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of Godfrey of Bouillon, and the pope's Norman allies being absent in the East, the banners of Germany were suddenly displayed before the walls of Rome. In the spring of 1084 the besiegers entered the Eternal City. Gregory took refuge in the castle of St. Angelo, and Clement III, a rival pontiff, placed the Imperial crown on Henry's brow. But the return of the warlike Normans caused the Imperial troops to retreat with precipitation; while the Roman citizens rising against his allies compelled Hildebrand to fly for shelter to Salerno. There, broken with time and trouble, he expired; and his last words were, 'I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.'
Henry returned to Germany, where he reigned for a while undisturbed by civil war; but Pope Pascal, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of Hildebrand, incited Henry, the Emperor's eldest son, to rebellion; and the youth declaring that he could not acknowledge as king or father a man who was excommunicated, treacherously imprisoned his sire, and assembling a Diet was proclaimed in his stead. Two prelates were sent to demand the regalia from the deposed Emperor; he, receiving them in his symbols of sovereignty, refused; but, laying violent hands on him, they dragged him from his chair, and forcibly divested him of the regal robes. Poor and distressed, Henry escaped from prison, and raised a considerable force to assert his rights; but he died at Liege in 1106, before active operations commenced. His body, denied a'resting-place in consecrated ground, was interred in a cave near Spire.
Henry V, though indebted to the Pope for support in his parricidal rebellion, was no sooner established on the Imperial throne, than, reviving the claim of investiture for which his father had contended, he invited the Pope to Germany, that they might settle the dispute. But Pascal having appealed to the King of France, and a fruitless conference having been held at Chalons, Henry entered Italy with eighty thousand men, and after a tedious interview in the church of St. Peter, ordered his guards to take Pascal into custody. The populace of Rome rushed to the Pope's rescue; a battle was fought under the walls; and the carnage was so terrible that the waters of the Tiber were stained with blood. Pascal, taken prisoner, crowned the Emperor, and confirmed the right of investiture; but hardly had Henry departed when the Pope changed his tune, and pronounced a sentence of excommunication. The Emperor once more entered Rome, chased the Pope to the territories of the Norman princes, and marched to take possession of Tuscany, which Matilda, during Hildebrand's visit to Canossa, had bequeathed to the Church. Meanwhile Pascal died, and the States of the Empire having implored Henry to make peace with the new Pope, a Diet was held at Worms, and the matter accommodated. In 1125 a pestilential disease carried Henry to the grave; and the Imperial dignity, after being enjoyed till 1138 by Lothario II, was bestowed upon Henry's nephew, Conrad, duke of Franconia. A rival appeared in the person of the haughty Duke of Bavaria, whose followers called themselves Guelphs, from his family name; while the adherents of the Emperor adopted the appellation of Ghibelines, from Hihghibelin, the village of which Frederick, the brother of Conrad, was a native. Both parties took up arms, and during the contest a romantic incident occurred at the siege of Weinsberg. The Guelphs in the castle, after being long besieged, yielded on condition that the Duke of Bavaria and his officers should be allowed to retire unmolested: but the noble Duchess, apprehending a breach of faith, stipulated that she and the other Women in the castle should be allowed to come forth and be conducted to a place of safety, with as much as each of them could carry. Conrad, who expected to see the ladies loaded with jewels, gold, and silver, was in no small degree surprised when the Duchess and her fair comrades appeared carrying their gallant husbands; and he was so touched at this display of conjugal affection, that he granted most favorable terms to the Guelphs.
The preaching of St. Bernard, though in French, and therefore unintelligible to the Germans, had nevertheless a powerful effect on the latter; and Conrad, resolving to take part in the second Crusade, embarked with a mighty army: but being betrayed by Greek guides in Asia Minor, his forces were surprised and defeated amidst the defiles of Laodicea. The defeated Emperor, returning to Europe, died in 1151, and was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick Barbarossa, who was soon involved in a struggle with Henry the Lion duke of Saxony, with the Italian cities, and with another enemy infinitely more formidable than either.
Early in the twelfth century, Nicolas Breakspear, an English mendicant, was strolling about from place to place, when chance directed his vagrant steps to the convent of St. Rufus, in Provence, where the canons received him as a servant. Being afterward admitted as a monk, Nicolas rose to the rank of Abbot. In 1154, by personal merit and good fortune, the Anglo-Saxon beggar was placed in the papal chair as Adrian IV, and before crowning Frederick he insisted that the Emperor should on bended knee kiss his foot, hold his stirrup, and lead his white mule by the bridle for nine paces. Frederick reluctantly consented to perform the ceremony at Venice; but purposely mistaking the stirrup, he remarked with a sneer, 'I have yet to learn the business of a groom.'
The Emperor proved himself an able politician and a stout soldier. To abridge the power of the martial nobles, he followed the example of Louis VI, of France, and conferred charters of community, which enfranchised the people and formed them into corporations.
Going to the third Crusade, this great ruler was drowned in crossing the river Seneff, and was succeeded on the Imperial throne by his son, Henry VI, who was speedily involved in Italian wars.
A few years earlier the throne of Sicily had been filled by William, a king of the Guiscard line, who had espoused Joan, a sister of Richard of England, without being blessed with heirs. William, however, had an aunt, named Constance, whose chance of being queen appeared so certain, that Henry, who was at once poor and avaricious, wedded, with great pomp, the princess, though she was thirty-two — an advanced age for a royal Italian bride. But when William died, so strong was the prejudice against a female sovereign, that his illegitimate son Tancred was proclaimed King. Henry prepared to assert his claim, but the lion-hearted King of England, on his way to Palestine, arrived at Sicily, and indignant to find his sister deprived at once of her dower and her freedom, commenced aggressions. Subsequently, however, Richard concluded with Tancred a league, offensive and defensive, and the Emperor, however he might have dealt with the Sicilian King, had no fancy for playing at the game of carnage with Richard Cceur de Lion. He therefore waited till the English King's departure, and entering Italy, laid siege to Naples in the summer of 1091; but when a fever, which carried off a largo portion of his army, prostrated himself, the Emperor, in alarm, raised the siege, and executed an inglorious retreat. But he treasured up his malice, and his day of triumph came.
When Richard had been seized, imprisoned, and forced to pay an enormous ransom, Tancred died, and his son was placed on the throne. Availing himself of the money extorted from Richard, Henry — who had meanwhile incorporated into a regular order the Teutonic knights, originally destined for the service of the sick in Palestine, and built for them a house at Coblenz—announced his resolution of undertaking a Crusade. But instead of going to the Holy Land, he marched into Sicily, the throne of which he seized, after perpetrating revolting cruelties. At length, one of the Norman princes having been tied naked to a chair of red-hot iron, and crowned with a circle of the same burning metal, the Empress in disgust turned against her husband, incited the inhabitants to rebel, and imposed upon him the most humiliating conditions. Henry died at Messina, poisoned, as was said, by his Italian spouse, and his son, Frederick II, was placed on the Imperial throne; but the German princes, indignant at seeing the crown become hereditary, held a Diet at Cologne, and elected Otho, duke of Brunswick, son of Henry the Lion. Civil war arose between the princes, and Otho IV was crowned at Rome by the Pope; but Frederick allied himself with Philip Augustus, king of France, who at the village of Bovines, in 1214, totally defeated and ruined the rival. Upon this disaster Otho retired to Brunswick, where he became a devotee; while Frederick, having been crowned with unwonted magnificence, afterward undertook a Crusade without the papal sanction, and on his return was excommunicated by Gregory IX. From that period his life was one long and vexatious struggle with the Popes; the Dominican friars preached a holy war against him; a defeat before Parma made him retire to recruit his army in Sicily; and there he died in the year 1251.
His son Conrad, last Emperor of the house of Swabia, assumed the Imperial title; but after his death, in 1254, there was an interregnum of several years, during which Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother of Henry III of England, spent large sums to secure his election as King of the Romans, which he deemed a certain step to the Imperial dignity; but several of the Electors being favorable to Alphonso, king of Castile, Richard's aspiration was not fulfilled.
At length, in 1274, the German princes, though impatient of subordination, willing that the throne should be occupied by an emperor whose influence was not such as to excite their jealousy, elected Rodolph of Hapsburg, a Swiss baron; but the king of Bohemia, of whose household Rodolph had been steward, unable to brook the sovereignty of his former inferior, not only refused homage for his fiefs, but seized on the Duchy of Austria. He was soon compelled to give up Austria and do homage for Bohemia and Moravia, but bargained for the latter ceremony being performed in private. To gratify him in this particular, a close pavilion was erected on the small island of Cumberg, and thither came the Bohemian, decked with gold and jewels, while the Emperor appeared in plain and simple habiliments. The Bohemian was nervously anxious to avoid a public scene; but at a critical moment the curtains of the pavilion, falling aside, revealed to thousands of soldiers the proud King on bended knee before his former steward. Incited by a haughty spouse, he renounced his allegiance; but the Emperor taking the field, slew the hapless King in battle, and, to aggrandize the house of Hapsburg, bestowed Austria on his second son, Count Albert.
Adolph of Nassau being next elected Emperor, Count Albert of Austria, incited by Philip IV of France and supported by a minority of the Electors, rose in arms, slew Adolph in a battle at Spire, and was soon after crowned as Emperor. Thereupon Pope Boniface summoned him to answer for Adolph's murder; but a bitter feud arising between the French King and the Pope, the latter found it convenient to court Albert's alliance, and transferred to him the sovereignty of France. However, Albert soon had his hands full at home; for having, as hereditary sovereign of several Swiss cantons, made an attempt to seize the whole of the provinces, the natives combined, and with a small army won successive victories.
The end of Albert was particularly tragical. In 1309 he was walking one day on the banks of the Russ, when his companion, a nephew, whose patrimony he had unjustly retained, drawing his sword, inflicted a mortal wound; and the Electors raised to the throne Henry of Luxembourg, the most renowned knight of an age which boasted of Robert Bruce and Giles de Argentine. The martial Emperor having avenged his predecessor's assassination, fought his way to Rome, imposed a tribute on the Italian States, and died in 1314; poisoned, as was supposed, by emissaries of the Pope. Louis of Bavaria was then elected; and, after a long dispute, defeated and captured Frederick the Handsome, of Austria. But successive Popes proved his mortal foes; and though the death of his Austrian competitor left Louis without a rival, Benedict XII, who resided at Avignon, vindictively pursued him to the grave. His subjects were made to choose between their sovereign and the pontiff: discord and disorder loosened the frame-work of society; and the fraternity known as the Friends of God, by the spread of their doctrines, prepared the way for that religious reformation which was accomplished in the following century.
On the death of Louis, in 1348, the king of Bohemia, favored by the Pope, obtained the vacant throne, with the title of Charles IV. This Emperor issued the celebrated Golden Bull, which limited the number of Electors to seven, because of the seven mortal sins and the candlestick with seven branches. The publication was signalized by an ostentatious ceremony, in which the Electors took their appropriate parts as hereditary officers. The Archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Triers, carried the Imperial seals of Germany, Italy, and Gaul; the Duke of Luxembourg, as proxy of the Bohemian King, officiated as cupbearer, and poured wine , from a golden flagon into the Emperor's golden cup; the Duke of Saxony, as grand-marshal, appeared with a silver measure of oats; the Elector of Brandenburg presented the Emperor and Empress with water in basins of gold; and the Count Palatine, in presence of the great officers of state, served up the viands in dishes of the most precious metal.
The Emperor Maximilian, known as the Moneyless, described Charles as 'the pest of the empire,' and not without cause; for he first dissipated the Imperial territories in Italy, and in 1376, to secure the election of his son, Wenceslaus, as King of the Romans, he promised each of the Electors a hundred thousand crowns. Unable to pay so large a sum, he alienated the ample Imperial domain which stretched along the banks of the Rhine from Basil to Cologne, and dying in 1378, was succeeded by the son for whom he had made so great a sacrifice.
Wenceslaus proved himself the most cruel and vicious of mankind. He is said to have walked the streets with an executioner, to put to death such persons as incurred his dislike, to have drowned in the Moldau a monk who refused to reveal the confessions of his wife, the Queen of Bohemia, and even to have, in an hour of intoxication, ordered his cook to be roasted alive. The tyrant was, in consequence of his gross incapacity, deprived of the Imperial crown, which was given to Robert, the Count Palatine; and he, in his turn, was succeeded by Sigismund, brother of Wenceslaus, and King of Hungary.
Christendom was at that period scandalized by the great schism of the West, produced by the cardinals having elected three rival popes — each considering himself endowed with all the attributes which Hildebrand had claimed for the Vicar of Christ; and Sigismund, eager to settle the controversy, visited England to consult Henry V. But finding that hero wholly occupied with French wars, the Emperor returned, and in 1418 summoned the Council of Constance, which settled the dispute by degrading the three rivals and electing Martin V.
The new pontiff was installed by an imposing ceremony. Arrayed in pontifical vestments, he mounted a richly-caparisoned mule, which was led by the( reins, with due solemnity, by the Emperor and the Elector of Brandenburg. A magnificent canopy was held over the Pope's head by four Counts; several princes walked around; and forty thousand equestrians took part in the procession. The Council then went to more serious work, and summoned John Huss, a disciple of Wicliffe. Huss, after defending the articles of his faith, was declared a heretic, stripped of his sacerdotal habit, crowned with a mitre of paper, on which were painted three devils, and condemned to be burned with his writings. The victim died praising God, and was followed to the stake by Jerome of Prague.
When Sigismund went down to his tomb in 1436, his son-in-law, Albert of Austria, who inherited the crowns of Hungary and Bohemia, was raised to the Imperial throne; and after dividing Germany into six circles, each regulated by a Diet, he was succeeded by his cousin, Frederick III. At the beginning of this long and languid reign, while war was raging between the Turks and Hungarians, John Guttenberg invented at Strasburg the art of printing, which brought into operation the power of the pen; and that potent weapon being, on the revival of learning, directed first against spiritual, and then against temporal despotism, materially influenced those revolutions which have gradually removed ancient landmarks, and changed the face of Continental Europe.
Maximilian I succeeded his brother Frederick in 1493, and, to terminate the calamities created by private feuds, instituted, at the stately city of Frankfort, the Imperial Chamber, consisting of a president appointed by the Emperor, and sixteen judges, chosen by him and the States; and he prevailed on the Diet to consent to the Aulic Council as the Emperor's Court, and without appeal. After wearing the crown with honor, and exhibiting muqh enthusiasm for science and literature, Maximilian, in 1519, disappeared from the stage of affairs on the eve of great events; and his grandson Charles, the juvenile King of Spain, who inherited Austria, became a candidate for the Imperial dignity. Ia this he was opposed by