Known as Barbarossa because he had long red beard and a fiery temper. It is said of Barbarossa that he was shrewd and calculating, but it has also been said that he was an attractive and kind man and much loved by his people. He visited many parts of his kingdom to establish peace in the weeks following his coronation in an attempt to make Germany a united nation.
A number of nobles began to quarrel among themselves, threatening to undermine his hard work, instead of coming down hard on these men as other rulers might with exile or death, he punished them, forcing them to carry dogs on their shoulders from one country to another. This worked, for Frederick finally succeeded in keeping the nobles in the different provinces of Germany at peace with one another, and persuaded them to work together for the good of the whole empire.
In 1188, Fredrick embarked on the Third Crusade, joining forces with the French king Philip Augustus and our English king Richard I, bringing fifteen thousand men to the cause, but by 1190 he was dead.
Historians believe that whilst crossing the Seleph River near Antioch, Fredrick Barbarossa suffered a heart attack and drowned after falling from his horse.
His sudden death during this crusade devastated political and religious morale for the crusaders.