free ebooks

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

Henry Jasomirgott then renounced Bavaria


his rights with vigour and once

again Germany was ravaged by war, for although he was unpopular in Bavaria he was strongly supported by the Saxons, who, since the time of Henry IV., had always been ready to join in an attack on the monarchy, and he had little difficulty in driving Albert the Bear from the land. However, in October 1139 Henry died suddenly, but his young son, Henry the Lion, was recognized at once as duke of Saxony, while his brother, Welf, upheld the fortunes of his house in Bavaria. The struggle went on until May 1142, when peace was made at Frankfort. Saxony, with the assent of Albert the Bear, was granted by Conrad to Henry the Lion, and Bavaria was given to Henry Jasomirgott, who had just succeeded his brother Leopold as margrave of Austria. But this was only a lull in the civil strife, which was renewed after the king had made a successful expedition into Bohemia. The princes clerical and lay were fighting against each other, and the Bavarians were at war with the Hungarians, who gained a great victory in 1146. Notwithstanding the many sources of confusion Conrad was persuaded by the passionate eloquence of Bernard of Clairvaux to take part in the second crusade; he left for the East in 1147 and returned to Germany in 1149, to find Welf again in arms and Henry the Lion claiming Bavaria. The king had done nothing to stem the rising tide of disorder when he died at Bamberg in February 1152. During this reign the work of conquering and Germanizing the Slavonic tribes east of the Elbe was seriously
taken in hand under the lead of Albert the Bear and Henry the Lion, and the foundation of the margraviate of Brandenburg by Albert tended to make life and property more secure in the north-east of Germany.

Frederick I. becomes king.

After Conrad's death Germany passed under the rule of one of the greatest of her sovereigns, Frederick I., called Barbarossa, nephew of the late king and son of Frederick, that duke of Swabia who had fought along with Conrad against Henry the Proud. Frederick himself had also been closely associated with Conrad, who advised the princes to choose his nephew as his successor. This was done, and the new king was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle in March 1152. Allied through his mother to the Welfs of Bavaria, and anxious to put an end to the unrest which dominated Germany, especially to the strife between the families of Welf and Hohenstaufen, Frederick began his reign by promising to secure for Henry the Lion the duchy of Bavaria, and by appeasing Henry's uncle, Count Welf, by making him duke of Spoleto and margrave of Tuscany. But the new king had another, and perhaps a more potent, reason for wishing to see peace restored in Germany. For his adventurous and imaginative spirit Italy and the imperial title had an irresistible charm, and in 1154, two years after he had ascended the throne, he crossed the Alps, being crowned emperor at Rome in June 1155. After this event the best years of his life were spent in Italy, where, in his long and obstinate struggle with the Lombard cities and with Pope Alexander III., he chiefly acquired his fame. Although on the emperor's side this struggle was conducted mainly with German troops it falls properly under the history of Italy. In that country the record of this reign is a blood-stained page, while in the history of Germany, on the contrary, Frederick's name is associated with a peaceful and prosperous period.

Bavaria and Saxony.

The promise that Bavaria should be granted to Henry the Lion was not easily fulfilled, as Henry Jasomirgott refused to give up the duchy. At last, however, in 1156, after his return from his first expedition to Italy, Frederick reconciled the latter prince by making Austria into a duchy with certain special privileges, an important step in the process by which that country became the centre of a powerful state. Henry Jasomirgott then renounced Bavaria, and Henry the Lion became its duke. It was, however, in his other duchy of Saxony that the latter duke's most important work was done. Although he often gave offence by his haughty and aggressive disposition, few German princes have earned so thoroughly the goodwill of posterity. Since the death of Otto the Great the Slavonic lands to the east of the Elbe had been very imperfectly held in subjection by the Germans. Devoting himself to the conquest of the lands lying along the shore of the Baltic, Henry succeeded as no one before him had ever done. But he was not only a conqueror. He built towns and encouraged those which already existed; he founded and restored bishoprics in his new territories; and between the Elbe and the Oder he planted bodies of industrious colonists. While he was thus at work a similar task was being performed to the south-east of Saxony by Albert the Bear, the first margrave of Brandenburg, who, by his energetic rule was preparing this country for its great destinies.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us