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Conrad II

Conrad II, c.990–1039, Holy Roman emperor (1027–39) and German king (1024–39), first of the Salian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. With the end of the Saxon line on the death of Henry II, the succession passed to the matrilineal descendants of Otto I, and Conrad, a Franconian noble, was elected (1024) as German king. Although the hereditary principle in Germany was strong enough to secure his election, it did not ensure Conrad support throughout the empire. His accession was contested by his stepson, Ernest of Swabia, and by the Lotharingians (see Lotharingia) and the Italians. After the collapse of the revolts of Ernest and the Lotharingians, Conrad brought N Italy into submission (1026–27) and was crowned emperor at Rome. He suppressed two more revolts (1027, 1030) by Ernest and won (1031) Lusatia from Poland. In 1034 he annexed the kingdom of Burgundy (see Arles, kingdom of) under the terms of a treaty (1006) between Rudolf III, last independent king of Arles, and Holy Roman Emperor Henry II. In 1036, Conrad returned to Italy, where war was raging between the greater and the lesser nobles. He deposed Archbishop Aribert of Milan, a powerful ally of the great nobles, and made the fiefs of the lesser nobles hereditary by issuing (1037) the Constitution of Pavia. In Germany also Conrad favored the small nobility, thus reversing the policy of Otto I and Henry II, who had depended for support on the Church. He promoted the servile classes to administrative office, thus building a new hereditary class of ministeriales to replace the ecclesiastics in the civil service. Conrad's administration was economical, and he encouraged commerce by granting market and mint privileges. At his death, his son Henry III ascended the throne at the height of its wealth and power.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: German History: Biographies


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