Hohenstaufen

The Hohenstaufen (/ˈhoʊənʃtaʊfən/, also US: /ˌhoʊənˈʃtaʊfən, -staʊ-/,[2][3][4][5] German: [ˌhoːənˈʃtaʊfn̩]), also known as Staufer, were a dynasty of German kings (1138–1254) during the Middle Ages. Before ascending to the kingship, they were Dukes of Swabia from 1079. As kings of Germany, they had a claim to Italy, Burgundy and the Holy Roman Empire. Three members of the dynasty—Frederick I (1155), Henry VI (1191) and Frederick II (1220)—were crowned emperor. Besides Germany, they also ruled the Kingdom of Sicily (1194–1268) and the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1225–1268)

Hohenstaufen
Staufer
Or three leopards sable
Coat of arms (c. 1220)[a]
CountryDuchy of Swabia
Holy Roman Empire
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Jerusalem
Founded1079
FounderFrederick I, Duke of Swabia
Final rulerConradin
Titles
Estate(s)Swabia
Dissolution1268

Name

The dynasty is named after a castle, which in turn is named after a mountain. The names used by scholars today, however, are conventional and somewhat anachronistic.

The name Hohenstaufen was first used in the 14th century to distinguish the "high" (hohen) conical hill named Staufen in the Swabian Jura, in the district of Göppingen, from the village of the same name in the valley below. The new name was only applied to the hill castle of Staufen by historians in the 19th century, to distinguish it from other castles of the same name. The name of the dynasty followed, but in recent decades the trend in German historiography has been to prefer the name Staufer, which is closer to contemporary usage.[6]

The name "Staufen" itself derives from Stauf (OHG stouf, akin to Early Modern English stoup), meaning "chalice". This term was commonly applied to conical hills in Swabia in the Middle Ages.[6] It is a contemporary term for both the hill and the castle, although its spelling in the Latin documents of the time varies considerably: Sthouf, Stophe, Stophen, Stoyphe, Estufin etc. The castle was built or at least acquired by Duke Frederick I of Swabia in the latter half of the 11th century.[7]

Members of the family occasionally used the toponymic surname de Stauf or variants thereof. Only in the 13th century does the name come to be applied to the family as a whole. Around 1215 a chronicler referred to the "emperors of Stauf". In 1247, the Emperor Frederick II himself referred to his family as the domus Stoffensis (Staufer house), but this was an isolated instance. Otto of Freising (d. 1158) associated the Staufer with the town of Waiblingen and around 1230 Burchard of Ursberg referred to the Staufer as of the "royal lineage of the Waiblingens" (regia stirps Waiblingensium). The exact connection between the family and Waiblingen is not clear, but as a name for the family it became very popular. The pro-imperial Ghibelline faction of the Italian civic rivalries of the 13th and 14th centuries took its name from Waiblingen.[7]

In Italian historiography, the Staufer are known as the Svevi (Swabians).[6]

Origins

The noble family first appeared in the late 10th century in the Swabian Riesgau region around the former Carolingian court of Nördlingen. A local count Frederick (d. about 1075) is mentioned as progenitor in a pedigree drawn up by Abbot Wibald of Stavelot at the behest of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1153. He held the office of a Swabian count palatine; his son Frederick of Buren (c.1020–1053) married Hildegard of Egisheim-Dagsburg (d. 1094/95), a niece of Pope Leo IX. Their son Frederick I was appointed Duke of Swabia at Hohenstaufen Castle by the Salian king Henry IV of Germany in 1079.

At the same time, Duke Frederick I was engaged to the king's approximately seventeen-year-old daughter, Agnes. Nothing is known about Frederick's life before this event, but he proved to be an imperial ally throughout Henry's struggles against other Swabian lords, namely Rudolf of Rheinfelden, Frederick's predecessor, and the Zähringen and Welf lords. Frederick's brother Otto was elevated to the Strasbourg bishopric in 1082.

Upon Frederick's death, he was succeeded by his son, Duke Frederick II, in 1105. Frederick II remained a close ally of the Salians, he and his younger brother Conrad were named the king's representatives in Germany when the king was in Italy. Around 1120, Frederick II married Judith of Bavaria from the rival House of Welf.

Ruling in Germany

Mitteleuropa zur Zeit der Staufer
The Holy Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the early to middle 13th century under the Hohenstaufen dynasty (1155–1268).
German royal dynasties
House of Hohenstaufen
Chronology
Conrad III 1138–1152
Frederick I Barbarossa 1152–1190
Henry VI 1190–1197
Philip of Swabia 1198–1208
Frederick II 1212–1250
Conrad IV 1250–1254
Family
Family tree of the German monarchs
Succession
Preceded by
Süpplingenburg dynasty
Followed by
House of Habsburg


When the last male member of the Salian dynasty, Emperor Henry V, died without heirs in 1125, a controversy arose about the succession. Duke Frederick II and Conrad, the two current male Staufers, by their mother Agnes, were grandsons of late Emperor Henry IV and nephews of Henry V. Frederick attempted to succeed to the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor (formally known as the King of the Romans) through a customary election, but lost to the Saxon duke Lothair of Supplinburg. A civil war between Frederick's dynasty and Lothair's ended with Frederick's submission in 1134. After Lothair's death in 1137, Frederick's brother Conrad was elected King as Conrad III.

Because the Welf duke Henry the Proud, son-in-law and heir of Lothair and the most powerful prince in Germany, who had been passed over in the election, refused to acknowledge the new king, Conrad III deprived him of all his territories, giving the Duchy of Saxony to Albert the Bear and that of Bavaria to Leopold IV, Margrave of Austria. In 1147, Conrad heard Bernard of Clairvaux preach the Second Crusade at Speyer, and he agreed to join King Louis VII of France in a great expedition to the Holy Land which failed.

Conrad's brother Duke Frederick II died in 1147, and was succeeded in Swabia by his son, Duke Frederick III. When King Conrad III died without adult heir in 1152, Frederick also succeeded him, taking both German royal and Imperial titles.

Frederick Barbarossa

Frederick I, known as Frederick Barbarossa because of his red beard, struggled throughout his reign to restore the power and prestige of the German monarchy against the dukes, whose power had grown both before and after the Investiture Controversy under his Salian predecessors. As royal access to the resources of the church in Germany was much reduced, Frederick was forced to go to Italy to find the finances needed to restore the king's power in Germany. He was soon crowned emperor in Italy, but decades of warfare on the peninsula yielded scant results. The Papacy and the prosperous city-states of the Lombard League in northern Italy were traditional enemies, but the fear of Imperial domination caused them to join ranks to fight Frederick. Under the skilled leadership of Pope Alexander III, the alliance suffered many defeats but ultimately was able to deny the emperor a complete victory in Italy. Frederick returned to Germany. He had vanquished one notable opponent, his Welf cousin, Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria in 1180, but his hopes of restoring the power and prestige of the monarchy seemed unlikely to be met by the end of his life.

During Frederick's long stays in Italy, the German princes became stronger and began a successful colonization of Slavic lands. Offers of reduced taxes and manorial duties enticed many Germans to settle in the east in the course of the Ostsiedlung. In 1163 Frederick waged a successful campaign against the Kingdom of Poland in order to re-install the Silesian dukes of the Piast dynasty. With the German colonization, the Empire increased in size and came to include the Duchy of Pomerania. A quickening economic life in Germany increased the number of towns and Imperial cities, and gave them greater importance. It was also during this period that castles and courts replaced monasteries as centers of culture. Growing out of this courtly culture, Middle High German literature reached its peak in lyrical love poetry, the Minnesang, and in narrative epic poems such as Tristan, Parzival, and the Nibelungenlied.

Henry VI

Friedrich-barbarossa-und-soehne-welfenchronik 1-1000x1540
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his sons King Henry VI and Duke Frederick V of Swabia, Welfenchronik, 1167/79, Weingarten Abbey

Frederick died in 1190 while on the Third Crusade and was succeeded by his son, Henry VI. Elected king even before his father's death, Henry went to Rome to be crowned emperor. He married Princess Constance of Sicily, and deaths in his wife's family gave him claim of succession and possession of the Kingdom of Sicily in 1189 and 1194 respectively, a source of vast wealth. Henry failed to make royal and Imperial succession hereditary, but in 1196 he succeeded in gaining a pledge that his infant son Frederick would receive the German crown. Faced with difficulties in Italy and confident that he would realize his wishes in Germany at a later date, Henry returned to the south, where it appeared he might unify the peninsula under the Hohenstaufen name. After a series of military victories, however, he fell ill and died of natural causes in Sicily in 1197. His underage son Frederick could only succeed him in Sicily and Malta, while in the Empire the struggle between the House of Staufen and the House of Welf erupted once again.

Philip of Swabia

Because the election of a three-year-old boy to be German king appeared likely to make orderly rule difficult, the boy's uncle, Duke Philip of Swabia, brother of late Henry VI, was designated to serve in his place. Other factions however favoured a Welf candidate. In 1198, two rival kings were chosen: the Hohenstaufen Philip of Swabia and the son of the deprived Duke Henry the Lion, the Welf Otto IV. A long civil war began; Philip was about to win when he was murdered by the Bavarian count palatine Otto VIII of Wittelsbach in 1208. Pope Innocent III initially had supported the Welfs, but when Otto, now sole elected monarch, moved to appropriate Sicily, Innocent changed sides and accepted young Frederick II and his ally, King Philip II of France, who defeated Otto at the 1214 Battle of Bouvines. Frederick had returned to Germany in 1212 from Sicily, where he had grown up, and was elected king in 1215. When Otto died in 1218, Fredrick became the undisputed ruler, and in 1220 was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

Philip changed the coat of arms from a black lion on a gold shield to three leopards,[8] probably derived from the arms of his Welf rival Otto IV.

Ruling in Italy

The conflict between the Staufer dynasty and the Welf had irrevocably weakened the Imperial authority and the Norman kingdom of Sicily became the base for Staufer rule.

Frederick II

Emperor Frederick II spent little time in Germany as his main concerns lay in Southern Italy. He founded the University of Naples in 1224 to train future state officials and reigned over Germany primarily through the allocation of royal prerogatives, leaving the sovereign authority and imperial estates to the ecclesiastical and secular princes. He made significant concessions to the German nobles, such as those put forth in an imperial statute of 1232, which made princes virtually independent rulers within their territories. These measures favoured the further fragmentation of the Empire.

Castel del Monte BW 2016-10-14 12-26-11 r
Frederick's Castel del Monte, in Andria, Apulia, Italy.

By the 1226 Golden Bull of Rimini, Frederick had assigned the military order of the Teutonic Knights to complete the conquest and conversion of the Prussian lands. A reconciliation with the Welfs took place in 1235, whereby Otto the Child, grandson of the late Saxon duke Henry the Lion, was named Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg. The power struggle with the popes continued and resulted in Fredrick's excommunication in 1227. In 1239, Pope Gregory IX excommunicated Fredrick again, and in 1245 he was condemned as a heretic by a church council. Although Frederick was one of the most energetic, imaginative, and capable rulers of the time, he was not concerned with drawing the disparate forces in Germany together. His legacy was thus that local rulers had more authority after his reign than before it. The clergy also had become more powerful.

Frederick II and eagle
Frederick II with his falcon, from De arte venandi cum avibus, c. 1240, Vatican Library

By the time of Frederick's death in 1250, little centralized power remained in Germany. The Great Interregnum, a period in which there were several elected rival kings, none of whom was able to achieve any position of authority, followed the death of Frederick's son King Conrad IV of Germany in 1254. The German princes vied for individual advantage and managed to strip many powers away from the diminished monarchy. Rather than establish sovereign states however, many nobles tended to look after their families. Their many male heirs created more and smaller estates, and from a largely free class of officials previously formed, many of these assumed or acquired hereditary rights to administrative and legal offices. These trends compounded political fragmentation within Germany. The period was ended in 1273 with the election of Rudolph of Habsburg, a godson of Frederick.

End of the Staufer dynasty

Conrad IV was succeeded as duke of Swabia by his only son, two-year-old Conradin. By this time, the office of duke of Swabia had been fully subsumed into the office of the king, and without royal authority had become meaningless. In 1261, attempts to elect young Conradin king were unsuccessful. He also had to defend Sicily against an invasion, sponsored by Pope Urban IV (Jacques Pantaléon) and Pope Clement IV (Guy Folques), by Charles of Anjou, a brother of the French king. Charles had been promised by the popes the Kingdom of Sicily, where he would replace the relatives of Frederick II. Charles had defeated Conradin's uncle Manfred, King of Sicily, in the Battle of Benevento on 26 February 1266. The king himself, refusing to flee, rushed into the midst of his enemies and was killed. Conradin's campaign to retake control ended with his defeat in 1268 at the Battle of Tagliacozzo, after which he was handed over to Charles, who had him publicly executed at Naples. With Conradin, the direct line of the Dukes of Swabia finally ceased to exist, though most of the later emperors were descended from the Staufer dynasty indirectly.

During the political decentralization of the late Staufer period, the population had grown from an estimated 8 million in 1200 to about 14 million in 1300, and the number of towns increased tenfold. The most heavily urbanized areas of Germany were located in the south and the west. Towns often developed a degree of independence, but many were subordinate to local rulers if not immediate to the emperor. Colonization of the east also continued in the thirteenth century, most notably through the efforts of the Teutonic Knights. German merchants also began trading extensively on the Baltic.

Members of the Hohenstaufen family

Staufen dynasty
Family tree of the Hohenstaufen emperors including their relation to succeeding dynasties
Henry 7 of Germany
Seal of Henry II of Swabia (dated 1216) shows him as a mounted knight with a shield and banner displaying three leopards (three lions passant guardant)as the Hohenstaufen coat of arms; the three lions (later shown just passant) would later become known as the Swabian coat of arms.

Holy Roman Emperors and Kings of the Romans

The first ruling Hohenstaufen, Conrad III, like the last one, Conrad IV, was never crowned emperor. After a 20-year period (Great interregnum 1254–1273), the first Habsburg was elected king.

Kings of Italy

Note: The following kings are already listed above as German Kings

Kings of Sicily

King Manfred of Sicily Arms
Arms of the Hohenstaufen Sicily

Note: Some of the following kings are already listed above as German Kings

Dukes of Swabia

Note: Some of the following dukes are already listed above as German Kings

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The earliest depictions of the Staufer arms show a single lion; for a short time augmented to two lions, and after 1196 three lions or leopards. The tincture or and sable is attested in 1220.[1] The seal of Henry (VII) of Germany (1216) shows three leopards (passant guardant).

References

  1. ^ Albrecht Rieber; Karl Reutter (1974). Die Pfalzkapelle in Ulm (in German). p. 204.
  2. ^ "Hohenstaufen". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Hohenstaufen". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Hohenstaufen" (US) and "Hohenstaufen". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Hohenstaufen". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Hansmartin Schwarzmaier (2005). "Hohenstaufen, famiglia". Enciclopedia fridericiana. Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Translated by Maria Paola Arena
  7. ^ a b John B. Freed, Frederick Barbarossa: The Prince and the Myth (Yale University Press, 2016), pp. 5–6.
  8. ^ Stälin, Paul Friedrich (1882). Geschichte Württembergs Erster Band Erste Hälfte (bis 1268). Gotha. pp. 389–393.

External links

9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen

The 9th SS Panzer Division "Hohenstaufen" (German: 9. SS-Panzerdivision "Hohenstaufen") was a Waffen-SS armoured division of Nazi Germany during World War II. It participated in battles on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. The division was activated in December 1942. Many of the men of the division were young German conscripts, with a cadre of NCOs and staff from the SS Division Leibstandarte and other Waffen SS divisions. Hohenstaufen took part in the relief of German forces in the Kamenets-Podolsky pocket, the Normandy battles, Operation Market Garden, the Ardennes Offensive and Operation Spring Awakening. The division surrendered to the United States Army on 5 May 1945, at Steyr.

Agnes von Hohenstaufen

Agnes von Hohenstaufen is a German-language opera in three acts by the Italian composer Gaspare Spontini. The German libretto is by Ernst Benjamin Salomo Raupach. It was first staged at the Königliches Opernhaus, Berlin, on 12 June 1829. Raupach categorised Agnes von Hohenstaufen as a historical-romantic opera and it is one of a number of German works of the time set in the Middle Ages (others include Weber's Euryanthe, Wagner's Tannhäuser and Lohengrin and Schumann's Genoveva). Agnes also contains many of the features that would be characteristic of French Grand Opera. Spontini substantially reworked the piece for a revival in 1837.

Conrad III of Germany

Conrad III (German: Konrad; Italian: Corrado; 1093 – 15 February 1152) was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Duke Frederick I of Swabia and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.

Conrad IV of Germany

Conrad (25 April 1228 – 21 May 1254), a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was the only son of Emperor Frederick II from his second marriage with Queen Isabella II of Jerusalem. He inherited the title of King of Jerusalem (as Conrad II) upon the death of his mother in childbed. Appointed Duke of Swabia in 1235, his father had him elected King of Germany (King of the Romans) and crowned King of Italy (as Conrad IV) in 1237. After the emperor was deposed and died in 1250, he ruled as King of Sicily (Conrad I) until his death.

Conradin

Conrad (25 March 1252 – 29 October 1268), called the Younger or the Boy, but usually known by the diminutive Conradin (German: Konradin, Italian: Corradino), was the Duke of Swabia (1254–1268, as Conrad IV), King of Jerusalem (1254–1268, as Conrad III), and King of Sicily (1254–1258, de jure until 1268, as Conrad II).

Constance of Sicily, Queen of Aragon

Constance of Sicily (1249 – 9 April 1302) was Queen of Aragon as the wife of King Peter III and a pretender to the Kingdom of Sicily (as Constance II) from 1268 to 1285. She was the only daughter of King Manfred of Sicily and his first wife, Beatrice of Savoy.

Cosenza

Cosenza (Italian: [koˈzɛntsa] (listen); Cosentian: Cusenze, [kuˈsɛndzə]) is a city in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. The municipal population is around 70,000, but the urban area counts over 268,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of the Province of Cosenza, which has a population of around 735,000. The demonym of Cosenza is cosentino in Italian and Cosentian in English.

The ancient town is the seat of the Cosentian Academy, the second academy of philosophical and literary studies to be founded in the Kingdom of Naples (1511) and one of the oldest in Europe. To this day, the city remains a cultural hub in Southern Italy, with several museums, theatres, libraries, and the University of Calabria.

Duchy of Swabia

The Duchy of Swabia (German: Herzogtum Schwaben) was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German kingdom. It arose in the 10th century in the southwestern area that had been settled by Alemanni tribes in Late Antiquity.

While the historic region of Swabia takes its name from the ancient Suebi, dwelling in the angle formed by the Rhine and the Danube, the stem duchy comprised a much larger territory, stretching from the Alsatian Vosges mountain range in the west to the right bank of the river Lech in the east and up to Chiavenna (Kleven) and Gotthard Pass in the south. The name of the larger stem duchy was often used interchangeably with Alamannia during the High Middle Ages, until about the 11th century, when the form Swabia began to prevail.The Duchy of Swabia was proclaimed by the Ahalolfing count palatine Erchanger in 915. He had allied himself with his Hunfriding rival Burchard II and defeated King Conrad I of Germany in a battle at Wahlwies. The most notable family to hold Swabia were the Hohenstaufen, who held it, with a brief interruption, from 1079 until 1268. For much of this period, the Hohenstaufen were also Holy Roman Emperors.

After a centuries-long struggle with the House of Zähringen, the Margraviate of Baden detached itself from the Swabian duchy in the 12th century. The remaining duchy persisted until 1268, ending with the execution of the last Hohenstaufen duke Conradin. Count Rudolf of Habsburg, elected King of the Romans in 1273, attempted to revive the Swabian ducal title, bestowing it on his youngest son, the later Duke Rudolf II of Austria, who passed it to his son John Parricida. John died without an heir, in 1312 or 1313, marking the end of the "revived" title.

Duke of Swabia

The Dukes of Swabia were the rulers of the Duchy of Swabia during the Middle Ages. Swabia was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German kingdom, and its dukes were thus among the most powerful magnates of Germany. The most notable family to rule Swabia was the Hohenstaufen family, who held it, with a brief interruption, from 1079 until 1268. For much of this period, the Hohenstaufen were also Holy Roman Emperors. With the death of Conradin, the last Hohenstaufen duke, the duchy itself disintegrated, although King Rudolf I attempted to revive it for his Habsburg family in the late-13th century.

Elisabeth of Swabia

Elisabeth of Swabia (renamed Beatrice; March/May 1205 – 5 November 1235), was a German princess member of the House of Hohenstaufen and by marriage Queen consort of Castile and Leon.

Born in Nürnberg, she was the fourth daughter of Philip, Duke of Swabia and King of Germany, and Irene Angelina, daughter of Emperor Isaac II Angelos of the Byzantine Empire.

Frederick I, Duke of Swabia

Frederick I (c. 1050 – before 21 July 1105) was Duke of Swabia from 1079 to his death, the first ruler from the House of Hohenstaufen (Staufer).

Frederick II, Duke of Swabia

Frederick II (1090 – 6 April 1147), called the One-Eyed, was Duke of Swabia from 1105 until his death, the second from the Hohenstaufen dynasty. His younger brother Conrad was elected King of the Romans in 1138.

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

Frederick II (26 December 1194 – 13 December 1250; Latin: Fridericus, Federicus, Italian: Federico, German: Frîderich, Friedrich) was King of Sicily from 1198, King of Germany from 1212, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 and King of Jerusalem from 1225. He was the son of emperor Henry VI of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and of Constance, heiress to the Norman kings of Sicily.

Frederick's reign saw the Holy Roman Empire achieve its greatest territorial extent. His political and cultural ambitions were enormous as he ruled a vast area beginning with Sicily and stretching through Italy all the way north to Germany. As the Crusades progressed, he acquired control of Jerusalem and styled himself its king. However, the Papacy became his enemy, and it eventually prevailed. Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman emperors of antiquity, he was Emperor of the Romans from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death; he was also a claimant to the title of King of the Romans from 1212 and unopposed holder of that monarchy from 1215. As such, he was King of Germany, of Italy, and of Burgundy. At the age of three, he was crowned King of Sicily as a co-ruler with his mother, Constance of Hauteville, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily. His other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade. Frequently at war with the papacy, which was hemmed in between Frederick's lands in northern Italy and his Kingdom of Sicily (the Regno) to the south, he was excommunicated four times and often vilified in pro-papal chronicles of the time and after. Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him an Antichrist.

Speaking six languages (Latin, Sicilian, Middle High German, Langues d'oïl, Greek and Arabic), Frederick was an avid patron of science and the arts. He played a major role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo, beginning around 1220, saw the first use of a literary form of an Italo-Romance language, Sicilian. The poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and on what was to become the modern Italian language. He was also the first king to formally outlaw trial by ordeal, which had come to be viewed as superstitious.After his death his line did not survive, and the House of Hohenstaufen came to an end. Furthermore, the Holy Roman Empire entered a long period of decline from which it did not completely recover until the reign of Charles V, 250 years later.

Historians have searched for superlatives to describe him, as in the case of Donald Detwiler, who wrote: A man of extraordinary culture, energy, and ability – called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi (the wonder of the world), by Nietzsche 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.

Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry VI (Heinrich VI) (November 1165 – 28 September 1197), a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was King of Germany (King of the Romans) from 1190 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 until his death. From 1194 he was also King of Sicily.

He was the second son of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his consort Beatrix of Burgundy. In 1186 he was married to Constance of Sicily, the posthumous daughter of the Norman king Roger II of Sicily. Henry, stuck in the Hohenstaufen conflict with the House of Welf until 1194, had to enforce the inheritance claims by his wife against her nephew Count Tancred of Lecce. Henry's attempt to conquer the Kingdom of Sicily failed at the siege of Naples in 1191 due to an epidemic. Based on an enormous ransom for the release of King Richard I of England, he conquered Sicily in 1194; however, the intended unification with the Holy Roman Empire ultimately failed due to the opposition of the Papacy.

Henry threatened to invade the Byzantine Empire after 1194 and succeeded in extracting a ransom, the Alamanikon, from Emperor Alexios III Angelos in return for cancelling the invasion. In 1195 and 1196 Henry attempted to turn the Holy Roman Empire from an elective to a hereditary monarchy, the so-called Erbreichsplan, but met strong resistance from the prince-electors and abandoned the plan. Henry pledged to go on crusade in 1195 and began preparations. A revolt in Sicily was crushed in 1197. The Crusaders set sail for the Holy Land that same year but Henry died of illness at Messina on 28 September 1197 before he could join them. His death plunged the Empire into the chaos of the German throne dispute for the next 17 years.

Hohenstaufen Castle

Hohenstaufen Castle (German: Burg Hohenstaufen) is a ruined castle in Göppingen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The hill castle was built in the 11th century, on a conical hill between the Rems and Fils rivers (both tributaries of the Neckar) in what was then the Duchy of Swabia.

It was the seat of the Staufer (Hohenstaufen) dynasty, the Dukes of Swabia for the period of 1079–1268, with three Holy Roman Emperors during 1155–1250.

The castle was destroyed in the German Peasants' War of 1525.

Hohenstaufen Castle can be found on Hohenstaufen Mountain, 684 m (2,244 ft) above sea level. The word Stauf means "drinking vessel" (beaker or cup) and refers to the conical shape of the mountain.

Manfred, King of Sicily

Manfred (Sicilian: Manfredi di Sicilia; 1232 – 26 February 1266) was the last King of Sicily from the Hohenstaufen dynasty, reigning from 1258 until his death. The natural son of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, Manfred became regent over the kingdom of Sicily on behalf of his nephew Conradin in 1254. As regent he subdued rebellions in the kingdom, until in 1258 he usurped Conradin's rule. After an initial attempt to appease pope Innocent IV he took up the ongoing conflict between the Hohenstaufens and the papacy through combat and political alliances. He defeated the papal army at Foggia on 2 December 1254. Excommunicated by three successive popes, Manfred was the target of a Crusade (1255–66) called first by Pope Alexander IV and then by Urban IV. Nothing came of Alexander's call, but Urban enlisted the aid of Charles of Anjou in overthrowing Manfred. Manfred was killed during his defeat by Charles at the Battle of Benevento, and Charles assumed kingship of Sicily.

Maria of Swabia

Maria of Swabia (3 April 1201 – 29 March 1235) was a member of the powerful Hohenstaufen dynasty of German kings.

Philip of Swabia

Philip of Swabia (February/March 1177 – 21 June 1208) was a prince of the House of Hohenstaufen and King of Germany from 1198 to 1208. In the long-time struggle for the German throne upon the death of Emperor Henry VI between the Hohenstaufen and Welf dynasties, he was the first German king to be assassinated.

Wenceslaus I of Bohemia

Wenceslaus I (Czech: Václav I.; c. 1205 – 23 September 1253), called One-Eyed, was King of Bohemia from 1230 to 1253.

Wenceslaus was a son of Ottokar I of Bohemia and his second wife Constance of Hungary.

Royal houses of Europe

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