1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Conradin

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CONRADIN, or Conrad the Younger (1252–1268), king of Jerusalem and Sicily, son of the German king Conrad IV., and Elizabeth, daughter of Otto II. duke of Bavaria, was born at Wolfstein in Bavaria on the 25th of March 1252. Having lost his father in 1254 he grew up at the court of his uncle and guardian, Louis II. duke of Bavaria; but little is known of his appearance and character except that he was “beautiful as Absalom, and spoke good Latin.” Although he had been entrusted by his father to the guardianship of the church, he was pursued with relentless hatred by pope Innocent IV., who sought to bestow the kingdom of Sicily on a foreign prince. Innocent’s successor, Alexander IV., continued this policy, offered the Hohenstaufen lands in Germany to Alphonso X. king of Castile, and forbade Conradin’s election as king of the Romans. Having assumed the title of king of Jerusalem and Sicily, Conradin took possession of the duchy of Swabia in 1262, and remained for some time in his dukedom. Conradin’s first invitation to Italy came from the Guelphs of Florence, by whom he was asked to take arms against Manfred, who had been crowned king of Sicily in 1258. This invitation was refused by Louis on his nephew’s behalf, but after Manfred’s fall in 1266 envoys from the Ghibelline cities came to Bavaria and urged him to come and free Italy. Pledging his lands, he crossed the Alps and issued a manifesto at Verona setting forth his claim on Sicily. Notwithstanding the defection of his uncle Louis and other companions who returned to Germany, the threatenings of Pope Clement IV., and lack of funds, his cause seemed to prosper. Proclaimed king of Sicily, his partisans both in the north and south of Italy took up arms; his envoy was received with enthusiasm in Rome; and the young king himself was welcomed at Pavia and Pisa. In November 1267 he was excommunicated; but his fleet was victorious over that of Charles duke of Anjou, who had taken possession of Sicily on Manfred’s death; and in July 1268 he was himself greeted with immense enthusiasm at Rome. Having strengthened his forces, he marched towards Lucera to join the Saracens. On the 23rd of August 1268 he encountered the troops of Charles at Tagliacozzo, but the eagerness of his soldiers to obtain plunder gave the victory to the French. Escaping from the field of battle Conradin reached Rome, but acting on advice to leave the city he reached Astura, where he was seized and handed over to Charles of Anjou. At Naples he was tried as a traitor, and on the 29th of October was beheaded with his friend and companion Frederick of Baden, titular duke of Austria. With his death the Hohenstaufen race became extinct. His remains, with those of Frederick of Baden, still rest in the church of the monastery of Santa Maria del Carmine at Naples, founded by his mother for the good of his soul; and here in 1847 a marble statue, by Thorwaldsen, was erected to his memory by Maximilian, crown prince of Bavaria. In the great 14th century “Manesse” MS. (c) collection of medieval German lyrics, preserved at Heidelberg, there are two songs written by Conradin, and his fate has formed the subject of several dramas.

See F. W. Schirrmacher, Die letzten Hohenstaufen (Göttingen, 1871); K. Hampe, Geschichte Konradins von Hohenstaufen (Berlin, 1893); del Giudice, Il Giudizio e la condanna di Corradino (Naples, 1876); E. Miller, Konradin von Hohenstaufen (Berlin, 1897).