Just for kicks the other day, I did a search on the Staufen, Barbarossa, and so on…Turned up some interesting stuff, more than I anticipated. The paucity of readily available scholarship on the Staufen continues to bug me, both as a scholar and as a teacher. This past semester, I did have a student do some good work on Barbarossa’s conception of empire, but my first question to him and to every student who wants to work on the Staufen is “How good is your German?” And the answer is always rather dejected.
It’s a rather lonely field in which to work if you’re an American scholar; I can count the number of folk working in the field on two hands–and from my perspective, Early Modern Germanists don’t count, as their focus and expertise usually isn’t in the 12th and 13th centuries. Also, German lit scholars, in my experience, while excellent in their areas, tend to be uneven in historical stuff. But, that’s just my opinion. Now, I have come across some art historians who are just excellent. But in America, high medieval German studies are sparse…Europe, of course, is a different matter, but there’s not a lot of transfer back and forth. It affects the book market, too. At the moment, my personal collection contains many volumes held by only a handful of research libraries in the country, simply because I got tired of having to rely on ILL in order to read major studies, and managed to find them fairly cheap. Among other titles still on my list is Wolfgang Stuerner’s biography of Frederick II…not that easy to obtain over here. Or rather, you can get volume 1 very easily (to 1220, his coronation), but volume 2 (the main course, so to speak), is much hard to obtain.
One of the biggest problems, as I see it, is a lack of readily translated sources and studies, without which we can’t really attract students and thus recruit the next generation of scholars. A good English edition of Haverkamp’s edited volume, or Engel and Topfer’s collection, would help tremendously. This would also give libraries, in this age of downsized budgets, more of an incentive to add these titles to their collections.
ANYWAY…Apparently an archeological search for Charlemagne’s grave just concluded in Aachen, unsuccessfully as it happens. One would assume that in Barbarossa’s time they actually did know where he was buried, and that the big translation ceremony wasn’t a massive farce…And here’s a story from a paper I wouldn’t have associated with Barbarossa at all, but (hold The Office jokes, please), here’s an article from the Scranton Edition on an Italian-American community’s tradition which goes back to the 12th century, apparently. Now here, if you scroll down a bit, you’ll find a notice about the Hafengeburtstag Hamburg, the celebration of Hamburg’s port, founded in 1189 by a charter from Barbarossa. Cool…And here’s a small bit in PM, a German publication, which seems to be a summary of some larger piece on the Staufen and the crusades. I’m intrigued by the image, which seems to suggest some kind of larger study, but I haven’t been able find anything else, just this story.