Conrad I

Conrad I

Conrad I, d. 918, German king (911-18). As duke of Franconia he distinguished himself by military exploits and in 911 was elected successor to Louis the Child by the Franconian, Saxon, Bavarian, and Swabian lords. Although supported by the bishops, he was unable to maintain strong central government. His reign was plagued by feuds and rebellions by the great feudal lords. Lorraine broke away and acknowledged Charles III of France; the Swabians continued warfare till Conrad's death; the duke of Bavaria, expelled, returned successfully. Conrad's most able foe was Henry the Fowler, duke of Saxony. Despite the enmity, Conrad's own deathbed advice was that Henry succeed him. Henry was elected (919) as Henry I. Conrad's failure to avert the continued Hungarian invasions and his alienation of the nobility increased provincial autonomy and almost dissolved the kingdom.

(died Dec. 23, 918) German king (911–918). The duke of Franconia and a member of the powerful Franconian dynasty known as the Conradines, Conrad was elected king on the death of the last of the East Frankish Carolingian rulers. His reign was a bitter struggle to maintain the traditions of Carolingian kingship against the growing power of Saxon, Bavarian, and Swabian dukes. Conrad failed to gain the support of the church, and his military campaigns were unsuccessful. Unable to establish his family as the royal house of the eastern Franks, he is reported to have proposed his opponent, Henry of Saxony, as his successor.

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Conrad I (Konrad, c. 890–December 23 918), called the Younger, was duke of Franconia from 906 and king of Germany from 911 to 918, the first and only king of the Conradine (or Franconian) dynasty. Though Conrad never used the title "king of Germany" (rex Teutonicorum), he was the king of East Francia as the elected successor of the Carolingian Louis the Child and this kingdom evolved into Germany in the following century.

Conrad was the son of Conrad, Duke of Thuringia, and Glismut, daughter of Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia. The Conradines, counts in the Lahn region, and the Babenbergs, counts in the Main area, competed vigorously for predominance in Franconia. In 906, they battled each other near Fritzlar. Conrad the Elder was killed, as were two of the three Babenberg brothers; the third was executed shortly thereafter, despite a promise of safe conduct by archbishop Hatto I of Mainz, the Kingdom's chancellor. Conrad the Younger became Duke of Franconia after this.

Conrad married the sister of the Swabian count Erchanger to patch up relations in 913. Cunigunda, widow of Liutpold and mother of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria, gave him two children: Cunigunda and Herman, both born in 913.

Conrad was elected King of the East Frankish Kingdom on November 10, 911, at Forchheim after the death of his uncle, the last East Frankish Carolingian, Louis the Child.

His reign was a continuous and generally unsuccessful struggle to uphold the power of the kingship against the growing power of the dukes of Saxony, Bavaria and Swabia. His military campaigns were failures, and his attempt to mobilize the bishops to his cause at the synod of Hohenaltheim (916) was not enough to compensate. Conrad died on December 23, 918 at Weilburg. He is buried at Fulda.

On his deathbed, he persuaded his brother, Margrave Eberhard of Franconia, to offer the crown to Henry the Fowler, duke of Saxony and one of his principal opponents, since he considered Henry to be the only prince capable of holding the Kingdom together in the face of internal rivalries among the dukes and the continuous raids of the Hungarians. Eberhard and the other Frankish nobles accepted Conrad's advice, and Henry was elected king, as Henry I, at the Reichstag of 919 in Fritzlar.

Eberhard succeeded Conrad as duke of Franconia. He was killed in 939 at the Battle of Andernach during his rebellion against Emperor Otto I, and the duchy of Franconia became a direct Imperial possession from 939 to 1024.

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