Northern Illinois University Press

The Emperor and the Saint

Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Francis of Assisi, and Journeys to Medieval Places

Richard F.  Cassady

Foreword by John Julius Norwich

A fascinating look at an emperor, a saint, and the world they both inhabited

“The author has written a truly gripping biography of the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick II. Cassady offers many exciting insights and brings this extraordinary personality well to life. Moreover, he has succeeded in shedding light on the social-historical and cultural context.”—Albrecht Classen, author of The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process

“This book offers accessible history with a magnificent sense of place and personalities.”—Martin Marix Evans, author of Naseby 1645: The Triumph of the New Model Army

The Emperor and the Saint is a vivid place-by-place telling of the life and times of the most enlightened, creative, and dynamic ruler of Medieval Europe, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. St. Francis, who shared with Frederick a love of the natural world and was baptized in the same cathedral in Assisi, is a parallel and contrasting presence. Cassady enthusiastically guides the reader through the history and legends, pausing to describe the architecture of a cathedral, to marvel at the atmosphere of a town, to recommend the best place for a quiet picnic of local fare.

A man of insatiable curiosity, Frederick spent hours developing his knowledge of science and religion, art and philosophy. He traveled the length and breadth of Europe, even going to the Holy Land where, as commander of a Crusade, he negotiated a treaty with Sultan al-Kamil of Egypt, nephew of the great Saladin. Both respected and reviled, Frederick achieved great heights and faced grave disappointments. When Frederick died in December 1250, he was robed in the white habit of a Cistercian monk to demonstrate his connection to personal, political, and religious worlds.

Richard Cassady is an art historian and author of The Norman Achievement.

John Julius Norwich has written histories of Norman Sicily, Venice, the Byzantine Empire, and the Mediterranean. He has also written on music, architecture, and Shakespeare’s history plays. Most recently he is the author of Trying to Please:
A Memoir and Absolute Monarchs:
A History of the Papacy.

(2011) 474 pages, 59 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-439-2
cloth $35.00t

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ISBN: 9780875804392