1263 FEUDAL ASCENDENCY-FEUDAL GERMANY.
and state, and demanded the old time right of
nominating the Pope. This claim was resisted by the Empress, who in 1058 raised
Nicholas II. to the throne. In a short time
the new pontiff surprised the queen regent
by abandoning the interests of the Empire
and casting in his lot with the Norman
barons and new-born republican cities of
Italy. In the home kingdom, also, the
feudal broils were perpetually renewed. A
conspiracy was made to destroy Prince Henry
and change the dynasty. When the first
plot was foiled, a second was formed under
the lead of Hanno, archbishop of Cologne.
The purpose now was to wrest Henry IV.
from his mother, drive her into retirement,
and transfer the regency to some prince
who was able to exercise Imperial authority.
Hanno succeeded in enticing young Henry
on board his vessel at Kaiserswerth. Here the
royal lad, then but twelve years of age, was
seized by the conspirators and forcibly
carried away. Shortly afterwards a meeting of the princes was held, and the young
king was placed under the guardianship of
The severity of his protector soon alienated both Henry and the nobles of the Empire. A counter revolution deprived Hanno
of the guardianship, and the same was transferred to Adelbert of Bremen. The latter
held the troublesome distinction until 1065,
when the prince, then reaching the age
of fifteen, was invested with the sword of
manhood. Taking the government upon
himself, Henry reluctantly accepted Hanno
as his chief counselor, the latter being forced
upon him by the princes of Cologne and
others affiliated with them.
At the age of seventeen the young king
took for his wife the Italian princess, Bertha.
But in the course of three years he wearied
of his choice and sought to be divorced.
The Archbishop of Mayence gave his sanction; but Hildebrand, now the chancellor
of Pope Alexander II., induced the pontiff
to deny the king's wishes, and Henry was
obliged to yield. His humiliation over
the failure of the project was compensated
by the death of the old enemy of his House,
Godfrey of Lorraine. About the same time
another foe, Duke Otho of Bavaria, was
seized by the king's party and deprived
of his duchy. Both these events tended powerfully to establish Henry in the Empire, but the tendency was somewhat neutralized by the hostile attitude of Magnus of Saxony. The Saxons had never been
patient under the rule of the Franconian
Emperors, and circumstances now favored
a general revolt of the nation. The people, under the leadership of the deposed
Duke of Bavaria, rose to the number of
sixty thousand, marched upon the castle
of Harzburg, and demanded of Henry the
dismissal of his counselors and a reform of
the government. This the king refused, and
was thereupon besieged in his castle.
When the situation became critical, he escaped from Harzburg and fled almost without a following. Not until he reached the
Rhine was there any general uprising in his
favor. The cities in this region, however,
had grown restive under the domination of
the bishops, and were eager to begin a revolution by receiving the fugitive Emperor.
His fortunes were thus stayed by a powerful support, but he was presently obliged
to make peace with the Saxons, who dictated
their own terms of settlement. They even
proceeded to the extreme of demolishing
the Emperor's castle and church at Harzburg,
where the bones of his father were buried.
This flagrant abuse of victory soon turned
the tide in favor of Henry, who rallied a
large army, entered the country of the Saxons,
and inflicted on them an overwhelming defeat. Thus at length were all parts of the
Empire reduced to submission, and the
throne of Henry IV seemed more firmly
established than that of any former Emperor
of the German race.
Now it was, however, that the great
monk Hildebrand, after having molded
the policy of the papacy during four successive pontificates, himself assumed the
tiara, and, with the title of Gregory VII,
took the seat of St. Peter. He was without doubt the greatest genius of his age,
and the work of his far-reaching intellect
in establishing a new order throughout
Christendom has continued to be felt for
more than eight hundred years. Coming
to the papal throve in 1073, he at once set
about recasting the whole policy and form
of the papal Church. At the first the Bishop
of Rome had neither claimed nor exercised any special preeminence over the other