Conrad. I. Duke Of Franconia, elected king of Germany in 911, when the male line of descendants of Charlemagne had become extinct, died Dec. 23, 918. The royal authority had been so much shattered under the feeble rule of his predecessors that his brief reign was only a series of campaigns against his disobedient vassals. He was unsuccessful in his efforts to reconquer Lorraine from France, and to subdue Duke Henry of Saxony; but in Swa-bia he overcame two lords who had broken the public peace and had them tried and executed. He also expelled Arnulf, the seditious duke of Bavaria, who however took revenge by inciting the Hungarians against Germany. They invaded the empire and carried destruction to the borders of France. Conrad died from a wound received in battle with them, and on his deathbed entreated his subjects to elect his former adversary, the duke of Saxony, his successor. II. King of Germany from 1024, and emperor of the Romans from 1027, died at Utrecht, June 4, 1039. He was one of the wisest and most energetic among the rulers of Germany. Immediately after his election he visited all the provinces of the empire, establishing law and order with a powerful hand.

He proclaimed the treuga Dei (truce of God), and endeavored to base the imperial power more immediately upon the lower nobility, that is to say, upon the people, since at that time the middle and lower classes were not yet thought of in politics. In 1026 he went to Italy, chastised the seditious vassal princes and municipalities, confirmed the rule of the Normans in southern Italy, and was crowned Roman emperor by the pope. Having restored peace and order throughout Italy, he returned to Germany, suppressed a rebellion instigated by Ernest of Swabia, repelled the Hungarians who attempted to wrest Bavaria from the empire, conquered Burgundy, and defeated the Poles, who made inroads into eastern Germany. While his son Henry subdued the Slavs, who had invaded northern Saxony, Conrad went once more to Italy, where the imperial authority was again defied by the nobles and clergy (1036). He was only partially successful, and was compelled to raise the siege of Milan, after which he returned to Germany. He was succeeded by his son Henry III. III. King of Germany, a son of Frederick of Swabia, born in 1093, died at Bamberg, Feb. 15, 1152. At the age of 20 he distinguished himself in the defence of the emperor Henry V. against his enemies.

Returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he found Lothaire, elected by the Guelph party, upon the imperial throne, against whom he was in 1128 crowned king by the Lombards, but was ultimately defeated, excommunicated, and his coronation declared null. Still his courage and frankness, perhaps also apprehensions of the overshadowing power of the Guelphs, obtained for him many friends among the German princes, and after Lothaire's decease (1137) he was elected king (1138), He now turned against his rival, Henry the Proud, duke of Bavaria and Saxony, and wrested Bavaria from him, but left him in possession of Saxony. The attempts of Henry's brother, Guelph IV., to reconquer Bavaria, were frustrated by Conrad. In the mean time the Italian municipalities had risen against the papal power, and Conrad was invited by both parties to aid them. Distrusting the friendship of the Italians, he declined to do so, nor was he tempted by the offer of the imperial crown. A crusade which he undertook, jointly with Louis VII. of France, was unsuccessful. He was defeated at Ico-nium in 1147, and compelled to desist from his attempts to conquer Damascus and Ascalon. When he returned to Germany, in 1148, he found disorder reigning supreme.

The Guelphs, allied with the Norman king, Roger of Sicily, had once more tried to reconquer Bavaria; in Poland the legitimate duke Ladislas II. required Conrad's assistance against his own brothers; and Italy once more urged upon him the necessity of his presence. While preparing for a campaign in Italy, he suddenly died, probably poisoned by agents of King Roger. IV7. King of Germany, born in Apulia in April, 1228, died at Lavello, May 21, 1254. The son of the emperor Frederick II., he was crowned king of the Romans in 1237, and succeeded his father as king of Germany in 1250. With great energy he contended against the intrigues of the pope and the usurpations of his tools among the German princes, repulsed the Mongols who had invaded the empire, and succeeded in putting down his father's rival, Henry Easpe of Thuringia, set up by the pope (1247). But both before and after his accession he had to contend with a new rival king, William, count of Holland; and though in spite of defeat he maintained himself upon the throne, the prestige of his power was lost.

Embarrassed by the increasing anarchy in Germany, he went to Italy in order to save at least the Apulian kingdom (1251). He subdued it once more, and conquered Naples; but the enmity of the pope, who had excommunicated him, foiled his efforts to reestablish the imperial authority. He fell a victim to a lingering disease, occasioned as was supposed by poison, leaving only an infant two years of age (Conradin) as the last heir of the dynasty of Hohenstaufen.