Frederick II

Frederick II is a very convenient example of the sort of doubter and rebel the 13th century could produce. Frederick was the son of the German Emperor Henry VI; and grandson of Frederick Barbarossa. He inherited his kingdom when only 4 years old, his mother was his guardian for six months and when she died, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) became regent and guardian. Frederick seems to have had a good education and his accomplishments earned him the title of Stuper Mundi, the amazement of the world. Through him Arabic numerals and algebra were introduced to Christian students.

Frederick founded the University of Naples and was one of the first Italians to write Italian verse. Of the Monarchs, he is called the first of the moderns. All sorts of men must have been impressed by the futility of the excommunications and interdicts that were levelled at Frederick. The revolt of the princes was essentially an irreligious revolt against the world-rule of the Church. The emperor Frederick II, with his epistles to his fellow-princes was its forerunner. The revolt of the people against the church, on the other hand, was as essentially religious. No sooner had Frederick I (Barbarossa) perished on the third crusade in 1190, than there began to appear in Germany prophecies which foretold of a future Frederick, who as Emperor of the Last Days would complete the unfinished work; an eschatological savior who by liberating the Holy Sepulcher would prepare the way for the Second Coming and the Millennium. When Frederick was born 30 years later, people applied the prophecy to him. Frederick went so far as to apply the Messianic role to himself and crowned himself at Jerusalem.
[05, 58]

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