Known as the 'stupor mundi' - the wonder of the world - Holy Roman Emperor Frederick the Second led one of those extraordinary lives that was full of unimaginable drama and achievement. Born in 1194, Frederick was the son of emperor Henry II and Constance, Queen of Sicily, who, at the age of forty, allegedly gave birth to him in a public square so no one could doubt he was her son. He was crowned King of Sicily at the age of four; Pope Innocent III was his guardian; the future Pope Honorious III was his tutor. Once he came of age, the charismatic and ambitious Frederick fought for control over the lands he considered his birth right to become King of the Germans, King of Jerusalem and Holy Roman Emperor; his vast empire straddling Christendom and the Holy Land. Hailed as a Messiah and a tyrant in equal measure, Frederick led crusades but was excommunicated four times. He was as much a patron of the arts as a warrior: he spoke six languages and, unusually, welcomed Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars to his court. Dante saluted his contribution to Sicilian literature and language, yet still consigned him to hell in his Inferno.
First published in 1927, Ernst Kantorwicz's biography of this dynamic man was a bestseller in its time and one of the first examples of popular narrative history writing. This edition, with a new introduction by bestselling author Dan Jones, brings that life to a new audience.