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The family of Frederic II, duke of Upper Lorraine (died 1027)

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Peter Stewart

Dec 14, 2020, 6:20:47 PM12/14/20
The consensus of historians on this family appears to have settled in
favour of arguments put forward by Eduard Hlawitschka. I think his
conclusions are persuasive, but some chronological details need correcting.

We know that Frederic II's namesake paternal grandfather Frederic I died
in 978, and from Hlawitschka's work on the astrological allusion in his
epitaph the date can be confidently accepted as 18 May.

Various necrologies record a Duke Frederic on that date, but some have
others of the same name and title on 20 May and 22 May. Hlawitschka
believed that three of them - Frederic I, his grandson Frederic II and
the latter's son Frederic III - happened to die respectively at 2-day
calendar intervals across different years. This is not impossible, of
course, but the same evidence could be accounted for as within the
fairly usual range of discrepancies with the date/s for one or two of
these men rather than accurate records for each of them in turn.

Frederic II died in 1027 (or perhaps in late-1026 if a May date is
rejected for him), while Emperor Konrad II was in Italy. He was
explicitly referred to as the step-father of the emperor's cousin Konrad
of Worms, as his wife Mathilde of Swabia was widow of the emperor's
paternal uncle Konrad I, duke of Carinthia, who died in December 1011
(some records give 1012). The consequence is that Frederic II and
Mathilde could not have married before 1012 and their son Frederic III
was therefore born at the earliest ca 1013.

For this simple reason Hlawitschka prevailed hands-down in a controversy
with Josef Heinzelman over the parentage of Sophie of Bar, heiress of
the family: she was clearly born by the mid-1020s and so must have been
a sister rather than daughter of Frederic III.

Some overlooked evidence for when Sophie was born and married would make
Hlawitschka's case a bit stronger than presented. He thought that she
was born after the summer of 1025, on the shaky basis that she and her
younger sister Beatrix (subsequently marchioness of Tuscany) were not
included in a list with their parents and brother which was supposedly
written at that time, and also because the sisters together were
described as little girls ("puellulae") when adopted by their maternal
aunt Empress Gisela after the deaths of their parents and brother all by

However, the omission of daughters from such a list is at best a feeble
indicator for this purpose, and anyway as interpreted by Hlawitschka
those included would add extra siblings living in 1025 but dead not long
afterwards who were unaccountably named Rudolf and Adelheid, otherwise
unknown to history. (By more cogent suggestions these were perhaps the
maternal half-brother of Mathilde, Rudolf of Werl, and his wife or
possibly her cousin Adelheid of Wülflingen and her new husband Rudolf of

In fact Sophie must have been born by 1020 in order to have reached the
age of 12 when she was married - Hlawitschka did not address the record
from Saint-Maxe de Bar dated 1032 in which Sophie's husband Louis of
Mousson was already count of Bar by her right ("anno ab incarnatione
Domini millesimo trigesimo secundo, indictione decima quinta, Lodovico
comite Barrum obtinente"), see p. 981 here:

The indiction would place this before 1 September in that year, but may
be inexact. In any event, Hlawitschka was overly confident in another
dating that ostensibly places the death of Sophie's brother Frederic III
after 6 September 1032, and consequently in assuming that he did not die
until May 1033 which would have precluded Louis from becoming count of
Bar by 1032. This is in a charter of Bishop Reginbert of Verdun from the
cartulary of Gorze abbey, here:
("VIII idus septembris, anno ab incarnatione Domini MXXXII, indictione
XV, regnante nobilissimo imperatore Conrado, anno VIII regni ejus,
imperii autem V, anno quoque filii ejus Heinrici IIII, duce Friderico").

As noted by the editor in the introduction (which is unfortunately
omitted from the Internet Archive digitisation), the cartularist
supplied most of the years A.D. stated in the charters from his own
suppositions about their chronological ordering. The regnal years given
in this charter, as well as the indiction by a whisker, point to 1031
rather than 1032 as the correct year: Konrad II was elected king on 4
September 1024, crowned on 8 September (the editor misstated this as his
election date), so that 6 September in his 8th year as king fell either
in 1031 or 1032 depending on which occasion is taken as the starting
point; but he was elected and crowned as emperor on 26 March 1027 so
that 6 September in his 5th year definitely fell in 1031 as did the 4th
year from the coronation of his son Heinrich on 14 April 1028. The date
of this Gorze charter should almost certainly be amended to 6 September
1031, and the death of Frederic III could then have occurred later in
that year or in May (or another month) of 1032 allowing for Sophie to
have carried the countship of Bar to husband Louis of Mousson by the
latter year.

Peter Stewart

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