WI: Conradin wins

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Hopeless Situation, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Hopeless Situation New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2018
    Location:
    Angeles
    Hi everyone. Long-time reader, first-time poster. To me Conradin, the last Hohenstaufen, is a tantalizing character. Personality-wise, since he died so young, he's largely an enigma (and therefore an AH writer's dream), other than clearly being courageous and ambitious; in 1268, while still a teenager, he led an army against Charles d’Anjou, an intolerant monster even by medieval standards, to reclaim his family’s usurped kingdom of Sicily. OTL, Conradin and his maybe-lover Frederick of Baden were defeated at Tagliacozzo and executed soon thereafter.

    But what if Conradin gets lucky? Say he wins Tagliacozzo, manages to kill or capture Charles, and takes over Sicily. He’s still in a difficult position; he’s excommunicated, and a Hohenstaufen restoration in Sicily is the last thing the Pope wants. More papal-sanctioned invasions of the sort Charles executed against Conradin’s uncle Manfred seem possible. On the other hand, the Ghibellines will likely rally to him, and he has friends (such as his former guardian Ludwig II of Bavaria) in Germany.

    What, then, does Conradin’s future look like? How much chance does he stand of eventually being elected Holy Roman Emperor, and, if he manages that, of making progress toward his grandfather Frederick II’s goals of curtailing the power of the Papacy and the nobility? Or might he be unable to hold his German possessions at all, and wind up pursuing a policy similar to that of Charles OTL, focused on the Mediterranean rather than the HRE? And is there any prospect of rebuilding the multicultural society and quasi-post-feudal system of government his grandfather had instituted in Sicily? Meanwhile, what does Italy look like with a Hohenstaufen present to serve as the fulcrum of another round of Guelph-Ghibelline strife? And what about Germany without the “Swabian explosion” that occurred on Conradin’s OTL death, the permanent splintering of the Duchy of Swabia which allowed for the rise of, among others, the house of Hapsburg?
     
  2. Hegemon of words and thoughts

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2017
    Location:
    Ribeirao Preto, World State
    I can’t add anything of value, but I’m interested to see where this goes.
     
    Hopeless Situation likes this.
  3. RGB Unqueering the Academia

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Rainy Corporate Dystopia
    I mean, just practically speaking, traversing Italy in the middle ages was inherently dangerous. Every other time you died of malaria or something. The less peregrination Conradin does the better his chances of a longer life imo.

    I mean, it's hard to say. Possibly. But this is the middle ages and nothing's permanent, and everyone's one Sicilian Vespers away from major population shifts.

    A unified Swabia changes a lot, and I would love to read more about that.
     
  4. Prince de Pringondani Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    I doubt if the German Princes wanted another Frederick II IMO Conradin could become King of Sicily and stayed in Italy happily ever after
     
    Hopeless Situation likes this.
  5. Kellan Sullivan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Welcome @Hopeless Situation. Hope you like it here.

    I agree with this. Conradin's gonna have to decide which one he wants more - to be Emperor or king of Sicily. I doubt he could hold both.
     
  6. nepcotevalley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Location:
    Grantville United States of Europe
    Looking forward to this. Conradin due to his youth and inexperience was relatively easy prey for Charles of Anjou. It will be interesting to see how things turn out and what the butterflies will be. Regards.
     
    Hopeless Situation likes this.
  7. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    The Chaos TL
    If he managed to keep the HRE together, European history would change so much to be unrecognizable.
     
    Hopeless Situation likes this.
  8. Lascaris Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    A net gain for Byzantium I'd say here. Charles II had dreams of conquering Constantinople, that resulted to his supporting the remaining Frankish principalities in Greece (and vice versa, William Villeardouine and an Achaean contigent fought at Tagliacozzo and by some a counts was involved with the ambush plan that got Conradin). Instead Michael can deal with the principalities on his own terms paticularly if William goes down with his overlord in Italy. Post that Conrad probably is getting subsidies in the subsequent fighting in Italy, it cost less than the wars with Charles and funding the Sicilian vespers cost at a guess...
     
  9. LeCHVCK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    Conradin or rather Conrad V. survival would probably ensure that the interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire doesn't last as long and eventually the Staufer or Conrad himself becomes at least King of the Romans. I mean a Staufer would be the obvious choice if they can't agree whom to vote.
     
  10. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    What about a son of Conradin instead.
     
    Hopeless Situation likes this.
  11. Hopeless Situation New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2018
    Location:
    Angeles
    Thanks for all your replies, everyone. I've been turning this over in my mind the past few days, and I have a few more thoughts:

    I think you guys are absolutely right. While I do think the HRE in Germany could conceivably have been unified in this era by someone with enough energy and ability, reining in both Germany and Italy permanently would be a Herculean task. It'll be difficult to even hold both Sicily and Swabia. However, that doesn't mean I don't think it's likely Conradin would attempt it; the kid was clearly pretty ambitious, and he has the example of his grandfather, who arguably came closer than anyone else to actually pulling it off. I suspect he also would come under pressure from the Italian Ghibellines and his German allies to throw his hat in the ring for Emperor.

    I think that Conradin would stand a strong chance of being elected King of the Romans, perhaps as soon as 1272 when the claimant Richard of Cornwall dies, assuming he can hold on and consolidate in the immediate aftermath of Tagliacozzo, not so much because the princes want another Frederick II (they don't), but for lack of a good alternative. One big stumbling block here is Ottakar II of Bohemia, who is nearing the height of his power at this time and who wants the imperial crown badly. It seems to me that Conradin and Ottakar are on a collision course, and I doubt Conradin will have the Papal support Rudolf von Hapsburg received in his efforts to put down Ottakar OTL (he got that support in exchange for giving up the Imperial claims to Sicily and Rome, something I doubt Conradin would consider). Ottakar still has a lot of enemies (re: Hungary), and I think that conflict is winnable, but it'll be difficult for Conradin to deal with Ottakar in Germany while asserting himself in Italy. One other thing to note about this: OTL, Pope Clement IV dies just a month after Tagliacozzo. Maybe, if Conradin moves quickly, he can influence the election of a replacement Pope somehow? Not sure how feasible this is, but it could be interesting. Overcoming the Papacy, in one way or another, will be critical if Conradin decides to follow in his grandfather's footsteps.

    Norman and Hohenstaufen Sicily was kind of an anomaly in this regard, in that, so far as I know, it managed to maintain a pretty stable, very diverse population for nearly two centuries, which is what helped allow for some legal advancements that wouldn't be seen elsewhere for centuries. It does seem that the destruction of this diversity under Charles d'Anjou (particularly the driving out of the Jews and Arabs and the overall Latinization of Sicily) was pretty gradual, meaning that that population base will still be there for Conradin to work with upon his return, assuming he shares the tolerant attitudes of his ancestors (which, well, I don't think we know, but it seems more likely than not). Regardless, a lot of work will have to be done to reinstate the realm's previously strong and innovative legal codes and general administration, and it'll be very difficult to balance that work with the inevitable struggle in Germany and the rest of Italy.

    I'm also not sure where Conradin would look in terms of marriage prospects; anyone know anything about that? Conradin also lacks one crucial advantage Frederick II had for much of his reign: other Staufers to delegate power to. In the short term, it'll be hard to hold Swabia from Sicily, or vice versa, without an abundance of trustworthy people to rule in Conradin's stead.

    Side note: can anyone recommend me any good resources on 13th century German and Italian politics? I'd love to write this TL, but as of right now I'm not confident I know enough to make it plausible.
     
    trajen777, RGB, P L Richards and 2 others like this.
  12. Yanez de Gomera notorious procrastinator

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Location:
    il bel paese là, dove 'l sì suona
    Corradino/Konrad V is certainly a fascinating historical character. I had even attempted to start a TL about him, although I am more interested on Sicily and Italy than Germany, so I can't help much on the latter. One thing to consider is that Conradin would have to rely on Pisan help a lot for his campaign. Having Pisans take the OTL role of Florentines in the Kingdom of Sicily would cause a lot of interesting butterflies in Tuscany, probably leading to the triumph of the Ghibelline cause there and maybe even to a Genoese defeat and Pisa replacing it as the main rival to Venice in the XIV century.

    Conrad of Antioch was still available, as well as the late Manfred's sons (who are still children and might become a liability in Sicily if Conrad pisses off the powerful Lombard/Norman barons such as the Lanza). In general the whole court of former Manfred's loyalists surrounding young Conradin might influence him to concentrate on Italy.
    But I am afraid that keeping both Sicily and Swabia (which would imo necessarily cause an attemot at the Imperial title) is going to be impractical, especially considering how Ludwig II of Bavaria might not be that interested in Conrad'slong term success in Germany. I might be mistaken, but I think Conrad had pawned off to Ludwig most of his German lands to finance his Italian campaign. Louis X of France might also pay a key role here, as he needs Sicily as a friendly stop on his way to crusade and might see it as his honorbound duty to avange Charles. He could however also go in the other direction, as he also was the most important diplomatic actor of his age, brokering a peace between Papacy and Staufers predicated on a renounciation to Imperial ambitions by Conradin and maybe participation to the Crusade as penitence? Conrad is also titular King of Jerusalem after all.

    I am not so sure, especially if Conrad ends up as just king of Sicily it is possible that he (or his successor) would still end up supporting Achaia and antagonising Costantinople. One also has to consider the Sicilian claims on Durazzo and other parts of Albania/Epirus...
    That said it is true that removing Charles gives a nice break in favour of the Romans, in the short term at least.

    I largely agree, especially on Federician Sicily as a sort of experiment in proto.administrative monarchy, although it must be noted that mass conversions of Jews were more a thing of Charles' successor's reign.
    It must be noted that the re-Latinization of Sicily had been ongoing since Hauteville times (with the introduction of Lombard (mostly from present day Piemonte) colonists whose areas of settlement are still visible today on a map of Sicilian dialects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallo-Italic_of_Sicily). Moreover, Frederick II had already deported most of Sicily's Muslims to continental Italy, in particular creating a colony of them in the city of Lucera in Apulia, in order to settle them farther away from their traditional strongholds in the rugged terrain of South-West Sicily and a away from contact with larger Muslim polities.
    In this way the "Saracens" became utterly dependant on the Emperor's goodwill, just as he came to rely on them both for administrative and cultural purposes and as a reliable almost standing military force. They stayed true to the Hohenstaufen cause and rebelled in support of Corradino. Defeated by Charles they were put under harsh conditions, but the settlement endured until 1300, when it was finally razed and its inhabitants killed or taken as slaves. Honestly a long-term survival of "Lucera's Saracens" is really fascinating to me, although it would be really hard to justify its existence until the present day, given how they would be a target in each moment of social or political upheaval.


    My favourite scenario is probably one in which Manfred is the one to beat Charles and keep Sicily, while Conradin's line lasts as Dukes of Swabia, sorry if this preference influenced my post a bit.
     
  13. LeCHVCK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    If Conradin succeeds in Sicily and the pope accepts him somehow he is still on a collision course with Ottakar of Bohemia. After all Friedrich of Baden the friend and companion of Conradin has a claim to the duchy of Austria and Ottakar is the Duke of Austria de facto. Ottakar has also his own ambitions on the imperial throne so I guess he would manage to get himself elected and later Conradin returns and forces him to abdicate.

    Although this would mirror Friedrich II way to much the only difference is that Conradin is as German as Barbarossa and Friedrich was more Italian. Just like his Grandfather Conradin would eventually fail I think.
     
  14. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    I think Conradin must temporarily support Rudolf I, the Holy Roman Emperor.
     
  15. The Undead Martyr GOP Delenda Est

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    south of the (Canadian) border
    In the long term I think a successful Hohenstaufn need to pull a Habsburg and divide yhe dynastu into a sixilian and German branch. Imo the dynasty should also focus on burgundy specifically Provence, as a sicily burgundy swabia axis is quite strong as a power base.

    My preferred pod is having Henry, Fredeirck IIs uncle not be assasinated, with the former claiming Provence via marriage and the latter establishing a firmer control over Latin Rhomania (Sicilian Muslims and Serbian orthodox serving alongside calabrian Greeks and constantopolitans?) And possibly Jerusalem and becoming hereditary vicar in Italy, absorbing Spoleto and the Papal States into Sicilia-Rhomania.
     
    Yanez de Gomera likes this.
  16. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    I think a marriage of Douce II of Provence and Henry VI is possible..

    Hohenstauffens can inherit Castile via Berengaria of Castile and Konrad of Swabia.

    I think integrating Lorraine and Lower Countries and Bohemia to Germany for Conradin is the better choice for the long term just like the Habsburgs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018 at 9:49 AM
    The Undead Martyr likes this.
  17. Prince de Pringondani Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    With all these early events you probably have No Conradin at all .stay to the thread
     
  18. Prince de Pringondani Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    IMO there would occur a long lasting vendetta Hohenstaufen vs Anjou expanding over whole Europe
     
    Yanez de Gomera likes this.
  19. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    I think if the events still happen as OTL Conradin's son can marry one of the heiresses of Bohemia either Anna or Elizabeth.
     
  20. The Undead Martyr GOP Delenda Est

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    south of the (Canadian) border
    Would Conrad be able to claim Provence after Charles' demise? IIRC his cousins also have a nominal claim on Castille...