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Author Topic: GERMANIC TRIBES  (Read 2141 times)
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« on: November 30, 2007, 06:00:46 pm »

                                                     High Middle Ages

The transition from the East Franconian to the German Reich is usually dated from 911, when, after the Carolingian dynasty had died out, the Franconian duke Conrad I was elected king. He is regarded as the first German king. (The official title was Frankish King and later Roman King; from the 11th century the name of the realm was Roman Empire, from the 13th century Holy Roman Empire, and in the 15th century the words of the German Nation were added.)

It was an electoral monarchy; that is to say, the high nobility chose the king who then ruled over them. In addition, dynastic right applied: The new king had to be a blood relation of his predecessor. This principle was broken several times. There were also a number of double elections. The medieval empire had no capital city; the king ruled from a court which moved from place to place. There were no imperial taxes; the king drew his sustenance mainly from imperial estates he administered in trust.

His authority was not always recognized by the powerful tribal dukes unless he was militarily powerful and a skillful forger of alliances. Conrad’s successor, the Saxon duke Henry I (919-36), was the first to succeed in this complex tactical role, and to an even greater extent so did his son, Otto (936-73). Otto made himself the real ruler of the realm. His great power found obvious expression when he was crowned Emperor in 962 in Rome.

From then on, the German king could claim the title "Emperor". The emperorship was conceived as universal and theoretically gave its incumbent control over the entire Occident.

However, this notion never became full political reality. In order to be crowned Emperor by the Pope, the king had to make his way to Rome and this inaugurated an ongoing orientation toward Italy by the German kings. For 300 years they were able to retain control of upper and central Italy, but because of this they were diverted from important tasks in Germany. And so Otto’s successors inevitably suffered big setbacks.

However, under the succeeding Salian dynasty a new upswing occurred. With Henry III (1039-56), the German kingship and emperorship reached the zenith of its power, maintaining above all a supremacy over the Papacy.

Henry IV (1056-1106) was not able to hold this position. In a quarrel with Pope Gregory VII over whether bishops and other influential church officials should be appointed by the Pope or by the temporal ruler, he was superficially successful. But Gregory retaliated by excommunicating Henry, who thereupon surrendered his authority over the church by doing penance to the Pope at Canossa (1077), an irretrievable loss of power by the emperorship.

From that point onward, the Emperor and the Pope were equal-ranking powers.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 06:05:26 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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