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  1. Without a shadow of a doubt: Henry II In his heyday, Henry was the most illustrious ruler in Europe, ruling a vast collection of territories and commanding resources that far exceeded anything Barbarossa or Philip Augustus could practically command, in terms of government and administration. Due to his reforms, he was able to average revenues £40-48,000 (~$2 billion today) per annum by the later years of his reign, which far outstretched those of Barbarossa and even Manuel Komnenos. Emperors and Popes sued to him for arbitration in the great diplomatic issues of the day; the Patriarch of Jerusalem offered Henry the crown of Jerusalem before he did so to any other ruler, on account of his position as Europe’s most powerful elder statesman. This coupled with his absolutely crucial legal reforms which daily and directly impact the lives of no less than 35% of the population of the modern world and enabled him to rule more securely and effectively in his lands than any other European monarch mean simply that it is no contest whatsoever. See the works of W.L. Warren, Dan Jones, John Gillingham, Nicholas Vincent, and David Carpenter (to name but a few) for further reading.
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