When Otto firstly made impossible demands (Gebhard
25I), and then refused to appear altogether, Heinrich imposed his
decree, stripping Otto of the duchy of Bavaria and adding Otto's
possessions to his own. Since Frankish times this had been a legal
consequence of such a refusal. Any person so sentenced lost his right
to protection, became an outlaw - in German 'the friend of wolves' -
and like any wolf or bird could be killed with impunity.
Otto resorted to arms and after allying himself with
Magnus Billung, son of the duke of Saxony, went forth into battle [but
alas to no avail], both being beaten by the beginning of 1071, forced
to submit to the mercy of the king, and taken into custody [imprisoned].
[So how does conspiracy and Count Giso II fit into all
The answer is simple. Count Giso of Hollende and
Count Adalbert of Schauenburg were the instigators, movers, and
shakers of a very nasty plot. Either acting in support of Heinrich
IV, or perhaps even acting on his orders, they put a plan together,
formulated the accusation [against Otto] using their already-paid-for
tool, Egeno, and then went public. The aim was the complete
disempowerment of the duke of Bavaria and the expropriation of his
entire possessions, which would have made direct access to Saxony
and Thuringia an easy matter for Heinrich IV.
[So what went wrong? The almighty German clergy,
As a result of the intercession of Archbishop Adalbert
of Bremen, Otto was pardoned a year later and, while he had to give
up some of his fiefs, he nevertheless held on to his family estate
which had been acquired before the feudal system, with only Magnus
Billung remaining in prison. The conflict, however, was far from over
and after discussions with the Saxons it had become a case of hanging
fire - ie. forming a truce.
When in 1073 King Heinrich invited others to join him
in a campaign against Poland, the Saxon princes (fürsten) demanded
that before any participation on their part, he dealt with their
complaints first. As a result of the king rejecting this demand, the
Saxons formulated their own conspiracy, their leader being none other
than Otto von Nordheim.
When the king sent an embassy in an effort to stall
proceedings, the immediate response was to get an army together and
attack Heinrich in Harzburg [Grosse Harzburg is a former imperial castle
on the western edge of the Harz Mountains], where he was staying at the
time. Heinrich was obliged to flee to Hessen (directly south where he
still had possessions), as he was not well placed to meet the strong Saxons
in battle. The insurgency spread all over Saxony and Thuringia with a number
of important castles falling into enemy hands (Gebhard 251).
The chronicler, Lampert of Hersfeld, mentions [in his
chronicle] the following incident for the same year: