AHC: William the Conqueror elected Holy Roman Emperor

Just a silly challenge inspired by screwing around in Crusader Kings 3. Have William the Conqueror elected Holy Roman Emperor, ideally without interfering too much with his conquest of England.
 
This is difficult, considering that William I is already given the crown of England by Alexander II. Henry IV also is a bit young to be excommunicated in 1066, only being around 15-17 if I remember correctly. Regardless, Alexander II and Gregory VII are not yet ready to do what Innocent III did. Mostly due to internal Roman politics, making the Papal position less dominant than what it could be. So, we need the Roman polity to be more thoroughly subjugated by Alexander II and by Gregory VII.

After this though, the bigger problem, is that there is a better claimant to give the Empire to than William I. Philip I represents the best claimant to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire and within the correct timeframe, he is the most appropriate to hand the empire to. So, we need him and Henry IV to both be excommunicated, interdicted and enemies of the Papacy. From there, William I could perhaps be given the crown, but it is a truly fantastic event. Alexander II or Gregory VII will see William I as too weak to be the Emperor or King of Germany and will scoff at him.
 
While I feel that the above post overstates papal power a tad, it is right in that William has little projection of power into the then HRE in order to warrant papal support. Most popes tend to back temporal princes who are likely to win, and who tend to support papal aims. Doesn't always work hence why so many Emperors got excommunicated when they were powerful enough to ignore the Pope, or even oppose them.
 
While the emperor was elected the german nobles always voted for members of the same dynasty until the family died out. Only later in the 13th century this changed with the election of Otto IV.. So I don't think that's possible without the Salians dying out and William somehow being an option.
One of Williams descendants was actually voted king of the romans however Richard of Cornwall could not assert his kingship.
 
While I feel that the above post overstates papal power a tad, it is right in that William has little projection of power into the then HRE in order to warrant papal support. Most popes tend to back temporal princes who are likely to win, and who tend to support papal aims. Doesn't always work hence why so many Emperors got excommunicated when they were powerful enough to ignore the Pope, or even oppose them.
The reason the Papacy is important in this is that William I does not have any claim or any pull in Germany to be elected. Even with a claim to the throne of England, William I still went to seek permission to invade England from Alexander II. So how much more will he do this in atl when he has no claim or lineage based argument? He would be Emperor only at the behest of the clerical electors and the Papacy directly. That is his only bet, as he cannot conquer Germany, that is insanity nor is it legally permitted, he would be excommunicated if he tried or attacked by his nominal overlord, Philip I.
 
The reason the Papacy is important in this is that William I does not have any claim or any pull in Germany to be elected. Even with a claim to the throne of England, William I still went to seek permission to invade England from Alexander II. So how much more will he do this in atl when he has no claim or lineage based argument? He would be Emperor only at the behest of the clerical electors and the Papacy directly. That is his only bet, as he cannot conquer Germany, that is insanity nor is it legally permitted, he would be excommunicated if he tried or attacked by his nominal overlord, Philip I.
But I'm not declaring that the Pope isn't important though. And I've already pointed out that William has no power in the territories of Germany, Burgundy, & Italy. Which makes it more unlikely the Pope would support him as Emperor. So I'm unclear why you think I'm backing the idea of Emperor William.

Additionally presumably you're aware that the papal permission story only has a single source as opposed to those on post facto approval/forgiveness? And even that doesn't request the crown from the Pope as you imply but more allowance to take the crown from Harold.
 
But I'm not declaring that the Pope isn't important though. And I've already pointed out that William has no power in the territories of Germany, Burgundy, & Italy. Which makes it more unlikely the Pope would support him as Emperor. So I'm unclear why you think I'm backing the idea of Emperor William.

Additionally presumably you're aware that the papal permission story only has a single source as opposed to those on post facto approval/forgiveness? And even that doesn't request the crown from the Pope as you imply but more allowance to take the crown from Harold.
Oh I do not claim that the Pope possessed the crown and then distributed it outwardly to William I. Only that the Papacy as a legal framer, as it was becoming, gave an approval and legitimacy to said conquest. As Urban II would later make apparent, the Papacy of this type, the reform Papacy which originated beyond the Alps and within the Frankish clerical tradition combined with a local understanding of the Power of Saint-Peter, disapproved of internalized European wars and believed the Papacy had the right to enforce realm peace. This implies likewise, the ability to legitimize a sanctioned war, which is what William I sought, to legitimize his warfare. Even if William I embarked upon seeking forgiveness, this is still a display on his part of Papal fealty in my opinion, and just what Popes such as Leo IX had hoped for. But that is not our topic...

Also, the idea that we need many sources for an event especially one of such a period would be debilitating to most of historical study. The Zanj Revolt is a good example, the entire war has only one serious source that we are in possession of, yet we know it occurred. In the case of William I and his request of permission and legitimacy from Alexander II, we must judge it according to the perception of reality of the period. It does make sense for that period that a respective claimant to a throne, which has over four claimants would seek Papal authority to legitimize his situation over others. And, these sorts of points were already spoken of by Alexander II's predecessor, Leo IX (a confidant of the Emperor Henry III and his cousin...) and certainly by Gregory VII. Furthermore, Alexander II was known for his role in creating coalition armies and sending forth or imploring military expeditions on behalf of the Papacy to attack different zones.

Oh I did not want to say that you support William I as Emperor, only to reiterate for all readers that as far as I know, this is the only way he can receive the Imperial title, and even I think that this is mostly impossible in the years 1066-1083. The Papacy has too many issues in Rome and nearby to go about seeking these types of goals. If they did, it would not be William I whom they would grant a title either. Ansehelm of Baggio, or Alexander II was from a high noble Lombard clan in Milan and he respected power and noble lineage. As such, for both lineage purposes and for the purpose of a better policy, I could more imagine Alexander II attempting to grant the imperial crown to Philip I, who in turn will ask William I to support his claim. Perhaps in that string of events, William I could end up foisting the crown from Philip I due to some mistake Philip I alienating either Alexander II or Gregory VII.
 
Oh I do not claim that the Pope possessed the crown and then distributed it outwardly to William I. Only that the Papacy as a legal framer, as it was becoming, gave an approval and legitimacy to said conquest. As Urban II would later make apparent, the Papacy of this type, the reform Papacy which originated beyond the Alps and within the Frankish clerical tradition combined with a local understanding of the Power of Saint-Peter, disapproved of internalized European wars and believed the Papacy had the right to enforce realm peace. This implies likewise, the ability to legitimize a sanctioned war, which is what William I sought, to legitimize his warfare. Even if William I embarked upon seeking forgiveness, this is still a display on his part of Papal fealty in my opinion, and just what Popes such as Leo IX had hoped for. But that is not our topic..
Which is much more reasonable in explanation.
Also, the idea that we need many sources for an event especially one of such a period would be debilitating to most of historical study. The Zanj Revolt is a good example, the entire war has only one serious source that we are in possession of, yet we know it occurred. In the case of William I and his request of permission and legitimacy from Alexander II, we must judge it according to the perception of reality of the period. It does make sense for that period that a respective claimant to a throne, which has over four claimants would seek Papal authority to legitimize his situation over others. And, these sorts of points were already spoken of by Alexander II's predecessor, Leo IX (a confidant of the Emperor Henry III and his cousin...) and certainly by Gregory VII. Furthermore, Alexander II was known for his role in creating coalition armies and sending forth or imploring military expeditions on behalf of the Papacy to attack different zones.
And one should also beware of overreliance on single sources as being what actually happened rather than the only interpretation we (currently) have.
NB not a lecture at you you understand just that sources are better with corroboration. Hence why you had to add justification on what you understand could be expected.
Oh I did not want to say that you support William I as Emperor, only to reiterate for all readers that as far as I know, this is the only way he can receive the Imperial title, and even I think that this is mostly impossible in the years 1066-1083. The Papacy has too many issues in Rome and nearby to go about seeking these types of goals. If they did, it would not be William I whom they would grant a title either. Ansehelm of Baggio, or Alexander II was from a high noble Lombard clan in Milan and he respected power and noble lineage. As such, for both lineage purposes and for the purpose of a better policy, I could more imagine Alexander II attempting to grant the imperial crown to Philip I, who in turn will ask William I to support his claim. Perhaps in that string of events, William I could end up foisting the crown from Philip I due to some mistake Philip I alienating either Alexander II or Gregory VII
It would be a more realistic chain of events than William alone yes.
 
Didn’t expect as much response to an admittedly silly challenge.

Yay!

If they did, it would not be William I whom they would grant a title either. Ansehelm of Baggio, or Alexander II was from a high noble Lombard clan in Milan and he respected power and noble lineage. As such, for both lineage purposes and for the purpose of a better policy, I could more imagine Alexander II attempting to grant the imperial crown to Philip I, who in turn will ask William I to support his claim. Perhaps in that string of events, William I could end up foisting the crown from Philip I due to some mistake Philip I alienating either Alexander II or Gregory VII.
Quite an interesting scenario. What do you see happening to Philip’s position in France in it?
 
Didn’t expect as much response to an admittedly silly challenge.

Yay!



Quite an interesting scenario. What do you see happening to Philip’s position in France in it?
Not exactly sure, but the French nobility would be told to support his claim by Alexander II and Gregory VII. Wars likely persist between France and the Empire, but with the election of Urban II, the French nobility may serious war (if they have not already) in order to get control over the German crown for their liege, who will have to make large concessions to ensure their loyalty. Likewise, with Urban II and Gregory VII supporting the mission, we may see even Norman detachments from Sicily coming north to assist in the campaign in exchange for loot and titles from the Papacy. In other words, a version of Crusade would be waged by the Papacy upon the Empire for the sake of changing the throne to Philip I. I would gander that the war would be a success for Philip I if he can gain the loyalty of his vassals and allies, namely William I, the Papacy and the Norman Papal vassals in Sicily and Naples.

Mind you, this already has precedence. Alexander II was able to gather an army of Frankish nobles to launch a large scale invasion of Islamic controlled Aragon and likewise, his relation to William I displays this to a degree. If even one elector in the west decides to support the Papacy (as they would do, as they did in otl in the investiture crisis and the disputes with Innocent III) and throws their support to Philip I, I would say that the Salians will be defeated and the Capet will assume the Imperial throne.

As to how we get William to be Emperor after this, I would perhaps frame a war wherein William I and William IV (count of Toulouse and the co-count, Raymond IV) do the greater share of the fighting. Even say Theobald II or Stephen II, the counts of Blois may be able to contribute in this sense. Considering this, have Philip I commit some great sin to the Papacy, preferably one regarding rejection of promises due to the Papacy, say Philip I immediately attempts to demand this or that from the Papacy and or throws support behind the Roman baronial families in support of an Antipope. In recognition of this, and in accordance with the great successes made in war by William I, in year 1080, Gregory VII excommunicates Philip I and declares his election nullified and instead declares the necessity of a new election in Germany. William I invades Philip I's realm in West France via Normandy and war commences. The war would be a divided Empire, Philip I and his loyal vassals against William I, Gregory VII (or Urban II), Norman states in Sicily and probably the majority of French vassals in the south. One possibility is that William I wins with the assistance of Stephen II the count of Blois, Raymond IV of Toulouse and the three dethrone Philip I and place on the throne in his stead, King Hugh II of Capet as the king of France, vassal to the Holy Roman Emperor, William I. Hugh of Vermandois is the obvious option, he is controllable by the nobles and is the younger brother of Philip I and thus is of the royal lineage. Very unlikely turn of events, but I suppose it is possible. It would be the most bloody series of war though in the Middle Ages in Europe most likely. It was rare for such inter-European wars to be waged in otl.
 
And so much more interesting than the cheesy way to do this in CK3 (use meritocracy perk to fab a claim on the French throne before conquering england then swear fealty to the HRE and fab a claim on that).
 
And so much more interesting than the cheesy way to do this in CK3 (use meritocracy perk to fab a claim on the French throne before conquering england then swear fealty to the HRE and fab a claim on that).
Yes, and much more climactic. Such a situation of a changing throne from Henry IV to Philip I to William I would be a series of wars and conflicts that would encompass all of Frankish Europe and nearby areas, with Sicily, Hungary, Denmark, Norway and Scotland all likely playing some sort of role. William I would definitely solidify himself as quite the character atl, as King of England, King of Germany, King of Italy, King of Burgundy (Middle France) and Holy Roman Emperor. France would also be much different... Under the Empire more explicitly, the King in Paris will have much difficulty in reining in his vassals. Precisely because he will be worked against from the top by the Emperor and from below by the counts and dukes of the realm who will ensure control over the Paris court and hence retain their strong dominion across the breadth of West France.
 
Yes, and much more climactic. Such a situation of a changing throne from Henry IV to Philip I to William I would be a series of wars and conflicts that would encompass all of Frankish Europe and nearby areas, with Sicily, Hungary, Denmark, Norway and Scotland all likely playing some sort of role. William I would definitely solidify himself as quite the character atl, as King of England, King of Germany, King of Italy, King of Burgundy (Middle France) and Holy Roman Emperor. France would also be much different... Under the Empire more explicitly, the King in Paris will have much difficulty in reining in his vassals. Precisely because he will be worked against from the top by the Emperor and from below by the counts and dukes of the realm who will ensure control over the Paris court and hence retain their strong dominion across the breadth of West France.
Sounds like a fantastic backdrop for an alternate history novel.

Okay, step 1, I have to get re-employed. Step 2, finish up both of my business masters degrees, and then make lots of money. Step 3, I study medieval history in-depth, maybe a doctorate, and then retire as a gentleman farmer, teach on the side, and write this novel.
 
The thing is if the current emperor is excommunicated why wouldn't the german nobles elect one of their own as antiking? Something that regularly happened during the timeframe for example Rudolf von Rheinfelden and Heinrich von Salm were antikings in Williams lifetime. Why would the german nobles rally around Henry IV. or anyone else if they could stop the war through electing someone else?
 
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