Norman Sicily

A 12th Century Coin

Left: a Latin cross, below the crosspiece on left the letters IC (Jesus) and on right XC (Christ); At base of shaft on left IN (sic) on right KA (i.e. NIKA – May he conquer); Margin: Kufic legend, mostly off flan, giving mint and date.
Right: Center: five pellets forming a Greek cross; Inner Margin: The King William the Second, desiring to be mighty in God; Outer Circle: “in the (name of God struck in Masina) year two and seventy and five hundred.

Frederick II Hohenstaufen


Frederick II being excommunicated by Pope Innocent IV

Salimbene de Adam

The Sixth Crusade

A 15th-century Description

The following excerpt is from the work of Al-Magrizi, an Egyptian-Arab historian and student of explorer and scholar Ibn Khaldun.

A 13th-century Account

The following account was written by Philip of Novara, an Italian noble who spent much of his life in the Middle East.

In the year 1229 [actually 1228] the Emperor came to Syria with his whole navy. The King [the infant Conrad IV, titular King of Jerusalem] and all the Cypriots, together with the Lord of Beirut, [John D’Ibelin] accompanied him. The Lord of Beirut went to Beirut, Where be was joyfully received, for never was a lord more warmly loved by his men. He remained there but one day and then followed the Emperor to Tyre. The Emperor was very well received in Syria where all did homage to him as regent, because he bad a little son called King Conrad, who was the rightful heir of the Kingdom of Jerusalem through his mother who was dead. The Emperor and his men and all the Syrians left Acre to go to Jaffa. There they held truce conferences with al­Kamil, who was then Sultan of Babylon and Damascus, [Al-Kamal was, in fact, Sultan of Egypt, and not at this time ruling in Damascus, which was under his nephew, an-Nasir Dawud] and who held Jerusalem and the whole country. As a result of their agreement Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Lydda were thereby turned over to the Emperor.

In this same year, [Really the following year, 1229] amidst these events, the Emperor ordered Count Stephen of Gotron and other Longobards [i.e. his troops from Southern Italy] as well, to come to Cyprus. He had all the fortresses and the royal revenues seized for his use. He claimed that he was regent and that this was his right. The Cypriots were much perplexed and bad their wives and children placed in religious houses wherever they could. Some of them ­ namely Sir John d’Ibelin, later Count of Jaffa, who was then a child, his sister, and other gentle-folk ­ fled in the midst of the winter. It was a bad season and they barely escaped drowning, but, as it so pleased God, they finally arrived at Tortosa. The Emperor held Cyprus. The Cypriots who were in his army were very uncomfortable and, had the Lord of Beirut sanctioned it, they would have carried off and kidnapped the young King Henry and would have fled from the Emperor’s camp.

The Emperor was now disliked by all the people of Acre. He was the object of the Templars’ special disfavor. There was at that time a very brave Templar, Brother Peter de Montagu, a most valiant and noble man, as was also the master of the Teutonic Knights. The people of the lowlands­39 also had little use for the Emperor. The Emperor seemed to be delaying. [conjectural reading of “de lais”] Every day, even in winter, be kept his galleys armed, with the oars in the locks. Many people said that he wished to seize the Lord of Beirut and his children, Sir Anceau de Bries and his other friends, the Master of the Temple and other persons and have them shipped to Apulia. Another said that he wished to have them killed at a council to which he had called and summoned them but that they had been aware of this and went to the council with such forces that he dared not do it.

He made his truce with the Saracens in all particulars as they wished it. He went to Jerusalem and then to Acre. The Lord of Beirut never left him and, though he was often advised to leave, he did not wish to do so. The Emperor assembled his people at Acre and had all the people of the city come and there were many who thought well of him….

The Emperor secretly prepared to depart. At daybreak on the first of May, he boarded a galley before the Butchers’ Street, without notifying anyone. Thus it happened that the butchers and the old people who lived on the street and who were very unfriendly saw his party and pelted him most abusively with tripe and scraps of meat….

Thus the Emperor left Acre, cursed, bated, and despised.

A 12th-/13th-century Description

The following excerpt is from Ibn al-Athir’s “The Complete History”. The original was written in Arabic.

Frederick’s Inscription in Jerusalem: