Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor

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Henry VII (German: Heinrich; ca. 1275 – 24 August 1313)[2] was the King of Germany (or Rex Romanorum) from 1308 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1312. He was the first emperor of the House of Luxembourg. During his brief career he reinvigorated the imperial cause in Italy, wracked with the partisan struggles the divided Guelf and Ghibelline, and inspired the praise of Dino Compagni and Dante Alighieri; however, his premature death undid his life's work.

Contents

Life

Election as King of the Romans

Born around 1275 in Valenciennes, he was a son of Count Henry VI of Luxembourg and Béatrice from the House of Avesnes. Raised at the French court, he was the lord of comparatively small properties in a peripheral and French-speaking part of the Holy Roman Empire.[3] It was symptomatic of the empire’s weakness that during his rule as the Count of Luxembourg, he agreed to become a French vassal, seeking the protection of Philip the Fair.[4] During his rule of Luxembourg, he ruled effectively, especially in keeping the peace in local feudal disputes.[2]

Henry became caught up in the internal political machinations of the Holy Roman Empire with the assassination of King Albert I on 1 May, 1308.[2] Almost immediately, King Philip the Fair of France began aggressively seeking support for his brother, Charles of Valois, to be elected the next King of the Romans.[5] Believing he possessed the backing of the French Pope Clement V, his prospects of bringing the empire into the orbit of the French royal house seemed favorable, and he began lavishly spreading French money in the hope of bribing the German electors.[3] Although Charles of Valois had the backing of Heinrich II von Virneburg, the Archbishop of Cologne, a French supporter, many were not keen to see an expansion of French power, least of all Clement V.[3][6] The principal rival to Charles appeared to be Rudolf, the Count Palatine.

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