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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Konrad of Hohenstaufen succeeds


style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER XVI.

END OF THE FRANK DYNASTY, AND RISE OF THE HOHENSTAUFENS.

(1106--1152.)

Henry V.'s Character and Course. --The Condition of Germany. --Strife concerning the Investiture of Bishops. --Scene in St. Peter's. --Troubles in Germany and Italy. --The "Concordat of Worms." --Death of Henry V. --Absence of National Feeling. --Papal Independence. --Lothar of Saxony chosen Emperor. --His Visits to Italy, and Death. --Konrad of Hohenstaufen succeeds. --His Quarrel with Henry the Proud. --The Women of Weinsberg. --Welf (Guelph) and Waiblinger (Ghibelline). --The Second Crusade. --March to the Holy Land. --Konrad invited to Rome. --Arnold of Brescia. --Konrad's Death.

[Sidenote: 1106. HENRY V. AS EMPEROR.]

Henry V. showed his true character immediately after his accession to the throne. Although he had been previously supported by the Papal party, he was no sooner acknowledged king of Germany than he imitated his father in opposing the claims of the Church. The new Pope, Paschalis II., had found it expedient to recognize the Bishops whom Henry IV. had appointed, but at the same time he issued a manifesto declaring that all future appointments must come from him. Henry V. answered this with a letter of defiance, and continued to select his own

Bishops and abbots, which the Pope, not being able to resist, was obliged to suffer.

During the disturbed fifty years of Henry IV.'s reign, Burgundy and Italy had become practically independent of Germany; Hungary and Poland had thrown off their dependent condition, and even the Wends beyond the Elbe were no longer loyal to the Empire. Within the German States, the Imperial power was already so much weakened by the establishment of hereditary Dukes and Counts, not related to the ruling family, that the king (or Emperor) exercised very little direct authority over the people. The crown-lands had been mostly either given away in exchange for assistance, or lost during the civil wars; the feudal system was firmly fastened upon the country, and only a few free cities--like those in Italy--kept alive the ancient spirit of liberty and political equality. Under such a system a monarch could accomplish little, unless he was both wiser and stronger than the reigning princes under him: there was no general national sentiment to which he could appeal. Henry V. was cold, stern, heartless and unprincipled; but he inspired a wholesome fear among his princely "vassals," and kept them in better order than his father had done.

[Sidenote: 1110.]

After giving the first years of his reign to the settlement of troubles on the frontiers of the Empire, Henry V. prepared, in 1110, for a journey to Italy. So many followers came to him that when he had crossed the Alps and mustered them on the plains of Piacenza, there were 30,000 knights present. With such a force, no resistance was possible: the Lombard cities acknowledged him, Countess Matilda of Tuscany followed their example, and the Pope found it expedient to meet him in a friendly spirit. The latter was willing to crown Henry as Emperor, but still claimed the right of investing the Bishops. This Henry positively refused to grant, and, after much deliberation, the Pope finally proposed a complete separation of Church and State,--that is, that the lands belonging to the Bishops and abbots, or under their government, should revert to the crown, and the priests themselves become merely officials of the Church, without any secular power. Although the change would have been attended with some difficulty in Germany, Henry consented, and the long quarrel between Pope and Emperor was apparently settled.


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