I…could not help being struck with the dress and appearance of an old, broken, dirty corporal, covered all over with Spanish snuff, with his head leaning on one shoulder, and fingers almost distorted by the gout; but what surprises me much more is the fire, and sometimes the softness, of the most beautiful eyes I ever saw, which give as charming an expression to his physiognomy as he can take a rough and threatening one at the head of his troops.
—  Frederick the Great: a Military life by Christopher Duffy.

*gnostix1 submitted:

Israeli archaeologists have discovered the first ever Arabic Crusader inscription, they announced on Monday.

The epigraphic evidence emerged from a 800-year-old inscribed marble slab which originally sat in Jaffa’s city wall.

Bearing the name of the “Holy Roman Emperor” Frederick II, and the date “1229 of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus the Messiah,” the inscription was found broken on the top, right, left and bottom.

(Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi , Tue Nov 15)

Frederick II - Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 -1250

Obviously this picture gives us little indication of whether he was a hottie, but he’s definitely worthy of being on this blog because of how brilliant he was. 

Known as stupor mundi (wonder of the world) he went on crusade in 1229, despite having been excommunicated, and regained control of Jerusalem without shedding a drop of blood by negotiating a treaty in Arabic (he was a polyglot, you know) which gave Christian control of Jerusalem, and left The Dome of the Rock in Muslim hands. Incidentally, he was keen to know all about Muslim culture, and spent a night praying at The Dome of the Rock. 

Forget Richard the Lionheart - THAT’S how it’s done. 


Emperor Frederick II a.k.a Stupor Mundi is one of my favourites among Medieval rulers. I regard him a last truly great ruler of the Sicilian kingdom. And naturally Hauteville blood is a bonus ;).  (Frederick’s mother was a daughter of king Roger II). 

Frederick spoke several languages, and was a great patron of arts and sciences. He also wrote a book on falconry called Arte Venandi Cum Avibus”. Here are a few illuminations from copies that were made in the 13th and 14th centuries.