Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Overview
 
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German 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...

. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned 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 9 March, crowned King 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...

 in Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 in 1155, and finally crowned 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...

 by Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV , born Nicholas Breakspear or Breakspeare, was Pope from 1154 to 1159.Adrian IV is the only Englishman who has occupied the papal chair...

, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term "sacrum" (i.e. "holy") first appeared in a document in connection with his Empire. He was then also formally crowned King 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 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....

 on 30 June 1178.
Encyclopedia
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German 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...

. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned 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 9 March, crowned King 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...

 in Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 in 1155, and finally crowned 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...

 by Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV , born Nicholas Breakspear or Breakspeare, was Pope from 1154 to 1159.Adrian IV is the only Englishman who has occupied the papal chair...

, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term "sacrum" (i.e. "holy") first appeared in a document in connection with his Empire. He was then also formally crowned King 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 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....

 on 30 June 1178. The name Barbarossa came from the northern Italian cities he attempted to rule, and means "red beard" in Italian
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...

 – a mark of both their fear and respect.

Before his royal election, he was by inheritance Duke of Swabia
Duke of Swabia
The following is a list of Dukes of Swabia in southwest Germany.Swabia was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German kingdom, and its dukes were thus among the most powerful magnates of Germany. The most notable family to hold Swabia were the Hohenstaufen, who held it, with a brief...

 (1147–1152, as Frederick III). He was the son of Duke Frederick II
Frederick II, Duke of Swabia
Frederick II , called the One-Eyed, was the second Hohenstaufen duke of Swabia from 1105. He was the eldest son of Frederick I and Agnes....

 of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. His mother was Judith
Judith of Bavaria, Duchess of Swabia
Judith of Bavaria, Duchess of Swabia was a member of the powerful German House of Welf, being the eldest daughter of Henry IX of Bavaria and Wulfhild of Saxony. Sometime between 1119 and 1121, she married Frederick II, Duke of Swabia...

, daughter of Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria
Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria
Henry IX , called the Black, a member of the House of Welf, was duke of Bavaria from 1120 to 1126.-Life and reign:...

, from the rival House of Welf, and Frederick therefore descended from Germany's two leading families, making him an acceptable choice for the Empire's prince-elector
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

s.

Early years

Frederick was born in 1122. In 1147 he became Duke of Swabia, and shortly afterwards made his first trip to the East, accompanying his uncle, the German king Conrad III
Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia, and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.-Life and reign:...

, on the Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

. The expedition proved to be a disaster, but Frederick distinguished himself and won the complete confidence of the king. When Conrad died in February 1152, only Frederick and the prince-bishop of Bamberg were at his deathbed. Both asserted afterwards that Conrad had, in full possession of his mental powers, handed the royal insignia to Frederick and indicated that Frederick, rather than Conrad's own six-year-old son, the future Frederick IV, Duke of Swabia
Frederick IV, Duke of Swabia
Frederick IV of Hohenstaufen was duke of Swabia, succeeding his cousin, Frederick Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1152.He was the son of Conrad III of Germany and his second wife Gertrude von Sulzbach and thus the direct heir of the crown, had there been true heredity...

, should succeed him as king. Frederick energetically pursued the crown and at 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...

 on March 4, 1152 the kingdom's princely electors
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 designated him as the next German king. He was crowned 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...

 at 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, ...

 several days later, on March 9, 1152. Frederick I was of the Hohenstaufen family on his father's side and of the Welf family on his mother's side. These were the two most powerful families in Germany. The Hohenstaufens were often called Ghibellines, which derives from the Italianized name for the Weibling castle, the family seat in Swabia. The Welfs, in a similar Italianization, were called Guelfs.

The reigns of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV was King of the Romans from 1056 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century...

 and Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V was King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor , the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor...

 left the status of the German empire in disarray. Power had waned under the weight of the Investiture controversy
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

. For a quarter of a century following Henry V's death in 1125 the German monarchy was largely a nominal title with no real power. The king was chosen by the princes, given no resources outside those of his own duchy, and prevented from exercising any real authority or leadership in the realm. The royal title was furthermore passed from one family to another to preclude the development of any dynastic interest in the German crown. When Frederick I of Hohenstaufen was chosen as king in 1152, the royal power had been in effective abeyance for twenty-five years, and to a considerable degree, for more than eighty years. The only real claim to wealth lay in the rich cities of northern Italy, which were still within the nominal control of the German king. The Salian line had died out with the death of Henry V in 1125. The German princes refused to give the crown to his nephew, the duke of Swabia, for fear he would try to regain the imperial power held by Henry V. Instead, they chose Lothair III
Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor
Lothair III of Supplinburg , was Duke of Saxony , King of Germany , and Holy Roman Emperor from 1133 to 1137. The son of Count Gebhard of Supplinburg, his reign was troubled by the constant intriguing of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia and Duke Conrad of Franconia...

 (1125–1137), who found himself embroiled in a long-running dispute with the Hohenstaufens, and who married into the Welfs. One of the Hohenstaufens gained the throne as Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia, and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.-Life and reign:...

 (1137–1152). When Frederick Barbarossa succeeded his uncle in 1152, there seemed to be excellent prospects for ending the feud, since he was a Welf on his mother's side. But the Welf duke of Saxony, 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....

, would not be appeased. He remained an implacable enemy of the Hohenstaufen monarchy. Barbarossa had the duchies of Swabia and Franconia, the force of his own personality, and very little else to construct an empire.

The Germany that Frederick tried to unite was a patchwork of more than 1600 individual states, each with its own prince. Few of these, such as Bavaria and Saxony, were large. Many were too small to pinpoint on a map. The titles afforded to the German king were "Caesar", "Augustus" and "Emperor of the Romans". By the time Frederick would assume these, they were little more than propaganda slogans with little other meaning. Frederick was a pragmatist who dealt with the princes by finding a mutual self-interest. Unlike Henry II of England
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

, Frederick did not attempt to end medieval feudalism, but rather tried to restore it. But this was beyond his ability. The great players in the German civil war had been the Pope, Emperor, Ghibellines and the Guelfs. None of these had emerged the winner.

Rise to power

Eager to restore the Empire to the position it had occupied under Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 and Otto I the Great, the new king saw clearly that the restoration of order in Germany was a necessary preliminary to the enforcement of the imperial rights in Italy. Issuing a general order for peace, he made lavish concessions to the nobles. Abroad, Frederick intervened in the Danish civil war between Svend III and Valdemar I of Denmark
Valdemar I of Denmark
Valdemar I of Denmark , also known as Valdemar the Great, was King of Denmark from 1157 until 1182.-Biography:...

 and began negotiations with the Eastern Roman emperor, Manuel I Comnenus. It was probably about this time that the king obtained papal assent for the annulment of his childless marriage with Adelheid of Vohburg
Adelheid of Vohburg
Adelheid of Vohburg was the first Queen consort of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor.-Family:Adelheid was a daughter of Diepold III, Margrave of Vohburg and either his first wife, Adelajda of Poland, or his second wife Kunigunde of Beichlingen.Her paternal grandparents were Diepold II, Count of...

, on the grounds of consanguinity
Consanguinity
Consanguinity refers to the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that respect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person...

 (his great-great-grandfather was a brother of Adela's great-great-great-grandmother, making them fourth cousins, once removed). He then made a vain effort to obtain a bride from the court of Constantinople. On his accession Frederick had communicated the news of his election to Pope Eugene III
Pope Eugene III
Pope Blessed Eugene III , born Bernardo da Pisa, was Pope from 1145 to 1153. He was the first Cistercian to become Pope.-Early life:...

, but had neglected to ask for the papal confirmation. In March 1153, Frederick concluded the treaty of Constance with the Pope whereby, in return for his coronation, he promised to defend the papacy, to make no peace with 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...

 or other enemies of the Church without the consent of Eugene and to help Eugene regain control of the city of Rome.

First Italian Campaign: 1154-55

Frederick undertook six expeditions into Italy. In the first, beginning in October 1154 his plan was to launch a campaign against the Normans
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...

 under King William I of Sicily
William I of Sicily
William I , called the Bad or the Wicked, was the second king of Sicily, ruling from his father's death in 1154 to his own...

. He marched down and almost immediately began encountering resistance to his authority. Obtaining the submission of 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 ,...

, he successfully besieged Tortona
Tortona
Tortona is a comune of Piemonte, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. Tortona is sited on the right bank of the Scrivia between the plain of Marengo and the foothills of the Ligurian Apennines.-History:...

 in early 1155, razing it to the ground before moving to Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 where he received the Iron Crown
Iron Crown of Lombardy
The Iron Crown of Lombardy is both a reliquary and one of the most ancient royal insignia of Europe. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy...

, and with it, the title of King 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...

. Moving through 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 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 ....

, he was soon approaching the city of Rome. There, Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV , born Nicholas Breakspear or Breakspeare, was Pope from 1154 to 1159.Adrian IV is the only Englishman who has occupied the papal chair...

 was struggling with the forces of the republican city commune led by Arnold of Brescia
Arnold of Brescia
Arnold of Brescia , also known as Arnaldus , was an Italian monk from Lombardy who called on the Church to renounce ownership of property and participated in the failed Commune of Rome. Eventually arrested, he was hanged by the Church, burned posthumously, and then had his ashes thrown into the...

, a student of Abelard. As a sign of good faith, Frederick dismissed the ambassadors from the revived Roman Senate, and Imperial forces suppressed the republicans. Arnold was captured and hanged for treason and rebellion. Despite his unorthodox teaching concerning theology, Arnold was not charged with heresy.

As Frederick approached the gates of Rome, the Pope advanced to meet him. At the royal tent the king received him, and after kissing the pope’s feet, Frederick expected to receive the traditional kiss of peace. But Frederick had forgotten to hold the Pope’s stirrup while leading him to the tent, and so Adrian refused to give the kiss until this protocol had been complied with. Frederick hesitated, and Adrian IV withdrew, and after a day’s negotiation, Frederick agreed to perform the required ritual. Rome was still in an uproar over the fate of Arnold of Brescia, so rather than marching through the streets of Rome, Frederick and Adrian retired to the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

.

The next day, June 18, 1155, Adrian IV crowned Frederick I 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...

 at St Peters Basilica, amidst the acclamations of the German army. The Romans began to riot, and Frederick spent his coronation day putting down the revolt, resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Romans, and many more thousands injured. The next day, Frederick, Adrian and the German army travelled to 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...

. From there, a combination of the unhealthy Italian summer and the effects of his year long absence from Germany meant he was forced to put off his planned campaign against the Normans
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...

 of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. On their way northwards, they attacked Spoleto
Spoleto
Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is S. of Trevi, N. of Terni, SE of Perugia; SE of Florence; and N of Rome.-History:...

, encountered the ambassadors of Manuel I Comnenus, who showered Frederick with costly gifts, and at 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...

, Frederick declared his fury with the rebellious Milanese before finally returning to Germany.

Disorder was again rampant in Germany, especially in Bavaria, but general peace was restored by Frederick's vigorous, but conciliatory, measures. The duchy of Bavaria was transferred from Henry II Jasomirgott, margrave of Austria, to Frederick's formidable younger cousin 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....

, Duke of Saxony, of the House of Guelph, whose father had previously held both duchies. Henry II Jasomirgott was named duke of Austria in compensation for his loss of Bavaria. As part of his general policy of concessions of formal power to the German princes and ending the civil wars within the kingdom, Frederick further appeased Henry by issuing him with the Privilegium Minus
Privilegium Minus
The Privilegium Minus is a document issued by Emperor Frederick I on September 17, 1156. It included the elevation of the Margraviate of Austria to a Duchy, which was given as an inheritable fief to the House of Babenberg. Its recipient was Frederick's paternal uncle Margrave Henry II Jasomirgott...

, granting him unprecedented entitlements as Duke of Austria. This was a large concession on the part of Frederick, who realized that Henry the Lion had to be accommodated, even to the point of sharing some power with him. He could not afford to make an outright enemy of Henry.

On 9 June 1156 at Würzburg
Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

, Frederick married Beatrice of Burgundy
Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy
Beatrice of Burgundy was the only daughter of Renaud III, Count of Burgundy and Agatha of Lorraine. She was the second wife and Empress of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Her maternal grandparents were Simon I, Duke of Lorraine and his wife Adelaide of Leuven. Beatrice was active at the...

, daughter and heiress of Renaud III
Renaud III, Count of Burgundy
Renaud III , son of Stephen I and Beatrix of Lorraine, was the count of Burgundy between 1127 and 1148. Previously, he had been the count of Mâcon since his father's death in 1102, with his brother, William of Vienne....

, thus adding to his possessions the sizeable realm of the County of Burgundy
County of Burgundy
The Free County of Burgundy , was a medieval county , within the traditional province and modern French region Franche-Comté, whose very French name is still reminiscent of the unusual title of its count: Freigraf...

. In an attempt to create comity, Emperor Frederick proclaimed the Peace of the Land, written between 1152–1157, which enacted punishments for a variety of crimes, as well as systems for adjudicating many disputes. He also declared himself the sole Augustus of the Roman world, ceasing to recognise Manuel I at Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

.

Second, Third and Fourth Italian Campaigns: 1158-1174

The retreat of Frederick in 1155 forced Pope Adrian IV to come to terms with King William I of Sicily, granting to William I territories that Frederick viewed as his dominion. This aggravated Frederick, and he was further displeased when Papal Legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

s chose to interpret a letter from Adrian to Frederick in a manner that seemed to imply that the imperial crown was a gift from the Papacy and that in fact the empire itself was a fief of the Papacy. Disgusted with the pope, and still wishing to crush the Normans in the south of Italy, in June 1158, Frederick set out upon his second Italian expedition, accompanied by Henry the Lion and his Saxon troops. This expedition resulted in the revolt and capture of 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 ,...

, the Diet of Roncaglia that saw the establishment of imperial officers in the cities of northern Italy, and the beginning of the long struggle with Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III , born Rolando of Siena, was Pope from 1159 to 1181. He is noted in history for laying the foundation stone for the Notre Dame de Paris.-Church career:...

.

Pope Adrian IV’s death in 1159 saw the election of two rival popes; Alexander III and the antipope
Antipope
An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...

 Victor IV. Both sought Frederick’s support, Frederick, busy with the siege of Crema, appeared unsupportive of Alexander III, and after the sacking of Crema demanded that Alexander appear before the emperor at Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 and to accept the imperial decree. Alexander refused, and Frederick recognised Victor IV as the legitimate Pope in 1160. In response, Alexander III 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...

 both Frederick I and Victor IV. Frederick attempted to convoke a joint council with King Louis VII of France
Louis VII of France
Louis VII was King of France, the son and successor of Louis VI . He ruled from 1137 until his death. He was a member of the House of Capet. His reign was dominated by feudal struggles , and saw the beginning of the long rivalry between France and England...

 in 1162 to decide the issue of who should be pope. Louis came near the meeting site but, when he became aware that Frederick had stacked the votes for Alexander, Louis decided not to attend the council. As a result the issue was not resolved at that time.

The political result of the struggle with Pope Alexander was that the Norman state of Sicily and Pope Alexander III formed an alliance against Frederick. In the meantime, Frederick had to deal with another rebellion at Milan, which saw the city surrender on March 6, 1162, and much of it destroyed three weeks later on the emperor’s orders. The fate of Milan saw the submission of 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...

 and Placentia
Placentia
Placentia may refer to:* Palace of Placentia, an English Royal Palace* Placentia, California, United States* Placentia, Italy* Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada* Battle of Placentia* Placentia Bay, the name of two ships of the Royal Navy...

 and many other northern Italian cities. Returning to Germany towards the close of 1162, Frederick prevented the escalation of conflicts between Henry the Lion from Saxony and a number of neighbouring princes who were growing weary of Henry's power, influence and territorial gains. He also severely punished the citizens of 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...

 for their rebellion against Archbishop Arnold. The third visit to Italy in 1163 saw his plans for the conquest of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 ruined by the formation of a powerful league against him, brought together mainly by opposition to imperial taxes.

In 1164 Frederick took what are believed to be the relics of the "Biblical Magi" (the Wise Men or Three Kings) 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 ,...

 and gave them as a gift (or as loot) to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel
Rainald of Dassel
Rainald of Dassel was archbishop of Cologne from 1159 to 1167 and archchancellor of Italy. He was preceded as archbishop by Friedrich II of Berg and succeeded by Philip I von Heinsberg....

. The relics had great religious significance and could be counted upon to draw pilgrims from all over Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

. Today they are kept in the Shrine of the Three Kings in the Cologne cathedral
Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site...

. The death of the antipope Victor IV saw Frederick give his support to a new antipope, Paschal III
Antipope Paschal III
Antipope Paschal III was Antipope from 1164 to 20 September 1168.His real name was Guido of Crema. Paschal III was the second of the antipopes to challenge the reign of Pope Alexander III. In 1164, a small number of cardinals who had elected Victor IV met again to vote Paschal III as his successor...

, but he was soon driven from Rome which once again saw the return of Pope Alexander III in 1165.

Frederick in the meantime was focused on restoring peace in the Rhineland, where he organized a magnificent celebration of the canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) at Aachen, done under the authority of the antipope Paschal III. Concerned over rumours that Alexander III was about to enter into an alliance with the Byzantine Emperor
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...

 Manuel II, in October 1166, he embarked on his fourth Italian campaign, hoping as well to secure the claim of Paschal III, and the coronation of his wife Beatrice as Holy Roman Empress. This time, Henry the Lion refused to join Frederick on his Italian trip, tending instead to his own disputes with neighbors and his continuing expansion into Slavic territories in northeastern Germany. He began besieging 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....

 in 1167, which had acknowledged the authority of Manuel II; at the same time, Frederick's forces achieved a great victory over the Romans at the Battle of Monte Porzio
Battle of Monte Porzio
The Battle of Monte Porzio was fought on 29 May 1167 between the Holy Roman Empire and the Commune of Rome...

. Heartened by this victory, he lifted the siege of Ancona and hurried to Rome where he not only had his wife crowned empress, but he also received a second coronation at the hands of Paschal III. Unfortunately, his campaign was stopped by the sudden outbreak of an epidemic (malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 or the plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

), which threatened to destroy the Imperial army and drove the emperor as a fugitive to Germany, where he remained for the ensuing six years. During this period, Frederick decided conflicting claims to various bishoprics, asserted imperial authority over Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary, initiated friendly relations with the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus, and tried to come to a better understanding with Henry II of England
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

 and Louis VII of France
Louis VII of France
Louis VII was King of France, the son and successor of Louis VI . He ruled from 1137 until his death. He was a member of the House of Capet. His reign was dominated by feudal struggles , and saw the beginning of the long rivalry between France and England...

. Many Swabian counts, including his cousin the young Duke of Swabia, Frederick IV, died in 1167, so he was able to organize a new mighty territory in the Duchy of Swabia under his reign in this time. Consequently, his younger son Frederick V became the new Duke of Swabia in 1167, while his eldest son Henry
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,...

 was crowned 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...

 in 1169, alongside his father who also retained the title.

Later years

With an increasing anti-German sentiment sweeping through Lombardy, which culminated in the restoration of Milan in 1169, in 1174, Frederick made his fifth expedition to Italy but was opposed by the pro-papal 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,...

 (now joined by Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

) which had previously formed to stand against him. The cities of northern Italy had become exceedingly wealthy through trade, and represented a marked turning point in the transition from medieval feudalism. While continental feudalism had remained strong socially and economically, it was in deep political decline by the time of Frederick Barbarossa. When the northern Italian cities inflicted a defeat on Frederick at Alessandria
Alessandria
-Monuments:* The Citadel * The church of Santa Maria di Castello * The church of Santa Maria del Carmine * Palazzo Ghilini * Università del Piemonte Orientale-Museums:* The Marengo Battle Museum...

 in 1175, the European world was shocked that such a thing could happen. With the refusal of Henry the Lion to bring help to Italy, the campaign was a complete failure. Frederick suffered a heavy defeat at the Battle of Legnano
Battle of Legnano
The Battle of Legnano was fought on May 29, 1176, between the forces of the Holy Roman Empire, led by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and the Lombard League.-The Lombard League:...

 near Milan, on 29 May 1176, where he was wounded and for some time was believed to be dead. This battle marked the turning point in Frederick's claim to empire. He had no choice other than to begin negotiations for peace with Alexander III and the Lombard League. In the Peace of Anagni in 1176, Frederick recognized Alexander III as Pope and in the Peace of Venice, 1177, Frederick and Alexander III were formally reconciled. The scene was similar to that which had occurred between Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

 and Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV was King of the Romans from 1056 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century...

 at Canossa
Canossa
Canossa is a comune and castle town in Emilia-Romagna, famous as the site where Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV did penance in 1077, standing three days bare-headed in the snow, in order to reverse his excommunication by Pope Gregory VII...

 a century earlier.

The conflict was the same as that resolved in the Concordat of Worms
Concordat of Worms
The Concordat of Worms, sometimes called the Pactum Calixtinum by papal historians, was an agreement between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V on September 23, 1122 near the city of Worms...

. Did the Holy Roman Emperor have the power to name the pope and bishops? The Investiture controversy
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

 from previous centuries had been brought to a tendentious peace with the Concordat of Worms and affirmed in the First Council of the Lateran
First Council of the Lateran
The Council of 1123 is reckoned in the series of Ecumenical councils by the Catholic Church. It was convoked by Pope Calixtus II in December, 1122, immediately after the Concordat of Worms...

. Now it had recurred, in a slightly different form. Frederick had to humble himself before Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III , born Rolando of Siena, was Pope from 1159 to 1181. He is noted in history for laying the foundation stone for the Notre Dame de Paris.-Church career:...

 at Venice.

The Emperor acknowledged the Pope's sovereignty over the Papal States, and in return Alexander acknowledged the Emperor's overlordship of the Imperial Church. Also in the Peace of Venice, a truce was made with the Lombard cities, which took effect in August, 1178. But the grounds for a permanent peace were established only in 1183, when, in the Peace of Constance
Peace of Constance
The Peace of Constance of 1183 was signed in Konstanz by Frederick Barbarossa and representatives of the Lombard League. It confirmed the Peace of Venice of 1177. The Italian cities retained local jurisdiction over their territories, and had the freedom to elect their own councils and to enact...

, Frederick conceded their right to freely elect town magistrates. By this move, Frederick recovered his nominal domination over Italy. This became his chief means of applying pressure on the papacy.

In a move to consolidate his reign after the disastrous expedition into Italy, he was formally crowned King 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 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....

 on 30 June 1178. Although the German kings had traditionally automatically inherited the royal crown of Arles since the time of Conrad II
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

, Frederick felt the need to be crowned by the Archbishop of Arles, regardless of his laying claim to the title from 1152.

Frederick did not forgive Henry the Lion for refusing to come to his aid in 1174. By 1180, Henry had successfully established a powerful and contiguous state comprising Saxony, Bavaria and substantial territories in the north and east of Germany. Taking advantage of the hostility of other German princes to Henry, Frederick had Henry tried in absentia by a court of bishops and princes in 1180, declared that Imperial law overruled traditional German law, and had Henry stripped of his lands and declared an outlaw. He then invaded Saxony with an Imperial army to bring his cousin to his knees. Henry's allies deserted him, and he finally had to submit in November 1181. Henry spent three years in exile at the court of his father-in-law Henry II of England
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

 in Normandy, before being allowed back into Germany. He finished his days in Germany, as the much-diminished Duke of Brunswick. Frederick's desire for revenge was sated. Henry the Lion lived a relatively quiet life, sponsoring arts and architecture.

Frederick's victory over Henry did not gain him as much in the German feudalistic system as it would have in English feudalistic system. While in England the pledge of fealty went in a direct line from overlords to those under them, the Germans pledged oaths only to the direct overlord, so that in Henry's case, those lower than he in the feudal chain owed nothing to Frederick. Thus, despite the diminished stature of Henry the Lion, Frederick did not gain his allegiances.

Frederick was faced with the reality of disorder among the German states where continuous civil wars were waged between pretenders and the ambitious who wanted the crown for themselves. Italian unity under German rule was more myth than truth. Despite proclamations of German hegemony, the pope was the most powerful force in Italy. When Frederick returned to Germany after his defeat in northern Italy, he was a bitter and exhausted man. The German princes, far from being subordinated to royal control, were intensifying their hold on wealth and power in Germany and entrenching their positions. There began to be a generalized social desire to "create greater Germany" by conquering the Slavs to the east.

Although it appeared that the Italian city states had achieved a measure of independence from Frederick as a result of his failed fifth expedition into Italy, (culminating in the Peace of Constance in 1183), the emperor had not as yet quite given up on his Italian dominions. In 1184, he had held a massive celebration when his two eldest sons were knighted, and where thousands of knights were invited from all over Europe. While payments upon the knighting of a son were part of the expectations of an overlord in England and France, only a "gift" was given in Germany for such an occasion.

Frederick's monetary gain from this celebration is said to have been modest. During this same year, Frederick again moved into Italy and this time he joined forces with the local rural nobility to reduce the power of the Tuscan cities. In 1186, he engineered the marriage of his son Henry to Constance of Sicily
Constance of Sicily
Constance of Hauteville was the heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

, heiress to the 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...

, over the objections of Pope Urban III
Pope Urban III
Pope Urban III , born Uberto Crivelli, was Pope from 1185 to 1187. He was made cardinal and archbishop of Milan by Pope Lucius III, whom he succeeded on November 25, 1185...

.

Third Crusade and death

Pope Urban III died shortly after, and was succeeded by Gregory VIII, who was more concerned with troubling reports from the Holy Land than with a power struggle with Barbarossa. After making his peace with the new pope, Frederick vowed to take up the cross at the Diet of Mainz
Diet of Mainz
The Diet of Mainz was a meeting of the Estates General of the Holy Roman Empire held in Mainz in 1188. It led to the Third Crusade.Saladin had captured Jerusalem from the Christians in the autumn of 1187...

 in 1188. Frederick embarked on the Third Crusade
Third Crusade
The Third Crusade , also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin...

 (1189), a massive expedition in conjunction with the French, led by king Philip Augustus
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 the English, under Richard the Lionheart
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

. He organized a grand army of 100,000 men (including 20,000 knights) and set out on the overland route to the Holy Land. However, some historians believe that this is an exaggeration and that the true figure might be closer to 15,000 men, including 3,000 knights.

The Crusaders passed through Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and then entered Byzantine territory, arriving at Constantinople in the autumn of 1189. Matters were complicated by a secret alliance between the Emperor of Constantinople and Saladin, warning of which was supplied by a note from Sybilla, ex-Queen of Jerusalem.http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1189barbarossa-lets.html When they were in Hungary, Barbarossa personally asked the Hungarian Prince Géza
Géza, royal prince of Hungary
Géza was a Hungarian royal Prince, son of the King Géza II of Hungary. Prince Géza was brother of the King's Stephen III and Béla III of Hungary...

, brother of the king, Béla III of Hungary
Béla III of Hungary
Béla III was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was educated in the court of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I who was planning to ensure his succession in the Byzantine Empire till the birth of his own son...

, to join the Crusade. The king agreed, and a Hungarian army of 2,000 men led by Géza escorted the German emperor's forces. The armies coming from western Europe pushed on through Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 (where they were victorious in taking Aksehir
Aksehir
Akşehir is a town and district of Konya Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. According to 2000 census, population of the district is 114,918 of which 63,000 live in the town of Akşehir...

 and defeating the Turks in the Battle of Iconium
Battle of Iconium (1190)
-References:* Tyerman, C.:God's war: a new history of the Crusades* Kenneth M. Setton, Robert Lee Wolff, Harry W. Hazard :A History of the Crusades, Volume II: The Later Crusades, 1189–1311...

), and entered Cilician Armenia. The approach of the immense German army greatly concerned Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 and the other Muslim leaders, who began to rally troops of their own to confront Barbarossa's forces.

However, on 10 June 1190, Emperor Frederick drowned in the Saleph river. Arab historians report that his servants had encamped before the river, and that the emperor had gone to the river to drink and bathe, however, he neglected to take his armor off and he was carried away by the currents underwater and then died. Some of Frederick's men put him in a barrel of vinegar to preserve his body.

Frederick's death plunged his army into chaos. Leaderless, panicking, and attacked on all sides by Turks, many Germans deserted, were killed, or even committed suicide. Only 5,000 soldiers, a small fraction of the original force, arrived in Acre. Barbarossa's son, Frederick VI
Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia
Frederick VI of Hohenstaufen was duke of Swabia from 1170 to his death at the siege of Acre. He was the third son of Frederick I Barbarossa and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy and brother of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

 of Swabia, carried on with the remnants of the German army, along with the Hungarian army under the command of Prince Géza, with the aim of burying the emperor in Jerusalem, but efforts to conserve his body in vinegar failed. Hence, his flesh was interred in the Church of St Peter
Church of St Peter
The Church of Saint Peter near Antakya , Turkey, is composed of a cave carved into the mountainside on Mount Starius with a depth of 13 m, a width of 9.5 m and a height of 7 m...

 in Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, his bones in the cathedral of Tyre, and his heart and inner organs in Tarsus
Tarsus (city)
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It is part of the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Turkey with a population of 2.75 million...

.

The unexpected demise of Frederick left the Crusader army under the command of the rivals 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 Richard I of England
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

, who had traveled to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 separately by sea, and ultimately led to its dissolution. Richard
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

 continued to the East where he defeated Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 in many battles, winning significant territories along the shores of Palestine, but ultimately lost the war (see Treaty of Ramla
Treaty of Ramla
The Treaty of Ramla was signed by Saladin and Richard the Lionheart in June 1192 after the Battle of Arsuf. Under the terms of the agreement, Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control. However, the city would be open to Christian pilgrimages. Also, the treaty reduced the Latin Kingdom to a...

). He returned home after he signed the treaty under the terms of the agreement that Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control. However, the city would be open to Christian pilgrimages. Also, the treaty reduced the Latin Kingdom to a geopolitical coastal strip that extended from Tyre to Jaffa.

Frederick and the Justinian code

Because of the increase in wealth of the trading cities of northern Italy, there occurred a revival in the study of the Justinian Code. This was a Latin legal system which had become extinct in earlier centuries. Legal scholars renewed its application. It is speculated that Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

 personally encouraged the Justinian rule of law, and possessed a copy of it. Corpus Iuris Civilis (Justinian Body of Civil Law) has been described as the greatest code of law ever devised. It envisaged the law of the state as a reflection of natural moral law, the principle of rationality in the universe. By the time Frederick assumed the throne, this legal system was well established on both sides of the Alps. He was the first to utilize the availability of the new professional class of lawyers. The Civil Law allowed Frederick to use these lawyers to administer his kingdom in a logical and consistent manner. It also provided a framework to legitimize his claim to the right to rule both Germany and northern Italy. In the old days of Henry VI and Henry V, the claim of divine right of kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

 had been severely undermined by the Investiture controversy
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

. The Church had won that argument in the common man's mind. There was no divine right for the German king to also control the church by naming both bishops and popes. The institution of the Justinian code was used, perhaps unscrupulously, by Frederick to lay claim to divine powers.

In Germany, Frederick was a political realist, taking what he could and leaving the rest. In Italy, he tended to be a romantic reactionary, reveling in the antiquarian spirit of the age, exemplified by a revival of classical studies and Roman law. It was through the use of the restored Justinian code that Frederick came to view himself as a new Roman emperor. Roman law gave a rational purpose for the existence of Frederick and his imperial ambitions. It was a counterweight to the claims of the Church to have authority because of divine revelation. The Church was opposed to Frederick for ideological reasons, not the least of which was the humanist nature found in the revival of the old Roman legal system. When Pepin the Short sought to become king of the Franks, the church needed military protection. Pepin found it convenient to make an ally of the pope. Frederick desired to put the pope aside and claim the crown of old Rome simply because he was in the likeness of the greatest emperors of the pre-Christian era. Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV , born Nicholas Breakspear or Breakspeare, was Pope from 1154 to 1159.Adrian IV is the only Englishman who has occupied the papal chair...

 was naturally opposed to this view and undertook a vigorous propaganda campaign which was designed to diminish Frederick and his ambition. To a large extent, this was successful.

Charismatic leader

Historians have compared Henry II of England
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

 and Frederick Barbarossa. Both were considered the greatest and most charismatic leaders of their age. Each had a rare combination of qualities that made him appear superhuman to his contemporaries. Each possessed longevity, boundless ambition, extraordinary organizing skill, and greatness on the battlefield. Both men were handsome and proficient in courtly skills, without appearing effeminate or affected. Both came to the throne in the prime of manhood. Each had an element of learning, without being considered impractical intellectuals, but rather more inclined to practicality. Each found himself in the possession of new legal institutions which were put to creative use in governing. Both Henry and Frederick were viewed to be sufficiently and formally devout to the teachings of the Church, without being moved to the extremes of spirituality seen in the great saints of the twelfth century. In making final decisions, each relied solely upon their own judgment. Both were interested in gathering as much power as they could.

In keeping with this view of Frederick, his uncle, Otto of Freising
Otto of Freising
Otto von Freising was a German bishop and chronicler.-Life:He was the fifth son of Leopold III, margrave of Austria, by his wife Agnes, daughter of the emperor Henry IV...

, wrote an account of Frederick's reign entitled Gesta Friderici I imperatoris (Deeds of the Emperor Frederick). Otto died after finishing the first two books, leaving the last two to Rahewin
Rahewin of Freising
Rahewin of Freising was an important German chronicler at the abbey of Freising in Bavaria. He continued the chronicle of his master, Otto von Freising. He died between 1170 and 1177....

, his provost. The text is in places heavily dependent on classical precedent. For example, Rahewin's physical description of Frederick:
reproduces word for word (except for details of hair and beard) a description of another monarch written nearly eight hundred years earlier by Sidonius Apollinaris.

Frederick's charisma led to a fantastic juggling act which over a quarter of a century, restored the imperial authority in the German states. His formidable enemies defeated him on almost every side, yet, in the end, he emerged triumphant. When Frederick came to the throne, the prospects for the revival of German imperial power were extremely thin. The great German princes had increased their power and land holdings. The king had been left with only the traditional family domains and a vestige of power over the bishops and abbeys. The backwash of the Investiture controversy
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

 had left the German states in continuous turmoil. Rival states were in perpetual war. These conditions allowed Frederick to be both warrior and occasional peace-maker, both to his advantage.

Legend

Frederick is the subject of many legends, including that of a sleeping hero
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...

, like the much older British Celtic legends of Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

 or Bran the Blessed
Bran the Blessed
Brân the Blessed is a giant and king of Britain in Welsh mythology. He appears in several of the Welsh Triads, but his most significant role is in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, Branwen ferch Llŷr. He is a son of Llŷr and Penarddun, and the brother of Brânwen, Manawydan, Nisien and Efnysien...

. Legend says he is not dead, but asleep with his knights in a cave 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...

 mountain in Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

 or Mount Untersberg
Untersberg
The Untersberg is a mountain massif of the Berchtesgaden Alps that straddles the border between Berchtesgaden, Germany and Salzburg, Austria.The mountain is popular with tourists due to its proximity to the city of Salzburg: less than 16 km to the north and within easy reach by bus, for...

 in Bavaria, Germany, and that when the ravens cease to fly around the mountain he will awake and restore Germany to its ancient greatness. According to the story, his red beard has grown through the table at which he sits. His eyes are half closed in sleep, but now and then he raises his hand and sends a boy out to see if the ravens have stopped flying. A similar story, set in Sicily, was earlier attested about his grandson, Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors 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...

. To garner political support the Second Reich built atop the Kyffhäuser the Kyffhäuser Monument
Kyffhäuser Monument
The Kyffhäuser Monument , also known as the Barbarossa Monument or the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument , is a monument on the summit of the Kyffhäuser Mountain near Bad Frankenhausen in the state of Thuringia in central Germany.The monument, which totals 81 metres tall, was built in...

, which declared Kaiser Wilhelm I the reincarnation of Frederick; the 1896 dedication occurred on June 18, the day of Frederick’s coronation.

In medieval Europe, the Golden Legend
Golden Legend
The Golden Legend is a collection of hagiographies by Jacobus de Voragine that became a late medieval bestseller. More than a thousand manuscripts of the text have survived, compared to twenty or so of its nearest rivals...

 became refined by Jacopo da Voragine. This was a popularized interpretation of the Biblical end of the world. It consisted of three things: (1) Terrible natural disasters; (2) the arrival of 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...

; (3) the establishment of a good king to combat the anti-Christ. These millennial fables were common and freely traded by the populations on Continental Europe. End-time tales and myths had been around since at least the time of a hermit monk named Peter who wrote them down in the 8th century. German propaganda played into this belief by characterizing Frederick Barbarossa and Frederick II as personification of the "good king".

Frederick's uncle, Otto, bishop of Freising wrote a biography entitled The Deeds of Frederick Barbarosa, which is considered to be an accurate history of the king. Otto's other major work, The Two Cities was an exposition of the work of St. Augustine of Hippo of a similar title. The latter work was full of Augustinian negativity concerning the nature of the world and history. His work on Frederick is of opposite tone, being an optimistic portrayal of the glorious potentials of imperial authority. (See description supra.)

Another legend states that when Barbarossa was in the process of seizing Milan in 1158, his wife, the Empress Beatrice
Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy
Beatrice of Burgundy was the only daughter of Renaud III, Count of Burgundy and Agatha of Lorraine. She was the second wife and Empress of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Her maternal grandparents were Simon I, Duke of Lorraine and his wife Adelaide of Leuven. Beatrice was active at the...

, was taken captive by the enraged Milanese and forced to ride through the city on a donkey in a humiliating manner. Some sources of this legend indicate that Barbarossa implemented his revenge for this insult by forcing the magistrates of the city to remove a fig from the anus of a donkey using only their teeth. Another source states that Barbarossa took his wrath upon every able-bodied man in the city, and that it was not a fig they were forced to hold in their mouth, but excrement from the donkey. To add to this debasement, they were made to announce, "Ecco la fica", (meaning "behold the fig"), with the feces still in their mouths. It is said that the insulting gesture, (called fico), of holding one's fist with the thumb in between the middle and forefinger came by its origin from this event.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1941 was codenamed Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

Frederick's descendants by his wife Beatrice

  1. Sophie (1161 – 1187), married to Margrave William VI of Montferrat.
  2. Beatrice (1162 – 1174). She was betrothed to King William II of Sicily
    William II of Sicily
    William II , called the Good, was king of Sicily from 1166 to 1189. William's character is very indistinct. Lacking in military enterprise, secluded and pleasure-loving, he seldom emerged from his palace life at Palermo. Yet his reign is marked by an ambitious foreign policy and a vigorous diplomacy...

     but died before they could be married.
  3. Frederick V, Duke of Swabia
    Frederick V, Duke of Swabia
    Frederick V of Hohenstaufen was duke of Swabia from 1167 to his death. He was the eldest son of Frederick III Barbarossa and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy.-Ancestry:-See also:*Dukes of Swabia family tree...

     (Pavia, 16 July 1164 – 28 November 1170).
  4. Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
    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,...

     (Nijmegen, November 1165 – Messina, 28 September 1197).
  5. Conrad (Modigliana, February 1167 – Acre, 20 January 1191), later renamed Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia
    Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia
    Frederick VI of Hohenstaufen was duke of Swabia from 1170 to his death at the siege of Acre. He was the third son of Frederick I Barbarossa and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy and brother of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

     after the death of his older brother.
  6. Gisela(October/November 1168 – 1184).
  7. Otto I, Count of Burgundy
    Otto I, Count of Burgundy
    Otto I was Count of Burgundy from 1190 to his death and briefly Count of Luxembourg from 1196 to 1197...

     (June/July 1170 – killed, Besançon, 13 January 1200).
  8. Conrad II, Duke of Swabia
    Conrad II, Duke of Swabia
    Conrad II was duke of Swabia from 1191 to his death and Duke of Rothenburg . He was the fourth son of Frederick III Barbarossa and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy, and brother of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

     and Rothenburg (February/March 1172 – killed, Durlach, 15 August 1196).
  9. Renaud (October/November 1173 – in infancy).
  10. William (June/July 1176 – in infancy).
  11. 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...

     (August 1177 – killed, Bamberg, 21 June 1208) King of Germany
    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...

     in 1198
    .
  12. Agnes (1181 – 8 October 1184). She was betrothed to King Emeric of Hungary
    Emeric of Hungary
    Emeric I , , King of Hungary and Croatia . He was crowned during his father's lifetime, but after his father's death he had to fight against his brother, Andrew, who forced Emeric to assign the government of Croatia and Dalmatia to him...

     but died before they could be married.

Ancestry



Frederick Barbarossa in fiction

  • Cyrus Townsend Brady
    Cyrus Townsend Brady
    Cyrus Townsend Brady was a journalist, historian and adventure writer. His most well-known work is "Indian Fights and Fighters". He was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1883. In 1889, he was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal church, and was ordained a...

    's Hohenzollern; a Story of the Time of Frederick Barbarossa (1901) begins with a dedication to "the descendants of the great Germanic race who in Europe, in America, and in the Far East rule the world".
  • Umberto Eco
    Umberto Eco
    Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose , an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...

    's novel Baudolino
    Baudolino
    Baudolino is a 2000 novel by Umberto Eco about the adventures of a young man named Baudolino in the known and mythical Christian world of the 12th century.Baudolino was translated into English in 2001 by William Weaver...

    (2000) is set partly at Frederick's court, and also deals with the mystery of Frederick's death. The imaginary hero, Baudolino, is the Emperor's adopted son and confidant.
  • John Crowley
    John Crowley
    John Crowley is an American author of fantasy, science fiction and mainstream fiction. He studied at Indiana University and has a second career as a documentary film writer...

    's novel Little, Big
    Little, Big
    Little, Big: or, The Fairies' Parliament is a modern fantasy novel by John Crowley, published in 1981. It won the World Fantasy Award in 1982.-Plot synopsis:...

    (1981) features Frederick Barbarossa as a character in modern times, awoken from his centuries of sleep. In the book, he becomes the President of the United States
    President of the United States
    The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

     and rules as a tyrant.
  • The Land of Unreason, by L. Sprague de Camp
    L. Sprague de Camp
    Lyon Sprague de Camp was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors...

     and Fletcher Pratt
    Fletcher Pratt
    Murray Fletcher Pratt was an American writer of science fiction, fantasy and history, particularly noted for his works on naval history and on the American Civil War.- Life and work :...

    , mentions the castle of the Kyffhäuser.
  • In The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 film)
    The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 film)
    The Thomas Crown Affair is a 1999 American heist film directed by John McTiernan. The film, starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo and Denis Leary, is a remake of the 1968 film of the same name....

    , the title character is said to be in possession of "an ornament worn by Frederick Barbarossa at his coronation in 1152."
  • The computer game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
    Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
    Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is a real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft. Released in 1999 for the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems, it was the second game in the Age of Empires series...

    has a campaign which follows Fredrick Barbarossa from the period of his struggles in Germany to his death on the Third Crusade
    Third Crusade
    The Third Crusade , also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin...

    . It is of note that Barbarossa never appears as an actual unit in the game, though the objective of the final level (after his death) is to take a unit named "Emperor in a Barrel" to the Dome of The Rock in Jerusalem.
  • In the computer game Stronghold Warchest, Emperor Frederick is an AI opponent that players can challenge in skirmish play.
  • Frederick is a character in the PC game Stronghold: Crusader.
  • The computer game Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms features Frederik Barbarossa in the crusade campaign. Barbarossa launches a crusade to the Holy land with 100,000 strong men. During the next 'turn,' he drowns in the sea and because of his death the crusade is canceled.
  • Andreas Seiler's novel Real Wizard (2008) is an attribution to the 1,000 year old myth, with aspects of life and death of the Emperor. It includes a generalised German history of unification as a background to the story. ISBN 9780646496252
  • In the Man From U.N.C.L.E episode The Deadly Game (S1E05), S.S. scientist Wolfgang Volp tries to revive Hitler from suspended animation but is only referred to as Barbarossa.
  • In the movie Sword of War also entitled Barbarossa
    Barbarossa
    Barbarossa, a name meaning red beard in Italian, may refer to any of these:-People:* Emperor Barbarossa or Frederick I , Holy Roman Emperor...

    , Barbarossa is one of the main characters played by Rutger Hauer.

Primary Sources

  • Otto of Freising
    Otto of Freising
    Otto von Freising was a German bishop and chronicler.-Life:He was the fifth son of Leopold III, margrave of Austria, by his wife Agnes, daughter of the emperor Henry IV...

     and his continuator Rahewin, The deeds of Frederick Barbarossa tr. Charles Christopher Mierow
    Charles Christopher Mierow
    Charles Christopher Mierow was an American academic.He had a Princeton Ph.D. in classical languages and literature, and was known as a translator. In years the 1923-1924 and 1925-1934 he was president of Colorado College...

     with Richard Emery. New York: Columbia University Press, 1953. Reprinted: Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
  • Ibn al-Athir
  • Romuald of Salerno. Chronicon in Rerum Italicarum scriptores.
  • Otto of Sankt Blasien
  • The "Bergamo Master". Carmen de gestis Frederici I imperatoris in Lombardia.
  • Chronicon Vincentii Canonici Pragensis in Monumenta historica Boemiae by Fr. Gelasius Dobner (1764)http://www.enricopantalone.com/ladistruzionedimilanoelesueconseguenze.html http://it.wikisource.org/wiki/Storia_di_Milano/Capitolo_VII

Secondary Sources

  • Haverkamp, Alfred. Friedrich Barbarossa, 1992
  • Novobatzky, Peter and Ammon Shea. Depraved and Insulting English. Orlando: Harcourt, 2001
  • Comyn, Robert. History of the Western Empire, from its Restoration by Charlemagne to the Accession of Charles V, Vol. I. 1851
  • Munz, Peter. "Frederick Barbarossa: A Study in Medieval Politics". Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 1969
  • Opll, Ferdinand. Friedrich Barbarossa, 1998
  • Reston, James. Warriors of God, 2001
  • Federico Rossi Di Marignano: "Federico Barbarossa e Beatrice di Borgogna. Re e regina d'Italia", Mondadori, 2009, ISBN 8804586761 ISBN 9788804586760
  • Walford, Edward, John Charles Cox, and George Latimer Apperson. "Digit Folklore part II". The Antiquary: A Magazine Devoted to the Study of the Past 1885 Volume XI: January–June.
  • Gianluca Raccagni, The Lombard League (1164–1225), Oxford University Press 2010.

External links


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