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An antiking (German: Gegenkönig, Latin: contrarex, Czech: protikrál) is a would-be king who, due to succession disputes or simple political opposition, declares himself king in opposition to a reigning monarch. Antikings are more often found in elected monarchies than in hereditary monarchies like those of England and France; such figures in hereditary monarchies are more frequently referred to as pretenders or claimants.


Holy Roman Empire[edit]

Antikings are most commonly referred to in the politics of the Holy Roman Empire down to the beginning of the 15th century. The term is comparable to Antipope, a rival would-be Pope, and indeed the two phenomena are related; just as German kings and emperors sometimes raised up antipopes to politically weaken Popes with whom they were in conflict, so too Popes sometimes sponsored antikings as political rivals to emperors with whom they disagreed.

Several antikings succeeded in vindicating their claims to power, and were recognized as rightful kings: for example, the Emperors Conrad III, Frederick II, and Charles IV (see table below). The status of others as antikings is still disputed to this day: e.g., Henry II, Duke of Bavaria and Egbert II, Margrave of Meissen.

Other monarchies[edit]

Other nations that produced antikings included Bohemia and Hungary.

List of antikings[edit]

Notable German antikings[edit]

Name Dates In opposition to:
Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria 919-921 Henry the Fowler
Rudolf of Rheinfelden 1077–1080 Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Hermann of Salm 1081–1088
Conrad III of Germany 1127–1135 Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor 1212–1215 Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry Raspe 1246–1247 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Count William II of Holland 1248–1250
1250–1254 Conrad IV of Germany
Alfonso X of Castile 1257–1273 Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall
Frederick I of Austria 1314–1325 Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor 1346–1347
Günther of Schwarzburg 1349 Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick of Brunswick-Lüneburg 1400 Wenceslaus, King of the Romans


See also[edit]