Conrad V or Conradin, (1252-1268) was King of Sicily, King of Jerusalem, and Duke of Swabia.

The throne of Sicily was usurped by his uncle Manfred in 1258, who in turn was overthrown and usurped by Charles, Count of Anjou & Provence in 1266. Trying to recover his kingdom, Conradin was defeated, imprisoned, and beheaded in the market place of Naples on Oct. 29, 1268.

So what alleged crimes was Conradin sentenced in a mock trial and killed for?

It is easy to find statements that Conradin was tried and convicted of treason:

He was tried as a traitor, and on 29 October 1268 he and Frederick were beheaded.


Arrested and delivered to Charles, he was tried before Charles’s jury at Naples, which condemned him to death for treason to the church and to the king. He was beheaded in the public marketplace. Conradin


But I have found other statements on the internet:

Most violators of international law have been tried in domestic forums. Rarely was a tribunal created to try offenses against humankind. One notable early example occurred in Naples when Conradin von Hohenstafen, Duke of Suabia, was tried and later executed for initiating an unjust war on October 29, 1268.


Possibly the first trial for waging aggressive war is that of the Sicilian king Conradin in 1268.5


There are some German language books about Conradin which probably describe his trial:

K. Hampe, Geschichte Konradins von Hohenstaufen (Berlin, 1893)

F. W. Schirrmacher, Die letzten Hohenstaufen (Göttingen, 1871) E. Miller, Konradin von Hohenstaufen (Berlin, 1897)

But I don't read German or Ilalian or have access to large libraries which might have those books.

There is also a book which seems to be about Conradin's trial:

del Giudice, Il Giudizio e la condanna di Corradino (Naples, 1876)

So I would like to know what Conradin was specifically charged with.

  • Please revert my edit; it damages the question. He was convicted; there were no alleged crimes.
    – MCW
    Mar 18, 2022 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


I'll add a bit of context first, because I think there are some missing points here, then see the source below.

The relevant conflict here is the conflict between the Holy Roman Emperors (Hohenstauffens) and the papacy for the control of Italy. In particular, for the control of the Papal States, also a Struggle of Investitures was fought between the papacy and the Hohenstauffen dynasty. The Papal States laid in between Hohenstaufeen controlled territory (Kingdom of Sicily and northen allies in Italy, as well as the Empire in Germany).

This conflict was an international conflict. It involved also France (Angevines) and the Catalan-Aragonese Crown (Peter the III would win and end the conflict in Sicily in 1282, later Alphonse would conquer also Naples).

About the trial, please read this:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here Source here : War Crimes Trials and Investigations: A Multi-Disciplinary Introduction By Jonathan Waterlow, Jacques Schuhmacher


Plundering, and murdering innocent civilians

Conradin von Hohenstaufen was charged with killing innocent civilians during a plundering campaign in Tagliacozzo, and was convicted for plundering and murdering, as well as the crime of Lèse-majesté against the Pope.


He was betrayed and captured by his inner circle and sold to Charles, who brought him to naples, the capital of the Kingdom of the Two sicilies, and tried him for treason, as well as for the plunder and killings of civilians at Tagliacozzo. Conradin was charged with lèse majesté for his defiance of the Pope and was consequently excommunicated. He was then beheaded along with his companion, frederick of Baden, the titu-lar duke of Austria, as well as a number of his German followers.


John Strachan's answer cited one account of what crimes Conradin was charged with, which comes from Virginia Journel of International Law, vol 50, issue 2. [2010] “Perspective on International Criminal Justice”.: M. Cherif Basiouni.

But I have found many other statments about what alleged crimes Conradin was charged with in recent decades going back in time to Levi, Albert G. D., “Criminal Responsibility of Individuals and International Law”. University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 12, number 4, June 1945, p. 120.


In my post number 8 at: https://historum.com/threads/what-alleged-crimes-was-conradin-accused-of.192567/#post-3573795 I list various sources which say that Conradin was beheaded for starting an unjust war or a war of aggression, or that he was beheaded for treason against the pope and/or KIng Charles, or that he was beheaded for war crimes and atrocities committed by his army.

And of course even 77 years from 2022 back to 1945 is only 0.102 of the time period from 2022 back to 1268. The books I cited in my original question would no doubt quote much more comtempoarary sources.

K. Hampe, Geschichte Konradins von Hohenstaufen (Berlin, 1893)

F. W. Schirrmacher, Die letzten Hohenstaufen (Göttingen, 1871)

E. Miller, Konradin von Hohenstaufen (Berlin, 1897)

del Giudice, Il Giudizio e la condanna di Corradino (Naples, 1876)

But I don't read those languages or have access to libraries which would have them.

I have found on translations of sources which were much closer to the time.

Giovanni Villani's Nuova Cronica (c. 1300-1346), Book VII, Chapter 29, says:

And when the king had Conradino and those lords in his hands, he took counsel what he should do. At last he was minded to put them to death, and he caused by way of process an inquisition to be made against them, as against traitors to the Crown and enemies of Holy Church, and this was carried out; for on the . . . day were beheaded Conradino, and the duke of Austria, and Count Calvagno, and Count Gualferano, and Count Bartolommeo and two of his sons, and Count Gherardo of the counts of Doneratico of Pisa, on the market place at Naples, beside the stream of water which runs over against the church of the Carmelite friars; and the king would not suffer them to be buried in a sacred place, but under the sand of the market place, forasmuch as they were excommunicate

...And it seems that by reason of Conradino's innocence, which was of such tender age to be adjudged to death,...


So that is a relatively early statement that Conradin and his companions were sentenced for treason against King Charles and being enemies of the church.

Giovanni da-Legnano, Tractatus de Bello, trans. J.L. Brierly (1917) Tractatus de bello, de represaliis et de duello : Legnano, Giovanni da, d. 1383 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Chapter XXX asks: Whether quarter should be granted to the general of a war when captured?

Solution: I believe the first statement to be true, namely, that quarter should be given to one who humbles himself and does not resist, unless the grant of quarter gives reason for fearing the disturbance of the peace, in which case he must suffer. This is proved by the text in ch. noli, at the end, where it says "especially when disturbance is not feared"; and Hugo and the Archdeacon explain that "especially" is used for "only," so the sense of the passage is quarter is to be granted only when disturbance of the peace is not feared, and otherwise not. And it is said that on that interpretation Charles caused Conradin to be beheaded.

Chapter LXIX: "Whether mercy should be shown to persons captured in a lawful war?"

Should mercy be shown to person captured in a lawful war? We must say that it should, unless by sparing them there is fear of a disturbance of the peace. This is proved by xxiii, q. 1, Ch. 1, noli, at the end; and on the authority of that chapter, as understood by Hugolinius, Conradine was beheaded.

these do not discuss the legality or criminality of Conradin's actions, but whether it would be leagal to put to death prisoners of war and enemy commanders, and the only precedent it gives is the case of Conradin.

So I hope that someone can cite more authoratative sources for what crimes Conradin was accused of and beheaded for.


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