Emperor Frederick II
"Stupor Mundi - the wonder of the world"
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Sicily, King of Jerusalem, has, since his death in 1250, enjoyed a reputation as one of the most remarkable monarchs in the history of Europe. His wide cultural tastes, his apparent tolerance of Jews and Muslims, his defiance of the papacy, and his supposed aim of creating a new, secular world order make him a figure especially attractive to contemporary historians. Nietzsche called him the first European, and by many historians the first modern ruler. Frederick established in Sicily and southern Italy something very much like a modern, centrally governed kingdom with an efficient bureaucracy. He loved women and also had four wives and adored poetry and art. His last wife tells the fascinating story of a modern king in Medieval times.