Hermann of Salm

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Hermann of Salm
Town Hall Eisleben-Smaller Detail.jpg
Hermann of Salm
Spouse Sophia of Formbach
Issue Otto I, Count of Salm
House House of Salm
Father Giselbert of Luxembourg
Mother Unknown
Born c. 1035
Died 28 September 1088 (aged 52–53)

Herman(n) of Salm (ca. 1035 – 28 September 1088), also known as Herman(n) of Luxembourg, was a Count of Salm and German anti-king of the Holy Roman Empire who ruled from 1081 until his death. From the 10th century, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire were elected German kings, who expected to be crowned by the Pope as Holy Roman Emperor.[1]


Hermann was a son of Count Giselbert of Luxembourg. While Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, King of the Romans, was campaigning in Northern Italy during the Great Saxon Revolt civil war, Hermann was elected as the second anti-King of Germany opposed to the emperor-elect in Ochsenfurt on 6 August 1081, by the nobility of Saxony and Swabia. Siegfried I, Archbishop of Mainz, crowned Hermann in Goslar on 26 December. Hermann's predecessor, Rudolph of Swabia, had died from wounds received in the battle on the Elster in October 1080. Because Henry believed the papacy should submit to the crown, Pope Gregory VII had excommunicated him and declared that he was unworthy of being the Holy Roman Emperor.[2] The civil war eventually ended and Henry was crowned Emperor in 1084, leaving Hermann in a very awkward position.

Supporting the Pope[edit]

The major issue between the Pope and Henry was the appointment of bishops. It was a custom that if a bishop was to die, the emperor would appoint a new bishop based on his ecclesiastical qualifications. Henry, on the other hand, was appointing bishops for political reasons which made Gregory furious and thus prohibited the appointments of investiture by any lay person, including the emperor. This was known as the Investiture Controversy.[2][3] Because of this, the church broke off from Henry and appointed Rudolph of Swabia and later Hermann of Salm. Unfortunately for Gregory, Hermann was nowhere near as strong a leader as Rudolph and this caused Henry’s power to grow.[4] Little is known of what happened to Hermann after this other than he served as an anti-king under Gregory’s rule until 1093, which is assumed to be his year of death. Conrad of Franconia began his rule after Hermann’s death.[5]

Military campaigning[edit]

Hermann's plan to gather an army on the banks of the Danube and march into Italy was dashed by the death of his main retainer, Otto of Nordheim. When Henry came into Saxony with an army in 1085, Hermann fled to Denmark. He returned, however, in alliance with Welf I, Duke of Bavaria, and defeated the emperor at the Battle of Bleichfeld on the River Main, taking Würzburg. Soon after his victory, however, he tired of being a pawn in the hands of the grandees and retired to his familial estates. He died near Cochem later that year of 1088, ending the Great Saxon revolt civil war.

His wife, Sophia of Formbach, left him a son, Otto, who succeeded him in Salm.