Frederick Barbarossa Is Elected King of Germany (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Frederick Barbarossa is elected king of Germany and his reign firmly establishes the ideal of a united German nation as opposed to a collection of small independent political entities.
Summary of Event
By the time of Conrad III’s coronation as king of Germany in 1138, the king-emperor’s power and the stability of the realm had greatly eroded. The powers of a king-emperor, charged by God with the rule of Christendom and supreme lord of both the laity and clergy, had greatly diminished. The pope had taken the power of investing bishops from the emperor so the prince-bishops no longer were strictly subject to the king’s control. In addition, the pope had become responsible for crowning the emperor, subordinating the emperor to the papacy. Also, the rise of strong feudal nobles had further circumscribed the king’s powers so that the emperor was dominated by the powerful ducal families. As a consequence, Conrad III’s election as king was strongly contested, and he never fully gained control of the kingdom. He also never was crowned emperor.
Conrad III died February 15, 1152, and designated Frederick II Hohenstaufen, duke of Swabia, as his successor. Frederick was elected king of Germany as Frederick I in 1152. The princes were almost unanimous in selecting Frederick, and the meeting apparently had been well planned to ensure a peaceful succession. According to one account, Conrad III...
(The entire section is 1464 words.)
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