Otto I the Great 912-973
Otto I was Otto The Great of the
Roman Empire and member of the
What Was So
Special About the Man?
Otto brought stability to the German Reich by eliminating rebels,
defeating Hungarians, keeping his vassal dukes in check, and re-defining the
role of the church.
Otto gave the Germans peace and they, in
turn, enjoyed the tranquility and developed their culture. Historians call this the
The Family of
Otto I the Great
Otto's father was Henry I.
Otto's mother was Matilda.
Otto's brothers were Henry and Thankmar.
In 930, Otto married Edith. Edith
was daughter of English King Edward the Elder. Edith died in 946.
In 951, Otto married again. This time
Adelaide was the happy girl. Adelaide was princess of Burgundy
and the widowed queen of Italy, which was very practical because
Otto thus became king of the Lombards as well.
Otto's sons were Liudolf (by Edith)
and Otto II (by Adelaide.)
The Life of Otto
I the Great
When Otto's father died in 936, Otto became Otto II, duke
of Saxony and king of the Germans and not to be mixed up with his
son mentioned above.
In 962, Otto became Otto I, Holy
Roman emperor. He was in office as such until his death in 973.
The Battles of
Otto I the Great
Otto fought the dukes Eberhard of Franconia, Eberhard of
Bavaria, and his half-brother Thankmar. Otto won.
Later on, Otto's younger brother
Henry rebelled and Eberhard of Franconia joined in. Otto
straightened them out at the Battle of Andernach in 939.
of Lotharingia and French king
Louis IV, who was after
Lotharingia, which is Lorraine, thought this
was terrific and joined the rebellion against Otto. Otto called
Hugh the Great and asked him if he wanted to help him fight Louis
IV. Hugh said he did and together they went after Louis in 940.
In 941, little Henry plotted an
assassination against his brother. Otto learned about the plot in
time but forgave Henry and later, in 947, Otto even made Henry duke of Bavaria.
Louis IV and Otto became buddies. Now it was Hugh the Great they
were after. They got him good in 950.
After a bad start, Otto's Bohemia campaign
finally became a success and he defeated the Bohemian prince
In 951, Otto marched into Italy,
introduced himself down there and married Adelaide while he was
at it. Adelaide had been kidnapped by the margrave Berengar of
Ivrea. By the time Otto was done with his
Italy campaign, Berengar was just another ordinary vassal.
little weasel Liudolf, started a rebellion while Otto was in Italy.
Otto had to make haste and travel back home again. By the year 955, Otto
had again everything under control and Liudolf said he
Magyars had invaded
Germany. Otto again packed his thermos and kicked butt in the
Battle of the Lechfeld,
which is a plain along the Lech River near Augsburg, Germany.
The date? August 955. After this
Magyars decided to stay away from Germany for good.
The Battle of the
The fighting season of 955 wasn't quite
over yet and Otto and the
margrave Gero fought and defeated the Slavs later that year. The Slavs
were a bit tough and it took until 960 to beat them completely.
Emperor Otto I the Great
All the fighting paid off. When Berengar started to act up again, Otto went back down to Italy. On this occasion, on February
2, 962, to be exact, Pope John XII crowned Otto emperor. The two also
signed a treaty, the Privilegium Ottonianum.
But Pope John XII felt that Otto had too much power. So he went to Berengar to talk business. Otto
noticed that loyalty was shifting and in
December 963, Otto deposed Pope John XII. The new pope was Leo VIII and this time
Otto took Berengar back home to Germany with him so he could have a close eye on him.
In 965, Pope Leo VIII died. Otto's new choice
for pope was John XIII. But the Romans didn't like this John and
kicked him out of town. So Otto packed his suitcase and
tracked down to Italy yet again. This time he stayed for six years
cleaned up good. He also arranged the marriage between his son Otto II
and the Byzantine princess Theophano.
Otto came back to Germany, organized a
massive party on March 23, 973, and died shortly after.
Great emperor, great exit.
Otto's and Adelaide's son
Otto II became the next Holy Roman emperor.
And here is a map of central Europe
around the year 980: