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Sixth Crusade

Frederick II and the papacy
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, had involved himself broadly in the Fifth
Crusade, sending troops from Germany, but he failed to accompany the army directly,
despite the encouragement of Honorius III and later Gregory IX, as he needed to
consolidate his position in Germany and Italy before embarking on a crusade.
However, Frederick again promised to go on a crusade after his coronation as emperor
in 1220 by Pope Honorius III.

In 1225 Frederick married Yolande of Jerusalem (also known as Isabella), daughter of
John of Brienne, nominal ruler of the kingdom of Jerusalem, and Maria of Montferrat.
Frederick now had a claim to the truncated kingdom, and reason to attempt to restore
it. In 1227, after Gregory IX became pope, Frederick and his army set sail from
Brindisi for Acre, but an epidemic forced Frederick to return to Italy. Gregory took
this opportunity to excommunicate Frederick for breaking his crusader vow, though
this was just an excuse, as Frederick had for years been trying to consolidate imperial
power in Italy at the expense of the papacy.

Gregory stated that the reason for the excommunication was Frederick's reluctance to
go on crusade, dating back to the Fifth Crusade. For Gregory, the crusade was just a
useful excuse to excommunicate the emperor, whose Italian ambitions he feared.
Frederick attempted to negotiate with the pope, but eventually decided to ignore him,
and sailed to Syria in 1228 despite the excommunication, arriving at Acre in

The crusade
Instead of heading straight for the Holy Land, Frederick first sailed to Cyprus, which
had been an imperial fiefdom since its capture by Richard the Lionheart during his
return from the Third Crusade. The emperor arrived with the clear intent of stamping
his authority on the kingdom, but was treated cordially by the native barons until a
dispute arose between him and the bailli of Cyprus, John of Ibelin. Frederick claimed
that his regency was illegitimate and demanded the surrender of John's mainland fief
of Beirut to the imperial throne. However, here he erred, for John pointed out that the
kingdoms of Cyprus and Jerusalem were constitutionally separate and he could not be
punished for offences in Cyprus by seizure of Beirut. This would have important
consequences for the crusade, as it alienated the powerful Ibelin faction, turning them
against the emperor.

Acre, as the nominal capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the seat of the Latin
Patriarchate, was split in its support for Frederick. Frederick's own army and the
Teutonic Knights supported him, but Patriarch Gerald of Lausanne (and the clergy)
followed the hostile papal line. Once news of Frederick's excommunication had
spread, public support for him waned considerably. The position of the Knights
Hospitaller and Knights Templar is more complicated; though they refused to join the
emperor's army directly, they supported the crusade once Frederick agreed to have his


Frederick received Nazareth. In addition. but were wary of the emperor's history of centralization and his desire to impose imperial authority. prior to the death of al- Muazzam. he was actually only regent for his son Conrad II of Jerusalem. occupied with the suppression of rebellious forces in Syria. The treaty. in having achieved success on crusade without papal involvement. Frederick's force was a mere shadow of the army that had amassed when the crusade had originally been called. There is evidence to suggest that the crown Frederick wore was actually the imperial one. expired in 1239. only child of Yolande and the grandson of Maria of Montferrat and John of Brienne. Even with the military orders on board. the governor of Damascus. and his apparent disdain for the constitutional concerns of the barons. Legally. Frederick entered Jerusalem on 17 March 1229. Legacy and precedent As Frederick had matters to attend to at home. and Jerusalem was taken by the Khwarezmian Turks in 1244. [1] but in any case proclaiming his lordship over Jerusalem was a provocative act. Other lordships may have been returned to Christian control. Further crusades would be launched by individual kings. a threatening march down the coast. 2 . safeguarded a truce of ten years. and attended a crown-wearing ceremony the following day. It took a defeat in battle later in 1229 for the Pope to lift the excommunication. The Egyptian sultan. The truce. Frederick hoped that a token show of force. effectively demonstrating an erosion of papal authority. a treaty of compromise. completed on February 18. The native barons greeted Frederick enthusiastically at first. hugely unpopular from its inception. would be enough to convince al-Kamil. This was largely due to Frederick's treatment of John of Ibelin in Cyprus. in any case the absence of the patriarch. and Arab sources suggest that Frederick was not permitted to restore Jerusalem's fortifications. Gerald. He realised that his only hope of success in the Holy Land was to negotiate for the surrender of Jerusalem as he lacked the manpower to engage the Ayyubid empire in battle. The Muslims retained control over the Temple Mount area of Jerusalem. he left Jerusalem in May. 1229.[2] Frederick had set a precedent. but by now Frederick had demonstrated that a crusade could be successful even without military superiority or papal support. who had been born shortly before Frederick left in 1228. along with a narrow corridor to the coast. The Transjordan castles stayed in Ayyubid hands. Sidon. the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock. the sultan of Egypt. to honor a proposed agreement that had been negotiated some years earlier. rendered it illegitimate. It was. but sources disagree. It is unknown whether he intended this to be interpreted as his official coronation as King of Jerusalem. removed from official orders. such as Louis IX of France (the Seventh and Eighth Crusades) and Edward I of England (the Ninth Crusade). agreed to cede Jerusalem to the Franks. Jaffa and Bethlehem.