Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry VII ("Heinrich"; c. 1275 (or 1279) &ndash 24 August 1313) 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 and inspired the praise of Dino Compagni and Dante Alighieri.

He was a son of Count Henry VI of Luxembourg and Beatrice of Avesnes. His son, John of Luxembourg, was elected as king of Bohemia in 1310. On 15 August 1309, Henry VII announced his intention to travel to Rome and expected his troops to be ready to travel by 1 October 1310. He then travelled to Rome to be crowned as emperor, the title having been vacant since the death of Frederick II. His coronation was on June 29, 1312.

As Emperor he planned to restore the glory of the Holy Roman Empire, and indeed he restored imperial power in parts of northern Italy, fighting against the anti-imperial commune of Florence. However, he quarrelled with the Guelphs and Ghibellines, especially in the free cities in Tuscany, and King Robert of Naples and Pope Clement V were both worried about his firm imperial policies. Henry wanted to punish Robert of Naples for his disloyal actions (As Count of Provence, Robert was technically Henry's vassal), but he died on August 24, 1313, near Siena.

Henry is the famous "alto Arrigo" in Dante's "Paradise", in which the poet is shown the seat of honor that awaits Henry in Heaven. Dante also alludes to him numerous times in "Purgatorio" as the savior who will bring imperial rule back to Italy, and end the inappropriate temporal control of the Church. Henry VII's success in Italy was not lasting, however, and after his death the anti-imperial forces regained control.

After the death of Henry VII, two rivals, the Wittelsbach Ludwig of Bavaria and Frederick the Handsome of the House of Habsburg, laid claim to the crown. Their dispute culminated in the Battle of Mühldorf on 28 September 1322, which was lost by Frederick.

Family and children

He was married in Tervuren 9 July 1292 with Margaret of Brabant, daughter of John I, Duke of Brabant and had the following children:
# John I, Count of Luxemburg (10 August, 129626 August, 1346),
# Marie (1304–26 March 1324, Issoudun-en-Berry), married in Paris 21 September 1322 to King Charles IV of France.
# Beatrix (1305–11 November 1319), married 1318 to King Charles I of Hungary.


* William M. Bowsky, "Henry VII in Italy", Lincoln, 1960.
* Maria Elisabeth Franke, "Kaiser Heinrich VII. im Spiegel der Historiographie", Köln/Weimar/Wien, 1992.

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