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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

While he subdued Godfrey of Lorraine



Up to this time the Roman clergy and people had taken part, so far as the mere forms were concerned, in the election of the Popes. They were now compelled (of course very unwillingly) to give up this ancient right, and allow the Emperor to choose the candidate, who was then sure to be elected by Bishops of Imperial appointment. In fact, during the nine remaining years of Henry III.'s reign, he selected three other Popes, Clement II. and his first two successors having all died suddenly, probably from poison, after very short reigns. But this was the end of absolute German authority and Roman submission: within thirty years the Christian world beheld a spectacle of a totally opposite character.

Henry III. visited Southern Italy, confirmed the Normans in their rule, as his father had done, and then returned to Germany. He had reached the climax of his power, and the very means he had taken to secure it now involved him in troubles which gradually weakened his influence in Germany. He was generous, but improvident and reckless: he bestowed principalities on personal friends, regardless of hereditary claims or the wishes of the people, and gave away large sums of money, which were raised by imposing hard terms upon the tenants of the crown-lands. A new war with Hungary, and the combined revolt of Godfrey of Lorraine, Baldwin of Flanders and Dietrich of Holland against him, diminished

his military resources; and even his success, at the end of four weary years, did not add to his renown. Leo IX., the third Pope of his appointment, was called upon to assist him by hurling the ban of the Church against the rebellious princes. He also called to his assistance Danish and English fleets which assailed Holland and Flanders, while he subdued Godfrey of Lorraine. The latter soon afterwards married the widowed Countess Beatrix of Tuscany, and thus became ruler of nearly all Italy between the Po and the Tiber.

By the year 1051, all the German States except Saxony were governed by relatives or personal friends of the Emperor. In order to counteract the power of Bernhard, Duke of the Saxons, of whom he was jealous, he made another friend, Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, with authority over priests and churches in Northern Germany, Denmark, Scandinavia and even Iceland. He also built a stately palace at Goslar, at the foot of the Hartz Mountains, and made it as often as possible his residence, in order to watch the Saxons. Both these measures, however, increased his unpopularity with the German people.

[Sidenote: 1054.]

Leo IX., in 1054, marched against the Normans who were threatening the southern border of the Roman territory, but was defeated and taken prisoner. The victors treated him with all possible reverence, and he soon saw the policy of making friends of such a bold and warlike people. A treaty of peace was concluded, wherein the Normans acknowledged themselves dependents of the Papal power: no notice was taken of the fact that they had already acknowledged that of the German-Roman Emperors. This event, and the increasing authority of his old enemy, Godfrey, in Tuscany, led Henry III. to visit Italy again in 1055. Although he held the Diet of Lombardy and a grand review on the Roncalian plains near Piacenza, he accomplished nothing by his journey: he did not even visit Rome. Leo IX. died the same year, and Henry appointed a new Pope, Victor II., who, like his predecessor, became an instrument in the hands of Hildebrand of Savona, a monk of Cluny, who was even then, although few suspected it, the real head and ruler of the Christian world.

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