The Magical Power of Frederich II, Lord of the World and of the Elements. Ideology of Knowledge and Ideology of Power in the Frescoes in the Crypt of the Cathedral of Anagni

Variant title

Il potere magico di Federico II, Signore del mondo e degli elementi. Ideologia del sapere e ideologia del potere negli affreschi della cripta della cattedrale di Anagni 


Frederick II stands out in the context of the first half of the XIII century as repre-senting the peculiar attributes of the medieval emperor. However, the Swabian ruler, shaping an innovative political construction (“a work of art,” according to the defini-tion of Burckhardt), was considered the immutator saeculi who, by virtue of a singu-lar demiurgic capacity (the synthesis of calculation and artifice, but, also, of genius and recklessness) was able to “subvert the order,” placing himself – from opposite points of view – as sol invictus and rex pestilentiae, cooperator Dei and preambulum Anti- christi, lex animata and filius iniquitatis. A particular cycle of frescoes pre-served in the crypt of the cathedral of Anagni testifies to its irreducible contrast with pontifical authority. The cycle, investigated from a symbolic-political perspective, reveals itself to be a singular object of study, fraught with symbolic pathos and allusions to a magical-sacred universe within which the Church attempted to act as the sole hermeneutical navigator.




Italian (it)


Antimo CesaroUniversità della Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli" Dipartimento di Scienze politiche "Jean Monnet"


Orbis Idearum Volume 7, Issue 1 (2019), pp. 31-62
Magic in the History of Ideas