1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Conrad of Marburg

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CONRAD OF MARBURG (c. 1180–1233), German inquisitor, was born probably at Marburg, and received a good education, possibly at the university of Bologna. It is not certain that he belonged to any of the religious orders, although he has been claimed both by the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Early in the 13th century he appears to have won some celebrity as a preacher, and in 1214 was commissioned by Pope Innocent III. to arouse interest in the proposed crusade. After continuing this work for two or three years Conrad vanishes from history until 1226, when he is found occupying a position of influence at the court of Louis IV., landgrave of Thuringia. He became confessor to the landgrave’s wife St Elizabeth of Hungary (q.v.), and exercised the landgrave’s rights of clerical patronage during his absence on crusade. In 1227 he was employed by Pope Gregory IX. to extirpate heresy in Germany, to denounce the marriage of the clergy, and to visit the monasteries. He carried on the crusade against heretics with great zeal in Hesse and Thuringia, but especially in the district around the mouth of the Weser inhabited by a people called the Stedinger. In 1233 he accused Henry II., count of Sayn, of heresy, a charge which was indignantly repudiated. An assembly at Mainz of bishops and princes declared Henry innocent, but Conrad demanded that this sentence should be reversed. This was his last work, for as he rode from Mainz he was murdered near Marburg on the 30th of July 1233. He left an Epistola ad papam de miraculis Sanctae Elisabethae, which was first published at Cologne in 1653. Conrad is chiefly known to English readers through Charles Kingsley’s Saint’s Tragedy, in which he is a prominent character.

See E. L. T. Henke, Konrad von Marburg (Marburg, 1861), B. Kaltner, Konrad von Marburg und die Inquisition in Deutschland (Prague, 1882); A. Hausrath, Der Ketzermeister Konrad von Marburg (Leipzig, 1883); J. Beck, Konrad von Marburg (Breslau, 1871).