Central European state which includes a large part of the territories indicated in the Middle Ages with the same name, derived from the ancient Germans. The Romanization of Germany stood in the Rhenish region, forming two provinces, Germany inferior to the North and Germany superior to the S; the latter also included lands E of the Rhine. The central and eastern territories of Germany were instead occupied by numerous Germanic populations, with an unstable political and territorial configuration, which from the century. 2 ° -3 ° began to move as a consequence of various factors, not least the ever stronger thrust of the nomadic tribes that behind them pressed from E towards Europe and the Mediterranean. 4th-5th the Germany romana was occupied by the Germanic tribes, which in 406 crossed the Rhine. The Franks, having become masters of Gaul, they turned towards the Germany and subdued first the Alamanni (496), settled in Franconia, and then the Thuringians (551). Throughout the century. 6th and part of the 7th the Franks dominated the Germany, also fighting the Slavic tribes settled in the eastern regions, before falling into a serious internal crisis and thus losing control of the territory. More or less in this period, in the century. 7th-8th, Christianity spread in Germany This very important change was accomplished thanks to the action of missionary monks from the North, Celts and Anglo-Saxons, including St. Boniface, to whom we owe the creation of the first dioceses in Germany, all under the control of the Frankish Church. In this way the influence of the Franks increased again, who with Charlemagne subdued the whole of Germany, inserting it into the new empire founded by the latter; the hardest resistance was offered by pagan Saxony (772-799). After half a century of life within the Carolingian empire, when in Verdun in 843 the empire itself was divided among the sons of Emperor Louis the Pious, Germany passed to Ludovico il Germanico under the nominal sovereignty of the emperor, his brother Lothair (840-855). In 887 the last Carolingian emperor, Charles III the Fat, who was also king of Germany was deposed and in this latter office he was succeeded by Arnolfo of Carinthia. The kingdom of Germany, now completely autonomous, was made up of five duchies (Saxony, Bavaria, Thuringia, Swabia, Franconia) governed by hereditary ducal lineages. The monarchy, on the other hand, was elective and controlled by the dukes. After Arnolfo’s death (899), Conrad of Franconia was elected king in 911, and was succeeded by Henry I of Saxony in 919. He conquered Lotharingia, taken from France, and E Brandenburg, taken from the Slavs Vendas; but throughout his reign he had to face the attacks of the Slavs and the Hungarians. His son Otto I (936-973) managed in 955 to defeat the Hungarians (victory over Lech) and to repel the Slavs, setting in motion the slow process of Germanization of the regions beyond the Elbe; in 951 he was also elected king of Italy. In 962 Otto was crowned emperor; from that moment and throughout the Middle Ages, the empire was constituted by the union of Italy with Germany. Less fortunate was the political action, also ambitious, of his successors: Otto II (973-983) was defeated both in southern Italy and in the Slavic lands, so that the Germans lost control of the territory between Elba and Oder (983); Otto III (983-1002) had dreamed of being a new Constantine and of carrying out an authentic renovatio imperii Romanorum, but his ambitious projects failed due to the opposition of both the Germans and the Romans. The election of Henry II (1002-1024) and then that of Conrad II (1024-1039) were the sign of the desire to fall back on problems of more immediate interest for Germany. A very high profile again characterized the political action of Henry III (1039-1056), supporter of the reform of the Church. During his reign, Poland, Bohemia and Hungary were subjected to the authority of the Germanic emperor. On his death (1056) the minor Henry IV (1056-1106) ascended the throne and this allowed the great feudalism to assume an autonomous political role. Having come of age (1066) Enrico leaned on the cities and on the small feudal system to fight the great feudal lords and was successful; but in 1075 the conflict with Pope Gregory VII broke out over the problem of ecclesiastical investitures which greatly weakened the king, who was even deposed and excommunicated by the pope. The subsequent reconciliation of Canossa (1077) was not accepted by the German princes, who opposed Duke Rudolph of Swabia to Henry IV. Although victorious over the latter, Henry soon saw his conflict with the Church reopen and was again excommunicated. All this weakened the material basis of central power in Germany, which was based on the absolute control of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Henry IV was succeeded by his son Henry V (1106-1125), who in 1122 managed to reach the concordat of Worms, resolving the dispute with the papacy. From then on, the temporal investiture of the bishops, conferred by the emperor, was clearly distinguished from the spiritual one conferred by the pope: it was certainly a compromise, but all in all well accepted by Henry, who still maintained his control over the German episcopate., as it was established that in the reign of Germany the temporal investiture was conferred first. However, the aristocracy still remained to undermine the power of the king, with whom the clash was played around the elective nature of the Crown: The major problems for the Swabians came from the North-East, where the power of the Margrave of Brandenburg, Albert I known as the Bear (1100 ca.-1170), and that of the Duke of Saxony, the Guelph Henry the Lion (1129 ca.-1195), whose dominion from Saxony reached the lands beyond the Elbe, snatched from the Slavs with the war – starting from the century. 12 ° real crusades against the Slavic pagans were outlawed – and also, or perhaps above all, thanks to the colonization of peasants and merchants from West German countries and the Netherlands, among which were also many Jews. In this same period, the League of Northern German cities, the Hansa, was born in Visby, in 1161, to which Lübeck, a city founded by Henry the Lion in 1143, joined. The crisis between the Swabian monarchy and the Guelph domination broke out with Frederick Barbarossa when the latter, frustrated in his Italian ambitions by the opposition of the Municipalities, devoted himself to strengthening his power in Germany. Taking advantage of the fact that Henry the Lion had refused to provide him with the military contingents provided for by feudal law, Frederick deposed Henry and dismembered his possessions by distributing them to his faithful (1181). However, Barbarossa’s victory ended up increasing the shattering of central power in Germany. Federico, moreover, continued to think of a destiny for his house oriented outside the Germany sole heir of the Norman kingdom. When Federico Barbarossa died (1190) during the third crusade, Henry, who had to fight to assert his rights over the kingdom of Sicily, neglecting the Germany, in 1191 he was crowned emperor. His death, after a few years of government, rekindled the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict: the leader of the Guelphs was Otto of Brunswick, son of Henry the Lion, that of the Ghibellines Philip of Swabia, brother of Henry VI and therefore uncle of his son, Frederick II, theoretically heir to the empire, to the kingdom of Germany and that of Sicily. To tip the scales in favor of Frederick was first of all Innocent III: the pope, after having initially supported Ottone, despite being the tutor of the son of Henry and Constance, excommunicated the Guelph and supported the candidacy of Frederick, who in 1212 managed to to be elected king of Germany; in reality only thanks to outcome of the battle of Bouvines (1214) – a clash of great importance also for the history of France and England – Frederick managed to get the better of Ottone. In order to obtain support for his still uncertain authority, Frederick issued the Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis in 1220, with which he granted the German bishops very wide powers of territorial government; in that same year he was elected emperor in Rome. In the meantime, in the eastern part of the Germany the situation was in flux: in 1201 the Order of Sword-holders, monk-knights engaged in the fight against the pagans had been created; in 1226 the emperor granted Prussia to the Teutonic Order, a region to be conquered in its entirety, the rights of whose residents, as pagans, were considered non-existent. The conquest turned into a war of extermination against the pagan Baltic populations, which ended only in 1283. The dominion of the Teutonic Knights over Prussia did not have to encounter serious obstacles until the defeat suffered at Tannenberg by the Poles (1410). Furthermore, during the 13th century, Hansa – benefiting from the creation of a German domination in Prussia – became the economically dominant power in the Baltic area, victoriously rejecting the hegemonic ambitions of the kings of Denmark. Henry VII, elected king of Germany in 1228, who relied on the ministeriales and the Rhenish cities to consolidate his power against the great aristocracy; the latter, however, obliged him to grant the very important Statutum in Favorm Principum (1231). The constitution, which Frederick too was forced to ratify the following year, severely limited the monarchical authority in favor of that of the princes. On the death of Frederick II (1250) he was succeeded in Germany by his son Corrado, who however died after four years. Thus began the great interregnum, a long period (1254-1273) during which there was a de facto holiday of the royal power. Only in the face of the eventuality that the Crown would go to Philip the Bold of France, the electors chose Rudolph of Habsburg (1273-1291) as king. Unlike the great European monarchies, France and England, Germany still did not have neither legislation, nor finances, nor unitary bureaucratic structures and was rather formed by a plurality of territorial states, lay people or ecclesiastics – in which the princes were real sovereigns (domains terrae) -, to which free or imperial cities were added, directly subjected to the authority of the king. Despite the backwardness of the central political structures, various parts of the Germany kept pace with the more advanced European regions: in particular the rich cities of the Baltic and the Rhine and Prussia; they were soon joined by the possessions of the Habsburgs. The latter, having reached the German throne, distinguished themselves for their family policy: Rudolf of Habsburg fought Přemysl Ottokar II of Bohemia and obtained Austria and Styria, uniting them with the hereditary lands of Switzerland and Tyrol; his successors of the House of Habsburg on the throne of Germany imitated him and, closed in their dynastic horizon, never aspired to empire. The situation seemed to change for a moment with the accession to the throne of Henry of Luxembourg (1308), who came down to Italy and was elected emperor; but his premature death (1313) made his plans fail. After him, Ludwig the Bavaro (1314-1347) and Charles IV of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia (1346-1378), grandson of Henry VII, came down to Italy and crowned them. Charles took possession of Silesia, Moravia and Brandenburg, territories which, together with Bohemia, became the patrimony of his family.In 1356 the Golden Bull definitively established the composition of the imperial electoral college, which was to be formed by seven princes, three clergymen (the archbishops of Cologne, Trier, Mainz) and four lay people (the king of Bohemia, the count of the Palatinate, the duke of Saxony, the marquis of Brandenburg); The emperor also succeeded in having his son Wenceslaus IV elected king of the Romans in 1376. Thus the premises were created for a new imperial dynasty, which, albeit through various vicissitudes, resisted for more than half a century until Sigismund (1368-1437), brother of Wenceslaus, who was at the same time emperor, king of Germany, of Bohemia and of Hungary. Sigismund, who had to face E the Turkish danger, hoped for the crusade and, to encourage its ban, he worked to heal the schism in the Church and suffocate the Hussite heresy with the Council of Constance (1414-1418). At his death the kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary passed to the Habsburgs, who united them with their Austrian possessions. In this way the latter, who from that moment monopolized the imperial crown, continuing their dynastic policy, they created a territorial bloc capable of supporting a strong monarchical power; but this block consisted of only partly German lands. The new monarchical power represented by the Habsburgs therefore constituted the empire, which however differed more and more from the kingdom of Germany. This was now reduced to a set of autonomous cities and territorial states badly coordinated by the diet – the assembly of princes, nobles and cities – and subjected to the uncertain authority of the sovereign.