German History: The Origin and Early Development of the “German Empire” Part II

German History 2

The indivisibility of the empire offered decisive prerequisites for the formation of political identities for the aristocratic associations.

In contrast, the Frankish-Carolingian tradition corresponded to the close relationship between the king and the imperial church. For the legitimation of the king, in addition to descent and election, the church anointing and coronation, which imparted the sacred charisma of the ruler appointed by God to the crowned man, were of decisive importance. Traditional ideas established the rule of the king over the imperial church (own church). The renewal of the empire by Otto the Great(962) also followed the tradition given by Charlemagne, although the new dignity was based on a much narrower territorial power base.

The king was the chief judge and chief military officer. The economic basis of his rule was based on the use of his own property and royal rights of rule (royal household, imperial property) as well as on special services (servitia regis) that the imperial churches had to provide. The king was also the supreme liege lord of all landlords who had their property or their rulership rights from the realm as a fief. However, in the newly emerging empire, in view of the weakness of the rulers in the late Carolingian period and the threats from outside (Normans invasions, Hungary), numerous noble landlords had become accustomed to viewing their property not as a fiefdom from the king, but as free property, which was in in practice meant that the respective owner also had an independent, not derived from the king and therefore difficult to control aristocratic lordship. The dukes are to be regarded as prototypes of such noble powers of their own. The resulting dualism between royal power and noble will to rule is one of the basic facts that have decisively shaped the course of German history from the beginning. who in some cases had achieved a position almost equal to a king and who naturally opposed resolute resistance to all centralizing efforts; The resulting dualism between royal power and noble will to rule is one of the basic facts that have decisively shaped the course of German history from the beginning. who in some cases had achieved a position almost equal to a king and who naturally opposed resolute resistance to all centralizing efforts; The resulting dualism between royal power and noble will to rule is one of the basic facts that have decisively shaped the course of German history from the beginning.

Securing domination internally and externally

From the late 9th and early 10th centuries, the East Franconian peoples (tribes) grew stronger in the defensive struggle against Hungarians and Slavs, and based on older ethnic associations in the disintegrating Carolingian empire, they re-emerged: Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria and Saxony. Here leading aristocratic families prevailed as dukes. King Heinrich I, initially only elevated to king by Saxony and Franconia, gradually gained recognition in Swabia thanks to his external successes (at Riade 933 victory over the Hungarians, who had repeatedly invaded the empire in devastating raids since the 9th century) and Bavaria. According to Pharmacylib, while he had avoided open arguments with the dukes, his son, who was crowned in Aachen based on the tradition of Charlemagne, took up his position Otto I, the great, the argument. After the attempt to entrust family members with vacant duchies had not led to the strengthening of royal rule everywhere, Otto promoted and privileged the imperial church and used it for rule and administration (“Ottonian-Salian imperial church”).

Otto was also successful externally. Following the policy of his father, he succeeded in securing and further expanding the empire to the east: 936/937 establishment of brands against the Slavs (under Hermann Billung and Gero) and a castle system in the border area, and from 948/968 re-establishment of Dioceses for the Slavic Mission (besides Merseburg, Zeitz, Brandenburg, Havelberg, especially the Diocese of Meißen and the Archdiocese of Magdeburg); In 950 Bohemia was subjugated, in 963 Poland had to recognize the sovereignty of the empire. In particular, his position was strengthened by a brilliant victory on the Lechfeld near Augsburg over the Hungarians (955), in the same year also against the Slavs; the Bavarian Ostmark (Austria) was restored. So could Otto now set about following the Frankish imperial tradition to tackle a targeted Italian policy and the renewal of the empire. In the Longobard part of Italy (Upper and Central Italy) Otto had wonthe rule on a first Italian campaign (951/952) against Berengar II. Since then, even if without a coronation, he has called himself “King of the Franks and Longobards” (“Rex Francorum et Langobardorum “). A second train to Italy (961–965) brought with the coronation of emperors in Rome (962) the renewal of Charlemagne’s imperial idea During the third campaign to Italy (966–972) – like the second at the request of the Pope – the emperor had his son Otto (II) crowned co-emperor (967). Otto II., since 973 sole ruler, was able to secure his kingship in the interior, the northern border (march against the Danish king Harald Blauzahn 974) and the western border (march against France 978), but failed in the attempt to drive the Saracens out of lower Italy (defeat at Cotrone, 982). Due to an uprising of the Elbe Slavs (983) most of the East Elbe regions (the Billungian Mark and the East Mark) were lost; the “Nordmark” was now limited to the so-called Altmark from the 14th century onwards. His son Otto III. , advised by Gerbert von Aurillac (since 999 as New Year’s Eve II Pope) and Adalbert von Prag, emphasized the empire in new imperial forms and the rank of Rome as head of the world (»Renovatio Imperii Romanorum«) more than the monarchy.

With the establishment of the dioceses of Gniezno (1000) and Gran (1001), the emperor’s claim to power and the priority of the kings in the east was affirmed.

With the death of Otto III. the Ottonian main line became extinct. Heinrich II. (1002-24), who came from a Bavarian branch, was only able to prevail against several other aspirants to the throne after lengthy negotiations.

Despite his three Italian campaigns, during which he was able to prevent the advance of the Byzantines in southern Italy, and despite his coronation as emperor (1014) in Rome, he led Otto III’s universal imperial idea. not unbroken. Based on the imperial church, he sought the royal rule v. a. to consolidate in the realm north of the Alps.

German History 2