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Conrad (King of Italy)

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Conrad (King of Italy)

Conrad II (12 February 1074 – 27 July 1101) was the Duke of Lower Lorraine (1076–89), King of Germany (1087–98) and King of Italy (1093–98). He was the second son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and Bertha of Savoy, and their eldest son to reach adulthood, his older brother Henry having been born and died in the same month of August 1071. Although Conrad's rule in Lorraine and Germany was nominal, he spent most of his life in Italy and there he was king in fact as well as in name.

Conrad was born on 12 February 1074 at Hersfeld Abbey while his father was fighting against the Saxon Rebellion. He was baptised in the abbey three days later. After his victory against the Saxons, Henry arranged for an assembly at Goslar during Christmas 1075 to swear an oath to Conrad as his successor. After the death of Duke Godfrey IV of Lower Lorraine on 26/7 February 1076, Henry refused to appoint the late duke's own choice of successor, his nephew, Godfrey of Bouillon, and instead named his two-year-old son Duke of Lower Lorraine.[1]

Later that year, Conrad accompanied his father across the Alps on the way to Canossa, because there was nobody in Germany to which Henry could entrust his son. When Henry returned to Germany, Conrad was given to the care of Tedald, archbishop of Milan, and remained in Italy to act as a pledge to the imperialist party there.[1] In October 1080, Conrad was present in the camp when a force from northern Italy defeated the troops of Marchioness Matilda of Tuscany near Mantua. The next year (1081) Henry entered Italy and probably endeavoured to wed his son to a daughter of Duke Robert Guiscard of Apulia.[1]

In 1087, Conrad returned to Germany and was crowned king on 30 May in Aachen. Before the year was up he had returned to Italy, and shortly afterwards his mother died. The passing of Bertha perhaps provoked the rupture between Conrad and his father.[1] In Italy, Conrad was unsuccessful in resisting Matilda of Tuscany until his father came down in the spring of 1090. In 1092, following the death of the Marchioness Adelaide of Turin, his grandmother, on 19 December 1091, Conrad seized control of her lands. In 1093, with the support of Matilda and her husband, Welf, along with the Patarene-minded cities of northern Italy, Conrad was elected king.[1] He was taken into his father's custody shortly after, but escaped and was subsequently crowned in Milan by Archbishop Anselm III. According to the historian Landulf Iuniore, he was also crowned at Monza, where the Iron Crown was being kept. After Conrad's coronation, Anselm died and the new king invested his successor, Arnulf III on 6 December 1093, although many of the bishops present to celebrate his coronation refused to attend the simoniacal investiture of Arnulf. The papal legate who was present, probably to speak with Conrad, immediately declared Arnulf deposed.[2] The accusation might have been that Arnulf had preformed undue service to Conrad to secure his investiture, or that he had been to obeisant, a charge of simony ab obsequio.[3]

Under the influence of his stepmother, Eupraxia, who had escaped Henry IV and fled to Canossa, Conrad joined the papal camp and turned against his father. In 1095 he attained the Council of Piacenza and confirmed Eupraxia's accusations that Henry IV was a member of Nicolaitan sect, participated in orgies and offered Eupraxia to Conrad, stating that this was the reason for his turning against his father. Shortly after the council, he swore an oath of loyalty to Pope Urban II in Cremona and served as the Pope's strator, leading the Pope's horse as a symbolic gesture of humility. In turn, Urban promised Conrad the imperial crown. In the same year, the Pope arranged a marriage of Conrad to Constance, a daughter of Count Roger I of Sicily.

Early during the episcopate of Anselm IV of Milan, Conrad lost the support of the papalists in Lombardy. He once rhetorically asked Liutprand, one of the leaders of the Pataria, "Since you are a teacher of Patarenes, what do you think of bishops and priests who possess royal rights and present not food to the king?"[4] Without Matilda's support, Conrad became a supporter of the Pataria. The historian Landulf of Saint Paul praised Conrad for refusing investiture to Arimanno da Gavardo, the bishop-elect of Brescia, or to Anselm IV.[5]

His father reacted at the Diet of Mainz in April 1098 by deposing Conrad and designating his younger son Henry as successor. After this, Conrad could hardly influence the political events in Italy and in 1101 he died at the age of twenty seven in Florence. He was buried in Santa Reparata, now superseded by Santa Maria del Fiore.



  • Alfred Gawlik (1980) (in German). "full text online)
  • Cosimo Damiano Fonsega (1962). "Arnolfo" Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI) 4. Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana.
  • H. E. J. Cowdrey (1968). "The Succession of the Archbishops of Milan in the Time of Pope Urban II". The English Historical Review 83 : 327, pp. 285–94.
Conrad II of Italy
Born: 1074 Died: 1101
German royalty
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Godfrey IV
Duke of Lower Lorraine
Succeeded by
Godfrey V
Preceded by
Henry IV
German King
(formally King of the Romans)

Succeeded by
Henry V
King of Italy

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