Post-classical history

Henry of Kalden

Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire and military commander of the Crusade of Emperor Henry VI (1197-1198).

Henry of Kalden was probably a member of the knightly family of Pappenheim in Swabia, whose members held the hereditary office of imperial marshal. He is first documented as a marshal in the entourage of Frederick I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1185. Four years later he took part in the emperor’s expedition to the East in the Third Crusade (1189-1192). During this campaign he led the attack that captured the Byzantine fortress of Skribention and also commanded a division during the assault on Ikonion (mod. Konya, Turkey), the capital of the Saljûq sultanate of Rûm.

The marshal continued to serve Frederick’s son, Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Sicily, as a commander and confidante in both Germany and Italy. At the end of 1196, he was sent at the head of an embassy to Byzantium to demand financial and military support for the emperor’s planned crusade to the Holy Land. He returned to Apulia shortly after the outbreak of a major rebellion against the emperor’s rule in the kingdom of Sicily (May 1197). The marshal’s leading role in its suppression brought him rewards in the form of extensive estates around Neuburg an der Donau.

Henry of Kalden’s outstanding military abilities were undoubtedly the main reason for his appointment by Henry VI as military commander of his crusade, although its political leadership was entrusted to the imperial chancellor, Conrad of Querfurt, bishop of Hildesheim. The marshal sailed to Palestine with the main contingent of the crusade fleet, leaving Brindisi on 1 September 1197 and arriving at Acre (mod. ‘Akko, Israel) probably at the end of the month. He took part in the crusader capture of Sidon (mod. Saïda, Lebanon) and Beirut and the siege of Toron, and returned to Germany in the summer of 1198. After the death of Henry VI (1197), Henry of Kalden served his successors Philip of Swabia, Otto IV, and finally Frederick II. He probably died soon after February 1214, when he is last documented.

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