Hermann of Salm

Herman(n) of Salm (c. 1035 – 28 September 1088), also known as Herman(n) of Luxembourg, the progenitor of the House of Salm, was Count of Salm and elected German anti-king from 1081 until his death.

Herman of Luxembourg
Count of Salm
Town Hall Eisleben-Smaller Detail
King Herman, depiction at the Eisleben town hall
Bornc. 1035
Died28 September 1088 (aged 52–53)
Cochem Castle
Noble familyHouse of Salm
Spouse(s)Sophia of Formbach
Otto I, Count of Salm
Hermann II of Salm
FatherGiselbert of Luxembourg


Hermann was a son of Count Giselbert of Luxembourg (1007–1059). His elder brother Conrad inherited the County of Luxemburg and became a faithful supporter of the Salian king Henry IV of Germany in the Investiture Controversy and the civil war of the Great Saxon Revolt.

Investiture Controversy

The major issue between Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV was the appointment of bishops. It was a custom that if a bishop was to die, the emperor would appoint a new bishop based on his ecclesiastical qualifications. Henry, on the other hand, was appointing bishops for political reasons which made Gregory furious and thus prohibited the appointments of investiture by any lay person, including the emperor.[1][2]

From the 10th century, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire were elected Kings of the Romans, who expected to be crowned by the Pope as Holy Roman Emperor.[3] However, because Henry believed the papacy should submit to the crown, Pope Gregory had him excommunicated and declared that he was unworthy of being Emperor.[1] Because of this, the church broke off from Henry and supported the election of German anti-kings.


Upon Henry's humiliating Walk to Canossa, several princes met at Forchheim and had the Swabian duke Rudolf of Rheinfelden elected anti-king in 1077. Henry's and Rudolf's forces met in the 1080 Battle on the Elster, whereby Rudolf died from the wounds he received.

While Henry turned to Italy in order to enforce his coronation in Rome, the Saxon and Swabian nobles led by the deposed Bavarian Duke Welf I elected Hermann as the second anti-king opposed to the Salian monarch in Ochsenfurt, Franconia on 6 August 1081. He immediately entered into an armed conflict with the loyal Hohenstaufen duke Frederick of Swabia and retired to the Saxon lands, where Archbishop Siegfried of Mainz crowned him king in Goslar on 26 December.

Military campaigning

Unfortunately for Pope Gregory, Hermann was nowhere near as strong a leader as Rudolph and this caused Henry’s power to grow.[4] Henry was crowned Emperor by Antipope Clement III in 1084, leaving Hermann in a very awkward position. He gained broad support by the Saxon nobility, however, his plan to gather an army on the banks of the Danube and march across the Alps into Italy was dashed by the death of his main retainer, Count Otto of Nordheim. When Emperor Henry IV came into Saxony with a large army in 1085, Hermann fled to Denmark.

Little is known of what happened to Hermann after this other than he served as an anti-king under Gregory’s rule. During the revolt of Margrave Egbert II of Meissen, Hermann was able to return to Germany. Once again in alliance with Duke Welf I, he defeated the emperor at the 1086 Battle of Bleichfeld on the River Main, taking Würzburg. Soon after his victory, however, he had to witness Egbert's reconciliation with Emperor Henry and the killing of his ally Bishop Burchard II of Halberstadt. Tired of being a pawn in the hands of the grandees, he retired to his familial estates. King Conrad III began his rule after Hermann’s death.[5] He died near the Imperial castle of Cochem later that year of 1088 in an skirmish with his relative Count palatine Henry of Laach, ending the Great Saxon Revolt.

His wife, Countess Sophia of Formbach, left him a son, Otto, who succeeded him in Salm.

According to a legend perpetuated by the Brothers Grimm, Hermann was mocked as "King Garlic" by his opponents. First celebrated by local Kalands Brethren, an annual "Garlic Wednesday" is held after Pentecost in the region around Halle up to today.


  1. ^ a b CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Conflict of Investitures
  2. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Mainz
  3. ^ http://sizes.com/time/CHRNHolyrome.htm.
  4. ^ Pope Gregory VII
  5. ^ Holy Roman Empire

Year 1035 (MXXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1088 (MLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


An anti-king, anti king or antiking (German: Gegenkönig, French: antiroi, Czech: protikrál) is a would-be king who, due to succession disputes or simple political opposition, declares himself king in opposition to a reigning monarch. The term is usually used in a European historical context where it relates to elective monarchies rather than hereditary ones. In hereditary monarchies such figures are more frequently referred to as pretenders or claimants.

Anti-kings are most commonly referred to in the politics of the Holy Roman Empire, before the Golden Bull of 1356 issued by Emperor Charles IV defined the provisions of the Imperial election. Other nations with elective monarchies that produced anti-kings included Bohemia and Hungary. The term is comparable to antipope, a rival would-be Pope, and indeed the two phenomena are related; just as German kings (Kings of the Romans) and Holy Roman Emperors from time to time raised up antipopes to politically weaken Popes with whom they were in conflict, so too Popes sometimes sponsored anti-kings as political rivals to emperors with whom they disagreed.

Several anti-kings succeeded in vindicating their claims to power, and were recognized as rightful kings: for example, King Conrad III of Germany, Emperor Frederick II, and Emperor Charles IV (see table below). The status of others as anti-kings is still disputed: e.g. in the case of Duke Henry II of Bavaria and Margrave Egbert II of Meissen.


Saint Benno (c. 1010 – 16 June 1106) was named Bishop of Meissen in 1066. Venerated since the 13th century, he was canonized in 1523.

Burchard II (bishop of Halberstadt)

Burchard of Veltheim (also Burckhardt, Bucco, or Buko; c. 1028 – 7 April 1088) was a German cleric and Bishop of Halberstadt (as Burchard II) from 1059 until his death.

Dirk VI, Count of Holland

Dirk VI of Holland (c. 1114 – 5 August 1157), also known as Dietrich in German, Thierry in French, and Theodoric in English, was Count of Holland between 1121 and 1157, at first, during his minority, under the regency of his mother Petronilla. He was the son of Count Floris II. After his death he was succeeded by his eldest son Floris III. He married Sofie of Salm, Countess of Rheineck and Bentheim. She was heiress of Bentheim, which she ruled together with her husband and which was inherited by the couple's second son Otto after his parents' death.

Floris III, Count of Holland

Floris III of Holland (1141 – August 1, 1190), Count of Holland from 1157 to 1190. He was a son of Dirk VI and Sophia of Rheineck, heiress of Bentheim.

Gertrude of Northeim

Gertrude of Northeim (also Gertrude of Nordheim) (c. 1090 – after 1154/before 1169), was the daughter of Henry, Margrave of Frisia. Gertrude was heiress of Bentheim and Rheineck. She married first Siegfried I of Weimar-Orlamünde and then Otto I, Count of Salm.

Giselbert of Luxembourg

Giselbert of Luxembourg (c. 1007 – 14 August 1059) was count of Salm and of Longwy, then count of Luxemburg from 1047 to 1059. He was a son of Frederick of Luxembourg, count of Moselgau, and perhaps of Ermentrude of Gleiberg.

At first count of Salm and of Longwy, on his brother Henry II's death he inherited the county of Luxembourg, as well as providing the income for the abbeys of Saint-Maximin in Trier and Saint-Willibrord in Echternach. He got into an argument with the archbishop of Trier Poppon as to the abbaye Saint-Maximin, which was arbitrated by his brother Adalbero III, bishop of Metz.

In 1050, since the population of the town of Luxembourg had risen considerably, he expanded the city by building a new fortified wall around it.

By an unknown wife, he had:

Conrad I, Count of Luxembourg († 1086)

Hermann of Salm († 1088), count of Salm, founder of the House of Salm

daughter, married Thierry of Amensleben

daughter, married Kuno, count of Oltingen

Adalbéron († 1097 at Antioch), canon at Metz

Jutta, married Udo of Limbourg

Great Saxon Revolt

The Great Saxon Revolt was a civil war between 1077 and 1088 early in the history of the Holy Roman Empire led by a group of opportunistic German princes who elected as their figurehead the duke of Swabia and anti-king Rudolf of Rheinfeld, a two-way brother-in-law of the young Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor (Henry was crowned at the age of six and took on his offices when aged sixteen). It followed the Saxon Rebellion of 1073–75.

The duke had played power politics with the young Emperor several years earlier in his reign, and was demonstrably ruthless (kidnapping and forcing the marriage to Henry's sister) even without the support of the other princes of the Kingdom of Germany. The allied nobility were moved to take advantage of the momentary weakness of the Emperor in a period when he was at odds and had been excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII over the issue of who was entitled to appoint whom, who was therefore subservient to whom, as well as a dispute over the Emperor-elect's desire to divorce from his arranged wife.

After meeting with a penitent Henry IV in the fall of 1076, the pope had removed the first excommunication of the impetuous and hot-headed twenty-six-year-old monarch. However, during the same fall-winter season the organizers of the revolt by the nobility were arranging for all to meet in late winter to further their own ends against the interests of the young emperor-elect. With the delays of news and events imposed by High Middle Ages travel, communications heralding the rapprochement were delayed enough that the decision was made to just go ahead and meet anyway. The diverse council of Saxon, Bavarian, and Carinthian princes met in the March 1077, about as soon as early spring travel conditions allowed, in Forchheim (Oberfranken), and despite the reconciliation between the pope and Henry decided to press forward with their desires to expand their own powers.

The group consisted of high-ranking secular rulers as well as churchmen—who had up until the very recent Investiture Controversy and crisis been appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor—the new canon law reforms which set up the college of cardinals had heavily involved Pope Gregory VII. Prior to Henry's crowning at the age of six as the Emperor, the Emperor had been crowned by the Pope, who in turn he'd appointed. Henry's age of inheritance had been a flash point leading to much discussion and controversy spurring the reform. As the elected anti-king, Rudolf hoped to achieve the greater nobilities' backing by promising to respect the electoral concept of the monarchy (thus accepting a more limited and greater circumscribed set of powers as King of Germany) and the pope's backing by openly declaring his willingness to be subservient to the pope, as King of the Romans.

Despite these difficulties, Henry's situation in Germany improved in the following years. When Rudolf was crowned at Mainz in May 1077 by one of the plotters, Siegfried I, Archbishop of Mainz, the population revolted and forced him, the archbishop, and other nobles to flee to Saxony. Positioned there, Rudolf was geographically and then militarily deprived of his territories (later he was also stripped of Swabia) by Henry. After the inconclusive battle of Mellrichstadt (7 August 1077) and the defeat of Henry's forces in the Battle of Flarchheim (27 January 1080), Gregory VII, who had a personal animus against the Emperor-elect due to his intemperate language in earlier discourse, decided to flip-flop his decision supporting Henry to instead support the revolt and launched a second anathema (excommunication) against Henry in March 1080, thereby supporting the anti-king duke Rudolf. However, there was ample evidence that Gregory's actions were rooted in hate for the Emperor-elect instead of theology and so had an unfavorable personal impact on the Pope's reputation and authority, leading much of Germany to re-embrace Henry's cause.

On 14 October 1080 the armies of the two rival kings met at the White Elster river during the Battle of Elster in the plain of Leipzig and Henry's forces again suffered a military defeat, but won the battle with a strategic outcome— the anti-king Rudolf of Swabia was mortally wounded and died the next day at nearby Merseburg, and the rebellion against Henry lost much of its momentum.

Henry convoked a synod of the highest German clergy in Bamberg and Brixen (June 1080). Here Henry had Pope Gregory (who he had dubbed "The False Monk") deposed and replaced him by appointing the primate of Ravenna, Guibert (now known as the antipope Clement III), reasserting the Holy Roman Emperors' traditional right to appoint the pope for his side of the Investiture Controversy—though who was in the right was unclear in the day—the emperor reacting to retain his traditional prerogatives against the new canon law appointing the pope via the College of Cardinals. For the next few years, the civil war shifted south of the Alps.

While Henry campaigned there, the German aristocracy replaced their king Rudolf with the belated election of king Hermann of Salm (ca. 1035 – 28 September 1088), also known as Herman of Luxembourg, as their new anti-king in August 1081, but he was fought successfully to a stalemate by Frederick I, Duke of Swabia (Frederick of Swabia) — Rudolf's Henry-appointed successor in Swabia who had married Henry's daughter Agnes of Germany. Henry's campaign against the pope in Italy resulted in an accommodation and he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Gregory VII in 1084, leaving the anti-king Hermann of Salm in an awkward position.

Hermann's plan to gather an army on the banks of the Danube and march into Italy in support of the pope was dashed by the death of his main retainer, Otto of Nordheim. When Henry, now the crowned Holy Roman Emperor, returned north and came into Saxony with an army in 1085, Hermann fled to Denmark. He returned, however, in alliance with Welf I, Duke of Bavaria, and defeated the emperor at the Battle of Bleichfeld on the River Main, taking Würzburg. Soon after his victory, however, he tired of being a pawn in the hands of the grandees and retired to his familial estates. The Great Saxon Revolt civil war may have ended in 1088, for in 1089 Countess Matilda married Duke Welf II of Bavaria, but Duke Welf I only died in 1101.

Henry I, Margrave of the Saxon Ostmark

Henry I (c. 1070 – 1103), called the Elder (German: Heinrich der Ältere), a member of the House of Wettin, was Count of Eilenburg as well as Margrave of the Saxon Eastern March (March of Lusatia) from 1081 and Margrave of Meissen from 1089 until his death.

Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry IV (German: Heinrich IV; 11 November 1050 – 7 August 1106) became King of the Germans in 1056. From 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105, he was also referred to as the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century. His reign was marked by the Investiture Controversy with the Papacy, and he was excommunicated five times by three different popes. Civil wars over his throne took place in both Italy and Germany. He died of illness, soon after defeating his son's army near Visé, in Lorraine, France.

Leopold II, Margrave of Austria

Leopold II (1050 – 12 October 1095), known as Leopold the Fair (German: Luitpold der Schöne), a member of the House of Babenberg, was Margrave of Austria from 1075 until his death. A supporter of the Gregorian Reforms, he was one of the main opponents of the German king Henry IV during the Investiture Controversy.

List of German monarchs

This is about monarchs ruling over all of Germany; for the much more extensive number of monarchs ruling territories within Germany, see List of states in the Holy Roman Empire, Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, List of historic states of Germany.

This is a list of monarchs who ruled over East Francia, and the Kingdom of Germany (Regnum Teutonicum), from the division of the Frankish Empire in 843 until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.

The title used by the early rulers was Rex Francorum orientalium, "King of the East Franks", or Rex Francorum "King of the Franks". During the later medieval period (11th to 15th centuries), the title was "King of the Romans" (Rex Romanorum), and sometimes, interchangeably, "King of the Germans" (Rex Teutonicorum).

From 1508 until 1806, "King of the Romans" continued to be used by the emperor, while Rex Germaniae "King of Germany" or Rex in Germania "King in Germany" was used by the emperor's heir-apparent.

Also listed are the heads of the various German confederations between the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (of which Germany was a part) in 1806 until the collapse of the German Empire in 1918.

Otto I, Count of Salm

Otto I, Count of Salm (c. 1080 – 1150) was a German nobleman. He was a ruling count of Salm and from 1125 to 1137, he was co-ruler of the County Palatine of the Rhine with his stepson William.

Salm family

Salm was a Lotharingian noble family originating from Salmchâteau in the Ardennes (present-day Belgium) and ruling Salm. The dynasty is above all known for the experiences of the Upper Salm branch which came to be located at Château de Salm in the Vosges mountain range and over time came to rule over a principality whose capital was Badonviller then Senones.

Sophia of Formbach

Sophia of Formbach (also Sophia of Vormbach) (c. 1050/5 – after 1088), was the daughter of Meginhard V of Formbach. She was countess of Salm through her marriage to Hermann of Salm, who was also elected German anti-king from 1081 to 1088.

Sophia of Rheineck

Sophia of Rheineck, also known as Sophie of Salm, Countess of Bentheim (c. 1120 – 26 September 1176 in Jerusalem) was a German noblewoman.

Sponheim family

Sponheim or Spanheim was a medieval German noble family, which originated in Rhenish Franconia. They were immediate Counts of Sponheim until 1437 and Dukes of Carinthia from 1122 until 1269. A cadet branch ruled in the Imperial County of Ortenburg-Neuortenburg until 1806.

East Francia within the
Carolingian Empire (843–911)
East Francia (911–962)
Kingdom of Germany within the
Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)
German Confederation (1815–1848)
German Empire (1848/1849)
German Confederation (1850–1866)
North German Confederation (1867–1871)
German Empire (1871–1918)

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