The Winter campaign of 1033

In the winter of 1033 emperor Konrad II besieged the castle of Murten (in today’s Switzerland). It was a miserably cold winter, a winter so cold that the horses would literally freeze into the ground over night so that they could only be freed with axes and stakes. The men were constantly frozen so that their faces were white with frost and even the beardless adolescents looked like old men. One man who could not find help to free his horse killed it and skinned it upwards as it stood. Basically, it was Stannis Baratheon’s attack on Winterfell.Other than Stannis, Konrad knew when enough was enough and retreated to Zurich, to resume fighting later that year.The siege was part of Konrad’s efforts to acquire the kingdom(s) of Burgundy for the empire. The last king of Burgundy, Rudolf III had agreed to leave all of it (Westen Switzerland, Franche Comte, Savoy, Piedmont, Provence-cote d’Azur) to his nephew Emperor Henry II. Henry unhelpful died Before his aged uncle and his successor, Konrad II had no real inheritance claim on the kingdom. When Rudolf III finally passed another of his relatives, Odo of Blois made a claim for the kingdom. The Burgundian nobles very much preferred the less powerful Odo to the mighty and proactive Konrad. However, Odo did not act decisively enough and Konrad could raise several armies, gaining the initiative despite his initial setback at Murten. By 1035 Odo had to renounce his claims and the kingdoms of Burgundy became part of the (Holy Roman) Empire and remained so until 1648 and in parts until 1806. This position outside the kingdom of France allowed for a somewhat different political and cultural development of for example Provence, France Comte, Alsace and Savoy that is still noticeable today.

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