What positions and statuses did Black Africans hold in Germany in the court culture of Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen and later courts?
According to Germany and the Black Diaspora: Points of Contact, 1250-1914 by Mischa Honeck, Martin Klimke and Anne Kuhlmann
Chapter Three Ambiguous Duty: Black Servants at German Ancien Régime Courts (pp. 57-73) Anne Kuhlmann
From the very emergence of modern national historiography, European historical memory has excluded or marginalized peoples of different ethnocultural, religious, and other groupings in past European societies.¹ Black Africans were part of these societies, but only now have they become a topic of general interest. Owing to the work of pioneering black European studies authors like Hans Werner Debrunner, Allison Blakely, Peter Martin, and others,² black Africans and their descendants have now been attested in various, and not always marginal, positions in northern, central, and eastern Europe: as seamen, missionaries, musicians, servants, members of guilds, and in lower social positions...
Chapter Four Real and Imagined Africans in Baroque Court Divertissements (pp. 74-91) Rashid-S. Pegah
For centuries black Africans were a distinctive part of European court culture. Early evidence of their presence can be found in the cosmopolitan court of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1194–1250), the German king, Roman emperor (from 1220), and successor of the Norman kings in Sicily. His court, a center of intellectual exchange in his time, shows black Africans in an array of positions that would later recur in Renaissance and Baroque court culture.
Africans in Germany An Early Black Presence
The racial merging of "white" with being European has little historical (or contemporary) merit. More than a few scholars have identified the presence of peoples from every continent, including Africa, on European soil dating back to antiquity. Of course, this includes the territory that eventually became Germany. An enduring symbol of this diverse habitation is that the oldest skull found in Europe, discovered in Dusseldorf in 1856, was African. Individual Africans appeared in the area dating back to the days of Julius Caesar, and groups of Africans have settled in the region since at least the twelfth century. During their 800-year occupation of southern Europe, the Moors came to Germany from northern Africa during the Middle Ages and a number of them began to achieve prominent positions as poets, scholas, philosophers, religious leaders, and even part of the royal family. While the black German Roman Catholic patron saint, Saint Maurice, is of African descent and well known, there are numerous religious-oriented statues of Blacks that can be found around the country. As the historian Gustav Jahoda notes, "In the thirteenth century German emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen had Blacks guarding his treasures".
The presence of Black individuals is also evident in the art of Europe, see the video Friday Focus—Cranach's Saint Maurice and the Representation of Africans in Sixteenth-Century German Art by Paul Kaplan, Professor of Art History, Purchase College, State University of New York presented in conjunction with Cranach's Saint Maurice at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
We are aware of the irrefutable evidence (see Was Queen Sophie Charlotte black?) of the Black ancestry of the royal Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Portugal; England), who was born in the Holy Roman Empire;
What evidence do we have of "prominent positions" that Blacks achieved in the royal family of Germany during and after the reign of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen?
- Do descendants of those Blacks which came to prominence in Germany in the Court of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen survive today in Germany?