By Sverre Bagge
Journal of Medieval History, Vol.22:4 (1996)
Abstract: This article discusses the inner coherence of Otto of Freising’s Gesta Frederici and, by implication, the wider question of the ‘mode of perception’ in medieval historiography. Is there any connection between the philosophical and theological reflections expressed in digressions and explicit statements, and the apparently scattered and disconnected entries in his narrative? The answer to this question is positive. Gesta Frederici is carefully composed around a number of key episodes, connected to one another on the allegorical and typological level, which bring out Otto’s central message about Frederick restoring the right order of the world. Book I describes the crisis in Church and Empire while Book II shows how Frederick heals this crisis by bringing peace in the Empire, governing in close cooperation with the princes, and uniting pope and emperor in close friendship for the benefit of the Church.