Heinrich (VII.) (HRR)

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Heinrich (VII.) Is honored as king in Würzburg (from the bishop's chronicle of Lorenz Fries , mid-16th century)

Heinrich (VII.) (* 1211 in Sicily ; † uncertain: February 12, 1242 in Martirano , Calabria ) was the Roman-German King and King of Sicily (which at that time also included Lower Italy) from the Staufer dynasty . He was the son and co-king of Emperor Frederick II.


Under guardianship

Heinrich, the first son of Frederick II and Constance of Aragón , was born in Sicily in 1211 and already in February 1212, six months after his father was elected Roman-German king, by Pope Innocent III. crowned King of Sicily. The reign passed to his mother and not to his father. In doing so, Innocent wanted to prevent the unification of the German and Sicilian parts of the empire. After the Pope's death in 1216, his father called him to Germany, withdrew his and his mother's Sicilian royal title, entrusted Heinrich with the administration of the Duchy of Swabia and enfeoffed him with the rectorate of Burgundy after the Zähringer died out in 1218 .

He was the first Hohenstaufen to use a seal with three lions instead of the one or two lions previously common among the Hohenstaufen when he, as Duke of Swabia, issued a document in favor of the Wald monastery in 1220 . These Staufer lions can still be found today in the coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg .

On 20./26. In April 1220, the German princes in Frankfurt am Main elected him Roman-German king, for which the emperor issued the Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis , which favored the clergy princes . The election was a condition for Frederick II to keep his crusade promise made in 1215, as it clarified the question of succession in the event of the emperor's death on the crusade. Pope Honorius III. did not recognize his choice, however, and also denied him the right to the Sicilian title of king, as he, like his predecessor, wanted to prevent the unification of both parts of the empire. Numerous German princes had also initially rejected the election.

After Frederick II returned to Italy in 1220 , Archbishop Engelbert I of Cologne († November 1225) took over the imperial administration . Heinrich did not get a real guardian, but the political decisions were made by Engelbert, who crowned Heinrich as German king on May 8, 1222 in Aachen and planned to marry him to a daughter of the English king Johann Ohneland , which however did not materialize. After Engelbert's death in 1226, Duke Ludwig I of Bavaria became imperial administrator. The underage king was mostly in the care of imperial ministers . The administrators of the Duchy of Swabia, which Heinrich officially held after his coronation, also came from this layer.

In 1224 Heinrich made legal provisions in the Treuga Henrici named after him .

Despite his engagement to Agnes , daughter of the Bohemian King Ottokar I Přemysl , of the same age in 1220, Heinrich married Margaret , daughter of Duke Leopold VI, on November 29, 1225 in Nuremberg at the request of his father . of Austria , who was crowned queen in Aachen on March 28, 1227.

Takeover of government and falling out with father

In 1228, Ludwig of Bavaria switched from the imperial to the papal side. Then Henry (VII) took over the government himself around Christmas of that year, forced Ludwig to submit and went against the Bishop of Strasbourg . In addition, Heinrich, like his father a few years earlier, pursued a policy that strongly favored the cities and was seen by the princes as an interference with their rights. They forced him to issue the statute in favorem principum in Worms on May 1, 1231, which was directed against the Hohenstaufen preferential treatment of the cities . Frederick II was particularly dependent on the German princes at this time, as he made their mediation with Pope Gregory IX. needed. For this reason Frederick confirmed the “Statute” in 1232, although it restricted the king's design options. In addition, in the same year in Cividale del Friuli , Henry (VII) had to swear an oath to obedience to his father and to behave well to the princes. Gregory IX. should banish the emperor's son if he should not keep to it. From this dispute a deep rift developed between father and son, which was expressed, among other things, in the fact that Friedrich repealed several decrees of Heinrich in the following years and, on the other hand, Count Egino V of Urach-Freiburg , a declared enemy of the emperor was Heinrich's most important advisor.

In 1232 Heinrich renewed the alliance between the Hohenstaufen and the French royal house of the Capetians . In the following year he waged war against the Wittelsbachers and subjugated Otto II of the Palatinate , the son of Duke Ludwig of Bavaria. Friedrich once again saw the relationship with the princes endangered and demanded the release of the hostages that Otto had placed. As agreed, the Pope threatened Heinrich's excommunication. In 1234 Heinrich issued injunctions at the Frankfurt Hoftag against unjustified persecution of heretics, with which, among other things, the Archbishop of Bremen had taken action against the Stedinger farmers in 1232 . The Pope, with whom Frederick negotiated an alliance against the Lombard cities, immediately banished Heinrich. Friedrich announced that he would come to Germany.

Heinrich reacted with an open uprising: in September he concluded an alliance in Boppard with representatives of the princely opposition to the emperor, including the bishops of Augsburg, Würzburg, Worms, Speyer and Strasbourg, the abbot of Fulda and several small nobles from Swabia. With the Lombard cities and Louis IX. Heinrich also negotiated of France , but did not reach an alliance. The secular imperial princes either waited and fought against Heinrich. Above all, Gottfried von Hohenlohe, Margrave Hermann V. von Baden and the city of Worms involved Heinrich in fights so that he could not face his approaching father. However, Friedrich does not seem to have planned a military campaign at all. Rather, he focused on the splendor of his court and, like his first move to Germany, on his personal impact. The effect of this project was already evident in southern Germany: Friedrich's little platoon quickly grew into a large army.

In the Swiggertal , Heinrich (VII.) Tried to stop his father's train with his own troops, but was defeated in the battle. On July 2, 1235, he had to submit to Friedrich Wimpfen because most of his allies abandoned him. On July 4, 1235, Friedrich II held court over Heinrich with the princes in Worms, dethroned him and imprisoned him. First he came to Heidelberg in the castle dungeon, then to Castle Alerheim im Ries and finally via Friuli , now in the care of a Lancia , to ship to Apulia . Until the end of 1235 he was held there in various places. In 1240 it was moved from Rocca San Felice near Melfi to Nicastro ( Calabria ). Two years later, when the prison was to be changed again, he fell with his horse into an abyss. Heinrich (VII.) Died in Martirano on February 12th (according to other sources on February 10th) 1242 from the consequences of this fall. Some chroniclers report that it was a suicide attempt because Heinrich had hoped for forgiveness in vain.

His father had him buried with royal honors in Cosenza Cathedral in a splendid grave monument, which was demolished in 1574. Today his remains are believed to be in a Roman stone coffin discovered during excavations in the cathedral in 1934. An examination of the body by an Italian team of researchers in 2000 revealed that Heinrich was suffering from leprosy . A possible pardon on the part of the emperor was prevented or made impossible. The decision to commit suicide can be justified through the recognition of the incurability of the disease, which meant a high risk of infection for those around him and the threat of exclusion from the community. It would have been more in line with the ideas of the time if the emperor had forgiven his first-born after a short time and accepted him again with grace; It is also known how deeply dismayed Friedrich II was at his death.

Henry's allies were largely pardoned. Frederick II reacted to the weakening of royal power due to the conflict with his son, among other things, with the Imperial Assembly on August 25, 1235 in Mainz , at which a state peace law was passed for the first time and the regal law was fundamentally reformed.

As the successor of Heinrich (VII.) Friedrich had his second-born son Conrad IV. Elected as Roman-German king in Vienna in 1237 . In addition, he had Isabella in Worms in 1235 , the sister of Heinrich III. married by England to further secure the inheritance.

Heinrich's two sons, Heinrich and Friedrich, died in 1242/45 and 1251, respectively, without further consideration.

Evaluation of Heinrich (VII.), The seven in brackets

The Roman seven in brackets is explained by the fact that Henry did not exercise his kingship independently and is therefore only included in the counting of the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire to a limited extent. He is not to be confused with the later Emperor Heinrich VII of the Luxembourg family , who is considered to be the actual seventh ruler named Heinrich. As a way of speaking this unusual name of a king, "Heinrich the Siege of Brackets" is therefore also used to prevent confusion in oral communication.

For a long time, historians have described the reign of Henry VII as "luckless" or even "criminal". He was also disparagingly referred to as "Klammerheinrich". It is only recently that some researchers have attempted to revise the considerations about Henry VII.

Some historians even claim that the reign of Henry (VII) represented a successful continuation of the Hohenstaufen politics in the "Regnum Teutonicum" and could in no way be described as unhappy or failed. The historian Gunther Wolf remarked in a short essay that the brackets around the "VII" had to be dropped because Heinrich was the legitimate king from 1222 to 1235. In this interpretation, the expansion of sovereignty, the consolidation of domestic power and the founding and support of cities speak for a strong kingship.

But even shortly after the king's death, there were isolated positive evaluations in the courtly literature of the Middle Ages: “A künec, the zaeme wol nach im des riches krone! Owe that he is not supposed to live, so be nice to him! There was milte künec Heinrich, with what was fride. That no one nu tuot the same who also met the riche and im with triuwen would be bi! ” In this short verse, the reign of Henry (VII.) Is thought of, which as mild, gracious and peaceful, and also as reliable to the kingdom is characterized.

Heinrich seems to have been a cheerful and art-loving ruler and attracted many minstrels to his court. Possibly he also wrote poetry himself.


Web links

Commons : Heinrich (VII.)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Koblank: Staufer crest. The coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg with the three lions goes back to the Hohenstaufen. on stauferstelen.net. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  2. ^ Peter Koblank: Staufer graves. Only a few of the most prominent Hohenstaufen are buried in Germany. on stauferstelen.net. Retrieved April 15, 2016. Photo of the sarcophagus in Italian Wikipedia.
  3. Hans Uwe Ullrich: Caught in golden chains: From the life of Enzios, King of Sardinia . Berlin 2012, p. 54.
  4. ^ Peter Koblank: Heinrich the Klammersiebte. Who was Henry (VII) and what do the brackets around the Roman seven mean? on stauferstelen.net. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
predecessor Office successor
Frederick II (HRR) King of Sicily
Frederick II (HRR)
Frederick II (HRR) Duke of Swabia
Conrad IV. (HRR)
Frederick II (HRR) Roman-German king
Conrad IV. (HRR)