Conradin

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Conrad (25 March 1252 – 29 October 1268), called the Younger or the Boy, but usually known by the diminutive Conradin (German: Konradin, Italian: Corradino), was the Duke of Swabia (1254–1268, as Conrad IV), King of Jerusalem (1254–1268, as Conrad III), and King of Sicily (1254–1258, de jure until 1268, as Conrad II).

Contents

Early childhood

Conradin was born in Wolfstein, Bavaria, to Conrad IV of Germany and Elisabeth of Wittelsbach. He is sometimes known as Conrad V of the Holy Roman Empire or Conrad V of Germany, though he never succeeded his father in Germany (although he was recognized as king of the Germans, Sicily, and Jerusalem by German supporters of the Hohenstaufens in 1254).

Having lost his father in 1254, he grew up at the court of his uncle and guardian, Louis II, Duke of Upper Bavaria. His guardians were able to hold Swabia for him. Jerusalem was held by a relative from the royal house of Cyprus as regent. In Sicily, his father's half-brother Manfred continued as regent, but began to develop plans to usurp the kingship.

Little is known of his appearance and character except that he was "beautiful as Absalom, and spoke good Latin". Although his father had entrusted him to the guardianship of the church, Pope Innocent IV pursued Conradin with the same relentless hatred he had against his grandfather Frederick II, and attempted to bestow the kingdom of Sicily on a foreign prince. Innocent's successor, Pope Alexander IV, continuing this policy, offered the Hohenstaufen lands in Germany to Alfonso X, king of Castile, and forbade Conradin's election as king of the Romans.

Political and military career

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: they asked him to take arms against Manfred, who had been crowned king of Sicily in 1258 on a false rumor of Conradin's death. Louis refused this invitation on his nephew's behalf. In 1266 the count Charles I of Anjou, called by the new pope Clement IV, defeated and killed Manfred at Benevento, taking possession of southern Italy: envoys from the Ghibelline cities came then to Bavaria and urged Conradin to come and free Italy. Count Guido de Montefeltro representing Prince Henry of Castile, Senator of Rome, offered him the support of the eternal city. Pledging his lands, Conradin crossed the Alps and issued a manifesto at Verona setting forth his claim on Sicily.

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