1902 Encyclopedia > Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor

HENRY VII. (1282-1313), Holy Roman emperor, was born in 1282. He was the son of Henry II, count of Luxembourg, and was elected king in 1308, seven months after the murder of Albert I. He owed his election partly to the fact that he was comparatively unimportant, which led the electors to suppose that under him the powers of the princes would be exposed to no great danger. When he came to the throne Bohemia was subject to Henry of Carinthia, whom the people extremely disliked. The king at once displaced him, and enriched his own family by granting Bohemia, at the request of the Bohemians themselves, to his son John, whose claims were rendered secure by his marriage with Elizabeth, the daughter of Wenceslaus II. For some time no German king had sought the imperial crown; but Henry, who was of an imaginative temperament, could not forget the splendid dignities to which the wearer of the crown of Germany was entitled. He therefore resolved to revive the traditions which had begun to die out, and with a view to this result did what he could to compose the differences of the nobles and to gain their allegiance. At this time there were signs of rapid progress among the cities, and had a strong king devoted himself to their interests, he might have established his throne on a solid basis. Unfortunately the easiest way in which Henry could obtain immediate power for his plans in Italy was to ally himself with the princes against the cities; and this was in most instances the course which he adopted. His visit to Italy was looked forward to with eagerness by the Ghibellins, whose hopes were expressed in words of glowing eloquence by Dante. He held aloof at first from both the great parties in the state, and was in consequence liked by neither. In 1312 he was crowned emperor in Rome, having previously received the iron crown in Milan. But while he was in Borne, Robert of Naples was there also with a strong army, and in order to obtain adequate support it was necessary for Henry to declare himself on the side of the Ghibellins. He then resolved to conquer Naples, but while advancing on this expedition he died at Buonconvento, on the 24th of August 1313. It was generally believed at the time that he had been poisoned by a Dominican monk, but this is not proved by satisfactory evidence.
See Dbnniges, Acta Henrici VII. (Berlin, 1840-41); and Ge-schichte des Deutschen Kaiserreichs im Uteri Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1841); Thomas, Zur Konigswahl des Grafen Heinrich von Luxem-burg im Jahre 1308 (Strasburg, 1875); Pohlmann, Der Romerzug Kaiser Heinrichs VII. (Nuremberg, 1875).

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