Gertrude of Sulzbach

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Gertrude of Sulzbach (German: Gertrud von Sulzbach) (c. 1114 – 14 April 1146 in Hersfeld) was German Queen (Queen of the Romans). She was the second wife of Conrad III of Germany.


She was a daughter of Berengar II, Count of Sulzbach (c. 1080 – 3 December 1125) and his second wife Adelheid of Wolfratshausen. In 1111, Berengar was among the nobles attending the coronation of Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. He is mentioned among the sureties of documents related to the coronation. In 1120, Berengar is recorded granting a donation to the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg. He is mentioned as the founder of Berchtesgaden Provostry and Baumburg Abbey. He was also a co-founder of Kastl Abbey. He was one of the rulers who signed the Concordat of Worms (23 September 1122). In August, 1125, Berengar is mentioned in documents of Lothair III, King of the Romans. The death of Berengar is mentioned four months later.[1]

The identity of her mother is mentioned in the "Kastler Reimchronik", Vers 525. Adelheid is mentioned in various other documents of the 12th century as "Countess of Sulzbach", without mentioning her husband. "De Fundatoribus Monasterii Diessenses" contains a rather confused genealogy concerning her two most prominent daughters. Otto II, Count of Wolfratshausen, father of Adelheid, is given as father to Richenza, "Empress" and "Maria, Empress of the Greeks". Richenza was the empress of Lothair III. The author of the text had apparently confused her with Gertrude von Sulzbach, wife of Conrad III of Germany. Maria is probably a confusion for "Irene" the baptismal name of Bertha of Sulzbach, wife of Manuel I Komnenos. Both were actually granddaughters of Otto, children of Berengar and Adelheid. Bertha was a sister of Gertrude.[2]

The known siblings of Gertrude include (1) Gebhard III, Count of Sulzbach, (2) Adelheid, Abbess of Niedernburg at Passau, (3) Bertha of Sulzbach, Byzantine Empress, (4) Luitgarde, wife first of Godfrey II of Leuven and secondly of Hugo XII, Count of Dagsburg and Metz, and (5) Matilda of Sulzbach, wife of Engelbert III of Istria.[3]

Berengar II was a son of Gebhard II, Count of Sulzbach and Irmgard of Rott.[4] Irmgard was a daughter of Kuno I of Rott, founder of Rott Abbey, and his wife Uta. There is a theory identifying her mother as a daughter of Frederick III, Count of Diessen. However this is not confirmed by primary sources. Irmgard is mentioned as the founder of Berchtesgaden monastery. There is mention of her marrying twice but the identity of her second husband is disputed. The most likely candidate is Kuno, Count of Horburg.[5]

Gebhard II is considered a namesake son of Gebhard I, Count of Sulzbach. Gebhard I is the first person known to have used this title. On 28 November 1043, Gebhard was granted property by charter of Henry III, King of Germany. There his mother is mentioned as "Adalheit". The "Genealogischen Tafeln zur mitteleuropäischen Geschichte" (1965–1967) by W. Wegener identifies her as Adelaide of Susa. The father therefore being Herman IV, Duke of Swabia. This theory has gained some acceptance. However Charles Cawley notes that this would place his birth c. 1037–1038. In order for Gebhard to have grandchildren by the 1080s, "this would require a succession of teenage bridegrooms which seems improbable." Wegener theorises the wife of Gebhard I to have been a daughter of Berengar, Count of Nordgau. He suggests that Sulzbach was part of her dowry. Cawley considers the theory to stand only on "the transmission of the name Berengar into her husband's family." Otherwise no connection between the families is known to exist.[6]


Gertrude married Conrad in 1136. The marriage between the Hohenstaufens and the Sulzbach's led to close relations between the two families; in 1167, Gebhard III left Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (Gertrude's nephew by marriage) as his sole heir.

Gertrude became ill after the birth of her son Friedrich, and died at the age of thirty-six years in Bad Hersfeld. She is buried in the church of the former Cistercian Ebrach Abbey.


From her marriage with Conrad III, Gertrude had two sons:

Preceded by
Gertrud of Comburg
Queen consort of Germany
Succeeded by
Adelheid of Vohburg




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