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Emperor Henry V

Emperor Henry V

 

Emperor Henry VThe great conflict for supremacy be. tween the Church and State, which had been rendered conspicuous in the persons of Pope Gregory VII. and Henry IV. was continued between their respective successors, Paschal II, and Henry V., until a compromise was effected, which has since generally been accepted. Henry V. was the second son of the Emperor Henry IV., by his second wife, Adelaide of Brandenburg, and was born in 1081. He was appointed his father's successor in 1098, when his elder brother Conrad was declared to have forfeited his right to the throne by rebellion. Conrad died before his father, and in 1105, Henry by most perfidious and unnatural acts, seized the crown and imprisoned his father, who, however, escaped and sought refuge in exile. The papal party, whose cause he had supported against his father, expected that the disputes which had characterized the former reign would cease, and that harmony would prevail between Church and State. But when Pope Paschal demanded the right of investing the bishops with the ring and staff as the insignia of their office, Henry refused to relinquish ally rights over ecclesiastics that his predecessors had ever enjoyed, or to permit the ecclesiastical lands of Germany to pass from under secular control. The Imperial Diet at Mentz sustained his claims but the Papal Council at Troyes as strenuously asserted opposite principles, which were but a reiteration of those so resolutely and consistently maintained by Gregory VII.

 

Before the dispute had reached an acute form, Henry had endeavored to strengthen and extend his dominions in 1107 by an invasion of Hungary, and again in 1109 by an attempt to conquer Silesia, then held by Poland. Neither expedition was successful. In 1110 Henry marched into Italy with a powerful army, in raising which he was aided by a large sum paid as the dower of his wife Maud, daughter of Henry I., of England. Pope Paschal, through fear, entered into a treaty with him containing ample concessions with respect to investitures. In the following year Henry set out once more for Rome, at the head of a numerous army, to be crowned. He entered the Leonine City in the month of February, and proceeded to the Church of St. Peter, where he was received by Paschal with every possible mark of respect. The Pope signed all agreement that the prelates should resign the lauds and other possessions which they held in fief of the Emperor, on condition of the latter's renouncing the right of investiture. When, however, the conditions of the treaty were to be mutually fulfilled, the German and Italian bishops present protested to a man that they would not part with their estates, which the Pope had no proper right to dispose of. This produced a warm altercation between the King and the Pope, who declared he would not proceed with the coronation unless Henry immediately ratified the treaty. The Emperor then ordered his guards to arrest Paschal, and the cardinals who were with him. Many persons of rank were also seized. In the meantime two ecclesiastics, having made their escape in disguise, animated the citizens of Rome to take up arms and rescue the Pope. The consequence was that a sanguinary conflict took place between the Germans and Romans, in which each party alternately had the advantage i and though the latter were finally repulsed, they appeared so formidable, and so resolutely bent on continuing the struggle, that Henry thought it advisable to retire into the country of the Sabines, carrying with him the Pope, the cardinals, and several of the Roman nobility.

 

After Paschal had been imprisoned two months, the King ordered that he should be brought, with the other prisoners, to his camp, not far from Rome, and swore, in the presence of his army, that if the Pope did not fulfill the article of their agreement, he would put him to death and all who were with him. Notwithstanding this threatening, the Pope remained unmoved, till the cardinals and the other princes, by their earnest and incessant entreaties that he would yield for their sakes, and to prevent the calamities which must otherwise fall upon the Church, at length melted him into a compliance. Upon this, the articles of agreement which were drawn up between Paschal and Henry, were sworn to on both sides, and the King received a papal bull, confirming to him the right of investiture. All things being thus settled, the Pope and Henry entered Rome together, and proceeded once more to the Church of St. Peter, here the Emperor was crowned King of the Romans by Paschal, with the usual solemnity.

 

Henry took respectful leave of His Holiness, and returned into Germany. Soon, however, the agreement was formally annulled by the Council of Lateran in 1112, Paschal disavowing his extorted concessions. A rebellion in Saxony soon followed; and the Emperor, in attempting to quell it, received a great defeat. The prelates and nobles of the insurgent party then proceeded to issue a sentence of excommunication against Henry and his adherents; and his cause would have been ruined in Germany, had it not been supported by the valor of his nephew, Frederic, Duke of Suabia.

 

In 1115, upon the death of the Countess Matilda, of Tuscany, Henry once more marched into Italy to lay claim to her territories, as being the next of kill. But this devoted and loyal friend of successive popes had bequeathed her possessions to the Holy See, and the Pope was not likely to resign such a rich acquisition. Henry marched to Rome, where he was crowned a second time; and upon the election of Pope Gelasius, without his concurrence, after the death of Paschal, he set up an Antipope, Bourdin, who took the name Gregory VIII. Guy, of Burgundy, had been unanimously elected Pope, under the title of Calixtus II., by all the cardinals except those of the Emperor's party. This schism, attended with rebellions against Henry, continued until 1122, when the Emperor found himself obliged to send an embassy to Pope Calixtus, in order to compromise their differences.

 

By the Concordat of Worms it was agreed that the Emperor should have the right to be present, personally or by proxy, at every election of a prelate, and that the chosen bishop should before consecration receive his lands and secular authority from the crown. Henry thus relinquished the right of investiture; he also abandoned the cause of his Antipope and in return he received absolution, and was restored to the communion of the Church.

 

In 1124 Henry, at the instigation of his father-in-law, the King of England, invaded Prance, but was soon compelled to retreat. A revolt in Holland compelled him to take the arms in that quarter, and he met with some Success in reducing the insurgents; but the flames of sedition still spreading, he retired to Utrecht, where he expired in 1125. As he left no legitimate children, with him ended the Franconian dynasty. He bequeathed his possessions to the faithful Hohenstaufen.

 

Henry V. was of a haughty and hasty temperament. Ambition and the love of absolute power led him into the struggles which caused his life to be one of almost constant warfare. He was a bad son, but a courageous ruler, whom opposition might destroy, but could not bend.

 

THE DISPUTE ABOUT INVESTITURES.

 

The vigor of Henry's government ere long estranged from him his late papal partisans; the Roman hierarchy, by making use of him as a tool in their designs against his father, had, as it were, morally annihilated him, and could not brook his elevation. A fanatical party, headed by Guido de Vienne, Archbishop of Lyons, without asking Pope Paschal's permission, caused the Emperor to be excommunicated by a Synod held at Vienne, On account of his refusal to cede his right of investiture, A. D. 1112. The Emperor, without noticing the proceedings of this Synod, marched to Rome and left the settlement of the matter to his chancellor, Adalbert, who proposed the strictest division between the power of the State and that of the Church; the State never to inter-meddle with ecclesiastical affairs, and the Church to remain unprocessed of lands and worldly wealth. A wise, but impracticable, counsel, for, as might clearly have been foreseen, the Church would never voluntarily surrender her possessions. The Emperor at length cut the matter short by seizing the of the Pope, and compelling him to disclaim the right of investiture. Guido de Vienne raved, and scarcely had the Emperor withdrawn from Rome, than the Pope declared the transaction void, the terms having been forced upon him, and Adalbert, to whom the Emperor had promised the Archbishopric of Mayence, fearing the Pope's refusal to confirm him in his dignity, and, moreover, foreseeing that the Church would prove victorious, went over to Guido's party, for which he was rewarded by the Pope with a cardil1al's hat, and the supreme direction over the whole of the German clergy.

 

A party, inimical to the Emperor, was, at the same time, formed in Saxony. The Palsgrave Siegfried, a relation of Lothar, who had been deprived of his dignity by the Emperor on an accusation of treason, claimed the rich inheritance of the counts of Orlamund, whose family had become extinct By the concurrence of lothar, the young Henry Vou Stade, whose heritage had been sold by the Emperor to his guardian, Frederic, had also been reinstated, and the assistance of the Saxons against thc Bohemians and the Poles had been extremely lukewarm. Lothar, who had been declared by the Emperor out of the ban of the empire, now found himself backed by almost the whole of Northern Germany, more particularly by Wiprecht the elder, and Louis of Thuringia, and by the great ecclesiastical party, at whose head stood Adalbert, the Emperor's ungrateful chancellor. His capture by the Emperor, which shortly afterwards took place, deprived the confederates of their leader, and the Emperor, suddenly entering Saxony, surprised his opponents near Warnstadt. Hoyer's impetuous charge bore all before it. Siegfried was slain; Wiprecht the elder was taken prisoner A.D. 1113.

 

After reestablishing peace throughout the North, Henry solemnized his marriage with Matilda, the daughter of Henry I. of England, with great splendor, at Mayence, A.D. 1114. It was here that Lothar and Louis of Thuringia, barefoot and in beggarly attire, threw themselves at bis feet and begged for mercy. Louis was thrown into prison. Henry's unrelenting severity, his open suppression of the power of the great vassals of the empire, and his assumption of despotic rule, raised a fresh conspiracy, at the bead of which appeared Frederic, Archbishop of Cologne. This city was vainly besieged by the Emperor, who was defeated before the gates, and Berthold III, of Zahringen, was taken prisoner. This signal success infused fresh spirit into the Saxons, whilst the Emperor, with his usual decision, declared tile whole of Saxony out of the ban of the empire, created Count Hoyer von Mansfeld Duke of Saxony, in place of Lothar, and marched in person with his whole force against the rebels. Hoyer, too impatient to grasp the ducal coronet, ventured singly too far in advance, and was killed in sight of both armies, by Wiprecht von Groitsch the younger, in the battle of Welfisholz, in the county of Mansfeld. The loss of this commander threw the imperial army into confusion, and the victorious Saxons left the bodies of their fallen opponents unburied on the field, as being under the interdict of the Church. The emperor wandered in his fljght among the Hartz Mountains. On the same day, Otto von Ballenstadt gained a victory at Kothen over the rebellions Wends A. D. 1115, and the Saxons once more gained the palm of glory.

 

This disastrous day was fatal to every hope that had been entertained for the preservation of the integrity of the State by the Emperor, and inflicted an almost deadly blow on the nation, which saw itself henceforward doomed to disunion and exposed to foreign papal and French influence. Blinded by the provincial hatred between the Saxons and the Franks, the nation showed no inclination to favor the rise of the imperial power, and seemed insensible to the manner in which their honor and their most sacred interests were betrayed to the foreigner.

 

It was exactly at this period that the celebrated Countess Matilda expired in Italy, and bequeathed her rich possessions to the Church. Henry's late defeat by the Saxons, and the renewed interdict laid upon him by the Pope, rendered the preservation of this important territory to the State a task of no common difficulty; but, with his usual fertility in resources, he dispatched a nobleman, Dietrich Von der Aare, by whom he had formerly been beaten before Cologne, but who had afterwards become his friend, to negotiate with Lothar, and to represent to him that they must all inevitably become slaves to the Pope, unless they united for the preservation of their temporal rights. At the same time, he set the imprisoned princes at liberty. But scarcely was Adalbert of Mayence free, than, glowing with revenge, he contrived to work upon Lothar, frustrated Henry's attempts at reconciliation, and opened an assembly of the princes at Cologne without the Emperor. Even the Emperor's ambassador, Erlung, Bishop of Wurzburg, went over to Adalbert's party. Upon this, the Emperor abandoned Northern Germany for a while, and, intrusting Southern Germany to the guardianship of the brave Hohenstaufen, hastened into Italy.

 

The policy pursued by Henry V. in Italy was noted for prudence; he everywhere favored the cities whose love of independence caused them to dread the supremacy of the Pope, should he succeed in gaining possession of the lands of the Countess Matilda. He consequently met with a favorable reception at Venice, and even found a strong party in his favor in Rome, headed by the Count of Tusculum, to whom he gave his illegitimate daughter Bertha in marriage, and by the Frangipani, a family then coming into note, Paschal was compelled to flee; and the imperial crown was placed on Henry's head by a Portuguese Archbishop, who chanced to be in Rome, the only prelate who could be found to perform that ceremony A.D, 1116. The principal aim for which Henry had visited Italy, that of taking possession of the lands of the Countess Matilda, in the name of the empire, was, however, gained, and he prolonged his stay in that country in order to keep a watch upon Rome. On the death of Paschal, in 1118, he nominated a successor, to whom the Romans opposed the pope, Gelasius II., whom they had previously elected, This Pope was treated with great violence, and expelled by the Frangipani; he expired in the fol lowing year. The papal party then placed Guido de Vienne, the Emperor's most formidable antagonist, on the pontifical throne, under the name of Calixtus II., A.D. 1119. This Pope instantly renewed the alliance with the Saxons and Adalbert, and openly opposed the Emperor.

 

In Germany, the Hohenstaufen, notwithstanding their endeavors to keep the field for the Emperor, had been alone successful on the Rhine. The troops of Adalbert were de-feated by them under the walls of Mayence, and their commander, Emicho von Leiningen, was slain. The citizens of Mayence rebelled against Adalbert, who caused numbers of them to be executed. The Saxons marched to the assistance of Aschaffenburg, his usual residence, and besieged Limburg, which was, however, relieved by Frederic of Suabia, who continued to retain the superiority on the Rhine. The same fortune did not befriend the imperial party in Northern Germany. Frederic von Putelendorf, whom Henry had created Palsgrave of Saxony, was compelled to make terms with the rebels at Naumburg, and the great and imperial castle on the Kyffhauser was burnt down.

 

Adalbert, emboldened by the admonitions of Calixtus II., again excommunicated Henry at a council held at Cologne, and the project of electing a new emperor was being discussed, when Henry V. returned, called a Diet at Tribur, and, for the last time, attempted to negotiate terms of peace with the rebellious party. The Pope also came to Rheims, on all intimate and secret understanding with the French King, Louis VI., who loaded him with flattery. The Emperor, closely pressed by his enemies, found himself compelled to resign the right of investiture; but scarcely was the matter concluded with the Pope, than a still greater concession was required, the Pope seeking to include in the right of investiture, or the right of being the sole elector of the bishops, also that of the improvisation of church lands, and of tile royal dues, which until now had been in the gift of the Crown. The cession of these rights being steadily refused by the indignant Emperor, the treaty was again broken off, and Calixtus II., after once more excommunicating him, visited tile King of France at Paris, and proceeded thence in triumph to Rome, whence he expelled the Anti-pope Gregory VIII., whom he shortly afterwards took prisoner at Sutri, and caused to be exposed to public derision, mounted on the back of a camel.

 

Whilst Germany was thus overcome by the Pope and his" French ally, the Germans continued senselessly to dispute, and the Emperor was alone upheld in this great national affair by the citizens of the towns, which would have found themselves entirely deprived of the protection of the Crown, had all the church property, which included the episcopal cities become papal fiefs. Cologne and Munster were, at that period, the most zealous supporters of the rights of the State against the Church, and of those of Germany against Rome. Cologne opened her gates to the Emperor; Munster expelled her bishop, but was in consequence besieged and burnt by the Saxon princes, A.D. 1121. The only one among the princes who returned to his allegiance to the Emperor was Wiprecht von Groitsch the elder; but when the Emperor, in 1122, stood. before Mayence, and the Saxons marched against him to Adalbert's relief, they became ashamed of the opprobrium with which they were viewed by the nation and the Emperor, On his side, being urged by the fear of utter destruction, if fortune again favored the Saxons, it was resolved that each party should send twelve representatives to Wiirzburg, there to negotiate terms of peace; and at length, notwithstanding the opposition of Adalbert, a reconciliation was accomplished. The Emperor, at the same time, made terms with the Pope, to whom, by the treaty of Worms, he conceded the impropriation of church property, with the exception of the royal dues, a point of great importance for the cities and townships. He was now, for the first time, freed from the interdict, A.D. 1122.-W. MENZEL.

 

Emperor Henry V

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