Frederick I

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Frederick I,

1657–1713, first king of Prussia (1701–13), elector of Brandenburg (1688–1713) as Frederick III. He succeeded his father, Frederick William the Great Elector, in Brandenburg. Through a renewed alliance with Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I prior to the War of the Spanish SuccessionSpanish Succession, War of the,
1701–14, last of the general European wars caused by the efforts of King Louis XIV to extend French power. The conflict in America corresponding to the period of the War of the Spanish Succession was known as Queen Anne's War (see French and
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, Frederick obtained the emperor's approval for the elevation of PrussiaPrussia
, Ger. Preussen, former state, the largest and most important of the German states. Berlin was the capital. The chief member of the German Empire (1871–1918) and a state of the Weimar Republic (1919–33), Prussia occupied more than half of all Germany
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 to a kingdom. On Jan. 18, 1701, Frederick crowned himself at Königsberg. His extravagant expenses drained the finances of Prussia. Frederick was a patron of LeibnizLeibniz or Leibnitz, Gottfried Wilhelm, Baron von
, 1646–1716, German philosopher and mathematician, b. Leipzig.
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. He was succeeded by his son, Frederick William I.

Frederick I,

1371–1440, elector of Brandenburg (1415–40), first of the Hohenzollerns (see HohenzollernHohenzollern
, German princely family that ruled Brandenburg (1415–1918), Prussia (1525–1918), and Germany (1871–1918).

Originating in S Germany and traceable to the 11th cent.
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, family) to rule Brandenburg. As Frederick VI, burgrave of Nuremburg, he served under King Sigismund of Hungary (later Holy Roman Emperor SigismundSigismund
, 1368–1437, Holy Roman emperor (1433–37), German king (1410–37), king of Hungary (1387–1437) and of Bohemia (1419–37), elector of Brandenburg (1376–1415), son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.
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) against the Ottomans in E Europe and took part in the battle of Nikopol (1396), in which the crusaders were defeated. As a reward for aiding Sigismund's election as emperor (1410), Sigismund granted (1411) Frederick a regency over Brandenburg and named him (1415) elector of Brandenburg; in 1417 he was formally invested with the electoral dignity. After subduing the recalcitrant nobles of Brandenburg, Frederick departed (1425) to command the imperial forces against the Hussites, but he later broke with Sigismund. His own ambition to be emperor was never fulfilled, but at his death the Hohenzollerns were well ensconced in Brandenburg.

Frederick I


Frederick the Warlike,

1370–1428, elector of Saxony (1423–28). As margrave of Meissen he was involved in disputes with his brothers and his uncles over the division of his father's territory. He founded (1409) the university at Leipzig for German students who were driven from Prague. A neighbor of the HussitesHussites
, followers of John Huss. After the burning of Huss (1415) and Jerome of Prague (1416), the Hussites continued as a powerful group in Bohemia and Moravia. They drew up (1420) the Four Articles of Prague, demanding freedom of preaching, communion in both kinds (i.e.
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, he was one of the first to take the field against them (1420–22) and was rewarded by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund with electoral Saxony. In 1426 he was defeated by the Hussites at Aussig.

Frederick I


Frederick Barbarossa

(bärbərôs`ə) [Ital.,=red beard], c.1125–90, Holy Roman emperor (1155–90) and German king (1152–90), son of Frederick of HohenstaufenHohenstaufen
, German princely family, whose name is derived from the castle of Staufen built in 1077 by a Swabian count, Frederick. In 1079, Frederick married Agnes, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and was created duke of Swabia.
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, duke of Swabia, nephew and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III.

Restoration of Imperial Power

His mother, Judith, was a Guelph (see GuelphsGuelphs
, European dynasty tracing its descent from the Swabian count Guelph or Welf (9th cent.), whose daughter Judith married the Frankish emperor Louis I. Guelph III (d. 1055) was made (1047) duke of Carinthia and margrave of Verona.
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), and Frederick frequently acted as a mediator between his Hohenstaufen uncle, Conrad, and his Guelph cousin, Henry the LionHenry the Lion,
1129–95, duke of Saxony (1142–80) and of Bavaria (1156–80); son of Henry the Proud. His father died (1139) while engaged in a war to regain his duchies, and it was not until 1142 that Henry the Lion became duke of Saxony.
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. Prior to his death Conrad III named Frederick as his successor, hoping that Frederick's reign would end the discord between the rival houses of Hohenstaufen and Guelphs. Frederick's coronation as emperor in Rome was delayed by unrest in Germany and by the revolutionary commune of Rome (1143–55), headed by Arnold of BresciaArnold of Brescia
, c.1090–1155, Italian monk and reformer, b. Brescia. A priest of irreproachable life, Arnold studied at Paris, where according to tradition he was a pupil of Peter Abelard.
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, which controlled the city. In 1152, Frederick pacified Germany by proclaiming a general land peace to end the anarchy, and in 1156 he satisfied Henry the Lion by restoring the duchy of Bavaria to him, at the same time making Austria into a new duchy as a counterweight to Henry's power.

In Italy, Frederick's policy was to restore the imperial power, which had virtually disappeared as a result of neglect by previous emperors. It was thus necessary for him to conciliate the pope. In a treaty (1153) with Pope Eugene III, Frederick promised to assist him against Arnold of Brescia and against the powerful Normans in Sicily. Frederick entered Italy in 1154 and was crowned in Rome (June 18, 1155) amid hostile demonstrations. The reluctance of his troops to remain in Italy forced him to return to Germany without assisting the new pope, Adrian IVAdrian IV,
d. 1159, pope (1154–59), an Englishman (the only English pope), b. Nicholas Breakspear at Langley, near St. Albans. He was successor of Anastasius IV. At an early age he went to France. There he became an Augustinian canon and later an abbot.
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, against King William I of Sicily. Adrian, obliged to ally himself (1156) with William, turned against Frederick.

At the Diet of Besançon (1157) the papal legate presented a letter that Frederick interpreted as a claim by the pope that the empire was a papal fief. Frederick replied in a manifesto that he held the throne "through the election of the princes from God alone" and prepared to invade Italy, where Milan had begun the conquest of Lombardy. Adrian explained that he had not intended that interpretation of his words, but Frederick entered Italy, seized Milan, and at the Diet of Roncaglia (1158) laid claim, as emperor and king of the Lombards, to all imperial rights, including the appointment of an imperial podesta, or governor, in every town.

The rapacity of his German officials led to the revolt (1159) of Milan, Brescia, Crema, and their allies, secretly encouraged by Adrian IV. After a long siege, Frederick stormed and burned Milan (1162). Moreover he set up an antipope to Adrian's successor, Alexander IIIAlexander III,
d. 1181, pope (1159–81), a Sienese named Rolandus [Bandinelli?], successor of Adrian IV. He was a canonist who had studied law under Gratian and had taught at Bologna.
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, who excommunicated him. Frederick withdrew temporarily, but returned in 1166, captured Rome, and was preparing to attack the pope's Sicilian allies when his army was decimated by an epidemic.

Reconciliation and Revenge

In 1167 the rebellious Italian communes united against Frederick in the Lombard LeagueLombard League,
an alliance formed in 1167 among the communes of Lombardy to resist Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I when he attempted to assert his imperial authority in Lombardy. Previously the communes had been divided, some favoring the emperor and others favoring the pope.
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, and Frederick retreated with difficulty to Germany, where he turned to increasing his territorial power and pacifying the constantly feuding German princes. In 1174 he returned to Italy. He was decisively defeated (1176) at Legnano by the Lombard League, partly because of lack of support from the German princes, notably Henry the Lion.

After his defeat Frederick became reconciled with the pope; he agreed to recognize Alexander III as pope and was restored (1177) to communion. He made peace with the Lombard towns (confirmed by the Peace of Constance in 1183) and arranged a truce with the pope's Sicilian allies. After his return to Germany, Frederick brought about the downfall (1180) of Henry the Lion, whose large duchies were partitioned; Frederick's divisions of the German territories were of lasting consequence. At the Diet of Mainz (1184) the emperor celebrated his own glory in fabulous pomp. He arranged the marriage (1186) of his son and successor, Henry (later Henry VIHenry VI,
1165–97, Holy Roman emperor (1191–97) and German king (1190–97), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa). He was crowned German king at Aachen in 1169 and king of Italy at Milan in 1186 after his marriage to
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), to Constance, heiress presumptive of Sicily, thus insuring peace with Sicily.

Death and Legacy

In Mar., 1188, Frederick took the Cross, and he set out (1189) on the Third Crusade (see CrusadesCrusades
, series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade

In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar.
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). He was drowned in Cilicia. Legend, however, has him asleep in the KyffhäuserKyffhäuser
, forested mountain, c.1,550 ft (470 m), Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany. It is crowned by the two ruined castles of Rothenburg (7th cent.) and Kyffhausen (12th cent.) and by a huge monument to Emperor William I (erected 1896).
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, waiting to restore the empire to its former greatness. Among the positive and lasting achievements of Frederick's reign are the foundations of new towns, the increase of trade, and the colonization and Christianization of Slavic lands in E Germany. In his administrative reforms the emperor was ably assisted by his chancellor, Rainald of Dassel.


See study by P. Munz (1969); Otto of Freising, The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa (tr. 1953).

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Frederick I

1657--1713, first king of Prussia (1701--13); son of Frederick William
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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