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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

His mother was a Welf princess



King Konrad now determined to pay his delayed visit to Rome, and be crowned Emperor. Immediately after his return from the East, he had received a pressing invitation from the Roman Senate to come, to recognize the new order of things in the ancient city, and make it the permanent capital of the united German and Italian Empire. Arnold of Brescia, who for years had been advocating the separation of the Papacy from all temporal power, and the re-establishment of the Roman Church upon the democratic basis of the early Christian Church, had compelled the Pope, Eugene III., to accept his doctrine. Rome was practically a Republic, and Arnold's reform, although fiercely opposed by the Bishops, abbots and all priests holding civil power, made more and more headway among the people. At a National Diet, held at Wuerzburg in 1151, it was decided that Konrad should go to Rome, and the Pope was officially informed of his intention. But before the preparations for the journey were completed, Konrad died, in February, 1152, at Bamberg. He was buried there in the Cathedral built by Henry II.




Frederick I., Barbarossa. --His Character. --His First Acts. --Visit to Italy. --Coronation and Humiliation.

--He is driven back to Germany. --Restores Order. --Henry the Lion and Albert the Bear. --Barbarossa's Second Visit to Italy. --He conquers Milan. --Roman Laws revived. --Destruction of Milan. --Third and Fourth Visits to Italy. --Troubles with the Popes. --Barbarossa and Henry the Lion. --The Defeat at Legnano. --Reconciliation with Alexander III. --Henry the Lion banished. --Tournament at Mayence. --Barbarossa's Sixth Visit to Italy. --Crusade for the Recovery of Jerusalem. --March through Asia Minor. --Barbarossa's Death. --His Fame among the German People. --His Son, Henry VI., Emperor. --Richard of the Lion-Heart Imprisoned. --Last Days of Henry the Lion. --Henry VI.'s Deeds and Designs. --His Death.

[Sidenote: 1152.]

Konrad left only an infant son at his death, and the German princes, who were learning a little wisdom by this time, determined not to renew the unfortunate experiences of Henry IV.'s minority. The next heir to the throne was Frederick of Suabia, who was now thirty-one years old, handsome, popular, and already renowned as a warrior. He was elected immediately, without opposition, and solemnly crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle. When he made his "royal ride" through Germany, according to custom, the people hailed him with acclamations, hoping for peace and a settled authority after so many civil wars. His mother was a Welf princess, whence there seemed a possibility of terminating the rivalry between Welf and Waiblinger, in his election. The Italians always called him "Barbarossa," on account of his red beard, and by this name he is best known in history.

Since the accession of Otto the Great, no German monarch had been crowned under such favorable auspices, and none had possessed so many of the qualities of a great ruler. He was shrewd, clear-sighted, intelligent, and of an iron will: he enjoyed the exercise of power, and the aim of his life was to extend and secure it. On the other hand he was despotic, merciless in his revenge, and sometimes led by the violence of his passions to commit deeds which darkened his name and interfered with his plans of empire.

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