Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
CONRAD II, HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR
Reigned Sept. 4, 1024, to June 4, 1039; b. c. 990; d. Utrecht, Netherlands. He was the son of Count Henry of Carinthia and the Alsatian Countess Adelheid, founders of the "Salian" dynasty, and was educated by Bp. burchard of worms. Conrad entered a canonically objectionable marriage with Gisela of Swabia in 1015 to 1016. At the instigation of Abp. aribo of mainz, he was elected king and successor of henry ii at Kamba (near Oppenheim) on the Rhine. Crowned on September 8, he was recognized in Germany in spite of the opposition of his son-in-law, Duke Ernst of Swabia. He received homage in Milan in 1025. In 1026 he designated his son Henry III as his successor. Conrad was crowned emperor in Rome by john xix on Easter Sunday, 1027. Since then the emperor's bull read: Roma caput mundi regit orbis frena rotundi. In the East, Conrad was able to win back Lusatia from Poland in 1031 to 1032. He established a personal union of Burgundy with Germany after the death of the Burgundian king, Rudolf III, although he did not exercise his supremacy there. His regime is distinguished by acquisitions of imperial property, uniform laws and statutes, an increase in the flow of money, and in public security, and it laid a foundation for his position in later Germanic legends. The only failure Conrad experienced was in Milan, where he defended the nobles (vavasors) and unsuccessfully fought the wretched excommunicated Archbishop Aribert (1037). Earlier research characterized Conrad as indifferent to the Church, but recently the contrast between him and his predecessors and successors has been denied (Schieffer) or sharply reduced (Vogt). Actually Conrad retained the ecclesiastical control of Henry II without, however, showing any of Henry's personal concern. At synods he was interested only in political issues, neglecting statutes on Church discipline. He delegated monastic reform to poppo of stavelot, whom he had sponsored and to whom he had given six imperial abbeys. It is therefore an error to accuse Conrad of irresponsible ecclesiastical administration or (according to Wipo) even of simony, which was more sharply defined only under Henry III. Nevertheless he lacked the necessary knowledge and the correct attitude toward reform in the Church that distinguished both his predecessors and successors.
Bibliography: Sources. Die Urkunden Konrads II, ed. h. bresslau, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Diplomata (Berlin 1826–) 4:1–417. wipo, Gesta Chuonradi II in Die Werke Wipos, ed. h. bresslau, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Germanicarum (Berlin 1826–) 61:1–62. j. f. bÖhmer, Die Regesten des Kaiserreiches unter Konrad II, 1024–1039, ed. h. appelt (Regesta imperii 3.1.1; Graz 1951). Literature. h. bresslau, Jahrbücher des Deutschen Reichs unter Konrad II, 2 v. (Leipzig 1879–84). k. hampe, Deutsche Kaisergeschichte in der Zeit der Salier und Staufer, ed. f. baethgen (10th ed. Heidelberg 1949). t. schieffer, "Heinrich II. und Konrad II," Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 8 (1951) 384–437; Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–1965) 6:466–467. h. schreibmÜller, "Die Ahnen Kaiser Konrads II …," in Herbipolis jubilans: 1200 Jahre Bistum Würzburg (Würzburg 1952) 173–233. m. lintzel, "Zur Wahl Konrads II," in Festschrift Edmund E. Stengel (Münster 1952) 289–300. m. l. bulst-thiele in b. gebhardt, Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte, ed. h. grundmann (8th ed. Stuttgart 1954–60) 1:222–230. h. j. vogt, Konrad II im Vergleich zu Heinrich II und Heinrich III (Frankfurt a. M. 1957). h. schwarzmaier, "Reichenauer Gedenkbucheinträge aus der Anfangszeit der Regierung König Konrads II," Zeitschrift für Württembergische Landesgeschichte 22 (1963) 19–29.