Konradin of Suabia
Konradin Of Suabia, the last descendant of the house of the Hohenstaufen, son of the excommunicated Henry IV, was born in 1252. He deserves our notice for the relation he sustained to the intriguing pope Innocent IV, and the treatment he received at the pope's hands. His Italian possessions were seized by Innocent IV on the plea that the son of a prince who dies excommunicated has no hereditary rights, an example which the other enemies of the house of Hohenstaufen rejoiced to follow. Konradin's cause was befriended by his uncle Manfred, who took up arms in his behalf, drove the pope from Naples and Sicily, and, in order to consolidate his nephew's authority, declared himself king till the young prince came of age. The pope's inveterate hatred of the Hohenstaufen induced him thereupon to offer the crown of the Two Sicilies to Charles of Anjou, a consummate warrior and able politician. Charles immediately invaded Italy, met his antagonist in the plain of Grandella, where the defeat and death of Manfred, in 1266, gave him undisturbed possession of the kingdom. But the Neapolitans, detesting their new master, sent deputies to Bavaria to invite Konradin, then in his sixteenth year, to come and assert his hereditary rights. Konradin accordingly made his appearance in Italy at the head of 10,000 men, and, being joined by the Neapolitans in large numbers, gained several victories over the French, but was finally defeated, and, along with his relative, Frederick of Austria, taken prisoner near Tagliacozzo, Aug. 22, 1268. The two unfortunate princes were, with the consent of the pope, executed in the marketplace of Naples on the 20th of October. A few minutes before his execution, Konradin, on the scaffold, took off his glove, and threw it into the midst of the crowd, as a gage of vengeance, requesting that it might be carried to his heir, Peter of Aragon. This duty was undertaken by the chevalier De Waldburg, who, after many hair-breadth escapes, succeeded in fulfilling his prince's last command. SEE INNOCENT IV; SEE SICILIAN VESPERS.