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obey his father's commands. But in 1234, at a time of great and increasing disorder in Germany, he rebelled; he appealed publicly to the princes for support, gained some followers, especially in his own duchy of Swabia, and made an alliance with the Lombard cities. Confident of his strength Frederick entered Germany with a few attendants in the middle of 1235, and his presence had the anticipated effect of quelling the insurrection; Henry was sent a prisoner to Italy and disappeared from history. Then, in August 1235, amid surroundings of great splendour, the emperor held a diet at Mainz, which was attended by a large number of princes. This diet is very important in the legal history of Germany, because here was issued that great “land peace” (Landfrieden) which became the model for all subsequent enactments of the kind. By it private war was declared unlawful, except in cases where justice could not be obtained; a chief justiciar was appointed for the Empire; all tolls and mints erected since the death of Henry VI. were to be removed; and other provisions dealt with the maintenance of order. In 1236, during another short stay in Germany, Frederick in person led the imperial army against Frederick II., duke of Austria, who had defied and overcome his repre:* sentatives; having taken possession of Vienna and oermany, the Austrian duchies he there secured the election of his son Conrad, who had already succeeded his brother as duke of Swabia, as king of the Romans (May 1237). But in spite of these imposing displays of power the princes looked with suspicion upon an emperor who was almost astranger to their country and who was believed to be a renegade from their faith, and soon after Frederick's return to Italy the gulf between him and his German subjects, was widened by his indifference to a great danger which threatened them. This came from the Mongols who ravaged the eastern frontiers of the country, but the peril was warded off by the efforts of Henry II., duke of Silesia, who lost his life in a fight against these foes near Liegnitz in April 1241, and of Wenceslaus I., king of Bohemia. The emperor's attitude with regard to the Mongol invasion is explained by events in Italy where Frederick was engaged in a new and, if possible, a more virulent struggle with
:* the Lombard cities and with Gregory As usual, popc. the course of politics in Germany, which at this time
was ruled by King Conrad and by the regent Siegfried, archbishop of Mainz (d. 1249), was influenced by this quarrel. Frederick of Austria had allied himself with Wenceslaus of Bohemia, and spurred on by the papal emissary had tried to set up a rival king; but both the Danish and the French princes who were asked to accept this thankless position declined the invitation, and Frederick and Wenceslaus made their peace, the former receiving back his duchies. After the defeat of the Mongols, however, there was again the danger of a rebellion based upon a union between the princes and the pope. Siegfried of Mainz deserted his master, and visiting Germany in 1242 Frederick found it necessary to purchase the support of the towns by a grant of extensive privileges; but, although this had the desired effect, Conrad could make but little-headway against the increasing number of his enemies. At last the Papacy found an anti-king. Having declared Frederick deposed at the council of Lyons in 1245, Gregory's successor, Innocent IV., induced a number of princes to choose as their king the landgrave of Thuringia, Henry Raspe, who had served as regent of Germany. This happened in May 1246, and the conduct of the struggle against the Pfaffenkönig, as Henry was called, was left to Conrad, who was aided by the Bavarians, until February 1247, when the anti-king died. The papal party then elected William II., count of Holland, as Henry Raspe's successor, and during the state of anarchy which now prevailed in Germany the emperor died in Italy in December 1250. Upon his father's death Conrad IV. was acknowledged by many as king in Germany, but in 1251 he went to Italy, where conrad IV. he was fully occupied in fighting against the enemies of his house until his death in May 1254. The struggle to maintain the position of the Hohenstaufen in Italy
was continued after this event; but in October 1268, by the execution of Conrad's son Conradin, the family became extinct. After Conrad's death William of Holland received a certain allegiance, especially in the north of the country, and was recognized by the Rhenish cities which had just formed a league for mutual protection, a league which for a short time gave promise of great strength and usefulness. In January 1256, however, William was killed, and in the following year there was a double election for the German crown, Alphonso X., king of Castile, a grandson of Philip of Swabia, and Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother of the English king Henry III., being each chosen by parties of electors. Richard was crowned in May 1257, but the majority of his subjects were probably ignorant of his very name; Alphonso did not even visit the country over which he claimed to rule. During the reign of Frederick II. Prussia was conquered for Christianity and civilization by the knights of the Teutonic Order, who here built up the state which was later,
- - - - - - The
in association with Brandenburg, deeply to influence remonie
the course of history. This work was begun in 1230. £ 'ssić
Knights eager to win fame by engaging in the war against the heathen Prussians flocked hither from all lands; towns, Königsberg, Thorn, Kulm and others, were founded; and in alliance with the Brothers of the Sword, the order was soon pressing farther eastwards. Courland and Livonia were brought into subjection, and into these lands also Christian institutions were introduced and German settlers brought the arts of peace. The age of the Hohenstaufen emperors is, in many respects, the most interesting in the medieval history of Germany. It was a period of great men and great ideas, of dramatic
contrasts of character and opinion-on the one side Hohena broad humanitarianism.combined with a gay enjoy- staufe" dynasty.
ment of the world, on the other side an almost superhuman spirituality which sought its ideal in the rejection of all that the world could give. It saw the new-birth of poetry and of art; it witnessed the rise of the friars. The contest between Empire and Papacy was more than a mere struggle for supremacy between two world-powers; it was a war to the death between two fundamentally opposite conceptions of life, which in many respects anticipated and prepared the way for the Renaissance and the Reformation. The emperor Frederick II. himself stands out as the type of the one tendency; Innocent III., Francis of Assisi and Dominic, in their various degrees, are types of the other. Frederick himself, of course, was Italian rather than German, akin to the despots of the Renaissance in his many-sided culture, his tolerant scepticism and his policy of “cruelty well applied.” The culture of which he was the supreme representative, that of Italy and of Provence, took a more serious shade when it penetrated into Germany. The German Minnesinger and romance-writers, whose golden age corresponded with that of the Hohenstaufen, were not content only to sing the joy of life or the chivalrous virtues of courage, courtesy and reverence for women; they in some sort anticipated the underlying ideas of the Reformation by championing the claims of the German nation against the papal monarchy and pure religion, as they conceived it, against the arrogance and corruption of the clergy. In them the medieval lay point of view became articulate, finding perhaps its most remarkable expression in the ideas of religious toleration proclaimed by Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. In Germany, as elsewhere, the victory of the Papacy was the victory of obscurantism. German culture, after a short revival, perished once more amid the smoke of the fires kindled by Conrad of Marburg and his fellow inquisitors. In architecture, as in literature, this period was also one of great achievement in Germany. Of the noble palaces which it produced the castle of the Wartburg (q.v.) remains a perfect specimen, while the many magnificent churches dating from this time that still survive, prove the taste, wealth and piety of the burghers. For the science of government, too, much was done, partly by the introduction from Italy of the study of Roman law, partly by the collection of native customs in the Sachsenspiegel compiled by Eike von Repgow early in the 13th century, and the less valuable Deutschenspiegel and Schwabenspiegel. Altogether, Germany has seen no more fascinating epoch, none more full of life, movement and colour. Yet it was in this age that the German nation utterly lost its political strength. Even after Lothair the Saxon, a line of sovereigns rigidly confining themselves to their own *::cter kingdom might have mastered the many influences of which were making for disunion. But the HohenGermany staufen family, like their Saxon and Franconian settled. predecessors, would be content with nothing short of universal dominion; and thus the crown which had once been significant of power and splendour gradually sank into contempt. Under the strong rule of Frederick Barbarossa and his son this process was temporarily stopped, but only to advance more rapidly when they were gone. During the confusion of the civil war carried on by Otto IV. and Philip, the princes, being subject to hardly any check, freely obtained crown lands and crown rights, and the mischief was too extensive to be undone by Frederick II. In 1220, in order to secure the adhesion of the church to his son Henry, he formally confirmed the spiritual princes in their usurpations; eleven years later at Worms still more extensive advantages were granted to the princes, both spiritual and secular, and these formal concessions formed the lawful basis of the independence of the princely class. Such authority as the emperor reserved for himself he could exercise but feebly from a distant land in which his energies were otherwise occupied. His immediate successors can hardly be said to have exercised any authority whatever; and they lost hold of the border countries which had hitherto been dependent upon or connected with Germany. Thenceforth Denmark and Poland rendered no homage to the German crown, and Burgundy was gradually absorbed by France. The country was not now divided into a few duchies which, with skilful management, might still in times of emergency have been made to act together. The age of the
of the great duchies was past. As we have seen, Bavaria :* was shorn of extensive lands, over which new dukes tion.
were placed, and the duchy of Saxony was altogether broken up. Swabia and Franconia ceased to have dukes, and Lorraine gave place to the duchy of Brabant and other smaller states. Thus there were archbishops, bishops, abbots, dukes, margraves, landgraves, counts-forming together a large bodyeach of whom claimed to have no superior save the emperor, whose authority they and their predecessors had slowly destroyed. All immediate nobles were not princes; but even petty knights or barons, who possessed little more than the rude towers from which they descended upon passing travellers, if their only lord was the emperor, recognized no law save their own will. Another independent element of the state was composed of the imperial cities. So long as the emperor really reigned, they enjoyed only such liberties as they could wring from him, or as he voluntarily conferred. But when the sovereign's power decayed, the imperial cities were really free republics, governing themselves according to their own ideas of law and justice (see CoMMUNE). Besides the imperial cities, and the princes and other immediate nobles, there were the mediate nobles, the men who held land in fief of the highest classes of the aristocracy, and who, in virtue of this feudal relation, looked down upon the allodial proprietors or freemen, and upon the burghers. There were also mediate towns, acknowledging the supremacy of some lord other than the sovereign. Beneath all these, forming the mass of the agricultural population, were the peasantry and the serfs, the latter attached to the land, the former ground down by heavy taxes. There was another class, large and increasing in number, which was drawn from various sections of society. This was composed of men who, being without land, attached themselves to the emperor or to some powerful noble; they performed services, generally of a military nature, for their
lord, and were called Dienstmannen (ministeriales). They were often transformed into “free knights” by the grant of a fief, and the class ultimately became absorbed in that of the knights. The period from the death of Conrad IV. to the election of Rudolph of Habsburg in 1273 is generally called the Great Interregnum, and it was used by the princes to extend their territories and to increase their authority. On several occasions it had seemed as if the German crown would become hereditary, but it had been kept elective by a variety of causes, among them being the jealousy of the Papacy and the growing strength of the aristocracy. In theory the election of each king needed the sanction of the whole of the immediate nobles, but in practice the right to choose the king had passed into the hands of a small but varying number of the leading princes. During the 13th century several attempts were made to enumerate these princes, and at the contested election of 1257 seven of them took part. This was the real beginning of the electoral college whose members at this time were the archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Trier, the duke of Saxony, the duke of Bavaria, who was also count palatine of the Rhine, the margrave of Brandenburg and the king of Bohemia. After this event the electors became a distinct element in the state. They were important because they could maintain the impotence of the crown to check disorder by imposing conditions upon candidates for the throne, and by taking care that no prince powerful enough to be dangerous to themselves should be elected to this position. Until the time of the interregnum the territories of a prince were rarely divided among his descendants, the reason being that, although the private fiefs of the nobles were prwisions hereditary, their offices-margrave, count and the like of the —were in theory at the disposal of the king. There was Princely now a tendency to set this principle aside. Otto II., * duke of Bavaria, a member of the Wittelsbach family, had become by marriage ruler of the Rhenish Palatinate, and after his death these extensive lands were ruled in common by his two sons; but in 1255 a formal division took place and the powerful family of Wittelsbach was divided into two branches. About the same time the small duchy of Saxony was divided into two duchies, those of Wittenberg and Lauenburg, the former to the south and the latter to the north of the great mark of Brandenburg, and there were similar divisions in the less important states. It was thus practically settled that the offices and territories, as well as the private fiefs, of the princes were hereditary, to be disposed of by them at their pleasure. This being thoroughly established it would have been hard, perhaps impossible, even for a sovereign of the greatest genius, to reassert in anything like its full extent the royal authority. The process of division and subdivision which steadily went on broke up Germany into a bewildering multitude of principalities; but as a rule the members of each princely house held together against common enemies, and ultimately they learned to arrange by private treaties that no territory should pass from the family while a single representative survived. The consolidation of the power of the princes was contemporary with the rise of the cities into new importance. Several of them, especially Mainz, Worms and Spires, had received valuable rights from the kings and other lords; they were becoming self-governing and to some extent independent communities and an important and growing element in the state. The increase of trade and a system of taxation provided the governing body with funds, which were used to fortify the city and in other ways to make life and property more secure. The destruction of imperial authority compelled them to organize their resources, so as to be at all times prepared against ambitious neighbours. They began to form leagues which the greatest princes and combinations of princes could not afford to despise. Of these leagues the chief at this time was the Rhenish Confederation, which has been already mentioned. Great importance was also acquired by the Hanseatic League, which had originated during the interregnum in a treaty of alliance between Lübeck and Hamburg. It ultimately included more than eighty cities and became one of the greatest commercial powers in Europe (see HANSEATIC LEAGUE). A political system which allowed the princes to do as they pleased was very much to their liking, and if they had followed their own impulse it is possible that they would never
The cities. Adolph of Nassau.
#: have placed a king over their country. But the pope burg. intervened. He found from his troubles in Italy and
from his diminished revenues from Germany that it would be still convenient to have in the latter country a sovereign who, like some of his predecessors, would be the protector of the church. Therefore, after the death of Richard of Cornwall in April 1272, Pope Gregory X., ignoring the absent Alphonso of Castile, told the electors that if they did not choose a king he himself would appoint one. The threat was effective. In September 1273 the electors met and raised to the throne a Swabian noble, Rudolph, count of Habsburg, who proved to possess more energy than they had imagined possible. For some time before this event the most powerful prince in Germany had been Ottakar II., king of Bohemia, who by marriage and conquest had obtained large territories outside his native kingdom, including the duchy of Austria and other possessions of the extinct family of Babenberg. Having himself cherished some hopes of receiving the German crown Ottakar refused to do homage to the new sovereign; after a time war broke out between them, and in August 1278 in a battle at Dürnkrut on the March Ottakar was defeated and slain, his lands, save Bohemia, passing into the possession of the victor. Rudolph had been able to give his whole attention to this enterprise owing to the good understanding which had been reached between himself and the pope, to whom he had promised to allow a free hand in Italy. Rudolph has often been called the restorer of the German kingdom, but he has little real claim to this honourable title. He marched once or twice against law-breakers, but in all the German duchies there were frequent disturbances which he did very little to check. In his later years he made some attempts to maintain the public peace, and he distinguished himself by the vigour with which he punished robber barons in Thuringia; he also won back some of the crown lands and dues which had been stolen during the interregnum. But he made no essential change in the condition of Germany. There seemed to be only one way in which a king could hope to overcome the arrogance of the princes, and that was to encourage the towns by forming with them a close and enduring alliance. Rudolph, however, almost invariably favoured the princes and not the towns. The latter had a class of burgher called Pfahlbürger, men who lived in the open country outside the Pfähle, or palisades of the town, but who could claim the protection of the municipal authorities. By becoming Pfahlbürger men were able of escape from the tyranny of the large landholders, and consequently the princes strongly opposed the right of the towns to receive them. Not only did the king take the part of the princes in this important struggle, but he harassed the towns by subjecting them to severe imposts, a proceeding which led to several risings. About this time the princes were gaining influence in another direction. Their assent to all important acts of state, especially to grants of crown property, was now regarded as necessary and was conveyed by means of Willebriefe; henceforward they were not merely the advisers of the king, they were rather partners with him in the business of government. Rudolph had all the sympathies and prejudices of the noble class, and the supreme object of his life was not to increase the power of the state but to add to the greatness of his
#." own family, a policy which was perhaps justified by family. the condition of the German kingdom, the ruler of
which had practically no strength save that which he derived from his hereditary lands. In this he was very successful. Four years after the fall of Ottakar he obtained from the princes a tardy and reluctant assent to the granting of Austria, Styria and Carniola to his own sons, Rudolph and Albert. In 1286
Carinthia was given to Meinhard, count of Tirol, on condition that when his male line became extinct it should pass to the Habsburgs. Thus Rudolph made himself memorable as the real founder of the house of Habsburg. It was in vain that Rudolph sought to obtain the succession to the crown for one of his sons; the electors would not take a step which might endanger their own rights, and nearly a year after the king's death in July 1291 they chose Adolph, count of Nassau, and not Rudolph's surviving son Albert, as theirsovereign. Adolph, an insignificant prince, having been obliged to reward his supporters richly, wished to follow the lines laid down by his predecessor and to secure an extensive territory for his family. Meissen, which he claimed as a vacant fief of the Empire, and Thuringia, which he bought from the landgrave Albert II., seemed to offer a favourable field for this undertaking, and he spent a large part of his short reign in a futile attempt to carry out his plan. In his foreign policy Adolph allied himself with Edward I. of England against Philip IV. of France, but after declaring war on France in August 1294 he did nothing to assist his ally. At home he relieved the cities of some of their burdens and upheld them in the quarrel about the Pfahlbirger; and he sought to isolate Albert of Habsburg, who was treating with Philip of France. But many of the princes were disgusted with him and, led by Albert of Habsburg, Gerhard, archbishop of Mainz, and Wenceslaus II., king of Bohemia, they decided to overthrow him, and at Mainz in June 1298 he was declared deposed. He resisted the sentence, but Albert, who had been chosen his successor, marched against him, and in July 1298, at Göllheim near Worms, Adolph was defeated and killed. After Adolph's death Albert was again chosen German king, and was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle in August 1298. Like his father Rudolph, the new king made it the principal object of his reign to increase the power of his house, but he failed in his attempts to add Bohemia and Thuringia to the hereditary lands of the Habsburgs, and he was equally unsuccessful in his endeavour to seize the countries of Holland and Zealand as vacant fiefs of the Empire. In other directions, however, he was more fortunate. He recovered some of the lost crown lands and sought to abolish new and unauthorized tolls on the Rhine; he cncouraged the towns and took measures to repress private wars; he befriended the serfs and protected the persecuted Jews. For a time Albert allied himself with Philip IV. of France against Pope Boniface VIII., who had refused to recognize him as king, but in 1303 he made peace with the pope, a step which enabled him to turn his attention to Bohemia and Thuringia. The greatest danger which he had to face during his reign came from a league which was formed against him in 1300 by the four Rhenish electors-thc three archbishops and the count palatine of the Rhine—who disliked his foreign policy and resented his action with regard to the tolls. Albert, however, supported by the towns, was victorious; and the revolting electors soon made their peace. After Albert's murder, which took place in May 1308, Henry, count of Luxemburg, a brother of Baldwin (1285–1354), the powerful archbishop of Trier, became king as Henry Henry VII VII. Although fortunate enough to obtain for his • son John the crown of Bohemia, the aggrandizement of his family was not the main object of this remarkable sovereign, the last German king of the old, ambitious type. It was the memory of the Empire which stirred his blood; from the beginning of his reign he looked forward to securing the Lombard and the imperial crowns. His purpose to cross the Alps at the head of a great force was hailed with delight by the Ghibellines, whose aspirations found utterance in Dante's noble prose, but his life was too short for him to fulfil the hopes of his friends. Having restored the Rhine tolls to the Rhenish archbishops and made his peace with the Habsburgs, Henry went to Italy in the autumn of 1310, not, however, with a large army, and remained in the peninsula until his death in August 1313. As in former times the effect of the connexion of Germany with Italy was altogether mischievous, because to expedite his Italian journey the king had added to the great privileges of the princes and had repressed the energies of the towns. After Henry's death the electors, again fearing lest the German crown should become hereditary, refused to choose the late louls the king's young son, John of Bohemia, as their ruler, #sweries although the candidature of this prince was supported said by the powerful archbishops Baldwin of Trier and : Peter of Mainz. They failed, infact, to agree upon any o one candidate, and after a long delay there was a double election for the throne. This took place in October 1314, when the larget party chose Louis IV., duke of Upper Bavaria, while the smaller party gave their votes to Frederick the Fair, duke of Austria, a son of King Albert I. Although related to each other, Louis and Frederick had come to blows before this event; they represented two rival houses, those of Wittelsbach and Habsburg, and the election only served to feed the flame of their antagonism. A second time war broke out between them. The struggle, marked by numerous raids, sieges and skirmishes, lasted for nine years, being practically ended by Frederick's decisive defeat at Mühldorf in September 1322. The vanquished king remained in captivity until 1325, when, during the contest between the Empire and the Papacy, Louis came to terms with him. Frederick acknowledged his rival, and later the suggestion was put forward that they should rule Germany jointly, but this arrangement aroused much opposition and it came to nothing. Frederick returned into an honourable captivity and died in January 133o. The success of Louis in his war with Frederick was to some extent due to the imperial cities, which supported him from c...., the first. Not only did they pay high taxes, but they of the made splendid voluntary contributions, thus enabling success of the sovereign of their choice to continue the fight. Louis. But Louis was perhaps still more indebted for his victory to the memorable conflict between the Swiss and the Habsburgs, the defeat of Leopold of Austria at Morgarten in 1315 striking a heavy blow at his position. Thus this struggle for freedom, although belonging properly to the history of Switzerland, exercised much influence on the course of German history. Had Louis been wise and prudent, it would have been fairly easy for him to attain a strong position after his victory at Mühldorf. But he threw away his advantages. He offended John of Bohemia, who had aided him at Mühldorf, thus converting a useful friend into a formidable foe, and his other actions were hardly more judicious. John was probably alarmed at the increase in the power of the German king, and about the same time a similar fear had begun to possess Pope John XXII. and Charles IV. of France. About 1323 Louis had secured the mark of Brandenburg for his son Louis, and he was eager to aggrandize his family in other directions. It was just at the time when he had estranged John of Bohemia that the pope made his decisive move. Asserting that the German crown could only be worn by one who had received the papal approbation he called upon Louis to lay it down; the answer was an indignant refusal, and in 1324 the king was declared deposed and excommunicate. Thus the ancient struggle between the Papacy and the Empire was renewed, a struggle in which the pen, wielded by Marsiglio of Padua, William of Occam, John of Jandun and others, played an important part, and in which the new ideas in religion and politics worked steadily against the arrogant papal claim. The pope and his French ally, Charles IV., whom it was proposed to seat upon the German throne, had completely misread the signs of the times, and their schemes met with very little favour in Germany. No longer had the princes as in former years any reason to dread the designs of an ambitious king; the destinies of the kingdom were in their own hands and they would not permit them to be controlled by an alien power. Such was the attitude of most of the temporal princes, and many spiritual princes took the same view. As for the electors, they had the strongest possible motive for resisting the papal claim, because if this were once admitted they would quickly lose their growing importance in the state.
Louis IV. add the
Lastly, the cities which had stood behind the Empire in the most difficult crises of its contest with Rome were not likely to desert it now. Thus encouraged, or rather driven forward, by the national sentiment Louis continued to assert the independence of the crown against the pope. In 1327 he marched into Italy, where he had powerful and numerous friends in the Ghibelline party, the Visconti family and others; in January 1328 he was crowned emperor at Rome, and after this event he declared Pope John deposed and raised Peter of Corvara to the papal chair as Nicholas W. The concluding stages of this expedition were not favourable to the new emperor, but his humiliation was only slight and it did not appreciably affect the conditions of the controversy. For a short time after the emperor's return to Germany there was peace. But this was soon broken by a dispute over the succession to the duchy of Carinthia and the county of Tirol, then ruled by Henry V., who was without sons, and whose daughter, Margaret Maultasch, was married to John Henry, margrave of Moravia, a son of John of Bohemia. Upon these lands the three great families in Germany, those of Wittelsbach, of Habsburg and of Luxemburg, were already casting covetous eyes; Carinthia, moreover, was claimed by the Habsburgs in virtue of an arrangement made in 1286. Thus a struggle between the Luxemburgs and the Habsburgs appeared certain, and Louis, anxious to secure for his house a share of the spoil, hesitated for a time between these rivals. In 1335 Duke Henry died and the emperor adjudged his lands to the Habsburgs; wars broke out, and the result was that John Henry secured Tirol while the other contending family added Carinthia to its Austrian possessions. During this time Louis had been negotiating continually with Pope John and with his successor Benedict XII. to regain the favour of the church, and so to secure a free hand
Louis in Germany.
for his designs in Germany. But the pope was not The Pope equally complaisant, and in 1337 the emperor allied :
himself with Edward III. of England against Philip VI. of France, whom he regarded as primarily responsible for the unyielding attitude of the Papacy. This move was very popular in Germany, and the papal party received a further rebuff in July 1338 when the electors met at Rense and declared that in no possible manner could they allow any control over, or limitation of, their electoral rights. As a sequel to this declaration the diet, meeting at Frankfort a month later, asserted that the imperial power proceeded from God alone and that the individual chosen by a majority of the electors to occupy this high station needed no confirmation from the pope, or from any one else, to make his election valid. Contrary opinions they denounced as pestifera dogmata. But in spite of this support Louis threw away his advantages; he abandoned Edward III. in 1341, although this step did not
win for him, as he desired, the goodwill of the pope, Louis and he was soon involved in a more serious struggle and the with John of Bohemia and the Luxemburgs. With £"
his Bohemian followers John Henry had made himself very unpopular in Tirol, where his wife soon counted herself among his enemies, and in 1341 he was driven from the land, while Margaret announced her intention of repudiating him and marrying the emperor'sson Louis, margrave of Brandenburg. The emperor himself entered heartily into this scheme for increasing the power of his family; he declared the marriage with John Henry void, and bestowed upon his son and his bride Margaret not only Tirol, but also Carinthia, now in the hands of the Habsburgs. Nothing more was needed to unite together all the emperor's foes, including Pope Clement VI., who, like his predecessors, had rejected the advances of Louis; but in 1345, before the gathering storm broke, the emperor took possession of the counties of Holland, Zealand and Friesland, which had been left without a ruler by the death of his brother-in-law, Count William IV. By this time John of Bohemia and his allies had completed their plans. In July 1346 five of the electors met, and, having declared Louis deposed, they raised John's son Charles, margrave of Moravia, to the German throne. For a time no serious steps were taken against Louis, but after King John had met his death at Crécy Charles, who succeeded him as Āing of Bohemia, began to make vigorous preparations for war, and only the sudden death of the emperor (October 1347) saved Germany from civil strife. Notwithstanding the defects of Louis's personal character his reign is one of the most important in German history. The claim of the Papacy to political supremacy received
domestic in his time its death-blow, and the popes themselves
: of sowed the seeds of the alienation from Rome which ottis,
was effected at the Reformation. With regard to the public peace Louis persistently followed the lines laid down by Albert I. He encouraged the princes to form alliances for its maintenance, and at the time of his death such alliances existed in all parts of the country. To the cities he usually showed himself a faithful friend. In many of them there had been for more than a century a struggle between the old patrician families and the democratic gilds. Louis could not always follow his own impulses, but whenever he could he associated himself with the latter party. Thus in his day the government of the imperial cities became more democratic and industry and trade flourished as they had never before done. The steady dislike of the princes was the best proof of the importance of the cities. They contained elements capable of enormous development; and had a great king arisen he might even yet, by their means, have secured for Germany a truly national life.
In January 1349 the friends of the late emperor elected Günther, count of Schwarzburg, as their king, but before this occurrence Charles of Moravia, by a liberal use of gifts and promises,
Charles - - IV. be- had won over many of his enemies, prominent among : whom were the cities. In a few months Günther
himself abandoned the struggle, dying shortly afterwards, and about the same time his victorious rival was recognized by Louis of Brandenburg, the head of the Wittelsbach family. As king of Bohemia Charles was an enlightened and capable ruler, but he was indifferent towards Germany, although this country never stood in more urgent need of a strong and beneficent sovereign. In the early years of the reign the people, especially in the south and west, attacked and plundered the Jews; and the consequent disorder was greatly increased by the ravages of the Black Death and by the practices and preaching of the Flagellants, both events serving to spur the maddened populace to renewed outrages on the Jews. In dealing with this outburst of fanaticism many of the princes, both spiritual and secular, displayed vigour and humanity, but Charles saw only in the sufferings of this people an excuse for robbing them of their wealth. Charles's most famous achievement was the issue of the Golden Bull (q.v.). Although the principle of election had long been admitted and practised with regard to the
#.n German crown, yet it was surrounded by many practical Bull. difficulties. For instance, if the territory belonging
to an electoral family were divided, as was often the case, it had never been settled whether all the ruling princes were to vote, or, if one only were entitled to this privilege, by what principle the choice was to be made. Over these and other similar points many disputes had arisen, and, having been crowned emperor at Rome in April 1355, Charles decided to set these doubts at rest. The Golden Bull, promulgated in January 1356 and again after some tedious negotiations in December of the same year, fixed the number of electors at seven, SaxeWittenberg and not Saxe-Lauenburg obtaining the Saxon vote, and the vote of the Wittelsbachs being given to the ruler of the Rhenish Palatinate and not to the duke of Bavaria. The votes of a majority of the electors were held to make an election valid. In order that there might be no possibility of dispute between the princes of a single house, the countries ruled by the four secular electors-Bohemia, the Rhenish Palatinate, Saxony and Brandenburg—were declared to be indivisible and to be heritable only by the accepted rules of primogeniture. The electors were granted full sovereign rights over their lands,
and their subjects were allowed to appeal to the royal or the imperial tribunals only in case they could not obtain justice elsewhere. A blow was struck at the cities, which were forbidden to form leagues or to receive Pfahlbürger. If the Golden Bull be excepted, the true interest of this reign is in the movements beyond the range of the emperor's influence. It is significant that at this time the Femgerichte, or Fehmic Courts (q.v.), vastly extended the sphere of their activities, and that in the absence of a strong central authority they were respected as a check upon the lawlessness of the princes. The cities, notwithstanding every kind of discouragement, formed new associations for mutual defence or strengthened those which already existed. The Hanseatic League carried on war with Waldemar V., king of Denmark, and his ally, the king of Norway, seventy-seven towns declaring war on these monarchs in 1367, and emerged victorious from the struggle, while its commerce extended to nearly all parts of the known world. In 1376 some Swabian towns formed a league which, in spite of the imperial prohibition, soon became powerful in south-west Germany and defeated the forces of the count of Württemberg at Reutlingen in May 1377. The emperor, meanwhile, was occupied in numerous intrigues to strengthen his personal position and to increase the power of his house. In these he was very fortunate, managing far more than his predecessors to avoid conflicts with the Papacy and the princes. The result was that when he died in November 1378 he wore the crowns of the Empire, of Germany, of Bohemia, of Lombardy and of Burgundy; he had added Lower Lusatia and parts of Silesia to Bohemia; he had secured the mark of Brandenburg for his son Wenceslaus in 1373; and he had bought part of the Upper Palatinate and territories in all parts of Germany. After the death of Charles, his son Wenceslaus, who had been crowned German king in July 1376, was recognized by the princes as their ruler, but the new sovereign was
careless and indolent and in a few years he left Germany :* to look after itself. During his reign the struggle between the princes and the cities reached its climax. Following
the example set by the electors at Rense both parties formed associations for protection, prominent among these being the Swabian League on the one side and the League of the Lion (Löwenbund)" on the other. The result was that the central authority was almost entirely disregarded. Wenceslaus favoured first one of the antagonists and then the other, but although he showed some desire to put an end to the increasing amount of disorder he was unable, or unwilling, to take a strong and definite line of action. The cities entered upon the approaching contest at a considerable disadvantage. Often they were separated one from the other by large stretches of territory under the rule of a hostile prince and their trade was peculiarly liable to attack by an adventurous body of knights. The citizens, who were called upon to fight their battles, were usually unable to contend successfully with men whose whole lives had been passed in warfare; the isolation of the cities was not favourable to the creation or mobilization of an active and homogeneous force; and, moreover, at this time many of them were disturbed by internal troubles. However, they minimized this handicap by joining league to league; in 1381 the Swabian and the Rhenish cities formed an alliance for three years, while the Swabian League obtained promises of help from the Swiss.
The Swiss opened the fight. Attacked by the Habsburgs they defeated and killed Duke Leopold of Austria at Sempach in July 1386 and gained another victory at Näfels two years later; but their allies, the Swabian cities, #: were not equally prompt or cqually fortunate. The Germany. decisive year was 1388, when the strife became general all over south-west Germany. In August 1388 the princes, under Count Eberhard of Württemberg, completely defeated their foes at Döffingen, while in the following November Rupert II., elector palatine of the Rhine, was equally successful in his attack on the forces of the Rhenish cities near Worms.
*So called from the badge worn by the knights (Löwenritter) who composed it.