Emperor Henry IV

Emperor Henry IVProfile

German king and Holy Roman Emperor. He was the son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry III amd Empress Agness, and was educated under the influence of Archbishops Saint Anno of Cologne and Adalbert of Bremen, the latter the de facto ruler during his minority. King of Germany in 1056 at age six; his mother reigned as empress until he came of age. Father of Conrad, Emperor Henry V, and Agnes of Franconia, who married emperor Frederick I. Married to Bertha, countess of Maurine in 1066. Henry assumed control in 1070, when the papacy had emancipated itself from the imperial power. He determined to subdue both the temporal and spiritual princes. He sparked decades of conflict in 1075 by insisting on the right of lay investiture. Bavaria and Saxony were soon crushed, but he was confronted with Hildebrand, who in 1073 became Pope Saint Gregory VII, the great ecclesiastical statesman, who determined that bishops should be dependents of the papacy, not of the empire. A synod at Worms pronounced Gregory deposed 1076, whereupon the pope excommunicated Henry on 14 February. When the German nobles decided to elect another emperor, Henry fled to Italy where he penitently craved forgiveness from Gregory at Canossa; legend says that he walked barefoot to Rome. After his return to Germany a revolution broke out, but his rival, Rudolf of Swabia, was defeated and slain in 1080. His wife Bertha died in 1086. Married from 1089 to 1093 to Eupraxia of Kiev, daughter of the Prince of Kiev. Having been again excommunicated, Henry retorted by setting up the simoniac Guibert of Ravenna as antipope Clement III. Gregory‘s second successor, Pope Blessed Urban II, continued the struggle. In 1098 the emperor had his son Henry elected king of Germany, but in 1104 the latter revolted and compelled his father to abdicate.



MLA Citation

  • “Emperor Henry IV“. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 August 2018. Web. 18 October 2021. <>