HENRY III

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HENRY III, son of the emperor Conrad II, and descended from the Salian Franks, was born in 1017, and succeeded his father in the imperial dignity, 1039. He had already been chosen king in 1027. Nature had given him the talents, and education the character, suitable for an able ruler. The church was compelled to acknowledge its dependence on him. Upon his first journey over the Alps, in 1046, he deposed three popes, put upon the vacant chair a new one, Clement II, and established his right to interfere in the choice of the Roman bishop so firmly, that as long as he lived the papal chair was filled in submission to his will. The remainder of the clergy were also under his strict scrutiny. In all parts of his German, Italian and Burgundian territories, no spiritual dignitary dared to bestow any important office, or to appropriate the property of the church, without consulting him. The temporal lords he held not merely in dependence, but in actual subjection. The duchies and counties he filled or left vacant at his pleasure, and the whole empire was at length changed into a monarchy dependent upon the king alone. Henry now reigned despotically, but displayed, in every thing which he undertook, a steady and persevering spirit. All classes were at length dissatisfied with him; however, the priests and clergy, on account of his great show of piety, gave him their approbation, and the surname of the pious. Henry died in 1056, at Bothfeld, after he had, three years before, caused his son to be chosen his successor.