From 1225 to 1250, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, built or renovated at least seventy defensive structures in the southern Italian province of Apulia. These buildings blended Roman, Islamic, or Byzantine elements with newer Gothic architecture; however, many of these architectural traits had already been adapted by the Norman lords of southern Italy in the preceding two centuries. Thus we must consider Frederick's originality in light of this less studied trend in the existing Romanesque canon. Frederick's replication of Norman architectural practices was based on the fact that they previously been used as a tool of empire, and it echoes his reuse of Roman remains. This article considers several aspects of Frederick's architectural program, including topographical layout and geographical positioning, his appropriation of Roman and Norman remains, and his adoption of classical and Norman artistic and engineering practices as nuanced processes of architectural spoliation and innovation.

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