Hello and welcome to Season 3 of the History of the Germans Podcast – The Hohenstaufen 1125-1268.
Between March and June of 1977 675,000 people visited the Alte Schloß in Stuttgart to see an exhibition entitled “Die Zeit der Staufer” (the Time of the Hohenstaufen in English). Over 1,000 items from 17 countries were on display, with the Cappenberger Kopf, the image of emperor Frederick Barbarossa, this episode’s artwork as its star exhibit.
Nobody expected these numbers of visitors for what was just 3,000 square meters of exhibition space. At peak times there was barely a square meter per person. People fainted in the low and badly ventilated rooms. They sold 150,000 copies of the enormous four volume exhibition catalogue, one of which to my father who proudly displayed it in his office for 40 years and is now in a box en route over to mine.
Whilst most other medieval German rulers are all but forgotten, interest in the Hohenstaufen never completely disappeared. Why is that? They were by no means the most successful emperors, that crown has to go the Ottonians nor was their reign the most fateful, that was the reign of the later Salians.
Frederick Barbarossa and his grandson Frederick II have been such fascinating personalities that almost any age could project their own perceptions and expectations onto them, from champion of national unity to modern man before his time. Time to find out what really happened, who they really were. As always a great many things keep happening, some good, some bad.
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