Herman II, Duke of Swabia

Herman II (also Hermann) (died 4 May 1003) was a member of the Conradine dynasty. He was duke of Swabia from 997 to his death. Between January and October 1002 Herman II attempted, unsuccessfully, to become king of Germany.

Herman II, Duke of Swabia
Died(1003-05-04)4 May 1003
Noble familyConradines
Spouse(s)Gerberga of Burgundy
FatherConrad I, Duke of Swabia


Herman II was the son of Conrad I. There is, however, some debate about the identity of Herman's mother. She is often said to be Reglint (or Richlind), daughter of Liudolf, Duke of Swabia, and thus a granddaughter of Emperor Otto I.[1] Others argue that his wife was Judith, daughter of Adalbert of Marchtal (also known as Judith of Öhningen).[2]

In 997, after Conrad I's death, Herman II succeeded his father as duke of Swabia. That same year, Herman II accompanied Emperor Otto III on his second Italian campaign.[3]

Candidacy for the German throne

When Otto III died without heirs in January 1002, Herman II was one of the men, along with Henry II and Eckard of Meissen, who promoted themselves as candidates for the German throne.[4] Both Herman II and Henry II claimed descent from Henry the Fowler, progenitor of the Ottonian dynasty. Eckard, though a powerful noble and military leader, was more distantly related to the Ottonians. Eckhard was assassinated in April 1002 by Saxons who opposed his candidacy.[5] According to the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg, the majority of the German nobles, who assembled at Aachen in April 1002, including the influential Archbishop Heribert of Cologne, supported Herman II.[6] But his rival, Henry II, did not wait for the approval of the nobles. Instead, he had himself anointed and crowned king by Archbishop Willigis of Mainz on 7 June 1002. (Herman had tried, and failed, to prevent Henry II from reaching Mainz.) Herman initially refused to accept Henry II as king. He undertook military action against Henry and his supporters, including at Strasbourg, where Herman's men looted the episcopal church. Yet by October 1002 Herman II undertook a ritual act of submission (deditio) before Henry II at Bruchsal. Herman accepted Henry's kingship and promised to make reparation for the damage that had been inflicted on Strasbourg.[7] In Christmas 1002 Herman was present at the imperial court at Frankfurt, signalling that he was on better terms with Henry II. In January 1003 Henry II required Herman to cede control of the female monastery St Stephen in Strasbourg to Bishop Werner of Strasbourg.[8]

Marriage and children

He married Gerberga of Burgundy, daughter of King Conrad of Burgundy. With Gerberga, Herman had three children:[9]


Shortly after this, on 4 May 1003,[12] Herman died. Contemporaries saw his death as a divine punishment for his desecration of the episcopal church at Strasbourg.[13] After Herman died, Henry II separated Alsace from Swabia and took control of the duchy. This situation continued through the reign of Herman's son and successor, Herman III, for whom Henry II acted as guardian during his minority.


  1. Wolf, 'Wer war Kuno von Öhningen?'; Fried, 'Prolepsis oder Tod', p. 106.
  2. Hlawitschka, Konradiner-Genealogie.
  3. Oexle, 'Hermann II' p. 641.
  4. Keller, ‘Schwäbische Herzöge als Thronbewerber,’ esp. pp. 135ff.
  5. Reuter, Germany, pp. 186f.
  6. Thietmar, Chronicon, V 3.
  7. Thietmar, Chronicon, V.12
  8. Die Urkunden Heinrichs II, no. 34, pp. 37f.
  9. Goez, Beatrix, p. 11; Oexle, 'Hermann II' p. 641.
  10. Stefan Weinfurter, The Salian Century: Main Currents in an Age of Transition, transl. Barbara M. Bowlus, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 46.
  11. The Geography of Power:Matilda of Tuscany and the Strategy of Active Defense, Valerie Eads, Crusaders, Condottieri, and Cannon: Medieval Warfare in Societies Around the Mediterranean, ed. Donald Joseph Kagay and L. J. Andrew Villalon, (Brill, 2003), 358.
  12. Knaus, Francis (1985). Lady Eleanor, or, Begotten but not forgotten. Anundsen / University of Wisconsin. p. 269.
  13. Annales Quedlinburgenses, a 1002.


  • H. Keller, ‘Schwäbische Herzöge als Thronbewerber: Hermann II. (1002), Rudolf von Rheinfelden (1077), Friedrich von Staufen (1125), Zur Entwicklung von Reichsidee und Fürstenverantwortung, Wahlverständnis und Wahlverfahren im 11. und 12. Jahrhundert,’ Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins 131 (1983), 123–162.
  • E. Goez, Beatrix von Canossa und Tuszien. Eine Untersuchung zur Geschichte des 11. Jahrhunderts (Sigmaringen, 1995).
  • E. Hlawitschka, Konradiner-Genealogie, unstatthafte Verwandtenehen und spätottonisch-frühsalische Thronbesetzungspraxis. Ein Rückblick auf 25 Jahre Forschungsdisput. (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Studien und Texte 32) (Hannover, 2003).
  • A. Wolf, 'Wer war Kuno von Öhningen? Überlegungen zum Herzogtum Konrads von Schwaben († 997) und zur Königswahl vom Jahre 1002,' in Deutsches Archiv 36 (1980), 25–85.
  • J. Fried, 'Prolepsis oder Tod. Methodische und andere Bemerkungen zur Konradiner-Genealogie im 10. und frühen 11. Jahrhundert', in J. Dahlbauer et al., ed., Papstgeschichte und Landesgeschichte. Festschrift für Hermann Jakobs zum 65. Geburtstag (Cologne, 1995).
  • T. Reuter, Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056 (New York, 1991).
  • O.G. Oexle, 'Hermann II.' in Neue Deutsche Biographie 8 (1969), pp. 641f.
Herman II, Duke of Swabia
 Died: 4 May 1003
Preceded by
Conrad I
Duke of Swabia
Succeeded by
Herman III

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