Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
966
CONRAD III.

a member of the family of the Conradines, counts in Franconia, but the family estates had passed to another branch, and were held at this time by another Conrad, called the “younger” to distinguish him from his elder relative. He appears to have been a man of strong character, and owing to his skill in warfare, and especially to his marriage in 1016 with Gisela, widow of Ernest I., duke of Swabia, won position and influence in Germany. When the emperor Henry II. died in 1024, the two Conrads were the most prominent candidates for the throne, and are said to have mutually agreed to abide by the decision of the electors. After some delay the elder Conrad was elected German king early in September 1024. He owed his election to the support of the German bishops, especially that of Aribo, archbishop of Mainz, who crowned him in his cathedral on the 8th of September 1024; and the king’s biographer, Wipo, remarks that Charlemagne himself could not have been welcomed more gladly by the people. Aribo, however, refused to perform this ceremony for Gisela, as she was within the prohibited degrees of affinity, and she was crowned some days later at Aix-la-Chapelle by Pilgrim, archbishop of Cologne. Conrad then travelled through his dominions, received tribute from tribes dwelling east of Saxony, and by his journey “bound the kingdom most firmly in the bond of peace, and the kingly protection.” His position, however, was full of difficulty, and the various elements of discontent tended to unite. Boleslaus, duke of the Poles, took the title of king, and assumed a threatening attitude; Rudolph III., king of Burgundy or Arles, who had arranged that the emperor Henry II. should succeed him, refused to make a similar arrangement with Conrad; many of the Italians were hoping to obtain a king from France; and some German princes, including Conrad the younger, and the king’s step-son Ernest II., duke of Swabia, showed signs of revolt.

The death of Boleslaus in 1025, and a cession of some lands north of the Eider to Canute, king of Denmark and England, secured the northern and eastern frontiers of Germany from attack, and the king’s domestic enemies were soon crushed. In 1026 Conrad set out for Italy, and supported by Heribert, archbishop of Milan, assumed the Lombard crown in that city, and afterwards overcame the resistance which was offered by Pavia and Ravenna. Travelling to Rome, he was crowned emperor in the presence of the kings of Burgundy and Denmark by Pope John XIX., on the 26th of March 1027. The emperor then visited southern Italy, where by mingling justice with severity he secured respect for the imperial authority; and returned to Germany to find Ernest of Swabia, the younger Conrad, and their associates again in arms. One cause of this rising was the claim put forward by Ernest to the Burgundian succession, as King Rudolph was his great-uncle. But his efforts were unsuccessful, and in 1028 the revolt was suppressed; while in the meantime the emperor had met Rudolph of Burgundy at Basel, and had secured for himself a promise of the succession. The emperor’s presence was soon needed in the east, where Mesislaus, duke of the Poles, and Stephen I., king of Hungary, were ravaging the borders of Germany. An expedition against Stephen in 1029 was only partially successful, but he submitted in 1031, and in 1032 Mesislaus was compelled to cede Lusatia to Conrad. In 1030 Ernest of Swabia was killed in battle; and in September 1032 the king of Burgundy died, and his kingdom was at once seized by his nephew Odo, count of Champagne. Collecting an army, Conrad marched into Burgundy in 1033, was chosen and crowned king of Peterlingen, and after driving his rival from the land was again crowned at Geneva in 1034. Having asserted his authority over the Bohemians and other Slavonic tribes, Conrad went a second time to Italy in 1036 in response to an appeal from Heribert of Milan, whose oppressions had led to a general rising of the smaller vassals against their lords. An assembly was held at Pavia, and when Heribert refused to obey the commands of the emperor he was seized and imprisoned; but he escaped to Milan, where the citizens took up arms in his favour. Unable to take Milan, Conrad issued in May 1037 an edictum de beneficiis, by which he decreed that the principle of heredity should apply in Italy to lands held by sub-vassals, and that this class of tenants should not be deprived of their lands except by the sentence of their peers, and should retain the right of appeal to the emperor. Having crushed a rising at Parma and left the city in flames, Conrad restored Pope Benedict IX. to Rome, and marched into southern Italy, where he invested the Norman Rainulf with the county of Aversa, and gave the principality of Capua to Waimar IV., prince of Salerno. Returning to Germany, the emperor handed over the kingdom of Burgundy to his son Henry, afterwards the emperor Henry III., and proceeded to Utrecht, where he died on the 4th of June 1039. He was buried in the cathedral which he had begun to build at Spires.

Conrad did much for the strengthening of the German kingdom. Its boundaries were extended by the acquisition of Burgundy and the reconquest of Lusatia; disturbances of the peace became fewer and were more easily suppressed than heretofore; and three of the duchies, Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia, were made apanages of the royal house. Although he did not decree that German fiefs should be hereditary, he favoured the tendency in this direction, and so attempted to make the smaller vassals a check on the power of the nobles. He endeavoured to unite Italy and Germany by inter-marriages between the families of the two countries, governed Italy to a large extent by German officials, and ordered that the law of Justinian should supersede Lombard law in the Roman territories. He ruled the church with a firm hand; appointed his own supporters, regardless of their individual fitness, to bishoprics and abbeys; and sought by inquiry to restore to the royal domain the estates granted to the church by his predecessors.

See Wipo, Gesta Chuonradi II. imperatoris, Herimann of Reichenau, Chronicon, Annales Sangallenses majores, Annales Hildisheimenses, all in the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Scriptores (Hanover and Berlin, 1826–1892). An edition of Wipo, together with parts of the Chronicon and the Annales Sangallenses, edited by H. Bresslau, was published at Hanover in 1878.

H. Bresslau, Jahrbücher des deutschen Reichs unter Konrad II. (Leipzig, 1879–1884); H. Bresslau, Die Kanzlei Kaiser Konrads II. (Berlin, 1869); W. Arndt, Die Wahl Conrad II. (Göttingen, 1861); J. von Pflugk-Harttung, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte Kaiser Konrads II. (Stuttgart, 1890), G. A. H. Stenzel, Geschichte Deutschlands unter den fränkischen Kaisern (Leipzig, 1827–1828); M. Pfenninger, Die kirchliche Politik Kaiser Konrads II. (Halle, 1880); M. Pfenninger, Kaiser Konrads II. Beziehungen zu Aribo von Mainz Pilgrim von Köln, und Aribert von Mailand (Breslau, 1891); O. Blümcke, Burgund unter Rudolf III. und der Heimfall der burgundischen Krone an Kaiser Konrad II. (Greifswald, 1869); W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit (Leipzig, 1881–1890); H. Pabst, “Frankreich und Konrad II. in den Jahren 1024 und 1025,” in the Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, Band v. (Göttingen, 1862–1886).


CONRAD III. (1093–1152), German king, second son of Frederick I., duke of Swabia, and Agnes, daughter of the emperor Henry IV., was the first king of the Hohenstaufen family. His father died in 1105, and his mother married secondly Leopold III., margrave of Austria; but little is known of his early life until 1115 when his uncle the emperor Henry V. appointed him duke of Franconia. In 1116, together with his elder brother Frederick II., duke of Swabia, he was left by Henry as regent of Germany, and when the emperor died in 1125 he became titular king of Burgundy, or Arles. Returning from the Holy Land in 1126, he took part in the war which during his absence had broken out between his brother Frederick and the new king, Lothair the Saxon; and was chosen king in opposition to Lothair on the 18th of December 1127. His election in preference to Frederick was possibly due to the fact that owing to his absence from Germany he had not taken the oath of fealty to the new king. Hastening across the Alps he was crowned king of Italy at Monza in June 1128, and in spite of the papal ban was generally acknowledged in northern Italy. His position, however, rapidly weakened. The rival popes, Innocent II. and Anacletus II., both declared against him; the Romans repudiated him; and after failing to seize the extensive possessions left by Matilda, marchioness of Tuscany, he returned to Germany in 1132. He continued the struggle against Lothair till October 1135, when he submitted, was pardoned, and recovered his estates; owing this generous treatment, it is said, to the good offices of