Frederick II Hohenstaufen (December 26, 1194 - 1250) ruled the Holy Roman Empire from 1220 through 1250. His empire was frequently at war with the Papal States, so it is not surprising the he was excommunicated - in fact, twice. Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him the anti-Christ and after his death the idea of his second coming where he would rule a 1000 year Reich took hold, possibly in part because of this.

He was the son of the emperor Henry VI who had died in 1197, when Frederick was three years old. Initially he was King of Sicily, from age four. His kingdom was held for him by Pope Innocent III after the death of Frederick's mother in 1198 until he was of age.

Otto of Brunswick had been crowned Holy Roman Emperor by pope Innocent III in 1209; Frederick had been elected king of Germany by a rebellious faction who had the backing of Innocent III in 1211 at the Diet of Nuremberg after Otto had fallen into disfavor with the pope who excommunicated him. Being King of Germany had been the traditional precursor step for emperorship. However, until the debacle at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214 even Frederick's kingship had remained mostly an empty honor, as Otto IV had held on to the reins of royal and imperial power until then despite the excommunication. As a result of the decisive military loss at Bouvines Otto had lost the practical means to hold on to kingship and emperorship (to die in 1218). The German princes, supported by Innocent III, again elected Frederick king of Germany in 1215, and the pope crowned him king in Aachen in 1215. It was not until another five years had passed, and only after further negotiations between Frederick, Innocent III, and pope Honorius who succeeded to the papacy after Innocent's death in 1216, that Frederick was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by pope Honorius III.

Said to be literate in nine languages, Frederick was a very modern ruler for his times, being a patron of science and learning, and having fairly advanced views on economics. He abolished state monopolies, internal tolls, and import regulations within his empire.

He was known in his own time as the Stupor mundi, the "Wonder of the world". Frederick wrote a manual on the art of falconry, De arte venandi cum avibus ("On the art of hunting with birds"), of which many illustrated copies survive from the 13th and 14th centuries.

Frederick was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX in 1227 for failing to honor his promise to launch the Sixth Crusade. However, he embarked on the crusade the following year (1228), which was seen on by the pope as a rude provocation, since the church could not take any part in the honor for the crusade. Frederick's crusade ended in a truce and coronation of Frederick as King of Jerusalem on March 18, 1229.

In 1231 he promulgated the Constitutions of Melfi (also known as Liber Augustalis). A collection of laws for his realm that was remarkable for its time and has been a source for inspiration for a long time after.

This event was the start of a long and bitter fight between Frederick and the pope (and his successor, Pope Innocent IV). This fight was mainly taken into propaganda and also related to the Lombardian provinces. The opposing forces were known as the Guelfs (The Lombard League) and the Ghibellins.

Preceded by:
Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Yolande, Queen of Jerusalem
Holy Roman Emperors
Kingdom of Jerusalem
Succeeded by:
Conrad IV
(in both Germany and Jerusalem)

Parentage and Children

Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor Beatrix of Burgundy Roger II of Sicily Beatrix of Rethel
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor Constance of Sicily
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Spouse or Union Children
Constance of Aragon
  1. Henry (VII) of Germany
Isabella of Brienne
  1. unnamed daughter, died young
  2. Conrad IV of Germany
Elizabeth of England
  1. Margaret of Sicily
  2. Henry Charlote of Sicily
  3. Frederick of Sicily
  4. Carl Otto of Sicily
Beatrix of Lancia
  1. Manfred of Sicily
  2. Constance (Anna) of Sicily
Margaret of Austria no children
Adelheid Enzio
  1. Enzio of Sardinia
  1. Selvagia
Richina of Wolfs'oden
  1. Margaret of Swabia
Matilda of Antioch
  1. Frederich of Antioch
  1. Conrad of Antioch,
  1. Richard of Theate
  1. Catarina of Marano
  1. Blanchefleur
  1. Violante
  1. Gerhard
  1. Frederick of Pettorana

See also: Monarchs of Naples and Sicily