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Emperor Frederick II
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    (December 26, 1194-December 13, 1250)
    Born in Jesi, Italy
    King of Sicily (1198-1250), King of the Romans (1212-20), King of Jerusalem (1225-28) and Holy Roman Emperor (1220-50)
    He spent large chunks of his reign putting down rebellions in one part or another of his empire.
    He pissed off various popes to the point that he was excommunicated four times, with Gregory IX calling him the Antichrist.
    He had at least nine children out of wedlock with seven or more women.
    He had a menagerie of exotic animals, including giraffes, cheetahs, leopards and an elephant.
    He had a prisoner sealed up in a cask to see if the soul could be observed escaping through a hole in the cask when the prisoner died.
    A legend that he was not really dead and would one day return to reestablish his empire was eventually transferred to his grandfather, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
    He was called 'Stupor mundi,' the 'wonder of the world.'
    He was tolerant towards Jews and Muslims in his empire.
    During the Sixth Crusade, he regained Jerusalem for Christianity. (Albeit by the wussy method of negotiating with the area's Muslim rulers.)
    He spoke six languages: Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek and Arabic.
    He was an expert falconer and wrote the treatise 'The Art of Hunting with Birds.'
    He founded the University of Naples (1224), the oldest state-supported university.

Credit: C. Fishel

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