• 1028-1056: King of Germany
  • 1035-1056: King of Italy
  • 1035-1056: King of Burgundy
  • 1046-1056: Holy Roman Emporer
  • 1046: Synod of Sutri
  • Salian dynasty

Heinrich III the Black, the Pious Salian of the Holy Roman Empire was born 28 October 1017 to Konrad II von Worms (c990-1039) and Gisela von Schwaben (c989-1043) and died 5 October 1056 Bodfeld of unspecified causes. He married Gunhilda of Denmark (c1020-1038) 29 June 1036 JL . He married Agnes of Poitou (c1025-1077) 20 November 1043 JL .


Heinrich III, also known as Henry III, was a Holy Roman Emperor who reigned from 1039 until his death in 1056. He was born on October 28, 1017, in Ravensburg, Swabia, which is now modern-day Germany. Heinrich III was a member of the Salian dynasty, one of the most powerful ruling families of the time.

During his reign, Heinrich III played a significant role in the affairs of the Holy Roman Empire and exerted considerable influence over the political and religious landscape of Europe. Here are some key aspects of his rule and accomplishments:

Consolidation of Power:

Heinrich III ascended to the throne at the age of 22 after the death of his father, Conrad II. He quickly asserted his authority and worked to centralize power within the Holy Roman Empire. He curtailed the influence of regional princes and nobles, aiming to strengthen the authority of the emperor.

Papal Influence:

Heinrich III played a crucial role in the Investiture Controversy, a conflict between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy over the appointment of bishops and church officials. In an effort to gain control over the appointment of bishops, he actively involved himself in the papal elections and intervened in the affairs of the Roman Catholic Church.

Synod of Sutri (1046):

One of the most significant events during Heinrich III's reign was the Synod of Sutri, held in 1046. The synod was called to resolve the papal dispute between Pope Gregory VI and Pope Benedict IX, both of whom claimed the papal throne. Heinrich III presided over the synod, deposing both claimants and installing Pope Clement II as the new pope. This event showcased his influence over the papacy and demonstrated his authority in ecclesiastical matters.

Imperial Coronations:

Heinrich III made a series of imperial coronations, both in Italy and Germany, in an effort to assert his authority over various territories. He was crowned King of Italy in 1036, King of Burgundy in 1038, and Holy Roman Emperor in 1046. These coronations reinforced his position as the supreme ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and expanded his influence throughout the region.

Patronage of the Arts and Architecture:

Heinrich III was a great patron of the arts and commissioned several architectural projects during his reign. He sponsored the construction of magnificent cathedrals, monasteries, and castles, promoting the spread of Romanesque architecture in the Holy Roman Empire. Notably, he founded the Abbey of St. Michael in Hildesheim, Germany, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Family Life

Henry III was married twice and had at least eight children:

1st Marriage: Gunhilda of Denmark

With his first wife, Gunhilda of Denmark:[1]. Heinrich III's first wife was Gunhilda of Denmark, whom he married in 1036. Gunhilda was the daughter of King Canute the Great of Denmark and England. Unfortunately, their marriage was short-lived, as Gunhilda died in 1038, only two years after their wedding.

  1. Beatrice (1037 – 13 July 1061), abbess of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim[2]

2nd Marriage: Agnes of Poitou

With his second wife, Agnes:[3] After the death of Gunhilda, Heinrich III married Agnes of Poitou in 1043. Agnes was the daughter of William V, Duke of Aquitaine, and Agnes of Burgundy. Their marriage was significant in solidifying alliances with the powerful ducal families of Aquitaine and Burgundy. Agnes played an active role in her husband's political affairs and participated in imperial ceremonies.

  1. Adelaide II (1045, Goslar – 11 January 1096), abbess of Gandersheim from 1061 and Quedlinburg from 1063[3]
  2. Gisela (1047, Ravenna – 6 May 1053)[3]
  3. Matilda (October 1048 – 12 May 1060, Pöhlde), married 1059 Rudolf of Rheinfelden, duke of Swabia and anti-king (1077)[3]
  4. Henry, [4] Heinrich IV succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor. He is known for his conflict with Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy.
  5. Conrad (1052, Regensburg – 10 April 1055), (from 1054)[3] Conrad II was appointed as the Duke of Bavaria. He died in 1055 at a young age.
  6. Judith (1054, Goslar – 14 March 1092 or 1096), married, firstly, in 1063, King Solomon of Hungary, and, secondly, in 1089, Ladislaus I Herman, Duke of Poland[3]

Other Children

With an anonymous concubine:

  1. Azela, mother of bishop Johannes of Speyer[5]


Offspring of Heinrich III and Gunhilda of Denmark (c1020-1038)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Beatrix of the Holy Roman Empire (1037-1061) 1037 Goslar 13 July 1061 Quedlinburg

Offspring of Heinrich III and Agnes of Poitou (c1025-1077)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Adelheid of the Holy Roman Empire (1045-1096) 1045 Goslar, Saxony, Germany 11 January 1096 Quedlinburg, Saxony, Germany
Gisela of the Holy Roman Empire (1047-1053) 1047 1053
Mathilde of the Holy Roman Empire (1048-1060) October 1048 Pöhlde 12 May 1060 Goslar Rudolf von Rheinfelden (c1025-1080)
Heinrich IV of the Holy Roman Empire (1050-1106) 11 November 1050 Imperial Palace of Goslar, Goslar, Lower Saxony, Germany 7 August 1106 Liege Bertha de Savoie (1051-1087)
Eupraxia of Kiev (1071-1109)
Konrad von Bayern (1052-1055) 1052 Regensburg 10 April 1055 Regensburg
Judith of the Holy Roman Empire (1054-c1094) 9 April 1054 Goslar 14 April 1094 Solomon of Hungary (1053-1087)
Wladyslaw I Herman of Poland (c1044-1102)

Offspring of Heinrich III and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Azela of Swabia (c1050-)


Offspring of Konrad II von Worms (c990-1039) and Gisela von Schwaben (c989-1043)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Heinrich III of the Holy Roman Empire (1017-1056) 28 October 1017 5 October 1056 Bodfeld Gunhilda of Denmark (c1020-1038)
Agnes of Poitou (c1025-1077)
Beatrix of the Holy Roman Empire (1030-c1035) 1030 1035
Mathilde of the Holy Roman Empire (?-1034) 1027 1034

See Also


  • Bernhardt, John W. (2002). Itinerant Kingship and Royal Monasteries in Early Medieval Germany, c. 936-1075. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-39489-9. 
  • Keynes, Simon (1999). "The cult of King Alfred". In Lapidge, Michael. Anglo-Saxon England. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Lohse, Tillmann (2013). "Heinrich IV., seine Halbschwester Azela und die Wahl zum Mitkönig am 26. Juni 1053 in Tribur: Zwei übersehene Quellenbelege aus Goslar" (in German). Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte 85: 217–227. 
  • North, William (2006). "Henry III". In Emmerson, Richard K.. Key Figures in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. 
  • Norwich, John Julius. The Normans in the South 1016–1130. Longmans: London, 1967.
  • Ryley, Caroline M. (1964). "The Emperor Henry III". In Gwatkin, H. M.. The Cambridge Medieval History:Germany and the Western Empire. III. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Schutz, Herbert (2010). The Medieval Empire in Central Europe: Dynastic Continuity in the Post-Carolingian Frankish Realm, 900–1300. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1443819664. 
  • Weinfurter, Stefan (1999). The Salian Century: Main Currents in an Age of Transition. The Middle Ages. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0812235088. 
  • Whitney, J. P. (1968). "The Reform of the Church". In Tanner, J. R.. The Cambridge Medieval History. V. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Wolfram, Herwig (2006). Conrad II, 990–1039: Emperor of Three Kingdoms. The Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 027102738X. 

External Links

Royal Succession Charts

Heinrich III of the Holy Roman Empire (1017-1056)
Born: 1017 Died: 1056
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Conrad II
King of Germany
with Conrad II (1028–1039)
Henry IV (1053–1056)
Succeeded by
Henry IV
Title last held by
Conrad II
King of Burgundy
Title next held by
Henry IV
King of Italy
Holy Roman Emperor
Preceded by
Henry V
Duke of Bavaria
Succeeded by
Henry VII
Preceded by
Herman IV
Duke of Swabia
Succeeded by
Otto II
Preceded by
Conrad II
Duke of Carinthia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Eckard II
Margrave of Meissen
Succeeded by

Contemporary Sources

The best contemporary sources about the life of Heinrich III include historical chronicles, official documents, and papal records. It is important to note that while these contemporary sources provide valuable information, they should be analyzed critically, as they might contain biases or reflect the perspectives of particular authors or institutions. Secondary sources, written by modern historians, can also offer insights and interpretations based on these primary sources to provide a comprehensive understanding of Heinrich III's life and reign. Here are some of the primary sources that provide insights into his reign:

  1. "Annalista Saxo" (Annals of Saxony): This chronicle was written by an anonymous author and covers the period from 1036 to 1070. It provides a detailed account of Heinrich III's reign, including his political actions, imperial coronations, and involvement in papal affairs.
  2. "Annales Augustani" (Annals of Augsburg): This chronicle was compiled in Augsburg and spans the years 1030 to 1062. It contains valuable information about Heinrich III's reign, especially regarding his policies, ecclesiastical affairs, and interactions with the papacy.
  3. "Liber Pontificalis" (Book of the Popes): This collection of biographies of the popes was compiled and updated by various authors. It includes accounts of the papal elections, synods, and significant events during Heinrich III's reign, such as the Synod of Sutri in 1046.
  4. Imperial charters and official documents: Various imperial charters and official documents issued during Heinrich III's reign provide insights into his governance, appointments, and policies. These records can be found in archives and collections throughout Europe.
  5. Correspondence and letters: Heinrich III's correspondence and letters with other rulers, nobles, and ecclesiastical figures are important sources for understanding his diplomatic activities, alliances, and negotiations.
  6. Church records and ecclesiastical documents: Records from monasteries, cathedrals, and other ecclesiastical institutions can shed light on Heinrich III's patronage of the church, his involvement in religious affairs, and the impact of his policies on the clergy.


  1. ^ Keynes 1999, p. 297.
  2. ^ Bernhardt 2002, p. 311.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Weinfurter 1999, p. 46.
  4. ^ Whitney 1968, p. 31.
  5. ^ Lohse 2013, pp. 217–227.

Footnotes (including sources)

Rtol, Thurston, MainTour