Frederick II: Chronology of his Life

1194, Dec 26

Birth. Some chronicles say that his mother, the forty-year-old Constance, gave birth to him in a public square in order to forestall any doubt about his origin

1196

Elected King of the Germans

1198

Mother Died

Pope Innocent III became guardian

Crowned King of Sicily

1209

Otto of Brunswick crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Innocent III

1211

Innocent III backed faction rebellious to Otto Frederick elected in absentia King of the Germans by Diet of Nuremburg

1214

Battle of Bouvines – Otto defeated and withdraws to hereditary Guelph lands

1215

Frederick again elected King of the Germans and crowned by Innocent III in Aachen

1216

Innocent III dies – succeeded by Honorius III

1220

Frederick crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Honorius III in Rome.

His eldest son, Henry took title King of the Romans

1220

Assizes of Capua – first Sicilian law reforms to build power of state

1224

Created University of Naples

1225

Married Yolande of Jerusalem, heiress to Kingdom of Jerusalem. Frederick prepares to travel to Holy Land on Crusade

1227

Frederick is delayed in setting off and is excommunicated as a result by Gregory IX – epidemic reason for delay and Frederick’s own illness

1228

Frederick departs on crusade resulting in second excommunication as Pope miffed that still going despite excommunication in previous year.

Frederick negotiates return of Jerusalem with sultan Al-Kamil.

1229

Frederick crowned King of Jerusalem – despite fact that inheritance should have passed to son Conrad as Yolande had by this time died.

1231

Henry, Frederick’s first son, joins Lombard League in rebellion and claims the crown. Rebellion mostly a failure

1231

Peace of San Germano – Pope lifts excommunication of Frederick

1231

Constitutions of Melfi – Sicily becomes first absolutist monarchy to emerge from Feudalism

1235

Henry imprisoned – Conrad, King of Jerusalem replaces him

mid-1230s

Fredericks viceroy forced to leave Acre, capital of Kingdom of Jerusalem

1237

Frederick wins decisive battle over Lombard League at Cortenuova

Celebrated with victory parade in style of Roman Emperors at Cremona

1238

Milan, Brescia, Bologna, Piacenza still rebellios. Frederick lifts seige of Brescia

1239

Excommunicated by Gregory IX

1239

Frederick responded by expelling Minorites and lay preachers from Lombardy

1239

Son Enzio elected vicar of Northern Italy – Enzio annexed the Romagna, Marche and the Duchy of Spoleto, nominally part of the Papal States

1239

Frederick announces wish to destroy Venice which had sent ships against Sicily. He marches towards Rome, in order to restore the ancient splendours of the Empire. Siege ineffective, returns to Sicily sacking Benevento on the way. Peace negotiations come to nothing.

1240

Pope called council but Pisa, Frederick’s ally, thwarted it by capturing cardinals en route by ship. Frederick began assault on Papal States again.

1240

Gregory IX dies. Frederick withdraws – war against Pope not the Church.

1242-3

War continues back and forth between Frederick and Papacy.

1244

Jerusalem lost to new Muslim offensive

1243

Innocent IV elected Pope. Initially Frederick favoured his election

1243

Viterbo rebelled at instigation of Cardinal Ranieri of Viterbo – key Hohenstaufen stronghold near Rome. Frederick lay seige.

1243

Innocent convinces Frederick to with withdraw, but Ranieri massacres Imperial garrison

1245

Innocent breaks peace treaty and flees to Lyon. Declares Frederick deposed as Emperor characterising him as a “friend of Babylon’s sultan”, “of Saracen customs”, “provided with a harem guarded by eunuchs” like the schismatic emperor of Byzantium and, in sum, a “heretic”.

1245

Innocent IV backs Heinrich Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia as rival for Imperial crown and sets in motion to kill Frederick and Enzio with support of his (the pope’s) brother-in-law Orlando de Rossi, another friend of Frederick’s.

1245

Plotters unmasked by Count of Caserta. In vengeance city of Altavilla where they had found shelter, was razed, and the guilty were blinded, mutilated and burnt alive or hanged

1245

Ranieri attempt to invade Sicily fails

1246

Innocent IV funds opposition in Germany – amongst archbishops of Koln and Mainz. Heinrich defeats Conrad, son of Freidrich near Frankfurt. However, Frederick establishes new power base in Southern Germany, with Duchy of Austria

1247

Heinrich Raspe dies. William II, Count of Holland is new anti-king

1247, Feb-Mar

Emperor consolidated Italian position, diet of Terni, married son Manfred to daughter of Amedeo di Savoia, Count of Savoy and took submission of marquis of Monferrato

1247, early

Pope seeks protection of King Louis of France, but a friend of the Emperor. Papal army set out but never reaches Lombardy.

1247

Frederick plus massive army holds diet at Turin

1247, June

Parma rebels and Frederick lays seige together with friend Ezillino, tyrant of Verona. Wooden city, Vittoria built, where he kept his treasure and the harem and menagerie, and from where he could attend his favourite hunting expeditions

1248

While out hunting beseigers camp is assaulted and Imperial forces defeated at Battle of Parma. Frederick loses the Imperial treasury.

1248

Raises army again but many cities rebel as unwilling to face added tax burdens.

1249, Feb

Frederick fired his advisor and prime minister, the famous jurist and poet Pier delle Vigne on charges of speculation and embezzlement. Some historians suggest that Pier was planning to betray the Emperor, who, according to Matthew Paris, cried when he discovered the plot. Pier, blinded and in chains, died in Pisa, possibly by suicide

1249, May

Frederick’s son Enzio captured by the Bolognese at Battle of Fossalta. Frederick also loses another son Richard of Chieti

1249

Hohenstaufens lose Como and Modena, but regain Ravenna

1250

Army sent to invade Sicily under Cardinal Pietro Capocci defeated at Battle of Cingoli

1250, Jan

Ranieri of Viterbo dies. Imperial forces recapture Romagna, Marche and Spoleto. Conrad in Germany wins victories against William II of Holland.

1250, Dec

Frederick – too ill to go on campaigns dies of dysentery at Castel Fiorentino

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