Barbarossa was one of the most stone-cold XXX-wreckers of the 12th century, which is saying something because (as you all know) the 12th century was a pretty prime time in history for stone-cold XXX-wreckers. He was born in the year 1122 to a family that claimed lineage to fellow-badXXX Charlemagne [...]. Fredericks' father was the Duke of Swabia, which is a weird name for a Duchy, and his mother was the daughter of a guy named Henry the Black, who I know very little about, though he doesn't sound like a super-friendly, totally-easy-going kind of person. Freddy grew up learning all the hardcore XXX German royalty taught their kids in the Dark Ages, a curriculum that mostly featured people getting beat about the head and legs with inflexible wooden rods or tearing wild beasts apart with their hands or teeth. In order to further assert his manliness over the less-testosterone-y denizens1 of the Fatherland, Frederick one day decided to grow one of the most righteous2 beards ever recorded. This face-rug was so epic that it actually became part of his name – Barbarossa is just the Italian way of saying "Red Beard", which would be a totally sweet name for a Caribbean pirate or a plunder-seeking Viking warlord. Turns out it fit Frederick just fine in his role as the future iron-fisted totalitarian ruler of Central Europe. Despite already having a reputation for toughness, he made a name for himself in a live-fire exercise at the age of 25, when he traveled to the Holy Land and fought in the Second Crusade in a place of honor alongside the German king. The Second Crusade ended up being basically a huge clusterXXX of misery that resulted in what can perhaps be most eloquently described as OMG EPIC FAIL LOL, but in his role as a relatively-non-influential battlefield commander Barbarossa cleaved so many warriors to pieces and performed so well that nobody really blamed him for Christianity's poor showing in the campaign.
Frederick was such a hardcore warrior and natural leader that when King Conrad died in 1152 he snubbed his own son out of his inheritance and appointed Barbarossa king instead, which was a serious burn to the young Prince. Barbarossa thought this was pretty XXX, but decided he'd much rather be an Emperor than just a King, so he went down to the Vatican in Rome and told the Pope to get busy with the crowning and the anointing3 and whatnot. The Pope – who was always quite the negotiator during this period of history – agreed to declare Frederick Emperor of a newly-reformed Holy Roman Empire, but only if Frederick went out and ruthlessly beat some commune-living atheists into submission for him. Before the Pope had even finished his sentence, Barbarossa was standing in a castle in Lombardy setting fire to priceless tapestries and bashing peoples' skulls in with an unrelenting series of vicious bearded headXXX. [...]
But don't go thinking that this XXX-wrecking manic got soft with his old age or anything - he could still talk XXX with the best of them, and he wasn't too civilized to settle disputes with extreme violence at the first sign of trouble. Like when Saladin conquered Jerusalem to kick off the Third Crusade, Barbarossa was totally ripXXX. In awesome badXXX fashion he sent the Muslim ruler a letter saying that he was coming down there to kick his XXX personally, and that the next time they spoke it was going to be face-to-face (or, more appropriately, face-to-sword). He assembled 20,000 badXXX knights, charged over land through Hungary, Serbia, and the Byzantine Empire, and fought two successful battles in Asia Minor. Ultimately however, Barbarossa never got to make good on his thinly-veiled threat – he died trying to charge through a river in full armor to get to the front lines of a nearby battle when the current swept his horse out from under him mid-stream. It's an "A" for effort, but the execution was a little lacking. Barbarossa was buried in Antioch, though some German folklore claims that he's just resting in a cave, waiting to save his people in the time of their greatest need. Even today his name is synonymous with bloodshed, as evidenced by the fact that the WWII Operation Barbarossa - the largest and most violent and bloodiest campaign in the history of war – is named after him.