On This Day In History: Powerful And Controversial Roman Emperor Frederick II Excommunicated – On Sep 29, 1227

On September 29, 1227, Frederick II (1194 –1250), one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

He was a special person – often called ‘the wonder of the world’ (stupor mundi ) but also controversial. He was speaking six languages (Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek and Arabic).’

Frederick was an devoted to science and the arts. He played a major role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School of poetry. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous.

However, Frederick II had many enemies, especially the popes and his dynasty collapsed soon after his death.

He was frequently at war with the Papacy and Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him an Antichrist.

Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman Emperors of Antiquity, he was Emperor 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 of Hauteville, 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 also the first king who explicitly outlawed trials by ordeal as they were considered irrational.

After his death, his line quickly died out and the House of Hohenstaufen came to an end.

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