How did King Henry VII become King?

Heinrich (VII.) (HRR)

Henry (VII.) (* 1211 in Sicily; † uncertain: February 12, 1242 in Martirano, Calabria) was the Roman-German King and King of Sicily (which at that time also included Lower Italy) from the Staufer dynasty. He was the son and co-king of Emperor Friedrich II.

Heinrich (VII.) Is paid homage to Würzburg as king (from the bishop's chronicle of Lorenz Fries, mid-16th century)


Assessment of Henry (VII.), The seven in brackets

The Roman seven in brackets is explained by the fact that Henry did not exercise his kingship independently and is therefore only included in the counting of the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire to a limited extent. He is not to be confused with the later Emperor Heinrich VII of the Luxembourg family, who is considered to be the actual seventh ruler named Heinrich. As a way of speaking this unusual name of a king, "Heinrich the Siege of Brackets" is used to prevent confusion in oral communication.[5]

For a long time, historians have described the reign of Henry VII as "luckless" or even "criminal". He was also disparagingly referred to as "Klammerheinrich". It is only recently that some researchers have attempted to revise their considerations about Henry VII.

Some historians even claim that the reign of Henry (VII) represented a successful continuation of the Hohenstaufen politics in the “Regnum Teutonicum” and could in no way be described as unhappy or failed. The historian Gunther Wolf noted in a short essay that the brackets around the "VII" had to be dropped, since Heinrich was the legitimate king from 1222 to 1235. In this interpretation, the expansion of sovereignty, the consolidation of domestic power and the founding and support of cities speak for a strong kingship.

But even shortly after the king's death, there were isolated positive evaluations in the courtly literature of the Middle Ages: “A künec, the zaeme wolves in the riches krone! Owe that he is not supposed to live, so be nice to him! There was milte künec Heinrich, with what was fride. That no one does the same, who also met the riche and im with triuwen would be bi! " This short verse commemorates the reign of Henry VII, which is characterized as mild, gracious and peaceful, and also as faithfully devoted to the empire.

Heinrich seems to have been a cheerful and art-loving ruler and drew many minstrels to his court. Possibly he also wrote poetry himself.


  • Emil Franzel: King Heinrich VII of Hohenstaufen. Studies on the history of the "state" in Germany (Sources and research in the field of history 7). Prague 1929.
  • Werner Goez: Pictures of life from the Middle Ages. 3. Edition. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2010, pp. 437–453.
  • Robert Gramsch: The empire as a network of princes. Political structures under the dual kingship of Frederick II and Henry (VII) 1225–1235. Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Ostfildern 2013, ISBN 978-3-7995-0790-5.
  • Christian Hillen, Wolfgang Stürner, Peter Thorau: The Hohenstaufen Heinrich (VII.). A king in the shadow of his imperial father (Writings on Hohenstaufen history and art, vol. 20). Göppingen 2001, ISBN 3-929776-12-X.
  • Christian Hillen: Regis Curia. Investigations into the court structure of Heinrich (VII) 1220–1235 according to the witnesses of his documents (European University publications: Series 3, History and its auxiliary sciences, Vol. 837). Frankfurt a. M. et al. 1999, ISBN 3-631-34565-8.
  • Hans Martin Schaller: Heinrich. In: New German biography (NDB). Volume 8, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1969, ISBN 3-428-00189-3, pp. 326-329 (digitized version).
  • Hansmartin Schwarzmaier: The forgotten king: Emperor Friedrich II and his son. In: Andreas Bihrer et al. [Ed.]: Nobility and royalty in medieval Swabia: Festschrift for Thomas Zotz on his 65th birthday. Stuttgart 2009, pp. 287-304.
  • Wolfgang Stürner: King Heinrich (VII.) Rebel or trustee of Hohenstaufen interests? In: Society for Staufer History (ed.): The Hohenstaufen Heinrich (VII.). A king in the shadow of his imperial father., Writings on Staufer History and Art, Volume 25, Göppingen 2001, ISBN 3-929776-12-X, pp. 12–42.
  • Peter Thorau: King Henry VII, the Empire and the Territories. Investigations on the phase of minority and the "regency" of Archbishop Engelbert I of Cologne and Duke Ludwig I of Bavaria (1211) 1220–1228 (Yearbooks of German History, Yearbooks of the German Empire under Heinrich (VII.), Part 1). Berlin 1993.
  • Eugen Thurnherr: King Heinrich (VII.) And German poetry. In: German Archive for Research into the Middle Ages 33, 1977, pp. 522-542.
  • Eduard Winkelmann: Henry VII, Roman king. In: General German biography (ADB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1880, pp. 433-439.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Peter Koblank: Staufer coat of arms. The coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg with the three lions goes back to the Hohenstaufen. on Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  2. ↑ Bruno Gloger: Emperor, God and the Devil. Friedrich II. Von Hohenstaufen in history and legends. Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1976 (5th edition), p. 106
  3. ↑ Peter Koblank: Staufer graves. Only a few of the most prominent Hohenstaufen are buried in Germany. on Retrieved April 15, 2016. Photo of the sarcophagus in Italian Wikipedia.
  4. ↑ Hans Uwe Ullrich: Trapped in golden chains: From the life of Enzios, King of Sardinia. Berlin 2012, p. 54.
  5. ↑ Peter Koblank: Henry the seventh in brackets. Who was Henry VII and what do the brackets around the Roman seven mean? on Retrieved April 15, 2016.