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Günther von Schwarzburg, antiking to Charles IV in 1349, Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

An antiking (German: Gegenkönig, French: antiroi, 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 elective monarchies like the Holy Roman Empire than in hereditary monarchies like those of England and France; such figures in hereditary monarchies are more frequently referred to as pretenders or claimants.


Antikings are most commonly referred to in the politics of the Holy Roman Empire, until the Golden Bull of 1356 issued by Emperor Charles IV defined the provisions of the Imperial election. The term is comparable to antipope, a rival would-be Pope, and indeed the two phenomena are related; just as German kings (Kings of the Romans) and Holy Roman Emperors from time to time 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, King Conrad III of Germany, Emperor Frederick II, and Emperor Charles IV (see table below). The status of others as antikings is still disputed to this day: e.g. in the case of Duke Henry II of Bavaria and Margrave Egbert II of Meissen.

Other nations that produced antikings included Bohemia and Hungary.

List of antikings[edit]


Name Dates In opposition to:
Arnulf the Bad 919-921 Henry the Fowler
Henry the Wrangler 984-985 Otto III
Rudolf of Rheinfelden 1077–1080 Henry IV
Hermann of Salm 1081–1088
Conrad III 1127–1135 Lothair III
Frederick II 1212–1215 Otto IV
Henry Raspe 1246–1247 Frederick II
William II of Holland 1248–1250
1250–1254 Conrad IV
Charles IV 1346–1347 Louis IV
Günther of Schwarzburg 1349 Charles IV
Frederick of Brunswick-Lüneburg 1400 Wenceslaus, King of the Romans

German double elections[edit]

Date King King
1198 Philip of Swabia 1198–1208 Otto IV 1198-1215
1257 Richard of Cornwall 1257–1272 Alfonso of Castile 1257-1273
1314 Frederick the Fair 1314–1330 Louis the Bavarian 1314–1346
1410 Sigismund of Luxembourg 1410–1437 Jobst of Moravia 1410–1411


Name Dates In opposition to:
Matthias Corvinus 1469–1471 George of Poděbrady
1471–1490 Vladislaus II
Frederick of the Palatinate 1619–1620 Ferdinand II
Charles Albert of Bavaria 1741–1743 Maria Theresa


Name Dates In opposition to:
Sweyn Forkbeard 1013–1014 Æthelred the Unready
Cnut the Great 1016 Edmund Ironside
Mary I 1553 Lady Jane Grey


Name Dates In opposition to:
Amlaíb 971–977 Kenneth II
Duncan II 1094 Donald III
Edward Balliol 1333–1336 David II


Name Dates In opposition to:
Guy of Spoleto 888 Odo of Paris
Robert I 922–923 Charles the Simple
Henry VI of England 1431 Charles VII
Charles de Bourbon 1589–1590 Henry IV