- Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II The abdication of Conrad II from the Chronicle of Ekkehard von Aura. King of the Romans (also known as King of the Germans) Reign 1024 – 04 June, 1039 Coronation 1024
Holy Roman Emperor, King of Italy Reign March 26, 1027 – 04 June, 1039 Coronation March 26, 1027
Predecessor Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor Successor Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor Consort Gisela of Swabia Issue Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor House Salian Father Henry, Count of Speyer Mother Adelaide of Alsace Born 990
Died 04 June 1039
Religion Roman Catholicism
The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty. As he matured he came to be well known beyond his power base in Worms and Speyer, so when the Saxon line died off and the elected monarchy for the German realm stood vacant, he was elected King in 1024 at the respectably old age of thirty-four years and crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on March 26, 1027, becoming the first of four kings and emperors of the Salian Dynasty.
He was reputed to be prudent and firm out of consciousness of deprivation. In 1016, he married Gisela of Swabia, a widowed duchess. Both parties claimed descent from Charles the Great (Charlemagne) and were thus distantly related. A daughter named Matilda became the first wife of Henry I of France, King of Franks.
Strict canonists took exception to the marriage, and Emperor Henry II used this to force Conrad into temporary exile.
They became reconciled, and upon Henry's death in 1024, Conrad appeared as a candidate before the electoral assembly of princes at Kamba, an historical name for an area on the East banks of the river Rhine and opposite to the German town Oppenheim (Today the position of Kamba is marked by a small monument, which displays Conrad on a horse). He was elected by the majority and was crowned king in Mainz on September 8, 1024, arguably in the prime of life. It was equally obvious that the Saxon line of Emperors was at an end, and all of Europe speculated and maneuvered to influence the Prince-electors in unseemly disrespect for the aging Henry II. That same year, Conrad commissioned the construction of the Speyer Cathedral in Speyer which was started in 1030.
The Italian bishops paid homage at Conrad's court at Konstanz in June 1025, but lay princes sought to elect William V of Aquitaine, as king instead. However early in 1026 Conrad went to Milan, where Ariberto, archbishop of Milan, crowned him king of Italy. After overcoming some opposition of the towns Conrad reached Rome, where Pope John XIX crowned him emperor on Easter, 1027.
He formally confirmed the popular legal traditions of Saxony and issued new constitutions for Lombardy. In 1028 at Aachen he had his son Henry elected and anointed king of Germany. Henry married Gunhilda of Denmark, daughter of King Canute the Great of England, Denmark and Norway by Emma of Normandy. This was an arrangement that Conrad had made many years prior, when he gave Canute the Great parts of northern Germany to administer. Henry, the later Emperor Henry III, became chief counselor of his father.
Conrad campaigned unsuccessfully against Poland in 1028-1030, but in 1031 in a combined action with the Kievan Rus' forced King Mieszko II, son and heir of Bolesław I, to make peace and return the land that Bolesław had conquered from the Empire during Henry II's reign. Mieszko II was compelled to give up his royal title and for the remainder of his troubled rule became the Duke of Poland and Conrad's vassal.
In 1029 some Bavarian border conflicts undermined the good relations with Stephen I of Hungary. One year later Conrad launched a campaign against Hungary. The Hungarians successfully used the scorched earth tactics and the emperor had to withdraw with his army. Finally the Hungarian army forced him to surrender at Vienna. After his defeat Conrad was obliged to cede some border territory to Hungary.
When Rudolph III, King of Burgundy died on February 2, 1032, Conrad claimed the Kingship on the basis of an inheritance Emperor Henry II extorted from the former in 1006, after having invaded Burgundy to enforce his claim after Rudolph attempted to renounce it in 1016. Despite some opposition, the Burgundian and Provençal nobles paid homage to Conrad in Zürich in 1034. This Kingdom of Burgundy, which under Conrad's successors would become known as the Kingdom of Arles, corresponded to most of the southeastern quarter of modern France and included western Switzerland, the Franche-Comté and Dauphiné. It did not include the smaller Duchy of Burgundy to the north, ruled by a cadet branch of the Capetian King of France. (Piecemeal over the next centuries most of the former Kingdom of Arles was incorporated into France - but King of Arles remained one of the Holy Roman Emperor's subsidiary titles until the dissolution of the Empire in 1806.)
Conrad upheld the rights of the valvassores (knights and burghers of the cities) of Italy against Archbishop Aribert of Milan and the local nobles. The nobles as vassal lords and the bishop had conspired to rescind rights from the burghers. With skillful diplomacy and luck Conrad restored order.
In 1038, Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno requested his adjudication in a dispute over Capua with its Prince Pandulf, whom Conrad had released from imprisonment in 1024, immediately after his coronation. Hearing that Michael IV the Paphlagonian of the Byzantine Empire had received the same request, Conrad went to Southern Italy, to Salerno and Aversa.
He appointed Richer, from Germany, as abbot of Monte Cassino, the abbot Theobald being imprisoned by Pandulf. At Troia, he ordered Pandulf to restore stolen property to Monte Cassino. Pandulf sent his wife and son to ask for peace, giving 300 lb of gold and a son and daughter as hostages. The emperor accepted Pandulf's offer, but the hostage escaped and Pandulf holed up in his outlying castle of Sant'Agata de' Goti. Conrad besieged and took Capua and gave it to Guaimar with the title of Prince. He also recognised Aversa as a county of Salerno under Ranulf Drengot, the Norman adventurer. Pandulf, meanwhile, fled to Constantinople. Conrad thus left the Mezzogiorno firmly in Guaimar's hands and loyal, for once, to the Holy Roman Empire.
During the return trip to Germany an epidemic broke out among the troops. Conrad's daughter-in-law and stepson died. Conrad himself returned safely and held several important courts in Solothurn, Strasbourg and in Goslar. His son Henry was invested with the kingdom of Burgundy.
A year later in 1039 Conrad fell ill and died of gout in Utrecht. His heart and bowels are buried at the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht. His body was transferred to Speyer via Cologne, Mainz and Worms, where the funeral procession made stops. His body is buried at Speyer Cathedral, which was still under construction at this time. During a major excavation in 1900 his sarcophagus was relocated from his original resting place in front of the altar to the crypt, where it is still visible today along with those of seven of his successors.
Depictions of Conrad II
The Basilica of Aquileia (northern Italy) contains an apse fresco (c. 1031) showing emperor Conrad II, his wife Gisela of Swabia and Patriarch Poppone of Aquileia.
Ancestors of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor 16. Werner V, Count of the Nahegau 8. Conrad, Duke of Lorraine 17. Hicha of Swabia 4. Otto I, Duke of Carinthia 18. Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor 9. Liutgarde of Saxony 19. Edith of England 2. Henry of Speyer 20. Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria 10. Heinrich of Bavaria 21. Judith of Friuli or Sulichgau 5. Judith of Bavaria 1. Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor 24. Gottfried of the Jülichgau, Counts Palatine of Lotharingia 12. Gerhard, Count of Metz 25. Ermentrude of France 6. Richard, Count of Metz
Gerhard of Metz
3. Adelaide of Alsace
- Kings of Germany family tree
ReferencesConrad II, Holy Roman EmperorBorn: c 990 Died: 1039
German royalty Regnal titles Preceded by
King of Germany
Holy Roman Emperor
King of Italy
as King of Burgundy
King of Arles
Monarchs of Germany Eastern Francia (843–918) Saxon Kingdom (919–62) Kingdom of Germany
in the Holy Roman Empire
(962–1806)Otto I • Otto II • Otto III • Henry II • Conrad II • Henry III • Henry IV • Henry V • Lothair III • Conrad III • Frederick I • Henry VI • Philip • Otto IV • Frederick II • Conrad IV • Rudolf I • Adolf • Albert I • Henry VII • Louis IV • Charles IV • Wenceslaus • Rupert • Sigismund • Albert II • Frederick III • Maximilian I • Charles V • Ferdinand I • Maximilian II • Rudolph II • Matthias • Ferdinand II • Ferdinand III • Leopold I • Joseph I • Charles VI • Charles VII • Francis I • Joseph II • Leopold II • Francis II
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)Napoleon I German Confederation (1815–1848) German Empire (1849)Frederick William IV (emperor-elect) German Confederation (1850–1866) North German Confederation (1867–1871) German Empire (1871–1918)
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