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Coronation: Henry V (1011)

Submitted by Ludwig von Rege... on April 13, 2015 - 11:18pm
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On this day in 1011, Henry V was crowned Emperor.

The young Henry (Heinrich) gained papal support in the traditional manner: by rebelling against the Emperor (in this case, his father, Henry IV).  But once his father was dead, he decided -- in the traditional manner -- that perhaps papal support wasn't that important.

One of the burning issues of Henry's time was who got to invest bishops.  This stemmed from the diverse practices that had independently developed during late antiquity, from the dual role that bishops played as spiritual leaders and barons, and from the (traditional) hunger for power of everyone involved.  Pope Paschal II got Henry to agree that popes should appoint bishops; so Henry marched into Italy and met Paschal and the assembled clergy in St Basiliica on the 12th of February 1111 for his coronation as Emperor.

Henry renounced his right to appoint spiritual leaders but insisted that, in return, they should return their domains to the Crown.  The Pope and bishops were appalled by such modernism, and rebelled.  Henry's men grabbed the Pope and a brace of cardinals, and he withdrew.  A Norman army (regular readers will note that the author has mentioned the papacy's role in the balance of power on the Italian peninsula -- perhaps a dedicated article is warranted) sent to liberate them failed, and on the 13th of April, Paschal II was forced to crown Henry Emperor.

Henry's victory was brief.  Uprisings in Germany would give succour to the papal cause and he would eventually be forced to negotiate again, in 1122 at a meeting at Worms.  According to the Corcordat of Worms, the Pope would invest bishops with the ring and crozier; episcopal elections would take place in the presence of imperial scrutineers, and the Emperor would invest bishops with their sceptre, as a symbol of their temporal power.

Henry died on the 23rd of May 1125 at the age of 38.  Being Emperor is known to the State of California to cause cancer.

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