Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor

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Henry VII was the King of Germany (or Rex Romanorum
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

) from 1308 and Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 from 1312. He was the first emperor of the House of Luxembourg
House of Luxembourg
The House of Luxembourg was a late medieval German dynasty, which between 1308 and 1437 ruled the Holy Roman Empire, twice interrupted by the rivaling House of Wittelsbach.-History:...

. During his brief career he reinvigorated the imperial cause in Italy
Kingdom of Italy (medieval)
The Kingdom of Italy was a political entity under control of Carolingian dynasty of Francia first, after the defeat of the Lombards in 774. It was finally incorporated as a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962....

, wracked with the partisan struggles between the divided Guelf and Ghibelline factions, and inspired the praise of Dino Compagni
Dino Compagni
Dino Compagni was an Italian historical writer and political figure.He was born into a prosperous family of Florence, supporters of the Guelphs. He was democratic in feeling, and was a supporter of the new ordinances of Giano della Bella.As prior and gonfalonier of justice he always had the public...

 and Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

; however, his premature death undid his life's work.

Election as King of the Romans


Born around 1275 in Valenciennes
Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

, he was a son of Count Henry VI of Luxembourg
Henry VI of Luxembourg
Henry VI was count of Luxembourg and Arlon from the death of his father, Henry V the Blond in 1281 until his own death at the battle of Worringen, seven years later, when he was succeeded by his son, Henry VII....

 and Béatrice from the House of Avesnes
House of Avesnes
The Avesnes family played an important role during the Middle Ages. The family has its roots in the small village Avesnes-sur-Helpe, in the north of France....

. Raised at the French court, he was the lord of comparatively small properties in a peripheral and French-speaking part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. It was symptomatic of the empire’s weakness that during his rule as the Count of Luxembourg, he agreed to become a French vassal, seeking the protection of Philip the Fair
Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair was, as Philip IV, King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.-Youth:A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of...

. During his rule of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, he ruled effectively, especially in keeping the peace in local feudal disputes.

Henry became caught up in the internal political machinations of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 with the assassination of King Albert I on 1 May 1308. Almost immediately, King Philip the Fair of France began aggressively seeking support for his brother, Charles of Valois
Charles of Valois
Charles of Valois was the fourth son of Philip III of France and Isabella of Aragon. His mother was a daughter of James I of Aragon and Yolande of Hungary. He was a member of the House of Capet and founded the House of Valois...

, to be elected the next King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

. Believing he possessed the backing of the French Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...

, his prospects of bringing the empire into the orbit of the French royal house seemed favorable, and he began lavishly spreading French money in the hope of bribing the German electors. Although Charles of Valois had the backing of Heinrich II von Virneburg, the Archbishop of Cologne, a French supporter, many were not keen to see an expansion of French power, least of all Clement V. The principal rival to Charles appeared to be Rudolf
Rudolf I, Duke of Bavaria
Rudolf I of Bavaria , a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty, was Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine...

, the Count Palatine
Count palatine
Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.-Comes palatinus:...

.

Given his background, although he was a vassal of Philip the Fair, Henry was bound by few national ties, an aspect of his suitability as a compromise candidate among the electors, the great territorial magnates who had lived without a crowned emperor for decades, and who were unhappy with both Charles and Rudolf. Henry’s brother, Baldwin, Archbishop of Trier, successfully won over a number of the electors, including Henry of Cologne, in exchange for some substantial concessions. Consequently, Henry skilfully negotiated his way to the crown, elected with six votes at Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 on 27 November 1308. Henry was subsequently crowned at Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

 on 6 January 1309.


In July 1309, Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...

, established at Avignon
Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

, confirmed Henry's election and initially agreed to personally crown him Emperor at Candlemas, 1312, the title having been vacant since the death of Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

. Henry in exchange, swore an oath or protection to the Pope, agreed to defend the rights and not to attack the privileges of the cities of the papal states
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

, and he also agreed to go on crusade once he had been crowned emperor. Yet the newly crowned king had local issues to deal with before he could seek the imperial crown. Henry was approached by part of the Bohemian nobility and some important and influential ecclesiastics to intervene in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. Unhappy with the rule of Henry of Carinthia, and wary of the claims of the Habsburgs who had some legitimate claim on the crown, they convinced Henry to marry his son John I, Count of Luxemburg to Elizabeth, the daughter of Wenceslas II and so legitimise his claim to the Bohemian crown, and in July 1310 he engineered the removal of the ruling monarch, Henry of Carinthia. On 15 August 1309, Henry VII announced his intention to travel to Rome, had sent his ambassadors to Italy to prepare for his arrival, and so consequently expected his troops to be ready to travel by 1 October 1310. Prior to leaving Germany, he sought to smooth relations with the Habsburgs, who had been forced against their will to accept the accession of Henry’s son in Bohemia, cowed by the threats of making the Duchy of Austria
Archduchy of Austria
The Archduchy of Austria , one of the most important states within the Holy Roman Empire, was the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy and the predecessor of the Austrian Empire...

 dependent on the Bohemian crown. He therefore confirmed them in their imperial fiefs by October 1309; in exchange, Leopold of Habsburg
Leopold I, Duke of Austria
Leopold I from the House of Habsburg was Duke of Austria and Styria – as co-ruler with his elder brother Frederick the Fair – from 1308 until his death...

 agreed to accompany Henry in his Italian expedition, and to provide a body of troops as well.

Henry felt he needed to obtain a papal imperial coronation, partly because of the lowly origins of his house, and partly because of the concessions he had been forced to make to obtain the German crown in the first place. He also saw it, together with the crowns of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

, as a necessary counterweight to the ambitions of the French king. To ensure the success of his Italian expedition, Henry entered into negotiations with Robert, King of Naples in mid 1310, with the intent of marrying his daughter, Beatrix
Beatrix of Luxembourg
Beatrice of Luxembourg was the youngest child of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife, Margaret of Brabant. Her two siblings were John of Luxembourg and Marie of Luxembourg, Queen of France....

 to Robert’s son, Charles, Duke of Calabria
Charles, Duke of Calabria
Charles, Duke of Calabria was the son of King Robert of Naples and Yolanda of Aragon.-Biography:Born in Naples, he became Duke of Calabria in 1309 on his father's accession, and was created Vicar-General of the Kingdom of Sicily...

. It was hoped that this would lessen the tensions in Italy between the anti-imperial Guelphs, who looked to the King of Naples for leadership, and the pro-imperial Ghibellines. Negotiations broke down due to Robert’s excessive monetary demands, as well as through the interference of the French king, Philip, who did not want such an alliance to succeed.

Descent into Italy


While these negotiations were taking place, Henry began his descent into northern Italy in October 1310, with his eldest son John remaining in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 as the Imperial vicar
Imperial vicar
An imperial vicar was a prince charged with administering all or part of the Holy Roman Empire on behalf of the Emperor. Later, an imperial vicar was invariably one of two princes charged by the Golden Bull with administering the Holy Roman Empire during an interregnum.The Holy Roman Empire had no...

. As he crossed the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 and travelled into the Lombard plain, nobles and prelates of both Guelph and Ghibelline factions hastened to greet him, and Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

 circulated an optimistic open letter addressed to the rulers and the people. As Emperor, Henry had planned to restore the glory of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, but he did not reckon on the bitterly divided state that Italy had now become. Decades of warfare and strife had seen the rise of dozens of independent city-states, each one nominally Guelph or Ghibelline, backed by either urban nobles supporting a powerful ruler (such as Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

), or the rising non-noble merchant classes embedded in oligarchic republican states (such as Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

). Each of these contests had created bitter losers, each of whom looked to the emperor-elect for restitution. Henry expressed both his high-minded idealism and lack of political craft in his plan to require all the cities of Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 to welcome back their exiles, of whatever their political stripe. He received both parties, Guelph or Ghibelline, courteously; in the beginning he showed no obvious favoritism to either party, hoping that his magnanimity would be reciprocated by both sides. Nevertheless, he insisted that the current rulers in all of the Italian city-states had usurped their powers. He insisted that the towns should come under the immediate control of the Empire, and that their exiles should be recalled. He eventually forced the cities to comply with his demands, and the despots had to surrender their keys. Although Henry rewarded their submission with titles and fiefs, it did cause a great deal of resentment that only grew over time. This was the situation confronting the king when he arrived in Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

 in November 1310, at the head of 5,000 soldiers, including 500 cavalry.

After a brief stay at Asti
Asti
Asti is a city and comune of about 75,000 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River...

 where Henry intervened in the political affairs in the town, much to the consternation of the Italian Guelphs, Henry proceeded to Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, where he was crowned King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

 with the Iron Crown of Lombardy
Iron Crown of Lombardy
The Iron Crown of Lombardy is both a reliquary and one of the most ancient royal insignia of Europe. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy...

 on January 6, 1311. The Tuscan Guelphs refused to attend the ceremony, and began preparing for resistance to Henry’s imperial dreams. As part of his program of political rehabilitation, he recalled the Visconti
House of Visconti
Visconti is the family name of two important Italian noble dynasties of the Middle Ages. There are two distinct Visconti families: The first one in the Republic of Pisa in the mid twelfth century who achieved prominence first in Pisa, then in Sardinia where they became rulers of Gallura...

, the ousted former rulers of Milan from exile. Guido della Torre
Guido della Torre
Guido della Torre , son of Francesco della Torre and Julia Castiglioni, was a Lord of Milan between 1302 and 1312.- Biography :...

, who had thrown the Visconti out of Milan, objected and organised a revolt against Henry that was ruthlessly put down, and the Visconti were returned to power, with Henry appointing Matteo Visconti as the Imperial vicar of Milan. He also imposed his brother-in-law, Amadeus of Savoy
Amadeus V, Count of Savoy
Amadeus V , surnamed the Great for his wisdom and success as a ruler, was the Count of Savoy from 1285 to 1323. He established Chambéry as his seat...

, as the vicar-general in Lombardy. These measures, plus a massive levy imposed on the Italian towns, caused the Guelph cities to turn against Henry, and he encountered further resistance when he sought to enforce imperial claims on what had become communal lands and rights, and attempted to replace communal regulations with imperial laws. Nevertheless, Henry managed to restore some semblance of imperial power in parts of northern Italy. Cities such as Parma
Parma
Parma is a city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its ham, its cheese, its architecture and the fine countryside around it. This is the home of the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world....

, Lodi
Lodi
-Places:In Canada:* Lodi, Ontario, a community in North Stormont, OntarioIn Italy:* Lodi, Lombardy, in the Province of Lodi of the Lombardy region** The Treaty of Lodi, 1454 between Italian city-states** The Battle of Lodi, 1796 in Lodi...

, Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

 and Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

 all accepted his rule.

At the same time any resistance of the north Italian communes was ruthlessly suppressed; however, the punishments levied on cities that submitted stiffened the resistance of others. Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 was the first to feel Henry’s wrath, after the Torriani family and their supporters had fled from Milan, falling on 26 April 1311, after which he razed the city walls. Henry then expended much of his initial capital of good-will with delays, such as the four month siege of Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 in 1311, delaying his journey to Rome. Popular opinion began to turn against Henry, with Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 allying itself with the Guelph communities of Lucca
Lucca
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plainnear the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca...

, Siena
Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

 and Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, and engaging in a propaganda war against the king. This was successful in that Pope Clement V, under increasing pressure from King Philip of France, began to distance himself from Henry and to take up the cause of the Italian Guelphs who had been appealing to the Papacy for support.

Despite plague and desertions, he managed to extract Brescia’s surrender in September 1311. Henry then passed through Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 before arriving in Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, where he again tried to mediate between the warring factions within the town. During his stay in the city, his wife Margaret of Brabant
Margaret of Brabant
Margaret of Brabant , was the daughter of John I, Duke of Brabant and Margaret of Flanders. She was the wife of Count Henry of Luxemburg and after his coronation in 1308, she became Queen of Germany.-Family:...

 died. Also while in Genoa he discovered that King Robert of Naples had decided to oppose the spread of imperial power in the Italian peninsula, and resumed his traditional position as head of the Guelph parties, as Florence, Lucca, Sienna and Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

 all declared their support for Robert. Henry attempted to intimidate Robert by ordering him to attend his imperial coronation, and to swear fealty for his imperial fiefs in Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

 and Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

. With Florence’s encouragement, much of Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 flared into open rebellion against Henry, with uprisings throughout December 1311 and January 1312, while in the Romagna
Romagna
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west...

, King Robert strengthened his position. Nevertheless, Henry’s supporters managed to capture Vicenza
Vicenza
Vicenza , a city in north-eastern Italy, is the capital of the eponymous province in the Veneto region, at the northern base of the Monte Berico, straddling the Bacchiglione...

, and he received an embassy from Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, who offered him the friendship of their city. Henry also began legal proceedings against Florence, laying charges of Lèse majesté
Lèse majesté
Lese-majesty is the crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.This behavior was first classified as a criminal offence against the dignity of the Roman republic in Ancient Rome...

 against the city and placing it under an Imperial ban in December 1311.

After spending two months in Genoa, Henry continued on to Pisa by ship, where he was eagerly received by the inhabitants, who were the traditional enemies of Florence and were Ghibelline. Here he again began negotiating with Robert of Naples, before deciding to enter into an alliance with Frederick III of Sicily
Frederick III of Sicily
Frederick II was the regent and subsequently King of Sicily from 1295 until his death. He was the third son of Peter III of Aragon and served in the War of the Sicilian Vespers on behalf of his father and brothers, Alfonso and James...

, strengthening his position and hopefully putting pressure on Robert of Naples. He left Pisa in 1312 to go to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 to be crowned as emperor, but on his way he discovered that Clement V was not going to crown him there.

Wars against Florence and Robert of Naples



Rome was in a state of confusion as Henry approached the city walls. The Orsini family
Orsini family
Orsini: the origin of learning.We love Mrs. Orsini forever! ~8F Social Studies 2011The Orsini family is an Italian noble family; it was one of the most influential princely families in medieval Italy and renaissance Rome...

 had adopted the cause of Robert of Naples, while the Colonna family
Colonna family
The Colonna family is an Italian noble family; it was powerful in medieval and Renaissance Rome, supplying one Pope and many other Church and political leaders...

 threw their weight behind Henry. With their partisans fighting in the streets, Henry was also confronted with the news that the Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant'Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family...

 and the Vatican quarter were securely in the hands of Robert, the Angevin king of Naples, who had decided, with help from the Florentines that his own dynastic interests were not in favour of renewed Imperial presence in Italy.

On May 7, Henry’s German troops forced their way across the Ponte Milvio
Ponte Milvio
The Milvian Bridge is a bridge over the Tiber in northern Rome, Italy. It was an economically and strategically important bridge in the era of the Roman Empire and was the site of the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge....

 and entered Rome, but found it impossible to throw out the Angevin
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 troops from around St Peters Basilica. As the Colonna family had possession of the area around the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

, Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colosseum
Colosseum
The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre , is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire...

, Henry was forced to perform his coronation on 29 June 1312 at the Lateran. The ceremony was performed by three Ghibelline cardinals who had joined Henry on his way through Italy. Robert of Naples, in the meantime, had made increasing demands upon Henry, including Henry making Robert’s son the Imperial vicar of Tuscany, and that Henry had to depart Rome within four days of his coronation. Henry, in his turn, declared that the imperial prerogative overrode papal authority, and that the entirety of Italy was subject to the emperor. He then refused to commit, as Pope Clement V had requested, to seek a truce with Robert of Naples, and he didn’t rule out attacking the southern kingdom. After Henry concluded a formal treaty signed with Robert's rival to the Sicilian throne, Frederick of Aragon
Frederick III of Sicily
Frederick II was the regent and subsequently King of Sicily from 1295 until his death. He was the third son of Peter III of Aragon and served in the War of the Sicilian Vespers on behalf of his father and brothers, Alfonso and James...

, the chaos in the city of Rome forced Henry to leave, and, following the advice of Tuscan Ghibellines, he travelled north to Arezzo
Arezzo
Arezzo is a city and comune in Central Italy, capital of the province of the same name, located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about 80 km southeast of Florence, at an elevation of 296 m above sea level. In 2011 the population was about 100,000....

.

At Arezzo, in September 1312, Henry proceeded to pass a sentence against Robert of Naples, as a rebel vassal, while at Carpentras
Carpentras
Carpentras is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.It stands on the banks of the Auzon...

 near Avignon
Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

, Clement was unwilling to fully support Henry, as Robert, of a cadet line of the French, was the representative of French power in Italy, and Clement was far from independent of French policies, as well as considerations about encirclement by Henry should he successfully defeat Robert. But before Henry could move against Robert of Naples, he had to deal with the troublesome Florentines, who had been sending money to the Lombard cities that held out against Henry, and who had been strengthening the city’s fortifications in anticipation of a siege.

In mid September, Henry approached the city and very quickly, it was obvious that the city militia and the Guelph cavalry could not match the emperor in an open battle against his battle-hardened soldiers from the north. The Florentine army was out-manoeuvred and lacking in provisions, so it retreated back into Florence during the night. Siena, Bologna, Lucca, and smaller cities, sent men to help man the walls. So began the siege of Florence, Henry possessing some 15,000 infantrymen and 2,000 cavalry, up against a combined Florentine strength of 64,000 defenders. Florence was able to keep every gate open except that which faced the emperor, and it kept all of her commercial routes open. For six weeks Henry battered the walls of Florence, and was eventually forced to abandon the siege. Nevertheless, by the end of 1312, he had subdued a large part of Tuscany, and had treated his defeated enemies with great leniency. By March 1313, Henry was back in his stronghold of Pisa, and from here he formally charged Robert of Naples with treason after Robert finally agreed to accept the office of the captain of the Guelph League. By now his patience was at an end, and he ordered that throughout Italy, all the inhabitants of all rebellious cities were to be captured, stripped and hanged for treason. While he loitered in Pisa, waiting for reinforcements from Germany, he attacked Lucca
Lucca
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plainnear the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca...

, a traditional enemy of Pisa. Henry now prepared for his next move; after taking as much money as he could from Pisa (Henry ultimately cost Pisa some 2 million florins), he began his long delayed campaign against Robert of Naples on 8 August 1313. His Italian allies were loathe to join him, and so his army consisted of some 4,000 knights, while a fleet was prepared to attack Robert’s realm directly.

His first target was the Guelph city of Sienna, which he began to besiege, but within a week, Henry succumbed to malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, which fast saw him become seriously ill. Fading rapidly, he left Siena on August 22, and was sheltering in the little town of Buonconvento
Buonconvento
Buonconvento is a comune in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany, located about south of Florence and about southeast of Siena in the area known as the Crete Senesi.-History:...

 near Siena
Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

 when he died on 24 August 1313. His body was taken to Pisa. Henry was not even 40 years old when he died, and the high hopes for an effective Imperial power in Italy died with him.

Dante's alto Arrigo


Henry is the famous alto Arrigo in Dante's Paradiso, in which the poet is shown the seat of honor that awaits Henry in Heaven. Henry in Paradiso xxx.137f is "He who came to reform Italy before she was ready for it". Dante also alludes to him numerous times in "Purgatorio" as the savior who will bring imperial rule back to Italy, and end the inappropriate temporal control of the Church. Henry VII's success in Italy was not lasting, however, and after his death the anti-imperial forces regained control.

Legacy


At Henry's death, and for the following decades, the central figure in Italian policy remained his nemesis, Robert of Naples. In the Empire, Henry's son, John the Blind, was elected King of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

 in 1310. After the death of Henry VII, two rivals, the Wittelsbach
Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

 Ludwig of Bavaria
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

 and Frederick the Handsome
Frederick I of Austria (Habsburg)
Frederick the Handsome or the Fair , from the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1308 as Frederick I as well as King of Germany from 1314 as Frederick III until his death.-Biography:He was the second son of King Albert I of Germany with his wife Elisabeth of...

 of the House of Habsburg, laid claim to the crown. Their dispute culminated in the Battle of Mühldorf
Battle of Mühldorf
The Battle of Mühldorf was fought near Mühldorf am Inn on September 28, 1322 between the Duchy of Bavaria and Austria...

 on 28 September 1322, which was lost by Frederick. Louis' Italian expedition (1327–29), made in the spirit of righting the wrongs done to Henry, was also abortive. The legacy of Henry was clearest in the successful careers of two among the local despots he made Imperial Vicars in northern cities, Can Grande of Verona
Cangrande I della Scala
Cangrande della Scala was an Italian nobleman, the most celebrated of the della Scala family which ruled Verona from 1277 until 1387. Now perhaps best known as the leading patron of the poet Dante Alighieri, Cangrande was in his own day chiefly acclaimed as a successful warrior and autocrat...

 and Matteo Visconti of Milan

The Tomb



Pisa was a Ghibelline
Guelphs and Ghibellines
The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in central and northern Italy. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the split between these two parties was a particularly important aspect of the internal policy of the Italian city-states...

 city, which means that the city supported the Holy Roman Emperor. When Henry VII died, Pisans built a monumental tomb inside their cathedral. The tomb was centered behind the High Altar in the apse. The choice of the place was intended to demonstrate the devotion of the Pisans to the Emperor.

The tomb was built in 1315 by Tino di Camaino
Tino di Camaino
thumb|300px|Tomb of Antonio d'Orso, in [[Santa Maria del Fiore]], [[Florence]].Tino di Camaino was an Italian sculptor....

 and was composed by the grave itself, the statue of Henry VII lying above it and many other statues and angels. But the tomb didn't have a long life: for political reasons it was dismantled and the parts were reused in other places in the square. Until 1985, the grave of the Emperor had been shifted to the right transept of the cathedral, near the tomb of Saint Ranieri
Rainerius
Saint Rainerius is the patron saint of Pisa and of travellers. His feast day is June 17. His name may also be spelled Raynerius, Rainerius, Rainier, Rainieri, Ranieri, Raniero, or Regnier....

; a couple of statues were put on the top of the façade and a number of statues portraying Henry VII himself and his counsellors were in the Cemetery. Nowadays the statues have been translated in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, while the tomb remains in the cathedral.

Family and children


Henry was married in Tervuren
Tervuren
Tervuren is a municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. The municipality comprises the villages of Duisburg, Tervuren, Vossem and Moorsel. On January 1, 2006, Tervuren had a total population of 20,636...

 9 July 1292 with Margaret of Brabant
Margaret of Brabant
Margaret of Brabant , was the daughter of John I, Duke of Brabant and Margaret of Flanders. She was the wife of Count Henry of Luxemburg and after his coronation in 1308, she became Queen of Germany.-Family:...

, daughter of John I, Duke of Brabant
John I, Duke of Brabant
John I of Brabant, also called John the Victorious was Duke of Brabant , Lothier and Limburg .-Life:...

, and had the following children:
  • John I, Count of Luxemburg (10 August 1296 – 26 August 1346),
  • Marie
    Marie de Luxembourg, Queen of France
    Marie of Luxembourg was Queen consort of France and Navarre, second wife of King Charles IV of France. She was the daughter of Emperor Henry VII and Margaret of Brabant. She was a member of the House of Luxembourg.-Family:...

     (1304–26 March 1324, Issoudun-en-Berry), married in Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

     21 September 1322 to King Charles IV of France
    Charles IV of France
    Charles IV, known as the Fair , was the King of France and of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1322 to his death: he was the last French king of the senior Capetian lineage....

    .
  • Beatrix
    Beatrix of Luxembourg
    Beatrice of Luxembourg was the youngest child of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife, Margaret of Brabant. Her two siblings were John of Luxembourg and Marie of Luxembourg, Queen of France....

     (1305–11 November 1319), married 1318 to King Charles I of Hungary
    Charles I of Hungary
    Charles I , also known as Charles Robert , was the first King of Hungary and Croatia of the House of Anjou. He was also descended from the old Hungarian Árpád dynasty. His claim to the throne of Hungary was contested by several pretenders...

    .

Ancestry





Sources

  • Jones, Michael, The New Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. VI: c. 1300-c. 1415, Cambridge University Press, 2000
  • Kleinhenz, Christopher, Medieval Italy: an encyclopedia, Volume 1, Routledge, 2004
  • Bryce, James, The Holy Roman Empire, 1913
  • Sismondi, J. C. L., Boulting, William, History of the Italian Republics in the Middle Ages, 1906
  • Comyn, Robert. History of the Western Empire, from its Restoration by Charlemagne to the Accession of Charles V, Vol. I. 1851
  • Dunham, S. A., A History of the Germanic Empire, Vol. I, 1835
  • William M. Bowsky, Henry VII in Italy, Lincoln, 1960.
  • Maria Elisabeth Franke, Kaiser Heinrich VII. im Spiegel der Historiographie, Köln/Weimar/Wien, 1992.