Episode 19 – Henry II, the House of God

In this episode we are going to talk about how Emperor Henry II re-organised the kingdom, in particular how he further developed the Imperial Church System. As you may remember, the Imperial Church system is the idea that the kingdom is run through the bishops and abbots, not the counts and dukes. So rather than relying on the feudal obligations of the barons, the king passes land and rights to the church which owes him allegiance as God’s anointed. It also helps that the king appoints the bishops, at least some of whom were trained at his court chancellery.

Hello and welcome to the History of the Germans, Episode 19 – Henry II The House of God.

Before we dive in, I have a few housekeeping announcements. Today’s episode is the last one of Season 1.  In season 2. we will look at the next dynasty, the Salians who ruled from 1024  to 1125. That will start in about six weeks. Do not worry, there will be History of the Germans in the intervening period. I will release one episode looking at the perception history of the Ottonians, looking at what people believed about them in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. We will trace how in the 1960s historians developed a new understanding of their rule and the early medieval ages in general. Two weeks after that  there will be a Q&A episode, scheduled to be released on June 24th. So please send me questions on the History of the Germans so far, the podcast or anything else you like to know. I will try to answer all of them. And when you send a message Please state whether you want me to read out your full name or just your initials when I quote the question. You can contact me on historyofthegermans@gmail.com or on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter under historyofthegermans or some derivation thereof.

I am looking forward to your questions.

With that, back to the show.

In this episode we are going to talk about how Emperor Henry II re-organised the kingdom, in particular how he further developed the Imperial Church System. As you may remember, the Imperial Church system is the idea that the kingdom is run through the bishops and abbots, not the counts and dukes. So rather than relying on the feudal obligations of the barons, the king passes land and rights to the church which owes him allegiance as God’s anointed. It also helps that the king appoints the bishops, at least some of whom were trained at his court chancellery.

There are basically two ways we can do that. One is to look at it in cynical political terms, the other is to look at it from the perspective of the protagonists themselves. We may look at immensely powerful and rich bishops or abbots with suspicion, but it is simply not true that the emperors, and Henry II in particular, created these canonical monsters as part of a political calculus or that all the bishops were power crazy hypocrites.

To really understand his motivation is to start at the end. When Henry II died in 1024, he had no children. Nevertheless he made no succession plan whatsoever. Why? It is not the case he did not care what happened after. What he believed was that the political structure he wanted to create was the House of God. And if it is the House of God, then god will choose a successor to look after it. And if it was not good enough to be the House of God, well then good riddance.

What is the House of God then? In Henry’s mind the House of God was a society where the largest possible number of people can observe their religious duty in a way that pleases god. That means where everyone is led in prayer by a worthy priest who performs the sacraments in the prescribed form so that the observance increases the probability of ascending to heaven on the day of judgement.

I do not know and there is no documentary evidence that Henry II’s focus on the spiritual world was down to concerns about an imminent arrival of the antichrist as 1000 years have passed since the birth of Christ.. I doubt that matters much. If you are a deeply religious person, and Henry II clearly was, then you know for a fact that the apocalypse will come, and it does not really matter whether you spend a few decades or centuries in the ground before the antichrist arrives or if he shows up next week. For Henry it was the same, and he believed it was his job to prepare himself and to prepare his people for the coming of the end of times.

What we do know is that Henry II had an illuminated manuscript of the apocalypse commissioned from the abbey of Reichenau. It is not only absolutely beautiful but the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg has published it in its entirety on their Website with an explanation what goes on each of the pages. If you want to finally get your head around what is actually written in the Apocalypse, this is a very enjoyable way to do it; or you can watch Good Omens, which is admittedly funnier and famously ineffable.

Apocalypse now or not, Henry II wanted his kingdom to be the House of God and that means first and foremost a holy church that will lead the people in prayer towards salvation. And it cannot be just any prayer. It has to be effective prayer, prayer that the divinity will listen to, which means prayer can only be effective when it is led and performed by someone worthy.

What is therefore needed is church reform. Henry’s church reform attacked on all angles, all at the same time.

If I say it attacked everywhere, that means it covered even simple parish priests. In the Germany in the year 1000 episode I mentioned that parish priests would regularly live in a relationship and have children. Henry II initially recognised this to be a fact of life, but he wanted to ensure that priests did not pass church property onto their offspring. He decreed that the children of a priest, even if his partner was a free woman, would become serfs. That ensured they could not own church property handed down by their father. As time went on, Henry II moved on from this purely economic standpoint and compelled the pope to declare that all priests should strive to live celibate, paving the way to universal celibacy that was introduced in 1123. For the avoidance of doubt, adherence to that rule remained lax throughout the middle ages.

This kind of leniency did not apply to monks, who, by the rule of St. Benedict were obliged to spend their life in work and prayer. Henry II did not tolerate deviation from the strictures of monastic life. Henry had a guy he put in charge of monastery reform, called Godehard. Henry would send him into a monastery, make him abbot and give him his full backing. For example the monks at Hersfeld, one of the large imperial abbeys were subjected to the Godehard treatment. The monks had started living in their own comfy houses outside the monastery enjoying the fruits of other people’s labour. Godehard came in, had the houses torn down and told the monks to move back into the priory, pray five times a day and have modest communal meals. All 50 monks ran off into the woods, thinking that this new abbot will not last long. Well with Henry’s support abbot Godehard held out and most came back after a while. That sorted, Godehard moved on to the next monastery where the process repeated itself. The reform did not spare the most famous and storied abbeys of Reichenau, Fulda and Corvey where Henry would depose abbots he though were lax and put in his shock troops.

Henry also became a major sponsor of the abbey of Cluny. He invited the, to found monasteries As well as involve them in the reform process. He visited Cluny in 1021 and in a highly symbolic act handed the abbot a crown and a globe he had received from the pope earlier that year.

He reorganised the network of monasteries in the country as part of the reform program. Henry would take smaller or particularly obstinate monasteries and incorporate them and their assets into larger, more reform minded institutions or sometimes into bishoprics.

As he did so, he came up against some of his powerful nobles who often owned these monasteries as Eigenkirchen or proprietary churches, through the application of political pressure and moral suasion he brought many of them under direct royal control and patronage.

At the end of Henry’s reign, we find the country covered in a network of large abbeys staffed with pious monks whose reputation builds and builds and whose abbots report directly to the king.

The third pillar of Henry’s House of God were the bishops. Since Otto the Great, the Ottonians had increasingly relied on the bishops for their financial and military resources. Under Henry II and his immediate successors  this process goes into overdrive. We already heard that Otto III had given one county to the bishop of Liege. But by 1056, over 50 counties will have been donated to bishops and abbots.

When he goes down to Italy on his last major military expedition in 1022, the army is entirely led by bishops. There are no dukes or counts anywhere in sight. How that squares with the priest’s ban on carrying arms is not quite clear.

But it was not just Henry II who gave land to bishoprics. One of the fascinating stories of that period is the life of bishop Meinward of Paderborn. Meinward was the heir to a large chunk of the fortune of the Immedinger clan. The Immedinger are one of the richest and most famous Saxon clan, tracing their lineage back to the famous Widukind, the freedom fighter who opposed Charlemagne. One prominent member of his family was Mathilda of Ringelheim, wife of king Henry the Fowler and ancestor of current king Henry II.

Now Meinward himself was particularly blessed with worldly goods thanks to a ruthless mother who married successfully and then poisoned her own sister to ensure her paternal inheritance came down to her in full. She had one son, Meinward.

This immensely rich Meinward joined the church and was made bishop of Paderborn. At Henry’s instigation Meinward transferred his entire personal wealth to the church of Paderborn. He even sold the family seat of Please to support his bishopric.  What fascinates me about this story is that it goes against everything that is normally associated with aristocratic bishops. Normally the heir to a fortune like Meinward’s would not enter the church. He would hold on to the family lands and prolong the line. His younger brothers, those without inheritance, they would join the church. But even if for whatever reason the heir joins the church, the uncles and cousins would make damn sure he cannot shift the family fortune to the church. Generous donations, yes, but not the whole lot.

 It that was not the case with Mei ward. The whole lot went to the church. Maybe it was because of his mother’s colourful history? Not really, because Meinward was not the only one. Thietmar Bishop of Merseburg, the chronicler of the times and a man with no skeletons in the closet, was also expected to donate big chunks of the family fortune to the underendowed church of Merseburg. 

The only way this could make sense economically and politically would be if the bishopric had become the proprietary church of the donating family, so they would keep the income and appoint the bishop. But that was not the case. The king retained the right to choose the bishops of Paderborn and Merseburg.

Henry’s ambition to create a House of God was clearly shared by others.

Talking about choosing bishops, Henry II regularly ran roughshod over the election rights of the cathedral canons. You may remember that under church law it is the congregation, represented by the cathedral chapter that elects the bishop. The king only controls the temporal assets of the bishopric. Henry saw this differently. For instance when the elected bishop of Magdeburg held up a charter signed by Otto II that clearly granted the cathedral chapter the right to freely elect their bishop, Henry II just straight out dismissed their choice and put his friend and confidant Tagino in place. And this happened over and over again. Only one of the 64 bishops appointed during his reign was allowed into the role against the king’s will, and that was a special case in the very early years of his reign. Apart from that Henry insisted that every bishop is chosen by him and then confirmed by the cathedral chapter.

Henry chose his bishops not just for political allegiance, but for their suitability as spiritual leaders. Remember his main objective is to build the House of God, so that theological skill sometimes overrides allegiance. His appointments include Adalbero of Utrecht who was not just a highly regarded theologian but also a gifted mathematician who worked on the calculation of the volume of spheres as well as producing a commentary on the works of Boethius, a philosopher from late antiquity. He even supported  Bernward of Hildesheim despite his opposition during the race for the throne in 1002. Bernward was another universal genius of the 10th century, renowned theologian, tutor of Otto III and builder of the cathedral of Hildesheim, which together with its famous Bernward doors is another UNESCO World Heritage site.

Henry cared a lot about the quality of cathedral schools and sponsored bishops whose schools gained a reputation for learning, both theological as well as the sciences. Again, Meinward’s school at the cathedral of Paderborn became famous not least for its extensive library. For his House of God to work, priests and monks had to be well versed in scripture and liturgy.

He even started a major fight with the French king and the archbishop of Rheims over who would consecrate the bishop of Cambrai. Cambrai was located in Lothringia, so was part of the Empire. However, the bishopric of Cambrai was part of the archdiocese of Rheims, which is in France. The bishop of Cambrian expected to be consecrated by his superior, the archbishop of Rheims. Henry II objected and pushed for a consecration by a papal legate, which would basically remove Cambrai from the authority of the archbishop of Rheims tying it closer into the empire. But that was only the secondary one of henry II’s concerns. His main issue was that he thought the archbishop of Rheims may use liturgy that was not up to the standards prevailing in the empire, making the bishop of Cambrai less effective as a spiritual connector for his flock. The problem was ultimately resolved by Henry II sending detailed instructions to the archbishop of Rheims about how the ceremony was to be conducted. Sounds entirely bonkers, but it was a serious issue that was about to break out into open warfare…

Henry also began reforming the cathedral chapters, similar to his reform of the monasteries. Cathedral canons had traditionally been living closer to the community they served and – in line with the generally lax standards of ecclesial celibacy, tended to have their own families. Henry II could not bear this and forced the canons to give up their families and live as a celibate community of men inside the cathedral complex – again not everyone was happy about that.

Like his predecessors, Henry II relied heavily on his chancellors for the administration of the realm. These chancellors were usually scions of noble families destined for the church that would be trained up at the royal court to manage documents and learn about the emperors strategy and policies. These chancellors would then be placed into important bishoprics once the emperor was convinced of their capabilities and loyalty. Out of the 64 appointments Henry made, 24 were his chancellors, including the most important archbishoprics of Mainz, Trier, Magdeburg, Hamburg/Bremen and at the very end, Cologne.

He also made the bishops his “brothers in prayer”. These were agreements between several high aristocrats whereby they each had to regularly pray for each other’s well-being. We have seen these kinds of associations before, namely Henry the Fowler usually added them to his friendship agreements. Under Henry II they became a primary tool to bind in particular the bishops and abbots of the country together and to the emperor. One famous such agreement was concluded amongst the powerful of the northern half of the kingdom in Dortmund in 1005. Under this union, each member had to feed the 300 poor people, fund prayers and light 30 candles in case any of their number dies, with the king being obliged to feed 1500 and the duke of Saxony 500.

Henry II was constantly in touch with his bishops. Like with his predecessors the court was constantly on the move. But whilst Otto the Great would mostly stay on his own Palaces and castles in Saxony, Franconia and occasionally Lothringia, Henry II would mostly stay at episcopal seas and monasteries all across the realm, including in Swabia, Bavaria and Bohemia. Henry held 15 synods in his 22-year reign, more per year than any of his predecessors. This not only indicates how important church matters were to him, but they also show very clearly that the bishops had much more ready access to the emperor than the counts and dukes, further strengthening their position vis-à-vis their temporal neighbours.

All that resulted in a situation where the king became not only a colleague of the bishops, but their leader. He took on the role that would normally be reserved for the pope as the representative of Christ on earth. As such he had the ultimate say in all things ecclesiastical. And, in his final years, that role extended beyond the confines of his own kingdoms.

He dominated the synods held by pope Benedict VIII where the roman church declared that the Holy spirit has come from both the father and the son, the famous filioque clause. This was in direct opposition to Byzantium, which was another major contributing factor in the alienation between roman Catholicism and the orthodox church in the east.

With Henry II busy creating his House of God full of pious monks, priests and bishops, what about the secular lords? What about the counts and dukes who still ruled large parts of the country?

Under Henry’s predecessors the kings and emperors had to walk a tightrope between avoiding rebellions by recognising the aristocrats’ ancient rights and privileges whilst at the same time asserting their authority over them. The three Ottos played this game with varying success. Under Henry II we notice a fundamentally different approach.

It started with Henry’s refusal right at the beginning of his reign to grant the duchy of Bavaria to the Schweinfurter count, who by rights and customs should have received it. After he had been defeated in the ensuing conflict, the count did what needed to be done and submitted himself to the merci of his lord, coming before him on his knees wearing a hare shirt. As we have heard in this podcast over and over, being a merciful lord is one of the key features expected of an early medieval ruler. Therefore, under ancient custom since this was the first time he had rebelled, Henry II was obliged to accept the count of Schweinfurt back into his favour and hand back at least some of his property.

But that is not what he did. Instead, he declared the rebel should be locked up at the castle of Giebichenstein for “as long as it pleases the king”, which turned out to be relatively short period of 2 years. But the mere fact that he did not receive him back right away was a clear message that things had changed and royal merci was not to be taken for granted.

By locking up the Schweinfurter, Henry had asserted his right to appoint whoever he wanted as duke of Bavaria, but that was still not enough control for him. In the period before the appointment of a new duke, he significantly reduced the ducal estate by transferring assets, namely abbeys and churches to the royal demesne, leaving his successor as duke of Bavaria with a much diminished position. And that successor was his brother-in-law, someone he could expect to be staunchly loyal to his cause.

How little value he assigned to family relationships became clear when the seat of the archbishop of Trier, one of the most important ecclesiastical roles became vacant. One of the 11 siblings of his wife, a certain Adalbero got himself elected archbishop. His claim, apart from a reasonable ecclesiastical background as abbot of a nearby monastery, was the fact that his family owned vast tracts of land all over Lothringia and specifically around Trier. Their home, the castle of Luxembourg, capital of the homonymous country was just half hour drive down from Trier.

Henry II would have none of it. On the one hand he insisted that all bishops are appointed by him rather than elected by the cathedral chapter. Moreover, he did not like the idea of even more power concentrated in the hands of the Luxembourger clan even though they were his allies. So Henry appointed his own archbishop and besieged the city of Trier. Adalbero barricaded himself into the ancient Roman Basilica of Constantine that had been turned into a fortress. There he held out for 9 years, denying Henry II control of the city of Trier. Henry II controlled most of the lands of the archdiocese and maintained a loose siege for all that time. As the issue became bloody, all other siblings of Kunigunde were dragged into this, including her brother Henry who had been made duke of the much reduced duchy of Bavaria. The duke of Bavaria rebelled and even received some support from his magnates who just 6 years earlier were all in Henry II’s camp. But that did not last long and Henry II deposed the duke and for about 5 years the duchy was run by his wife Kunigunde on behalf of Henry II.

Whilst this was going on, Henry also picks a fight with the other major family group in Lothringia, the relations of Ezzo, you know the nouveau riche who had married Otto III’s sister and had made a bid for the throne in 1002. That was clearly one step too far. Ezzo allied with his neighbours, the Luxembourgers and the combined forces inflict a severe defeat on Henry II’s forces. Henry then caves to Ezzo, makes peace and hands him significant fortresses including the imperial palace at Kaiserswerth near Duesseldorf and the castle at Saalfeld. The power of Ezzo and his descendants would rise further during Henry II’s reign as Ezzo’s daughter Richeza married duke Boleslav the Brave of Poland.

After Ezzo reconciled with Henry II the brothers of Kunigunde who had supported Adalbero were defeated and had to appear before henry II on their knees and in a hare shirts to again be condemned to imprisonment at his majesty’s pleasure. This by the way was the occasion where henry II had invited Boleslav the Brave to witness so he could see what a submission to king Henry would involve. Fun fact – Boleslav did not fancy that one bit.

After seven years of war, In 1015 both Adalbero and henry’s pretender for the archbishopric of Trier died. Henry appointed Poppo, second son of the duke of Austria to become archbishop and Poppo quickly gained the upper hand over Trier.

Ezzo was the only one of the major nobles who thrived under Henry II’s rule. All others saw their power curtailed wherever that was possible.

In Saxony duke Bernward was weakened as the power of the bishoprics in Saxony, in particular Paderborn grew. Henry precluded the duke from taking over the lands of his cousin Wichman III which would have made him overly powerful. When Bernard rebelled in 1021, his rebellion petered out quite quickly.

Henry also began feuds with the Konradiner and Salier families in the South West. As with Bavaria, he hollowed out the duchy of Swabia after its duke, Hermann II had lost the contest for the throne in 1002.

So far all these quarrels have some sort of political logic to it. Using the church to keep the barons down was a great way to assert control as the dukes of Normandy had shown.

However, as with the monks and bishops, henry II did not care much for secular aims, he was targeting a spiritual objective. And that spiritual objective was to build the House of God. And in that house of god everybody had to follow the rules and one of these rules was the ban on incest.

The ban on incest makes obvious sense. Where this went off the rails was. when it came to the definition of incest. The Christian writers of late antiquity counted as incest a relationship in the 4th degree, which means between first cousins. However, Germanic tradition does not count the individuals but the generations, so that 4th degree would be anyone who shared a great  grandparent. As things progressed, the definitions tightened further and the ban on incest was extended to relations in the seventh degree, i.e,  who shared a great, great, great, great, great grandparent. That basically meant nobody could marry anybody for the simple reason hardly anyone knew their grandparent 6 generations ago. Even the imperial family itself could only trace their ancestors back to a certain Liudolf, who was the grandfather of Henry the Fowler and hence great, great grandfather of Henry II.

Basically everyone’s marriage was in jeopardy which also meant all these aristocratic networks were under threat should henry II randomly raise the issue of incestual marriage.

And he did. Barely a year into his reign he accused duke Konrad of Carinthia one of his first and most important supporters in the bid to kingship of an incestual marriage. Not much came of it, but it still caused massive irritation.  

A few years later he would go after Otto of Hammerstein, now the leader of the extended Konradiner family. As you well know the Konradiner are a big deal and picking a fight with them requires a lot of support. Duke Eberhard of Franconia was a Konradiner. And given that henry II had alienated pretty much all dukes and counts from Lothringia to Saxony, from Bavaria to Swabia, that looks like a serious gamble.

He first demands the marriage to be resolved in 1018 and after some two and fro Otto of Hammerstein accepted and offered to separate from his wife.

But that never really happened. The couple stayed together on the Hammerstein, one of these new-fangled giant fortifications on top of a mountain overlooking the Rhine river, called castles. They felt pretty secure there given the difficult to storm their fortress and the support they expected to get from their wide network of relatives.

However, that is not what happened. Henry II attacked using the forces of the archbishop of Mainz and after 3 months the defenders ran out of food and succumbed. The Hammersteins fled but were called to a synod in 1023. They both showed up and Mr Hammerstein submitted and publicly divorced his wife.

His wife did not take it lying down and went to Rome to seek the Pope’s support. The pope stuck with the previous interpretation of the law and sided with Ms. Hammerstein. The pope also punished the archbishop of Mainz who was formally in charge of the proceedings. Now the situation could easily get out of hand if the pope moves to excommunicate the archbishop or even the emperor himself – all over the marriage of the Hammersteins who were probably second cousins, like every other German magnate. However, the whole affair ground to a halt when both pope benedict VIII and Henry II died in 1024. Henry’s successor took a lot less issue with marriage rules and -as far as we know – the Hammersteins lived happily ever after.

What this rather ridiculous little episode showed however is a fundamental shift in the structure of the kingdom. Henry II was able to go after the head of one of the greatest families in the land without creating a broad rebellion across the land. Compare that with the time of Otto the great in 955 when he faced an uprising of more than half his magnates over much less of slight to one of his senior barons – Konrad the Red. Henry II did not have to fear as much from his nobles, in part because he could rely on the resources of the church and because he benefitted from a lack of cohesion amongst the major clans whose interest diverged between those trying to gain advantages in the east ether with or against Boleslav the Brave. And those in the west clashed over less available positions as more and more counties had been granted to bishoprics.

And despite his constant quarrels with the nobility, they were after all tenants in the House of God.

And Henry IIs house of god needed not just sturdy walls, but also a great architectural feature that would forever glorify his name. And that great adornment was Bamberg.

Bamberg had been an important fortress since the early 10th century. IT was handed to henry IIs family by Otto II in these first months of friendship between the two houses that ended with the rebellion of the three Henries. Despite the fallout the place remained in Henry’s family and it was by far his  favourite residence..

As he was not the guy to build palaces, but much more interested in churches, he decided to turn Bamberg into a bishopric. But not a bishopric like any other, subject t some archbishop.. No, this bishop would only report directly to the pope. And The pope, not the king would determine who would be bishop.

As we have seen with Otto the Great’s fights over Magdeburg, creating a new bishopric is not easy. All existing bishops are spiritually married to their church and their main objective has to be to increase the wealth and reputation of their diocese. Therefore, carving out territory from an existing diocese requires the agreement of the existing bishop which would hardly ever be forthcoming. It tells you something about the authority Henry II had over the German bishops that he could get their agreement for the creation of Bamberg in 1007. Yes,  It did require him begging on his knees, the one and only time he ever kneeled in front of other human beings. And It may also have helped that he compensated the bishop of Wurzburg with donations of land and rights out of his personal purse. But he got it done in just 1 year when Otto the Great took more than a decade to fulfil his dream.

And then we come to the endowment of the new diocese. Henry II and Kunigunde, who had no children and no near relatives made the church of Bamberg their sole heir. By the stroke of a pen Bamberg became one of the richest bishoprics in the world owning abbeys and lands all over Germany, from near Merseburg in the East to the Rhine valley, from lake Constance to Northern Saxony.

Bamberg was given a most splendid library with many of today’s most cherished Ottonian manuscripts originally held in the library of Bamberg.

Henry II had a great church built on the mountain that previously held the castle. For the consecration of the new cathedral in 1012. Henry invited 45 bishops, basically all German bishops plus the Patriarch of Aquileia and the Archbishop of Gran in Hungary. The bishops were set up as small troops, each consecrating a different alter that held immeasurably valuable relics of all the most important saints of the realm. The consecration turned into a mirror image of the kingdom with the bishops of the western diocese of Trier, Mainz and Cologne consecrating the altars on the western side, whilst the eastern archbishops of Salzburg and Magdeburg consecrate the altars on the eastern side.

When pope Benedict VIII came to Bamberg in 1020 the church had its most splendid moment. He brought with him the famous Star mantle a cape made from blue cloth embroidered with star signs in gold. On the rim it says “Hail to you, you adornment of Europe, Emperor Heinrich, may your rule be forever increasing by the grace of the king who rules forever” 

Henry II died on the 13th of July 1024. He is buried in the cathedral of Bamberg next to his wife Kunigunde. The original cathedral sadly burned down in the 12th century and was replaced by the current, still absolutely splendid edifice. Miracles are being reported after his death and by 1146 this autocratic ruler who allied with pagan Slavs against a Christian king of Poland was made a saint. His wife Kunigunde joined him in this state in 1200.

And that is it. The Ottonians have well and truly died out. There is no descendant in the male line from Henry the Fowler or even Otto the Venerable left. The German barons will meet and choose a new king, presumably one who is less keen on banning incest and harassing his magnates. This new king is of a new dynasty, the Salians. And that gives me a chance to take a break to prepare for the next season.

My current plan is to start the next season on July 10th at the latest. In the intermediate time we will have two episodes, one looking at the perception of the Ottonian rulers throughout history, in particular how the 19th centuries appropriated them to create a national German narrative that the Nazi further bastardised. After the war it took a long, long time before talking about the early middle ages was acceptable again and we will take a look at how contemporary historians try to get their head around these rather alien rulers. And then I want to da Q&A session on June 24th, so please send me your questions about the Ottonians, the Prologue or just general about podcasting and history podcasts. I will try to answer all, except for the most personal questions.

I hope to see you then. And if you get bored in the meantime, you can check out my new website www.histryofthegermans.com which should go live any day now. There will be maps, pictures and blogposts related to the podcast.