1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Henry "The Proud"

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HENRY (c. 1108–1139), surnamed the “Proud,” duke of Saxony and Bavaria, second son of Henry the Black, duke of Bavaria, and Wulfhild, daughter of Magnus Billung, duke of Saxony, was a member of the Welf family. His father and mother both died in 1126, and as his elder brother Conrad had entered the church, Henry became duke of Bavaria and shared the family possessions in Saxony, Bavaria and Swabia with his younger brother, Welf. At Whitsuntide 1127 he was married to Gertrude, the only child of the German king, Lothair the Saxon, and at once took part in the warfare between the king and the Hohenstaufen brothers, Frederick II., duke of Swabia, and Conrad, afterwards the German king Conrad III. While engaged in this struggle Henry was also occupied in suppressing a rising in Bavaria, led by Frederick, count of Bogen, during which both duke and count sought to establish their own candidates in the bishopric of Regensburg. After a war of devastation, Frederick submitted in 1133, and two years later the Hohenstaufen brothers made their peace with Lothair. In 1136 Henry accompanied his father-in-law to Italy, and taking command of one division of the German army marched into southern Italy, devastating the land as he went. It was probably about this time that he was invested with the margraviate of Tuscany and the lands of Matilda, the late margravine. Having distinguished himself by his military genius during this campaign Henry left Italy with the German troops, and was appointed by the emperor as his successor in the dukedom of Saxony. When Lothair died in December 1137 Henry’s wealth and position made him a formidable candidate for the German throne; but the same qualities which earned for him the surname of “Proud,” aroused the jealousy of the princes, and so prevented his election. The new king, Conrad III., demanded the imperial insignia which were in Henry’s possession, and the duke in return asked for his investiture with the Saxon duchy. But Conrad, who feared his power, refused to assent to this on the pretext that it was unlawful for two duchies to be in one hand. Attempts at a settlement failed, and in July 1138 the duke was placed under the ban, and Saxony was given to Albert the Bear, afterwards margrave of Brandenburg. War broke out in Saxony and Bavaria, but was cut short by Henry’s sudden death at Quedlinburg on the 20th of October 1139. He was buried at Königslutter. Henry was a man of great ability, and his early death alone prevented him from playing an important part in German history. Conrad the Priest, the author of the Rolandslied, was in Henry’s service, and probably wrote this poem at the request of the duchess, Gertrude.

See S. Riezler, Geschichte Bayerns, Band i. (Gotha, 1878); W. Bernhardi, Lothar von Supplinburg (Leipzig, 1879); W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit, Band iv. (Brunswick, 1877).