Frederick II (1198-1250): the Stupor Mundi


Testo in italiano


Frederick II of Swabia, called the Stupor mundi, or “the wonder of the world”, for his infinite virtues, was King of Sicily from 1198 to 1250.

Although his tomb in Roman porphyry is located in the cathedral of Palermo, along with the sarcophagi of the entire imperial family (three emperors and a Norman king), Frederick II moved skillfully with his court traveling between Italy and Germany to strengthen the Holy Roman Empire, founded by Charlemagne and the Ottons in the tenth century AD!

He was born in Jesi in the Marche region while the court was journeying to Sicily, residence of his mother Costanza, daughter of Norman Roger II, king of Sicily.

His policy aimed to strengthening the secular state, free from the intromissions of the Church.

All this was sanctioned from the Treaties of Melfi and from the not violent crusade that he carried out to Gerusalemme!

Trusting in the constructive wisdom of the Cistercian monks, Frederick II built great cathedrals and castles to make more easy the defense and the passage of the pilgrims, but it did not miss to elevate the cultural level of the court: he founded the so called  “Sicilian school of poetry”, schools of painting and miniature (minnesager), universities’ specialized in human and natural sciences like those of Naples, Padua and Bologna.

He wanted to be buried in Palermo in 1250 dignifying the centrality of the Mediterranean in modern Europe!




Author: Claudio Paterna, Cultural Department of Splendid Sicily

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