By David Abulafia
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Sicily, King of Jerusalem, has, on the grounds that his demise in 1250, loved a name as some of the most notable monarchs within the background of Europe. His large cultural tastes, his obvious tolerance of Jews and Muslims, his defiance of the papacy, and his intended target of constructing a brand new, secular international order make him a determine specifically beautiful to modern historians. yet as David Abulafia indicates during this powerfully written biography, Frederick was once less tolerant and far-sighted in his cultural, spiritual, and political objectives than is usually notion. right here, Frederick is published because the thorough traditionalist he rather used to be: a guy who espoused a similar ideas of presidency as his twelfth-century predecessors, an ardent chief of the Crusades, and a king as keen to make a care for Rome as the other ruler in medieval Europe. Frederick's realm was once huge. in addition to ruling the area of Europe that encompasses sleek Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, jap France, and northerly Italy, he additionally inherited the dominion of Sicily and elements of the Mediterranean that come with what are actually Israel, Lebanon, Malta, and Cyprus. furthermore, his Teutonic knights conquered the present-day Baltic States, and he even gained impression alongside the coasts of Tunisia. Abulafia is the 1st to put Frederick within the wider old context his huge, immense empire calls for. Frederick's reign, Abulafia truly exhibits, marked the climax of the facility fight among the medieval popes and the Holy Roman Emperors, and the ebook stresses Frederick's steadfast commitment to the duty of maintaining either dynasty and empire. during the process this wealthy, groundbreaking narrative, Frederick emerges as much less of the innovator than he's often portrayed. instead of instituting a centralized autocracy, he was once content material to assure the continuing lifestyles of the primary sort of govt in every one quarter he governed: in Sicily he seemed a powerful despot, yet in Germany he positioned his belief in nearby princes, and not dreamed of usurping their energy. Abulafia exhibits that this pragmatism helped result in the eventual transformation of medieval Europe into sleek geographical regions. The ebook additionally sheds new gentle at the goals of Frederick in Italy and the close to East, and concentrates to boot at the final fifteen years of the Emperor's lifestyles, a interval before little understood. additionally, Abulfia has mined the papal registers within the mystery Archive of the Vatican to supply a brand new interpretation of Frederick's kinfolk with the papacy. And his recognition to Frederick's sign in of files from 1239-40--a assortment hitherto neglected--has yielded new insights into the cultural lifetime of the German courtroom. after all, a clean and engaging photo develops of the main enigmatic of German rulers, a guy whose accomplishments were grossly distorted over the centuries.