Frederick Barbarossa

John B. Freed

Published by Yale University Press

Published in print July 2016 | ISBN: 9780300122763
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780300221169 | DOI:
Frederick Barbarossa

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Frederick Barbarossa, born of two of Germany's most powerful families, swept to the imperial throne in a coup d'état in 1152. A leading monarch of the Middle Ages, he legalized the dualism between the crown and the princes that endured until the end of the Holy Roman Empire. This new biography, the first in English in four decades, paints a rich picture of a consummate diplomat and effective warrior. The book mines Barbarossa's recently published charters and other sources to illuminate the monarch's remarkable ability to rule an empire that stretched from the Baltic to Rome, and from France to Poland. Offering a fresh assessment of the role of Barbarossa's extensive familial network in his success, the book also considers the impact of Frederick's death in the Third Crusade as the key to his lasting heroic reputation. An intriguing epilogue explains how Hitler's audacious attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 came to be called “Operation Barbarossa.”

Keywords: Frederick Barbarossa; monarch; Middle Ages; Holy Roman Empire; Third Crusade; Operation Barbarossa

Book.  712 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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