Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

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Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (26 December 1194 – 13 December 1250), called "Stupor mundi", the "wonder of the world" was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages. Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman Emperors of Antiquity,[1] he was King of the Romans from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death; he was also a claimant 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. At the age of three he was crowned King of Sicily as a co-ruler with his mother Constance, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily. His other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade.

He was frequently at war with the Papacy, hemmed in between Frederick's lands in northern Italy and his Kingdom of Sicily (the Regno) to the south, and thus he was excommunicated four times and often vilified in pro-papal chronicles of the time and since. Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him the Antichrist.

He was said to speak six languages: Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek and Arabic.[2] By contemporary standards, Frederick was an uncommonly avid patron of science and the arts.

He was also patron of the Sicilian School of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo, from around 1220 to his death, saw the first use of a literary form of an Italo-Romance language, Sicilian. The poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and on what was to become the modern Italian language. The school and its poetry were well known to Dante and his peers and predate by at least a century the use of the Tuscan idiom as the elite literary language of the Italian peninsula.


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