Despite his promises to Pope Innocent III that when crowned Holy Roman emperor he would separate Sicily from the empire by establishing a regency there for his infant son Henry, he reversed these arrangements in 1220. Promising Pope Honorius III to start on his crusade, he secured Henry's election as German king, and thus his position as imperial successor, shortly before his own imperial coronation (1220) at Rome. This action seemed to insure the union of Sicily and the empire. Under Frederick, however, no such union was effected; Henry governed, first under a regency, in Germany, and Frederick governed Italy and Sicily, which became the seat of his empire.
After his coronation Frederick returned to Sicily. While in Germany, the success of Frederick's early rule (1212–20) was due largely to his lavishness with imperial lands and rights. In his Sicilian kingdom, which included S Italy, he pursued the reverse of his German policy; he suppressed the barons, transported the Saracens to a colony on the mainland, recovered alienated lands, and began his legislative reforms. In 1224 he founded the university at Naples.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.