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Theophanu (960 – June 15, 991) (Greek: Θεοφανώ Σκλήραινα, Theophano Skleraina), also spelled Theophania, Theophana or Theophano, was born in Constantinople, and was the wife of Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor.



Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor had requested a Byzantine princess for his son, Otto, to seal a treaty between the Holy Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. The unwise reference by the pope to the Nikephoros II Phokas, the ruler in Constantinople, as "Greek" in a letter[citation needed] while Otto's ambassador, Liudprand of Cremona, was in the Byzantine court, had destroyed the first round of negotiations[citation needed]. With the ascension of a new emperor who had not been personally been referred to other than as Roman Emperor, the treaty negotiations were able to resume. Theophanu duly arrived in 972, arriving in grand style with a magnificent escort and bearing great treasure. However, according to the chronicler Thietmar, she was not the virgo desiderata, the anticipated imperial princess. Theophanu is identified in the marriage contract as the neptis (niece or granddaughter) of Emperor John I Tzimiskes. Theophanu was nevertheless of distinguished noble heritage: recent research has established her as the daughter of Sophia Phokaina, Tzimiskes' cousin and niece of Nikephoros II, and of Tzimiskes' brother-in-law (from his first marriage) Constantine Skleros.[1][2]

Marriage and children

Theophanu and Otto were married by Pope John XIII on April 14, 972 at Saint Peter's and she was crowned empress the same day in Rome. Their children were:

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