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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

XII: The Crusade of Frederick II,   pp. 429-462 PDF (13.4 MB)


Page 461

 Ch.XII THE CRUSADE OF FREDERICK II 461 
appeals that, with German troops driven into Brindisi by storms on their
way home from the east, they scored success after success against the papal
forces. By the autumn of 1229 Frederick stood in full possession of his kingdom.
It was now only necessary for him to make his peace with the defeated pope.
Although rebuffed in his first efforts, the faithful master of the Teutonic
Knights, Hermann of Salza, eventually obtained an armistice, Frederick displaying
con ciliatory behavior and refraining from encroachments upon the papal domains.
The German princes guaranteed the emperor's good faith. In May 1230 peace
terms were drawn up, and on August 28 the ban was lifted; on September 1
at Anagni the "disciple of Mohammed" was once more received as the "beloved
son of the church".114 
 The crusade of Frederick II is unique in the history of the Middle Ages,
reflecting not so much the spirit of the age as the complex and cosmopolitan
character of the emperor. The primary aim of any crusade was the restoration
of Jerusalem to the Christians, and this had been achieved with a skill and
brilliance all the more remarkable because the methods of accomplishing it
were so little characteristic of the thirteenth century. Opposed at every
step by the church, whose interests the crusade was intended to serve, Frederick
achieved, without bloodshed, the object which the whole of Christendom most
ardently desired. But in doing so, he earned for himself only opprobrium
in the eyes of the leaders of the church. He was charged with sacrilege,
with preferring the worship of Islam to the Christian faith, with betrayal
of the crusading cause, with plundering, and with blasphemy. His outlook
on life, the result of his contact since infancy with the rich and varied
culture of the orient, elevated him far above the bigotry and the narrow
prejudices so characteristic of Gregory IX, of the patriarch Gerald 
— indeed, of most of the clergy of the age. Again and again Frederick's
letters, no less than his deeds, reveal his sympathies with the recovery
of the Holy Land as a symbol of the Christian faith. But loyalty to this
ideal did not deprive him of his capacity to understand that many of the
places within Jerusalem were no less sacred to the mind and heart of the
Moslem. 
 It is perhaps paradoxical that Frederick II, subjected to the bitterest
reproaches for his anticlericalism, was able to attain 
 114 For details of the reconquest, see Richard of San Germano (MGH, SS.,
XIX), 355 ff. See Röhricht, Beitrage, I, 48 ff. For the reconciliation
with the pope, see Chronica regia Coloniensis, pp. 262—263; also in
MGH, SS., XVII, 842; Brev. Chron. Sic. (Huillard-Bréholles), pp. 903—904.


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