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

St Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux. In 1136 he accompanied the imperial forces to Italy in the capacity of standard-bearer, distinguished himself by his soldierly skill, and in view of the increasing age and infirmity of Lothair, sought to win the favour of Pope Innocent II.

In December 1137 Lothair died, and some of the princes met at Coblenz, and chose Conrad for a second time as German king on the 7th of March 1138, in presence of the papal legate. Crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle six days later, he was acknowledged at Bamberg by several of the South German princes; but his position could not be strong while Henry the Proud, the powerful duke of Bavaria and Saxony, refused his allegiance. Attempts at a peaceful settlement of this rivalry failed, and Henry was placed under the ban in July 1138, when war broke out in Bavaria and Saxony. The king was unable to make much headway, in spite of the death of Duke Henry, which occurred in October 1139; and his half-brother Leopold IV., margrave of Austria, to whom Bavaria had been entrusted, was defeated by Henry’s brother Welf, afterwards duke of Spoleto and margrave of Tuscany. Conrad, however, captured the fortress of Weinsberg from Welf in December 1140, and is said to have allowed the women to leave the town, each with as much of her property as she could carry on her back. To his surprise, so the story runs, each woman came out bearing on her back a husband, a father or a brother, who thus escaped the vengeance of the conquerors. This tale is now regarded as legendary, and the same remark also applies to the tradition that the cries Hi Welfen, hi Wibelinen, were first raised at this siege. Peace was made at Frankfort in May 1142, when Henry the Lion, son of Henry the Proud, was confirmed in the duchy of Saxony, while Bavaria was given to Conrad’s step-brother Henry Jasomirgott, margrave of Austria, who married Gertrude, the widow of Henry the Proud.

Affairs in Italy demanded the attention of the king, as Roger I., king of Sicily, had won considerable authority on the mainland, and refused to recognize the German king, whose help Pope Lucius II. implored against the rebellious Romans. This state of affairs drove Conrad into alliance with the East Roman emperor, Manuel Comnenus, who in 1146 married his step-sister; but the condition of Germany prevented the contemplated campaign against Roger. The solitary success amid the general disorder in the Empire was the expedition undertaken in 1142 by Conrad into Bohemia, where he restored his brother-in-law Ladislaus to this throne. An attempt, however, to perform the same service for another brother-in-law, also called Ladislaus, who had been driven from his Polish dukedom, ended in failure. Meanwhile Germany was ravaged and devastated by civil war, which Conrad was unable to repress. Disorder was rampant in Saxony, Bavaria and Burgundy; and in 1146 war broke out between the Bavarians and the Hungarians. A term was placed to this condition of affairs by the preaching of Bernard of Clairvaux, and the consequent departure of many turbulent nobles on crusade. In December 1146 the king himself took the cross, secured the election and coronation of his young son Henry as his successor, appointed Henry I., archbishop of Mainz, as his guardian, and set out for Palestine in the autumn of 1147. Marching with a large and splendid army through Hungary, he reached Asia Minor, where his forces were decimated by disease and by the sword. Stricken by illness, Conrad returned to Constantinople at Christmas 1147, but in March 1148 set out to rejoin his troops. Having shared in the fruitless attack on Damascus, he left Palestine in September 1148, and passed the ensuing winter at Constantinople, where he made fresh plans for an attack on Roger of Sicily. He reached Italy by sea; but the news that Roger had allied himself with Louis VII., king of France, and his old opponent Welf of Bavaria, compelled him to return hastily to Germany, which was again in disorder. He was obliged to neglect repeated invitations from the Romans, who sent him a specially urgent letter in 1149, and consequently never received the imperial crown.

Conrad died on the 15th of February 1152 at Bamberg, where he was buried. By his wife, Gertrude, daughter of Berenger, count of Sulzbach, he had two sons, the elder of whom, Henry, died in 1150. Passing over his younger son Frederick on account of his youth, he appointed as his successor his nephew Frederick III., duke of Swabia, afterwards the emperor Frederick I. Conrad possessed military talents, and had many estimable qualities, but he lacked perseverance and foresight, and was hampered by his obligations to the church.

The chief authority for Conrad’s life and reign is Otto of Freising, “Chronicon,” in the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Scriptores, Band xx. (Hanover and Berlin, 1826–1892). The best modern authorities are L. von Ranke, Weltgeschichte, achter Teil (Leipzig, 1887–1888), W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit, Band iv. (Brunswick, 1877), J. Jastrow, Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Hohenstaufen (Berlin, 1893); Ph. Jaffé, Geschichte des deutschen Reiches unter Lothar dem Sachsen (Berlin, 1843); W. Bernhardi, Konrad III. (Leipzig, 1883); O. von Heinemann, Lothar der Sachse und Konrad III. (Halle, 1869).

CONRAD IV. (1228–1254), German king, son of the emperor Frederick II. and Isabella of Brienne, was born at Andria in Apulia on the 26th of April 1228. In 1235 he was made duke of Swabia and in 1237 was chosen king of the Romans, or German king, at Vienna, in place of his half-brother Henry, an election which was subsequently confirmed by the diet at Spires. After spending some time in Italy he returned to Germany and began to take part in the quarrel which had arisen between the emperor and the pope. In 1240 he called an assembly to Eger, where many of the princes declared openly against the pope, and was soon in arms against Siegfried, archbishop of Mainz, the leader of the papal party in Germany. Although defeated near Frankfort in August 1246 by the anti-king, Henry Raspe, landgrave of Thuringia, he obtained help from the towns and from his father-in-law Otto II., duke of Bavaria, and drove Henry Raspe to Thuringia. He was carrying on the struggle against Henry Raspe’s successor, William II., count of Holland, when the emperor died in December 1250, and a few days later Conrad narrowly escaped assassination at Regensburg. Assuming the title of king of Jerusalem and Sicily, he raised an army by pledging his Swabian estates and marched to Italy in 1251, where with the help of his illegitimate half-brother, Manfred, he overran Apulia and took Capua and Naples. He was preparing to return to Germany at the head of a large army when he died at Lavello on the 21st of May 1254. In September 1246 he married Elizabeth (d. 1273), daughter of Otto of Bavaria, by whom he left a son, Conradin, whom he had never seen.

See F. W. Schirrmacher, Die letzten Hohenstaufen (Göttingen, 1871); C. Rodenberg, Innocenz IV. und das Königtum Sicilien, 1245–1254 (Halle, 1892); J. Kempf, Geschichte des deutschen Reiches während des grossen Interregnums (Würzburg, 1893); and E. Winkelmann, Kaiser Friedrich II. (Leipzig, 1889).

CONRAD (d. 955), surnamed the “Red,” duke of Lorraine, was a son of a Franconian count named Werner, who had possessions on both banks of the Rhine. He rendered valuable assistance to the German king Otto, afterwards the emperor Otto the Great, and in 944 was made duke of Lorraine. In 947 he married Otto’s daughter Liutgarde (d. 953), and afterwards took a prominent part in the struggle between Louis IV., king of France, and Hugh the Great, duke of Paris. He accompanied his father-in-law to Italy in 951, and when Otto returned to Germany in 952, Conrad remained behind as his representative, and signed a treaty with Berengar II., king of Italy, which brought about an estrangement between the German king and himself. He entered into alliance with his brother-in-law Ludolf, and taking up arms against Otto, seized the person of the king, afterwards resisting successfully an attack on Mainz. He then ravaged the lands of his enemies in Lorraine; treated with the Magyars for support, but submitted to Otto in June 954, when he was deprived of his duchy, though permitted to retain his hereditary possessions. He was killed on the Lechfeld on the 10th of August 955, while fighting loyally for Otto against the Magyars, and was buried at Worms. He left a son Otto, who was the grandfather of the emperor Conrad II. Conrad is greatly lauded for his valour by contemporary writers, and the historian Widukind speaks very highly of his qualities both of mind and of body.