Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

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Frederick Hohenstaufen

Spanish: Federico Hohenstaufen, Italian: Federico Ruggero Hohenstaufen, German: Friedrich Hohenstaufen
Also Known As: "Frydrichas II"
Birthplace: Jesi, Province of Ancona, Marche, Italy
Death: December 13, 1250 (55)
Castel Fiorentino, Torremaggiore, Provincia di Foggia, Puglia, Italy
Place of Burial: Cattedrale, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor and Constance I, Queen of Sicily
Husband of Marie de Poitiers; Constance of Sicily; Isabella of England, Holy Roman Empress, Queen consort of Sicily; Isabelle II, Queen of Jerusalem and Regina von Beilstein-Wolfsölden
Partner of Alayta von Urslingen, Marano; mistress of Frederick II; Manna de Castanea and Bianca Lancia, d'Agliano
Ex-partner of Matilda of Antioch
Father of Henry VII Jordan Hohenstaufen, king of the Romans; Heinrich Jordan Hohenstaufen; Agnes; "Heinrich" Karl Otto Hohenstaufen; Frederick Hohenstaufen and 15 others
Brother of Margaretha von Hohenstaufen

Occupation: King of Sicily from 1198, Germany from 1212, Italy and Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 and of Jerusalem from 1225
Managed by: Private User
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About Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

Upon his request, Pope Gregory IX absolved Béla of his oath he had taken to the Holy Roman Emperor during the Mongol invasion on 21 August 1245. Shortly afterwards, Duke Frederick II of Austria, who did not give up his claims to the western counties of the Kingdom of Hungary, launched an attack against Hungary. Although, he could defeat the Hungarian troops in a battle by the Leitha River, but he died in the battle. With his death, the male line of the House of Babenberg became extinct, and a struggle commenced for the rule over Austria and Styria

Frederick II (December 26, 1194 – December 13, 1250), of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was a pretender to the title of King of the Romans from 1212 and unopposed holder of that monarchy from 1215. As such, he was King of Germany, of Italy, and of Burgundy. He was also King of Sicily from his mother's inheritance. He was Holy Roman Emperor (Emperor of the Romans) from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death. His original title was King of Sicily, which he held as Frederick I from 1198 to his death. His other royal titles, accrued for a brief period of his life, were King of Cyprus and Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade.

Predecessor: Otto IV Successor: Henry VII

  • King of Germany (formally King of the Romans) Reign 1212–1220 Coronation 9 December 1212 (Mainz) 25 July 1215 (Aachen)

Predecessor: Otto IV Successor: Henry (VII)

  • King of Sicily Reign 1198–1250 Coronation 3 September 1198 (Palermo)

Predecessor : Henry VI Successor: Conrad I

  • King of Jerusalem: Reign 1225–1228 Coronation 18 March 1229 (Jerusalem)

Predecessor: Yolande Successor: Conrad II,%20Kings.htm#FriedrichIIGer...

KONSTANTIN ROGER FRIEDRICH von Staufen, son of Emperor HEINRICH VI & his wife Constance of Sicily (Iesi, Ancona 26 Dec 1194-Castel Fiorentino near Lucera, Foggia, 13 Dec 1250, bur 25 Feb 1251 Palermo Cathedral). He was elected as king of Germany at Wurzburg 25 Dec 1196. He succeeded his father in 1197 as FEDERIGO I King of Sicily, under the regency of his mother, crowned 17 May 1198 at Palermo cathedral. He declared himself of age 26 Dec 1208. Emperor Otto IV invaded Naples, became master of continental Sicily by 1211 and was preparing to invade the island of Sicily with Pisan support, when Friedrich was again elected as FRIEDRICH II King of Germany 5 Dec 1212 at Frankfurt-am-Main, crowned at Mainz 9 Dec 1212 and at Aachen 25 Jul 1215. He was crowned as Emperor FRIEDRICH II in Rome 22 Nov 1220. He declared himself FRIEDRICH King of Jerusalem at Brindisi 9 Nov 1225. He replaced Eudes de Montbéliard as regent of Jerusalem by Thomas of Aquino Count of Acerra in 1226[627]. He sailed from Brindisi 8 Sep 1227 for Jerusalem but fell ill at Otranto, where Ludwig IV Landgraf of Thuringia had been put ashore due to sickness, and postponed his journey while recuperating[628]. He embarked again at Brindisi 28 Jun 1228, although his second wife had meanwhile died which put in doubt his right to the kingdom of Jerusalem, and landed in Cyprus in Jul 1228[629]. He left Cyprus for Acre 3 Sep 1228, and after lengthy negotiations signed a ten year peace treaty with Sultan al-Kamil 18 Feb 1229 under which the city of Jerusalem was returned to the kingdom of Jerusalem[630]. He made his ceremonial entry to Jerusalem 17 Mar 1229, and crowned himself king the next day in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, before sailing back to Europe from Acre 1 May 1229 after appointing Eudes de Montbéliard as Constable of Jerusalem and Balian of Sidon and Garnier the German as baillies. He landed at Brindisi 10 Jun 1229[631]. Friedrich was excommunicated and deposed as emperor 17 Jul 1245 by Pope Innocent IV. He died from dysentery. His death is recorded by Matthew Paris, who specifies the date but not the place and gives details of his testament[632]. The Historia Sicula of Bartolomeo di Neocastro records the death in Dec 1250 "in festo beate Lucie virginis" of "dominus Fridericus secundus…Romanorum…imperator" and his burial "in majori ecclesia Panormitana"[633].

  • m firstly (Messina 5 or 15 Aug 1209 or Palermo 19 Aug 1209) as her second husband, Infanta doña CONSTANZA de Aragón, widow of IMRE King of Hungary, daughter of don ALFONSO II “el Casto” King of Aragon & his wife Infanta doña Sancha de Castilla (1179-Catania 23 Jun 1222, bur Palermo Cathedral). ...
  • m secondly (by proxy Acre Aug 1225, Brindisi Cathedral 9 Nov 1225) ISABELLE [Yolande] de Brienne Queen of Jerusalem, daughter of JEAN de Brienne King of Jerusalem & his first wife Maria di Monferrato Queen of Jerusalem (1211-Andria, Bari 25 Apr or 5 May 1228, bur Bari cathedral). ...
  • m thirdly (Betrothed London Feb 1235, Worms Cathedral 15 or 20 Jul 1235) ISABELLA of England, daughter of JOHN King of England & his second wife Isabelle Ctss d'Angoulême (1214-Foggia near Naples 1 Dec 1241, bur Bari).
  • Mistress (1): --- . The Thomas Tusci Gesta Imperatorum et Pontificum refers to the mother of "Fredericus" as "nobili comitissa quo in regno Sicilie erat heres"[654] but Emperor Friedrich's first mistress has not been identified more precisely.
  • Mistress (2): [ADELHEID von Urslingen, daughter of ---]. ...
  • [Mistress (3): RUTHINA von Beilstein-Wolfsölden, wife of GOTTFRIED [II] Graf von Löwenstein [Calw], daughter of [BERTHOLD Graf von Beilstein & his wife Adelheid von Bonfeld]. ...
  • Mistress (4): ---. Benoist-Méchin says that the mother of the emperor´s daughter Katharina was "une femme appartenant à la lignée des ducs de Spolète" but cites no corresponding source[659]. There may be some confusion with the alleged mother of Enzio who, according to the same source, was "de la Maison de Spolète" (see above).
  • [Mistress (5): ---. No indication has been found of the identity of the mother of the emperor´s supposed son Heinrich.]
  • Mistress (6): MARIA [Matilda], from Antioch. ...
  • Mistress (7): ---. Her name is not known.
  • Mistress (8): [MANNA, niece of --- Archbishop of Messina, daughter of ---. Benoist-Méchin says that the mother of Riccardo Conte di Chieti was "semble-t-il, le fils de Manna, une nièce de l´archévêque de Messine" but cites no corresponding source[663].]
  • Mistress (9): ---. Her name is not known.
  • Mistress (10): ---. Her name is not known.
  • Mistress (11): ---. Her name is not known.
  • Mistress (12): BIANCA Lancia, daughter of MANFREDO [II] Lancia Marchese di Busca & his wife Bianca "Maletta" --- (-[1233/34]).

Servant of Two Masters: The Teutonic Knights Between Pope and Emperor

As long as the papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors were in accord with one another, the Teutonic Knights were well positioned to receive patronage from both. The situation changed dramatically, however, when Frederick II fell afoul of Pope Gregory IX. This short essay looks at Teutonic Knights in during the power struggle between the pope and the Hohenstaufen emperors.

Just when ten years of Salza’s tireless efforts to raise support for a new crusade were finally bearing fruit in the form of what was to become known as the Sixth Crusade, Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX clashed. Angered by the Hohenstaufen’s failure to depart on time for the crusade, the pope excommunicated the emperor. Frederick II showed his contempt for the pope, by proceeding with the crusade (albeit a year later than promised) anyway.

Fredrick II’s crusade put not only the Teutonic Knights but the other military orders and the knights and barons of Outremer in an extremely awkward position. Everyone with a serious or vested interest in the recapture of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land welcomed a crusade led by a powerful and wealthy monarch. They had placed huge hopes Frederick Hohenstaufen, who was now not only a crusading monarch but also the titular king (or at least regent) of Jerusalem by right of his wife. (Although his wife had meanwhile died from the effects of childbirth at the age of 15, she had left behind a living son, Conrad; Frederick as his only surviving parent had a strong claim to act as regent for his infant son.)

Initially, no one wanted to let an excommunication get in the way of their shared interest in regaining the holy sites and strengthening the viability of the weakened kingdom. So the Holy Roman Emperor was welcomed. Indeed, despite his absolutist attempts to illegally seize properties from both local barons and the Templars, the militant orders and the fighting men of Outremer supported Frederick’s crusade. The Teutonic Knights were no different from the others.

Until, that is, the emperor went behind everyone’s backs to cut a deal with the Sultan al-Kamil. While on the surface his treaty was successful, it also contained clauses that were utterly unacceptable to the inhabitants of Outremer, the Templars, and Hospitallers. The most important drawback of the Emperor’s ‘treaty’ with al-Kamil was that, although the Sultan had physical control of Jerusalem at the time of the treaty, he did not have a legal right to dispose of it; it belonged to his nephew, who immediately denounced and declared his intention of re-taking Jerusalem for Islam.

Equally damaging to the utility of the treaty, was the fact that it was, in fact, a truce not a peace treaty: it only lasted for ten years and the Christians were prohibited from refortifying the city or the environs in the meantime. In effect, Jerusalem was not restored to Christian control, merely lent to the Christians (assuming they could fight off al-Kamil’s nephew without having any fortifications) for ten years. The fact that the Temple Mount, which had been the Templar’s HQ, remained in Muslim control just added insult to injury.

With this personal treaty between the Hohenstaufen and al-Kamil negotiated in secrecy without the advice ― much less the consent ― of the lords and bishops of Outremer or the Masters of the Militant Orders, Frederick II lost his credibility, popularity, and support in Outremer. Relations between the Emperor and the Templars turned so sour, that the Emperor laid siege to the Templar citadel in Acre for five days. Nor did the Hospitaller escape the Emperor’s wrath: on his return to Sicily, Fredrick promptly confiscated all the properties of both the Templars and the Hospitallers. Meanwhile, the ordinary people of Outremer sent Frederick II home by pelting him with offal on his way down to the port to embark on his return journey.

Only the Teutonic Knights remained loyal to Frederick Hohenstaufen. With good reason. They did not have vast networks of estates from Scotland to Outremer as did the older militant orders; their properties were concentrated in the Hohenstaufen’s territories. The confiscation of estates in Sicily and the Holy Roman Empire were unwelcome, but not crippling to the Templars and Hospitallers; for the Teutonic Knights, a similar confiscation would have come close to destroying the Order.

In doing what they must in order to retain the Emperor’s goodwill, however, they incurred the wrath of the pope. On August 17, 1229, on learning from the Patriarch of Jerusalem that Herman von Salza had translated and delivered Frederick’s apologist speech on his relations with the papacy during a “crown-wearing ceremony” in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Pope Gregory IX stripped the Teutonic Knights of their independence, subordinating them to the Knights Hospitaller. Furthermore, their support of the unpopular, autocratic Frederick II cost the Teutonic Knights popular support among ordinary people as well. By 1231, Pope Gregory felt compelled to issue a document condemning attacks on the Teutonic Knights by both laity and clergy.

Herman von Salza, however, was a consummate diplomat. He used his skills to regain papal favor by brokering a rapprochement between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. By 1230 already, the breach between the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor had been (temporarily) repaired, and the pope was again defending the Teutonic Knights against their enemies (see above). There is no further mention of Hospitaller control, and the independence of the Teutonic Knights was quietly restored.

When a new conflict broke out between the Emperor and the pope, Herman von Salza was the one man both antagonists trusted. He was entrusted with the task of trying to find means of reconciliation between them. Thus, in the end, Salza succeeded at the seemingly impossible task of serving two masters, the pope, and the emperor, to the satisfaction of both.

His successor didn’t even try. Conrad von Thuringia was 100% the emperor’s man. He was also Frederick II’s cousin, so perhaps he didn’t have much choice. His devotion to the Hohenstaufen, however, again earned the Teutonic Knights the enmity of the pope. This, in turn, led to the order once more losing many of its privileges and again, by papal order, being subordinated to the Hospital. The latter, however, appears to have lost interest in actually taking control. Instead, the Hospital allied itself with the Imperial forces in the Levant with the result that the Templars were soon attacking both the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights in Acre. The Templars were outraged because the Imperial authorities supported by the Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights favored a truce with the Sultan of Egypt while the Templars and the local barons preferred peace with the Sultan of Damascus. (The two Sultans being still at odds with one another.)

Conrad died within two years and was followed in short succession by men who alternately sought reconciliation with the pope or adhered again to the Imperial party. As a result by 1249 “[the Teutonic Knights] had alienated both the papacy and the empire and were divided amongst themselves.” (Morton, p. 105). In the eleven years since Salza’s death, the Order had also suffered severe setbacks in Prussia and Livonia, as well as massive losses at the devastating Frankish defeat at La Forbie in 1244. In 1249 another major defeat awaited them: Mansourah. Again the Teutonic Knights, like the Templars and Hospitallers, suffered severe casualties.

Perhaps this was what shattered the internal cohesion of the Order. Between 1249 and 1253 as many as four different men appear to have called themselves “Master” of the Teutonic Knights, at least two simultaneously. Letters to Western rulers, furthermore, attest to the fact that the Teutonic Knights were not receiving aid from their properties in the West because the wars between the papacy and the empire had prevented supplies from reaching them, and what resources the Order could scrape together were being diverted to Prussia and Livonia because of an impending Mongol invasion.

The Teutonic Knights had reached a nadir point.

Principle source: Morton, Nicholas. The Teutonic Knights in the Holy Land, 1190-1291. Boydell Press, 2009.

NOTE: In a relevant portion of history some eight centuries ago ― the acquisition of Jerusalem by the legendary Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II at the height of the Crusades, occurred through his peaceful and diplomatic means.

Über Friedrich II, Heiliges Römisches Kaiser (Deutsch)

Friedrich II. von Hohenstaufen, Kaiser des Heiligen Römischen Reichs Deutscher Nation, Deutscher König, König von Sizilien und Jerusalem.

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