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conducted the Holy Father back to Italy, retook Pavia, and marching on Rome reinstated Benedict in the papacy. Then it was

that Henry himself received at the hands

of the grateful pontiff the honor of the Imperial crown.

While the Polish war still continued in the

Northeast the western frontier on the side

of Flanders, Luxemburg, and Lorraine were

troubled with rebellions. Indeed, in all

parts of the Empire the same tendency

towards disintegration and the achievement of local independence, which we have

observed in the contemporaneous history of

Feudal France, was manifest. At this time

a violent quarrel broke out between Rudolph

III., king of Burgundy, and his nobles, on

account of the disposition which he was

about to make of the crown. In looking

forward to his exit he bequeathed the kingdom to his nephew, who was none other than

the reigning Emperor. Burgundy was thus

about to pass under the German scepter,

and to prevent this catastrophe the Burgundians went to war. The armies of Henry

II. marched rapidly to the rescue and the

country was conquered after two arduous


The year 1020 was signalized by the dedication of the great cathedral of Bamberg.

Upon this structure the Emperor had for many

years lavished his treasure. The Pope made

a journey from Rome in order to be present

and direct the ceremonies of consecration.

His Holiness availed himself of the opportunities of the German court again to implore

the interference of Henry in the affairs of

Italy. The southern part of that country was

now overrun and held by the Greeks. The

city of Capua had been taken by them, and

could not be recovered by the Italians. The

Emperor hesitated not to respond to the call.

In the following year he led a large army

across the Alps, and expelled the Greeks from

the whole peninsula, except a few places on

the coast of Bruttium. The campaign, however, was almost as disastrous to the Germans

as to the enemy whom they defeated. A

pestilence broke out, and the army of Henry

was well-nigh destroyed before it could escape

from the country.

The remaining three years of the reign of

the Emperor Henry were spent in settling

the affairs of Germany. On every side the kingly prerogative was assailed by the dukes

and counts struggling after the manner of

feudal lords to become independent of their

suzerain. The development of a feeling of

nationality was thus counterchecked by the

sentiment of local independence. In spite

of the strenuous efforts of Henry II he

was obliged to witness the constant disintegration of the Empire. The spirit of

the times had so changed since the death

of Otho the Great that not even the greatest

genius and industry could suffice to check

the forces of localism and hold the state

in one. In the year 1024 the Emperor died

and was buried in his cathedral at Bamberg.

With him expired the Saxon line of sovereigns which had begun with Conrad in 918.

It thus became necessary for the German

nobles to elect a new sovereign in the place

of Henry II. For this purpose a great assembly was held on the Rhine, near the city of

Mayence. This had now become the border

line between the Germans and the Franks.

About sixty thousand persons came to the

assembly. Two great camps were formed,

the one on the eastern, the other on the

western bank of the river. The candidates

for the Imperial crown were two cousins,

both named Conrad, and both supported

by a powerful following. At length, after

five days of discussion not unmixed with

intrigue, the choice fell on Conrad of Suabia,

the elder and more popular of the candidates,

and he at once received the crown in the

cathedral of Mayence. The election had

turned largely upon the facts that Conrad

was a man of great abilities, and that he

had married the Princess Gisela of Suabia.

By her-for she was already experienced

in the matter of government-the new

Emperor was greatly aided in conducting the

affairs of state. Nor was any serious opposition manifested to the assumption of

royal power by one so worthy to wield the


It was the peculiarity of mediaeval times

that a change of dynasty generally furnished the occasion for the revolt of malcontent peoples. The accession of Conrad II proved to be no exception to the rule. First of all, the

Lombards threw off the German yoke. They

fell upon the city of Pavia and destroyed the

Imperial palace. At the same time Rudolph of