|A.K.A.||Duke of Zähringen Berthold I|
|Death||November 6, 1078 (Weilheim an der Teck, Esslingen, Stuttgart Government Region, Baden-Württemberg)|
Berthold II (c. 1000 – 6 November 1078), a progenitor of the Swabian House of Zähringen, was Duke of Carinthia and Margrave of Verona from 1061 until 1077.
He was possibly the descendant of one Berthold (Bezzelin) of Zähringen, a Swabian count in the Breisgau region and relative of the Ahalolfing dynasty who was killed in the Battle of Stilo in 982, fighting against the Kalbid emir of Sicily. The early Zähringer were close allies of the Imperial Ottonian dynasty; Berthold's son Count Berthold II (Birchtilo) was among the nobles capturing and mutilating Antipope John XVI at the behest of Emperor Otto III. On his mother's side of the family, Berthold probably descended from the Hohenstaufen family, who then ruled as Swabian counts in Ortenau, Thurgau, Breisgau, and Baar.
Berthold quickly rose to one of the most powerful counts in Swabia and the Salian emperor Henry III even promised his party-follower the ducal title, then held by Otto of Schweinfurt. However, upon Otto's death in 1057, Henry's widow Agnes of Poitou gave the Swabian duchy in fief to Count Rudolf of Rheinfelden. Berthold received, as compensation for the abandonment of his claim, the ducal titles to Carinthia with the Veronese march after the death of the Ezzonid duke Conrad III in 1061, whereby the Zähringer finally ascended to the status of a princely house.
Berthold remained the only Carinthian duke from the Zähringen dynasty. Both in Carinthia and Verona, like his Ezzonid predecessor he was considered a foreign ruler and never really accepted by the local nobles. According to the contemporary chronicler Lambert of Hersfeld, he was even temporarily declared deposed in 1072/73. Moreover, Duke Berthold fell out with King Henry IV during the fierce Investiture Controversy, when together with Duke Welf I of Bavaria he supported the election of his former rival Duke Rudolf of Swabia as antiking after Henry's Walk to Canossa in 1077. In turn, the king convened the Imperial Diet at Ulm where he seized his duchy and gave Carinthia to Liutold of Eppenstein, whose grandfather Adalbero had held it until 1035.
Berthold retired to his Swabian home territory, where he had to ward off constant attacks by King Henry's forces. He died the next year at Limburg Castle and was buried in Hirsau Abbey, where he had backed the erection of the monastery church under Abbot William.
Marriage and children
Berthold married one Richwara, possibly a descendant of Duke Conrad II of Carinthia. The couple had at least three sons:
- Herman I (c. 1040 – 1074), inherited the Veronese margravial title and became progenitor of the Margraves of Baden
- Berthold II (c. 1050 – 1111), Duke of Swabia in opposition to Frederick from Hohenstaufen from 1092 to 1098
- Gebhard (c. 1050 – 1110), Bishop of Constance from 1084.
Richwara also gave birth to two daughters:
- Liutgard (d. about 1119), married the Nordgau margrave Diepold of Vohburg, mother of Margrave Diepold III and grandmother of Adelaide of Vohburg, the first wife of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa
- Richinza, married Count Rudolf of Frickingen, secondly married to Louis of Sigmaringen, progenitor of the House of Helfenstein.
In his second marriage, Berthold was married to Beatrice, sister of Count Theodoric I of Montbéliard.
In the end, the Zähringer were able to maintain their position, when about 1098 Berthold II reached an agreement with the Hohenstaufen duke Frederick I of Swabia, retaining the title of a "Duke of Zähringen". From 1112, Herman II, son of Herman I, ruled as Margrave of Baden.