- Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
name=Saint Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
death_date=death date and age|1024|7|13|973|5|06|mf=y
July 13 July 15( General Roman Calendar, 1668-1969) [From 1631, when it was first included in the calendar, to 1668, the feast was, as now, on 13 July]
Roman Catholic Church
caption=Henry II in an illuminated miniature from an Imperial Sacramentary.
titles=Emperor and Confessor
Pope Clement II
Basel, Switzerland; St Henry's Marist Brothers' College, Durban, South Africa.
Saint Henry II (
May 6, 973[Perhaps 972.] – July 13, 1024), called the Holy or the Saint, was the fifth and last Holy Roman Emperor of the Saxon (or Ottonian) dynasty from his coronation in Romein 1014 until his death a decade later. He was crowned King of Germanyin 1002 and King of Italyin 1004. He was the only German king to be canonized.
He was the son of
Henry II, Duke of Bavaria. As his father had rebelled against two previous emperors, he was often in exile. This led the younger Henry to turn to the Church at an early age, first finding refuge with Abraham, Bishop of Freising, and later being educated at the cathedral school of Hildesheim. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavariain 995 as Henry IV.
Henry was on his way to Rome to save his besieged cousin the Emperor Otto III when the emperor died in January 1002. Knowing that opposition to his succession was strong, Henry quickly seized the royal insignia from his dead cousin's companions. Rival candidates for the throne — such as Ezzo of Lotharingia, Eckard I of Meissen, and Herman II of Swabia — strongly contested Henry's succession, but with the aid of
Willigis, Archbishop of Mainz, he was able to secure his royal election and coronation on June 7, 1002in Mainz, though it would be a year before he was universally recognized.
Henry spent the next several years consolidating his political power on his German borders. He waged a successful campaign against
Boleslaus I of Polandand then moved into the Kingdom of Italy to confront Arduin of Ivrea, who had been elected King of Italy by a faction opposed to Henry. Arduin had previously defeated a German army sent against him by Henry and commanded by Otto I of Carinthia. Now he tried to block the German king in the Adige valley, as he had previously done with Otto, but Henry entered Italy at the Valsugana. Arduin's vassals fled in disarray at Henry's approach and their king was forced to return to the March of Ivrea. Henry occupied Veronaand was crowned "rex Italiae" (King of Italy) at Paviaon May 15, 1004, by the Archbishop of Milan, Arnulf II, with the famous Iron Crown.
War against Poland
After bloodily suppressing a revolt of the citizens of Pavia, Henry remained there until
May 25, when, feeling that Italy could be considered settled, he decided to return to Germany through the Saint Gotthard Pass. From Germany he launched a second campaign against Boleslaus, allying with the pagan Liutitiansagainst the Christian Poles and waged successful campaigns that culminated in a lasting compromise peace with the Poles in 1018: Boleslaus was allowed to retain Lusatiaand Meissen as fiefs, but had to give up Bohemia, which he had recently conquered.
Rebellion of Arduin
Henry was called to Italy by the clergy for another campaign in 1013. Arduin had risen in revolt again. At first he tried to resist Henry from his palace in
Ivrea, but then resigned to become a monk. Subsequently Henry went straight to Rome, where Pope Benedict VIIIcrowned him Holy Roman Emperor on February 14, 1014. He took his duties in Italy seriously and appointed German officials to administer the country. He returned in Germany in May.
Invasion of southern Italy
In 1020, the pope visited him at Bamberg and consecrated his new cathedral there. After settling some controversies with the bishops of Mainz and Würzburg, Pope Benedict VIII convinced him to return to Italy for a third (and final) campaign to counter the growing power of the
Byzantine Empirein the south, where the Lombard princes had made submission to the Greeks. In 1022, he set out down the Adriaticcoast for southern Italy commanding a large force. He sent Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne, ahead with a slightly smaller army along the Tyrrhenianlittoral with the objective of subjugating the Principality of Capua. A third army, smaller still, under the command of Poppo, Patriarch of Aquileia, went through the Apennines to join Henry in besieging the Byzantine fortress of Troia. Pilgrim did capture Pandulf IV of Capuaand extract oaths of allegiance from both Capua and the Principality of Salerno, but all three divisions failed to take Troia. Henry almost executed the treacherous prince of Capua, but relented at the last moment at Pilgrim's pleading and instead sent him off to Germany in chains and appointed Pandulf of Teano to replace him as prince. Though his main objective had been missed, Henry left the south in the knowledge that western imperial authority still extended that far. On his return journey, he attended a synod at Pavia where he advocated Church reform.
Henry's most significant contributions as emperor came in the realm of church-state relations and ecclesiastic administration within the Empire. He supported the bishops against the monastic clergy and aided them in establishing their temporal rule over broad territories. He strongly enforced
clerical celibacyin order that the public land and offices he granted the church would not be passed on to heirs. This ensured that the bishops remained loyal to him, from whom they received their power, and provided a powerful bulwark against rebellious nobles and ambitious family members. Henry founded the Diocese of Bamberg, which quickly became a center of scholarship and art, in 1007.
Henry had been working with the pope to call a
Church Councilto confirm his new system of politico-ecclesiastical control when he died suddenly in 1024, leaving this work unfinished. Henry and his wife, Cunigunde of Luxemburg, had no children, reportedly because they had taken a mutual vowof chastity.
canonizedin the year 1146 by Pope Clement II, and his spouse, Cunigunde, was canonized in the year 1200, by Pope Innocent III.
Henry is buried in
Bamberg Cathedral, which also has the tomb of Pope Clement II. He is the patron saintof the city of Basel, Switzerland, and of St Henry's Marist Brothers' Collegein Durban, South Africa.
Saint Henry's name, which does not appear in the
Tridentine Calendar, was inserted in 1631 in the Roman Calendar as a commemoration within the celebration of Saint Anacletus on 13 July, the day of his death and the traditional day for his celebration on a local level. In 1668, it was moved to 15 Julyfor celebration as a Semidouble. This rank was changed by Pope Pius XIIin 1955 to that of Simple, and by Pope John XXIIIin 1960 to that of Third-Class Feast. In 1969, it was returned to its original date of 13 Julyas a non-obligatory Memorial. [Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), pp. 97 and 130]
Thietmar's ChronicleBetween 1012 and 1018
Thietmar of Merseburgwrote a "Chronicon", or "Chronicle", in eight books, which deals with the period between 908 and 1018. For the earlier part he used Widukind's "Res gestae Saxonicae", the "Annales Quedlinburgenses" and other sources; the latter part is the result of personal knowledge. The chronicle is nevertheless an excellent authority for the history of Saxonyduring the reigns of the emperors Otto III and Henry II. No kind of information is excluded, but the fullest details refer to the bishopric of Merseburg, and to the wars against the Wendsand the Poles.
Kings of Germany family tree. He was related to every other king of Germany.
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07227a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: "Henry II"]
* [http://lba.hist.uni-marburg.de/lba-cgi/kleioc/00101KlLBA/exec/apply2/width/%226109%22/height/%226109%22/url/%22http:%7B|%7D%7B|%7D184.108.40.206%7B|%7Dlba-cgi-local%7B|%7Dpic.sh%7B-%7Djpg%7B|%7DE5050.jpg%22 Charter given by Emperor Henry] for
Niederaltaich Abbeyshowing the Emperor's seal, 25.6.1011 . Taken from the collections of the [http://lba.hist.uni-marburg.de/lba/pages/ Lichtbildarchiv älterer Originalurkunden] at Marburg University
NAME = Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Heinrich II
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Holy Roman Emperor
DATE OF BIRTH =
May 6 973
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH =
July 13 1024
PLACE OF DEATH =
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