But the most profound shock against the imperial authority in Lotharingia came from the Church itself: the reforming action of Richard of Saint-Vannes and Poppone in the monasteries at the beginning of the century. XI; later the diffusion of Cluniac ideas and the awareness, generalized in the ecclesiastical circles of Lotharingia, of the superiority of religious over civil power. These currents of thought, which also penetrated some dignitaries of the imperial Church, such as the bishop of Liège, Wazone (1042-1048), had, in the long run, to make it impossible to maintain the system established by the Ottons, which was profoundly shaken by the struggle. for investitures. After the faithful Otbert, who in his episcopal city of Liège defended the emperor Henry IV pursued by his enemies, and until the death of emperor himself in 1106, the Lotharingian Church gradually passed to Gregorian doctrines. The violent words with which the famous chronicler and polemicist Sigebert of Gembloux condemned these doctrines did not prevent their triumph. Moreover, they had the support of the princes and the aristocracy, who considered them a means of substituting that of the emperor by their influence on the Church and especially on the appointment of bishops. Furthermore, princes and aristocrats were spiritually imbued, to a fairly large extent, with the Gregorian spirit. aristocracy, who considered them a means to replace that of the emperor their influence on the Church and especially on the appointment of bishops. Furthermore, princes and aristocrats were spiritually imbued, to a fairly large extent, with the Gregorian spirit. aristocracy, who considered them a means to replace that of the emperor their influence on the Church and especially on the appointment of bishops. Furthermore, princes and aristocrats were spiritually imbued, to a fairly large extent, with the Gregorian spirit. For Netherlands 2018, please check ethnicityology.com.
The most obvious manifestation of this religious orientation of the nobility was the very large participation of its members in the first crusade, at least as regards the principalities located on the current territory of Belgium. Most of these princes participated in the crusade with several of their vassals. The last duke of Lower Lotharingia who belonged to the house of Ardennes, Godfrey of Bouillon, became one of the leaders of the crusaders. Lotharingia was the only part of the kingdom of Germany that sent numerous cavalry to the first crusade.
At the beginning of the century XII the duchy of Lower Lotharingia ceased to be a reality. The ducal title certainly existed: in 1101 it was obtained by the Count of Limburg from Henry IV, while in 1106 the Count of Louvain received it from King Henry V. But, deprived of any royal consistency, the title only served to confer in Limburg and Brabant a particular luster among the territorial principalities.
While these events unfolded to the east of the Scheldt, the county of Flanders continued to develop in the west. No longer to the south, where Normandy opposed an insurmountable barrier, but to the east. Baldwin IV (988-1035) and Baldwin V (1035-1067) gradually invaded the Lotharingian territories closest to their frontier, which they brought to the Dendre and, to the north, the lower reaches of the eastern Scheldt, especially including in their domain the South Zealand islands. The Germanic sovereigns were forced to ratify the fait accompli and Flanders now included a fraction of territory dependent on Germany. This expansion policy was favored by the struggle for investitures: Robert II took advantage of the conflict between Gregorians and imperialists in Cambrai to establish, by supporting the former, a kind of protectorate over the city. The pope, well disposed towards him, granted him in 1093 the restoration of the episcopal see of Arras, thus freeing a part of Flanders from the spiritual authority of a bishop of the empire. Half a century later Tournai was, in turn, separated from Noyon and erected again, in 1146, as a separate diocese, due to the increase in the population of Flanders.
While maintaining good relations with the kings of France, their sovereigns, the counts of Flanders operated, within their domain, with an independence that in practice was almost complete. Inside they exercised an authority comparable only, among the French territorial princes to that of the Duke of Normandy. In maintaining public peace they were of ruthless severity: Count Charles the Good, son of King Canute of Denmark and Adele of Flanders, who married Ruggiero I, Duke of Puglia in second marriage, even lost his life in revenge by ‘a family that did not intend to submit to the established order.
In the century XII a new and essential factor intervened in the history of the Netherlands: the cities. They began to appear in the century. X under the action of the commercial revival in the West. This same movement that gave birth to them animated the northern world: England, the Scandinavian countries, the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic, and established, through Russia, constant communications with the Byzantine and Muslim East. The ports that appeared on the Flemish coasts, notably Bruges, at the bottom of the Gulf of Zwijn, were born from this maritime trade, in which they participated on the same level as London that faced them. Since the end of the century. XI the drapes of Flanders, undoubtedly embarked in Flemish ports by Scandinavian sailors, were a common commodity on the Novgorod market in Russia. At the beginning of the century XII a new commercial current was added to this, considerably intensifying the economic vitality of the Netherlands: the current, that is, which from Italy, through the Alpine passes and along the great river routes, gradually conquered the north and west of the Europe. Since the first quarter of the century. XII the Flemish markets were assiduously frequented by Italian merchants and in the second half of the century Genoa became a center of capital importance for the trade of Flanders drapes. The cities of the Netherlands were born from the development of permanent agglomerations of merchants and these agglomerations arose as a result of the first of the two aforementioned commercial currents. The location was usually determined by the existence, in economically favorable locations, of some fortified point, in whose proximity merchants and artisans could feel safe. Such were some ancient civitas episcopale, sometimes of Roman origin, like Tournai, Cambrai, or more recently, like Liège and Utrecht; elsewhere it was the castrum of a territorial prince, as is the case with all the other cities of the Netherlands, which will be mentioned.