Konstantin Roger Friedrich VON STAUFEN, Holy Roman Emperor Emperor of Germ

Konstantin Roger Friedrich VON STAUFEN, Holy Roman Emperor Emperor of Germ

Male 1194 - 1250  (55 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Konstantin Roger Friedrich VON STAUFEN 
    Suffix Holy Roman Emperor Emperor of Germ 
    Born 26 Dec 1194  Iesi, Ancona, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 13 Dec 1250  Castel Fiorentino (near Lucera), Foggia, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried 25 Feb 1251  Palermo Cathedral, Palermo, Sicily Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    1781 picture showing the mummified corpse of Frederick II in Palermo
    1781 picture showing the mummified corpse of Frederick II in Palermo
    Frederic von Stauffen - Tomb
    Frederic von Stauffen - Tomb
    Person ID I9494  BlytheGenealogy
    Last Modified 1 Feb 2019 

    Father Heinrich VON STAUFEN, VI King of Germany; Holy Roman Emp,   b. Nov 1165, Nijmegen, Neth, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Sep 1197, Messina, Sicily, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years) 
    Mother Constance, of Sicily,   b. 2 Nov 1154,   d. 28 Nov 1198, Palermo, Sicily, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 44 years) 
    Married 27 Jan 1186  Milan, Santo Ambrosio Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F4468  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Constanza, de Aragón,   b. Abt 1179,   d. 23 Jun 1222, Catania, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 43 years) 
    Married Aft 1198  Worms Cathedral, Worms, Rhinehessen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
     1. Heinrich, VII King of Germany,   b. 1211,   d. Abt 12 Feb 1242, Martorano Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 31 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4473  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

     1. Gerardo,   d. Bef 1255
     2. Blanchefleur,   b. Abt 1226,   d. 20 Jun 1279, Montargis, Fontevrault, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 53 years)
     3. Margherita, of Germany,   b. Abt 1230,   d. Abt 1297 OR 1298  (Age ~ 68 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4474  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Unknown 
     1. Caterina DE MARANO,   b. Abt 1216 OR 1218,   d. Aft 1272  (Age ~ 55 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4475  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 4 Unknown 
     1. Manfred VON HOHENSTAUFEN, III King of Sicily,   b. 1232, Venosa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Feb 1266, Benevento, Campania, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 34 years)
     2. Constanza VON HOHENSTAUFEN,   b. Abt 1233 OR 1234,   d. Apr 1307, Valencia, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 73 years)
     3. Violanta,   b. Abt 1233,   d. After Summer 1264  (Age ~ 31 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4476  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 5 Unknown 
     1. Riccardo, Conti di Chieti podestà di Florenc,   b. Abt 1225,   d. Aft Jun 1249  (Age ~ 24 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4477  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 6 Unknown 
     1. Enzio,   b. Abt 1215,   d. 11 Mar 1272, Bologna, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 57 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4478  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 7 Unknown 
     1. Salvaggia,   b. Abt 1223,   d. 1244  (Age ~ 21 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4479  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 8 Unknown 
     1. Federigo DI ANTIOCHIA,   b. Abt 1221,   d. 1256, Provincia di Foggia, Apulia, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 35 years)
     2. Willem, Duke of Gelre
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4480  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 9 Unknown 
     1. Federico, di Pettorano
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4481  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 10 Unknown 
     1. Adelasia
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4482  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 11 Unknown 
     1. Heinrich,   d. 26 Sep 1241 OR 27 Sep 1241
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4483  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 12 Isabella, of England,   b. 1214,   d. 1 Dec 1241, Foggia, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 27 years) 
    Married 15 Jul 1235 OR 25 Jul 1235  Worms Cathedral, Worms, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
     1. Margaret HOHENSTAUFEN,   b. Abt Feb 1236/37, Graz, Steiermark, Austria Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4484  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 13 Isabelle, de Brienne Queen of Jerusalem,   b. 1211,   d. Apr 25 OR 5 May 1228, Andria, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 17 years) 
    Married 9 Nov 1225  Brindisi Cathedral, Brindisi, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
     1. Unknown,   b. Nov 1226,   d. Aug 1227  (Age ~ 0 years)
     2. Konrad, IV King of Germany King of Sicily,   b. 25 Apr 1228, Andria, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 May 1254, Heerlager, near Lavello, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 26 years)
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2019 
    Family ID F4485  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Shield and Coat of Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor, based on the depiction in Codex Manesse (c. 1310)
    Shield and Coat of Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor, based on the depiction in Codex Manesse (c. 1310)
    Isabella and Emperor Frederick II
    Isabella and Emperor Frederick II
    Statue of Frederick II at the Palazzo Reale, Naples
    Statue of Frederick II at the Palazzo Reale, Naples
    1781 picture showing the mummified corpse of Frederick II in Palermo
    1781 picture showing the mummified corpse of Frederick II in Palermo
    Frederick II (left) meets Al-Kamil (right)
    Frederick II (left) meets Al-Kamil (right)
    Frederic von Stauffen - Tomb
    Frederic von Stauffen - Tomb
    Gold augustale of Emperor Frederik II, as King of Sicily 1198–1250
    Gold augustale of Emperor Frederik II, as King of Sicily 1198–1250
    Friedrich II, King of Germany
    Friedrich II, King of Germany

  • Notes 
    • KONSTANTIN ROGER FRIEDRICHvon Staufen, son of Emperor HEINRICH VI & hi s wife Constance ofSicily (Iesi, Ancona 26 Dec 1194-Castel Fiorentin o near Lucera, Foggia, 13 Dec1250, bur 25 Feb 1251 Palermo Cathedral).   He was elected as king of Germany at Wurzburg 25 Dec 1196.  He succ eeded hisfather in 1197 as FEDERIGO I King of Sicily,under the regenc y of his mother, crowned 17 May 1198 at Palermo cathedral.  Hedeclare d himself of age 26 Dec 1208.  Emperor Otto IV invaded Naples, became master of continental Sicily by 1211 and was preparing to invade the i sland of Sicily with Pisan support, when Friedrich was again elected a s FRIEDRICH II Kingof Germany 5 Dec 1212 at Frankfurt-am-Main, crowne d at Mainz 9 Dec 1212 andat Aachen 25 Jul 1215.  He was crowned as Em peror FRIEDRICH II in Rome 22 Nov 1220.  He declared himself FRIEDRIC H King of Jerusalem at Brindisi 9 Nov 1225.  He replaced Eudes de Mon tbé liard as regent of Jerusalem by Thomas ofAquino Count of Acerra i n 1226[609].  He sailed from Brindisi 8 Sep 1227 for Jerusalem but fel l ill at Otranto, where Ludwig IV Landgraf of Thuringia had been put a shore due to sickness, andpostponed his journey while recuperating[610 ].  He embarked again at Brindisi 28 Jun 1228, although his second wif e hadmeanwhile died which put in doubt his right to the kingdom of Jer usalem, and landed in Cyprus in Jul 1228[611].  He left Cyprus for Acr e 3 Sep 1228, and after lengthy negotiations signed a tenyear peace tr eaty with Sultan al-Kamil 18 Feb 1229 under which the city of Jerusale m was returned to the kingdom of Jerusalem[612].  He made his ceremoni al entry to Jerusalem 17 Mar 1229, and crowned himself kingthe next da y in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, before sailing back to Europefr om Acre 1 May 1229 after appointing Eudes de Montbé liard as Constabl e ofJerusalem and Balian of Sidon and Garnier the German as baillies.   He landed at Brindisi 10 Jun 1229[613].  Friedrich was excommunicat ed and deposed as emperor 17 Jul 1245 by Pope Innocent IV.  He died f rom dysentery.  His death is recorded by Matthew Paris, who specifie s the date but not the place and gives details of his testament[614].   The Historia Sicula of Bartolomeo di Neocastro records the death i n Dec1250 "in festo beate Lucie virginis" of "dominusFridericus secund us… Romanorum… imperator" and his burial "inmajori ecclesia Panormitan a"[615].
      m firstly (Messina 5or 15 Aug 1209 or Palermo 19 Aug 1209) as her seco nd husband, Infanta doñ a CONSTANZAde Aragó n, widow of IMRE King of H ungary, daughter of donALFONSO II “el Casto” King of Aragon & his wif e Infanta doñ a Sancha deCastilla (1179-Catania 23 Jun 1222, bur Paler mo Cathedral).  The Chronicle ofAlberic de Trois-Fontaines names "Con stantia regina" as wifeof "Hemericus filius [regis Hungarie Bela]", sp ecifying thatshe later married "Frederico imperatori"[616].  The Cró n ica de San Juan de la Peñ a records that Pedro II King of Aragon arran ged the marriage of his sister Constanza to "Fredrico Rey deSicilia"[6 17].  The Historia Sicula of Bartolomeo di Neocastro names "Constancia soror… Iacobi regis Aragonum" as the first wife of "dominusFridericu s secundus… Romanorum… imperator"[618].  The Continuatio Admuntensis r ecords that she took her son to Vienna and that, after his death, Leop old Duke of Austria arranged her repatriation to"fratri suo Hyspaniaru m regi"[619].  The Ryccardus de Sancti Germano Chronica records the ma rriage in 1209 of"Fredericus rex Sicilie" and "Constantiam sororem reg is Arragonum"[620].  The Continuatio Claustroneoburgensis records th e marriage of"Fridericus rex Apulie" and "filiam regis Arragonis, reli ctam regis Ungarie"[621].  She was named regent of Sicily by her husba nd in 1212 during his absence in Germany, until 1220.  She was crowne d as empress at Rome with her husband 22 Nov 1220[622].  The monk Conr ad´ s Brevis Chronica records the death "apud Cataniam"in 1222 of "dom ina Constantia imperatrix… prima uxor Fredericiimperatoris"[623].
      m secondly (by proxyAcre Aug 1225, Brindisi Cathedral 9 Nov 1225) ISAB ELLE [Yolande]de Brienne Queen of Jerusalem, daughter of JEAN de Brien neKing of Jerusalem & his first wife Maria di Monferrato Queen of Jeru salem (1211-Andria,Bari 25 Apr or 5 May 1228, bur Bari cathedral).  T he Chronicle of Alberic deTrois-Fontaines names "rex Iohannes filiam s uam Ysabel",records her marriage to "imperatori Frederici" and specifi esthat her husband thereby became king of Jerusalem[624].  According t o Runciman[625],she was named Yolande in "western chronicles" but thes e have not yetbeen identified.  The monk Conrad´ s Brevis Chronica re cords the marriagein 1225 of "imperator" and "filiam regisJoannis… Isa bellam" as his second wife, her death in 1227, and thebirth of "Rex Co nradus filius eius"[626].  She was crowned ISABELLE Queen of Jerusalem at Tyre days after her marriage by proxy, and sailed from Acre in [Aug /Sep]1225 for her marriage[627].  After her marriage, her husband kep t her secluded in his harem at Palermo[628].  She died in childbirth.
      m thirdly (Betrothed London Feb 1235, Worms Cathedral 15 or 20 Jul 123 5) ISABELLA ofEngland, daughter of JOHN King of England & his second w ifeIsabelle Ctss d'Angoulê me (1214-Foggia near Naples 1 Dec 1241, bu r Bari).  Matthew Paris records her marriage, specifying that she wa s the sister of King Henry III[629].  The Annals of Dunstable record t hat “Fredericus imperator Alemanniæ” married“Ysabellam filiam Johanni s regis Angliæ” in 1235, her dowry being 30,000marcs of silver[630].   The Annales Erphordenses record the marriage "1235 XVIIKal Aug" at W orms of "sororem Regis Anglie" and theemperor[631].  Her marriage wa s arranged by her future husband to drive a wedge between England an d the Welf faction in Germany, who were long time allies[632].  She wa s granted the castle of Monte Sant'Angelo by her husband on her marria ge,and was crowned empress 20 Jul 1235 at Worms Cathedral.  After he r marriage,her husband confined her to one of his castles in Sicily wh ere she was guardedby eunuchs.  The Annales Londonienses record the d eath in 1241 of"Isabella imperatrix, soror regis Angliæ"[633].  The An nals of Tewkesbury record the death “circa festum sancti Nicholai”in 1 241 of “Johanna imperatrix” and her burial “apud Barensem urbem”[634].   She died in childbirth[635].
      Mistress (1):  --- .  The Thomas Tusci Gesta Imperatorum et Pontificu m refers to themother of "Fredericus" as "nobili comitissa quo inregn o Sicilie erat heres"[636]but Emperor Friedrich's first mistress has n ot been identified more precisely.
      Mistress (2): [ADELHEID vonUrslingen, daughter of ---].  William of T yre (Continuator) recordsthat the mother of "Ens" was "une haute damed 'Alemaigne"[637].  The Thomas Tusci Gesta Imperatorum et Pontificum re fers to"Hentius filius Frederici… ex matre infami et ignobili… [et] Th eotonica"[638].  BenoiSt. Mé chin says that "on a certaines raisons d e croire"that the mother of Enzio was "Adé laï de d´ Urslingen, de l a Maison deSpolè te" but cites no source and does not explain furthe r what thesereasons might be[639].
      [Mistress (3): RUTHINA von Beilstein-Wolfsö lden, wife of GOTTFRIED [I I] Graf von Lö wenstein [Calw],daughter of [BERTHOLD Graf von Beilstei n & his wife Adelheid von Bonfeld].  According to Europä ische Stammta feln[640],she was the mistress of Emperor Friedrich II, but the primar y source on whichthis is based has not yet been identified.  The sour ce does not state if shewas the mother of any children by the emperor. ]
      Mistress (4): ---.  BenoiSt. Mé chin says that the mother of the emper or´ s daughter Katharina was"une femme appartenant à la ligné e des d ucs de Spolè te" butcites no corresponding source[641].  There may b e some confusion with the alleged mother of Enzio who, according toth e same source, was "de la Maison de Spolè te" (see above).
      [Mistress (5): ---.  No indication has been found of the identity of t he mother of the emperor´ ssupposed son Heinrich.]
      Mistress (6): MARIA [Matilda], from Antioch.  The Thomas Tusci Gest a Imperatorum et Pontificum refers to the mother of"Fredericus qui d e Antiochia" as "Antiocha dicta"[642].  The primary source which speci fies her name has not yet been identified.  The HistoriaSicula of Bar tolomeo di Neocastro names "Beatrix filia principisAntiochie" as the f ourth wife of "dominus Fridericussecundus… Romanorum… imperator"[643].   Zurita, presumably basing himself on the same source, alsonames “Bea triz...hija del Principe de Antioch” as the mother of “Federicode Anti ochia”[644].  The basis for the name Beatrix in these two sources is n ot known.  It isextremely improbable that she was the daughter of th e then titular prince ofAntioch, who would presumably have been Bohé m ond IV (see the document ANTIOCH).  No record has been found of her de scendants claiming the title after theextinction in the male line of t he princely family of Antioch.
      Mistress (7): ---.  Her name is not known.
      Mistress (8): [MANNA, niece of --- Archbishop of Messina,daughter of - --.  BenoiSt. Mé chin says that the mother of Riccardo Conte diChiet i was "semble-t-il, le fils de Manna, une niè ce de l´ arché vê que de Messine" but cites no corresponding source[645].]
      Mistress name is not known.
      Mistress (10): ---.  Her name is not known.
      Mistress (11): ---.  Her name is not known.
      Mistress (12): BIANCALancia, daughter of MANFREDO [II] Lancia Marches e di Busca & hiswife Bianca "Maletta" --- -[1233/34]).  The Histori a Siculaof Bartolomeo di Neocastro names "domina Blanca… de Lancea d e Lombardia"as the fifth wife of "dominus Fridericus secundus… Romanor um… imperator"[646].  The Thomas Tusci Gesta Imperatorum et Pontificu m refers tothe mother of "Manfredus" as "sorore marchionisLancee… fili a domne Blanca"[647].  A "confirmatio matrimonii in articulo mortis" i n [1233/34] isrecorded by Matthew Paris, in the form of a declaratio n of her son Manfred[648].  The Cronica Fratris Salimbene de Adam refe rs to the mother of "Manfredus… filiusFriderici" as "marchionis Lance e neptis", specifyingthat she married the Emperor "in obitu"[649].

      Frederick II; born Dec. 26, 1194, Jesi, Ancona, Papal States died Dec . 13, 1250, Castel Fiorentino, Apulia, Kingdom of Sicily.
      King of Sicily (1197-1250), duke of Swabia (as Frederick VI, 1228-35) , German king (1212-50), and Holy Roman emperor (1220-50). A Hohenstau fen and grandson of Frederick I Barbarossa, he pursued his dynasty's i mperial policies against the papacy and the Italian city states; and h e also joined in the Sixth Crusade (1228-29), conquering several area s of the Holy Land and crowning himself king of Jerusalem (reigning 12 29-43).Early years.
      In 1196, Frederick, at the age of two, was elected king by the Germa n princes at Frankfort. His father, however, failed in his attempt t o gain the princes' support to make Frederick's succession hereditary . Just before embarking on a crusade to the Holy Land, Emperor Henry d ied in September 1197 after a brief illness, only 32 years old. Thoug h the medieval Roman Empire was at the height of its strength, the Emp eror's death brought it close to dissolution.
      After the death of her husband, Empress Constance had young Frederic k brought to Sicily, where in May 1198 he was crowned king of Sicily . Before her death later that year, Constance loosened the bonds tha t joined Sicily to the empire and to Germany by appointing Pope Innoce nt III her son's guardian as well as regent of the Kingdom of Sicily , which was already under papal suzerainty. In Germany two rival king s were elected, Frederick's uncle Philip of Swabia and Otto of Brunswi ck, as Otto IV.
      Even the Pope, however, did not succeed in protecting Sicily from man y years of anarchy. German and papal captains, local barons, and Sicil ian Saracens, as well as the cities of Genoa and Pisa, fought for mast ery of the country. The situation was not stabilized until the imperia l chancellor conquered Palermo in November 1206 and governed in Freder ick's name. In December 1208 Frederick, then 14, was declared of age.
      In 1209 he married the much older Constance of Aragon, who brought hi m an urgently needed troop of knights with whose help he gained contro l of Sicily, defeated a conspiracy of the barons, and was partially su ccessful in regaining the crown properties that had been lost during h is minority. At this time his relations with the Pope began to show si gns of strain.
      Frederick's Sicilian efforts were seriously endangered when at the en d of 1210 Otto IV invaded the realm on the mainland and in 1211 even t hreatened Sicily itself. Otto withdrew, however, when in September 121 1 a number of German princes deposed him and elected Frederick king.
      Before leaving for Germany in March 1212, Frederick had his one-year-o ld son Henry VII crowned king of Sicily and granted various privilege s to the Holy See. Having rapidly conquered south Germany, where he me t almost no opposition, Frederick was elected once again king of Germa ny by a large majority of princes at Frankfurt in December 1212 and cr owned a few days later. In the same year he concluded an alliance wit h France against Otto, who was decisively defeated at the Battle of Bo uvines in July 1214.
      In April 1220 Frederick's nine-year-old son Henry VII was elected kin g by the German princes, thus negating Frederick's promise to Pope Inn ocent that he would relinquish control of Sicily in favour of Henry, f or it meant that Sicily and Germany would eventually be united under o ne ruler. Although Frederick sought to exonerate himself with Pope Hon orius III by claiming that the election had been held without his know ledge, he had to pay for it by surrendering extensive royal prerogativ es to the German ecclesiastical princes.
      Crowned emperor by the Pope in St. Peter's Church, in Rome, on Nov. 22 , 1220, Frederick confirmed on the same day the legal separation of th e empire from the Kingdom of Sicily while continuing the existing pers onal union. In addition, he granted important privileges to the Italia n ecclesiastics and issued laws against heretics, and it seemed indee d that harmony had been reestablished between the Emperor and the Pop e for some years to come. Frederick spent the following years consolid ating his rule in Sicily. He broke the resistance of the barons to rev ocation of certain of their privileges and defeated the rebellious Sar acens (1222-24), whom he later resettled in Apulia where they became h is most faithful subjects, providing him with a loyal bodyguard immun e against papal influence.
      In addition to erecting a chain of castles and border fortifications , he had enlarged the harbours of his kingdom and established a navy a nd a fleet of merchant vessels. He instituted measures designed to bri ng trade under state control and make the manufacture of certain produ cts the monopoly of the state. Finally, he created a civil service fo r which candidates were trained at the first European state university , in Naples, which he himself founded in 1224.
      In the meantime, the Pope was reminding the Emperor of the crusading v ows he had taken at his coronations in 1212 and 1220. Frederick, howev er, was inclined to postpone such a venture until the Italian problem s had been resolved. He claimed the Kingdom of Jerusalem for himself t hrough his marriage to Isabella (Yolande) of Brienne, the heiress of t he titular king of Jerusalem, who had become his wife in 1225 after Co nstance had died in 1222. Before embarking for the Holy Land, Frederic k convened an imperial diet for Easter 1226 in Cremona, in northern It aly, in order to reinforce certain imperial rights in Italy and to pre pare for the crusade. The cities of Lombardy, however, reconstituted t hemselves, under the leadership of Milan, as the Lombard League, and n ot only sabotaged the diet at Cremona but effectively opposed Frederic k's reorganization of northern Italy.
      In September 1227, when Frederick was at last ready to embark from Bri ndisi for the Holy Land, an epidemic broke out among the crusaders. Th e new pope, Gregory IX, a passionate man who belonged to the intellect ual world of Francis of Assisi-his personal friend whom he canonized a s early as 1228-brushed aside Frederick's justification and excommunic ated him for his failure to carry out the crusade.
      In June 1228, ignoring the excommunication, Frederick set sail from Br indisi. In the Holy Land, following complex negotiations, he obtaine d Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth from the Sultan al-Kamil of Egypt . It was certainly the impact of Frederick's personality on the Arab w orld, and not armed might, that made this treaty possible. On March 18 , 1229, the excommunicated emperor crowned himself king of Jerusalem i n the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This was the high point as well a s the turning point of Frederick's conception of sovereignty. Eschatol ogical prophecies concerning his rule were now made, and the Emperor c onsidered himself to be a messiah, a new David. His entry into Jerusal em was compared with that of Christ on Palm Sunday, and, indeed, i n a manifesto the Emperor, too, compared himself to Christ.
      In the meantime, however, papal troops had penetrated into the Kingdo m of Sicily. Frederick returned at once and reconquered the lost area s but did not in turn attack the Papal States. His diplomacy was rewar ded: after the Treaty of San Germano (July 1230) he was absolved fro m excommunication the following month at Ceprano.
      In August 1231, at Melfi, the Emperor issued his new constitutions fo r the Kingdom of Sicily. Not since the reign of the Byzantine empero r Justinian in the 6th century had the administrative law of a Europea n state been codified. Frederick's codes contained many ideas that ant icipated enlightened absolutism and the centralization of the state. D uring the same time, however, Frederick could not prevent his son, th e German king Henry VII, from making a number of important concession s to the German princes. These concessions, confirmed by Frederick i n 1232 at the diet of Cividale, strengthened the rule of the princes a t the expense of the central power of the empire. These and other step s set back the development of communal self-government in Germany an d furthered the independence of the principalities. In the meantime, r elations between Frederick and Henry VII deteriorated steadily. Henr y had been ruling independently in Germany since 1228, when in Decembe r 1234 he entered into an alliance with the Lombard League. This actio n amounted to high treason in the eyes of the Emperor. On Frederick' s arrival in Germany, his son's rebellion collapsed; he died in a pris on in Calabria in 1242.
      His second wife having died in 1228, Frederick in July 1235 married Is abella of England. Shortly thereafter, he issued an edict of imperia l peace, which also called for the appointment of a chief justice of t he imperial court in order to protect the sovereign rights of the empe ror from further erosion.
      After some military successes in Lombardy against the Lombard League , the Emperor returned to Germany in 1236 to remove the rebellious duk e Frederick of Austria and Styria from rule. In February 1237 he had h is nine-year-old son Conrad IV elected king of Germany in Vienna. Afte r several more months in Germany-it was to be his last visit-he descen ded into northern Italy. He defeated the Lombard League at Cortenuova , but, misjudging his strength, he rejected all Milanese peace overtur es and insisted on unconditional surrender. It was a moment of grave h istoric importance when Frederick's hatred coloured his judgment and b locked all possibilities of a peaceful settlement.
      Milan and five other cities held out, and in October 1238 he had to ra ise the siege of Brescia. In the same year the marriage of Frederick' s natural son Enzio with the Sardinian princess Adelasia and the desig nation of Enzio as king of Sardinia, in which the papacy claimed suzer ainty, led to the final break with the Pope. Gregory IX deeply distrus ted Frederick both in religious and political matters: Frederick was s upposed to have jested that Moses, Christ, and Muhammad were three imp ostors who had themselves been hoodwinked; and in the political aren a the Pope was fearful that the Papal States were about to be isolate d and encircled, particularly because a pro-imperial party had been fo rmed in Rome. Under the pretext that the Emperor intended to drive hi m from Rome, Gregory excommunicated Frederick for the second time on P alm Sunday, March 20, 1239. This was the beginning of the last phase o f the gigantic struggle between the papacy and the empire; it ended wi th the death of the Emperor and the downfall of his house.
      Frederick countered the excommunication with a number of important man ifestos, most of them composed by Pietro della Vigna, a member of th e imperial chancery, who had outstanding literary gifts. The manifest o emphasized that the cardinals were meant to participate in the leade rship of the church, and Frederick even tried to evoke solidarity amon g the secular princes. He also, however, intensified his military acti vities in northern Italy. In order to finance his constantly growing n eed for arms, he instituted a thorough administrative reorganization o f imperial Italy (among others, the formation of 10 vice regencies) an d of the Kingdom of Sicily. In addition, he decreed the rigorous surve illance of the population. In central Italy he took the offensive, occ upying the March of Ancona and the Duchy of Spoleto, and in February 1 240 his army marched into the Papal States and threatened Rome. At th e last moment, however, the Pope won the support of the Romans.
      Following the defeat of a Genoese fleet bringing delegates for a papa l council to Rome, more than 100 high-ranking ecclesiastics-cardinal s and bishops among them-were taken as Frederick's prisoners to Apulia . This military victory proved, however, to be a political disadvantag e: it provided material for propaganda depicting Frederick as an oppre ssor of the church.
      While still encamped before Rome, Frederick received the news of Pop e Gregory's death and thereupon withdrew to Sicily. In the meantime, t he Mongols had invaded Europe. They were temporarily halted in the ext remely bloody Battle of Liegnitz in Silesia on April 9, 1241, but prob ably only the sudden death of their leader, the great khan Ö gö dei, p revented further Mongol advances at that time.
      Celestine IV's brief pontificate was followed by a long interregnum. W hen in 1243 Innocent IV was elected, Frederick, at the urging of the G erman princes and of King Louis IX of France, opened negotiations wit h the new pope. Agreement between the Pope and the Emperor seemed clos e on the evacuation of the Papal States, when in June 1244 Innocent fl ed the city. In Lyon he convened a council for 1245 and in July of tha t year deposed the Emperor, the obstacle to reconciliation apparentl y being the status of the Lombard communes.
      The battle between the Emperor and the papacy then raged in full fury ; on the papal side the Emperor was branded as the precursor of the an ti-Christ; on the imperial side he was hailed as a messiah. The Empero r supported the contemporary demand that the church return to the pove rty and saintliness of the early Christian community and again appeale d to the princes of Europe to join in a defensive league against the p ower-hungry prelates. Most of the princes, however, remained neutral , and, although two successive German antikings received little suppor t, the Emperor steadily lost ground in Germany.
      In May 1247 Frederick's planned journey to Lyon in order to plead hi s own case before the papal council was interrupted by the revolt of t he strategically placed city of Parma. In the wake of this debacle muc h of central Italy and the Romagna was lost. The following year the Em peror was to suffer further blows of fate; Pietro della Vigna, for man y years the Emperor's confidant, was accused of treason and committe d suicide in prison. In May 1249 King Enzio of Sardinia, Frederick's f avourite son, was captured by the Bolognese and was kept incarcerate d until his death in 1272.
      The Emperor's position, both in Italy and 'through the efforts of hi s son, Conrad IV' in Germany, was improving when he died unexpectedl y in 1250. He was buried in the cathedral of Palermo near his first wi fe, his parents, and his Norman grandfather.
      When the news of his death was published, all Europe was deeply shaken . Doubts arose that he was really dead; false Fredericks appeared ever ywhere; in Sicily a legend grew that he had been conveyed to the Aetn a volcano; in Germany that he was encapsuled in a mountain and would r eturn as the latter-day emperor to punish the worldly church and peace fully reestablish the Holy Roman Empire. Yet he was also thought to li ve on in his heirs. In fact, however, within 22 years after his death , all of them were dead: victims of the battle with the papacy that th eir father had begun.
      Frederick's character was marked by sharp contradictions, undoubtedl y the result of his insecure and emotionally barren childhood. Enchant ing amiability and gaiety were paired with cruelty; harshness and rigi dity existed side by side with superior intelligence and a keen sens e of reality; tolerance and intolerance went hand in hand; impulsive s ensuality did not stand in the way of genuine piety; imbalance and inn er discord pervaded his personality and his achievements.
      Frederick cannot be considered the first modern man on the throne, no r a pioneer of the Renaissance, as some historians have maintained. Th ough his gifted personality heralded some of the intellectual trends o f later times, he was, all in all, a man of the Middle Ages. He had in deed had the good fortune to have grown up in Sicily in a mixed cultur e that uniquely combined elements of antiquity, Arabic and Jewish wisd om, the Occidental spirit of the Middle Ages, and Norman realism. Th e intellectual life of his court reflected this heritage. A courtly “r epublic of scholars,” it nurtured and fostered the natural sciences a s well as philosophy, poetry, and mathematics, and translations as wel l as original writing, both in Latin and in the vernacular. The pursui t of knowledge without special respect for traditional authorities wa s characteristic of Frederick and his court.
      Witness to the intellectual vigour and distinction of Frederick himsel f and those around him are the content and style of his great legal co dices and manifestos, many of them serving as examples to later genera tions; the edifices he erected, particularly the classic style of th e Castello del Monte-a fusion of poetry and mathematics in stone; and , most outstanding, his own work De arte venandi cum avibus, a standar d work on falconry based entirely on his own experimental research.
      Frederick's concept of the emperor's function was rooted in the ideolo gy of the late Greco-Roman period and the Judeo-Christian philosophy o f the Middle Ages, emphasizing the sacredness and universal characte r of the office. In the light of it, Frederick claimed preeminence fo r the emperor over all other secular rulers-undoubtedly an ill-timed c laim in an age when separate nation-states were developing. Thus, Fred erick's policies, full of intellectual and political promise, were i n actuality dogged by tragedy. [Encyclopæ dia Britannica, online <h ttp://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=35895>]

  • Sources 
    1. [S3514] Foundation for Medieval Genealogy online [http://fmg.ac].

    2. [S2150] Details: Marriage note.

    3. [S3728] Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage: to gether with Memoirs of the Pr.