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Journal Article

Recht und Raum. Das Beispiel Sachsens im frühen Mittelalter


Ehlers,  Caspar       
MPI for European Legal History, Max Planck Society;

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Ehlers, C. (2008). Recht und Raum. Das Beispiel Sachsens im frühen Mittelalter. Rechtsgeschichte: Zeitschrift des Max-Planck-Instituts für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte Rg, (13), 12-24.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-5DFB-5
Law and Territory The case of Saxony in the Early Middle Ages Between the 9th and the 11th centuries the Saxons developed a specific consciousness regarding their freedom; initially related to the Saxon people it came to be associated with the land of the Saxons. This was accompanied by the growth of power held by the Saxons in respect to the other regna of the empire. They were able to boycott royal elections from the year 1002 onwards and thus force the newly elected king to travel to Saxony in order to win their approval in their territory. In the second half of the 11th century the Saxons endeavoured to make use of the »Saxon freedom« as a right of opposition against the Salian Kings, which precipitated a war with Henry IV, although he was simply trying to establish his own rights as a king within the eastern parts of Saxony (i. e. the reoccupation of the former Ottonian crown domain in and around the Harz mountains, which Henry had inherited). For that reason the war was limited to the eastern parts of Saxony and Thuringia in addition to the lands of the opposition in southern Germany, while Westphalia, for instance, was not touched. Nevertheless, the conflict has been known until our own times as »Henry’s IV war with the Saxons«. This is the result of writing history in the 11th century. In an epoque without states, this is a strong indication how the perception of space changed, intensified and led to the concept of territory. Henry IV was not able to successfully meet this challenge and was never able to develop an appropriate response – as did perhaps all his successors on the German throne.