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.
BarbarossaA German history starting in the Middle Ages when the emperors fought an epic struggle with the papacy to the Reformation, the great 18th century of Kant, Goethe, Gauss, the rise of Prussia and the horrors of the Nazi regime. We will end with the post-war period of moral and physical rebuilding. As Gregory of Tours (539-594) said: “A great many things keep happening, some good, some bad” .
In his last few years the ill and exhausted king Conrad III relies more and more on his nephew, Frederick, the duke of Swabia called Barbarossa because of his ginger beard.
Barbarossa forms the cornerstone linking the warring houses of Welf and Waiblingen. His military capabilities and diplomatic skills propell the barely 30 year old to the top of domestic and international politics.
When Conrad III died suddenly, he sees his chance. Pushing aside his cousin, the 8-year-old son of Conrad III, he gains support from both the old family allies as well as from its archrivals, Henry the Lion and Welf VI. He had to promise a lot, but it was enough for him to be elected and crowned in a record 24 days.
But that is where the hard work starts. Conrad had left a realm in anarchy. Can Barbarossa calm it down?
Episode Webpage: Episode 50 – Barbarossa begins • History of the Germans Podcast
The music for the show is Flute Sonata in E-flat major, H.545 by Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach (or some claim it as BWV 1031 Johann Sebastian Bach) performed and arranged by Michel Rondeau under Common Creative Licence 3.0.
Homepage with maps, photos, transcripts and blog: www.historyofthegermans.com
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