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kground Henry was the third monarch of the Salian dynasty—the royal house ruling Germany from 1024 to 1125. The 11th-century kings of Germany also ruled Italy and Burgundy and had a strong claim to the title of Holy Roman Emperor. They were convinced that their claim to the emperorship entitled them each to act as the head of all Christians and to control papal elections in Rome. Rome was actually dominated by local aristocrats, the Tusculani and the Crescentii, who raised their own candidates to the papal throne. Their rivalries caused scandals, culminating in three rival popes—Benedict IX, Sylvester III and Gregory VI—in 1045. To put an end to the schism, Henry's father, Henry III, crossed the Alps to Italy and held a church synod at Sutri on 20 December 1046. The synod deposed the three popes and replaced them with a German prelate, Bishop Suidger of Bamberg, who assumed the name Clement II. Henry III emphasized the p
riestly nature of kingship, attributing it to the kings' anointment by holy oil. A man of great personal piety, he regarded himself as "Vicar of Christ", authorized to administer state and church alike. The Romans awarded him the hereditary title of patrician, acknowledging his and his successors' right to cast the first vote at papal elections. His new title enabled him to secure the appointment of German clerics to the papal throne. The third German pope, Leo IX, came from Lotharingia—a province that had been an important centre of reformist clerics. They wanted to purify the Church through the re-implementation of ancient (or supposedly ancient) collections of canon law and Leo IX enthusiastically introduced their ideas to Rome. He prohibited simony—the sale of church offices—and promoted clerical celibacy. Imperial control of church affairs was in the long run incompatible with the reformist idea of "liberty of the Church" which clai
med that ecclesiastic institutions could only be subject to the authority of the Holy See. The conflict between the two ideas reached its pinnacle during Henry IV's reign, developi