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 Teutons (knights of thier Age)

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The Great LEO

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PostSubject: Teutons (knights of thier Age)   Teutons (knights of thier Age) EmptyWed Apr 14, 2010 4:14 am

[font:297f=&quot]The origin of Germany traces back to the
crowning of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor in 800. Upon his death the empire
was split into three parts that gradually coalesced into two: the western
Frankish kingdom that became France and the eastern kingdom that became
Germany. The title of Holy Roman Emperor remained in Charlemagne's family until
the tenth century when they died out. In 919 Henry, Duke of Saxony, was elected
king of Germany by his fellow dukes. His son Otto became emperor in 962.[/font]





[font:297f=&quot]The Holy Roman Empire that Otto I
controlled extended over the German plain north to the Baltic, eastward into
parts of modern Poland, and southward through modern Switzerland, modern
Austria, and northern Italy. From the outset, the emperors had a difficult
problem keeping control of two disparate regions-Germany and Italy-that were
separated by the Alps.[/font]





[font:297f=&quot]The Holy Roman Empire was successful at
first because it benefited the principal members, Germany and Italy. The
Germans were not far removed from the barbarian condition. They had been
conquered by Charlemagne only a century earlier. They benefited greatly from
Italian culture, technology, and trade. The Italians welcomed the relative
peace and stability the empire ensured. Italy had been invaded time and again for
the previous 500 years. The protection of the empire defended the papacy and
allowed the city-states of Italy to begin their growth.[/font]





[font:297f=&quot]The imperial armies were manned partially
by tenants of church lands who owed service to the emperor. A second important
contingent were the ministriales, a corps of serfs who received the best
training and equipment as knights but who were not free men. These armies were
used to put down revolts or interference by local nobles and peasants or to
defend against raids by Vikings from the north and Magyars from the east.[/font]





[font:297f=&quot]Because Germany remained a collection of
independent principalities in competition, German warriors became very skilled.
The most renowned German soldiers were the Teutonic Knights, a religious order
of warriors inspired by the Crusades. The Teutonic Knights spread Christianity
into the Baltic region by conquest but were eventually halted by Alexander
Nevsky at the battle on frozen Lake Peipus.[/font]





[font:297f=&quot]A confrontation between the emperors and
the church over investiture of bishops weakened the emperors in both Germany
and Italy. During periods of temporary excommunication of the emperor and
outright war against Rome, imperial authority lapsed. The local German princes
solidified their holdings or fought off the Vikings with no interference or
help from the emperor. In Italy, the rising city-states combined to form the
Lombard League and refused to recognize the emperor.[/font]





[font:297f=&quot]Political power in both Germany and Italy
shifted from the emperor to the local princes and cities. The ministriales
rebelled, taking control of the cities and castles they garrisoned and
declaring themselves free. During desperate attempts to regain Italy, more
concessions were given to the local princes in Germany. By the middle of the
thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Empire existed in name only. The throne
remained empty for 20 years. The German princes cared only about their own
holdings. The Italian city-states did not want a German ruler and were strong
enough to defend themselves.[/font]





[font:297f=&quot]Future emperors in the Middle Ages were
elected by the German princes but they ruled in name only, controlling little
more than their own family estates. Germany remained a minor power in Europe
for centuries to come.[/font]
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