Heinrich I "The Fowler" King Of The Germans Duke Of Saxony
- Born: 876, Saxony, Germany
- Marriage: Saint Mathilde Countess of Ringelheim Queen Of The Germans in 909
- Died: 7 Jul 936, Memleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany at age 60
- Buried: St. Servatius, Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Ottonian dynasty was a dynasty of Kings of Germany, named after its first emperor but also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings, after its earliest known member Liudolf and one of its primary leading-names. The Ottonian rulers are also regarded as the first dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire, as successors of the Carolingian dynasty and Charlemagne, who is commonly viewed as the original founder of a new (Frankish) Roman Empire.
Although never Emperor, Henry I the Fowler, Duke of Saxony, was arguably the founder of this imperial dynasty, since his election as German king made it possible for his son, Otto the Great to take on the imperium. Since Otto I most of the German kings were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. Under the reign of the Ottonian rulers the kingdom of the Eastern Franks did not only finally become Germany since the unification of the duchies of Lorraine, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Thuringia and Bavaria in one empire was concluded. Also the union of Germany with the Holy Roman Empire, which dominated the German history until 1806, begun with the coronation of Otto I the Great in Rome in 962. But the projected restoration of the Roman Empire failed already under Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor.
After the extinction of the Ottonian dynasty with the death of Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor in 1024 the crown passed to the Salian dynasty. Luitgard, a daughter of Emperor Otto I had married the Salian Duke Conrad the Red of Lorraine. His great-grandson was Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor.
Henrich I founded the Quedlinburg (Saxony-Anhalt) castle complex, which was later built up by Otto I the Great in 936, and was an imperial palatinate of the Saxon emperors. The palatinate with a men's convent was in the valley, where nowadays the Roman Catholic church of St Wiperti is situated, while the women's convent worked on the castle hill.
During Nazi reign the memory of Henry I became a sort of "cult", as Himmler saw himself as the reincarnation of the "most German of all German" rulers. The collegiate church and castle were to be turned into a shrine for Nazi Germany.
From Quedlinburg website:
Henry I, who was also called The Fowler for his love of bird hunting, was born in 876 and became Duke of Saxony in 912. It appears that Conrad I, King of East Franks, had declared Henry his successor.
Henry was a descendant of Duke Widukind who was a famous opponent to Charlemagne the Great. Henry was the first ruler who was not ordained by the church. Many people of his time criticized him for that. It is believed that he refused to be ordained to cut the religious influence on the king.
In 919 Henry succeeded Conrad I and became king of East Franks. He was the first ruler of the Roman Empire of the German Nation, months after his election Swabia became part of it, and 2 years later Bavaria submitted as well. Under Henry's rulership Lorraine became part of the kingdom as well.
It was pressure from Hungary that forced the German tribes of the time to unite under one king, and this king was Henry. The Roman Empire of the German Nation never really was a state like France or Britain, it was more of an alliance of small kingdoms and duchies and counties, and they all accepted Henry I as their first ruler. Under him the Hungarians were beat out of Germany. This victory, which was won by all the German tribes under one king, was the reason why this Empire that was not a state could survive for a long time, and this is the reason why Henry I is nowadays regarded as the first king of Germany.
Other successes that Henry I had are:
The Christianization of the north far into Scandinavia - Henry had won a victory against Canute, a small king in Sweden, who was then forced to be baptized and thus a wave to Christianize Scandinavia was started.
He stopped the attacks of the Normans in the north.
Generally he managed to pacify Germany.
Henry was first married in 906 to Hatheburg, a daughter of the Saxon Duke Erwin, they had a son called Thankmar, who was later killed in a fight over succession rights with his half brother Otto, the successor of Henry I, but they were divorced in 909.
In 910 Henry married Mathilde of Ringelheim, a daughter of count Dietrich in Westfalia. They had 5 children:
Otto I, called The Great, Henry's successor, was married to Editha, a daughter of Edward the Elder King of England and after her death to Adelheid, the widow of the king of Italy
Henry I, who became Duke of Bavaria and was married to Judith of Bavaria, a rival of his elder brother
Hedwig, who married Hugo, Duke in France
Bruno I who became archbishop in Cologne
Gerberge, who first married Giselbert Duke of Lorraine and later King Louis IV of France
Henry died in 936 and after his death Mathilde founded the convent on castle hill as a place of education and prayer.
Heinrich married Saint Mathilde Countess of Ringelheim Queen Of The Germans, daughter of Theodoric Count of Ringelheim and Ludmilla Ragnhildis Countess of Ringelheim, in 909. (Saint Mathilde Countess of Ringelheim Queen Of The Germans was born about 878 in Ringelheim, Goslar, Hannover, Germany, died on 14 May 968 in Memleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany and was buried in St. Servatius, Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.)