German History: The Age of the Salians and Staufers (1024–1254) Part I

German History 3

Population, trade and commerce

Since the middle of the 11th century, significant changes in the dominance and social relations as well as in the spiritual self-image began throughout the West, which questioned traditional orders and mobilized new forces. Steady population growth, which has increased rapidly since 1200 and continued into the 14th century, confronted the agrarian society of the Middle Ages with the task of increasing agricultural production considerably in order to meet the increased need for food. This challenge was sought through improved cultivation methods and working techniques (three-field farming, new plowing methods, construction of grain mills), but also through the expansion of cultivated areas by means of new rural settlements or clearing controlled by the landlords (“inner colonization”). The as yet undeveloped landscapes in the Altsiedelland were initially suitable for this purpose. When the natural limits were reached here, the spacious and sparsely populated areas east of the Elbe-Saale border opened up new opportunities, which in the 12th and 13th centuries resulted in the German Ostsiedlung was raised.

According to Neovideogames, population growth, increased agricultural productivity and increasing mobility also led to a remarkable boom in trade and commerce, which in turn brought about the emergence of markets and, since the 12th century, cities. The expansion of the monetary economy, which went hand in hand with the increasing agricultural activity and flourishing trade, which gradually replaced the natural economy, resulted in considerable changes in the dominant and social structure of the empire.

Urban and countryside

In the country, the old constitution of the manor, tailored to economic autarky, dissolved; In place of the manorial self-management, the land was increasingly being awarded as interest goods (similar to today’s leases) with the simultaneous conversion of previous compulsory labor into payments in cash or in kind, which improved the legal and economic position of the peasants.

Since 10./11. The city was founded in the 19th century. It also made an important contribution to social restructuring, especially from the 12th century onwards. The town, which was regularly built on the basis of a market, had a different position than the old Roman one, as it grew independently, built up its own administration and developed its own law (city ​​law). In terms of social and constitutional law, it all began with the city lord, who owned the city under lordship rights and was responsible for its administration. The initially established connection with the feudal structure of society was soon loosened. As a commercial and industrial center, the city became the natural center of its surrounding area. It was set apart from him as a space with special rights, a sense of community and communal self-administration. The bourgeoisie, which arose from the merging of the city lord’s ministerials, merchants and craftsmen who were originally bound by court law and who had immigrated from the countryside, became the main vehicle for further economic development. In the course of this social restructuring, in the cities, but also in the countryside, New forms of government action on the basis of cooperative cooperation between those involved in the joint oath (urban and rural communities, guilds, brotherhoods). At the same time, in the 12th century, the cities became an important instrument of royalty and the German dynasts in building the Sovereignty.

Church and nobility

The process of economic and social change was accompanied in its early phase by a religious renewal movement (church reform), which took a sharp stand against the abuses torn down in the church, such as secularization of the clergy, buying offices (simony) and breaking the celibacy regulations. The movement was initially carried by v. a. from the reform monasteries (Cluny, Gorze, Hirsau) to Leo IX. (1049–54) a supporter of church reform ascended to the papal chair, who took up the reform’s concerns in numerous synods and gave them canonical authority. The struggle against simony soon culminated in the demand for absolute freedom of the church (Libertas Ecclesiae) against any worldly power of disposal, as v. a. expressed in the allocation of church offices by laypeople (own church system). When the right of the (Roman) king to appoint the imperial bishops was disputed under Pope Gregory VII (1075), the investiture controversy continued one that had far-reaching effects on the future rule of the king. Even though the Worms Concordat (September 23, 1122) granted the king a certain influence in the occupation of the German dioceses and imperial abbeys, the continuation of the previous rule based on the unrestricted rule of the church (imperial church) was no longer possible. Officials had become ecclesiastical imperial vassals, who from then on received their secular authority in the form of the loan of regalia from the king as a fief.

The reconstruction of the old tribal duchies up to the 12./13. Century (separation of Austria in 1156, Merania and Styria from Bavaria in 1180, division of Saxony in 1180; new Guelph Duchy in 1235) appears symptomatic of a development in the course of which new, smaller-scale, but manorial condensed political structures emerged on the soil of the old duchies (Countries) had formed. Their owners tried to develop their own rulership into sovereignty in their territories. The imperial princes (Principes imperii) appear as prototypes of these future sovereigns, who since the 12th century have separated themselves from the rest of the high nobility as a circle of highest dignitaries endowed with special privileges (first shown in the Worms Concordat, 1122, and in the so-called Gelnhausen document, 1180). They included the archbishops, bishops, abbots and abbesses of the imperial monasteries, the King of Bohemia, the dukes and margraves, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the Landgrave of Thuringia (based on the Wartburg) and the Count of Anhalt. All ecclesiastical and secular princes received their secular rulership or their principality directly from the king as an imperial fief. The Hohenstaufen kings reacted to these new challenges with a double strategy: They initially followed up on the imperial property policy already introduced by the Salians in order to expand imperial property complexes scattered in several areas into concentrated rule alliances (terrae imperii) (imperial land policy). The administrative center of Reichsland became the Palatinate. In terms of personnel – like the Salian rulers – one relied on the Reichsministeriales, servants of unfree origin, whose social position was, however, increasingly upgraded over time through the use of higher-quality services (court service, knight service). Since these servants, as unfree, were directly subject to the royal authority, their usability as officials and executors of the royal will seemed to be problem-free. In the end, however, these expectations were not fulfilled, as the leading Reich ministerials – aided by the dispute for the throne (1198) and the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty (1268) – succeeded in finding acceptance into the noble feudal hierarchy and thus the stigma of their unfree To strip off origin. At the beginning of the late Middle Ages, they practically no longer differed from the free vassals. On the other hand, in view of the integration of the Reich Church in the Reichslehnsverband, the Hohenstaufen monarchy increasingly reflected on the political possibilities of the feudal system. The still considerable stock of Allod and the corresponding rulership was integrated into the Reichslehnsverband through a systematic policy of feudalization (e.g. prince surveys against the corresponding application of Allod: 1184/87 Namur, 1235 Braunschweig).

German History 3