Eberhard of Franconia

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Eberhard III (c. 885 – 939) was a member of the Conradine dynasty, who became duke of Franconia following the death of his older brother, King Conrad I (or Konrad), in December 918. From 913 he was count of Hessengau and Persgau, 918 count of Oberlahngau, 914–918 Margrave, and finally until his death duke of Franconia. From 926 to 928 he was simultaneously duke of Lotharingia.

On his deathbed, in December 918, King Conrad persuaded Eberhard to forgo any ambition for the German crown and to urge the Prince-electors of the Empire to choose Henry the Fowler, duke of Saxony, as his successor at the Reichstag, which was held in May 919 in Fritzlar. Conrad considered this the only way to end the long-standing feud between Saxons and Franks and to prevent the dissolution of the Empire into smaller states based on the German tribal duchies.

Eberhard remained loyal to King Henry I, and in 926 Henry also conferred to him the troubled and restless duchy of Lotharingia (926–928) which Eberhard quickly stabilized.

After Henry's death, Eberhard soon came into conflict with Henry's son and successor, Emperor Otto I. In 937 Eberhard invested Helmern castle near Peckelsheim, located within the Franconian duchy near the Saxon border, but garrisoned by a Saxon who refused to swear fielty to any non-Saxon. The emperor called the feuding parties to a king's court at Magdeburg where Eberhard was ordered to pay a fine and his lieutenants were sentenced to carry dead dogs in public, a particularly dishonoring punishment. Enfuriated, Eberhard joined Otto's opponents, raising a rebellion in 938 with Otto's halfbrother Thankmar and the new duke of Bavaria, Eberhard (son of Arnulf of Bavaria). Thankmar was soon killed in battle, and Eberhard of Bavaria was replaced by his uncle Berthold as duke of Bavaria (938–945). Following a brief reconciliation with Otto, Eberhard then allied himself with Giselbert of Lorraine, Archbishop Frederick of Mainz, and Henry, Otto's younger brother, in a new uprising. On 23 October 939 the rebels were defeated in the battle of Andernach. Eberhard of Franconia was killed, and his duchy became a direct Imperial possession from 939 to 1024.

References[edit]

Eberhard of Franconia
Born: ca. 885 Died: October 23 938
Preceded by
Conrad III the Younger
Duke of Franconia
918–939
Succeeded by
vacant
Title next held by
Conrad VI