Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire and allies
Holy Roman Empire
Kingdom of Cyprus
House of Ibelin
Commanders and leaders
Hermann von Salza
John of Ibelin
Holy Land (1095–1291)
Crusade started in 1228 as an attempt to regain Jerusalem.
It began seven years after the failure of the
Fifth Crusade and
involved very little actual fighting. The diplomatic maneuvering of
the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, resulted in the Kingdom of
Jerusalem regaining some control over
Jerusalem for much of the
ensuing fifteen years (1229–39, 1241–44) as well as over other
areas of the Holy Land.
1 Frederick II and the Papacy
2 The Crusade
2.1 Stopover in Cyprus
2.2 In the Kingdom of Jerusalem
2.3 Diplomatic agreement with
2.4 In Jerusalem
3 Legacy and precedent
4 See also
Frederick II and the Papacy
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, had involved himself broadly in the
Fifth Crusade, sending troops from Germany, but he failed to accompany
the army directly, despite the encouragement of Honorius III and later
Gregory IX, as he needed to consolidate his position in Germany and
Italy before embarking on a crusade. However, Frederick again promised
to go on a crusade after his coronation as emperor in 1220 by Pope
In 1225 Frederick married Yolande of
Jerusalem (also known as
Isabella), daughter of
John of Brienne
John of Brienne (nominal ruler of the Kingdom
of Jerusalem) and Maria of Montferrat. Frederick now had a claim to
the truncated kingdom, and reason to attempt to restore it. In
1227, after Gregory IX became pope, Frederick and his army set sail
from Brindisi, Italy, for Acre (then the capital of the truncated
Kingdom of Jerusalem), but an epidemic forced Frederick to return to
Italy. Gregory took this opportunity to excommunicate Frederick for
breaking his crusader vow, though this was just an excuse, as
Frederick had for years been trying to consolidate imperial power in
Italy at the expense of the papacy.
Gregory stated that the reason for the excommunication was Frederick's
reluctance to go on crusade, dating back to the Fifth Crusade.
Frederick attempted to negotiate with the pope, but eventually decided
to ignore him, and sailed to
Syria in 1228 despite the
excommunication, arriving at Acre in September.
Stopover in Cyprus
Instead of heading straight for the Holy Land, Frederick first sailed
to Cyprus, which had been an imperial fiefdom since its capture by
Richard the Lionheart
Richard the Lionheart on his way to Acre during the Third Crusade. The
emperor arrived with the clear intent of stamping his authority on the
kingdom, but was treated cordially by the native barons until a
dispute arose between him and the constable of Cyprus, John of Ibelin.
Frederick claimed that his regency was illegitimate and demanded the
surrender of John's mainland fief of
Beirut to the imperial throne.
Here he erred, for John pointed out that the kingdoms of
Jerusalem were constitutionally separate and he could not be punished
for offences in
Cyprus by seizure of Beirut. This would have important
consequences for the crusade, as it alienated the powerful Ibelin
faction, turning them against the emperor.
In the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Acre, as the nominal capital of the Kingdom of
Jerusalem and the seat
of the Latin Patriarchate, was split in its support for Frederick.
Frederick's own army and the
Teutonic Knights supported him, but
Patriarch Gerald of Lausanne (and the clergy) followed the hostile
papal line. Once news of Frederick's excommunication had spread,
public support for him waned considerably. The position of the Knights
Knights Templar is more complicated; though they
refused to join the emperor's army directly, they supported the
crusade once Frederick agreed to have his name removed from official
orders. The native barons greeted Frederick enthusiastically at first,
but were wary of the emperor's history of centralization and his
desire to impose imperial authority. This was largely due to
Frederick's treatment of John of Ibelin in Cyprus, and his apparent
disdain for the constitutional concerns of the barons.
Diplomatic agreement with
Even with the military orders on board, Frederick's force was a mere
shadow of the army that had amassed when the crusade had originally
been called. He realised that his only hope of success in the Holy
Land was to negotiate for the surrender of
Jerusalem as he lacked the
manpower to engage the
Ayyubid empire in battle. Frederick hoped that
a token show of force, a threatening march down the coast, would be
enough to convince al-Kamil, the sultan of Egypt, to honor a proposed
agreement that had been negotiated some years earlier, prior to the
death of al-Muazzam, the governor of Damascus. The Egyptian sultan,
occupied with the suppression of rebellious forces in Syria, agreed to
Jerusalem to the Franks, along with a narrow corridor to the
In addition, Frederick received Nazareth, Sidon, Jaffa, and Bethlehem.
Other lordships may have been returned to Christian control, but
sources disagree. It was, however, a treaty of compromise. The Muslims
retained control over the
Temple Mount area of Jerusalem, the al-Aqsa
Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock. The Transjordan castles stayed in
Ayyubid hands, and Arab sources suggest that Frederick was not
permitted to restore Jerusalem's fortifications, although the
Crusaders did in fact restore Jerusalem's defensive walls. The treaty,
completed on 18 February 1229, safeguarded a 10-year truce.
One of the results of the treaty was that Jews were once more
prohibited from living in Jerusalem.
The agreement is known sometimes as the Treaty of
Jaffa and Tell
Ajul to also include the agreement signed by the different Ayyubid
rulers at Tell Ajul near Gaza, of which, from al-Kamil's perspective,
the treaty with Frederick was just an extension. This agreement
should not be confused with the 1192 Treaty of
Jaffa between Saladin
and Richard Lionheart.
Jerusalem on 17 March 1229, and attended a
crown-wearing ceremony the following day. It is unknown whether he
intended this to be interpreted as his official coronation as King of
Jerusalem; in any case the absence of the patriarch, Gerald, rendered
it questionable. There is evidence to suggest that the crown Frederick
wore was actually the imperial one, but in any case proclaiming his
Jerusalem was a provocative act. Legally, he was
actually only regent for his son Conrad II of Jerusalem, only child of
Yolande and the grandson of
Maria of Montferrat
Maria of Montferrat and John of Brienne,
who had been born shortly before Frederick left in 1228.
Legacy and precedent
As Frederick had matters to attend to at home, he left
May. It took a defeat in battle later in 1229 for the
Pope to lift the
excommunication, but by now Frederick had demonstrated that a crusade
could be successful even without military superiority or papal
The ten-year expiration of Frederick's treaty with
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX to call for a new crusade to secure the Holy Lands for
Christendom beyond 1239. This initiated the Barons' Crusade, a
disorganized affair which wound up with relatively limited support
from both Frederick and the pope, but which nevertheless regained more
land than even the Sixth Crusade.
Frederick had set a precedent, in having achieved success on crusade
without papal involvement. He achieved success without fighting since
he lacked manpower to engage Ayyubids. This was due to the engagement
Ayyubids with the rebellion in Syria. Further crusades would be
launched by individual kings, such as
Theobald I of Navarre (the
Louis IX of France
Louis IX of France (the Seventh and Eighth
Edward I of England
Edward I of England (the Ninth Crusade), effectively
demonstrating an erosion of papal authority.
Cecelia Holland's novel Antichrist presents a heavily fictionalized
account of the Sixth
Crusade from Frederick II's perspective.
Cattaneo, Giulio (1992). Federico II di Svevia. Rome: Newton &
^ a b Adrian J. Boas (2001).
Jerusalem in the Time of the Crusades:
Society, Landscape and Art in the Holy City Under Frankish Rule.
London: Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 9780415230001. Retrieved 12
^ Miller, Duane Alexander (2017). "Sixth Crusade". War and Religion.
3: 754–755. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
^ My Jerusalem: Essays, Reminiscences, and Poems. Edited by Salma
Khadra Jayyusi, Zafar Ishaq Ansari. Page 332, note 42, quoting Joshua
Prawer, "Minorities in the Crusader states" in A History of the
Crusades (New York, 1964), 97; Steven Runciman, A History of the
Crusades (London, 1965), 467; Karen Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem:
One City, Three Faiths, HarperPerennial 2005, 198-299.
^ Humphreys, R. Stephen (1977). From
Saladin to the Mongols: The
Damascus 1193-1260. State University of New York (SUNY)
Press. pp. 197–198. ISBN 0873952634. Retrieved 10 May
^ Adrian J. Boas (2009).
Jerusalem in the Time of the Crusades:
Society, Landscape and Art in the Holy City under Frankish Rule.
London: Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 9780415488754. Retrieved 10
^ Crusading and the Crusader States, Jotischky, (Edinburgh, 2004),