In 1152, on this day Frederick I Barbarossa was elected King of the Germans; he was crowned in the city of Aachen six days later.
Triumph of the Red Bearded CrusaderHe became King of Italy in 1155 and was finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV on 18 June 1155. Two years later, the term "sacrum" (i.e. "holy") first appeared in a document in connection with his Empire.He was then also formally crowned King of Burgundy at Arles on 30 June 1178. He got the name Barbarossa from the northern Italian cities he attempted to rule. Barbarossa is "red beard" in Italian; they both feared and respected him. In German, he was known as Kaiser Rotbart which has the same meaning.
His final campaign was the triumphant Third Crusade, but he nearly perished en route. Fortunatlely, he took off his heavy armour suite before bathing in the Göksu River in Anatolia, a sensible precaution that enabled him to make it safely back to the river bank when a fast current very nearly swept him away.
His survival was a good omen for the King's Crusade, a prestigious joint military adventure planned with his fellow monarchs Richard the Lionheart and King Philip-II of France. Due to the personal commitment of the three monarchs, his premature death would surely have compromised the entire mission. Instead, the German and Hungarian Armies arrived intact in Acre where they linked up with the English and French forces that had travelled separately to Palestine.
The arrival of such an immense Crusader Army virtually guaranteed the capture of Jerusalem and the eventual defeat of Saladin. But unexpecedly, the expulsion of Islamic Forces from the near East would also enable the Italian City-States to maintain their trade with the Levant. Ironically, this counter-productive outcome would constrain the further development of the nation-states of north-western Europe.