Henry III

Henry III
1. 1017-56, king of Germany 1039-56 and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 1046-56 (son of Conrad II).
2. 1207-72, king of England 1216-72 (son of John).
3. 1551-89, king of France 1574-89 (son of Henry II of France).

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born Oct. 1, 1207, Winchester, Hampshire, Eng.
died Nov. 16, 1272, London

King of England (1216–72).

He inherited the throne at age nine but did not begin to rule until French-backed rebels were expelled (1234). He alienated the barons by his indifference to tradition and his agreement to supply Innocent IV with funds in exchange for the Sicilian crown. The barons forced him to accept the Provisions of Oxford, but Henry renounced the agreement in 1261. His former favourite, Simon de Montfort, led a rebellion in 1264, defeating and capturing the king. Henry's son Edward (later Edward I) turned the tables a year later, and Henry, weak and senile, allowed Edward to take charge of the government.
French Henri orig. duke d'Anjou

born Sept. 19, 1551, Fontainebleau, France
died Aug. 2, 1589, Saint-Cloud

King of France (1574–89).

The third son of Henry II and Catherine de Médicis, he commanded the royal army against the Huguenots in the Wars of Religion. He was crowned king after the death of his brother Charles IX. During the continuing civil wars he made concessions to the Huguenots, causing the Roman Catholics to form the Holy League. The Catholics were further alarmed in 1584 when the Protestant Henry of Navarra (later Henry IV) became heir to the throne. Henry III tried to placate the Holy League, but he was forced by a mob to flee Paris. In 1588 he had the Catholic leaders Henry, 3rd duke de Guise, and Cardinal Louis II de Lorraine assassinated. In 1589 Henry was himself assassinated by a fanatical Jacobin friar.

born Oct. 28, 1017
died Oct. 5, 1056, Pfalz Bodfeld, near Goslar, Saxony

Duke of Bavaria (as Henry VI, 1027–41), duke of Swabia (as Henry I, 1038–45), German king (1039–56), and emperor (1046–56).

He gained sovereignty over Bohemia and Moravia and arranged the election of Pope Clement II, who crowned him emperor. The last emperor to dominate the papacy, Henry appointed three more popes in succeeding years. He championed the church reform advocated by the monasteries of Cluny and Gorze. He was nearly deposed in a revolt (1054–55), and in his later years his influence faltered in northeastern Germany, Hungary, southern Italy, and Lorraine.

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▪ Holy Roman emperor
born , Oct. 28, 1017
died Oct. 5, 1056, Pfalz Bodfeld, near Goslar, Saxony
 duke of Bavaria (as Henry VI, 1027–41), duke of Swabia (as Henry I, 1038–45), German king (from 1039), and Holy Roman emperor (1046–56), member of the Salian dynasty. He was a powerful advocate of the Cluniac reform movement that sought to purify the Western Church in the 11th century, the last emperor able to dominate the papacy.

Youth and marriage.
      Henry was the son of the emperor Conrad II and Gisela of Swabia. He was more thoroughly trained for his office than almost any other crown prince before or after. With the Emperor's approval, Gisela had taken charge of his upbringing, and she saw to it that he was educated by a number of tutors and acquired an interest in literature.

      In 1036 Henry married Gunhilda (Kunigunde), the young daughter of King Canute of England, Denmark, and Sweden. Because her father had died shortly before, the union with this frail and ailing girl brought with it no political advantages. She died in 1038, and the emperor Conrad died the following year.

      His 22-year-old successor as German king resembled him in appearance. From his mother Henry inherited much, especially her strong inclination to piety and church services. His accession to the throne, unlike that of his two predecessors, did not lead to civic unrest, but his reign was burdensome from the beginning. Probably over questions of principle, the self-willed emperor quarrelled with the aging Gisela during her last years.

      He devoted his energies above all to the contemporary movement to bring an end to war among Christian princes, although his own policies were not always pacific. In possession of the duchies of Franconia, Bavaria, Swabia, and Carinthia, he had attempted to carry on his father's policy of supremacy in the east and, in fact, attained sovereignty over Bohemia and Moravia.

      It may have been at this time that Henry, prematurely believing he had reached the zenith of his power, displayed openly, as if it were a matter of governmental policy, his leanings toward the clerical-reform party. Intending to re-create a theocratic age like that of Charlemagne, he failed to realize that this could be done only as long as the papacy was powerless.

      Still a childless widower, he married Agnes (Agnes of Poitou), the daughter of William V of Aquitaine and Poitou, in 1043. The match must have been intended primarily to cement peace in the west and to assure imperial sovereignty over Burgundy and Italy, and Agnes' total devotion to the church reform advocated by the Cluniac monasteries probably confirmed Henry in his decision to take her for his wife. In November 1050 she bore him a son, who later became the emperor Henry IV. There followed another boy, Conrad, and three daughters. What Henry still lacked was the highest honour—his coronation as emperor at the hands of the pope.

Control of the papacy.
      When Henry reached Rome in 1046, three rivals were claiming the papacy. Henry wanted a pacified Italy, in which imperial supremacy was uncontested, and he wanted to receive the imperial crown from unsullied hands. He convoked a synod at Sutri, which, at his bidding, elected as the new pope a German, Suidger, bishop of Bamberg, who was inaugurated as Clement II. On the same day the new pope crowned the imperial couple.

      Rome became an imperial city, and the control over the church—i.e., the decisive vote in future conclaves—passed into the hands of the German king. In succeeding years Henry made use of this right to appoint a pope three more times. When the Normans (Norman) were beginning their conquest of Calabria, Henry did not intervene to any extent in southern Italy; instead he left this problem to Pope Leo IX, who was defeated by the Normans.

      Believing that the basis of his power was secure, the Emperor expected to be as successful with his internal projects as he had been in foreign affairs; but this was not to be the case. He could not carry out his ecclesiastical reforms in Germany or its neighbouring territories because he was virtually without friends among the clergy. He was increasingly opposed by the Scandinavian Church and by that of the Saxons. Also, he had to contend during most of his reign with Godfrey II, duke of Upper Lorraine, whom he repeatedly pardoned instead of disciplining.

      In 1054–55, dukes Conrad of Bavaria and Welf III of Carinthia attempted to overthrow Henry's rule through a widely spread conspiracy, and only their demise saved him from great trouble. Conrad, who had fled to Hungary, managed to subvert that country to such an extent that German influence remained permanently weakened. Although resistance against him stiffened with time, Henry continued to rule with moderation. Perhaps because he was aware of a lessening of his powers, his actions became haphazard. Instead of holding on to duchies that he had inherited, he entrusted them to others; but he chose badly and seldom acted decisively against his disloyal feudatories. He no longer inspired fear in his opponents—the Saxon and south German lay nobility, the alliance between Lorraine and Tuscany, the increasingly independent papacy, and the adventure-seeking Normans.

      Opponents of the Emperor's policy thought it was excessively indulgent toward the church and hostile toward the lay princes. Some of this criticism was voiced among the ranks of the ecclesiastical reformers. Matters had come to such an impasse that Henry no longer pleased anyone. His demands on the people to support his military strength were heavy from the beginning, and his revenues from inheritances and confiscations were also considerable. If the empire's basic wealth did not increase in his reign, it was because he used it to fulfill the demands of his clerical friends, even as he bestowed duchies on lay nobles in order to appease them. It is not surprising that, under these circumstances, he was compelled to find other sources of revenue by seeking credits, foreclosing mortgages, and looking after the interests of his treasury when conferring high imperial offices or church benefices. The abolition of simony (the sale of church offices) was difficult even for as high-principled a ruler as Henry, and, as a result, his enemies accused him of greed. According to some sources, in his old age Henry was rumoured to have become “untrue to himself ” and inaccessible to the common people; he was reported to have refused to grant a judicial hearing to “the poor.” In contrast, in the early years of his reign, he could not be praised enough for his zeal in the administration of justice.

Disintegration of the empire.
      His change of personality may have resulted from the blunders and failures of his rule. After 1046 this man, shaped partly by religious ideals and partly by the harsh realities of political life, saw all his gains being swept away: northeastern Germany, Hungary, southern Italy, and Lorraine. Even the part of his work that he considered his very own, church reform, began to turn against him. A high priest among men, who did penance even while ruthlessly persecuting and even hanging heretics, Henry learned at the end of his days that clemency, goodness, and earthly justice do not necessarily benefit a prince.

      On the other hand, it may have been a physical disease that changed Henry. In 1045 he was so tortured with illness that negotiations concerning the succession were begun. The bad tidings from all corners of the empire must have complicated his condition. In September 1056 he fell sick in his favourite residence, the imperial palace at Bodfeld near Goslar, and, having assured the succession of his son Henry, he died in October.

Hanns Leo Mikoletzky

Additional Reading
There is no contemporary biography, English-language work, or detailed treatise on Henry III. Ernst Steindorff, Jahrbücher des deutschen Reichs unter Heinrich III, 2 vol. (1874–81), is still the only comprehensive treatment. See also Die Urkunden Heinrichs III, ed. by Harry Bresslau and Paul Kehr (1931), vol. 5 in the “Monumenta Germaniae historica Series”; Paul Kehr, Vier Kapital aus der Geschichte Kaiser Heinrichs III (1931); Gerhart Ladner, Theologie und Politik vor dem Investiturstreit: Abendmahlstreit, Kirchenreform, Cluni und Heinrich III (1936, reprinted 1968); Ernst Mueller, Das Itinerar Kaiser Heinrichs III, 1039 bis 1056 (1901); Heinrich Appelt, “Heinrich III,” Neue deutsche Biographie, vol. 8, pp. 313–315 (1969); Caroline M. Ryley, Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 3, pp. 272–308 (1922).

▪ duke of Bavaria and Saxony
byname  Henry the Lion , German  Heinrich der Löwe 
born 1129/30
died Aug. 6, 1195, Brunswick, Saxony
 duke of Saxony (1142–80) and of Bavaria (as Henry XII, 1156–80), a strong supporter of the emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. Henry spent his early years recovering his ancestral lands of Saxony (1142) and Bavaria (1154–56), thereafter founding the city of Munich (1157), enhancing the position of Lübeck, and greatly extending his territories. He broke with Frederick in 1176 and in consequence was deprived of most of his lands and was exiled twice (1181–85; 1189–90).

Early years
      Henry the Lion was the only son of Henry the Proud, duke of Saxony and Bavaria, and Gertrude, the daughter of the Holy Roman emperor Lothar III. In May 1142 he recovered Saxony, one of the two duchies of which his father had been divested by Conrad III, the first Hohenstaufen German king. In 1147 Henry laid claim to Bavaria, which Conrad III had granted to Henry II Jasomirgott, margrave of Austria, and in 1151 he tried in vain to take possession of the duchy. In 1147 or 1148 he married Clementia, the daughter of Conrad, duke of Zähringen, but this marriage was dissolved in 1162.

      When Frederick I Barbarossa of Hohenstaufen, his cousin, was elected king of Germany in 1152, the Hohenstaufen made peace with the rival dynasty of the Welfs, of which Henry was a member. In 1154 Frederick granted Henry the right to invest the bishops of the new bishoprics beyond the Elbe and also recognized his territorial claims to Bavaria. In September 1156 Henry secured possession of the Duchy of Bavaria; Austria was subsequently separated from Bavaria and was given to Henry Jasomirgott and elevated into its own duchy.

Alliance with Frederick Barbarossa
      Henry, in turn, for 20 years supported Frederick Barbarossa. He accompanied him with a large army on his first Italian campaign (1154/55) and, after Frederick's coronation as emperor, suppressed a rising of the Romans. In 1157 he took part in Frederick's expedition against the Poles. During Frederick's second Italian campaign, Henry provided valuable assistance to the Emperor at the siege of Crema in 1160 and in the war against the Milanese cities in 1161.

      One year after recovering Bavaria, Henry laid the foundations of the city of Munich by establishing a new market on the Isar River. But his main effort was directed toward expanding the Duchy of Saxony, especially in the lands beyond the Elbe. In 1159 he refounded the city of Lübeck on territory he had taken from Adolf II, count of Holstein, who had first founded Lübeck in 1143. By treaties with the merchants of Gotland and the princes of Sweden and Novgorod, he considerably enhanced Lübeck's position as a commercial centre. In 1160 the bishopric of Oldenburg was also transferred to that city. From 1158 on Henry had subdued the Slavic Obodrites in several expeditions, extending his power all over Mecklenburg and thus opening the way for its Christianization and colonization.

      In 1160 Schwerin became the seat of the bishopric of Mecklenburg and was granted the privileges of a city. Even the princes of western Pomerania temporarily acknowledged Henry's feudal sovereignty. When Valdemar I, king of Denmark, conquered the island of Rügen, in the Baltic Sea, a long, drawn-out struggle broke out between him and Henry that lasted until 1171, when the dispute was settled and Henry's daughter married Valdemar's son.

      In those years Henry also consolidated his position in Saxony by seizing the properties of several extinct dynasties without regard to the hereditary claims of other families. He made Brunswick (Braunschweig) his capital, and, in front of the castle he had built, he erected the statue of a lion as a symbol of his family and a sign of his sovereignty. But Henry's arrogant nature and his propensity for aggrandizement evoked growing opposition. Beginning in the middle 1150s, several Saxon princes entered into alliances against him. Ten years later, a great coalition led by Albert I the Bear, margrave of Brandenburg, and the Archbishop of Cologne posed a serious threat to him. It was only after the Emperor intervened in 1168 that peace was restored in Saxony.

      At that time, Henry was at the zenith of his power. In early 1168 he married Matilda, the daughter of Henry II of England, and soon afterward was sent to France and England as ambassador of Frederick I on a mission to arrange an armistice between both nations. In 1172 he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with a large following and was received with great ceremony by the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus at Constantinople (now Istanbul).

      When in 1176 Frederick Barbarossa asked for support against the Lombard cities in northern Italy, Henry's price for aiding the Emperor was the important imperial city of Goslar, together with its silver mines. But Frederick refused to cede it, and his old alliance with Henry came to an end.

Henry's decline
      When fighting broke out again in Saxony in 1177, Frederick, after his return to Germany in 1178, instituted proceedings based on the charge of the Saxon nobles against Henry for breach of the king's peace. Henry, who had refused to answer the charges in the king's court, was deprived of his two duchies and of all imperial fiefs, in 1180. The Emperor then proceeded to break up Henry's former domain. In the same year the Saxon duchy was divided into two parts. The lands of the two bishoprics of Cologne and Paderborn were given to the Archbishop of Cologne as the new Duchy of Westphalia; the eastern part of Saxony was given as a fief to a son of Albert the Bear of Brandenburg. The Duchy of Bavaria was granted to an ally of Frederick's, Otto von Wittelsbach.

      Henry was at first able to maintain his position against Barbarossa in northern Saxony, but in the summer of 1181 he had to submit. Allowed to retain his hereditary lands of Brunswick and Lüneburg, he was exiled for several years to the court of his father-in-law, Henry II of England. On his return in 1185 he tried to regain his influence in Saxony. For his refusal to participate in the Third Crusade or to renounce his claims to Saxony, he was again banished, in 1189, rejoining Henry II in Normandy.

      After Frederick Barbarossa's death in 1190, Henry returned once more to Saxony. King Henry VI of Germany now took the field against him but made peace with him at Fulda in July 1190. After Henry the Lion renewed the fighting during Henry VI's campaign in Italy, the Emperor and Henry became reconciled at a meeting in 1194. The following year Henry the Lion died in Brunswick; he was buried in the cathedral he had built there, at the side of his wife.

Karl H.E. Jordan

Additional Reading
Karl Jordan, Henry the Lion (1986), examines both his political dealings and his role as a patron of learning and art. Peter Munz, Frederick Barbarossa: A Study in Medieval Politics (1969), describes the political situation of Henry's time.

▪ king of Castile
byname  Henry the Sufferer , Spanish  Enrique el Doliente 
born October 4, 1379, Burgos, Castile [Spain]
died 1406, Toledo

      king of Castile from 1390 to 1406. Though unable to take the field because of illness, he jealously preserved royal power through the royal council, the Audiencia (supreme court), and the corregidores (magistrates). During his minority, the anti-Jewish riots of Sevilla (Seville) and other places produced the large class of conversos (converts).

      The son of John I, Henry bore the title of prince of Asturias, which from then on designated the heir apparent. His marriage to Catherine of Lancaster, granddaughter of Peter I, ended the dynastic rift and consolidated the house of Trastámara.

      Henry succeeded as a boy of 11; and, under a regency, the Jewish communities were sacked as a result of fanatical preaching. He assumed power at 14, restored control over the royal council and courts, and imposed order. He curbed the Cortes (parliament), relying on legists. He resumed the struggle with Portugal (1396–98) and made a favourable truce, but he was unable to lead his troops and appointed his younger brother Ferdinand to campaign against Granada. He sent emissaries to the court of Timur (Tamerlane), the central Asian emperor and ruler of Persia, and licensed Jean de Béthencourt to conquer and colonize the Canary Islands.

      Henry III died young, leaving an heir, John II, less than two years old, and dividing the regency in an elaborate testament between his widow and his brother.

▪ king of England [1207-72]
born October 1, 1207, Winchester, Hampshire, Eng.
died November 16, 1272, London
 king of England from 1216 to 1272. In the 24 years (1234–58) during which he had effective control of the government, he displayed such indifference to tradition that the barons finally forced him to agree to a series of major reforms, the Provisions of Oxford (1258).

      The elder son and heir of King John (ruled 1199–1216), Henry was nine years old when his father died. At that time London and much of eastern England were in the hands of rebel barons led by Prince Louis (later King Louis VIII of France), son of the French king Philip II Augustus. A council of regency presided over by the venerable William Marshal, 1st earl of Pembroke, was formed to rule for Henry; by 1217 the rebels had been defeated and Louis forced to withdraw from England. After Pembroke's death in 1219 Hubert de Burgh ran the government until he was dismissed by Henry in 1232. Two ambitious Frenchmen, Peter des Roches and Peter des Rivaux, then dominated Henry's regime until the barons brought about their expulsion in 1234. That event marked the beginning of Henry's personal rule.

      Although Henry was charitable and cultured, he lacked the ability to rule effectively. In diplomatic and military affairs he proved to be arrogant yet cowardly, ambitious yet impractical. The breach between the King and his barons began as early as 1237, when the barons expressed outrage at the influence exercised over the government by Henry's Savoyard relatives. The marriage arranged (1238) by Henry between his sister, Eleanor, and his brilliant young French favourite, Simon de Montfort (Montfort, Simon de, Earl Of Leicester), earl of Leicester, increased foreign influence and further aroused the nobility's hostility. In 1242 Henry's Lusignan half brothers involved him in a costly and disastrous military venture in France. The barons then began to demand a voice in selecting Henry's counsellors, but the King repeatedly rejected their proposal. Finally, in 1254 Henry made a serious blunder. He concluded an agreement with Pope Innocent IV (pope 1243–54), offering to finance papal wars in Sicily if the Pope would grant his infant son, Edmund, the Sicilian crown. Four years later Pope Alexander IV (pope 1254–61) threatened to excommunicate Henry for failing to meet this financial obligation. Henry appealed to the barons for funds, but they agreed to cooperate only if he would accept far-reaching reforms. These measures, the Provisions of Oxford (Oxford, Provisions of), provided for the creation of a 15-member privy council, selected (indirectly) by the barons, to advise the King and oversee the entire administration. The barons, however, soon quarrelled among themselves, and Henry seized the opportunity to renounce the Provisions (1261). In April 1264 Montfort, who had emerged as Henry's major baronial opponent, raised a rebellion; the following month he defeated and captured the King and his eldest son, Edward, at the Battle of Lewes (May 14, 1264), Sussex. Montfort ruled England in Henry's name until he was defeated and killed by Edward at the Battle of Evesham, Worcestershire, in August 1265. Henry, weak and senile, then allowed Edward to take charge of the government. After the King's death, Edward ascended the throne as King Edward I.

▪ king of France and Poland
also called  Henry of Valois,  or  (until 1574)  duc d'Anjou  
born Sept. 19, 1551, Fontainebleau, France
died Aug. 2, 1589, Saint-Cloud
 king of France from 1574, under whose reign the prolonged crisis of the Wars of Religion was made worse by dynastic rivalries arising because the male line of the Valois dynasty was going to die out with him.

      The third son of Henry II and Catherine de Médicis, Henry was at first entitled duc d'Anjou. Given command of the royal army against the Huguenots (Huguenot) during the reign of his brother, Charles IX, he defeated two Huguenot leaders, the prince de Condé (Louis I de Bourbon) at Jarnac in March 1569 and Gaspard de Coligny at Moncontour in October of that year. Henry was Catherine's favourite son, much to Charles's chagrin, and she used her influence to advance his fortunes. In 1572 she presented him as a candidate for the vacant throne of Poland, to which he was finally elected in May 1573. In May 1574, however, Charles died, and Henry abandoned Poland and was crowned at Reims on Feb. 13, 1575. He was married two days later to Louise de Vaudémont, a princess of the house of Lorraine. The marriage proved childless.

      The French Wars of Religion (1562–98) continued during Henry III's reign. In May 1576 he agreed to the Peace of Monsieur, named after the style of his brother François, duc d'Alençon, but his concession to the Huguenots in the Edict of Beaulieu angered the Roman Catholics, who formed the Holy League to protect their own interests. Henry resumed the war against the Huguenots, but the Estates-General, meeting at Blois in 1576, was weary of Henry's extravagance and refused to grant him the necessary subsidies. The Peace of Bergerac (1577) ended the hostilities temporarily; the Huguenots lost some of their liberties by the Edict of Poitiers, and the Holy League was dissolved. In 1584, however, the Roman Catholics were alarmed when the Huguenot leader, Henry of Navarre (the future Henry IV), became heir to the throne on the death of Henry III's brother François, and the League was revived under the leadership of Henri, 3e duc de Guise.

      Henry III, acting on his mother's advice, tried to placate the Holy League by revoking past edicts that had granted toleration to the Huguenots, but its members regarded him as a lukewarm defender of the faith and tried to depose him. A rising of the people of Paris, a League stronghold, on May 12, 1588 (the Estates-Day of the Barricades), caused the king to flee to Chartres. In December 1588 he took advantage of a meeting of the Estates-General at Blois to have the duc de Guise and his brother Louis, the cardinal of Lorraine, assassinated. This, of course, exacerbated the League's hostility, and Henry III was compelled to ally himself with Henry of Navarre. Together they laid siege to Paris, but on Aug. 1, 1589, Jacques Clément, a fanatical Jacobin friar, gained admission to the king's presence and stabbed him. Before he died, Henry, who left no issue, acknowledged Henry of Navarre as his heir.

      Henry III had a good intellect, an ingratiating manner, cultivated tastes, and a gift for oratory but could not save France from civil war. He issued ordinances designed to correct many of the financial and judicial problems of the country, but he refused to exert the effort needed to enforce them. He was more attentive to the trappings of power than to its substance; and he lost the sympathy of powerful elements by his aloofness at court and by the favours he conferred upon his mignons, a small group of handsome young men with whom he indulged in questionable excesses. Above all, he was so extravagant as virtually to bankrupt his kingdom.

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Universalium. 2010.

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