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Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 966 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CONRAD II. (c. 99o-~1o39), Roman emperor, founder of the Franconian or Salian dynasty, was a son of Henry, count of Spires, grandson of Otto I., duke of Carinthia, and through his great-grandmother Liutgarde, wife of Conrad the Red, duke of Lorraine, a descendant of the emperor Otto the Great. He was Law, 1904, pt. i. p. 64), " will take place when the conquering power has declared its will to annex it, and has established its authority throughout the territory, any opposition still made being on the scale of brigandage rather than of war, and no corner remains in which the ordinary functions of government are carried on in the name of the old state." 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 sorb 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, arch-bishop 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 1 et 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 thasuccession. 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. Hewas 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, Jahrbucher des deutschen Reichs unter Konrad II. (Leipzig, 1879–1884) ; H. Bresslau, Die Kanzlei Kaiser Konrads II. (Berlin, 1869) ; W. Arndt, Die Wahl Conrad II. (Gottingen, 1861); J. von Pflugk-Harttung, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte Kaiser Konrads II. (Stuttgart, 1890), G. A. H. Stenzel, Geschichte Deutsch-lands unter den ,frankischen Kaisern (Leipzig, 1827–1828) ; M. Pfenninger, Die ksrchliche Politik Kaiser Konrads II. (Halle, 188o) ; M. Pfenninger, Kaiser Konrads II. Beziehungen zu Aribo von Mainz Pilgrim von Koln, and Aribert von Mailand (Breslau, 1891); O. Blumcke, Burgund unter Rudolf III. and der Heimfall der burgundischen Krone an Kaiser Konrad II. (Greifswald, 1869) ; W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit (Leipzig, 1881–189o); H. Pabst, " Frankreich and Konrad II. in den Jahren 1024 and 1025," in the Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, Rand v. (Gottingen, 1862–1886).
End of Article: CONRAD II

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