Frederick I Barbarossa – 1152-1190

The most famous of all the medieval German emperors. His reign divides into three parts, part 1 (1152-1160) when he brings peace to war torn Germany and rebuilds imperial authority, part 2 (1160-1177) where he struggles with the papacy and the Italian Communes, and finally part 3 (1177-1190 a period of consolidation ending in the Third Crusade.


Barbarossa is elected in another Coup d’Etat


Barbarossa mends the divisions between Welf and Staufer, finds an agreement with the church and gets crowned emperor


Barbarossa Second Italian Campaign, first defeat of Milan and the promulgation of theLaws of Roncaglia


The cities of Crema and Milan reject the new governance of Northern Italy and are besieged, defeated and razed.


Political and ideological conflict with the papacy. A series of imperial anti-popes fail to get traction. Barbarossa besieges Rome


Alongside with the schism the Lombard cities chafe under imperial rule leading ultimately to the creation of the Lombard League


After the catastrophic disintegration of the army before Rome, Barbarossa fundamentally resets his agenda and sets out for his fifth Italian campaign


The fifth Italian campaign is going from bad to worse as he is abandoned by his secular princes. The imperial army and the Milanese meet for a showdown in Legnano


Peace has to be made with the Pope, the Lombard League, the King of Sicily and Emperor Manuel. The first international peace congress meets in Venice.


Upon his return he finds his cousin and friend Henry the Lion under enormous pressure from the Saxon nobles. Barbarossa cannot protect him


After the shock of seeing his political infrastructure collapse, Barbarossa picks himself up and seeks new routes to expand his family’s power


The Hohenstaufen also need a new ideology, an ideology that makes them independent of papal interference.


Barbarossa sets out for his last adventure. Recapturing Jerusalem and laying down his crown at the church of the Holy sepulchre is the dream that ends in the river Saleph


Barbarossa remains the best known of the medieval emperors. his image has gone through so many iterations, it is now difficult to sperate the man from the myth