As shown in the map, from 900 to 1000, the Holy Roman Empire, extended eastward from the western boundary of France to western Russia, with papal states around Rome.

The Holy Roman Empire was a vast kingdom that bordered several important bodies of water. This aided in trade as well as defense.

Analyze Maps

Locate: (a) the North Sea, (b) the Adriatic Sea, (c) the Mediterranean Sea

A key conflict between emperors and popes involved who would control appointments to high Church office. Like rulers in England and France, the Holy Roman emperor often appointed bishops and abbots. As popes sought to reform the Church, they tried to end such outside interference by secular rulers.

A Pope and an Emperor Feud

Under the reforming pope Gregory VII, the conflict between emperors burst into flames. Gregory was one of the greatest medieval popes. He was also one of the most controversial. Pope Gregory ruled at the same time as the German emperor Henry IV. These two strong-willed rulers clashed over competing claims to power.

Gregory Undertakes Reforms

Gregory was determined to make the Church independent of secular rulers. To achieve this goal, he banned the practice of lay investiture. Under this practice, the emperor or another lay person (a person who is not a member of the clergy) “invested,” or presented, bishops with the ring and staff that symbolized their office. Only the pope, said Gregory, had the right to appoint and install bishops in office.

The Emperor Responds

Pope Gregory's ban brought an angry response from the Holy Roman emperor, Henry IV. He argued that bishops held their lands as royal fiefs. Since he was their overlord, Henry felt entitled to give them the symbols of office. The feud heated up as the two men exchanged insulting letters. Meanwhile, rebellious German princes undermined Henry by supporting the pope.

In 1076, Gregory excommunicated Henry, freeing Henry's subjects from their allegiance to the emperor. The pope then headed north to crown a new emperor. Faced with revolts, Henry was forced to make peace.

Henry Repents

In January 1077, he presented himself to the pope as a repentant sinner. Gregory knew that Henry was just trying to save his throne. But according to tradition and Church law, the pope, as a priest, had to forgive a confessed sinner. Gregory then lifted the order of excommunication, and Henry returned to Germany to subdue his rebellious nobles. In later years, he took revenge on Gregory when he led an army to Rome and forced the pope into exile.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments