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Henry the Fowler
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Henry the Fowler

Henry I, the Fowler (German, Heinrich der Vogler) (AD 876 - 936), German king 919 - 936. Despite early opposition from his fellow German dukes, Henry the Fowler, a Saxon, was eventually able to persuade the Frankish dukes of Bavaria and Swabia to support his claim to the crown. More importantly, he won their support for his son, Otto, who later became the first crowned Holy Roman Emperor. Elected King of the Germans at the Reichstag of Fritzlar in 919, at the urging of the duke of Swabia who considered Henry's election critical to overcoming the rivalry between Franks and Saxons in Germany. First king of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty, Henry never went to Rome to be crowned Emperor by the pope. He was the son of duke Otto and married Matilda, daughter of Theudebert, duke of Saxony. Matilda founded many religious institutions, including the abbey of Quedlinburg, and was later canonized.

An able leader, Henry was successful in driving off invading Magyars, and himself invaded territories to the north, where the Danes had harried the Frisians off to the sea. Widukind of Corvey in his Rex gestae Saxonicae reports that the Danes were subjects of Henry the Fowler. Henry incorporated territories held by the Wends, who together with the Danes had attacked Germany, into his own kingdom.

Henry's military skills and ambition helped him to increase his kingdom, into which he was able to incorporate the Duchy of Bavaria and the Kingdom of Lotharingia. His sons, Henry (also called the Quarrelsome) and Bruno (later canonized as St. Bruno), inherited these (now both) duchies.

Preceded by:
Conrad I
King of Germany Succeeded by:
Otto I


Henry the Fowler is also the name of a wandering minstrel from the Tirol, the author of two cycles about Dietrich von Bern.