Ellie Wood Keith Genealogy

Otto I \'the Great\', Holy Roman Emperor 962-973

Otto I \'the Great\', Holy Roman Emperor 962-973

Male 912 - 973  (60 years)

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  • Name Otto I \'the Great\'  
    Suffix Holy Roman Emperor 962-973 
    Born 23 Nov 912 
    Gender Male 
    History Otto was born on 3 November 912, the eldest son of Emperor Elect Heinrich 'the Fowler' and Matilda von Ingelheim. Otto's younger years were disturbed by quarrels between his parents. His mother wanted their second son Heinrich, seven years younger than Otto, acknowledged as the heir. However when Heinrich the Fowler died in 936, Otto succeeded him aged twenty-four.

    In his younger years he preferred to be away from his mother, and accompanied his father subduing the tribes in Bavaria and Suabia. When he was seventeen he married Eadgyth, a daughter of the English king, Edward 'the Elder'. However, his mother's thoroughly religious education left its mark, as he rarely missed attendance at mass and founded several convents. Otto and Eadgyth had two children, Liudolf and Liudgard, who would have progeny.

    Otto never learned to read or write, which in later life he resented and tried to remedy. He did learn a little French, but not enough to speak it and he had no knowledge of Latin. However he was very intelligent, had a good memory and was an excellent judge of people. He loved hunting and riding wild horses, yet was reserved, calm and dignified. He was capable of sudden bursts of temper, which he would quickly forget, though the people affected did not. Consequently he was more respected than loved.

    At his coronation in 936 by Hildebert, archbishop of Mayence, he made it clear that he intended to be an absolute ruler. To emphasise this he made the dukes of Bavaria, Suabia, Franconia and Lorraine wait upon him at the banquet following the coronation.

    Some of these dukes resented this and revolted. Among the rebels were Otto's half-brother Thankmar and the resentful younger brother Heinrich. Heinrich was joined by Giselbert, duke of Lorraine, and marched towards the Rhine. Although Otto was greatly outnumbered he was a clever strategist and defeated the rebels. Superstition also played a role in his victory as he carried a 'Holy Lance'. Further victories were won with this 'Holy Lance', and his brother Heinrich fled to the court of King Louis IV of France.

    As Otto wanted peace and not revenge, after a period he sought the friendship of the defeated dukes. His brother was forgiven, made duke of Bavaria, and so became Otto's loyal follower. To pacify the duke of Suabia he arranged the marriage of his son Liudolf to Ida, daughter of Hermann I of Suabia, while Otto's supporter Konrad 'the Red' replaced the duke of Lorraine. With peace now within the empire, he wanted to 'secure' the borders at the eastern front. His first step was the conquest of Bohemia, and he then inflicted devastation on the Slavs living beyond the Elbe and Oder. While establishing himself in the east, trouble was caused by King Louis IV of France who wanted to regain Lorraine. Otto, believing in family ties, was furious with his French brother-in-law and marched into France. The defeated Louis IV withdrew into France, only to be defeated again by Hugues 'the Great', duke of The Franks. Hugues was also Otto's brother-in-law. Sick of family squabbles, Otto defeated him as well.

    Having secured the western borders, Otto was next invited to intervene in Italy. The Italian ruler Lothar had died and the cruel and unscrupulous Berengar II of Ivrea took his place. Berengar tried to seize the dowry of Lothar's widow, the beautiful Aelis (or Adelaïde). Although she escaped, she was still in danger and asked for Otto's protection. Coming with an army to Lombardy, he forced Berengar to acknowledge him as the overlord of Italy, and assumed the title of king of Italy. As he was a widower, he married Aelis. Among their children, four lived to maturity but only Otto II, later Holy Roman Emperor, would have progeny.

    Although Otto hoped to remain in Italy to make sure of it as part of the empire, he was forced to return to Germany when his son Liudolf revolted, out of fear for possible sons Otto might father by Aelis. The archbishop of Mayence joined Liudolf, and to add to Otto's troubles the Magyars attacked Bavaria.

    While Otto reasserted his authority in Germany, the duke of Lorraine, who acted as his representative in Lombardy, joined Berengar against him. In 961 the debauched Pope John XII appealed to Otto to get rid of Berengar; Otto returned to Italy and Berengar was forced to acknowledge Otto's supremacy.

    On 31 January 962 in Rome's St. Peter's, Otto was then crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope John XII. Otto was now secular master of Europe as well as head of the Church, having forced Pope John XII to swear allegiance to him. By doing so, the pope became Otto's vassal. When Pope John XII indicated that he regretted this action, Otto deposed and replaced him with Pope Leo VIII.

    Having settled his affairs in Italy, Otto returned to Germany; but in 965 Pope Leo VIII suddenly died and the clergy wanted to elect his successor without Otto's consent. Otto returned to Italy and appointed the bishop of Narni as Pope John XIII. When the Romans drove John XIII into exile, in 966 Otto returned and forced the Romans to accept him. Otto then left Italy for the last time and in his last years peace prevailed in Europe. He died on 6 May 973 and was buried in the Cathedral of Magdeburg which he had built.  [1
    Died 7 May 973 
    Person ID I1778  Ellie Wood Keith
    Last Modified 23 Feb 2018 

    Father Heinrich I 'The Fowler', King of the Romans,   b. 876,   d. 2 Jul, 936, Royal Palace in Memleben Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years) 
    Relationship putative 
    Mother Saint Mathilde von Ringelheim,   b. Abt 890/895, Engern, Westfalen Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Mar, 968  (Age ~ 73 years) 
    Relationship putative 
    Married 909 
    Family ID F1120  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Saint Aelis (Adelheid), Empress in Rome,   b. Abt 931/932,   d. 16 Dec 999, Seltz, Alsace Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 67 years) 
    Married Oct 951 
    +1. Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor 967-983,   b. 955,   d. 7 Dec 983, Roma, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 28 years)
    Last Modified 23 Feb 2018 
    Family ID F1113  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Eadgyth, of Wessex, Queen consort of Germany,   b. Abt 910,   d. 946  (Age ~ 36 years) 
    Married 929 
    +1. Liudolf, Duke von Schwaben,   b. 930,   d. 6 Sep 957, Pombia near Novara Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 27 years)
    Last Modified 2 Mar 2018 
    Family ID F1213  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Eadgyth, of Wessex, Queen consort of Germany,   b. Abt 910,   d. 946  (Age ~ 36 years) 
    Married 929 
    +1. Liudgard von Sachsen,   b. Abt 931,   d. 18 Nov 953  (Age ~ 22 years)
    Last Modified 2 Mar 2018 
    Family ID F1221  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Otto I \'the Great\' Holy Roman Emperor
    Otto I \'the Great\' Holy Roman Emperor

  • Sources 
    1. [S64] Genealogics, Leo Van de Pas, http://www.genealogics.org/getperson.php?personID=I00080076&tree=LEO.