barbarossa) (c.1122-1190. German king and Roman emperor. Nephew of the weak Conrad III, he was elected king in 1152. Although a Hohenstaufen, his mother was a Guelph, and it was hoped he could mediate between the two parties. Frederick's endeavor to restore the rights of the German monarchy and expand his territorial control while reviving the imperial authority made him a controversial historical personage. He conciliated the Guelphs by recognizing Duke Henry the Lion's position in Saxony and granting him the duchy of Bavaria. Frederick issued a proclamation of peace (Landfriede) in Germany (1152) and built up an efficient royal government based upon the non-noble ministeriales. He gained control over the German church, utilized feudal obligations to strengthen the monarchy, and enlarged his own family domains.
The wealth of the Italian cities and the political disorder there tempted the ambitious Frederick, who decided to embark upon restoring the empire. He invaded Italy in 1154-55, repressed the Lombard communes, allied with Pope Adrian IV to oust
In four subsequent Italian campaigns Frederick had only limited success. Pope
J.W. Thompson, Feudal Germany (1928); G. Barraclough, The Origins of Modern Germany (1947);