Conrad II, 990-1039: Emperor of Three Kingdoms

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9780271027388: Conrad II, 990-1039: Emperor of Three Kingdoms

In this biography of the German emperor Conrad II (990-1039), internationally renowned medievalist Herwig Wolfram paints a fascinating portrait of a consummate politician set against the background of a Europe entering a new millennium. Conrad was the founder of the Salian Dynasty, under whose almost century-long dominion Germany became the most powerful state in Western Europe. He was also the first emperor of the High Middle Ages to rule the three kingdoms of Germany, Italy, and Burgundy. Conrad's reign marked the triumph of the concept of 'kingdom' and the zenith of what has been termed 'imperial grandeur.' He broadened the internal bases of imperial power and brought the full weight of his office to bear upon popes, clerics, and abbots in the pursuit of his ecclesiastical policies. His astounding ability to achieve his political goals was practically unparalleled among the emperors of the High Middle Ages. Wolfram sees Conrad as a politician in almost the modern sense of the word, capable of exploiting the political, social, and economic structures of his day in order to exert his authority and marginalize his opponents. The result is an intimate portrait filled with fresh insights about Conrad and his consort, Gisela, who-as Wolfram demonstrates-played an influential advisory role with her husband. First published in 2000, this work demonstrates Wolfram's masterly command of the sources and the storyteller's craft, making Conrad II a compelling history of an emperor and his magnificent epoch.

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About the Author:

Herwig Wolfram is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History and Director of the Institute for Austrian Historical Research at the University of Vienna. Of his many influential works, two have previously appeared in English: History of the Goths (1987) and The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples (1997).

Review:

From the German edition:
Text on Dust Jacket Flaps

Conrad II (1024-1039) was the founder of the Salian dynasty, which would hold the reins of power in Germany for almost a century. His reign marked the triumph of the concept of 'kingdom' and the zenith of what has been termed 'German imperial grandeur.' He brought Burgundy under the imperial banner, thus becoming the first emperor to rule over three kingdoms. At the same time, Conrad broadened the internal bases of imperial power and brought the full weight of his office to bear upon popes, clerics, and abbots in the pursuit of his ecclesiastical policies. His astounding ability to achieve his political goals was practically unparalleled among the emperors of the High Middle Ages.

In this biography of Conrad II the internationally renowned medievalist Herwig Wolfram probes the reasons behind the first Salian s success. The author conceives of Conrad as a politician in almost the modern sense of the word, capable of exploiting the political, social, and economic structures of his day in order to exert his authority and marginalize his opponents. The result is an intimate portrait filled with fresh insights about Conrad and his consort Gisela, who--as Wolfram demonstrates--played a very influential advisory role with her husband. The author s masterful command of the sources and the storyteller s craft make Conrad II a compelling history of an emperor and his magnificent epoch.

Herwig Wolfram (b. 1934) is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History and Director of the Institute for Austrian Historical Research at the University of Vienna. Of his many influential works, two have previously appeared in English, History of the Goths and The Roman Empire and its Germanic Peoples.

Text on Back of Dust Jacket

Conrad II (990-1039) was the first emperor to rule the three kingdoms of Germany, Italy, and Burgundy in the High Middle Ages. Even though he appears to have come out of nowhere, it took astoundingly little time for the first Salian to overcome all opposition. The cathedral at Speyer, where he and his descendants are buried, remains to this day a living memorial to his reign. In this biography of Conrad II Herwig Wolfram paints a fascinating portrait of a consummate politician set against the background of a Europe entering a new millennium. --German Edition, Copy

What Wolfram's biography ably demonstrates is how a new man with international vision could effectively govern an unruly empire of different races: German, Frisians, Slavs, Italians, and Burgundian French, while maintaining effective alliances with England, Denmark, France, and the papacy. --Benjamin Arnold, International History Review

What Wolfram's biography ably demonstrates is how a new man with international vision could effectively govern an unruly empire of different races: German, Frisians, Slavs, Italians, and Burgundian French, while maintaining effective alliances with England, Denmark, France, and the papacy. --Benjamin Arnold, International History Review

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