Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry III, from a miniature of 1040.

Henry III (October 29, 1017 – October 5, 1056), called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors. He was the eldest son of Conrad II of Germany and Gisela of Swabia and his father made him duke of Bavaria (as Henry VI) in 1026, after the death of Duke Henry V. Then, on Easter Day 1028, his father having been crowned Holy Roman Emperor, Henry was elected and crowned King of Germany in the cathedral of Aachen by Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne. After the death of Herman IV, Duke of Swabia in 1038, his father gave him that duchy (as Henry I) as well as the kingdom of Burgundy, which Conrad had inherited in 1033. When his father died on June 4, 1039, he became sole ruler of the kingdom. He was crowned emperor by Pope Clement II in Rome (1046), whom he had appointed as Pope.


Henry defeated the Bohemians in 1041, who had invaded his vassal-territory of Poland and in 1045, successfully intervened in Hungary to restore the deposed king, who pledged him allegiance in return. As Emperor, Henry dominated the papacy but also used his power to promote reforms, including reforms promoting the church's spiritual rather than temporal role and care for the poor. Henry also appointed Benedict IX (1047-48), Damasus II (1048) and St. Leo IX (1049-54), all German. By exercising temporal power, his aim was to free the Church of this burden so that it could concentrate on spiritual and humanitarian service. Instead, in reaction, popes increasingly claimed temporal power over kings and emperors.

Early life and reign

Henry's first tutor was Bruno, Bishop of Augsburg. On Bruno's death in 1029, Egilbert, Bishop of Freising, was appointed to take his place. In 1033, at the age of sixteen, Henry came of age and Egilbert was compensated for his services. In 1035, Adalbero, Duke of Carinthia, was deposed by Conrad, but Egilbert convinced Henry to refuse this injustice and the princes of Germany, having legally elected Henry, would not recognize the deposition unless their king did also. Henry, in accordance with his promise to Egilbert, did not consent to his father's act and Conrad, stupefied, fell unconscious after many attempts to turn Henry. After recovering, Conrad knelt before his son and exacted the desired consent. Egilbert was penalized dearly by the emperor.

In 1036, Henry married Gunhilda of Denmark. She was a daughter of Canute the Great, King of Denmark, England, and Norway, by his wife Emma of Normandy. Early on, Henry's father had arranged for Canute to rule some parts of northern Germany (the Kiel) and in turn to have their children married. The marriage took place in Nijmegen at the earliest legal age.

In 1038, Henry was called to aid his father in Italy (1038) and Gunhilda died on the Adriatic Coast, during the return trip (during the same epidemic in which Herman IV of Swabia died). In 1039, his father, too, died and Henry became sole ruler and imperator in spe.

After Conrad's death

First tour

Henry spent his first year on a tour of his domains. He visited the Low Countries to receive the homage of Gothelo I, Duke of Upper and Lower Lorraine. In Cologne, he was joined by Herman II, Archbishop of Cologne, who accompanied him and his mother to Saxony, where he was to build the town of Goslar up from obscurity to stately, imperial grandeur. He had an armed force when he entered Thuringia to meet with Eckard II, Margrave of Meissen, whose advice and counsel he desired on the recent successes of Duke Bretislaus I of Bohemia in Poland. Only a Bohemian embassy bearing hostages appeased Henry and he disbanded his army and continued his tour. He passed through Bavaria where, upon his departure, King Peter Urseolo of Hungary sent raiding parties and into Swabia. There, at Ulm, he convened a Fürstentag at which he received his first recognition from Italy. He returned to Ingelheim after that and there was recognized by a Burgundian embassy and Aribert, Archbishop of Milan, whom he had supported against his father. This peace with Aribert healed the only open wound in the Empire. Meanwhile, in 1039, while he was touring his dominions, Conrad, Adalbero's successor in Carinthia and Henry's cousin, died childless. Henry being his nearest kin automatically inherited that duchy as well. He was now a triple-duke (Bavaria, Swabia, Carinthia) and triple-king (Germany, Burgundy, Italy).

Subjecting Bohemia

Monogram of Henry III.

Henry's first military campaign as sole ruler took place then (1040). He turned to Bohemia, where Bretislaus was still a threat, especially through his Hungarian ally's raiding. At Stablo, after attending to the reform of some monasteries, Henry summoned his army. In July, he met with Eckhard at Goslar and joined together his whole force at Regensburg. On August 13, he set out. He was ambushed and the expedition ended in disaster. Only by releasing many Bohemian hostages, including Bretislaus's son, did the Germans procure the release of many of their comrades and the establishment of a peace. Henry retreated hastily and with little fanfare, preferring to ignore his first great defeat. On his return to Germany, Henry appointed Suidger bishop of Bamberg. He would later be Pope Clement II.

First Hungarian campaign

In 1040, Peter of Hungary was overthrown by Samuel Aba and fled to Germany, where Henry received him well despite the enmity formerly between them. Bretislaus was thus deprived of an ally and Henry renewed preparations for a campaign in Bohemia. On August 15, he and Eckard set out once more, almost exactly a year after his last expedition. This time he was victorious and Bretislaus signed a peace treaty at Regensburg.

He spent Christmas 1041 at Strasbourg, where he received emissaries from Burgundy. He traveled to that kingdom in the new year and dispensed justice as needed. On his return, he heard, at Basel, of the raids into Bavaria being made by the king of Hungary. He thus granted his own duchy of Bavaria to one Henry, a relative of the last independent duke. At Cologne, he called together all his great princes, including Eckard, and they unanimously declared war on Hungary. It wasn't until September 1042 that he set out, after having dispatched men to seek out Agnes de Poitou to be his new bride. The expedition into Hungary successfully subdued the west of that nation, but Aba fled to eastern fortresses and Henry's installed candidate, an unknown cousin of his, was quickly removed when the emperor turned his back.

After Christmas at Goslar, his intended capital, he entertained several embassies: Bretislaus came in person, a Kievan embassy was rejected because Henry was not seeking a Russian bride, and the ambassadors of Casimir I of Poland were likewise rejected because the duke came not in person. Gisela, Henry's mother, died at this juncture and Henry went to the French borders, probably near Ivois to meet King Henry I of France, probably over the impending marriage to the princess of Aquitaine. Henry next turned to Hungary again, where he forced Aba to recognize the Danubian territory donated to Germany by Stephen I of Hungary pro causa amiticiae (for friendship's sake). These territories were ceded to Hungary after the defeat of Conrad II in 1030. This border remained the border between Hungary and Austria until 1920.

After this victory, Henry, a pious man, who dreamed of a Peace and Truce of God being respected over all his realms, declared from the pulpit in Konstanz in October 1043 a general indulgence or pardon whereby he promised to forgive all injuries to himself and to forgo vengeance. He encouraged all his vassals to do likewise. This is known as the "Day of Indulgence" or "Day of Pardon."

After marriage

Henry was finally remarried at Ingelheim in 1043 to Agnes, daughter of duke William V of Aquitaine and Agnes of Burgundy. Agnes was then living at the court of her stepfather, Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou. This connection to the obstreperous vassal of the French king as well as her consanguinity—she and Henry being both descended from Henry the Fowler—caused some churchmen to oppose their union, but the marriage went as planned. Agnes was crowned at Mainz.

Division of Lorraine

After the coronation and the wedding, Henry wintered at Utrecht, where he proclaimed the same indulgence he had proclaimed the year prior in Burgundy. Then, in April 1044, Gothelo I, Duke of Lorraine, that is of both Lower and Upper Lorraine, died. Henry did not wish to solidify the ducal power in any duchy and so, instead of appointing Godfrey, Gothelo's eldest son and already acting duke in Upper Lorraine, duke in the Lower duchy, he appointed Gothelo II, Godfrey's younger brother, duke there, thus raising the eldest son's ire. Henry claimed that Gothelo's dying wish was to see the duchy split between the brothers, but Godfrey, having faithfully served Henry thus far, rebelled. Henry called the two brothers together at Nijmegen, but failed to reconcile them. Nevertheless, he set out on the warpath against Hungary, then experiencing internal duress.

Second Hungarian campaign

Henry entered Hungary on July 6, and met a large army with his small host. Disaffection swept the Magyar forces, however, and they crumbled at the German onslaught in the Battle of Ménfő. Peter was reinstalled as king at Székesfehérvár, a vassal of the Empire, and Henry could return home triumphant, the Hungarian people having readily submitted to his rule. Tribute was to be paid and Aba, while fleeing, was captured by Peter and beheaded. Hungary appeared to have entered the German fold fully and with ease.

Unrest in Lorraine

Upon his return from the Hungarian expedition, Godfrey of Lorraine began seeking out allies, among them Henry of France, to support him in any possible act of overt insurrection. Seeing this, the emperor summoned Henry to a trial by his peers of Lower Lorraine at Aachen where he was condemned and his duchy and county of Verdun (a royal fief) seized. He immediately fled the scene and began arming for revolt. Henry wintered at Speyer, with the civil war clearly in view on the horizon.

Coin of Henry's.

In early 1045, Henry entered Lorraine with a local army, besieging Godfrey's castle of Bockelheim (near Kreuznach) and took it. He took a few other castles, but famine drove him out. Leaving behind enough men to guard the countryside against Godfrey's raids, he turned to Burgundy. Godfrey had done his best to foment rebellion in that kingdom by playing of the imperialist, which supported union with the empire, and nationalist, which supported an independent Burgundy, factions against each other. However, Louis, Count of Montbéliard, defeated Reginald I, Count of Burgundy (what was to become the Free County), and when Henry arrived, the latter was ready with Gerald, Count of Geneva, to do homage. Burgundy was then joined with Henry's possessions.

Height of his power

Then, Henry discussed the Italian political scene with some Lombard magnates at Augsburg and proceeded to Goslar, where he gave the duchy of Swabia to Otto, Count Palatine of Lorraine. Henry also gave the march of Antwerp to Baldwin, the son of Baldwin V of Flanders. On his way to Hungary, to spend Pentecost with King Peter, a floor collapsed in one of his halls and Bruno, Bishop of Würzburg, was killed. In Hungary, Peter gave over the golden lance, symbol of sovereignty in Hungary, to Henry and pledged an oath of fealty along with his nobles. Hungary was now pledged to Peter for life and peace was fully restored between the two kingdoms of Germany and Hungary. In July, even Godfrey submitted and was imprisoned in Gibichenstein, the German Tower.

War in Lorraine

Henry fell ill at Tribur in October and Henry of Bavaria and Otto of Swabia chose as his successor Otto's nephew and successor in the palatinate, Henry I. Henry III, however, recovered, still heir-less. At the beginning of the next year, now at the height of his power, but having divested himself of two of the great stem duchies, Henry's old adviser, Eckard of Meissen, died, leaving Meissen to Henry. Henry bestowed it on William, count of Orlamünde. He then moved to Lower Lorraine, where Gothelo II had just died and Dirk IV of Holland had seized Flushing. Henry personally led a river campaign against Count Dirk. Both count and Flushing fell to him. He gave the latter to Bernold, Bishop of Utrecht, and returned to Aachen to celebrate Pentecost and decide on the fate of Lorraine. Henry pitied and restored Godfrey, but gave the county of Verdun to the bishop of the city. This did not conciliate the duke. Henry gave the lower duchy to Frederick. He then appointed Adalbert archbishop of Bremen and summoned Widger, Archbishop of Ravenna, to a trial. The right of a German court to try an Italian bishop was very controversial. This sparked the Investiture Controversy that characterized the reigns of Henry's son and grandson. (Dispute between the emperor and the Popes about who had the right to appoint bishops and other holders of other church offices.) Henry continued from there on to Saxony and held imperial courts at Quedlinburg, Merseburg (June), and Meissen. At the first, he made his daughter Beatrice from his first marriage abbess and at the second, he ended the strife between the dux Bomeraniorum and Casimir of Poland. This is one of the earliest, or perhaps the earliest, recording of the name of Pomerania, whose duke, Zemuzil, brought gifts.

Second trip to Italy

It was after the these events in northern Germany and a brief visit to Augsburg, where he summoned the greatest magnates, clerical and lay, of the realm to meet him and accompany him, that he crossed the Brenner Pass into Italy, one of the most important of his many travels. His old ally, Aribert of Milan, had recently died and the Milanese had chosen as candidate for his successor one Guido, in opposition to the nobles' candidate. Meanwhile, in Rome, three popes—Benedict IX, Sylvester III, and Gregory VI—contested the pontifical honors. Benedict was a Tusculan who had previously renounced the throne, Sylvester was a Crescentian, and Gregory was a reformer, but a simoniac. Henry marched first to Verona, thence to Pavia in October. He held a court and dispensed justice as he had in Burgundy years earlier. He moved on to Sutri and held the a second court on December 20, whereat he deposed all the candidates for the Saint Peter's throne and left it temporarily vacant. He headed towards Rome and held a synod wherein he declared no Roman priest fit. Adalbert of Bremen refused the honor and Henry appointed Suidger of Bamberg, who was acclaimed duly by the people and clergy, we are told. He took the name Clement II.

Clement, Henry, and church reform

Clement II became a champion of church reform. He convened a synod in 1047 that condemned the buying and selling of "things spiritual." Ordination by anyone guilty of purchasing their bishopric was banned.[1] Henry enthusiastically supported these reforms, wanting the church to spend less time concerned with temporal affairs and more time on matters spiritual. This included care for the needy but also sponsoring art and education. He also wanted a restore the practice of celibacy, and looked to the monastery of Cluny to help lead these reforms. He especially wanted to reduce the power of Rome's leading citizens over the affairs of the church.[2] However, Henry used his own church appointees to promote his agenda, which led to the subsequent controversy over who had the right to fill vacancies, the emperor or the Pope. Henry also appointed Benedict IX (1047-48), Damasus II (1048) and St. Leo IX (1049-54), all four were German. All supported the reformist program.

If some of the Cluniac reforms had proved more enduring, a future Martin Luther would have had less to react against in his condemnation of what he saw as unacceptable practices. Henry III would prove to be the last Emperor who dominated the papacy. After his reign, successive Pope's found ways to exercise more political power, to the sad neglect of spiritual leadership. An important aspect of the reforms encouraged by Henry was their conciliar nature, which future Popes reverses, claiming that they alone governed the Church.[3] Boniface VIII in his Unam Sanctam (1302) claimed that the church's spiritual power overrode temporal power, which it alone instituted and which it could also judge.[4] By the Renaissance, on the one hand the Church was a major patron of the arts but on the other successive popes cared more for running their Papal States, for the trappings of power than they did for offering any spiritual guidance. The Pope became The Pope became one of Italy's most important secular rulers, signing treaties with other sovereigns and fighting wars. Appointments were not so much bought as kept within the family, as nepotism became commonplace.

Henry before Tivoli in a fifteenth-century manuscript.

Imperial coronation

On December 25, Christmas Day, Clement was consecrated and Henry and Agnes were crowned Holy Roman Emperor and Empress. The populace gave him the golden chain of the patriciate and made him patricius, giving the powers, seemingly, of the Crescentii family during the tenth century: The power to nominate popes. Henry's first acts were to visit Frascati, capital of the counts of Tusculum, and seize all the castles of the Crescentii. He and the pope then moved south, where his father had created the situation as it was then in his visit of 1038. Henry reversed many of Conrad's acts. At Capua, he was received by Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno, also Prince of Capua since 1038. However, Henry gave Capua back to the twice-deprived Prince Pandulf IV, a highly unpopular choice. Guaimar had been acclaimed as Duke of Apulia and Calabria by the Norman mercenaries under William Iron Arm and his brother Drogo of Hauteville. In return, Guaimar had recognized the conquests of the Normans and invested William as his vassal with the committal title. Henry made Drogo, William's successor in Apulia, a direct vassal of the imperial crown. He did likewise to Ranulf Drengot, the count of Aversa, who had been a vassal of Guaimar as Prince of Capua. Thus, Guaimar was deprived of his greatest vassals, his principality split in two, and his greatest enemy reinstated. Henry lost popularity amongst the Lombards with these decisions and Benevento, though a papal vassal, would not admit him. He authorized Drogo to conquer it and headed north to reunion with Agnes at Ravenna. He arrived at Verona in May and the Italian circuit was completed.

Henry's appointments

On Henry's return to Germany, many offices which had fallen vacant were filled. First, Henry gave away his last personal duchy: He made Welf duke of Carinthia. He made his Italian chancellor, Humphrey, archbishop of Ravenna. He filled several other sees: he installed Guido in Piacenza, his chaplain Theodoric in Verdun, the provost Herman of Speyer in Strasbourg, and his German chancellor Theodoric in Constance. The important Lorrainer bishoprics of Metz and Trier received respectively Adalberon and Eberhard, a chaplain.

The many vacancies of the Imperial episcopate now filled, Henry was at Metz (July 1047) when the rebellion then stewing broke out seriously. Godfrey was now allied with Baldwin of Flanders, his son (the margrave of Antwerp), Dirk of Holland, and Herman, Count of Mons. Henry gathered an army and went north, where he gave Adalbert of Bremen lands once Godfrey's and oversaw the trial by combat of Thietmar, the brother of Bernard II, Duke of Saxony, accused of plotting to kill the king. Bernard, an enemy of Adalbert's, was now clearly on Henry's bad side. Henry made peace with the new king of Hungary, Andrew I and moved his campaign into the Netherlands. At Flushing, he was defeated by Dirk. The Hollanders sacked Charlemagne's palace at Nijmegen and burnt Verdun. Godfrey then made public penance and assisted in rebuilding Verdun. The rebels besieged Liège, defended stoutly by Bishop Wazo. Henry slowed his campaigning after the death of Henry of Bavaria and gave Upper Lorraine to one Adalbert and left. The pope had died in the meantime and Henry chose Poppo of Brixen, who took the name Damasus II. Henry gave Bavaria to one Cuno and, at Ulm in January 1048, Swabia to Otto of Schweinfurt, called the White. Henry met Henry of France, probably at Ivois again, in October and at Christmas, envoys from Rome came to seek a new pope, Damasus having died. Henry's most enduring papal selection was Bruno of Toul, who took office as Leo IX, and under whom the Church would be divided between East and West. Henry's final appointment of this long spate was a successor to Adalber in Lorraine. For this, he appointed Gerard of Chatenoy, a relative of Adalbert and Henry himself.

Peace in Lorraine

The year of 1049 was a series of successes. Dirk of Holland was defeated and killed. Adalbert of Bremen managed a peace with Bernard of Saxony and negotiated a treaty with the missionary monarch Sweyn II of Denmark. With the assistance of Sweyn and Edward the Confessor of England, whose enemies Baldwin had harbored, Baldwin of Flanders was harassed by sea and unable to escape the onslaught of the imperial army. At Cologne, the pope excommunicated Godfrey, in revolt again, and Baldwin. The former abandoned his allies and was imprisoned by the emperor yet again. Baldwin too gave in under the pressure of Henry's ravages. Finally, war had ceased in the Low Countries and the Lorraines and peace seemed to have taken hold.


Final Hungarian campaigns

In 1051, Henry undertook a third Hungarian campaign, but failed to achieve anything lasting. Lower Lorraine gave trouble again, Lambert, Count of Louvain, and Richildis, widow Herman of Mons, and new bride of Baldwin of Antwerp, were causing strife. Godfrey was released and to him was it given to safeguard the unstable peace attained two years before.

In 1052, a fourth campaign was undertaken against Hungary and Pressburg (modern Bratislava) was besieged. Andrew of Hungary called in the pope's mediation, but upon Henry's lifting of the siege, Andrew withdrew all offers of tribute and Leo IX excommunicated him at Regensburg. Henry was unable immediately to continue his campaign, however. In fact, he never renewed it in all his life. Henry did send a Swabian army to assist Leo in Italy, but he recalled it quickly. In Christmas of that year, Cuno of Bavaria was summoned to Merseburg and deposed by a small council of princes for his conflicting with Gebhard III, Bishop of Regensburg. Cuno revolted.

Final wars in Germany

In 1053, at Tribur, the young Henry, born November 11, 1050, was elected king of Germany. Andrew of Hungary almost made peace, but Cuno convinced him otherwise. Henry appointed his young son duke of Bavaria and went thence to deal with the ongoing insurrection. Henry sent another army to assist Leo in the Mezzogiorno against the Normans he himself had confirmed in their conquests as his vassal. Leo, sans assistance from Guaimar (distanced from Henry since 1047), was defeated at the Battle of Civitate on June 18, 1053, by Humphrey, Count of Apulia; Robert Guiscard, his younger brother; and Prince Richard I of Capua. The Swabians were cut to pieces.

In 1054, Henry went north to deal with Casimir of Poland, now on the warpath. He transferred Silesia from Bretislaus to Casimir. Bretislaus nevertheless remained loyal to the end. Henry turned westwards and crowned his young son at Aachen on July 17 and then marched into Flanders, for the two Baldwins were in arms again. John of Arras, who had seized Cambrai before, had been forced out by Baldwin of Flanders and so turned to the Emperor. In return for inducing Liutpert, Bishop of Cambrai, to give John the castle, John would lead Henry through Flanders. The Flemish campaign was a success, but Liutpert could not be convinced.

Bretislaus, who had regained Silesia in a short war, died that year. The margrave Adalbert of Austria, however, successfully resisted the depredations of Cuno and the raids of the king of Hungary. Henry could thus direct his attention elsewhere than rebellions for once. He returned to Goslar, the city where his son had been born and which he had raised to imperial and ecclesiastic grandeur with his palace and church reforms. He passed Christmas there and appointed Gebhard of Eichstedt as the next holder of the Petrine see, with the name Victor II. He was the last of Henry's four German popes.

Preparing Italy and Germany for his death

In 1055, Henry soon turned south, to Italy again, for Boniface III of Tuscany, ever an imperial ally, had died and his widow, Beatrice of Bar had married Godfrey of Lorraine (1054). Firstly, however, he gave his old hostage, Spitignev, the son of Bretislaus to the Bohemians as duke. Spitignev did homage and Bohemia remained securely, loyally, and happily within the Imperial fold. By Easter, Henry had arrived in Mantua. He held several courts, one at Roncaglia, where, a century later (1158), Frederick Barbarossa held a far more important diet, sent out his missi dominici to establish order. Godfrey, ostensibly the reason for the visit, was not well received by the people and returned to Flanders. Henry met the pope at Florence and arrested Beatrice, for marrying a traitor, and her daughter Matilda, later to be such an enemy of Henry's son. The young Frederick of Tuscany, Beatrice' son, refused to come to Florence and died within days. Henry returned via Zürich and there betrothed his young son to Bertha, daughter of Count Otto of Savoy.

Imperial palace at Goslar, largely the work of Henry.

Henry entered a Germany in turmoil. A staunch ally against Cuno in Bavaria, Gebhard of Regensburg, was implicated in a plot against the king along with Cuno and Welf of Carinthia. Sources diverge here: Some claim only that these princes' retainers plotted the king's undoing. Whatever the case, it all came to naught and Cuno died of plague, Welf soon following him to the grave. Baldwin of Flanders and Godfrey were at it again, besieging Antwerp. They were defeated, again. Henry's reign was clearly changing in character: Old foes were dead or dying and old friends as well. Herman of Cologne died. Henry appointed his confessor, Anno, as Herman's successor. Henry of France, so long eyeing Lorraine greedily, met for a third time with the emperor at Ivois in May 1056. The French king, not renowned for his tactical or strategic prowess, but admirable for his personal valor on the field, had a heated debate with the German king and challenged him to single combat. Henry fled at night from this meeting. Once in Germany again, Godfrey made his final peace and Henry went to the northeast to deal with a Slav uprising after the death of William of Meissen. He fell ill on the way and took to bed. He freed Beatrice and Matilda and had those with him swear allegiance to the young Henry, whom he commended the pope, present. On October 5, not yet forty, Henry died. His heart went to Goslar, his body to Speyer, to lie next to his father's in the family vault in the cathedral of Speyer.


He was one of the most powerful of the Holy Roman Emperors: His authority as king in Burgundy, Germany, and Italy was only rarely questioned. His achievement in binding tributaries to the empire is also clear. His most enduring and concrete monument may be the impressive palace (kaiserpfalz) at Goslar. He used his power over the church to promote reforms , although the church would react to imperial power during his son's rule, challenging the emperor's right to appoint clerical officers. Kampers in The Catholic Encyclopedia argues that it was due to Henry's exercise of power over the church that a reaction occurred, leading to the "the triumph of the idea of the supremacy of the Church, which was inseparably connected with it." The logic here is that Henry had wanted a purified Church as his partner, not a corrupt one; "Only a church that was immaculate might and could be a true helpmeet to him in the kingship." However, a purified church saw itself as "above the partisan strife of the turbulent factions" and the "desperate moral barbarism of the age" and so could claim ultimate authority.[5] This was the opposite of what Henry wanted; by exercising temporal power, his aim was to lift this burden off the church, freeing it to offer spiritual and humanitarian service.

What did not develop during his or subsequent imperial reigns was more of a genuine partnership between Emperor and Pope, building on the foundation established by the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne and Pope Adrian I. Regardless of who claimed to wield the greater power, these two men "presented a magnificent spectacle of union and harmony" between the two spheres.[6] Yet this same dilemma continues to raise the question, how can the church promote freedom, justice, and human dignity in the temporal space if it lacks power?

The danger of a wealthy, propertied church was that temporal and material concerns sidelined spiritual concerns, which was Henry's concern. The danger of a poor Church focusing on spiritual concerns is that it withdraws from engagement with the realities of life lived in the world, by people who have families, jobs, and property. The churches ability to speak truth to power may have been enhanced when its leaders could claim to have some experience of temporal governance. The history of the Papacy's exercise of political power is also the history of how the Papacy has struggled with its role in the world.


By his first wife, Gunhilda of Denmark, he had:

  • Beatrice (1037–July 13, 1061), abbess of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim

By his second wife, Agnes, he had:

  • Adelaide (1045–January 11, 1096), abbess of Gandersheim from 1061 and Quedlinburg from 1063
  • Gisela (1047–May 6, 1053)
  • Matilda (October 1048–May 12, 1060, Pöhlde), married 1059 Rudolf of Rheinfelden, duke of Swabia and antiking (1077)
  • Henry, his successor
  • Conrad (1052–April 10, 1055), duke of Bavaria (from 1054)
  • Judith (1054–March 14, 1092 or 1096), married firstly 1063 Solomon of Hungary and secondly 1089 Ladislaus I Herman, duke of Poland


  1. J. Loughlin, Pope Clement II, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  2. Wallace (2004), 19.
  3. Wallace (2004), 49.
  4. Wallace (2004), 42.
  5. Kampers, 1910.
  6. Darras (2007), 368.


  • Criswell, David. 2005. The Rise and Fall of the Holy Roman Empire: From Charlemagne to Napoleon. Baltimore, MD: Publish America. ISBN 9781413754735.
  • Darras, M. L'abbe J. 2007. A General History of the Catholic Church. Eastbourne, UK: Gardners Books. ISBN 9780548290279.
  • Gwatkin, H.M., and J.P. Whitney (eds.). 1926. The Cambridge Medieval History: Volume III. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kampers, F. 1910. Henry III. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  • Norwich, John Julius. 1981. The Normans in the South, 1016-1130. London, UK: Solitaire Books. ISBN 9780907387008.
  • Wallace, Peter George. 2004. The Long European Reformation: Religion, Political Conflict, and the Search for Conformity, 1350-1750. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780333644508.

Salian dynasty
Born: 1017; Died: 1056
German royalty
Regnal Titles

Preceded by:
Conrad II
King of Germany
Succeeded by:
Henry IV
King of Burgundy
King of Italy
Holy Roman Emperor
Preceded by:
Henry V
Duke of Bavaria
Succeeded by:
Henry VII
Preceded by:
Herman IV
Duke of Swabia
Succeeded by:
Otto II
Preceded by:
Conrad II
Duke of Carinthia
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Eckard II
Margrave of Meissen
Succeeded by:


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