Eberhard III of Franconia
Eberhard III was a member of the Conradine dynasty
Conradine dynasty
The Conradines or Conradiner were a dynasty of Franconian counts and dukes in the 8th to 11th Century, named after Duke Conrad the Elder and his son King Conrad I of Germany.-History:...

, who became duke of Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

 following the death of his older brother, King Conrad I
Conrad I of Germany
Conrad I , called the Younger, was Duke of Franconia from 906 and King of Germany from 911 to 918, the only king of the Conradine dynasty...

 (or Konrad), in December 918. From 913 he was count of Hessengau
Hessengau is an historical region of modern-day Germany located between Beverungen and Marburg in the north and Bad Hersfeld to the south....

 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
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...


On his deathbed, in December 918, King Conrad persuaded Eberhard to forgo any ambition for the German crown and to urge the Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

s of the Empire to choose Henry the Fowler, duke of Saxony
Duchy of Saxony
The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt and most of Schleswig-Holstein...

, as his successor at the Reichstag
Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the Diet, or general assembly, of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire.During the period of the Empire, which lasted formally until 1806, the Diet was not a parliament in today's sense; instead, it was an assembly of the various estates of the realm...

, which was held in May 919 in Fritzlar
Fritzlar is a small German town in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse, north of Frankfurt, with a storied history. It can reasonably be argued that the town is the site where the Christianization of northern Germany began and the birthplace of the German empire as a political entity.The...

. Conrad considered this the only way to end the long-standing feud between Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 and Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 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
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

. In 937 Eberhard invested
Investment (military)
Investment is the military tactic of surrounding an enemy fort with armed forces to prevent entry or escape.A circumvallation is a line of fortifications, built by the attackers around the besieged fortification facing towards the enemy fort...

 Helmern castle near Peckelsheim
Willebadessen is a town in Höxter district and Detmold region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.- Location :Willebadessen lies on the eastern edge of the Eggegebirge about 25 km southeast of Paderborn, and is crossed by the little river Nethe, which rises in the neighbouring community of Bad...

, 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
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

 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
Thankmar was the eldest son of Henry I of Germany by his first wife, Hatheburg . His mother had been previously married and widowed, after which she entered a convent. Because she left the convent to marry Henry, her second marriage was considered invalid and the couple split...

 and the new duke of Bavaria, Eberhard
Eberhard, Duke of Bavaria
Eberhard was the eldest son and successor of Arnulf the Bad, duke of Bavaria . His dukeship was short, however, for he was banished by King Otto the Great in 938....

 (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
Henry I, Duke of Bavaria
Henry I was Duke of Bavaria.He was the second son of the German King Henry the Fowler and his wife Matilda. He attempted a revolt against his older brother Otto I in 938 in alliance with Eberhard of Franconia and Giselbert of Lorraine, believing he had a claim on the throne. In 939 he was defeated...

, Otto's younger brother, in a new uprising. On 23 October 939 the rebels were defeated in the battle of Andernach
Battle of Andernach
The Battle of Andernach, between the followers and the opponents of King Otto I of Germany, took place at 2 October 939 in Andernach on the Rhine river and ended with a decisive defeat of the rebels and the death of their leaders....

. Eberhard of Franconia was killed, and his duchy became a direct Imperial possession from 939 to 1024.
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