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Stupor Mundi: The Life and Times of Frederick II Emperor of the Romans King of Sicily and Jerusalem 1194-1250

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Stupor Mundi is a comprehensive and engaging biography of Frederick II, one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of the medieval period. Lionel Allshorn provides a detailed account of Frederick's life and reign, from his early years as a young prince to his eventual ascension to the throne as Emperor of the Romans.

Allshorn's writing is clear and informative, making complex historical events and political intrigue easy to understand. He paints a vivid picture of Frederick's personality, depicting him as a complex ruler who was both brilliant and ruthless, enlightened and despotic.

The author delves into Frederick's relationships with his family, his subjects, and his enemies, offering insights into the motivations behind his actions and decisions. Allshorn also explores the cultural and intellectual achievements of Frederick's reign, highlighting his contributions to science, philosophy, and the arts.

Overall, Stupor Mundi is a well-researched and thought-provoking biography that sheds light on a pivotal figure in European history. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the medieval period, political intrigue, and the complexities of power.

Book Description:
Frederick II , under whose reign the Holy Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial extent, was called by his contemporaries "Stupor Mundi," the "astonishment of the world." Frequently at war with the papacy, which was hemmed in between Frederick's northern and southern Italian lands, he was excommunicated four times. Frederick spoke six languages and was an avid patron of the arts. He negotiated a peace treaty ending the sixth crusade, reigned over a cosmopolitan court at Palermo, and entrusted the administration of his southern kingdom to an efficient Muslim and Jewish bureaucracy. Allshorn writes that "around his name there gathered a glamour of strangeness and splendour, of genius soaring to perilous questionings of eternal truths, of unbreakable resolution and of unconquerable pride." - Summary by Pamela Nagami

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