18.06.

1155: Frederick Barbarossa Crowned Emperor in Rome

1155: Frederick Barbarossa Crowned Emperor in Rome
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ "Kyffhäuser - Barbarossa-Portrait ReiKi" by Reinhard Kirchner - e. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 18 june 1155
  • It is interesting that Frederick Barbarossa was crowned in Rome by Pope Adrian IV, who was the only Englishman ever elected pope. Pope Adrian IV was born Nicholas Breakspear.

On this day the powerful German ruler Frederick Barbarossa was crowned emperor in Rome.

In fact, the tradition of German rulers bearing the title of Roman Emperors and being crowned by popes in Rome had been started already two centuries before him. Of course, those rulers adhered to the ancient tradition of the Roman Empire, which was restored in the Middle Ages by the powerful Frankish ruler Charlemagne.

Frederick Barbarossa was primarily a German ruler, in the sense that his family estates were located in the area of present-day Germany. He belonged to the Hohenstaufen dynasty, named after the castle Hohenstaufen in Swabia. This castle is located about 40 kilometers east of Stuttgart in the German historical region of Swabia (Schwaben).

As Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa reigned across a much broader area than Germany. Specifically, his country also encompassed northern Italy, the today’s Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, a part of France etc.

It is interesting that Frederick Barbarossa was crowned in Rome by Pope Adrian IV, who was the only Englishman ever elected pope. Pope Adrian IV was born Nicholas Breakspear. The coronation was held at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. On his arrival to Rome, Frederick kissed the pope’s feet and conducted the ritual of holding the Pope’s stirrup, which was in some ways considered a sign of the emperor’s subordination to the Pope.

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