Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Duke Frederick I of Swabia and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV; the origin of the House of Hohenstaufen in the Duchy of Swabia has not been conclusively established. Conrad's great-grandfather Frederick of Staufen was count in the Riesgau and in 1053 became Swabian Count palatine, his son Frederick of Buren resided near present-day Wäschenbeuren and about 1050 married Countess Hildegard of Egisheim-Dagsburg from Alsace. Conrad's father took advantage of the conflict between King Henry IV of Germany and the Swabian duke Rudolf of Rheinfelden during the Investiture Controversy; when Rudolf had himself elected German anti-king at Forchheim in 1077, Frederick of Hohenstaufen remained loyal to the royal crown and in 1079 was vested with the Duchy of Swabia by Henry IV, including an engagement with the king's minor daughter Agnes. He died in 1105, leaving two sons and his elder brother Frederick II, who inherited the Swabian ducal title.
Their mother entered into a second marriage with Babenberg margrave Leopold III of Austria. In 1105 Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor since 1084, was overthrown by Conrad's uncle. Emperor since 1111, Henry V preparing for his second campaign to Italy upon the death of Margravine Matilda of Tuscany, in 1116 appointed Conrad a Duke of Franconia. Conrad was marked out to act as regent for Germany, together with his elder brother, Duke Frederick II of Swabia. At the death of Henry V in 1125, Conrad unsuccessfully supported Frederick II for the kingship of Germany. Frederick was placed under a ban and Conrad was deprived of Franconia and the Kingdom of Burgundy, of which he was rector. With the support of the imperial cities and the Duchy of Austria, Conrad was elected anti-king at Nuremberg in December 1127. Conrad crossed the Alps to be crowned King of Italy by Anselmo della Pusterla, Archbishop of Milan. Over the next two years, he failed to achieve anything in Italy and returned to Germany in 1130, after Nuremberg and Speyer, two strong cities in his support, fell to Lothair in 1129.
Conrad continued in Lothair's opposition, but he and Frederick were forced to acknowledge Lothair as emperor in 1135, during which time Conrad relinquished his title as King of Italy. After this they could take again possession of their lands. After Lothair's death, Conrad was elected king at Coblenz on 7 March 1138, in the presence of the papal legate Theodwin. Conrad was crowned at Aachen six days and was acknowledged in Bamberg by several princes of southern Germany; as Henry the Proud, son-in-law and heir of Lothair and the most powerful prince in Germany, passed over in the election, refused to do the same, Conrad deprived him of all his territories, giving the Duchy of Saxony to Albert the Bear and that of Bavaria to Leopold IV, Margrave of Austria. Henry, retained the loyalty of his subjects; the civil war that broke out is considered the first act of the struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines, which extended southwards to Italy. After Henry's death, the war was continued by his son Henry the Lion, supported by the Saxons, by his brother Welf VI.
Conrad, after a long siege, defeated the latter at Weinsberg in December 1140, in May 1142 a peace agreement was reached in Frankfurt. In the same year, Conrad entered Bohemia to reinstate his brother-in-law Vladislav II as prince; the attempt to do the same with another brother-in-law, the Polish prince Ladislaus the Exile, failed. Bavaria and the other regions of Germany were in revolt. In 1146, Conrad heard Bernard of Clairvaux preach the Second Crusade at Speyer, he agreed to join Louis VII in a great expedition to the Holy Land. Before leaving, he had the nobles crown his son Henry Berengar king; the succession secured in the event of his death, Conrad set out. His army of 20,000 men went overland, via Hungary, causing disruptions in the Byzantine territories through which they passed, they arrived at Constantinople by September 1147, ahead of the French army. Rather than taking the coastal road around Anatolia through Christian-held territory, by which he sent most of his noncombatants, Conrad took his army across Anatolia.
On 25 October 1147, they were defeated by the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Dorylaeum. Conrad and most of the knights escaped; the remaining 2,000 men of the German army limped on to Nicaea, where many of the survivors deserted and tried to return home. Conrad and his adherents had to be escorted to Lopadium by the French, where they joined the main French army under Louis. Conrad fell ill at Ephesus and was sent to recuperate in Constantinople, where his host the Emperor Manuel I acted as his personal physician. After recovering, Conrad sailed to Acre, from there reached Jerusalem, he participated in the ill-fated Siege of Damascus and after that failure, grew disaffected with his allies. Another attempt to attack Ascalon failed when Conrad's allies did not appear as promised, Conrad returned to Germany. In 1150, Conrad and Henry Berengar defeated his son Welf VII at the Battle of Flochberg. Henry Berengar died that year and the succession was thrown open; the Welfs and Hohenstaufen made peace in 1152 and the peaceful succession of one of Conrad's family was secured.
Conrad was never crowned emperor and continued to style himself "King of the Romans" until his death. On his deathbed, in the presence of only two witnesses, his nephew Frederick Barbarossa and the Bishop of Bamberg, he designated Frederick his successor, rather than his own surviving six-year-old son F
Albert the Bear
Albert the Bear was the first Margrave of Brandenburg from 1157 to his death and was Duke of Saxony between 1138 and 1142. Albert was the only son of Otto, Count of Ballenstedt, Eilika, daughter of Magnus Billung, Duke of Saxony, he inherited the valuable estates in northern Saxony of his father in 1123, on his mother's death, in 1142, succeeded to one-half of the lands of the house of Billung. Albert was a loyal vassal of his relation, Lothar I, Duke of Saxony, from whom, about 1123, he received the Margraviate of Lusatia, to the east. Albert's entanglements in Saxony stemmed from his desire to expand his inherited estates there. After the death of his brother-in-law, Henry II, Margrave of the Nordmark, who controlled a small area on the Elbe called the Saxon Northern March, in 1128, disappointed at not receiving this fief himself, attacked Udo V, Count of Stade, the heir, was deprived of Lusatia by Lothar. Udo, was said to have been assassinated by servants of Albert on 15 March 1130 near Aschersleben.
In spite of this, he went to Italy in 1132 in the train of the king, his services there were rewarded in 1134 by the investiture of the Northern March, again without a ruler. In 1138 Conrad III, the Hohenstaufen King of the Germans, deprived Albert's cousin and nemesis, Henry the Proud of his Saxon duchy, awarded to Albert if he could take it. After some initial success in his efforts to take possession, Albert was driven from Saxony, from his Northern march by a combined force of Henry and Jaxa of Köpenick, compelled to take refuge in south Germany; when peace was made with Henry in 1142, Albert renounced the Saxon duchy and received the counties of Weimar and Orlamünde. It was at this time that Albert was made Archchamberlain of the Empire, an office which afterwards gave the Margraves of Brandenburg the rights of a prince-elector. Once he was established in the Northern March, Albert's covetous eye lay on the thinly populated lands to the north and east. For three years he was occupied in campaigns against the Slavic Wends, who as pagans were considered fair game, whose subjugation to Christianity was the aim of the Wendish Crusade of 1147 in which Albert took part.
Albert was a part of the army. And at the end of the war, recovered Havelberg, lost since 983. Diplomatic measures were more successful, by an arrangement made with the last of the Wendish princes of Brandenburg, Pribislav of the Hevelli, Albert secured this district when the prince died in 1150. Taking the title "Margrave in Brandenburg", he pressed the "crusade" against the Wends, extended the area of his mark, encouraged German migration, established bishoprics under his protection, so became the founder of the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1157, which his heirs — the House of Ascania — held until the line died out in 1320. In 1158 a feud with Henry's son, Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, was interrupted by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On his return in 1160, he, with the consent of his sons. In 1162 Albert accompanied Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Italy, where he distinguished himself at the storming of Milan. In 1164 Albert joined a league of princes formed against Henry the Lion, peace being made in 1169, Albert divided his territories among his six sons.
He died on 13 November 1170 in Stendal, was buried at Ballenstedt. Albert's personal qualities won for him the cognomen of the Bear, "not from his looks or qualities, for he was a tall handsome man, but from the cognisance on his shield, an able man, had a quick eye as well as a strong hand, could pick what way was straightest among crooked things, was the shining figure and the great man of the North in his day, got much in the North and kept it, got Brandenburg for one there, a conspicuous country since," says Carlyle, who called Albert "a restless, much-managing, wide-warring man." He is called by writers "the Handsome." Albert was married in 1124 to Sophie of Winzenburg and they had the following children: Otto I, Margrave of Brandenburg Count Hermann I of Orlamünde Siegfried, Bishop of Brandenburg from 1173–1180, Prince-Archbishop of Bremen, the first ranked prince, from 1180–1184 Heinrich, a canon in Magdeburg Count Albert of Ballenstedt Count Dietrich of Werben Count Bernhard of Anhalt, Duke of Saxony from 1180-1212 as Bernard III Hedwig, married to Otto II, Margrave of Meissen Daughter, married c. 1152 to Vladislav of Bohemia Adelheid, a nun in Lamspringe Gertrude, married in 1155 to Duke Diepold of Moravia Sybille, Abbess of Quedlinburg Eilika Thomas Carlyle, History of Friedrich ii Chapter iv: Albert the Bear The History Files: Rulers of Brandenburg
The Saxon Rebellion or Rebellion of the Saxons commonly called the Saxon Uprising, refers to the struggle between the Salian dynasty ruling the Holy Roman Empire and the rebel Saxons during the reign of Henry IV. The conflict reached its climax in the period from summer 1073 until the end of 1075, in a rebellion that involved several clashes of arms. Undercurrents of discord between the Salian royal family and the Saxons existed under Henry's father, Emperor Henry III; this may have been due to his Rhenish Franconian origin as well as his numerous stays in the Imperial Palace of Goslar, which were associated with a disproportionately high economic burden on the surrounding population. With the accession of Henry IV in 1065 this conflict intensified, as Henry made demands on numerous Imperial domains in the centre of the Saxon heartland around the Harz mountains—especially the silver mines of Rammelsberg. To secure these estates he initiated a castle building programme, erecting numerous fortresses along the range, the most prominent being the Harzburg.
This was perceived as a threat by the Saxons. In addition, these castles were staffed with ministeriales of Swabian origin, who plundered the Saxon population to make up for their lack of income.. In 1070 the Saxon count Otto of Nordheim, Duke of Bavaria since 1061, had been accused by the ministerialis Egeno I of Konradsburg of planning an assault on the king's life. Otto was deposed and banned he gained support by the son of Billung duke, Ordulf of Saxony, the young Magnus. King Henry IV had both arrested. While Otto was pardoned, Magnus remained in custody at the Harzburg and was not released after his father's death in 1072, as he showed no intention of renouncing the Saxon ducal dignity. In order to grasp the reason for the outbreak of the uprising, it is important to deal with the persons and parties involved; these were, in this instance, Emperor Henry IV, the Saxon nobility and the remaining imperial princes. The king had his own reasons, which were based on the Coup of Kaiserswerth and which had far-reaching consequences.
The period after the coup was used by the imperial princes to further extend their power base within the Empire, since there was de facto no overall ruler able to hinder them. Empress Agnes herself was too weak and had fallen into disgrace, the young king was in the hands of Anno of Cologne; when Henry was dubbed a knight in 1065, he was able to counter these ensuing developments. However, the course of events should not be seen as a recuperation, since the loss of royal lands in the Harz region may be regarded as of low importance and therefore not an essential motive; these areas had been a bone of contention under Henry III between the Salians and Saxony. The castles should rather to be seen as an expression of royal power, because Henry supported himself prominently through ministeriales who were dependent on his benevolence in order to free himself from the imperial princes, but this drew further displeasure from the princes. The motives of the Saxon nobles are now obvious, as they were hugely affected by Henry's actions and were outraged.
They did not want to give up so the influence that they had built up during the absence of a ruler.. This independence, which the king himself tried to achieve, led to a competition with the king, which in turn led to dissatisfaction among the Saxon princes. Henry's endeavours led to the desire for a ruler, easier to control and to the king being blamed by the Saxons for his abuse of official authority. There was a conflict due to the so-called "royal immediacy", the regular presence of the king in certain parts of the Empire; this situation was overdramatized. Among the Saxon princes, a certain Otto of Northeim, in particular, found the king a serious thorn in his side due to his participation in the Coup of Kaiserswerth and his expansion of possessions in the Harz; because of this dispute and the loss of his estates, Otto takes a leading role in the insurrection during the course of the alleged murder plot against the king. The quarrels surrounding the ministeriales had wider repercussions and continued among the non-insurgents.
The resulting fear of loss of power, resulted in the great princes of the Empire lending their passive support to the insurrection. For example, Rudolf of Swabia, Berthold of Carinthia and Welf IV dissociated themselves from the Emperor. According to the chronicler Lambert of Hersfeld, the Saxon princes came to the Imperial Palace of Goslar on 29 June 1073 in order to point to these abuses and demand improvements. Henry IV refused to enter discussions and fled from the large, advancing Saxon army to the nearby castle of Harzburg, where he was besieged by the Saxon rebels, again led by Count Otto of Nordheim together with Bishop Burchard II of Halberstadt; the king, was able to escape on the night of 10 August 1073 through the castle's well shaft. Henry fled across the Harz mountains reaching the Landgraviate of Thuringia at Eschwege first and moved on to Franconian Hersfeld further into southern Germany, but he found hardly any support among the princes of the Empire, who were not willing to go to battle with him against the Saxons.
As a result, on 27 January 1074, Henry stood at the head of what was only a small army compared to the much larger Saxon one at Hersfeld. Both sides were afraid to join for different reasons. Henry because of his obvious inferiority; the Saxon leaders, by contrast, were aware that a victory by their army, consisting of peasants, would have
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV became King of the Germans in 1056. From 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105, he was referred to as the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor, he was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century. His reign was marked by the Investiture Controversy with the Papacy, he was excommunicated five times by three different popes. Civil wars over his throne took place in both Germany, he died soon after defeating his son's army near Visé, in Lorraine, France. In 1056 at Aachen, Henry IV was enthroned as the King of the Germans by Pope Victor II, while his mother, Agnes of Poitou, became regent. In 1062 the young king was kidnapped as a result of the Coup of Kaiserswerth, a conspiracy of German nobles led by Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne. Henry, at Kaiserwerth, was persuaded to board a boat on the Rhine. Agnes retired to a convent, the government was placed in the hands of Anno, his first action was to back Pope Alexander II against the antipope Honorius II, whom Agnes had recognized but subsequently left without support.
Anno's rule proved unpopular. The education and training of Henry were supervised by Anno, called his magister, while Adalbert of Hamburg, archbishop of Bremen, was styled Henry's patronus. Henry's education seems to have been neglected, his willful and headstrong nature developed under the conditions of these early years; the malleable Adalbert of Hamburg soon became the confidante of the ruthless Henry. During an absence of Anno from Germany, Henry managed to obtain control of his civil duties, leaving Anno with only an ecclesiastical role. Henry's entire reign was marked by apparent efforts to consolidate Imperial power. In reality, however, he worked to maintain the loyalty of the nobility and the support of the pope. In 1066, he expelled from the Crown Council Adalbert of Hamburg, who had profited from his position for personal enrichment. Henry adopted urgent military measures against the Slav pagans, who had invaded Germany and besieged Hamburg. In June 1066 Henry married Bertha of Savoy/Turin, daughter of Otto, Count of Savoy, to whom he had been betrothed in 1055.
In the same year, at the request of the Pope, he assembled an army to fight the Italo-Normans of southern Italy. Henry's troops had reached Augsburg when he received news that Godfrey of Tuscany, husband of the powerful Matilda of Canossa, marchioness of Tuscany, had attacked the Normans. Therefore, the expedition was halted. In 1068, driven by his impetuous character and his infidelities, Henry attempted to divorce Bertha, his peroration at a council in Mainz was rejected, however, by the Papal legate Pier Damiani, or Peter Damian, who hinted that any further insistence towards divorce would lead the new pope, Alexander II, to deny his coronation. Henry obeyed and his wife returned to Court. Henry believed that the Papal opposition was less about his marriage than about overthrowing lay power within the Empire, in favour of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. In the late 1060s, Henry demonstrated his determination to reduce any opposition and to enlarge the empire's boundaries, he led the margrave of a district east of Saxony.
Much more serious was Henry's struggle with Otto of duke of Bavaria. This prince, who occupied an influential position in Germany and was one of the protagonists of Henry's early kidnapping, was accused in 1070 by a certain Egino of being privy to a plot to murder the king, it was decided that a trial by combat should take place at Goslar, but when Otto's demand for safe conduct to and from the place of meeting was refused, he declined to appear. He was declared deposed in Bavaria, his Saxon estates were plundered. However, he obtained sufficient support to carry on a struggle with the king in Saxony and Thuringia until 1071, when he submitted at Halberstadt. Henry aroused the hostility of the Thuringians by supporting Siegfried, archbishop of Mainz, in his efforts to exact tithes from them. More formidable still was the enmity of the Saxons, who had several causes of complaint against the king—he was the son of one enemy, Henry III, the friend of another, Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen; the momentum for a reform of the church had its clear beginning during the reign of Henry's father, in the short but effective pontificate of Leo IX, whom Henry III had nominated.
Since that time, the reforming initiative had been carried on by men like Cardinal Bishop Humbert of Moyenmoutier and St. Peter Damian. After the death of Cardinal Humbert, who had called for a return to the old canonical principles of free election of the papacy and the emancipation of the Church from the control of the secular power, the leadership of the reform movement passed to younger men, of whom the Tuscan monk Hildebrand, a follower of Humbert, stood foremost. Hildebrand ascended the papacy in 1073 as Gregory VII. While Henry adhered to Papal decrees in religious matters to secure the Church's support for his expeditions in Saxony and Thuringia, Gregory saw the opportunity to press the Church's agenda; the high tensions between the Empire and the Church culminated in the ecclesiastical councils of 1074-75, many of the measures passed attempted to undo substantial portions of Henry III's policies. Among other measures, the councils denied secular rulers the right to place members of the clergy in any ecclesiastical office.
Richenza of Northeim
Richenza of Northeim, a member of the comital House of Northeim, was Duchess of Saxony from 1106, German queen from 1125 and Holy Roman Empress from 1133 until the death of her husband Lothair of Supplinburg in 1137. She was the daughter of Count Henry the Fat of Northeim and Gertrude of Brunswick, daughter of the Brunonid margrave Egbert I of Meissen. Around 1107 Richenza married Lothair of Supplinburg, who upon the death of the last Billung duke Magnus had been enfeoffed with the Duchy of Saxony by King Henry V of Germany in 1106. After Lothair was elected King of the Romans in 1125, she was crowned queen consort by Archbishop Frederick I of Cologne. Richenza took an active part in her husband's reign, reflected in her activities during the papal schism of 1130, her role as intermediary between Lothair and his Hohenstaufen rivals, the proclaimed antiking Conrad III and his brother Duke Frederick II of Swabia. In 1132-33 she accompanied her husband to Italy, both were crowned emperor and empress by Pope Innocent II at the Lateran Basilica in Rome on 4 June 1133.
She took part in Lothair's second Italian expedition in 1136-37, whereby she presided over hearings of the Imperial court and issued several deeds. Richenza's only surviving daughter with Lothair, Gertrude of Süpplingenburg, was born in 1115, 15 years after her parents' marriage. In 1127 she married a member of the Welf dynasty; this act brought both the Brunonid lands into the hands of the House of Welf. Lothair died in 1137, Richenza moved swiftly to ensure the lands of Saxony went to her son-in-law, Duke Henry the Proud. On Pentecost the following year, the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire convened in Bamberg to elect Conrad III King of the Romans. Conrad vested the Ascanian count Albert the Bear with Saxony and Henry died soon after, in the autumn of 1139. Richenza fought hard for the inheritance of her grandson Henry the Lion, seeing to his education, pushing for his right to be regarded as the heir to the Saxon duchy. Young Henry was appointed Duke in 1142. Richenza however did not live to see her grandson succeed to the duchy.
She died in 1141 and was buried next to her husband Emperor Lothair and her son-in-law Duke Henry the Proud in the Imperial Cathedral at Königslutter. Her grave goods included a elegant lead crown. List of Catholic saints List of Holy Roman Empresses The information in this article is translated from and/or based on that found in its German equivalent. Genealogie-mittelalter.de
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries. From an autocracy in Carolingian times the title by the 13th century evolved into an elected monarchy chosen by the prince-electors. Various royal houses of Europe, at different times, became de-facto hereditary holders of the title, notably the Ottonians and the Salians. Following the late medieval crisis of government, the Habsburgs kept possession of the title without interruption from 1440–1740; the final emperors were from the House of Lorraine, from 1765–1806. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved after the defeat at Austerlitz by emperor Francis II, who continued to rule as Austrian emperor; the Holy Roman Emperor was perceived to rule by divine right, though he contradicted or rivaled the Pope, most notably during the Investiture controversy. In theory, the Holy Roman Emperor was primus inter pares among other Catholic monarchs.
In practice, a Holy Roman Emperor was only as strong as his army and alliances, including marriage alliances, made him. There was never a Holy Roman Empress regnant, though women such as Theophanu and Maria Theresa of Austria served as de facto Empresses regnant. Throughout its history, the position was viewed as a defender of the Roman Catholic faith; until the Reformation, the Emperor elect was required to be crowned by the Pope before assuming the imperial title. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was the last to be crowned by the Pope in 1530. After the Reformation, the elected Emperor always was a Roman Catholic. There were short periods in history when the electoral college was dominated by Protestants, the electors voted in their own political interest. From the time of Constantine I, the Roman emperors had, with few exceptions, taken on a role as promoters and defenders of Christianity; the reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor in the Church.
Emperors considered themselves responsible to the gods for the spiritual health of their subjects, after Constantine they had a duty to help the Church define orthodoxy and maintain orthodoxy. The emperor's role was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, uphold ecclesiastical unity. Both the title and connection between Emperor and Church continued in the Eastern Roman Empire throughout the medieval period; the ecumenical councils of the 5th to 8th centuries were convoked by the Eastern Roman Emperors. In Western Europe, the title of Emperor became defunct after the death of Julius Nepos in 480, although the rulers of the barbarian kingdoms continued to recognize the Eastern Emperor at least nominally well into the 6th century. From the western perspective, the interregnum in the Roman Empire spanned the 8th centuries; the title of Emperor was revived in 800, when Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III. The title of Emperor in the West implied recognition by the pope; as the power of the papacy grew during the Middle Ages and emperors came into conflict over church administration.
The best-known and most bitter conflict was that known as the investiture controversy, fought during the 11th century between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII. After the coronation of Charlemagne, his successors maintained the title until the death of Berengar I of Italy in 924; the comparatively brief interregnum between 924 and the coronation of Otto the Great in 962 is taken as marking the transition from the Frankish Empire to the Holy Roman Empire. Under the Ottonians, much of the former Carolingian kingdom of Eastern Francia fell within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire. Since 911, the various German princes had elected the King of the Germans from among their peers; the King of the Germans would be crowned as emperor following the precedent set by Charlemagne, during the period of 962–1530. Charles V was the last emperor to be crowned by the pope, his successor, Ferdinand I adopted the title of "Emperor elect" in 1558; the final Holy Roman Emperor-elect, Francis II, abdicated in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars that saw the Empire's final dissolution.
The term sacrum in connection with the German Roman Empire was first used in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa. The standard designation of the Holy Roman Emperor was "August Emperor of the Romans"; when Charlemagne was crowned in 800, he was styled as "most serene Augustus, crowned by God and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire," thus constituting the elements of "Holy" and "Roman" in the imperial title. The word Roman was a reflection of the principle of translatio imperii that regarded the Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, despite the continued existence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In German-language historiography, the term Römisch-deutscher Kaiser is used to distinguish the title from that of Roman Emperor on one hand, that of German Emperor on the other; the English term "Holy Roman Emperor" is a modern shorthand for "emperor of the Holy Roman Empire" not corresponding to the historical style or title, i.e. the adjective "holy" is not intended as modifying "emperor".
Duchy of Saxony
The Duchy of Saxony was the area settled by the Saxons in the late Early Middle Ages, when they were subdued by Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars from 772 and incorporated into the Carolingian Empire by 804. Upon the 843 Treaty of Verdun, Saxony was one of the five German stem duchies of East Francia. Upon the deposition of the Welf duke Henry the Lion in 1180, the ducal title fell to the House of Ascania, while numerous territories split from Saxony, such as the Principality of Anhalt in 1218 and the Welf Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1235. In 1296 the remaining lands were divided between the Ascanian dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg and Saxe-Wittenberg, the latter obtaining the title of Electors of Saxony by the Golden Bull of 1356; the Saxon stem duchy covered the greater part of present-day Northern Germany, including the modern German states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt up to the Elbe and Saale rivers in the east, the city-states of Bremen and Hamburg, as well as the Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Holstein region of Schleswig-Holstein.
In the late 12th century, Duke Henry the Lion occupied the adjacent area of Mecklenburg. The Saxons were one of the most robust groups in the late tribal culture of the times, bequeathed their tribe's name to a variety of more and more modern geopolitical territories from Old Saxony near the mouth of the Elbe up the river via the Prussian Province of Saxony to Upper Saxony, the Electorate and Kingdom of Saxony from 1806 corresponding with the German Free State of Saxony, which bears the name today though it was not part of the medieval duchy. According to the Res gestae saxonicae by 10th century chronicler Widukind of Corvey, the Saxons had arrived from Britannia at the coast of Land Hadeln in the Elbe-Weser Triangle, called by the Merovingian rulers of Francia to support the conquest of Thuringian kingdom. More Saxon tribes from Land Hadeln under the leadership of legendary Hengist and Horsa in the late days of the Roman Empire had invaded Britannia.. The Royal Frankish Annals mention a 743 Frankish campaign led by the Carolingian Mayor of the Palace Carloman against the Saxons, followed by a second expedition together with his brother Pepin the Short the next year.
In 747 their rebellious brother Grifo allied with Saxon tribes and temporarily conquered the stem duchy of Bavaria. Pepin, Frankish king from 750, again invaded Saxony and subdued several Westphalian tribes until 758. In 772 Pepin's son Charlemagne started the final conquest of the Saxon lands. Though his ongoing campaigns were successful, he had to deal with the fragmentation of the Saxon territories in Westphalian and Angrian tribes, demanding the conclusion of specific peace agreements with single tribes, which soon were to be broken by other clans; the Saxons devastated the Frankish stronghold at Eresburg. Widukind had to pledge allegiance in 785, having himself baptised and becoming a Frankish count. Saxon uprisings continued until 804, when the whole stem duchy had been incorporated into the Carolingian Empire. Afterwards, Saxony was ruled by Carolingian officials, e.g. Wala of Corbie, a grandson of Charles Martel and cousin of the emperor, who in 811 fixed the Treaty of Heiligen with King Hemming of Denmark, defining the northern border of the Empire along the Eider River.
Among the installed dukes were nobles of Saxon descent, like Wala's successor Count Ekbert, husband of Saint Ida of Herzfeld, a close relative of Charlemagne. Ida of Herzfeld may have been an ancestor of the Saxon count Liudolf, who married Oda of Billung and ruled over a large territory along the Leine river in Eastphalia, where he and Bishop Altfrid of Hildesheim founded Gandersheim Abbey in 852. Liudolf became the progenitor of the Saxon ducal and imperial Ottonian dynasty. Subdued only a few decades earlier, the Saxons rose to one of the leading tribes in East Francia. Liudolf's elder son Bruno, progenitor of the Brunswick cadet branch of the Brunonen, was killed in a battle with invading Vikings under Godfrid in 880, he was succeeded by his younger brother Otto the Illustrious, mentioned as dux in the contemporary annals of Hersfeld Abbey, which however seems to have been denied by the Frankish rulers. His position was strong enough to wed Hedwiga of Babenberg, daughter of mighty Duke Henry of Franconia, princeps militiae of King Charles the Fat.
As all of Hedwiga's brothers were killed in the Franconian Babenberg feud with the rivalling Conradines, Otto was able to adopt the strong position of his father-in-law and to evolve the united Saxon duchy under his rule. In 911 the East Frankish Carolingian dynasty became extinct with the death of King Louis the Child, whereafter the dukes of Saxony and Bavaria met at Forchheim to elect the Conradine duke Conrad I of Franconia king. One year Otto's son Henry the Fowler succeeded his father as Duke of Saxony. According to the medieval chronicler Widukind of Corvey, King Conrad designated Henry his heir, thereby denying the succession of his own brother Eberhard of Franconia, in 919 the Saxon duke was elected King