in the Wendish country hereafter, that substantial headway could be made. This imperial con­cession moreover later received papal confirmation. That the administration of Church and State should be controlled by one hand was almost essential to the success of a country in the earliest stages of its civilization, and henceforth the missionary work in Slavonia made steady progress. Henry was content not merely with sanctioning appointments made by the Chapter, but himself took the initiative; Gerold, for example, Vicelin’s successor at Oldenburg, was the duke's chaplain and formerly scholasticus and a canon at Brunswick. The task of this new bishop was not an easy one; he arrived at Oldenburg to find, instead of the flourishing town of Vicelin’s day, a deserted ruin; a half-destroyed chapel alone stood to mark the once busy missionary centre. There can moreover have been little real enthusiasm among the Slavs for the new religion. Life was difficult; taxation was onerous; the new civilization brought with it new burdens. Henry was a hard task-master; obedience to him was all they understood. “There may be a God in Heaven”, Niclot answered to Henry’s exhortations, “he is your God. You be our God, and we are satisfied. You worship Him, we will worship you”. Nevertheless, in spite of all, progress was made; the churches were rebuilt, and received generous endowment from Henry's treasury.

Moreover there was peace in the land. Helmold, the simple parish priest of Bosau, who chronicled the events that were passing in the country around him, speaks with unbounded enthusiasm of the great duke and of the beneficial results of his energy and enterprise. “He says peace, and they obey; he commands war, and they say: we are ready”. So he writes at the conclusion of his Chronicle of the Slavs. And again, “All the region of the Slavs from the Eider, which is the boundary of the kingdom of the Danes, extending between the Baltic Sea and the Elbe through long tracts of country to Schwerin, once bristling with snares and almost a desert, is now, thanks to God, become one united Saxon colony, and cities and towns are built there, churches and the number of Christ’s servants are multiplied”. These words contain no exaggeration. Westphalian, Frisian, and Flemish colonists had now firmly established themselves in the newly-acquired territory; the country was administered and kept at peace from strongholds such as Schwerin, Malchow, and Ilow, fortressed and garrisoned by German troops. Even in distant Pomerania a significant advance was made when in 1163 it became subject to Henry; German influence began to penetrate deep, and the Cistercians and the Premonstratensians successfully pushed forward the work of conversion.


Foundation and prosperity of Lübeck


Of the numerous activities of Henry the Lion perhaps his patronage of commercial and municipal development had the most lasting results. In this direction, it must be admitted, his policy was often carried out at the expense of others. The new city of Lübeck, founded by Count Adolf of Schauenburg in 1143, was already showing signs of its future commercial greatness and was rapidly absorbing the trade of the Baltic; the duke's town of Bardowiek suffered in consequence. Henry demanded a half-share in the profits of the market of the city; the demand not unnaturally was refused, and the market of Lübeck was closed by the duke's order (1152). A fire destroying the greater part of the city completed its ruin. At the request of the citizens a new town was built for them in the neighborhood, called after its founder Löwenstadt. But the narrowness of its harbor, which could admit only the smallest ships, hampered its trade, and the town failed. Nevertheless it served its purpose, for Count Adolf was forced to yield to the duke’s will. The abandoned city was rebuilt under the auspices of Henry, the burghers returned, and trade once more flourished in the port of Lübeck. Under Henry’s patronage the town developed with extraordinary rapidity; in 1160, by the removal thither of the seat of the Bishop of Oldenburg, Lübeck acquired an ecclesiastical, in addition to its commercial, importance. In Bavaria also Henry stimulated trade, and it was to a trade dispute between the duke and Bishop Otto of Freising that Bavaria owes the early prosperity of its modern capital. The rich supplies of salt from the Reichenhall mines were carried along the road from Salzburg to Augsburg and crossed the Isar at Vehringen, a little town belonging to Bishop Otto, who drew a handsome revenue from the tolls. By the building of a bridge at Munich, then an insignificant village, and by the destruction of the old one, Henry not only diverted the trade through his territory and the revenues to his treasury, but raised the little place to a city of the first importance. The bishop’s remonstrances went unheeded by the Emperor, who sanctioned Henry’s arrangements at the court at Magdeburg in 1158.

But Henry’s rule threatened the independence of the nobility; for he did not confine his almost sovereign power to the frontier and to the newly-won Wendish lands, but exercised it in Saxony itself. The traditional policy of the Billung dukes had been to interfere very little in the affairs of the duchy except on the border and in their own personal posses­sions. Henry, regardless of tradition, interfered everywhere, strained the use of his jurisdiction to the utmost limits, and attempted even to transform the countships into administrative offices under his immediate control. He sought further to increase his power and possessions by claiming the inheritance of counts who left no direct male heir. As early as 1144 he had thus laid claim to the inheritance of the murdered Count Rudolf of Stade, territory of the first importance to him, for it commanded both banks of the mouth of the Elbe, but by so doing he involved himself in a life-long feud with the count’s brother, Hartwig, afterwards Arch­bishop of Bremen; he laid claim to the lands of Christian of Oldenburg despite the claims of the count’s son who was a minor (1167); to those of the Count of Asseburg despite the claims of the count’s daughter (1170). Had it not been for the imperial support, Henry could not have stood against the opposition he was creating; but for the first twenty-five years of the reign Emperor and duke were the best of friends. The success of their respective activities depended largely on this mutual understanding; Frederick, relieved of the burden, which had borne heavily on his predecessors, of protecting the eastern frontier of his kingdom, of maintaining the peace of Germany, could devote himself whole-heartedly to his Italian policy; Henry with the free hand allowed him by the Emperor could increase and consolidate his unrivalled position north of the Alps.

Nevertheless the Saxon princes were not prepared to stand idle when their independence was at stake. Conspiracies were common, and when the Emperor left for Italy in the autumn of 1166 the struggle began in earnest. Many princes and bishops were united against him: Wichmann of Magdeburg and Herman of Hildesheim; Louis, the Landgrave of Thuringia, and Henry's old associate in the Slav campaigns, Christian of Oldenburg; and there was of course Henry's keenest rival in East Saxony, the Ascanian, Albert the Bear, and his four sons, each of whom was to rise to a powerful position after the death of their father four years later. Fighting at first centred round Haldensleben, Goslar, and Bremen; with these attacks Henry was well able to cope, but the prospect looked more serious when the Archbishops of Magdeburg and Cologne joined in an offensive and defensive alliance directed at his overthrow. The sudden death of Rainald in Italy in 1167 and of Hartwig in the following year relieved the situation, and the return of Frederick settled the matter in Henry's favor. For the moment there was peace; Albert the Bear, the leader of the opposition among the East Saxon princes, died in 1170, so that Henry could safely leave the charge of his affairs to his English wife Matilda, daughter of Henry II, whom he had married in 1168 at Brunswick, and could set off on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (1172).

On Henry’s return to Germany there are no obvious signs of a change of attitude in his relations with the Emperor. They meet frequently, and apparently on cordial terms of friendship. There were nevertheless grounds for friction. Old Welf VI, since the loss of his son by the pestilence in Italy (1167), thinking that in his advanced age he could make better use of money than of land, resolved to sell his inheritance. He offered it first to Henry who, though accepting the proposal readily enough, was tardy in the matter of payment; Welf therefore approached his other nephew, Frederick, who concluded the bargain forthwith. Henry was thus deprived of a rich portion of the estates of his family, lands on both sides of the Alps, on which he had surely counted. This was a grievance but not the only one that rankled in the heart of Henry. Frederick had attempted, it was said, to get into his hands the disposal of Henry’s inheritance in the event of the latter's death in the Holy Land. Nor was the bitterness all on one side; the Emperor too had cause to complain of his cousin. Henry had been drawn into relations with foreign powers who were not in sympathy with Frederick’s Italian policy—with the Eastern Emperor Manuel who was aiding the Lombards, with Henry II of England, his father-in-law, who had recognized Alexander III.


The meeting at Chiavenna


So the breach widens. The collapse of the great Welf power was at hand. A campaign to Italy was arranged for the autumn of the year 1174, and in this campaign Henry took no part. Frederick, whose Lombard adversaries had grown in strength, had become more united, more stubbornly resolved to resist to the last, could ill afford to dispense with the troops which Henry could bring into the field. It is unlikely that he willingly left the duke in Germany even for so important a task as the maintenance of peace; nor in the circumstances was Henry, surrounded as he was by personal enemies, very likely to succeed in this. The two met for the last time on terms of friendship at Ratisbon in May 1174. Their next meeting, if indeed it is historical, is the famous interview at Chiavenna. This is altogether a very mysterious episode. The chroniclers who refer to it are so confused in their knowledge that many scholars are led to the conclusion that the whole thing is a myth, a legend spread by ballad singers after Henry's death in 1195; and their contention is so far supported in that we possess no account of it written near the time it was supposed to have taken place. With the exception of Gilbert of Mons, who probably wrote in 1196, and the Marbach Annals, which are attributed to the year 1184, all our authorities belong to the first quarter of the thirteenth century. Vet it is difficult to understand how such a widely, though inaccurately, known story could have arisen entirely without foundation.

It was after his army had suffered severe losses at the siege of Alessandria that Frederick in the spring of 1176 sought a personal interview with his cousin. They met at Chiavenna, and the Emperor begged for the other’s assistance; he even humbled himself before his proud subject, for, it seems, he realized that he must make amends for something, presumably his conduct while Henry was in Palestine. Henry, on the other hand, felt himself in a position to dictate terms, and he demanded the restoration of Goslar, which he had ceded to the Emperor as the price of peace in 1168, as a fief; the terms were too heavy, and the two parted in enmity. So runs the story and, in spite of the difficulties, we may accept the substance of it. Moreover it has an important bearing on what followed. Though the refusal of help and the subsequent trial cannot be regarded as cause and effect, it is impossible to deny the influence of the one on the other. The breach between the former friends was now almost, if not quite, irreparable; the Emperor would no longer arbitrate in the duke’s quarrels as a friend, not even as an impartial judge, but as a man determined on the duke’s ruin: and it was a quarrel between the duke and the Saxon princes which gave rise to the famous trial.

The quarrel centred round the bishopric of Halberstadt. Its Bishop, Ulrich, as long ago as 1160 had been deprived of his see for the attitude he had adopted in the papal schism; for he had recognized Alexander III. His place had been filled by one Gero, a close friend of the duke. By the terms of the agreement reached at Anagni and confirmed at Venice, Ulrich was restored to his old see, and he immediately set about undoing all the acts of the usurper; he claimed back the fiefs of his church which had been granted to Henry; he dismissed from their benefices the clergy appointed by Gero under the duke's patronage. Henry was engaged in a campaign in Pomerania, and was besieging the fortress of Demmin, when the news of these events reached him. Having hurriedly concluded a truce with the Slavs, he hastened back to Saxony. The last move of the bishop was still more threatening; on a hill in the near neighborhood of Halberstadt he built a fortress, obviously as a basis of operations against the duke. Twice was the stronghold destroyed and twice rebuilt. A command from the Emperor in Italy, bidding the princes to refrain from repairing the obnoxious fortress, for the moment restored peace. But Henry’s position was becoming daily more hazardous; a portion of his army had suffered a severe defeat and the loss of more than four hundred prisoners at the hands of Bernard of Anhalt; then early in the year 1178 an offensive and defensive alliance was concluded against him at Cassel between Ulrich and the formidable Philip of Cologne. The duke's castles and lands in Westphalia were attacked and plundered, and it was only with difficulty that Archbishop Wichmann of Magdeburg succeeded in preventing further hostilities till the Emperor’s return. He returned towards the end of October, and both parties laid their complaints before him at a diet held at Spires on 11 November 1178.


Proceedings against Henry the Lion


We are now launched into a sea of uncertainty and doubt. Innumerable questions arise: What was the Emperor’s attitude? What were the grounds of complaint against the duke? What course did the proceedings follow? According to what law was he judged? Where and when was the case heard? All and each of these questions are capable of more than one answer. The only incontrovertible authority is the document drawn up at the Diet of Gelnhausen on 13 April 1180, which, while having as its main object the partition of the Saxon duchy, gives an official account of the course of the trial. This too is not free from criticism. The original manuscript is in parts wholly illegible; we have to rely on a transcript made in 1306; it is open to a variety of interpretations according to the way in which it is punctuated. But still it tells us much that we wish to know; it makes it clear that there were two distinct legal processes, one according to customary law, landrecht, one according to feudal law, lehnrecht. In the former there is a single summons, the Swabian princes—Henry's tribal peers—are the judges, the sentence is the ban; in the latter there are three citations, the princes without differentiation of tribe are the judges, the punishment is the loss of fiefs. The document tells us further that it was the complaints of the princes which initiated the proceedings; for Henry “had sorely oppressed the liberty of the Church and of the princes of the Empire by seizing their possessions and by threatening their rights”.

He was summoned to Worms on 13 January 1179 to answer to the charges but failed to appear, and a new hearing was arranged for 24 June at Magdeburg. Here, as Henry was again absent, the ban was pronounced against him according to customary law. Now new charges are brought into court: Henry in spite of warnings has continued his aggressions against the princes; a Saxon noble, Dietrich of Landsberg, declared that at Henry's instigation the Lusatians had made an incursion into his territory, and was prepared to prove his assertion by battle—a challenge which Henry refused; Henry had shown contempt of the imperial commands. It is now “evident high treason”, and the suit according to feudal law goes forward. A second hearing was fixed for 17 August at Kaina, and a third for 13 January 1180 at Wurzburg, where—on the ground of contumacy, the repeated neglect of the imperial summons—the sentence, the loss of his fiefs, fell. We are told that Henry made an attempt to secure a reconciliation, perhaps the removal of the ban, after the Diet of Magdeburg.

A meeting between Henry and the Emperor apparently took place at Haldensleben, where the price of peace was set at 5000 marks; Henry refused to pay so large a sum, and the negotiations broke down. The law therefore took its course. At the Diet of Gelnhausen, 13 April 1180, the duchy of Saxony was partitioned. Westphalia, severed from the duchy, was granted with ducal powers to the Archbishop Philip of Cologne; the remainder, the portion east of the Weser, with the title of Duke of Saxony, was conferred upon the Ascanian prince, Bernard of Anhalt, the younger son of Albert the Bear. But Henry in the course of his career had accumulated a number of Church fiefs in his hands; these now reverted to the bishops, leaving to the new duke but a comparatively small portion of Henry's extensive territorial possessions in east and middle Saxony. In the Bavarian capital, Ratisbon, a diet was held on 24 June 1180. Its object was twofold: first, as a year and a day had elapsed since the publication of the ban at Magdeburg, Henry’s complete outlawry, the oberacht, was pronounced, and a campaign to give effect to the sentence was arranged to open on 25 July. Secondly, Henry’s Bavarian duchy and fiefs were declared forfeit. Three months later (16 September), at Altenburg, Bavaria was subjected to a treatment similar to that of Saxony. The March of Styria was completely detached and raised to the position of an independent duchy under Ottokar, its former margrave; the dukedom thus diminished in extent was conferred upon Otto of Wittelsbach.

No single event in the Middle Ages so profoundly altered the map of Germany as the fall of Henry the Lion. In place of the four or five large compact duchies, the conspicuous feature of the Germany of the Saxon and Salian Emperors, we have now some few duchies, relatively small, and innumerable independent principalities, little and great, scattered broadcast over the country. The duke moreover no longer stands in a place apart, unrivalled in his wealth, power, and magnificence; there are others as powerful as or more powerful than he : the Margrave of Brandenburg, the Landgrave of Thuringia, the Count-Palatine of the Rhine. The day of the tribal duchy has passed away.

Henry was condemned but not subdued; all this time, while the long and dreary trial was going forward, warfare between the ducal and the anti-ducal party had continued unceasingly, and fortune had on the whole favoured Henry. Halberstadt had been captured and burnt by the duke's men, and its Bishop Ulrich made prisoner; the Archbishops of Magdeburg and Cologne had laid siege to the duke's town of Haldensleben, but in spite of every effort they were forced after some months to abandon the attempt to take it. A truce gave both parties a much-needed rest during the early months of the next year, 1180; but in April fighting began again, and still Henry was successful. Though he failed to capture Goslar, to which he laid siege, he gained an important victory over an army led by Louis of Thuringia and Bernard of Anhalt at Weissensee on the Unstrut, pursued the enemy as far as Muhlhausen, and returned triumphantly, with more than four hundred prisoners, among them the Landgrave Louis himself, to Brunswick. At the duke's bidding, the obedient Wends swept ravaging through the Lausitz. On 30 July Bishop Ulrich of Halberstadt, the source of much of Henry's trouble, died, and two days later came the news of a considerable victory in Westphalia. There a number of discontented vassals rose against their feudal lord; a strong army under Henry's old associates in the Slav campaigns, the younger Adolf of Schauenburg, Bernard of Ratzeburg, and Guneclin of Schwerin, joined battle with them at Halrefeld, and after hard fighting utterly routed them.

But this was the last of Henry’s triumphs. The Emperor himself had taken the field in July; after capturing Lichtenburg, an important stronghold of the duke, he held a diet at Werla whence he issued a decree commanding Henry's vassals to join his standard. A large number of desertions was the result. Henry moreover had failed in his attempts to secure foreign aid; he had approached Denmark and England. But his old ally Waldemar was now strong enough to rest on his own resources; his dependence on Henry was irksome, and he was only too glad to stand by and watch the discomfiture of his former master. Henry II of England, though full of good intentions towards his son-in-law, was not prepared single-handed to entangle himself in so large an enterprise as war with the Emperor would entail. One after another Henry’s supporters fell away and surrendered their castles; one after another his strongholds opened their gates to the Emperor. The burghers of Lübeck put up a gallant fight, for they owed much of their prosperity to the duke's paternal care. But Waldemar of Denmark had now openly declared himself on Frederick’s side; between the Danish fleet and the German troops the town was so closely invested that further resistance was useless; the citizens, not however before they had obtained the express permission of their patron, surrendered their city. The fall of Lübeck crippled Henry’s resources. He attempted to negotiate, he attempted to make a last stand at Stade; but the time had passed for negotiations, and the town of Stade fell into the hands of Philip of Cologne; it remained only for him to submit. He appeared at a diet held at Erfurt, bowed himself before the Emperor, who characteristically raised him from the ground and kissed him amid tears. He was granted the two cities of his patrimony, Brunswick and Luneburg, but it was considered, and, as events proved, with justice, unsafe to allow him to remain in Germany. He was therefore banished under oath not to return without Frederick’s leave. The terms were hard, and foreign powers viewed with alarm the total collapse of the great Welf power. Henry II of England. Pope Alexander III, Philip Augustus, and Philip, Count of Flanders, used their endeavors to persuade the Emperor to a more lenient course; and their efforts were not without success: the term of banishment was limited to three years and a portion of his revenues was allotted to the exiled duke. So in the summer of 1182 Henry with his family left Brunswick to spend the years of banishment at the court of his father-in-law in Normandy and England.


The Diet of Mayence


For the general peace of the country it was no doubt better that Henry should be out of Germany, but it is none the less true that his overthrow and banishment caused a serious set-back to his work on the eastern frontier. Duke Bernard had neither the ability nor the resources necessary to carry it on effectively; he had little influence among the East Saxon nobility, who quarreled among themselves and threw the country into anarchy. “In those days there was no king in Israel”, laments Arnold of Lübeck, “and each man ruled in the manner of a tyrant”. Denmark took the opportunity to reassert its independence; Canute VI, who had succeeded his father Waldemar in May 1182, soon gained ascendency in Holstein and Mecklenburg; he defeated Bogislav of Pomerania and made him his vassal; finally he refused his homage to Frederick.

But these disasters were confined to the north-east corner of Germany; elsewhere the Emperor’s power and prestige were greater than they had ever been. Here the chronicler tells a different tale; “all the tumult of war has been stilled”, and the brilliant festival of Mainz at Whitsuntide 1184 bears testimony to the success of the Emperor’s rule. In the broad meadows on the banks of the Rhine a vast city of wooden palaces and bright-colored tents was erected to house the multitude of princes and foreign envoys that came thither to witness the knighting of the two elder sons of Frederick, King Henry and Duke Frederick of Swabia. For three days the large company was entertained as the Emperor’s guests with festivities and tournaments. To Henry, thus ceremoniously knighted, was entrusted the regency during the Emperor’s absence (1184-5). Born in 1165, he was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle when but four years old; now at the age of nineteen he was called to a position of the highest responsibility and difficulty; and if his youthful efforts at administration were not entirely successful, it was because unaided he had to deal with problems which might well have baffled more experienced rulers. There was no Rainald of Cologne, no Christian of Mainz, no statesman-bishop on whom he could rely for assistance. Philip of Cologne, the most powerful man at the moment, was already adopting a hostile attitude towards the crown, which was soon to be aggravated into open hostility when the young king early in 1185 imposed a fine upon him for breaking the peace in a feud with the burghers of Duisburg.


Quarrel with Pope Urban III


A dispute over the archbishopric at Trèves made matters worse. Two candidates claimed to have been elected to the see in May 1183—Rudolf of Wied, provost of the Cathedral, and the Archdeacon Folmar. Frederick summoned the electors to a diet at Constance, on the advice of the princes ordered a fresh election, and subsequently invested the successful candidate Rudolf with the regalia. Folmar, who had originally received a majority of the votes, vigorously protested against the whole proceeding, against Frederick's interference, and most of all against the election of his rival. He appealed to the Pope, and even used armed force to keep Rudolf from entering upon his duties; in Germany his cause was championed by Philip of Cologne, Rudolfs by King Henry who impetuously took up arms against the supporters of Folmar. Pope Lucius III hesitated to give a decision on the appeal; but his successor, Frederick's old enemy Archbishop Humbert of Milan, as Pope Urban III, immediately confirmed the appointment of the anti-imperialist candidate and consecrated Folmar. Henry, by way of retaliation, was sent on a plundering expedition into the papal patrimony. The Trèves election dispute in this way brought the Emperor once more into hostility with the Curia. Moreover other issues were involved: the still undecided claim to the inheritance of the Countess Matilda, and the coronation of his son. To this last demand both Lucius and Urban were deaf. It was not possible, they said, that two Emperors should rule the Empire at one and the same time. Frederick therefore took the matter into his own hands; at the feast which celebrated at Milan the nuptials of Henry and Constance of Sicily he had his son crowned King of Italy at the hands of Ulrich, the Patriarch of Aquileia, and associated him with himself in the government of the Empire.

Philip, Archbishop of Cologne, formerly the zealous champion of the imperial cause against Alexander III, had now, as we have seen, set himself at the head of the opposition to Frederick and his son in Germany. Having, on the fall of Henry the Lion, acquired the duchy of Westphalia, he had become a territorial prince with interests of his own to follow, interests which clashed with those of the Empire. He had behind him, moreover, a considerable party; many of the bishops, especially those of his metropolitan diocese, sympathized with the attitude he had adopted in the papal-imperial controversy, and more especially was this the case when Urban III retaliated against the Emperor by an attack on the latter’s rights to the regalia and spolia, vexatious rights which they would gladly see abolished. Many of the lay nobles, on the other hand, saw in his policy the advancement of particularist as opposed to national or imperial interests; so we find enrolled among Philip’s partisans Louis, the Landgrave of Thuringia, and Adolf, Count of Holstein. For foreign allies he could reckon of course on the Curia, perhaps on Denmark and England. To the latter court he had paid a visit apparently with the object of arranging a marriage between Prince Richard and a daughter of the Emperor; it is not impossible that he used the occasion to come to an understanding with the banished Henry the Lion at the same time; however, when the duke returned from exile about Michaelmas 1185, he seems to have lived peaceably at Brunswick without taking any active steps to support the great coalition which was gathering against the Emperor.

The situation was serious; but Frederick was equal to the occasion. He hurried back from Italy in the summer of 1186. Having tried without success to settle matters at a personal interview with Philip, he summoned a diet to Gelnhausen in December, himself addressed the bishops in a long speech in which he expatiated on his grievances, especially regarding the Treves election, and finally won them over to his way of thinking. Conrad of Mayence, on behalf of the German clergy, made known to the Pope the result of this assembly. Urban retorted with threats of every kind, but he died suddenly while journeying from Verona to Venice in the following autumn, 20 October 1187, stubborn but unsuccessful. Philip, but now the head of a dangerous coalition, was gradually being isolated from his previous allies till he stood almost alone. He was already deprived of the support of the Pope and of the German bishops; the value of his allies on the lower Rhine, the Count of Flanders and the Duke of Brabant, was counteracted when at Toul Frederick won the services of Count Baldwin of Hainault by the recognition of his claims to the inheritance of Namur; finally the Emperor entered into a close alliance with Philip Augustus against Henry II of England which disposed of any hopes Philip of Cologne may have entertained of help from that quarter. His refusal to present himself to answer to the charges brought against him at the imperial court at Worms in August and at Strasbourg in December 1187 alienated his German supporters; further resistance would have been useless. Cardinal Henry of Albano, the zealous preacher of the Third Crusade, exerted his influence in the interests of peace, and finally Philip appeared before the Emperor at Mainz (March 1188), cleared himself on oath of the charges raised against him, and was restored to the good graces of Frederick.

With the death of Urban III all hindrances in the path of Frederick’s Church policy were withdrawn. Urban’s successors were compliant to the imperial will. Their energies were devoted to arousing Christendom to action for the recovery of Jerusalem, which on 3 October 1187 had fallen into the hands of Saladin. Gregory VIII in a busy pontificate of less than two months restored peace and friendly relations with the Emperor; Clement III deposed Folmar from the archbishopric of Treves, and Henry in his turn restored the papal lands which he had occupied in the course of the struggle with Urban.


Preparations for the Third Crusade


For Frederick, as for many great men in history, the East had a singular fascination. After the battle of Legnano he is said to have exclaimed: “Happier Alexander, who saw not Italy, happier I, had I been drawn to Asia”. It was appropriately on the fourth Sunday in Lent, named from the introit Laetare Hierusalem, that Frederick pledged himself to recover the Holy City by taking the cross from the Cardinal-bishop of Albano (Mayence, 27 March). His example was followed by his second son Frederick, Duke of Swabia, by Leopold of Austria, and by large numbers of other princes both lay and ecclesiastical. Frederick had accompanied his uncle the Emperor Conrad III on the Second Crusade, and had experienced the mismanagement of that ill-starred expedition. He therefore took every precaution; he admitted into his army only those who could maintain themselves at their own cost for a two years’ campaign. He wrote to the King of Hungary, to the Emperor of Constantinople, to the Sultan of Iconium, demanding an unmolested passage through their respective dominions. He wrote even to Saladin requiring the restitution of the lands he had seized, and warning him in the event of his refusal to prepare for war within a twelvemonth of the first of November following. Saladin in a respectful but boastful letter accepted the Emperor’s challenge, and the latter hurried forward his preparations for the expedition.

His son Henry, already crowned king and Emperor-elect, was to take charge of affairs in the West during his absence; but Frederick was anxious to remove as many difficulties as he could from the path of the young and inexperienced ruler. Henry the Lion, who since his return from banishment had remained tolerably peaceable at Brunswick, was now showing signs of restiveness; he was still, though in advanced years, active and ambitious, too ambitious to rest quietly content with the humble position which remained to him; there was not a little discord, we are told, between him and his supplanter, Duke Bernard. At a diet at Goslar in August 1188 he was given the choice between three alter­native proposals: either he must content himself with a partial restitution of his lands, or he must accompany the Emperor on the Crusade at the latter’s expense on the understanding that on his return he should be completely restored to his own, or finally he must leave Germany with his eldest son for a further period of three years. At first sight it seems strange that Henry should choose the third alternative; but it was the only one of the three which left him with a free hand. If he had accepted the first offer he must renounce forever the remainder of his former possessions, if the second he saw little likelihood of Frederick’s having either the power or the inclination to make him the promised full restitution of lands which had already been granted away to others. So at Easter 1189 he once more withdrew to the court of his father-in-law, there to scheme and plot with his English kinsfolk for the recovery of his lost possessions by force of arms.

There was another important matter which the Emperor wished to see settled. His friendly relations with the French court drew him inevitably into the political turmoil of the western border-countries—Flanders, Champagne, Brabant, Namur, Hainault. The centre of interest is Baldwin, Count of Hainault, of whose doings we have a full account from his Chancellor, Gilbert of Mons. He was heir to his childless brother-in-law, Philip of Flanders; he was heir also to his blind, elderly, and also childless uncle Henry II, Count of Namur and Luxembourg. Such rich expectations brought upon him the jealousy and hostility of his neighbors. However he could look for support in the highest places; his sister had married Philip Augustus, and Philip was on terms of friendship with the Emperor. It was to the imperial court therefore that he looked for, and from which he gained, a guarantee of his rights of succession to the countship of Namur. Thus matters stood when to the surprise of everyone, and not the least of himself, the aged Count of Namur became the father of a daughter, Ermesinde, who before she was a year old was betrothed to the Count of Champagne with the inheritance of Namur as her promised dowry. Baldwin once more sought the help of Frederick, but the final decision was postponed till the return of King Henry from Italy. Then at Seligenstadt in May 1188 the Emperor not only confirmed him in the succession, but raised the county into a margravate, thereby exalting Baldwin to the rank of a prince of the Empire. Frederick’s policy was to create a strong outpost on the north-west frontier of his dominions. Baldwin did not live to occupy this powerful position; but it passed to his second son Philip, while his elder son united the counties of Hainault and Flanders and was destined to become the first Latin Emperor of Constantinople.

At the head of an army of some twenty thousand knights Frederick left Ratisbon early in May 1189. The journey eastward was likely to prove difficult, for Isaac Angelus, who was on anything but friendly terms with Frederick since the conclusion of the German-Sicilian alliance, had opened negotiations with Saladin. All kinds of obstructions were thrown in the path of the imperial army. The crusaders had scarcely left Hungarian soil before they encountered hostility from the Bulgarians, instigated by the perfidious Emperor of Constantinople; the ambassadors, the Bishop of Munster and others, sent forward to the Greek capital as an earnest of Frederick ‘s good faith, were thrust into prison. Nevertheless fear of the German arms was stronger than hatred; the inhabitants of Philippopolis and Hadrianople fled at their approach and left the cities deserted; Isaac Angelus, dreading an attack on Constantinople, had to submit. He agreed to provision Frederick’s army, to transport it to Asia Minor, and to provide hostages for his good conduct. Isaac had given way none too soon; for Frederick, disgusted with his behavior, had written to his son in Germany with instructions to collect a fleet from the maritime towns of Italy and to get the Pope’ s sanction to a crusade against the Greeks. Timely submission alone prevented Barbarossa from anticipating the work of the Fourth Crusade.


Death of Frederick Barbarossa, 10 June 1190


Without entering the Greek capital the German army moved southward from Hadrianople and crossed from Gallipoli into Asia Minor. Here too unexpected difficulties were encountered: the promises of the Sultan of Iconium on which Frederick had reckoned were as valueless as those of the Emperor of Constantinople; the line of march of the crusading army was continually harassed by Turkish bands; supplies were cut off and famine was added to the other difficulties which beset their path. Iconium had to be captured before Sultan Qilij Arslan would fulfill his compact, grant them a safe passage through his dominions, and provide them with the necessary supplies. With Armenian guides they proceeded on their way across the Taurus till they reached the banks of the Cilician river Salef. There the great Kaiser met his end. How precisely, we cannot tell; there are many versions of the story. Frederick, perhaps, chafing at the slow progress of his army over the narrow bridge, rode impetuously into the stream and was borne under by the swift waters, or, wearied by the tedious march across the mountains, he may have wished to refresh himself in the cool stream and found the current too strong for his aged limbs. Certain it is that his body was drawn lifeless from the river.

The memory of Frederick Barbarossa was not extinguished when his bones were laid to rest in the church of St Peter at Antioch. He has lived on in the minds of his fellow-countrymen as the truest expression of German patriotism. It is but a little more than a century ago that his name was first linked with the well-known Kyffhäuser Saga; the hero of that famous legend is his gifted, brilliant, yet far less patriotic grandson. Rückert and Grimm, with a keener perception of the fitness of things, make not Frederick II but Frederick Barbarossa sleep in the solitary cave on the mountain side with his great red beard growing round the table at which he sits; twice his beard has encircled the table; when it has done so a third time he will awaken and fight a mighty battle, and the Day of Judgment will dawn.