The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa

The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa is the official biography of German king and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I. This historical firsthand account was begun by his maternal uncle, Bishop Otto of Freising, the leading medieval church figure and notable historian, and continued by a less well known cleric, Rahewin. This chronicle is the single most important source for the early reign of Frederick Barbarossa and the most valuable biographical study to come out of the twelfth century. In a letter written to his uncle, Frederick recounted his life and the principal events of his reign. The first of the four books that constitute this account were written by Otto and cover events from 1075 to 1152, from the reign of Henry IV through that of Conrad III. The second book draws heavily on the letter, providing invaluable insight into Frederick's attempts to establish and consolidate the Hohenstaufen empire. The final two books, written by Rahewin, follow the emperor's reign through 1160, during which time Frederick restored order at home, recovered imperial control of Burgundy, and re-created an imperial party in Italy