"King of the Romans with a never ending thirst for war. His soul dwells in the Circle of Heresy as punishment for his constant war with the Pope and Church."
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was born in 1194 as the son of Emperor Henry VI and Queen Constance of Sicily. He was renown as a highly intelligent man who was supportive of the arts, poetry and scientific innovations. However, he gained a reputation for heresy, violence and brutality due to his wars against two Popes and the Catholic Church.
By the age of only 3, Frederick was crowned King of Sicily with his mother as his co-ruler. Upon the death of his parents, Frederick became a ward of Pope Innocent III, but the boy was used as a pawn by several men to gain control of Sicily until Frederick was finally old enough to reclaim his power. After excommunicating the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor Otto for acting against the young king, the Pope then crowned Frederick as the new Emperor.
Frederick struggled to keep his new empire together as the Guelphs of the northern region of Italy refused to acknowledge him as Holy Roman Emperor (yet this conflict was finally resolved upon the death of his rival, Otto). During his early reign, Frederick successfully aided the French monarchy during the War of Succession, as well as introducing written law codes into the Kingdom of Sicily. To assert his power in areas that he was absent from, Frederick installed his sons and his wife as representatives.
However, when Frederick procrastinated in joining his troops on the Fifth Crusade despite vowing again and again to go, he was blamed by the papacy for the Crusade's failure. For continued delays in 1227 Pope Gregory IX excommunicated Frederick twice: first for his initial delay (due to an epidemic) and again when Frederick attempted to go again anyway the next year (as excommunicates were forbidden from going on Crusade). Even worse in the eyes of the Christian world, upon arrival in the Holy Land the emperor made a separate treaty with the leader of the Saracens, Al-Kamil, gaining the throne of Jerusalem in the process. The land was put under an interdict and Frederick became a hated figure among most Crusaders. The blow was made more bitter by the loss of the Holy Land once again to the Muslims in 1244.
Frederick was eventually pardoned by Gregory IX, but upon his return to Europe he faced new struggles in solidifying his power, culminating in the capture and imprisonment of his rebellious son Henry. He then invaded Lombardy against the Pope's wishes, leading to the emperor being excommunicated for the third time. In retaliation Frederick expelled several holy orders from his territories, made his son Enzo the Imperial vicar and attempted to march on Rome itself (though without success). He continued to march on and capture several more Italian cities, even after Gregory IX died. Furthermore, because the King of Hungary sided against him, Frederick outright refused to help Hungary when it was brutalized by the invading Mongols.
The next Pope, Innocent IV, became Frederick's next and bitterest enemy. When the emperor continued his attacks in Italy, Innocent declared his title as Holy Roman Emperor revoked and branded him a heretic. Innocent even went so far as to order the assassination of Frederick and his son Enzo, though the plot was discovered and foiled by the Imperial forces. The situation destabilized the emperor's power in Germany, but he was able to reassert his position and Innocent could do no more against him. However, in 1247 Frederick's forces lost the Battle of Parma, and with it almost all of the territory that he gained from his attacks in Italy. The Imperial treasury was also lost, cutting off funding to continue the battles. In the following years, Frederick would drive his closest advisor to suicide and lose two of his children before dying peacefully in 1250. He was succeeded by his son, Conrad IV.
- His presence in the game Dante's Inferno is an anachronism, as Frederick wasn't born until 1194.
- Frederick is indirectly responsible for the death of another of the damned souls: Pietro della Vigna. He is located in the next circle for committing suicide out of despair at being disgraced by the Emperor.
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