Friedrich I "Barbarossa" ("Redbeard" in Italian) is the name claimed by a former sixth-generation Ventrue Archon claiming descent from Julia Antasia. Barbarossa acted as Prince of Frankfurt am Main and much of the surrounding domains for several centuries, until he was overthrown in 1998.
No one had heard of the vampire who has taken the name Barbarossa for himself before 1600. He himself claims to have been the Holy Roman Emperor, who came to power during the struggles between the Welfs and the Hohenstaufen in 1152 and was coronated in Rome in 1155. Secretly backed by Julia Antasia and her ally Angiwar against attempts of the mad Malkavian Inanna, Barbarossa ruled long and prosperous until he entered the Crusades in 1190, deciding to lead his troops from the front. After a great victory at Ikonion, the Emperor apparently drowned in the Saleph river. No corpse was reported to have been found. As a result, myths grew around the figure of the Emperor, who believed to have entered a long sleep in the Kyffhäuser until his people need him again.
According to Barbarossa himself, he had been a long-time ghoul to Julia Antasia, which had allowed him to live and rule for so long. He was Embraced at Ikonion and then left his sire to wander the world. Antasia herself never mentioned Barbarossa's Embrace, although rumors among the Cainites of the time period told that the Emperor had been seen at night, surrounded by an aura of power and serenity. Barbarossa claims that he entered the Kyffhäuser and rested there until the Anarch Revolt and the Burning Times. During this time period, he traveled to England, after having learned that a rival of his had also become a Cainite. Wishing to make amends for the strife in their lifetime, he was instead met by a proto-Sabbat member, who thirsted after his heartblood. Barbarossa claimed that this opened his eyes to the necessity of the Camarilla and that he decided to become an Archon.
The archon with the name Barbarossa arrived in Frankfurt in the retinue of Justicar Godefroy in the 1610s. The local Prince, Vinzenz von Stalburg, had fled the city after a great Sabbat incursion and an Anarch rebellion. Godefroy and his servants restored order within the city and decided to install one of their own as Prince. Barbarossa, as childe of the ancient Prince Julia Antasia and a semi-mythical figure even among mortals, stepped forward to accept the princedom, a fact that many noted to have been an amazing coincidence. Vinzenz von Stalburg, who resided in Berlin under the protection of Prince Breidenstein, decried him openly to be an imposter and usurper. Despite this claims, Barbarossa managed to maintain his rule, mainly due to the support of Godefroy. Despite this, he was forced to abdicate during the time of the French occupation under Napoleon, in which he acted as the primogen to the new Prince, Cecille, who was later unmasked as Inanna, before she vanished under mysterious circumstances. Barbarossa was able to reclaim his princedom again due to the support of the local Nosferatu.
Barbarossa's time as a prince was marked by the humanitarian ideals of the medieval Antasians. Hoping to install a true Senate, Barbarossa put his support behind the March Revolution of 1848. Inspired by the National Assembly in Frankfurt, Barbarossa underwent a radical step: he consolidated the domains of the Rhine-Main Region into one large domain under his praxis, against the protests of the local Princes, and replaced the Traditions within the domain with laws from his own making, that were close enough to resemble the Traditions of the Camarilla to avoid reprisal, but featured several changes, including an absolute ban on killing mortals, as well as the equality of all vampires, regardless of their age. Several elders of other Clans took note, voicing their disapproval and putting their support behind Breidenstein and von Stalburg. Sabbat packs who learned of these new laws saw them as an open invitation for attacking the new domain, weakening the prince heavily enough that he considered resignation. Breidenstein's Prussians managed to annex Frankfurt and install von Stalburg permanently among Barbarossa's primogen, while the Prince lost further prestige when the Gangrel of his domain went into a murderous Frenzy and had to be put under an universal Blood Hunt to avoid further casualties in 1900.
Barbarossa regained some of his authorities after the disaster of World War I. Kindred within Germany blamed Gustav Breidenstein for the war. The newly founded Weimar Republic, however, was unstable and the new democracy soon fell victim to nationalist and fascist ideals. Barbarossa was particularly struck by the instrumentalization of his historical persona by the Nazis. When World War II began, Barbarossa fled to his ally and patron Godefroy in England, and returned when the Allies had liberated Frankfurt in 1945.
After having returned, Barbarossa again reformed the domain. He created a large primogen council that would have the authority to enforce his laws, with himself only acting as a representative to other domains. Voicing the concern that the feudalistic approach of the Camarilla was as doomed as the one in mortal society had been, this new council would be re-elected every thirty years by all vampires of their respective Clans. To ensure his continued political survival, Barbarossa extended his hand to other, more liberal Princes, finding an ally in Wilhelm Waldburg of Berlin, as well as Giselher of Cologne. Several others, including Gustav Breidenstein, Queen Anne of London, as well as the princes of Heidelberg, Hamburg, and Leipzig, continued to view him as a threat. Hoping to again strengthen Frankfurt and make it a global force, Barbarossa and his ally, the Nosferatu Meyer Amschel Rothschild, worked to ensure that the European Currency Institute (ECI) would reside in the city, which bore fruit in 1993.
Barbarossa's rule, however, would continue for only five years. In 1998, Vinzenz von Stalburg managed to overthrow him, dismantle the primogen council, and declare himself the sole Prince of Frankfurt again. Barbarossa's fate following his usurpation is not known.
For information about the Emperor Barbarossa claims to be, visit Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor