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aod Frederick of Austria.
had added to the great privileges of the princes and had repressed | Lastly, the cities which had stood behind the Empire in the most the energies of the towns.
difficult crises of its contest with Rome were not likely to desert After Henry's death the electors, again fearing lest the German it now. crown should become hereditary, refused to choose the late Thus encouraged, or rather driven forward, by the national Louis the king's young son, John of Bohemia, as their ruler, sentiment Louis continued to assert the independence of the Bavarian although the candidature of this prince was supported crown against the pope. In 1327 he marched into
by the powerful archbishops Baldwin of Trier and Italy, where he had powerful and numerous friends
one candidate, and after a long delay there was a in January 1328 he was crowned emperor at Rome, and after double election for the throne. This took place in October 1314, this event he declared Pope John deposed and raised Peter of when the larger party chose Louis IV., duke of Upper Bavaria, Corvara to the papal chair as Nicholas V. The concluding while the smaller party gave their votes to Frederick the Fair, stages of this expedition were not favourable to the new emperor, duke of Austria, a son of King Albert I. Although related to each but his humiliation was only slight and it did not appreciably other, Louis and Frederick had come to blows before this event; affect the conditions of the controversy. they represented two rival houses, those of Wittelsbach and For a short time after the emperor's return to Germany there Habsburg, and the election only served to feed the flame of their was peace. But this was soon broken by a dispute over the antagonism. A second time war broke out between them. succession to the duchy of Carinthia and the county
Louis ja The struggle, marked by numerous raids, sieges and skirmishes, of Tirol, then ruled by Henry V., who was without
Germany. lasted for nine years, being practically ended by Frederick's sons, and whose daughter, Margaret Maultasch, was decisive defeat at Mühldorf in September 1322. The vanquished married to John Henry, margrave of Moravia, a son of John of king remained in captivity until 1325, when, during the contest Bohemia. Upon these lands the three great families in Germany, between the Empire and the Papacy, Louis came to terms with those of Wittelsbach, of Habsburg and of Luxemburg, were him. Frederick acknowledged his rival, and later the suggestion already casting covetous eyes; Carinthia, moreover, was was put forward that they should rule Germany jointly, but this claimed by the Habsburgs in virtue of an arrangement made in arrangement aroused much opposition and it came to nothing. 1286. Thus a struggle between the Luxemburgs and the HabsFrederick returned into an honourable captivity and died in burgs appeared certain, and Louis, anxious to secure for his January 1330.
house a share of the spoil, hesitated for a time between these The success of Louis in his war with Frederick was to some rivals. In 1335 Duke Henry died and the emperor adjudged extent due to the imperial cities, which supported him from his lands to the Habsburgs; wars broke out, and the result was Causes
the first. Not only did they pay high taxes, but they that John Henry secured Tirol while the other contending of the made splendid voluntary contributions, thus enabling family added Carinthia to its Austrian possessions. Success of the sovereign of their choice to continue the fight. During this time Louis had been negotiating continually
But Louis was perhaps still more indebted for his with Pope John and with his successor Benedict XII. to regain victory to the memorable conflict between the Swiss and the the favour of the church, and so to secure a free hand Habsburgs, the defeat of Leopold of Austria at Morgarten in for his designs in Germany. But the pope was not
and the 1315 striking a heavy blow at his position. Thus this struggle equally complaisant, and in 1337 the emperor allied
clectors. for freedom, although belonging properly to the history of himself with Edward III. of England against Philip VI. Switzerland, exercised much influence on the course of German of France, whom he regarded as primarily responsible for the history.
unyielding attitude of the Papacy. This move was very popular Had Louis been wise and prudent, it would have been fairly in Germany, and the papal party received a further rebufi in easy for him to attain a strong position after his victory at July 1338 when the electors met at Rense and declared that in
Mühldorf. But he threw away his advantages. He no possible manner could they allow any control over, or Louis . offended John of Bohemia, who had aided him at limitation of, their electoral rights. As a sequel to this declara
Mühldorf, thus converting a useful friend into a for- tion the diet, meeting at Frankfort a month later, asserted that
midable foe, and his other actions were hardly more the imperial power proceeded from God alone and that the judicious. John was probably alarmed at the increase in the individual chosen by a majority of the electors to occupy this power of the German king, and about the same time a similar | high station needed no confirmation from the pope, or from fear had begun to possess Pope John XXII. and Charles IV. any one else, to make his election valid. Contrary opinions of France. About 1323 Louis had secured the mark of Branden- they denounced as pestifera dogmala. burg for his son Louis, and he was eager to aggrandize his family But in spite of this support Louis threw away his advantages; in other directions. It was just at the time when he had estranged he abandoned Edward III. in 1341, although this step did not John of Bohemia that the pope made his decisive move. Assert. win for him, as he desired, the goodwill of the pope, ing that the German crown could only be worn by one who and he was soon involved in a more serious struggle had received the papal approbation he called upon Louis to lay with John of Bohemia and the Luxemburgs. With
burgs. it down; the answer was an indignant refusal, and in 1324 the his Bohemian followers John Henry had made himself king was declared deposed and excommunicate. Thus the ancient very unpopular in Tirol, where his wife soon counted herself struggle between the Papacy and the Empire was renewed, a among his enemies, and in 1341 he was driven from the land, struggle in which the pen, wielded by Marsiglio of Padua, William while Margaret announced her intention of repudiating him of Occam, John of Jandun and others, played an important part, and marrying the emperor's son Louis, margrave of Brandenburg. and in which the new ideas in religion and politics worked The emperor himself entered heartily into this scheme for steadily against the arrogant papal claim. The pope and his increasing the power of his family; he declared the marriage French ally, Charles IV., whom it was proposed to seat upon the with John Henry void, and bestowed upon his son and his bride German throne, had completely misread the signs of the times, Margaret not only Tirol, but also Carinthia, now in the hands of and their schemes met with very little favour in Germany. thc Habsburgs. Nothing more was needed to unite together No longer had the princes as in former years any reason to dread all the emperor's foes, including Pope Clement VI., who, like his the designs of an ambitious king; the destinies of the kingdom predecessors, had rejected the advances of Louis; but in 1345, were in their own hands and they would not permit them to be before the gathering storm broke, the emperor took possession controlled by an alien power. Such was the attitude of most of of the counties of Holland, Zealand and Friesland, which had the temporal princes, and many spiritual princes took the same been left without a ruler by the death of his brother-in-law, view. As for the electors, they had the strongest possible motive Count William IV. By this time John of Bohemia and his for resisting the papal claim, because if this were once admitted allies had completed their plans. In July 1346 five of the electors they would quickly lose their growing importance in the state. met, and, having declared Louis deposed, they raised John's
Louis and the Luxem. The
Charles IV. becomes
son Charles, margrave of Moravia, to the German throne. For and their subjects were allowed to appeal to the royal or the a time no serious steps were taken against Louis, but after King imperial tribunals only in case they could not obtain justice elseJohn had met his death at Crécy Charles, who succeeded him as where. A blow was struck at the cities, which were forbidden king of Bohemia, began to make vigorous preparations for war, to form leagues or to receive Pfahlbürger. and only the sudden death of the emperor (October 1347) saved If the Golden Bull be excepted, the true interest of this reign Germany from civil strife.
is in the movements beyond the range of the emperor's influence. Notwithstanding the defects of Louis's personal character his It is significant that at this time the Femgerichte, or reign is one of the most important in German history. The Fehmic Courts (9.v.), vastly extended the sphere of
Courts, claim of the Papacy to political supremacy received their activities, and that in the absence of a strong domestic in his time its death-blow, and the popes themselves central authority they were respected as a check upon the lawlesspolicy of
sowed the seeds of the alienation from Rome which of the princes. The cities, notwithstan ng every kind of Louis.
was effected at the Reformation. With regard to the discouragement, formed new associations for mutual defence public peace Louis persistently followed the lines laid down or strengthened those which already existed. The Hanseatic by Albert I. He encouraged the princes to form alliances for League carried on war with Valdemar V., king of Denmark, and its maintenance, and at the time of his death such alliances his ally, the king of Norway, seventy-seven towns declaring existed in all parts of the country. To the cities he usually war on these monarchs in 1367, and emerged victorious from showed himself a faithful friend. In many of them there had the struggle, while its commerce extended to nearly all parts been for more than a century a struggle between the old patrician of the known world. In 1376 some Swabian towns formed families and the democratic gilds. Louis could not always a league which, in spite of the imperial prohibition, soon became follow his own impulses, but whenever he could he associated powerful in south-west Germany and defeated the forces of the himself with the latter party. Thus in his day the government count of Württemberg at Reutlingen in May 1377. The emperor, of the imperial cities became more democratic and industry meanwhile, was occupied in numerous intrigues to strengthen and trade flourished as they had never before done. The steady his personal position and to increase the power of his house. dislike of the princes was the best proof of the importance of In these he was very fortunate, managing far more than his the cities. They contained elements capable of enormous predecessors to avoid conflicts with the Papacy and the princes. development; and had a great king arisen he might even yet, The result was that when he died in November 1378 he wore the by their means, have secured for Germany a truly national life. crowns of the Empire, of Germany, of Bohemia, of Lombardy
In January 1349 the friends of the late emperor elected Günther, and of Burgundy; he had added Lower Lusatia and parts of count of Schwarzburg, as their king, but before this occurrence Silesia to Bohemia; he had secured the mark of Brandenburg
Charles of Moravia, by a liberal use of gifts and promises, for his son Wenceslaus in 1373; and he had bought part of the
himself abandoned the struggle, dying shortly after- crowned German king in July 1376, was recognized by the wards, and about the same time his victorious rival was recog- princes as their ruler, but the new sovereign was nized by Louis of Brandenburg, the head of the Wittelsbach careless and indolent and in a few years he left Germany family. As king of Bohemia Charles was an enlightened and to look after itself. During his reign the struggle capable ruler, but he was indifferent towards Germany, although between the princes and the cities reached its climax. Following this country never stood in more urgent need of a strong and the example set by the electors at Rense both parties formed beneficent sovereign. In the early years of the reign the people, associations for protection, prominent among these being the especially in the south and west, attacked and plundered the Swabian League on the one side and the League of the Lion Jews; and the consequent disorder was greatly increased by the (Löwenbund) on the other. The result was that the central ravages of the Black Death and by the practices and preaching authority was almost entirely disregarded. Wenceslaus favoured of the Flagellants, both events serving to spur the maddened first one of the antagonists and then the other, but although populace to renewed outrages on the Jews. In dealing with this he showed some desire to put an end to the increasing amount outburst of fanaticism many of the princes, both spiritual and of disorder he was unable, or unwilling, to take a strong and secular, displayed vigour and humanity, but Charles saw only definite line of action. The cities entered upon the approachin the sufferings of this people an excuse for robbing them of their ing contest at a considerable disadvantage. Often they were wealth.
separated one from the other by large stretches of territory Charles's most famous achievement was the issue of the under the rule of a hostile prince and their trade was peculiarly Golden Bull (9.0.). Although the principle of election had liable to attack by an adventurous body of knights. The
long been admitted and practised with regard to the citizens, who were called upon to fight their battles, were usually German crown, yet it was surrounded by many practical unable to contend successfully with men whose whole lives difficulties. For instance, if the territory belonging had been passed in warfare; the isolation of the cities was not
to an electoral family were divided, as was often the favourable to the creation or mobilization of an active and case, it had never been settled whether all the ruling princes homogencous force; and, moreover, at this time many of them were to vote, or, if one only were entitled to this privilege, by were disturbed by internal troubles. However, they minimized what principle the choice was to be made. Over these and other this handicap by joining league to league; in 1381 the Swabian similar points many disputes had arisen, and, having been and the Rhenish cities formed an alliance for three years, while crowned emperor at Rome in April 1355, Charles decided to set the Swabian League obtained promises of help from the Swiss. these doubts at rest. The Golden Bull, promulgated in January The Swiss opened the fight. Attacked by the Habsburgs 1356 and again after some tedious negotiations in December they descated and killed Duke Leopold of Austria at Sempach of the same year, fixed the number of electors at seven, Saxe- in July 1386 and gained another victory at Näfels two Wittenberg and not Saxe-Lauenburg obtaining the Saxon vote, years later; but their allies, the Swabian cities, General and the vote of the Wittelsbachs being given to the ruler of the were not equally prompt or cqually fortunate. The Germany. Rhenish Palatinate and not to the duke of Bavaria. The votes decisive year was 1388, when the strife became general of a majority of the electors were held to make an election valid. all over south-west Germany. 'In August 1388 the princes, In order that there might be no possibility of dispute between under Count Eberhard of Württemberg, completely defeated the princes of a single house, the countries ruled by the four their foes at Döffingen, while in the following November Rupert secular clectors-Bohemia, the Rhenish Palatinate, Saxony II., elector palatine of the Rhine, was equally successful in and Brandenburg-were declared to be indivisible and to be his attack on the forces of the Rhenish cities near Worms. heritable only by the accepted rules of primogeniture. The So called from the badge worn by the knights (Löwenritter) electors were granted full sovereign rights over their lands, I who composed it.
The Golden Bull.
Exhaustion soon compelled the combatants to come to terms, and as an unwelcome guest upon princes and cities, had, however, greatly to the disadvantage of the cities peace was made in 1389. one good result. In 1415 he granted, or rather sold, the mark The main result of this struggle was everywhere to strengthen of Brandenburg to his friend Frederick of Hohenthe power of the princes and to incite them to fresh acts of zollern, burgrave of Nuremberg, this land thus passing burg and aggression. During the same time the Hanse towns were passing into the hands of the family under whom it was des- the Hoheathrough a period of difficulty. They were disturbed by democratic tined to develop into the kingdom of Prussia. During
zolleras. movements in many of the cities and they were threatened by this reign the princes, especially the electors, continued their the changing politics of the three northern kingdoms, Norway, endeavours to gain a greater share in the government of Germany, Sweden and Denmark, and by their union in 1397; their trading and to some extent they succeeded. Sigismund, on his part, successes had raised up powerful enemies and had embroiled tried to enforce peace upon the country by forming leagues of them with England and with Flanders, and the Teutonic the cities, but to no purpose; in fact all his plans for reform and neighbouring princes were not slow to take advantage of came to nothing. their other difficulties.
Sigismund, who died in December 1437, was succeeded on Towards the close of the century the discontent felt at the the German throne and also in Hungary and Bohemia by his incompetent and absent German king took a decided form. son-in-law Albert of Austria, and from this time,
Albert II. The movement was led by the four Rhenish electors, although remaining in theory elective, the German Rupert
and after some preliminary proceedings these princes crown was always conferred upon a member of the house klag.
met in August 1400; having declared Wenceslaus of Habsburg until the extinction of the male line of this
dethroned they chose one of their number, the elector family in 1740. The reign of Albert II. was too short to enable palatine Rupert III., in his stead, and the deposed monarch him to do more than indicate his good intentions; he acted in accepted the sentence almost without demur. Rupert was an general with the electors in observing a neutral attitude with excellent elector, and under more favourable circumstances would regard to the dispute between the council of Basel and Pope have made a good king, but so serious were the jealousies and Eugenius IV., and he put forward. a scheme to improve the divisions in the kingdom that he found little scope for his energies administration of justice. He died in October 1439, and was outside the Palatinate. In spite of the peace of 1389 the cities succeeded by his kinsman Frederick, duke of Styria, who had again begun to form leagues for peace; but, having secured became German king as Frederick IV. and, after his coronation a certain amount of recognition in the south and west of Germany, at Rome in 1452, emperor as Frederick III. the new king turned aside from the pressing problems of govern- The first concern of the new king was with the papal schism. ment and in 1401 made a futile attempt to reach Rome, an The council of Basel was still sitting, and had elected an anti-pope, enterprise which covered him with ridicule. After his return to Felix V., in opposition to Eugenius IV., while the Frederick Germany he had to face the hostility of many of the princes, electors, adhering to their neutral attitude, sought III. and and this contest, together with vain attempts to restore order, to bring Frederick into line with them on this question.
Papacy. occupied him until his death in May 1410.
Some years were occupied in negotiations, but the After's Rupert's death two cousins, Jobst, margrave of king soon showed himself anxious to come toterms with Eugenius, Moravia, and Sigismund, king of Hungary, were in the autumn and about 1446 the electors ceased to act together. At length
of 1410 both chosen to fill the vacant throne by oppos- peace was made. The consent of several of the electors having Sigismund ing parties; and the position was further complicated been purchased by concessions, Frederick signed with Pope Wag.
by the fact that the deposed king, Wenceslaus, was Nicholas V., the successor of Eugenius, in February 1448 the
still alive. Jobst, however, died in January 1411, concordat of Vienna, an arrangement which bound the German and in the succeeding July Sigismund, having come to terms Church afresh to Rome and perpetuated the very evils from with Wenceslaus, was again elected king and was generally which earnest churchmen had been seeking deliverance. Thus recognized. “The commanding questions of this reign were Germany lost the opportunity of reforming the Church from ecclesiastical. It was the age of the great schism, three popes within, and the upheaval of the 16th century was rendered claiming the allegiance of Christendom, and of the councils of inevitable. Constance and of Basel; in all ranks of the Church there was an Frederick's reign is one of great importance in the history of urgent cry for reform. Unfortunately the council of Constance, Austria and of the house of Habsburg, but under him the fortunes which met mainly through the efforts of Sigismund in 1414, of Germany sank to the lowest possible point. Without marred its labours by the judicial murders of John Huss and any interference from the central authority wars were
Germany of Jerome of Prague. This act greatly incensed the Bohemians, waged in every part of the country, and disputes of Frederick. who broke into revolt in 1419, and a new and fiercer outburst every kind were referred to the decision of the sword. occurred in 1420 when Sigismund, who had succeeded his brother The old enmity between the cities and the princes blazed out Wenceslaus as king of Bohemia in the preceding August, an- afresh; grievances of every kind were brought forward and nounced his intention of crushing the Hussites. Led by their many struggles were the result. Perhaps the most famous of famous general, John Žižka, the Bohemians won several battles these was one between a confederation of Franconian and and spread havoc and terror through the neighbouring German Swabian cities under the leadership of Nuremberg on the one lands. During the progress of this revolt Germany was so side, and Albert Achilles, afterwards elector of Brandenburg, divided and her king was so poor that it was impossible to collect and a number of princes on the other. The war was carried on an army of sufficient strength to crush the malcontents. At with great barbarity for about four years (1449-1453), and the diet of Nuremberg in 1422 and at that of Frankfort in 1427 was in every respect a critical one. If the cities had gained the Sigismund endeavoured to raise men and money by means of day they might still have aimed at balancing the power of the contributions from the estates, but the plan failed owing to princes, but owing partly to their imperfect union, partly to mutual jealousies and especially to the resistance of the cities. the necessity of fighting with hired troops, they did not gain any He secured some help from Frederick of Brandenburg, from serious advantage. On the whole, indeed, in spite of temporary Albert of Austria, afterwards the German king Albert II., and successes, they decidedly lost ground, and on the conclusion from Frederick of Meissen, to whom he granted the electoral of peace there was no doubt that the balance of power in the state duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg; but it was only when the Hussites inclined to the princes. Frederick meanwhile was involved in were split into two factions, and when Žižka was dead, that wars with the Swiss, with his brother Albert and his Austrian Germany was in any way relieved from a crushing and intolerable subjects, and later with the Hungarians. He had no influence burden.
in Italy; in Burgundy he could neither stop Duke Philip the The continual poverty which hindered the successful prosecu. Good from adding Luxemburg to his possessions, nor check the tion of the war against the Hussites, and which at times placed towering ambition of Charles the Bold; while after the death of Sigismund in the undignified position of having to force himself Charles in 1477 he was equally unable to prevent the king of
France from seizing a large part of his lands. Torn by dissensions whither he was drawn owing to the invasion of that country by the Teutonic Order was unsuccessful in checking the encroach- Charles VIII. of France in 1494. But before he could take any ments of the Poles, and in 1466 the land which it had won in the steps to check the progress of Charles pecuniary neces- Releras north-east of Germany passed under the suzerainty of Poland, sities compelled him to meet the diet. At this time the in
Gersey. care being taken to root out all traces of German influence therein. German, or imperial, diet consisted of three colleges, Another loss took place in 1460, when Schleswig and Holstein one of the electors, another of the princes, both spiritual were united with Denmark. In Germany itself the king made and secular, and a third of representatives of the free cities, scarcely any pretence of exercising the supreme authority; who had, however, only just gained the right to sit beside the for nearly thirty years he never attended the imperial diet, and other two estates. The diet was an extremely clumsy instrument the suggestions which were made for his deposition failed only of government, and it was perhaps never more discredited or because the electors could not agree upon a successor. In his more impotent than when it met Maximilian at Worms in March later years he became more of a recluse than ever, and even 1495. But in spite of repeated rebuffs the party of reform was before February 1486, when his son Maximilian was chosen valorous and undaunted; its members knew that their case was German king, he had practically ceased to take any part in the overwhelmingly strong. Although disappointed in the hope business of the Empire, although he survived until August 1493. which they had nourished until about 1490 that Maximilian
During the reign of Frederick the electors and the greater himself would lead them, they had found a capable head in princes continued the process of consolidating and increasing Bertold, elector of Mainz. The king lost no time in acquainting
their power. Lands under their rule, which were the diet with his demands. He wished for men and money to The power
technically imperial fiefs, were divided and devised encounter the French in Italy and to resist the Turks. Bertold princes. by them at will like other forms of private property; retorted that redress of grievances must precede supply, and
they had nearly all the rights of a sovereign with Maximilian and the princes were soon discussing the proposals regard to levying tolls, coining money, administering justice put forward by the sagacious elector. His first suggestion that and granting privileges to towns; they were assisted in the work à council nominated by the estates should be set up with the of government by a privy council, while their courts with their power of vetoing the acts of the king was abandoned because numerous officials began to resemble that of the king or emperor. of the strenuous opposition of Maximilian; but Bertold was They did not, however, have everything their own way. During successful in getting the diet to proclaim an eternal Lordfriede, this century their power was limited by the formation of diets in that is, to forbid private war without any limitation of time, many of the principalities. These bodies were composed of the and it was agreed that the diet should meet annually to advise mediate prelates, the mediate nobles and representatives of the the king on matters of moment. The idea of a council, bowever, mediate cities. They were not summoned because the princes was not given up although it took a different form. An imperial desired their aid, but because arms could only be obtained from court of justice, the Reichskammergcricht, was established; the nobles and money from the cities, at least on an adequate this consisted of sixteen members nominated by the estates and scale. Once having been formed these local diets soon extended a president appointed by the king. Its duties were to judge their functions. They claimed the right of sanctioning taxation; between princes of the Empire and to act as the supreme court they made their voice heard about the expenditure of public of appeal in cases where humbler persons were concerned. money; they insisted, although perhaps not very effectually, Partly to provide for the expenses of this court, partly to furnish on justice being administered. Such institutions as these were Maximilian with the promised monetary aid, a tax called the clearly of the highest importance, and for two centuries they did common penny was instituted, this impost taking the form both something to atone for the lack of a genuine monarchy.
of a property tax and of a poll tax. Such in outline were the During this reign the conditions of warfare began to change. reforms effected by the important diet of Worms. The discovery of gunpowder made small bodies of men, The practical difficulties of the reformers, however, were
adequately armed, more than a match for great forces only just beginning. Although Maximilian took some interest Methods
equipped in medieval fashion. Hence the custom of in the collection of the common penny it was difficult, Diffin hiring mercenary troops was introduced, and a prince and from some classes impossible, to obtain payment culties and could never be certain, however numerous his vassals of this tax, and the king was persistently hostile to furtber
reformas might be, that the advantage would not rest with his opponent. the imperial court of justice, his hostility and the want This fact, added to the influence of the local diets, made even of money being indeed successful in preventing that institution the princes weary of war, and a universal and continuous demand for a time from doing any real service to Germany. In 1497 arose for some reform of the machinery of government. Partly he set up a new Aulic council or Hofral, the members of which at the instance of the emperor a great Swabian confederation were chosen by himself, and to this body he gave authority to was formed in 1488. This consisted of both princes and cities deal with all the business of the Empire. Thus he undermined and was intended to enforce the public peace in the south- the foundations of the Reichskommergericht and stole a march western parts of Germany. Its effects were excellent; but upon Bertold and his friends. A series of diets between 1495 obviously no partial remedy was sufficient. It was essential and 1499 produced only mutual recriminations, and then that there should be some great reform which would affect every Maximilian met with a serious rebuff. The Swiss refused to part of the kingdom, and for the present this was not to be secured. pay the common penny and to submit to the jurisdiction of the
Maximilian came to the throne in 1486 with exceptional advan- imperial court of justice. Consequently, in 1499, Maximilian tages. He was heir to the extensive Austrian lands, and as the sent such troops as he could collect against them, but his forces
widowed husband of Charles the Bold's daughter were beaten, and by the peace of Basel he was forced to concede Mary he administered the Netherlands. Although all the demands made by the Swiss, who became virtually
he soon gave up these provinces to his son Philip, the independent of the Empire. Heartened by this circumstance fact that they were in the possession of his family added to his Bertold and his followers returned to the attack when the diet influence, and this was further increased when Philip married met at Augsburg in 1500. The common penny as a means of Joanna, the heiress of the Spanish kingdoms. From Maximilian's taxation fell into the background, and in its place a scheme accession the Empire exercised in the affairs of Europe an was accepted which it was thought would provide the king with authority which had not belonged to it for centuries. The reason an army of about 30,000 men. But more important perhaps for this was not that the Empire was stronger, but that its was the adıninistrative council, or Reichsregiment, which was crown was worn by a succession of princes who were great established by the diet at this time. A revival of the idea put sovereigns in their own right.
forward by the elector of Mainz at Worms in 1495, this council Having in 1490 driven the Hungarians from Vienna and was to consist of twenty members appointed by the electors recovered his hereditary lands, and having ordered the affairs and other princes and by representatives of the cities, with a of the Netherlands, Maximilian turned his attention to Italy, president named by the king. Its work was practically that of
of war tane.
governing Germany, and it was the most considerable encroach-crown over the heads of the various states, and, now that war was ment which had yet been made on the power of the king. It carried on mainly by mercenary troops, the mediate nobles did is not surprising therefore that Maximilian hated the new body, not hold their lands on condition of military service. to the establishment of which he had only consented under The princes were sovereigns, not merely feudal lords; Decay of great pressure.
and by the institution of local diets in their territories relations. In 1500 the Reicksregiment met at Nuremberg and began an approach was made to modern conceptions of at once to treat for peace with France. Maximilian was not government. The age of war was far indeed from being Mart
slow to resent this interference; he refused to appoint over, but men were at least beginning to see that unnecessary
a president, and soon succeeded in making the meetings bloodshed is an evil, and that the true outlet for the mass of hampers of the council impossible. The relations between human energies is not conflict but industry. By the growth
the king and the princes were now very strained of the cities in social, if not in political, importance the products
Bertold called the electors together to decide upon a of labour were more and more widely diffused; and it was plan of campaign; Maximilian on his part tried to destroy easier than at any previous time for the nation to be moved the electoral union by winning over individual members. by common ideas and impulses. The discovery of America, The result was that when the elector of Mainz died in 1504 the invention of printing, the revival of learning and many the king's victory was complete. The Reichskammergericht and other causes had contributed to effect a radical change in the the Reichsregiment were for all practical purposes destroyed, point of view from which the world was regarded; and the and greater authority had been given to the Hofral. Hence- strongest of all medieval relations, that of the nation to the forward it was the king who put forward schemes of reform and Church, was about to pass through the fiery trial of the Reformathe diet which modified or rejected them. When the diet met tion. This vast movement, which began in the later years of at Cologne in 1505 Maximilian asked for an army and the Maximilian, definitely severed the medieval from the modern request was granted, the necessary funds being raised by the old world. plan of a levy on the estates. At Constance, two years later, The seeds of the Reformation were laid during the time of i he diet raised men and money in a similar fashion, and on this the great conflict between the Papacy and the Empire. The occasion the imperial court of justice was restored, with some arrogance and the ambition of the popes then stamped
The Reslight alteration in the method of appointing its members. After upon the minds of the people an impression that was formation. Maximilian had taken the novel step of assuming the title of never effaced. During the struggle of Louis IV. Roman emperor at Trent in 1508 the last of the reforming diets with the popes of his day the feeling revived with fresh intensity; met at Cologne in 1512. In 1500 Germany had been divided all classes, clerical as well as lay, looked upon resistance to papal into six circles (Kreise) or districts, for the purpose of sending pretensions as a necessity imposed by the national honour. representatives to the Reichsregiment. These circles were now At the same time the spiritual teaching of the mystics awakened increased in number to ten and an official (Hauplmann) was in many minds an aspiration which the Church, in its corrupt placed over each, his duties being to enforce the decisions of state, could not satisfy, and which was in any case unfavourable the Reichskammergericht. But it was some time before the circles to an external authority. The Hussite movement further came into working order; the only permanent reform of the weakened the spell of the Church. Still more powerful, because reign was the establishment of the imperial court of justice, touching other elements of human nature and affecting a more and even this was not entirely satisfactory, Maximilian's remain important class, was the influence of the Renaissance, which, ing diets loudly denouncing it for delay and incompetence. towards the end of the 15th century, passed from Italy to the The period marked by the attempted reform of Bertold of Mainz universities of Germany. The men of the new learning did not was that of the last struggle between the supporters of a united sever themselves from Christianity, but they became indifferent Germany and those who preferred a loose confederation of states. to it; its conceptions seemed to them dim and faded, while Victory remained with the latter party. Maximilian himself there was a constantly increasing charm in literature, in had done a great deal to promote the unity of his Austrian philosophy and in art. No kind of effort was made by the lands and, incidentally, to cut them off from the remainder Church to prepare for the storm. The spiritual princes, besides of the German kingdom, and other princes were following his displaying all the faults of the secular princes, had special defects example. This movement spelled danger to the small princi- of their own; and as simony was universally practised, the palities and to the free cities, but it gave a powerful impetus lives of multitudes of the inferior clergy were a public scandal, to the growth of Brandenburg, of Saxony, of Bavaria and of the while their services were cold and unimpressive. The moral Palatinate, and the future of the country seemed likely to sense was outraged by such a pope as Alexander VI.; and remain with the particularist and not with the national idea. neither the military ambition of Julius II. nor the refined
During the period of these constitutional struggles the king's paganism of Leo X. could revive the decaying faith in the chief energies were spent in warring against the French kings spirituality of their office. Pope Leo, by his incessant demands
Charles VIII. and Louis XII. in Italy, where he hoped for money and his unscrupulous methods of obtaining it, awakened to restore the claims, dormant, perhaps even extinct, bitter hostility in every class of the community.
of the German kings. In 1508 he helped to promote The popular feeling for the first time found expression when Italy.
the league of Cambrai, formed to despoil Venice, but Luther, on All Saints' day 1517, nailed to a church door in he soon returned to his former policy of waging war against Wittenberg the theses in which he contested the doctrine
Luther. France, and he continued to do this until peace was made in which lay at the root of the scandalous traffic in in1516. The princes of Germany showed themselves singularly dulgences carried on in the pope's name by Tetzel and his like. indifferent to this struggle, and their king's battles were largely This episode, derided at first at Rome as the act of an obscure fought with mercenary troops. Maximilian gained his most Augustinian friar intent on scoring a point in a scholastic disconspicuous success in his own kingdom in 1504, when he putation, was in reality an event of vast significance, for it interfered in a struggle over the succession to the duchy of brought to the front, as the exponent of the national sentiment, Bavaria-Landshut. He gained some additions of territory, one of the mightiest spirits whom Germany has produced. but his victory was more important because it gave him the Under the influence of Luther's strong personality the most prestige which enabled him to break down the opposition of active and progressive elements the nation were soon in more the princes and to get his own way with regard to his domestic or less open antagonism to the Papacy. policy.
When Maximilian died in January 1519 his throne was comIn many respects the reign of Maximilian must be regarded peted for by his grandson Charles, king of Spain, and by Francis I. as the end of the middle ages. The feudal relation between the of France, and after a long and costly contest the former was king and the princes and between the princes and their vassals chosen in the following June. By the time Charles reached had become purely nominal. No rcal control was exerted by the Germany and was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle (October 1520)
Maxt millaa's wars lo