1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Adalbert (archbishop)

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134391911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 1 — Adalbert (archbishop)

ADALBERT, or Adelbert (c. 1000–1072), German archbishop, the most famous ecclesiastic of the 11th century, was the son of Frederick, count of Goseck, a member of a noble Saxon family. He was educated for the church, and began his clerical career at Halberstadt, where he attained to the dignity of provost. Having attracted the notice of the German king, Henry III., Adalbert probably served as chancellor of the kingdom of Italy, and in 1045 was appointed archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, his province including the Scandinavian countries, as well as a larger part of North Germany. In 1046 he accompanied Henry to Rome, where he is said to have refused the papal chair; and in 1052 he was made legate by Pope Leo IX., and given the right to nominate bishops in his province. He sought to increase the influence of his archbishopric, sent missionaries to Finland, Greenland and the Orkney Islands, and aimed at making Bremen a patriarchal see for northern Europe, with twelve suffragan bishoprics. He consolidated and increased the estates of the church, exercised the powers of a count, denounced simony and initiated financial reforms. The presence of this powerful and active personality, who was moreover a close friend of the emperor, was greatly resented by the Saxon duke, Bernard II., who regarded him as a spy sent by Henry into Saxony. Adalbert, who wished to free his lands entirely from the authority of the duke, aroused further hostility by an attack on the privileges of the great abbeys, and after the emperor’s death in 1056 his lands were ravaged by Bernard. He took a leading part in the government of Germany during the minority of King Henry IV., and was styled patronus of the young king, over whom he appears to have exercised considerable influence. Having accompanied Henry on a campaign into Hungary in 1063, he received large gifts of crown estates, and obtained the office of count palatine in Saxony. His power aroused so much opposition that in 1066 the king was compelled to assent to his removal from court. In 1069 he was recalled by Henry, when he made a further attempt to establish a northern patriarchate, which failed owing to the hostility of the papacy and the condition of affairs in the Scandinavian kingdoms. He died at Goslar on the 16th or 17th of March 1072, and was buried in the cathedral which he had built at Bremen. Adalbert was a man of proud and haughty bearing, with large ideas and a strong, energetic character. He made Bremen a city of importance, and it was called by his biographer, Adam of Bremen, the New Rome.

See Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammenburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, edited by J. M. Lappenberg, in the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Scriptores. Band vii. (Hanover and Berlin, 1826–1892); C. Grünhagen, Adalbert Erzbischof von Hamburg und die Idee eines Nordischen Patriarchats (Leipzig, 1854).