Big themes:

Church vs Empire for supremacyNeed for a new crusade

The communes and their demand for independence

Richard I’s ransom paid for the invasion of Sicily.

The Empress was badly treated in Salerno in 1191, so when her husband took the place in 1194, he put the people to the sword, and distributed 100 000 ounces of gold in booty, mostly from churches. Walls razed, buildings burned. All of the other cities in the region decide that surrender is a fine idea.

Cyprus and Armenia receive crowns from the Empire, and are considered fiefs.

Story seed: Folklore says (wrongly) that Constance the wife of Henry VI was 60 when her son was born. Henry VI demanded an heir, so his physicians gave his consort medicine which made her fat, then swapped in a baby. Was the baby a rescue, from the Normandy Jerbiton who saves unwanted heirs? Does he have the blood of Mercere heroes? Is he an experiment? Folklore says his father was a miller, butcher, falconer, or one of the physicians. Henry was only convinced the son was his by a prophet, interpreting a prophecy by Merlin and a Sybil saying it was his baby. Who was this? In real life, Constance was 40.

Gossipy Chronicler: Salimbene. Check him out.

Rumor: Constance was cursed to “bring ruin on Sicily” and her brother held an ad-hoc parliament to see how the curse could be broken. They decided to kill her, but one of the counsellors mediated them, and she became a nun, instead. She was later to put aside her vows, unwillingly.

Rumor: Frederick II was the son of a serpent or dragon that seduced his mother, like Aita (same serpent? Metaphor? Author showing off learning?).

Constance made oaths and so on, to try and convince her people she really was pregnant. Had witnesses at the birth. Rumor: had child in tent in public square of Jesi, and invited any baron, noble or woman who wanted to watch to do so. Rumor, used to show her milk distended breasts to people inappropriately.

Henry VI manages, through razing cities opposing him, to make the Church, Sicilians, has wife and many of his German subjects loathe him. He dies. He is rumoured to have been poisoned by his wife. She then gives her son as ward to the pope, offers him a pile of gold each year, and makes Sicily his feudal dependency.

Tutor to Frederick is William FRancicus…but who is he?

The Governing Council of Palermo, a sort of parliament, want neither the Germans or the Pope to have their tiny king, and try to play them off against each other. The Pope calls a crusade against the German barons (1200).

1208 – At 14, Frederick II takes rule to himself.

Frederick is a skilled swordsman and archer, and healer of horses. His dexterity and stamina are notable.

Trade in Syracuse is absolutely dominated by Genoa. Alaman de Costa, a pirate in Genoan employ took the city from the Pisans in 1204, and called himself Lord of Syracuse. His documents read “by the Grace of God, of the King, and of the City of Genoia, Count of Syracuse and Officer of the King.” (van Cleve 136)

Muslims in revolt, resupplied from Africa.

Many of the barons of Sicily travel to Rome in 1220, to make peace with Frederick as he is crowned HRE. They hope he will be distracted by problems in Germany or his pledge to Crusade. He makes it clear her wants back all of the roya lands lost in his mother’s time, and to take the castles he needs to protect his territories.

Frederick chooses Count Thomas of Celano as an example for the others: rebuffing all attempts at reconciliation, he forces the Count to prepare for war. Frederick defeats him, forces him to agree to a peace in which he leavesthe kingdom for three years. and then forces all of the people of Celano to leave, and destroys it, apart from its church.

1220 Capuan azzises written: designed to make Sicily a centralised kingdom and create a core military for Frederick.

* Every royal grant under the seal of either previous ruler was to be inspected, and replaced with a new one under his seal, if he felt like it.

* Even attacks his strongest supporters to get back his core lands.

Demand most powerful surrender their lands for redistribution. If they do not, uses weaker nobles to tear them down.

All cities, forts and castles were to be given to him.

All barons held only from him.

Counts and barons forbidden to diminish their lands except with is permission.

Counts and barons needed permission to marry, and children had to inherit strictly within a traditional legal framework, or by his permission.

Revenge, reprisal and waging private war forbidden.

Clergy and laymen lose the right to sit as judges unless approved by the king: his justiciars and courts were toe replace the traditional functions of lesser courts.

Offence to bear arms, sharp knives, lances, any other weapon, or any armor – as per rules in time of William II. Castle guards to not bear arms outside the castle precincts without special permission from castellan.

Offence to harbor theieves.

Cities no longer to choose their own officers.

All taxes raised on commerce since the time of King William cancelled. All highways, ports, custom houses and so on created since that time must be closed.

Assizes of Messina: Four basic rules.

Those who curse God when losing at dice are exiled, 2 years for counts, three for barons and six for knights.

Non-nobles and burghers lost their tongues, professional gamblers a tongue and right hand. Priests also to suffer same penalties, even though not justified in canon law.

All Jews to wear a blue garment of linen, and males must grow beards. Confiscation of all property for rich Jews, for poor Jews, branding on the forehead.

Public prostitutes not to dwell in cities, and required to wear a short red cape, like a man’s, when in cities. Could only use the public baths on Wednesdays.

Those who take revenge on buffoons, either through themselves or their property, is not subject to any punishment. Possibly done on behalf of the Pope to prevent songs criticising the clergy from circulating.

Truly wished to crusade, but did not put aside his other problems. Sent deputies and armies.

Capuan Assizes:

Genoan privileges revoked, factory in Palermo taken.

As a matter of priority, re-establishes royal navy. Can send 40 ships in a war fleet within one month of taking crown. Various cities given the duty of providing ships, arms and men. Foreign, resident merchants and priests taxed to pay for mercantile expansion. All port taxes stopped during Saracen War.

Encouraged foreign merchants and trade, even by excusing taxes for Venetians and others, for a period.

Does great economic damage in the short term: animals and food so cheap that producers cannot recoup their costs, Emperor buys up surpluses cheap and sells them dear.

Pisan, Geonan and Venetian trade suffers badly: they lose their cheap grain source.

Only the Emperor can allow the construction of ships.

The Admiral of Sicily is reinstated, and made responsible for fixing ships, fending off pirates raiding pirate bases, and all privateering. Allowed to hold the goods of local foreigners as ransom for the good behaviour of their conationalists. Has the right to judge all seamen.

Began a series of campaigns into the mountainous areas of the island, to drive out the Saracens. Jato was a major battle. eventually sent a fleet to the island of Gabes, to destroy a base of support for local rebels. Eventually 16 000 men are taken as prisoners and made serfs in Apulia. Later they are made a military colony near Lucera (north of Foggia) and left to their religious rites. Site of the castle at Troja. Allowed to have their own officers, but paid a special tax. Later, these people provided one of his core military supports, and many of his personal servants. Thought very highly of by Muslims.

The Pope protests the colony, saying the Saracens damage churches to get building materials for homes. Frederick says that they are more easily converted closer to Rome, and this makes the churches of Sicily safer. After 10 years, he allows the pope to send 2 Dominicans to try to convert the Muslims. In 1245, the creation of a powerful city of Saracens in Christian country is one of the reasons for excommunication.

1221: Empress dies

Sets up University of Naples, mostly to generate bureaucrats.

Fifth Crusade fails – huge PR disaster.

1222: Takes vow to crusade in two years time, marries Isabella, daughter of King of Jerusalem.

1225: Crusade cancelled as too little enthusiasm from other nobles. 25 July: huge council of Major Nobility to plan the next crusade. Frederick II makes vow to go crusading on 15 August 1227, with 1 000 knights. In this case he is utterly in charge: not like the Fifth Crusade, run by the Pope.

Marriage to exotic, oriental princess does great PR with local poets. Check on poetry about Ortnit, who is used as a thinly veiled version of Frederick.

Frederick demands the crown of Jerusalem, much to the surprise of everyone, as John of Brienne was a close ally. Stories circulate that this was caused by Satanic interference.

Diet of Cremona. Frederick gives Cremonese a broad general right to do anything in Lombardy that rebounds well on the glory of the Empire. Calls together all the communes and forces them to swear fealty every year for twenty five years.

Lombard League forms about Milan as cities fear Frederick will crush their resistance. John of Brienne asked to be their military leader. He refuses until after his daughter is dead. Frederick musters forces, but cannot find an effective way to use them, and loses prestige. This is the point where he ceases to treat the Pope as a religious leader, and more as a temporal rival.

1227: Gregory IX takes Papacy. Far less interested in conciliation. Allies with the Communes.

Propaganda on both sides.

1227: Frederick II prepares to go on Crusade. He doesn’t send priests to drum up support. Instead he sends out messengers offering transport and provision for everyone who wants to come, from squires up. Imposed new taxes ot pay for it all, moistly on monastic encampments.

Brindisi as port of embarkation – plague breaks out and many return home, so that Frederick is over prepared. Frederick gets plague, so he gives twenty galleys to his 2IC (Duke Henry of Limburg). Returned to Otoranto. Frederick sends embassy to Pope, who refuses to see them and excommunicates him. Some people believe that this is due to the influence of the Infernal, since Frederick is clearly ill.

Find this document. Seems full of weirdness that can be made plot points.

Frederick responds in a restrained way, in a letter to “crusaders everywhere” he answers the charges. He then tries to get the kings of France and England to see the Pope as he does, starting a process that looks a lot like the rise of the Anglican Church.

The sons of the ruler of Egypt fall out, and Frederick takes sides in their civil war, offered many cities in Palestine.

Isabella of Briene dies in 1228. Papal side claims Frederick beat her to death.

Pope sends a legate to Germany to raise a rival King of the Germans, and hire mercenaries in Tuscany and Lombardy to invade Sicily.

German electors stay loyal, because they really hate papal interference in elections, and because the bribes in advance were really, really large.

The Pope and the Lombard Leauge conspire together, and so Frederick’s 2ICReginald of Spoleto, invades the royal lands. THe pope gives him eight days to withdraw or face excommunication and the cessation of sacraments in affected lands. Reginald is already an excommunicant, as an ally of an excommunicant, so he doesn’t much care.

The Lombard League cities fall out with each other and give the Pope very little assistance for a while. Gregory needs leverage, and so he grabs as much money as he can get from other kingdoms. In England, his legate demands 10% of all movable objects, owned by clergy or laymen, in the kingdom. Some of the nobles resist, but the church hands it up. He hands it over to his nobles to destroy such royal cities as they can. He raises two armies. One counters Reginald, the other invades Sicily.

Saracens revolt, papal agents spread rumours of Frederick II’s death or imprisonment.

In Syria, the locals are bewildered by the Pope’s actions, and decide to follow Frederick on the basis that he seems to be wanting to take Jerusalem, and who can argue with that? Frederick places his forces under the nominal command of unexcommunicated men.

Takes back Jerusalem and some castles by diplomacy. Several of his allies see it as their duty to kill Muslims and are offended by the ten year truce. The Patriarch hates Frederick, and sends the Bishop of Cesarea to prevent his triumphal entry into Jerusalme. He arrives too late, so he just interdicts Jerusalem. That seems like a really bad idea in game mechanical terms.

page 226.

Sails home.

John of Brienne and Pelagius have another military collapse.

Nobles who betrayed Frederick were gibbeted or flayed alive.

Takes back Sicily, and his German vassals then act as intermediaries to the Pope. Frederick agrees to allow free elections of religious, to not tax them, and to exclude them from secular law. Tries to divide Papacy from Lombards.

Pope lifts ban in 1230, and calls Frederick a “beloved son of Christ.”

The Camera of the Palace directs the provincial chamberlains, and directs the magistrati procuratores and and secreti (tax collectors)

Grand Chamberlain of the Palace is chief officer of the realm, Under him are two branches of financial officals. dohana de secretis and the dohana baronum.

DdS: all employees of the Camera, and all dues to the crown. All economic rightso f the king in regard to domain.

DB: All the business ofthe king as a feudal lord, registration of vassals, checking they performed due service, and the number of warriors for each feudal holding.

Richard – a Moorish slave who became chamberlain in 1212, succeeded in 1239 by Johanes Maurus.

– in addition to other duties, is reponsible for civil (not criminal) cases.

Relatores: specialists sent to answer questions on behalf of imperial camera or regional chamberlains, also did things like procuring for the royal kitchen, paying the royal zoo keepers, and other aspects of managing the royal household.

Provincial administration under a magister camerius or a secretus. Secretus is an abbreviation of donarius de secretis et magister questorum.

Magister procurator


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