Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

Overview

Frederick II was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

s of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous. However, his enemies, especially the popes, prevailed, and his dynasty collapsed soon after his death. Historians have searched for superlatives to describe him, as in the case of Professor Detwiler, who wrote:
Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman Emperors of Antiquity, he was Emperor of the Romans
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death; he was also a claimant to the title of King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

 from 1212 and unopposed holder of that monarchy from 1215.
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Timeline

1227   Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, is excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

1229   The Sixth Crusade: Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor signs a ten-year truce with al-Kamil, regaining Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem with neither military engagements nor support from the papacy.

1229   Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor declares himself King of Jerusalem during the Sixth Crusade.

 
Encyclopedia

Frederick II was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

s of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous. However, his enemies, especially the popes, prevailed, and his dynasty collapsed soon after his death. Historians have searched for superlatives to describe him, as in the case of Professor Detwiler, who wrote:
Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman Emperors of Antiquity, he was Emperor of the Romans
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death; he was also a claimant to the title of King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

 from 1212 and unopposed holder of that monarchy from 1215. As such, he was King of Germany, of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

, and of Burgundy
King of Burgundy
The following is a list of the Kings of the two Kingdoms of Burgundy, and a number of related political entities devolving from Carolingian machinations over family relations.- Kings of the Burgundians :...

. At the age of three he was crowned King of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

 as a co-ruler with his mother Constance of Hauteville
Constance of Sicily
Constance of Hauteville was the heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

. His other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade
Sixth Crusade
The Sixth Crusade started in 1228 as an attempt to regain Jerusalem. It began seven years after the failure of the Fifth Crusade. It involved very little actual fighting...

.

He was frequently at war with the Papacy, hemmed in between Frederick's lands in northern Italy and his Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

 (the Regno) to the south, and thus he was excommunicated
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 four times and often vilified in pro-papal chronicles of the time and since. Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 went so far as to call him the Antichrist
Antichrist
The term or title antichrist, in Christian theology, refers to a leader who fulfills Biblical prophecies concerning an adversary of Christ, while resembling him in a deceptive manner...

.

Speaking six languages (Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek and Arabic), Frederick was an avid patron of science and the arts. He played a major role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School
Sicilian School
The Sicilian School was a small community of Sicilian, and to a lesser extent, mainland Italian poets gathered around Frederick II, most of them belonging to his court, the Magna Curia. Headed by Giacomo da Lentini, they produced more than three-hundred poems of courtly love between 1230 and 1266,...

 of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, from around 1220 to his death, saw the first use of a literary form of an Italo-Romance language, Sicilian
Sicilian language
Sicilian is a Romance language. Its dialects make up the Extreme-Southern Italian language group, which are spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands; in southern and central Calabria ; in the southern parts of Apulia, the Salento ; and Campania, on the Italian mainland, where it is...

. The poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and on what was to become the modern Italian language
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

. The school and its poetry were saluted by Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

 and his peers and predate by at least a century the use of the Tuscan idiom as the elite literary language of Italy.

After his death his line quickly died out and the House of Hohenstaufen came to an end.

Early years


Born in Iesi, near Ancona
Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

, Italy, Frederick was the son of the emperor Henry VI
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI was King of Germany from 1190 to 1197, Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 to 1197 and King of Sicily from 1194 to 1197.-Early years:Born in Nijmegen,...

. He was known as the puer Apuliae (son of Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

). Some chronicles say that his mother, the forty-year-old Constance
Constance of Sicily
Constance of Hauteville was the heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

, gave birth to him in a public square in order to forestall any doubt about his origin. Frederick was baptised in Assisi
Assisi
- Churches :* The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi is a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253...

.

In 1196 at Frankfurt am Main the infant Frederick was elected King of the Germans. His rights in Germany were disputed by Henry's brother Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia was king of Germany and duke of Swabia, the rival of the emperor Otto IV.-Biography:Philip was the fifth and youngest son of Emperor Frederick I and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy, daughter of Renaud III, count of Burgundy, and brother of the emperor Henry VI...

 and Otto of Brunswick
Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto IV of Brunswick was one of two rival kings of the Holy Roman Empire from 1198 on, sole king from 1208 on, and emperor from 1209 on. The only king of the Welf dynasty, he incurred the wrath of Pope Innocent III and was excommunicated in 1215.-Early life:Otto was the third son of Henry the...

. At the death of his father in 1197, the two-year-old Frederick was in Italy travelling towards Germany when the bad news reached his guardian, Conrad of Spoleto. Frederick was hastily brought back to his mother Constance in Palermo, Sicily, where he was crowned as King on 17 May 1198, now Frederick I of Sicily.

Constance of Sicily was in her own right queen of Sicily and she established herself as regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

. In Frederick's name she dissolved Sicily's ties to Germany and the Empire that had been created by her marriage, sending home his German counsellors and renouncing his claims to the German throne and empire.

Upon Constance's death in 1198, Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

 succeeded as Frederick's guardian. Frederick's tutor during this period was Cencio, who would become Pope Honorius III. Markward of Annweiler, however, with the support of Henry's brother, Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia was king of Germany and duke of Swabia, the rival of the emperor Otto IV.-Biography:Philip was the fifth and youngest son of Emperor Frederick I and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy, daughter of Renaud III, count of Burgundy, and brother of the emperor Henry VI...

, reclaimed the regency for himself and invaded the Kingdom of Naples. In 1200, with the help of Genoese ships
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

, he landed in Sicily and one year later seized the young Frederick. He thus ruled Sicily until 1202, when he was succeeded by another German captain, William of Capparone
William of Capparone
William of Capparone was a German captain of Palermo who came to power as the regent of Sicily and guardian of future emperor Frederick II in 1202 after the death of Markward von Anweiler. He held the post for the next four years until 1206. He was called the Great Captain.William was probably...

, who kept Frederick under his control in the royal palace of Palermo until 1206. Frederick was subsequently under tutor Walter of Palearia
Walter of Palearia
Walter of Palear was chancellor of Sicily and the bishop of Troia and then bishop of Catania ....

, until, in 1208, he was declared of age. His first task was to reassert his power over Sicily and southern Italy, where local barons and adventurers had usurped most of the authority.

Emperor


Otto of Brunswick had been crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Innocent III in 1209. In southern Italy, Otto became the champion of those noblemen and barons who feared Frederick's increasingly strong moves against them, exemplified by the firing of the pro-nobles Walter of Palearia. The new emperor invaded Italy, where he reached Calabria without meeting much resistance. In response, Innocent sided against Otto, and in September 1211 at the Diet of Nuremberg
Diet of Nuremberg
The Diet of Nuremberg is often called the Imperial Diet at Nuremberg.There were several of them because, according to the Golden Bull of 1356, each Holy Roman Emperor had to hold his first diet in Nuremberg after his election...

 Frederick was elected in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

as German King by a rebellious faction backed by the pope. Innocent also excommunicated Otto, who was forced to return to Germany.

Frederick sailed to Gaeta
Gaeta
Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 km from Rome and 80 km from Naples....

  with a small following. He agreed with the pope on a future separation between the Sicilian and Imperial titles, and named his wife Constance as regent. Passing through Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 and Engadin
Engadin
The Engadin or Engadine is a long valley in the Swiss Alps located in the canton of Graubünden in southeast Switzerland. It follows the route of the Inn River from its headwaters at Maloja Pass running northeast until the Inn flows into Austria one hundred kilometers downstream...

, he reached Konstanz
Konstanz
Konstanz is a university city with approximately 80,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland. The city houses the University of Konstanz.-Location:...

 in September 1212, preceding Otto by a few hours.

Frederick was crowned as king 9 December 1212 in Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

. Frederick's authority in Germany remained tenuous, however, and he was recognized only in southern Germany; in northern Germany, the center of Guelph
Guelphs and Ghibellines
The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in central and northern Italy. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the split between these two parties was a particularly important aspect of the internal policy of the Italian city-states...

 power, Otto continued to hold the reins of royal and imperial power despite his excommunication. But Otto's decisive military defeat at the Bouvines
Battle of Bouvines
The Battle of Bouvines, 27 July 1214, was a conclusive medieval battle ending the twelve year old Angevin-Flanders War that was important to the early development of both the French state by confirming the French crown's sovereignty over the Angevin lands of Brittany and Normandy.Philip Augustus of...

 forced him to withdraw to the Guelph hereditary lands where, virtually without supporters, he died in 1218. The German princes, supported by Innocent III, again elected Frederick king of Germany in 1215, and he was crowned king in Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

 on 23 July 1215 by one of the three German archbishops. It was not until another five years had passed and only after further negotiations between Frederick, Innocent III, and Honorius III
Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III , previously known as Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.-Early work:He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico...

 – who succeeded to the papacy after Innocent's death in 1216 – that Frederick was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Honorius III, on 22 November 1220. At the same time Frederick's oldest son Henry
Henry (VII) of Germany
Henry was King of Sicily from 1212, Duke of Swabia from 1216, and King of Germany from 1220. He was the son and co-king of Emperor Frederick II and elder brother of Conrad IV of Germany...

 took the title of King of the Romans.
Unlike most Holy Roman emperors, Frederick spent few years in Germany. In 1218 he helped Philip II of France
Philip II of France
Philip II Augustus was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne...

 and Eudes III, Duke of Burgundy
Eudes III, Duke of Burgundy
Eudes III , commonly known in English as Odo III, was duke of Burgundy between 1192 and 1218. Odo was the eldest son of duke Hugh III and his first wife Alice, daughter of Matthias I, Duke of Lorraine....

 to bring an end to the War of Succession in France Champagne
Champagne, France
Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 100 miles east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area...

 by invading Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

, capturing and burning Nancy, capturing Theobald I, Duke of Lorraine
Theobald I, Duke of Lorraine
Theobald I was the duke of Lorraine from 1213 to his death. He was the son and successor of Frederick II and Agnes of Bar....

 and forcing him to withdraw his support from Erard of Brienne. After his coronation in 1220, Frederick remained either in the Kingdom of Sicily or on Crusade until 1236, when he made his last journey to Germany. He returned to Italy in 1237 and stayed there for the remaining thirteen years of his life, represented in Germany by his son Conrad
Conrad IV of Germany
Conrad IV was king of Jerusalem , of Germany , and of Sicily .-Biography:...

.

In the Kingdom of Sicily, he built on the reform of the laws begun at the Assizes of Ariano
Assizes of Ariano
The Assizes of Ariano were a series of laws promulgated in the summer of 1140 at Ariano, near Benevento in the Mezzogiorno, by Roger II of Sicily. Having recently pacified the peninsula, constantly in revolt, he had decided to make a move to more centralised government...

 in 1140 by his grandfather Roger II
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

. His initiative in this direction was visible as early as the Assizes of Capua
Assizes of Capua
The Assizes of Capua were the first of two great legislative acts of the reign of Frederick II of Sicily, Holy Roman Emperor. They were the first, promulgated at Capua in 1220, before the Constitutions of Melfi of 1231....

 (1220, issued soon after his coronation in Rome) but came to fruition in his promulgation of the Constitutions of Melfi
Constitutions of Melfi
The Constitutions of Melfi, or Liber Augustalis, were a new legal code for the Kingdom of Sicily promulgated on 1 September 1231 by Emperor Frederick II. It was given at Melfi, the town from which Frederick's Norman ancestors had first set out to conquer the Mezzogiorno two centuries earlier...

 (1231, also known as Liber Augustalis), a collection of laws for his realm that was remarkable for its time and was a source of inspiration for a long time after. It made the Kingdom of Sicily an absolutist monarchy
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

; it also set a precedent for the primacy of written law. With relatively small modifications, the Liber Augustalis remained the basis of Sicilian law until 1819.

The Fifth Crusade and early policies in northern Italy


At the time he was elected King of the Romans, Frederick promised to go on crusade
Fifth Crusade
The Fifth Crusade was an attempt to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt....

. He continually delayed, however, and, in spite of his renewal of this vow at his coronation as the King of Germany, he did not travel to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 with the armies of the Fifth Crusade in 1217. He sent forces to Egypt under the command of Louis I, Duke of Bavaria
Louis I, Duke of Bavaria
Duke Louis I of Bavaria was the Duke of Bavaria in 1183 and Count Palatine of the Rhine in 1214. He was a son of Otto I and his wife Agnes of Loon. Louis was married to Ludmilla, a daughter of Duke Frederick of Bohemia.-Biography:Louis extended the duchy of Bavaria and founded many cities...

, but constant expectation of his arrival caused papal legate Pelagius
Pelagio Galvani
Pelagio Galvani was a Leonese Cardinal, and canon lawyer. He became a papal legate and leader of the Fifth Crusade....

 to reject Ayyubid sultan Al-Kamil
Al-Kamil
Al-Kamil was a Kurdish Ayyubid sultan who ruled North Africa. During his tenure as sultan, the Ayyubids defeated two crusades. In a temporary agreement with the Crusaders, he ceded Jerusalem to the Christians.-Biography:He was the son of sultan al-Adil, a brother of Saladin...

's offer to restore the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem to the crusaders in exchange for their withdrawal from Egypt and caused the Crusade to continually stall in anticipation of his ever-delayed arrival. The crusade ended in failure with the loss of Damietta
Damietta
Damietta , also known as Damiata, or Domyat, is a port and the capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt. It is located at the intersection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile, about north of Cairo.-History:...

 in 1221. Frederick was blamed by both Pope Honorius III and the general Christian populace for this calamitous defeat.

In 1225, after agreeing with pope Honorius to launch a Crusade not after 1227, Frederick summoned an imperial diet at Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

, the main pro-imperial city in Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

: the main arguments would be the struggle against heresy, the organization of the crusade and, above all, the restoration of the imperial power in northern Italy, which had been long usurped by the numerous communes there. These responded with the reformation of the Lombard League
Lombard League
The Lombard League was an alliance formed around 1167, which at its apex included most of the cities of northern Italy , including, among others, Crema, Cremona, Mantua, Piacenza, Bergamo, Brescia, Milan, Genoa, Bologna, Padua, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Treviso, Venice, Vercelli, Vicenza, Verona,...

, which had already defeated his grandfather Frederick Barbarossa in the 12th century, and again Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 was chosen as the league's leader. The diet was cancelled, and the situation was set only through a compromise found by Honorius between Frederick and the League. During his sojourn in northern Italy, Frederick also invested the Teutonic Order with the territories in what would become East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

, starting what was later called the Northern Crusade.

The Sixth Crusade



Problems of stability within the empire delayed Frederick's departure on crusade. It was not until 1225, when, by proxy, Frederick had married Yolande of Jerusalem
Yolande of Jerusalem
Isabella II also known as Yolande of Brienne, was a princess of French origin who became monarch of Jerusalem.-Infant Queen:...

, heiress to the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

, that his departure seemed assured. Frederick immediately saw to it that his new father-in-law John of Brienne
John of Brienne
John of Brienne was a French nobleman who became King of Jerusalem by marriage, and ruled the Latin Empire of Constantinople as regent.-Life:...

, the current king of Jerusalem, was dispossessed and his rights transferred to the emperor. In August 1227, Frederick set out for the Holy Land from Brindisi
Brindisi
Brindisi is a city in the Apulia region of Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, off the coast of the Adriatic Sea.Historically, the city has played an important role in commerce and culture, due to its position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port on the Adriatic Sea. The city...

, but was forced to return when he was struck down by an epidemic that had broken out. Even the master of the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

, Hermann of Salza, recommended that he return to the mainland to recuperate. On 29 September 1227, Frederick was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 for failing to honor his crusading pledge.

Many contemporary chroniclers doubted the sincerity of Frederick's illness, and their attitude may be explained by their pro-papal leanings. Roger of Wendover
Roger of Wendover
Roger of Wendover , probably a native of Wendover in Buckinghamshire, was an English chronicler of the 13th century.At an uncertain date he became a monk at St Albans Abbey; afterwards he was appointed prior of the cell of Belvoir, but he forfeited this dignity in the early years of Henry III,...

, a chronicler of the time, wrote:
Frederick eventually sailed again from Brindisi in June 1228. The pope regarded that action as a provocation, since, as an excommunicate, Frederick was technically not capable of conducting a Crusade, and excommunicated the emperor a second time. Frederick reached Acre in September. Since all the local authorities denied him any help and most of the military orders denied him any help, and being the crusading army a meagre force, Frederick negotiated along the lines of a previous agreement he had intended to broker with the Ayyubid sultan, Al-Kamil
Al-Kamil
Al-Kamil was a Kurdish Ayyubid sultan who ruled North Africa. During his tenure as sultan, the Ayyubids defeated two crusades. In a temporary agreement with the Crusaders, he ceded Jerusalem to the Christians.-Biography:He was the son of sultan al-Adil, a brother of Saladin...

. The treaty, signed in February of 1229, resulted in the restitution
Restitution
The law of restitution is the law of gains-based recovery. It is to be contrasted with the law of compensation, which is the law of loss-based recovery. Obligations to make restitution and obligations to pay compensation are each a type of legal response to events in the real world. When a court...

 of Jerusalem, Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

, Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

 and a small coastal strip to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, though there are disagreements as to the extent of the territory returned.

The treaty also stipulated that the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque were to remain under Muslim control and that the city of Jerusalem would remain without fortifications. Virtually all other crusaders, including the Templars and Hospitallers, condemned this deal as a political ploy on the part of Frederick to regain his kingdom while betraying the cause of the Crusaders. Al-Kamil, who was nervous about possible war with his relatives who ruled Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, wished to avoid further trouble from the Christians, at least until his domestic rivals were subdued.

The crusade ended in a truce and in Frederick's coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 as King of Jerusalem
Kings of Jerusalem
This is a list of kings of Jerusalem, from 1099 to 1291, as well as claimants to the title up to the present day.-Kings of Jerusalem :...

 on 18 March 1229, although this was technically improper. Frederick's wife Yolande, the heiress, had died, leaving their infant son Conrad
Conrad IV of Germany
Conrad IV was king of Jerusalem , of Germany , and of Sicily .-Biography:...

 as rightful king. There is also disagreement as to whether the 'coronation' was a coronation at all, as a letter written by Frederick to Henry III of England
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 suggests that the crown he placed on his own head was in fact the imperial crown of the Romans.

In any case, Gerald of Lausanne, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title possessed by the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus...

, did not attend the ceremony, indeed, the next day the Bishop of Caesarea arrived to place the city under interdict on the patriarch's orders. Frederick's further attempts to rule over the Kingdom of Jerusalem were met by resistance on the part of the barons, led by John of Ibelin, Lord of Beirut
John of Ibelin, the Old Lord of Beirut
John of Ibelin , called the Old Lord of Beirut, was a powerful crusader noble in the 13th century, one of the best known representatives of the influential Ibelin family...

. In the mid-1230s, Frederick's viceroy was forced to leave Acre, and in 1244, following a siege
Siege of Jerusalem (1244)
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor led the Sixth Crusade to the Holy Land in 1228, and claimed the kingship of Jerusalem by right of his wife, Queen Yolande of Jerusalem, who had inherited the title of 'Queen of Jerusalem' from her mother, Maria of Montferrat, the wife of John of Brienne.The size of...

, Jerusalem itself was lost again to a new Muslim offensive.

Whilst Frederick's seeming bloodless recovery of Jerusalem for the cross brought him great prestige in some European circles, his decision to complete the crusade while excommunicated provoked Church hostility. Although in 1230 the Pope lifted Frederick's excommunication at the Treaty of San Germano
Treaty of San Germano
The Treaty of San Germano was signed on July 20, 1230 at San Germano, present day Cassino, between Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX. A Dominican named Guala was responsible for the negotiations....

, this decision was taken for a variety of reasons related to the political situation in Europe. Of Frederick's crusade, Philip of Novara
Philip of Novara
Philip of Novara was a medieval warrior, musician, diplomat, poet, and lawyer born at Novara, Italy, into a noble house, who spent his entire adult life in the Middle East. He primarily served the Ibelin family, and featured in a number of prominent battles and negotiations involving Jerusalem and...

, a chronicler of the period, said "The emperor left Acre [after the conclusion of the truce]; hated, cursed, and vilified." Overall this crusade, arguably the first successful one since the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

, was adversely affected by the manner in which Frederick carried out negotiations without the support of the church. He left behind a kingdom in the Levant torn between his agents and the local nobility, a civil war known as the War of the Lombards
War of the Lombards
The War of the Lombards was a civil war in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Cyprus between the "Lombards" , the representatives of the Emperor Frederick II, largely from Lombardy, and the native aristocracy, led first by the Ibelins and then by the Montforts...

.

The itinerant Joachimite preachers and many radical Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s, the Spirituals supported Frederick.
Against the interdict pronounced on his lands, the preachers condemned the Pope and continued to minister the sacraments and grant absolutions. Brother Arnold in Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

 proclaimed the Second Coming
Second Coming
In Christian doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Advent, or the Parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, where he sits at the Right Hand of God, to Earth. This prophecy is found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies...

 for 1260, at which time Frederick would then confiscate the riches of Rome and distribute them among the poor, the "only true Christians".

The war against the Pope and Henry's revolt



During Frederick's stay in the Holy Land, his regent, Rainald of Spoleto, had attacked the Marche
Marche
The population density in the region is below the national average. In 2008, it was 161.5 inhabitants per km2, compared to the national figure of 198.8. It is highest in the province of Ancona , and lowest in the province of Macerata...

 and the Duchy of Spoleto
Duchy of Spoleto
The independent Duchy of Spoleto was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald.- Lombards :The Lombards, a Germanic people, had invaded Italy in 568 and conquered much of it, establishing a Kingdom divided between several dukes dependent on the King, who had...

. Gregory IX recruited an army under John of Brienne
John of Brienne
John of Brienne was a French nobleman who became King of Jerusalem by marriage, and ruled the Latin Empire of Constantinople as regent.-Life:...

 and, in 1229, invaded southern Italy. His troops overcame an initial resistance at Montecassino, and reached Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

. Frederick arrived at Brindisi in June 1229. He quickly recovered the lost territories and trialled the rebel barons, but avoided to cross the boundaries with the Papal States. The war was solved by the Treaty of San Germano
Treaty of San Germano
The Treaty of San Germano was signed on July 20, 1230 at San Germano, present day Cassino, between Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX. A Dominican named Guala was responsible for the negotiations....

 in the summer of 1230; the emperor personally met Gregory IX at Anagni
Anagni
Anagni is an ancient town and comune in Latium, central Italy, in the hills east-southeast of Rome. It is a historical center in Ciociaria.-Geography:...

, making some concessions to the church in Sicily. He also issued the Constitutions of Melfi
Constitutions of Melfi
The Constitutions of Melfi, or Liber Augustalis, were a new legal code for the Kingdom of Sicily promulgated on 1 September 1231 by Emperor Frederick II. It was given at Melfi, the town from which Frederick's Norman ancestors had first set out to conquer the Mezzogiorno two centuries earlier...

 (August 1231), as an attempt to solve the political and administrative problems of the country, which had dramatically been shown by the recent war.

While he may have temporarily made his peace with the pope, Frederick found the German princes another matter. Frederick's son Henry (who was born 1211 in Sicily, son of Frederick's first wife Constance of Aragon
Constance of Aragon
Constance of Aragon was an Aragonese infanta who was by marriage firstly Queen consort of Hungary, and secondly Queen consort of Germany and Sicily and Holy Roman Empress...

) had caused their discontent with an aggressive policy against their privileges. This forced Henry to a complete capitulation, and the Statutum in favorem principum ("Statutes in favor of the princes"), issued at Worms, deprived the emperor of much of his sovereignty in Germany. Frederick summoned Henry to a meeting, which was held at Aquileia
Aquileia
Aquileia is an ancient Roman city in what is now Italy, at the head of the Adriatic at the edge of the lagoons, about 10 km from the sea, on the river Natiso , the course of which has changed somewhat since Roman times...

 in 1232. Henry confirmed his submission, but Frederick was anyway compelled to confirm the Statutum at Cividale soon afterwards.

The situation for Frederick was problematic also in Lombardy, after all the emperor's attempts to restore the imperial authority in Lombardy with the help of Gregory IX (at the time, ousted from Rome by a revolt) turned to nothing in 1233. In the meantime Henry in Germany had returned to an anti-princes policy, against his father's will: Frederick thus obtained his excommunication from Gregory IX (July 1234). Henry tried to muster an opposition in Germany and asked the Lombard cities to block the Alpine passes. In May 1235, Frederick went to Germany, having no army with him: as soon as July, he was however able to force his son to renounce to the crown and all his lands, at Worms, and then imprisoned him.

In Germany the Hohenstaufen and the Guelphs reconciled in the same year. Otto the Child, the grandson of Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion was a member of the Welf dynasty and Duke of Saxony, as Henry III, from 1142, and Duke of Bavaria, as Henry XII, from 1156, which duchies he held until 1180....

, deposed as Duke of Bavaria
Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria was the only one of the stem duchies from the earliest days of East Francia and the Kingdom of Germany to preserve both its name and most of its territorial extent....

 and 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...

 in 1180, conveyed the allodial Guelphic possessions to Frederick, who in return enfeoffed Otto with the same lands and additional former imperial possessions as the newly established Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Brunswick-Lüneburg
The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , or more properly Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, was an historical ducal state from the late Middle Ages until the late Early Modern era within the North-Western domains of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, in what is now northern Germany...

, ending the unclear status of the German Guelphs, who were left without title and rank after 1180.

War in Lombardy


With peace north of the Alps, Frederick obtained by the German princes an army to suppress the rebel cities in Lombardy. Gregory tried to stop the invasion with diplomatic moves, but in vain. During his descent to Italy, Frederick had to divert his troops to quench a rebellion of Frederick II, Duke of Austria
Frederick II, Duke of Austria
Frederick II, known as the Quarrelsome or the Warlike , from the House of Babenberg, was the duke of Austria and Styria from 1230 to 1246....

. At Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, in February 1237, he obtained the title of King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

 for his 9-years old son Conrad
Conrad
- Other uses :* Conrad Editora, Brazilian publisher* Conrad Hotels, global luxury brand of Hilton Hotels* Conrad * Conrad , German manufacturer of diecast toys and promotional models...

.

After the failure of the negotiations between the Lombard cities, the pope and the imperial diplomats, Frederick invaded Lombardy from Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

. In November 1237 he won the decisive battle in Cortenuova
Battle of Cortenuova
The Battle of Cortenuova was fought on 27 November 1237 in the course of the Guelphs and Ghibellines Wars: in it, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II defeated the Second Lombard League.-Background:...

 over the Lombard League. Frederick celebrated it with a triumph in Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 in the manner of an ancient Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 emperor, with the captured carroccio
Carroccio
A Carroccio was a four-wheeled war altar, mounting a large vexillum standard, drawn by oxen, used by the medieval republics of Italy. It was a rectangular platform on which the standard of the city and an altar were erected; priests held services on the altar before the battle, and the trumpeters...

(later sent to the commune of Rome) and an elephant. He rejected any suit for peace, even from Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 which had sent a great sum of money. This demand of total surrender spurred further resistance from Milan, Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

, Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 and Piacenza
Piacenza
Piacenza is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza...

, and in October 1238 he was forced to raise the siege of Brescia
Siege of Brescia
The Siege of Brescia occurred in 1238. The Guelphs were attempting to take the town of Brescia. Emperor Frederick arrived and lifted the siege. His foes attempted to capture him during the battle, but were unable....

, in the course of which his enemies had tried unsuccessfully to capture him.

Frederick received the news of his excommunication by Gregory IX in the first months of 1239 while his court was in Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

. The emperor responded by expelling the Minorites and the Preachers
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 from Lombardy, and electing his son Enzio
Enzio of Sardinia
Enzio was an illegitimate son of Emperor Frederick II and King of Sardinia.-Life:...

 as Imperial vicar for Northern Italy. Enzio soon annexed the Romagna
Romagna
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west...

, Marche and the Duchy of Spoleto
Duchy of Spoleto
The independent Duchy of Spoleto was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald.- Lombards :The Lombards, a Germanic people, had invaded Italy in 568 and conquered much of it, establishing a Kingdom divided between several dukes dependent on the King, who had...

, nominally part of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

. The father announced he was to destroy the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

, which had sent some ships against Sicily. In December of that year Frederick marched over Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, entered triumphantly into Foligno
Foligno
Foligno is an ancient town of Italy in the province of Perugia in east central Umbria, on the Topino river where it leaves the Apennines and enters the wide plain of the Clitunno river system...

 and then in Viterbo
Viterbo
See also Viterbo, Texas and Viterbo UniversityViterbo is an ancient city and comune in the Lazio region of central Italy, the capital of the province of Viterbo. It is approximately 80 driving / 80 walking kilometers north of GRA on the Via Cassia, and it is surrounded by the Monti Cimini and...

, whence he aimed to finally conquer Rome, in order to restore the ancient splendours of the Empire. The siege, however, was ineffective, and Frederick returned to Southern Italy, sacking Benevento
Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

 (a papal possession). Peace negotiations came to nothing.

In the meantime the Ghibelline city of Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

 had fallen, and Frederick swept his way northwards capturing Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 and, after another long siege
Siege of Faenza
The Siege of Faenza occurred in 1239. Frederick II laid siege to the Guelph-controlled town of Faenza and successfully captured it....

, Faenza
Faenza
Faenza is an Italian city and comune, in the province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, situated 50 km southeast of Bologna.Faenza is noted for its manufacture of majolica ware glazed earthenware pottery, known from the name of the town as "faience"....

. The people of Forlì
Forlì
Forlì is a comune and city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and is the capital of the province of Forlì-Cesena. The city is situated along the Via Emilia, to the right of the Montone river, and is an important agricultural centre...

 (which kept its Ghibelline stance even after the collapse of Hohenstaufen power) offered their loyal support during the capture of the rival city: as a sign of gratitude, they were granted an augmentation of the communal coat-of-arms with the Hohenstaufen eagle, together with other privileges. This episode shows how the independent cities used the rivalry between Empire and Pope as a means to obtain maximum advantage for themselves.

The Pope called a council, but Ghibelline Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 thwarted it, capturing cardinals and prelates on a ship sailing from Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 to Rome. Frederick thought that this time the way into Rome was opened, and he again directed his forces against the Pope, leaving behind him a ruined and burning Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

. Frederick destroyed Grottaferrata
Grottaferrata
Grottaferrata, Italy is a small town and comune in the province of Rome, situated on the lower slopes of the Alban Hills, 20 km south east of Rome. It is bounded by other communes, Frascati, Rocca di Papa, Marino, and Rome.-History:...

 preparing to invade Rome. Then, on 22 August 1241, Gregory died. Frederick, showing that his war was not directed against the Church of Rome but against the Pope, drew back his troops and freed two cardinals from the jail of Capua
Capua
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere is now...

. Nothing changed, however, in the relationship between Papacy and Empire, as Roman troops assaulted the Imperial garrison in Tivoli
Tivoli, Italy
Tivoli , the classical Tibur, is an ancient Italian town in Lazio, about 30 km east-north-east of Rome, at the falls of the Aniene river where it issues from the Sabine hills...

 and the Emperor soon reached Rome. This back-and-forth situation was repeated again in 1242 and 1243.

Innocent IV


A new pope, Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

, was elected on 25 June 1243. He was a member of a noble Imperial family and had some relatives in Frederick's camp, so the Emperor was initially happy with his election. Innocent, however, was to become his fiercest enemy. Negotiations began in the summer of 1243, but the situation changed as Viterbo
Viterbo
See also Viterbo, Texas and Viterbo UniversityViterbo is an ancient city and comune in the Lazio region of central Italy, the capital of the province of Viterbo. It is approximately 80 driving / 80 walking kilometers north of GRA on the Via Cassia, and it is surrounded by the Monti Cimini and...

 rebelled, instigated by the intriguing Cardinal Ranieri of Viterbo. Frederick could not afford to lose his main stronghold near Rome, and besieged the city
Siege of Viterbo
The Siege of Viterbo was fought in 1243 between the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and the rebellious city of Viterbo, 50 km north to Rome. Frederick intervened when the Guelph party in the city expelled his garrison. The siege did not go well for the Imperial troops...

. Many authorities state that the Emperor's star began its descent with this move. Innocent convinced him to withdraw his troops, but Ranieri nonetheless had the Imperial garrison slaughtered on 13 November. Frederick was enraged. The new Pope was a master diplomat, and Frederick signed a peace treaty, which was soon broken. Innocent showed his true Guelph face, and, together with most of the Cardinals, fled via Genoese galleys to the Liguria
Liguria
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy, the third smallest of the Italian regions. Its capital is Genoa. It is a popular region with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and good food.-Geography:...

n republic, arriving on 7 July. His aim was to reach Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, where a new council was held beginning 24 June 1245. One month later, Innocent IV declared Frederick to be deposed as emperor, characterising him as a "friend of Babylon's sultan", "of Saracen customs", "provided with a harem guarded by eunuchs" like the schismatic emperor of Byzantium
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and, in sum, a "heretic". The Pope backed Heinrich Raspe
Heinrich Raspe
Henry Raspe succeeded Hermann II as Landgrave of Thuringia in central Germany in 1241; he later was elected anti-king in 1246–1247 in opposition to Conrad IV of Germany....

, landgrave of Thuringia as his rival for the imperial crown and set in motion a plot to kill Frederick and Enzio, with the support of his (the pope's) brother-in-law Orlando de Rossi, another friend of Frederick's.
The plotters, however, were unmasked by the count of Caserta
Caserta
Caserta is the capital of the province of Caserta in the Campania region of Italy. It is an important agricultural, commercial and industrial comune and city. Caserta is located on the edge of the Campanian plain at the foot of the Campanian Subapennine mountain range...

. The vengeance was terrible: the city of Altavilla
Altavilla Silentina
Altavilla Silentina is a town and comune located in the province of Salerno, Campania, some 100 km south of Naples, Italy.-Geography:...

, where they had found shelter, was razed, and the guilty were blinded, mutilated and burnt alive or hanged. An attempt to invade the Kingdom of Sicily, under the command of Ranieri, was halted at Spello
Spello
Spello is an ancient town and comune of Italy, in the province of Perugia in east central Umbria, on the lower southern flank of Mt. Subasio. It is 6 km NNW of Foligno and 10 km SSE of Assisi.The old walled town lies on a regularly NW-SE sloping ridge that eventually meets the plain...

 by Marino of Eboli, Imperial vicar of Spoleto.

Innocent also sent a flow of money to Germany to cut off Frederick's power at its source. The archbishops of Cologne and Mainz also declared Frederick deposed, and in May 1246 a new king was chosen in the person of Heinrich Raspe. On 5 August 1246 Heinrich, thanks to the Pope's money, managed to defeat an army of Conrad, son of Frederick, near Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

. But Frederick strengthened his position in Southern Germany, acquiring the Duchy of Austria, whose duke had died without heirs, and one year later Heinrich died as well. The new anti-king was William II, Count of Holland.

Between February and March 1247 Frederick settled the situation in Italy by means of the diet of Terni
Terni
Terni is a city in southern Umbria, central Italy, capital of the province of Terni, located in the plain of the Nera river. It is 104 km N of Rome, 36 km NW of Rieti, and 29 km S of Spoleto.-History:...

, naming his relatives or friends as vicars of the various lands. He married his son Manfred to the daughter of Amedeo di Savoia
Amadeus IV of Savoy
Amadeus IV was Count of Savoy from 1233 to 1253.The legitimate heir of Thomas I of Savoy and Margaret of Geneva, he had however to fight with his brothers for the inheritance of Savoy lands after their father's death...

 and secured the submission of the marquis of Monferrato. On his part, Innocent asked protection from the King of France, Louis IX
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

; but the king was a friend of the Emperor and believed in his desire for peace. A papal army under the command of Ottaviano degli Ubaldini never reached Lombardy, and the Emperor, accompanied by a massive army, held the next diet in Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

.


The Battle of Parma and the end


An unexpected event was to change the situation dramatically. In June 1247 the important Lombard city of Parma expelled the Imperial functionaries and sided with the Guelphs. Enzio was not in the city and could do nothing more than ask for help from his father, who came back to lay siege to the rebels, together with his friend Ezzelino III da Romano
Ezzelino III da Romano
Ezzelino III da Romano was an Italian feudal lord in the March of Treviso who was a close ally of the emperor Frederick II and ruled Verona, Vicenza and Padua for almost two decades...

, tyrant of Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

. The besieged languished as the Emperor waited for them to surrender from starvation. He had a wooden city, which he called "Vittoria", built around the walls, where he kept his treasure and the harem and menagerie, and from where he could attend his favourite hunting expeditions.

On 18 February 1248, during one of these absences, the camp was suddenly assaulted and taken, and in the ensuing Battle of Parma
Battle of Parma
The Battle of Parma was fought on February 18, 1248 between the forces of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and the Guelphs. The Guelphs attacked the Imperial camp when Frederick II was away. The Imperial forces were defeated and much of Frederick's treasure was lost.-Background:The free commune of...

 the Imperial side was routed. Frederick lost the Imperial treasure and with it any hope of maintaining the impetus of his struggle against the rebellious communes and against the pope, who began plans for a crusade against Sicily. Frederick soon recovered and rebuilt an army, but this defeat encouraged resistance in many cities that could no longer bear the fiscal burden of his regime: Romagna, Marche and Spoleto were lost.

In February 1249 Frederick fired his advisor and prime minister, the famous jurist and poet Pier delle Vigne on charges of peculation and embezzlement. Some historians suggest that Pier was planning to betray the Emperor, who, according to Matthew of Paris, cried when he discovered the plot. Pier, blinded and in chains, died in Pisa, possibly by suicide. Even more shocking for Frederick was the capture of his son Enzio of Sardinia
Enzio of Sardinia
Enzio was an illegitimate son of Emperor Frederick II and King of Sardinia.-Life:...

 by the Bolognese
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 at the Battle of Fossalta
Battle of Fossalta
The Battle of Fossalta is an en episode of the War of the Guelphs and Ghibellines in northern Italy. It took place in Fossalta, a small location on the Panaro river, and is especially remembered for the capture of Enzio of Sardinia, son of Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.In the spring of 1249,...

, in May of the same year. Only twenty-three at the time, he was held in a palace in Bologna, where he remained captive until his death in 1272.

Frederick lost another son, Richard of Chieti
Chieti
Chieti is a city and comune in Central Italy, 200 km northeast of Rome. It is the capital of the Province of Chieti in the Abruzzo region...

. The struggle continued: the Empire lost Como
Como
Como is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy.It is the administrative capital of the Province of Como....

 and Modena
Modena
Modena is a city and comune on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy....

, but regained Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

. An army sent to invade the Kingdom of Sicily under the command of Cardinal Pietro Capocci was crushed in the Marche at the Battle of Cingoli
Battle of Cingoli
The Battle of Cingoli was fought in 1250 between the forces of the Holy Roman Empire and the armies of the Guelphs and the Papal States. The Imperial forces inflicted a crushing defeat on the Pope's factions....

 in 1250. In the first month of that year the indomitable Ranieri of Viterbo died and the Imperial condottieri again reconquered Romagna, Marche and Spoleto, and Conrad, King of the Romans scored several victories in Germany against William of Holland.

Frederick did not take part in of any of these campaigns. He had been ill and probably felt himself tired. Despite the betrayals and the setbacks he had faced in his last years, Frederick died peacefully, wearing the habit of a Cistercian monk, on 13 December 1250 in Castel Fiorentino (territory of Torremaggiore
Torremaggiore
Torremaggiore is a town and comune in the province of Foggia in the Apulia region of southeast Italy.It lies on a hill, 169 m over the sea, and is famous for production of wine and olives.-History:...

), in Puglia, after an attack of dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

.

At the time of his death, his preeminent position in Europe was challenged but not lost: his testament left his legitimate son Conrad IV
Conrad IV of Germany
Conrad IV was king of Jerusalem , of Germany , and of Sicily .-Biography:...

 the Imperial and Sicilian crowns. Manfred received the principate of Taranto
Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

 and the government of the Kingdom, Henry the Kingdom of Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

 or that of Jerusalem, while the son of Henry VII
Henry (VII) of Germany
Henry was King of Sicily from 1212, Duke of Swabia from 1216, and King of Germany from 1220. He was the son and co-king of Emperor Frederick II and elder brother of Conrad IV of Germany...

 was entrusted with the Duchy of Austria and the Marquisate of Styria. Frederick's will stipulated that all the lands he had taken from the Church were to be returned to it, all the prisoners freed, and the taxes reduced, provided this did not damage the Empire's prestige.

However, upon Conrad's death a mere four years later, the Hohenstaufen dynasty fell from power and the Great Interregnum began, lasting until 1273, one year after the last Hohenstaufen, Enzio, had died in his prison. During this time, a legend developed that Frederick was not truly dead but merely sleeping
King in the mountain
A king in the mountain, king under the mountain or sleeping hero is a prominent motif in folklore and mythology that is found in many folktales and legends...

 in the Kyffhäuser
Kyffhäuser
The Kyffhäuser is a range of hills located on the border of the German state of Thuringia with Saxony-Anhalt. It stands on the southern edge of the Harz. The range has a length of and a width of . It reaches its highest point at the Kulpenberg , situated in Thuringia...

 Mountains and would one day awaken to reestablish his empire. Over time, this legend largely transferred itself to his grandfather, Frederick I
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

, also known as Barbarossa ("Redbeard").

His sarcophagus
Sarcophagus
A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σαρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγειν phagein meaning "to eat", hence sarkophagus means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos...

 (made of red porphyry
Porphyry (geology)
Porphyry is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts...

) lies in the cathedral of Palermo
Cathedral of Palermo
The Cathedral of Palermo is an architectural complex in Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy. It is characterized by the presence of different styles, due to a long history of additions, alterations and restorations, the last of which occurred in the 18th century....

 beside those of his parents (Henry VI and Constance) as well as his grandfather, the Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 king Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

. A bust of Frederick sits in the Walhalla temple
Walhalla temple
The Walhalla temple is a hall of fame that honors laudable and distinguished Germans, famous personalities in German history — politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists of the German tongue". The hall is housed in a neo-classical building above the Danube River, east of Regensburg, in...

 built by Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I was a German king of Bavaria from 1825 until the 1848 revolutions in the German states.-Crown prince:...

.

Personality


His contemporaries called Frederick stupor mundi, the "wonder" – or, more precisely, the "astonishment" – "of the world"; the majority of his contemporaries, subscribing to medieval religious orthodoxy, under which the doctrines promulgated by the Church were supposed to be uniform and universal, were indeed astonished – and sometimes repelled – by the pronounced individuality of the Hohenstaufen emperor, his temperamental stubbornness, and his unorthodox, nearly unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

Frederick II inherited German, Norman, and Sicilian blood, but by training, lifestyle, and temperament he was "most of all Sicilian." Maehl concludes that, "To the end of his life he remained above all a Sicilian grand signore, and his whole imperial policy aimed at expanding the Sicilian kingdom into Italy rather than the German kingdom southward. Cantor concludes, "Frederick had no intention of giving up Naples and Sicily, which were the real strongholds of its power. He was, in fact, uninterested in Germany."

Frederick II was a religious skeptic. He is said to have denounced Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad as all being frauds and deceivers of mankind. He delighted in uttering blasphemies and making mocking remarks directed toward Christian sacraments and beliefs. Frederick's religious skepticism was unusual for the era in which he lived, and to his contemporaries, highly shocking and scandalous, and his papal enemies used it against him at every turn.

In Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, where the three-year-old boy was brought after his mother's death, he was said to have grown up like a street youth. He was highly precocious. The only benefit from Innocent III's guardianship was that at fourteen years of age he married a twenty-five-year-old widow named Constance, the daughter of the king of Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

. Both seem to have been happy with the arrangement, and Constance soon bore a son, Henry.

At his coronation, he may have worn the red silk mantle that had been crafted during the reign of Roger II. It bore an Arabic inscription indicating that the robe dated from the year 528 in the Muslim calendar, and incorporated a generic benediction, wishing its wearer "vast prosperity, great generosity and high splendor, fame and magnificent endowments, and the fulfillment of his wishes and hopes. May his days and nights go in pleasure without end or change". This coronation robe can be found today in the Schatzkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Kunsthistorisches Museum
The Kunsthistorisches Museum is an art museum in Vienna, Austria. Housed in its festive palatial building on Ringstraße, it is crowned with an octagonal dome...

 in Vienna.

Rather than exterminate the Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s of Sicily, he allowed them to settle on the mainland and build mosques. Not least, he enlisted them in his Christian army and even into his personal bodyguards. As Muslim soldiers, they had the advantage of immunity from papal excommunication. For these reasons, as well as his supposed Epicureanism
Epicureanism
Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. Following Aristippus—about whom...

, Frederick II is listed as a representative member of the sixth region of Dante's Inferno
Inferno (Dante)
Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

, The Heretics who are burned in tombs.

A further example of how much Frederick differed from his contemporaries was the conduct of his Crusade in the Holy Land. Outside Jerusalem, with the power to take it, he parlayed five months with the Ayyubid Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 of Egypt al-Kamil
Al-Kamil
Al-Kamil was a Kurdish Ayyubid sultan who ruled North Africa. During his tenure as sultan, the Ayyubids defeated two crusades. In a temporary agreement with the Crusaders, he ceded Jerusalem to the Christians.-Biography:He was the son of sultan al-Adil, a brother of Saladin...

 about the surrender of the city. The Sultan summoned him into Jerusalem and entertained him in the most lavish fashion. When the muezzin, out of consideration for Frederick, failed to make the morning call to prayer, the emperor declared: "I stayed overnight in Jerusalem, in order to overhear the prayer call of the Muslims and their worthy God". The Saracens had a good opinion of him, so it was no surprise that after five months Jerusalem was handed over to him, taking advantage of the war difficulties of al-Kamil. The fact that this was regarded in the Arab as in the Christian world as high treason
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

 did not matter to him. When certain members of the Knights Templar wrote al-Kamil a letter and offered to destroy Frederick if he lent them aid, al-Kamil handed the letter over to Frederick. As the Patriarch of Jerusalem refused to crown him king, he set the crown on his own head.

Science


Besides his great tolerance (which, however, did not apply to Christian heretics
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

), Frederick had an unlimited thirst for knowledge and learning. Frederick employed Jews from Sicily, who had immigrated there from the holy land, at his court to translate Greek and Arabic works.

To the dislike of some of his contemporaries, Frederick simply did not believe things that could not be explained by reason. He forbade trials by ordeal
Trial by ordeal
Trial by ordeal is a judicial practice by which the guilt or innocence of the accused is determined by subjecting them to an unpleasant, usually dangerous experience...

 in the firm conviction that in a duel the stronger would always win, whether or not he was guilty. Many of his laws continue to influence modern attitudes, such as his prohibition on physicians acting as their own pharmacists. This was a blow to the charlatanism under which physicians diagnosed dubious maladies in order to sell useless, even dangerous "cures".


Frederick II is the author of the first treatise on the subject of falconry
Falconry
Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a hawk or an eagle...

, De Arte Venandi cum Avibus
De arte venandi cum avibus
De Arte Venandi cum Avibus, literally "The Art of Hunting with Birds", is a Latin treatise on ornithology and Falconry written in the 1240s by Frederick II, and dedicated to his son Manfred....

 ("The Art of Hunting with Birds"). In the words of the historian C.H. Haskins:

Frederick’s pride in his mastery of the art is illustrated by the story that, when he was ordered to become a subject of the Great Khan (Batu
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

) and receive an office at the Khan’s court, he remarked that he would make a good falconer, for he understood birds very well. He maintained up to fifty falconers at a time in his court, and in his letters he requested Arctic gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon
The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

s from Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

 and even from Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

. One of the two existing versions was modified by his son Manfred
Manfred of Sicily
Manfred was the King of Sicily from 1258 to 1266. He was a natural son of the emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen but his mother, Bianca Lancia , is reported by Matthew of Paris to have been married to the emperor while on her deathbed.-Background:Manfred was born in Venosa...

, also a keen falconer.

Frederick loved exotic animals in general: his menagerie
Menagerie
A menagerie is/was a form of keeping common and exotic animals in captivity that preceded the modern zoological garden. The term was first used in seventeenth century France in reference to the management of household or domestic stock. Later, it came to be used primarily in reference to...

, with which he impressed the cold cities of Northern Italy and Europe, included hounds, giraffes, cheetahs, lynxes, leopards, exotic birds and an elephant.

He was also alleged to have carried out a number of experiments on people. These experiments were recorded by the monk Salimbene di Adam
Salimbene di Adam
Salimbene di Adam was an Italian Franciscan friar and chronicler who is a source for Italian history of the 13th century.-Life:...

 (who despised Frederick) in his Chronicles. Amongst the experiments included shutting a prisoner up in a cask to see if the soul could be observed escaping though a hole in the cask when the prisoner died; feeding two prisoners, sending one out to hunt and the other to bed and then have them disemboweled to see which had digested their meal better; imprisoning children without any contact to see if they would develop a natural language.

In the Language deprivation experiment
Language deprivation experiments
Language deprivation experiments have been attempted several times through history, isolating infants from the normal use of spoken or signed language in an attempt to discover the fundamental character of human nature or the origin of language....

 young infants were raised without human interaction
Feral child
A feral child is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and has no experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and, crucially, of human language...

 in an attempt to determine if there was a natural language
Natural language
In the philosophy of language, a natural language is any language which arises in an unpremeditated fashion as the result of the innate facility for language possessed by the human intellect. A natural language is typically used for communication, and may be spoken, signed, or written...

 that they might demonstrate once their voices matured. It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language would have been imparted unto Adam and Eve
Adamic language
The Adamic language is, according to certain sects within Abrahamic traditions, the language spoken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, i.e., either the language used by God to address Adam, or the language invented by Adam ....

 by God. In his Chronicles Salimbene wrote that Frederick bade "foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 (which had been the first), or Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, or Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, or Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments."

Frederick was also interested in the stars, and his court was host to many astrologers and astronomers, including Michael Scot
Michael Scot
Michael Scot was a medieval mathematician and scholar.- Early life and education :He was born in Scotland, and studied first at the cathedral school of Durham and then at Oxford and Paris, devoting himself to philosophy, mathematics, and astrology...

 and Guido Bonatti
Guido Bonatti
Guido Bonatti was an Italian astronomer and astrologer from Forlì. He was the most celebrated astrologer in Europe in his century.-Biography:...

. He often sent letters to the leading scholars of the time (not only in Europe) asking for solutions to questions of science, mathematics and physics.

In 1224 he founded the University of Naples, the world's oldest state university: now called Università Federico II, it remained the sole atheneum of Southern Italy for centuries.

Appearance


A Damascene chronicler, Sibt ibn al-Jawzi
Sibt ibn al-Jawzi
Yusuf ibn Abd-Allah , famously known as Sibt ibn al-Jawzi and Abu-Muzaffar .was a famous scholar.-Confusion:He was the grandson of the great Hanbali scholar Abul-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzi who is known for his works such as A Great Collection of Fabricated Traditions and the Provision of the journey .his...

, left a physical description of Frederick based on the testimony of those who had seen the emperor in person in Jerusalem: "The Emperor was covered with red hair, was bald and myopic. Had he been a slave, he would not have fetched 200 dirhams at market." Frederick's eyes were described variously as blue, or "green like those of a serpent".

Law reforms


His 1241 Edict of Salerno (sometimes called Constitution of Salerno) made the first legally fixed separation of the occupations of physician and apothecary. Physicians were forbidden to double as pharmacists and the prices of various medicinal remedies were fixed. This became a model for regulation of the practice of pharmacy throughout Europe.

He was not able to extend his legal reforms beyond Sicily to the Empire. In 1232, he was forced by the German princes to promulgate the Statutum in favorem principum
Statutum in favorem principum
The Statutum in favorem principum of May 1232 counts as one of the most important sources of law of the Holy Roman Empire on German territory.- Origin :...

("statute in favor of princes"). It was a charter of liberties for the leading German princes at the expense of the lesser nobility and commoners. The princes gained whole power of jurisdiction, and the power to strike their own coins. The emperor lost his right to establish new cities, castles and mints over their territories. The Statutum severely weakened central authority in Germany. From 1232 the vassals of the emperor had a veto over imperial legislative decisions. Every new law established by the emperor had to be approved by the princes.

Evaluation


Historians rate Frederick II as a highly significant European monarch of the Middle Ages. This reputation was present even in Frederick's era. Many modern medievalists reject the notion, sponsored by the popes, of Frederick as an anti-Christian. They argue that Frederick understood himself as a Christian monarch in the sense of a Byzantine emperor, thus as God's Viceroy on earth. Whatever his personal feelings toward religion, certainly submission to the pope did not enter into the matter. This was in line with the Hohenstaufen Kaiseridee, the ideology claiming the Holy Roman Emperor to be the legitimate successor to the Roman Emperors
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

.

Twentieth-century treatments of Frederick vary from the sober (Wolfgang Stürner) to the dramatic (Ernst Kantorowicz
Ernst Kantorowicz
Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz was a German-Jewish historian of medieval political and intellectual history, known for his 1927 book Kaiser Friedrich der Zweite on Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, and in particular The King's Two Bodies .Kantorowicz was born in Posen to a wealthy, assimilated...

). However, all agree on Frederick II's significance as Holy Roman Emperor. In the judgment of British historian Geoffrey Barraclough, Frederick's extensive concessions to German princes—which he made in the hopes of securing his base for his Italian projects—undid the political power of his predecessors and postponed German unity for centuries.

Legitimate issue

  • First wife: Constance of Aragon (b. 1179 – d. 23 June 1222). Marriage: 15 August 1209, at Messina, Sicily.
    • Henry (VII)
      Henry (VII) of Germany
      Henry was King of Sicily from 1212, Duke of Swabia from 1216, and King of Germany from 1220. He was the son and co-king of Emperor Frederick II and elder brother of Conrad IV of Germany...

       (b. 1211 – d. 12 February 1242).
  • Second wife: Yolande of Jerusalem
    Yolande of Jerusalem
    Isabella II also known as Yolande of Brienne, was a princess of French origin who became monarch of Jerusalem.-Infant Queen:...

     (b. 1212 – d. 25 April 1228). Marriage: 9 November 1225, at Brindisi
    Brindisi
    Brindisi is a city in the Apulia region of Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, off the coast of the Adriatic Sea.Historically, the city has played an important role in commerce and culture, due to its position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port on the Adriatic Sea. The city...

    , Apulia.
    • Margareta (b. November 1226 – d. August 1227).
    • Conrad IV
      Conrad IV of Germany
      Conrad IV was king of Jerusalem , of Germany , and of Sicily .-Biography:...

       (b. 25 April 1228 – d. 21 May 1254).
  • Third wife: Isabella of England
    Isabella of England
    For Isabella of England, the daughter of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, see Isabella de Coucy.Isabella of England, also called Elizabeth was an English princess and, by marriage, Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, and Queen consort of Sicily.-Biography:She was the fourth child but...

     (b. 1214 – d. 1 December 1241). Marriage: 15 July 1235, at Worms, Germany.
    • Jordan (b. Spring 1236 and d. 1236).; this child was given the baptismal name Jordanus as he was baptized with water brought for that purpose from the Jordan river;
    • Agnes (b and d. 1237).
    • Henry (b. 18 January 1238 – d. May 1254).
    • Margaret
      Margaret of Sicily
      Margaret of Sicily , was a Princess of Sicily and Germany, and a member of the House of Hohenstaufen...

       (b. 1 December 1241 – d. 8 August 1270), married Albert, Landgrave of Thuringia
      Albert II, Margrave of Meissen
      Albert II, the Degenerate was a Margrave of Meissen, Landgrave of Thuringia and Count Palatine of Saxony...

      , later Margrave of Meissen.


Frederick had a relationship with Bianca Lancia
Bianca Lancia
Bianca Lancia d'Agliano was an Italian noblewoman, who was the mistress and later wife of emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, although the marriage, conducted while she was on her deathbed, was considered non-canonical.- Family :Born ca...

 (ca.1200/10-1230/46), possibly starting around 1225 (see her page for discussion of dating problems). One source states that it lasted 20 years. She bore him three children:
  • Constance (Anna)
    Constance II of Hohenstaufen
    Anna of Hohenstaufen , born Constance, was the daughter of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and Bianca Lancia.-Byzantine Empress:...

     (b. 1230 – d. April 1307), married John III Ducas Vatatzes.
  • Manfred
    Manfred of Sicily
    Manfred was the King of Sicily from 1258 to 1266. He was a natural son of the emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen but his mother, Bianca Lancia , is reported by Matthew of Paris to have been married to the emperor while on her deathbed.-Background:Manfred was born in Venosa...

     (b. 1232 – killed in battle, Benevento, 26 February 1266), first Regent, later King of Sicily.
  • Violente (b. 1233 – d. 1264), married Riccardo Sanseverino, Conte di Caserta.


Matthew of Paris relates the story of a marriage in articulo mortis (on her deathbed) between them when Bianca was dying, but this marriage was never recognized by the Church. Nevertheless, Bianca's children were apparently regarded by Frederick as legitimate, evidenced by his daughter Constance's marriage to the Nicaen Emperor, and his own will, in which he appointed Manfred as Prince of Taranto and Regent of Sicily.

Mistresses and illegitimate issue

  • Unknown name, Sicilian Countess. According to Medlands, she was the first known mistress of Frederick II, by this time King of Sicily. Her exact parentage is unknown, but the Thomas Tusci Gesta Imperatorum et Pontificum stated she was a nobili comitissa quo in regno Sicilie erat heres.
    • Frederick of Pettorana, who fled to Spain with his wife and children in 1238/1240.
  • Adelheid (Adelaide) of Urslingen (c. 1184 – c. 1222). Her relationship with Frederick II took place during the time he stayed in Germany (between 1215–1220). According to some sources, she was related to the Hohenburg family under the name Alayta of Vohburg (it: Alayta di Marano); but the most accepted theory stated she was the daughter of Conrad of Urslingen
    Conrad of Urslingen
    Conrad of Urslingen was the Duke of Spoleto on two occasions: first from 1183 to 1190 and then from 1195 to 1198.Conrad began his career as count of Assisi, which was given him after its 1174 conquest by Christian of Mainz. Frederick Barbarossa, the emperor, invested Conrad as count and granted...

    , Count of Assisi and Duke of Spoleto.
    • Enzio of Sardinia
      Enzio of Sardinia
      Enzio was an illegitimate son of Emperor Frederick II and King of Sardinia.-Life:...

       (1215–1272).
  • Unknown name, from the family of the Dukes of Spoleto. This relationship is only exposed in Medlands (see above for the entry). Other sources (included Medlands) also stated Catarina was a full sister of Enzio and, in consequence, also daughter of Adelaide of Urslingen.
    • Caterina da Marano (1216/18 – 1272), who married firstly with NN and secondly with Giacomo del Carretto, marquis of Noli and Finale
      Marquisate of Finale
      The Marquisate of Finale was an Italian state in what is now Liguria, part of the former medieval Aleramici March. It was ruled for some six centuries by the Aleramici branch known as marquesses del Vasto and later Del Carretto, when Savona became a free commune.-History:The marquisate of Finale...

      .
  • Matilda or Maria, from Antioch.
    • Frederick of Antioch (1221–1256).
  • Manna, sister of the Archbishop of Messina.
    • Richard of Chieti (1225 – 26 May 1249).
  • Richina (Ruthina) of Beilstein-Wolfsöden (c. 1205 – 1236). According to Medlands (who take the information from Europäische Stammtafeln), she was the wife of Count Gottfried of Löwenstein and daughter of some Count Berthold of Beilstein by his wife Adelaide of Bonfeld.
    • Margaret of Swabia (1230–1298), married Thomas of Aquino, count of Acerra.
  • Unknown mistress or mistresses:
    • Selvaggia (1223–1244), married Ezzelino III da Romano
      Ezzelino III da Romano
      Ezzelino III da Romano was an Italian feudal lord in the March of Treviso who was a close ally of the emperor Frederick II and ruled Verona, Vicenza and Padua for almost two decades...

    • Blanchefleur (1226–1279), Dominican nun in Montargis, France.
    • Gerhard (died after 1255).

Ancestry





See also


  • Dukes of Swabia family tree
    Dukes of Swabia family tree
    This is a Family tree of the Dukes of Swabia, from 1012 to the end of the Hohenstaufen dominion over the duchy in 1268. Dukes previous to 1012 are not represented.-See also:*Holy Roman Emperor*Swabia*Other family trees...

  • Kings of Germany family tree— he was related to every other king of Germany
  • Hauteville family
    Hauteville family
    The family of the Hauteville was a petty baronial Norman family from the Cotentin which rose to prominence in Europe, Asia, and Africa through its conquests in the Mediterranean, especially Southern Italy and Sicily...


External links


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