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Emperorship, Masculinity and Emotions: Depictions of Frederick I Barbarossa

An online seminar hosted by The University of Western Australia. Part of the CHE Virtual Fellows Seminar Series


Image: Kaiser Friedrich I Barbarossa mit drei Untertanen; Lauber, Diebold, Lauber-Werkstatt, Martinus Oppaviensis, UniversitätsbibliothekUB Bibliotheca PalatinaUB Bibliotheca Palatina (UB Heidelberg), 1406. Wikimedia Commons

Date: Friday 28 October 2022
Time: 10:00am AWST / 1:00pm AEDT / 3:00pm NZDT
Venue: Online via Zoom. Please email emotions@uwa.edu.au for connection details. 
Enquiries: emotions@uwa.edu.au

The Holy Roman Emperor occupied a distinct place in the worldview of the high and late Middle Ages. Tasked with the responsibility of universal temporal power over Christendom, the emperor’s role differed markedly from other secular princes. This paper explores the depiction of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa as an example of ideal imperial rulership from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries, during an important period for the development of ideas relating to the emperor and his role. Chronicles and other historiographical texts praised Barbarossa as a model of good emperorship, drawing on prominent ideals of masculinity and, in particular, the regulation and appropriate performance of emotion.


Dr Keagan Brewer (Macquarie University)


Lisa Rolston is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Her research focuses on ideas of imperial rulership in the later Middle Ages, particularly as they appear in chronicles and other historiographical sources.