ITALY. Sicilia (Regno). Federico I (Federico II, Sacro Romano Impero), 1198-1250. Multiplo di Tarí (Gold, 14 mm, 5.14 g, 9 h), Messina or Brindisi. (Crown) •F• IMPERATOR Eagle with spread wings, its head between two pellets. Rev. Long cross between IC-✠C / HI-KA. MIR 71. Spahr 97. Rare and exceptionally well struck, a wonderful piece. Removed from NGC encapsulation, graded MS 63. Minor edge splits, otherwise, good extremely fine.
Federico I of Sicily is perhaps better known to many as Frederick II, or Friedrich II. von Hohenstaufen. A grandson of the great Frederick Barbarossa, Frederick II would be crowned King of Sicily, King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, and King of Jerusalem. While he technically ruled over a vast domain stretching from Central Europe to Sicily (and the Holy Land), most of Frederick’s attention went to his Italian holdings, often putting him at odds with the Pope. Indeed, Frederick was excommunicated no less than three times. Although his relations with the Papacy were strained at best, he could be a tactful diplomat at times, as he managed to recover Jerusalem and the surrounding area from the Ayyubids without battle. He was also an enthusiastic patron of the arts – he encouraged the development of poetry in Sicilian and authored a book about falconry – and a great legal reformer who set about professionalizing Sicily’s judiciary and bureaucracy. Indeed, his complex and forceful personality led one contemporary to call him the ‘stupor mundi’, or ‘wonder of the world’, clearly marking him as one of those figures who dominated their time through sheer force of will.