Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Lands in Acre to Begin Sixth Crusade Hot

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Lands in Acre to Begin Sixth Crusade

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, head of the House of Hohenstaufen and one of the most powerful rulers in all of medieval Europe, lands in Acre, Palestine, to begin the Sixth Crusade.

Frederick considered himself a direct successor to the Roman Emperors of Antiquity and was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Honorius III in 1220 on the condition that he would support the Church and participate in the Fifth Crusade. His repeated failure to do so was one of the reasons for his many excommunications.

In fact, his refusal to personally support the Fifth Crusade was probably a contributing factor in its failure. Because Frederick and his armies were expected as support, papal legate Pelagius rejected an offer from Ayyubid sultan Al-Kamil to turn over the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in exchange for their leaving Egypt and handing over the city of Damietta.

Yet Frederick never came to Egypt, and the army of the Fifth Crusade was overwhelmed outside Cairo. Both Pope Honorius III and Christians across Europe generally blamed Emperor Frederick II personally for this.

Frederick was excommunicated again a little less than a year ago because his attempt to start the Sixth Crusade ended after a few days when he returned home, allegedly suffering from an illness. When he started again in June, he was excommunicated once again because, as an excommunicate, Frederick is not permitted to lead a Crusade, and no one has any obligation to obey him.

Because of this, Frederick is unable to receive any assistance from the Crusaders already in the Holy Lands — local Christian leaders and the generals of the military orders all turn their backs on him.

Frederick II thus attempts to fulfill his goals with negotiation. After some talks with Ayyubid sultan Al-Kamil, he signs a treaty in February that gives the Crusaders control over Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem and a strip of coast to provide sea access for the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Almost all other Christian leaders, especially Crusaders in the Holy Land, will condemn the treaty. They view it as a self-serving agreement that gives Frederick personal control over lands he has claims to, like Jerusalem, while betraying the claims and goals of others. Of course, they refused to join him in an attempt to gain all that through military means, so they have little cause for complaint now that he has achieved some of the Crusader goals via peaceful negotiation.


Frederick II and the Sixth Crusade: Debunking the Myths

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