Episode 25 – Konrad II, the Construction of an Empire

In his last years Konrad tries to further strengthen his power, first by fighting the Hungarians, unseating the duke of Carinthia and a second Italian expedition. Al three of these endeavours backfire. The Hungarians win the war, the duke of Carinthia gets unexpected support from Konrad’s son Henry III and the Itlalian campaign ends in a fiasco entirely of Konrad’s making.

Despite these setbacks Konrad leaves a well ordered kingdom when he finally dies in 1039 after 15 years of rule. His kingdom is booming, the creation of Ministeriales and the growth of the cities create opportunities for peasants who find themselves under increasing pressures from their landlords. Castles and churches are being built on an unprecedented scale, culminating in the Cathedral of Speyer, the largest building in Europe at the time (together with the Abbey Church of Cluny)

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