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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Hohenstaufen Dynasty, 1138 - 1254

During the Hohenstaufen Dynasty, which is generally associated with the Age of Chivalry, castles and courts replaced monasteries as centers of culture, and German medieval literature reached its prime. During this period, Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa, 1152-90), the embodiment of chivalrous virtues and later a popular figure in romantic literature, succeeded in partly restoring order and stability by proclaiming a general peace forbidding private wars and feuds and establishing a feudal social order. He and his son Henry VI (1190-97) restored and extended the empire. Eastward expansion, including conquest of the area that was to be Prussia, was continued during the dynasty, and towns gained in economic strength. After his father's death during the third crusade, Henry continued the Hohenstaufen policy; but he absorbed himself in the continuing struggle between the empire and the papacy. His preoccupation provided opportunity for the German princes to extract farreaching concessions, such as those put forth in an imperial statute of 1232, which established lay and ecclesiastical princes as virtually independent rulers within their territories. The Great Interregnum (1256-73), a period of anarchy in which the German princes vied for political control, followed the death of Henry's successor, Frederick II.

Data as of July 1987