The Making of Germany, 843-1122

This module allows you to explore the story of the German Kingdom, from its origins and rise in the ninth century to its descent into civil war in the late eleventh. Formed amid the collapse of the Carolingian Empire, it originated as a cluster of disparate sub-kingdoms. It came close to collapse in the early tenth century, yet it was saved by the Magyar crisis, emering triumphant under the leadership of a new and charismatic dynasty, the Liudolfings. From their base on the north-eastern frontier they refounded the kingdom, turning it into the most dynamic state in tenth-century Europe. The vast empire they created—the so-called ‘Holy Roman Empire’—would endure until 1804 when it was finally suppressed by Napoleon Buonaparte; but in the mid eleventh century the power of its monarchs was hollowed out by a savage crisis from which the realm would never entirely recover—a devastating civil war that lasted five decades, from the mid-1070s until 1122. This stunning narrative raises many questions. Why did it all go ‘right’? Why did it then go so ‘wrong’? Are these the right words to characterise what happened? This dramatic story provides fundamental insights into the nature of the medieval kingdoms, its capacities and its limitations.