Journal article

Frederick II of Hohenstaufen's Australasian cockatoo: symbol of detente between East and West and evidence of the Ayyubid Sultanate's global reach

H Dalton, J Salo, P Niemelä, S Örmä

Parergon | ANZAMEMS | Published : 2018


While scholars may know that the 'sultan of Babylon' sent Frederick II a 'white parrot', few are aware of the existence of four sketches, indicating it was a Sulphur or Yellow-crested Cockatoo. As these were made two and a half centuries before what was thought to be the earliest European image of the Australasian cockatoo - in Andrea Mantegna's 1496 Madonna della Vittoria - the authors consider the events and shared interests that led the sultan to give this bird to Frederick and how it would have arrived on the Apennine Peninsula in the first half of the thirteenth century.