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The Salian Century: Main Currents in an Age of Transition (The Middle Ages Series) [Hardcover]

Stefan Weinfurter , Barbara M. Bowlus
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

3 Sep 1999 The Middle Ages Series
Historical scholarship often has overlooked the sheer energy that the Salian rulers devoted to shaping and solidifying their kingship. Indeed, changes in the German realm during the Salian era, 1024-1125, affected German history for centuries to come. This dynasty began relying on a new class of royal officials to consolidate its power, gained and lost dominance over the papacy, and stubbornly insisted on its imperial prerogatives even as it was clashing with changing social and spiritual values. In his interpretative study, the German historian Stefan Weinfurter takes a fresh look at the lives and ambitions of the Salian emperors and closely examines their interaction with the princes, bishops, and popes held influence over eleventh-century Germany. Drawing richly upon primary sources and modern political and socioeconomic analysis, Weinfurter addresses such topics as Henry III's intervention in Rome in 1046 and the Saxon uprising of 1073. He discusses the significance of the building of Speyer cathedral, at one time the largest church in Europe, as a representation of regal power.And he persuasively argues against the prevailing view that the confrontation between Henry IV and Pope Gregory, known as the Investiture Conflict, played the defining role in the decline of the Salian dynasty. Generously illustrated with maps and figures, The Salian Century provides a splendidly accessible overview of the fundamental transformations that occurred in the German kingdom and German society in the course of the eleventh century.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (3 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812235088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812235081
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 16.2 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,885,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"An important interpretation of a major epoch in German history."--John Freed, Illinois State University "The Salian Century offers the best current interpretation of the German monarchy during the critical period of its development (1024-1125)."--John Van Engen, University of Notre Dame "Learned and highly original."--Choice

About the Author

Stefan Weinfurter is Professor of History at the University of Munich. His is the author of numerous works, including Salzburger Bistumsreform und Bischofspolitik im 12. Jahrhundert, and the three-volume edition of collected scholarly articles, Die Salier und das Reich.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, very readable 17 Nov 2011
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The Salian Holy Roman Emperors and Kings of Germany - Conrad II (the Elder), Henry III, Henry IV and Henry V ruled Germany from 1024 to 1125. An important century in the development not only of Germany, but of medieval Europe. Today, probably the thing most likely to be known about these kings would be the Investiture Conflict Henry IV had with Pope Gregory VII; some people may realise that Henry V was married to Matilda, only daughter of King Henry I of England (and sometime Queen of England in the Civil war with Stephen) Matilda married as her second husband Geoffrey Count of Anjou and was mother to King Henry II of England who married Eleanor of Aquitaine and fathered not only Richard the Lionheart but King John, among others. It seems to be a small world in the context of medieval genealogies.
Henry V rebelled against his father prior to Henry IV's death; Henry V died leaving no legitimate heirs; marking the end of the Salian dynasty and the transfer of power to other dynasties.

Germany medieval history always seems fairly complicated to me; and it takes some doing to work out who is who, what they were doing, and why. This book is a great, fairly short (some 200 pages) analysis of the Salian dynasty at the peak of their power. There is an excellent genealogical table. This book is, as it says in the foreword, about "the internal political dynamics of the German realm during the eleventh century". Highly recommended; certainly added to my understanding of the times in the history of the Holy Roman Empire and the German kingdoms.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fundamental synthesis of medieval German history 8 Jun 2000
By Steven D. Fletcher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Salian 's century of rule (1024-1125) witnessed events of paramount importance for the history of medieval Germany. Weinfurter's account of these developments, primarily political and institutional, is always enlightening and occasionally brilliant, particularly in the use of art and architecture to supplement the literary evidence, but not always convincing. Two parallel, competing themes can be traced: the growth of royal power and prestige under the Salian kings on the one hand, opposed by the growing importance and self-assertiveness of the German nobility on the other. The growth of royal power under the Salians is best seen in Weinfurter's account of the reign of Conrad II, the first Salian king. The author demonstrates that the Salian's territorially based lordship and dynastic self-consciousness, combined with the newly evolving concept of transpersonal kingship, aided the new royal family's consolidation of power. Less certain, however, is whether these developments are the novel departure that the author contends they are. Indeed, the evidence presented also supports the argument that Conrad ruled in a manner entirely in keeping with that of his predecessor, albeit one that was more systematic and intensive -precisely what one would expect of a newly established royal family in need of legitimization. The Salian's authority peaked during the reign of Conrad's son, Henry III, only to be followed by a reversal of fortune during the reigns of his grandson and great-grandson, Henry IV and Henry V. This decline of royal authority in the face of the growing confidence and self-assertiveness of the secular and ecclesiastical nobility is the book's other central theme. Although Weinfurter never argues it explicitly, one cannot help but to be struck by the notion that the Salians, so successful in imposing their ideas of dynastic, territorially based, institutionalized lordship upon the German nobility, had those ideas used against them in the noble reaction that followed. This in turn resulted in the rise of the territorial princes, political and juridical decentralization, and the eclipsing of royal power. The very things that made the Salians so successful proved their undoing. The translation of this substantial work is a welcome addition to the literature on this crucial period in German history.
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