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


Elected King of the Germans


Mother Died

Pope Innocent III became guardian

Crowned King of Sicily


Otto of Brunswick crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Innocent III


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


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


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


Innocent III dies – succeeded by Honorius III


Frederick crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Honorius III in Rome.

His eldest son, Henry took title King of the Romans


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


Created University of Naples


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


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


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.


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


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


Peace of San Germano – Pope lifts excommunication of Frederick


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


Henry imprisoned – Conrad, King of Jerusalem replaces him


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


Frederick wins decisive battle over Lombard League at Cortenuova

Celebrated with victory parade in style of Roman Emperors at Cremona


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


Excommunicated by Gregory IX


Frederick responded by expelling Minorites and lay preachers from Lombardy


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


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.


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


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


War continues back and forth between Frederick and Papacy.


Jerusalem lost to new Muslim offensive


Innocent IV elected Pope. Initially Frederick favoured his election


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


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


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”.


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.


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


Ranieri attempt to invade Sicily fails


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


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.


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


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


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


Hohenstaufens lose Como and Modena, but regain Ravenna


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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