Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor

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Otto I the Great (23 November 912 in Wallhausen – 7 May 973 in Memleben), son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan.[1] While Charlemagne had been crowned emperor in 800, his empire had been divided amongst his grandsons, and following the assassination of Berengar of Friuli in 924, the imperial title had lain vacant for nearly forty years. On 2 February 962, Otto was crowned Emperor of what would later become the Holy Roman Empire.

Contents

Biography

Early reign

Married to Eadgyth of England in 929, Otto succeeded his father as king of the Saxons in 936.[2]

He arranged for his coronation to be held in Charlemagne's former capital, Aachen, where he was anointed by Hildebert archbishop of Mainz, primate of the German church. According to the Saxon historian Widukind of Corvey, at his coronation banquet he had the four other dukes of the empire, those of Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria and Lorraine, act as his personal attendants: Arnulf I of Bavaria as marshal (or stablemaster), Herman I, Duke of Swabia as cupbearer, Eberhard III of Franconia as steward (or seneschal), and Gilbert of Lorraine as Chamberlain.[3] From the outset of his reign he signalled that he was the successor to Charlemagne, whose last heirs in East Francia had died out in 911, and that he had the German church, with its powerful bishops and abbots, behind him. However, the Neustrian reign (West Francia), had been and still was under the rule of the Carolingian dynasty.

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