Otto I. (HRR)

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Otto's victory over Berengar II .: Otto I ("Thevconicor [um] REX") receives a sword from the king kneeling on the left, who is called Beringarius , as a sign of submission . Otto's henchman on the right carries a sword with the point upwards as a sign of authority. Illustration of a manuscript from the World Chronicle of Otto von Freising . Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Cod. SP 48, olim F 129 Sup., Around 1200

Otto I the Great (born November 23, 912 ; † May 7, 973 in Memleben ) from the Liudolfinger dynasty was Duke of Saxony and King of Eastern Franconia (regnum francorum orientalium) from 936 , King of Italy from 951 and Roman from 962 - German Emperor .

During the first half of his long reign, Otto enforced the indivisibility of kingship and his decision-making power in the allocation of offices. In doing so, he intervened deeply in the existing system of rule of the nobility . The worst insurrection movements came from the members of the royal family themselves. Otto's brother Heinrich and his son Liudolf claimed to be part of the royal rule. Otto emerged victorious from each of the uprisings.

His victory in 955 in the battle of the Lechfeld over the Hungarians ended not only their invasions, but also the uprisings of the greats of the empire against the king. In addition, he gained the nimbus of a savior of Christianity, especially since he won a victory over the Slavs in the same year . This was followed by a cultural heyday known as the Ottonian Renaissance .

In 961 he conquered the Kingdom of Italy and expanded his empire north, east and as far as southern Italy, where he came into conflict with Byzantium . Nevertheless, with recourse to the imperial idea of Charlemagne in 962 by Pope John XII. he was crowned emperor in Rome, and finally he even managed to reach an agreement with the Byzantine emperor and marry his son Otto II with his niece Theophanu .

In 968 he founded an archbishopric in Magdeburg , the city that is connected to his afterlife like no other. For Otto, the archbishopric was the decisive prerequisite for the Christianization of the Slavs.

The nickname “the great” has been a fixed name attribute since the medieval historian Otto von Freising . Even Widukind of Corvey called him totius orbis caput , the "head of the whole world."


Heir to the throne

Kinship chart of the Ottonians in a manuscript of the Chronica Sancti Pantaleonis from the early 13th century. Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Library , Cod. Guelf. 74.3 Aug. 2 °, pag. 226
Name entries of King Heinrich I and his family from 929 in the Reichenau fraternization book. In the second column from the right under Heinricus rex is his wife Mathild [e] reg [ina], then her eldest son Otto I, already with the title of king ( Otto rex ). Zurich, Central Library , Sign. Ms. Rh. Hist. 27, pag. 63

Otto was born in 912 as the son of the Saxon Duke Heinrich I , who became King of Eastern Franconia in 919, and his second wife Mathilde, perhaps in Wallhausen . Mathilde was a daughter of the Saxon Count Dietrich from the Widukinds family . Otto had I. From the first marriage annulled Henry's half-brother Thankmar . Otto's younger siblings were Gerberga , Hadwig , Heinrich and Brun . Nothing is known about his youth and upbringing, but his training is likely to have been military. Otto gained his first experience as a military leader on the eastern border of the empire in the fight against Slavic tribes. At the age of sixteen, Otto fathered a son Wilhelm , who later became Archbishop of Mainz , with an elegant Slavic .

After the death of Conrad I , who did not succeed in integrating the greats of the empire into his rule, in 919 the dignity of king was for the first time not transferred to a Franconian but to a Saxon . Heinrich was only elected by the Franks and Saxons, but through a skilful policy of military submission and the subsequent friendship, including numerous concessions ( amicitia and pacta ), he understood the duchies of Swabia (919) and Bavaria (921/922) to bind. In addition, Heinrich succeeded in re-annexing Lorraine , which had joined West Franconia during the time of Conrad , to the East Franconian kingdom (925).

In order to secure his family's rule over Eastern Franconia and at the same time unity, a preliminary decision was made in favor of Otto's sole succession to the throne at least in 929/930. In a document dated September 16, 929, the so-called "house rules", addressed to his wife, Heinrich determined the widows' estate for Mathilde with Quedlinburg , Pöhlde , Nordhausen , Grone and Duderstadt . All the greats of the empire and his son Otto were called upon to recognize and support this "testament". The youngest son Brun was given to Bishop Balderich of Utrecht for education and thus prepared for a spiritual career. In a memorial book of the Reichenau monastery , Otto is referred to as rex (king) as early as 929 , but not his brothers Heinrich and Brun. With the title rex , however, Otto was not yet installed as co-king. There is no evidence of any ruling activity in the period between 929 and 936; rather, Otto is not even mentioned in the sources during this period.

Heinrich's succession plan not only excluded the non-Saxon candidates, but also the Otto brothers. It was significant because Heinrich gave up the principle of the Carolingian division of power, which had granted every member of the royal family an entitlement. He thus established the individual succession, the indivisibility of kingship and thus of the empire, which his successors should also retain.

At the same time as the preparations for the coronation, the Ottonians sought a bride for Otto from the English royal family. In this way, Heinrich tried to bind dynasties outside his empire to his house, which had been unusual in the East Frankish empire until then. In addition to the additional legitimation through the connection with another ruling house, this reflected a strengthening of "Saxonism", since the English rulers invoked the Saxons who emigrated to the island in the 5th century. In addition, the bride brought with her the prestige of being from the family of Saint Oswald, who died as a martyr king . After the two half-sisters Edgith and Edgiva of the English king Æthelstan had traveled to the court of Henry I, Edgith was chosen as Otto's bride. Her sister married into the royal house of Hochburgund . After Otto's marriage, his Anglo-Saxon wife Edgith received 929 Magdeburg as a morning gift . At Pentecost 930, Heinrich presented the designated heir to the throne in Franconia and the greats of the respective region in Aachen in order to obtain their approval for his succession to the throne. According to a note from the Lausanne annals compiled in the 13th century, which verifiably comes from a source of the 10th century, Otto was anointed king in Mainz as early as 930. In the early summer of 936, the existence of the empire was discussed in Erfurt (de statu regni) . Heinrich once again strongly recommended Otto as his successor.

Accession to the throne

Royal throne in Aachen Cathedral

After the death of Heinrich I on July 2, 936, the successor to his son Otto was realized within a few weeks, for which a report by Widukind von Corvey is available 30 years later . Widukind possibly projected details from Otto II's election as king from 961 back to 936. Widukind's detailed account is currently being discussed in almost every detail. Otto is said to have been elected head of Franconia and Saxony (elegit sibi in principem) and the Palatinate Aachen as the place of a general election (universalis electio) . On August 7, 936, the dukes, margraves and other secular greats sat Otto on the throne in the vestibule of the Aachen cathedral and paid homage to him. In the middle of the church, the approval of the people for the elevation of the king was obtained. This was followed by the handover of the insignia (sword with sword belt, bracelets and cloak, scepter and staff) by the Archbishop of Mainz, Hildebert of Mainz . Otto was anointed and crowned King of East Franconia by the Archbishops Hildebert of Mainz and Wichfried of Cologne in the collegiate church . The act of anointing marked the beginning of a multitude of spiritual acts that gave kingship that sacred dignity that his father had humbly renounced.

By choosing the place of the coronation and consciously wearing Franconian clothing during the ceremony, Otto continued the Franconian-Carolingian tradition of royalty. The place of choice and coronation in the Lorraine part of the empire was not only intended to emphasize Lorraine's new affiliation to the East Franconian empire, but as the burial place of Charlemagne , Aachen was also a symbol of continuity and legitimation. At the subsequent banquet, the Dukes sided Giselbert of Lorraine as chamberlain , Eberhard of Franconia as steward , Bavaria Arnulf as Marshal and the Schwabe Hermann as a cupbearer the court offices . By taking on this service, the dukes symbolized the cooperation with the king and thus clearly showed their subordination to the new ruler. There are no older models for the coronation meal with the symbolic service of the dukes. The rising to the king was thus divided into spiritual and secular acts. The importance of sacred-divine legitimacy and the increased claim to rule over one's father is also evident in the change in the symbols of rule. He continued the East Franconian type of seal, which shows an army leader favored by God. From 936, however, the divine grace formula DEI Gratia is inserted into the legend of the king's seal.

Assumption of power

Despite his designation, Otto did not come to power as consensually and harmoniously as the Widukind report suggests; Even before the coronation, the ruling family seems to have been divided, as Otto's brother Heinrich had also claimed the royal dignity, as the West Franconian Flodoard von Reims reports. As the king's son, Heinrich was also very much into the fact that the documents referred to him and his father as equivocos (“bearer of the same name”) shortly after his birth . During Otto's coronation, Heinrich stayed in Saxony under the supervision of Margrave Siegfried. The relationship between Otto and his mother also seems to have been tense. Mathilde was probably not present at the rebellion of her son Otto as she was still in Quedlinburg on July 31st. The lives of Queen Mathilde state that Otto's mother would have preferred the succession to the throne by her younger son Heinrich. In contrast to Otto, Heinrich was born “under the purple” , ie after the coronation of Heinrich I, which meant a higher dignity for her.

Five weeks after his accession to the throne, Otto rearranged the widows' estate in Quedlinburg for his mother Mathilde. A deed of foundation dated September 13, 936, withdrew Mathilde's control over the Quedlinburg Abbey, which she had founded, as guaranteed by Heinrich I, in favor of royal protection. In the deed, Otto assured his descendants of the power of disposal over the monastery "as long as they hold the throne with a powerful hand". His own brother and his descendants were initially excluded from the claim to the bailiwick over Quedlinburg, as long as a man from the descendants (generatio) of Otto in "Franconia and Saxony" reached the royal office. At the same time, Otto set Quedlinburg as the place of memory for his ruling family and made it the most important place for the Ottonians in their Saxon heartland. During the king's first visit to his father's grave, Otto demonstrated the “individual succession” and leadership within the Ottonian family. On September 21, 937 Otto increased the ecclesiastical rank of Magdeburg with the establishment of the Mauritius Monastery. In his founding document, Otto gave the monks the task of praying for the salvation of his father, wife and children, himself and all those to whom he owed prayer help.

Disputes within the royal family and in the empire

Otto's beginning of rule was accompanied by a serious crisis, the cause of which Widukind von Corvey and Liudprand von Cremona pass on differently. Liudprand relied on rumors and anecdotes circulating at court that defamed Otto's opponents. He names two causes: on the one hand, Heinrich's lust for power, who felt himself disadvantaged by the sole successor to his brother, and on the other hand, the ambitions of the dukes Eberhard and Giselbert. It is assumed that both of them wanted to gain royal dignity after the elimination of Otto and then their allies.

Otto at the side of Hermann Billung. Illustration from the Saxon World Chronicle around 1270, Gotha, Research Library , Cod. Memb. I 90, fol. 89 r.

Widukind, on the other hand, reports that Otto ignored the claims of powerful aristocrats when filling the offices. After the death of Count Bernhard from the Billunger family at the end of 935, Otto occupied the post of military leader (princeps militae) instead of Count Wichmann with his younger and poorer brother Hermann Billung , although the passed away Wichmann also had a sister of the Queen, who had already died at that time Mathilde had been married. Otto had thus changed the hierarchy in the affected noble family. In the year 937 the secundus a rege (the second man after the king) died with Siegfried von Merseburg in Saxony . Siegfried's command in the southern part of the Saxon-Slavic border gave Otto to Gero . With Gero, a younger brother of the deceased Count Siegfried was appointed, although Otto's half-brother Thankmar had mixed up with these counts through his mother Hatheburg and, as the prince's son, believed he had more legitimate claims to the succession.

Also in the year 937 died the Bavarian Duke Arnulf , who, with Henry I's approval, had ruled Bavaria almost like a king. Out of arrogance, his sons disdained to follow the king's orders if one were to believe Widukind's topical representation. Eberhard , designated by his father and elected by the Bavarian greats as the new duke, refused to pay homage to Otto in 937, after Otto had only wanted to recognize Eberhard if he had been prepared to renounce the investiture of the bishops in Bavaria. After two campaigns Otto Eberhard was banished; the duchy was given to Arnulf's brother Berthold , who renounced both the bishop's investment and the old Carolingian royal estate in Bavaria and Otto remained loyal until his death in 947.

In the meantime, in the Saxon-Franconian border area, Duke Eberhard von Franken , brother of the former King Konrad I, had victoriously passed a feud with the Saxon vassal Bruning. In its course, he burned down the opposing castle Helmern . This castle was in Hessengau , where Eberhard exercised the power of counts . Since Otto did not tolerate Eberhard as an autonomous intermediate violence, he penalized Eberhard for delivering horses worth 100 pounds. Eberhard's helpers were sentenced to the disgraceful punishment of carrying dogs on a route to the royal city of Magdeburg.

These messages are supported by the findings of the memorial book entries. There were noticeably many entries under Heinrich I, and the ruling structure at that time was based to a large extent on cooperative ties between royalty and high nobility. In contrast, the memorial springs dry up completely in the first five years of Otto's reign. While the time of Heinrich I is described under key terms such as "peace" (pax) and "unity" (concordia) , under his son are "dispute" (contentio) , "discord" (discordia) and "indignation" (rebellio) im Foreground.

Revolt in the empire 937–941

The king's seal of Otto I, which was in use from 936 to 961, shows the king with a lance and shield.

Otto's policy snubbed powerful nobles in Saxony, Franconia, Lorraine and Bavaria right at the beginning of his rule, who soon revolted against the ruler: "The Saxons lost all hope of being able to keep the king." Widukind writes about the seriousness of the situation to characterize.

The Franconian Duke Eberhard and Count Wichmann the Elder from the Billunger family allied with Thankmar. He moved against the Belecke Castle near Warstein in the Arnsberg Forest and there delivered the imprisoned half-brother Heinrich to Duke Eberhard. But the struggle continued unhappily for the insurgents. Duke Hermann von Schwaben , one of the rebels, went over to King Otto. After Wichmann had reconciled with the king and Thankmar had been killed in the church of the Eresburg after the liberation of Heinrich , Eberhard was isolated and no longer the undisputed leader even within his own clan , so that, through the mediation of Archbishop Friedrich von Mainz, he was the King subjugated. After a short exile to Hildesheim , he was pardoned and soon restored to his former dignity.

Even before his submission, Eberhard had prepared a new alliance against Otto by promising his younger brother Heinrich to help him to the crown. Duke Giselbert von Lothringen , who was married to Otto's sister Gerberga, was added as a third ally . Otto won a victory in a battle near Birten near Xanten , which was attributed to his prayer in front of the Holy Lance , but was unable to capture the conspirators and besieged the Breisach fortress without success . Archbishop Friedrich von Mainz and Ruthard von Straßburg tried to mediate between Eberhard and the king; when Otto did not accept the mediators' proposal, they joined the opponents. Meanwhile Giselbert and Eberhard ravaged the lands of loyal nobles. However, the uprising collapsed rather by accident and without Otto's direct intervention: Eberhard and Giselbert were surprised by an army led by the Konradines Udo and Konrad when crossing the Rhine near Andernach in 939 after a raid in the territory of two followers of Duke Hermann of Swabia and in defeated in the battle of Andernach on October 2, 939. The two rebellious dukes were killed: Eberhard was slain, Giselbert drowned in the Rhine. Against this divine judgment , which was obvious to contemporaries, the king's opponents found it difficult to continue the conflict. Heinrich submitted and received from Otto the Duchy of Lorraine, which had been freed by Giselbert's death, in an attempt to give him a share of power. As compensation, Otto kept the Duchy of Franconia, which had also become vacant, under direct royal rule. Francia et Saxonica (Franconia and Saxony) formed the core area of ​​the empire from now on.

In the meantime, Margrave Gero had defended the border against the Slavs at the risk of numerous sacrifices and subjugated the area as far as the Oder . The Slavs allegedly even planned an attack on the margrave; However, he got ahead of them and had 30 Slav princes killed in a sleepy sleep after a convivium (feast) . As the Saxon princes complained of insufficient booty and insufficient tribute in view of the high losses caused by the long campaigns, they came into conflict with the margrave. Their displeasure was also directed against Otto, who supported the margrave. Otto's brother Heinrich took advantage of this mood among the Saxon nobility, so that many of them took part in the conspiracy against the king. At the beginning of the year 939 he organized a large feast or feast (convivium) in Saalfeld , Thuringia , "there he gave many gifts of great goods and thereby won a large number of people to join his conspiracy". Otto was to be murdered on Easter 941 in the royal Palatinate Quedlinburg at the grave of their common father, and a powerful oath (coniuratio) was ready to put the crown on his younger brother. But the king found out about this plan in good time, protected himself during the festivities by surrounding himself day and night with a band of loyal vassals, and then suddenly struck back. Heinrich was arrested in the Palatinate Ingelheim , his allies were arrested and most of them executed. Heinrich escaped from custody and submitted to his brother at Christmas 941 in the Palatinate Chapel in Frankfurt . So he received forgiveness again, for which he asked barefoot and falling on his feet. From now on, there is no record of Heinrich's attempt to dispute his brother's rule.

Nobility politics

When filling offices and properties, Otto wanted to enforce his sovereign decision-making power and did not seek the necessary consensus with the big players in his decisions. He particularly disregarded the claims of the dukes and close family members to certain positions of power. Otto, on the other hand, promoted his devoted members, especially the lower nobility, to key positions in order to secure the status quo in Saxony, and made his mother's loyal followers feel disadvantaged. Finally, the new king also demanded submission from his father's “friends”, “who would never have refused anything”.

Further reasons for the elevation of the nobility included the still unusual individual succession or individual throne succession, from which the initially unresolved question arose as to how the king's brothers were to be looked after, and Otto's authoritarian style of government compared to his father. Heinrich had renounced the anointing that would symbolically have elevated him above the imperial grandees and based his government on friendship pacts with important people. These pacts had been an essential basis of Henry I's conception of rule, who had renounced royal prerogatives in order to achieve internal consolidation in agreement with the dukes. The anointed Otto believed that he could make his decisions regardless of claims and independently of the internal hierarchy of the noble clans, since his conception of royalty, in contrast to that of his father, raised him far above the rest of the nobility.

The structural peculiarities of the disputes included in particular the "rules of the game for conflict resolution", that is, the social norms that applied in the ranked society of the 10th century. Only the king’s opponents from the aristocratic ruling class and his own family, who publicly admitted their guilt and unconditionally submitted, could hope for a pardon. The punishment left to the king was usually so mild that the penitent was soon back in office and dignity. Above all, the king's brother Heinrich was given the position of duke in Lorraine and then in Bavaria. Ordinary conspirators, on the contrary, were executed.

Decade of Consolidation (941-951)

The following decade (941–951) was marked by an undisputed exercise of royal power. Otto's documents from this time repeatedly mention rewards that loyal vassals received for their services or that served to care for their bereaved. From the years 940–47 alone, 14 privileges of this type are known. There are also two diplomas in which goods that have been confiscated by a court have been returned. As a result of the established rule of kings, fixed habits of representation of power developed. This can be seen from 946 onwards from the annual change of farm days in Aachen and Quedlinburg at Easter.

After these noble elevations Otto did not change his practice of filling duchies as offices of the empire at his discretion, but combined them with dynastic politics. Otto's father Heinrich had still relied on the amicitia (friendship bond) as an important instrument to stabilize his kingship, now marriage took its place. Otto refused to accept uncrowned rulers as equal contractual partners. The integration of important vassals now took place through marriage connections: The West Franconian King Ludwig IV married Otto's sister Gerberga in 939 . The Salian Konrad the Red sat Otto 944 as Duke of Lorraine and tied this 947 by marrying his daughter Liudgard close to the royal family. He satisfied his brother Heinrich's claim to participate in power by marrying Judith , daughter of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria, and setting him up as Duke in Bavaria in the winter of 947/948, after the duchy with the death of Arnulf's brother Berthold had become free. The award of the Bavarian ducal dignity to Otto's previously rebellious brother Heinrich marked his final renunciation of the royal dignity. The king's closest relatives took over the most important positions in the empire, while Franks and Saxons continued to be directly subordinate to the king without ducal power.

Shortly after Edgith's death on January 29, 946, who found her grave in Magdeburg, Otto began to arrange his own succession. He had the already negotiated marriage of his son Liudolf with Ida , the daughter of Duke Hermann von Schwaben, leader of the Conradines who remained loyal to him, concluded in late autumn 947 and declared him his successor as king. All the greats of the empire were called upon to swear allegiance to his son, who had just come of age at the time. In a binding form, Liudolf received the promise to be able to succeed his father. Thereby he upgraded Hermann and secured his own house the succession in the duchy, since Hermann had no sons. In 950 Liudolf therefore became Duke of Swabia as planned.

Relations with other rulers in Europe

Reich territory shortly before Otto's death (972; outlined in red)

Otto's policy of rule was embedded in the political context of early medieval Europe. His decision in favor of Aachen as the coronation site already raised the problem of relations with western France . Aachen was in the Duchy of Lorraine , to which the West Frankish kings, who were still Carolingians , made a claim. However, the ruling house in western France was already severely weakened by the power of the high nobility. In presenting himself as the legitimate successor of Charlemagne, Otto saw his claim to Lorraine legitimized. During Heinrich's uprising and later, in 940, the West Frankish King Ludwig IV tried to establish himself in Lorraine, but failed on the one hand because of Otto's military strength and on the other because Ludwig's domestic rival Hugo the Great was married to Otto's sister Hadwig . Ludwig was able to assert his claims to Lorraine by marrying Gerberga, the widow of the rebel Duke Giselbert, who fell in 939. Since this was another sister of Otto, he became Otto's brother-in-law and his own domestic rival Hugo. So Otto pursued a marriage policy towards western France similar to that towards the dukes in eastern Franconia. In 942 Otto brokered a formal reconciliation: Hugo von Franzien had to perform an act of submission and Ludwig IV had to renounce any claims to Lorraine.

In 946 the west of Franconia got into a crisis when King Ludwig was betrayed, first in captivity by a Danish king and then in the hands of his main opponent Hugo. Otto had already brokered the peace between Ludwig and Hugo in 942 and therefore had to watch over the existence of the peace, which had been severely disturbed by the capture. At the urgent request of his sister Gerberga, Otto intervened in the west on behalf of Ludwig. Otto's military power was insufficient, however, to take fortified cities such as Laon , Reims , Paris or Rouen . After three months Otto broke off the campaign without defeating Hugo. But he managed to drive Archbishop Hugo von Reims out of his episcopal city.

The year-long dispute between Ludwig and Hugo, which also involved the occupation of the Reims Erzstuhl, was settled in 948 by the Universal Synod of Ingelheim , in which 34 bishops took part, including all German archbishops and the Reims candidate Artold . The choice of the conference venue in the East Franconian Empire shows that Otto saw himself as an arbitrator in the West Franconian Empire. The assembly presented itself in front of King Otto, in the Reims Schism it decided for his candidate Artold against Hugo, the favorite of Hugos von Franzien. Ludwig IV was excommunicated in September 948 . His position as a family member was gradually improved again by Otto, first at Easter in 951, then two years later in Aachen, where the final reconciliation took place.

At the Universal Synod in Ingelheim, however, not only West Franconian problems were dealt with. The bishops of Ripen , Schleswig, and Aarhus were ordained . All three dioceses were subordinated to Archbishop Adaldag of Hamburg - Bremen . These dioceses and the founding of other dioceses in Brandenburg and Havelberg in the same year meant an intensified Christianization. From the nationalist historiography these measures were anachronistic interpreted as "Ostpolitik", which focused on expansion and subjugation of the Slavic territories. Attempts to enforce rule against the Danes and Slavs among the Ottonians are not discernible. Unlike Charlemagne, Otto was more involved in the Slavs and Gentiles mission for a limited period of time and, despite some violent disputes, much more cautiously. Otto seems to have contented himself with recognizing the sovereignty over the Slavic territories.

Eastern Franconia had good relations with the Kingdom of Burgundy since Henry I acquired the Holy Lance from its King Rudolf II . When Rudolf died in 937, Otto brought his underage son Konrad to his court in order to prevent a takeover of Burgundy by Hugo of Italy , who had immediately married Rudolf's widow Berta and engaged his son Lothar to his daughter Adelheid . After the death of the Italian King Hugo on April 10, 947, Otto also ensured that Niederburgund and Provence fell to his protégé Konrad, which further strengthened his relationship with the Burgundian royal family. Otto respected the independence of Burgundy and never reached for the Burgundian crown.

Close contacts also existed between Otto I and the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (944–959). Contemporary sources report numerous embassies that traveled from west to east and east to west on political matters. On October 31, 945 and again on the occasion of Easter in 949, “Greek emissaries twice brought gifts from their emperor to our king, honoring both rulers,” reports Thietmar von Merseburg in his chronicle. At that time a marriage alliance between Byzantium and the Ottonian ruler was unsuccessful.

Intervention in Italy and marriage to Adelheid of Burgundy

Otto I. next to Adelheid in Meissen Cathedral . The imperial couple, venerated as the founder of the cathedral, in the choir. The emperor with a crown, scepter and orb, Adelheid with a crown and a hermelin-lined cloak, depicted as a pious married couple attending the service facing each other.

With the death of Berengar I of Italy, the western empire was extinguished in 924. Every ruler of a Frankish sub-empire was therefore free to adorn himself with imperial splendor without provoking undesirable reactions. However, Otto's plan for the coronation of the emperor seems to have condensed into a fixed action plan only late. As long as Queen Edgith lived, Otto's activities were primarily concentrated in the East Frankish Empire.

In Italy, Hugo's and Lothar's regiment aroused some resentment among the greats, headed by Berengar von Ivrea . However, in 941 he had to flee to Otto's court, who for the first time came into direct contact with the political problems of Italy. Otto, however, avoided taking any specific sides. He neither turned his guest over to Hugo, nor did he give him his express support when Berengar returned across the Alps of his own accord in 945 and quickly cornered Hugo in northern Italy. Hugo died in 948 in his Provencal homeland, where he had evaded, and left the field to his son Lothar. Before a major argument broke out, Lothar also found a sudden death on November 22, 950 and widowed Adelheid , who was not yet 20 years old .

According to Lombard tradition, Adelheid was able to pass on the royal dignity through marriage. For this reason, Berengar took her captive and on December 15, 950, just three weeks after Lothar's death, declared himself king and his younger son Adalbert co-regent. But even he did not find all-round recognition, and the eyes of the dissatisfied were directed to Adelheid, who had apparently adopted the idea of ​​being able to determine the future of the empire by remarrying.

The iron crown of the Lombards was the insignia of the Italian royal dignity, which passed to Otto in 951.

Adelheid was not only the widow of the Italian king, but also related through her mother Berta to the Swabian ducal family, whose head Otto's son Liudolf had become through his marriage to Ida. Above all, Otto himself was very interested in intervening in Italy. Since he had been a widower himself since 946, he had the opportunity to marry Adelheid and thus extend his rule to Italy. In addition, this offered the prospect of imperial dignity. After Adelheid was established, Otto decided to move to Italy; It is unclear whether he was asked to do so or even asked to take over rule. Already in the spring of 951 Liudolf had ridden to Italy without any communication with his father with only a weak accompaniment. What Liudolf aimed at is uncertain. In any case, his enterprise failed because of the intrigue of his uncle Heinrich , who had secretly warned Liudolf's opponent without being confronted by Otto.

Heinrich was even appointed by Otto as a military leader and was the most important middleman on Otto's Italian campaign in September 951, which went without fighting. Heinrich led Adelheid from her refuge Canossa to Pavia , where Otto married her in October. He took over the Italian royal dignity without an act of collection being explicitly mentioned in the sources. His law firm dubbed him on October 10th, clearly following Charlemagne, "King of the Franks and Lombards" (rex Francorum et Langobardorum) and on the 15th as "King of the Franks and Italians" (rex Francorum et Italicorum) .

Liudolf's revolt

The marriage with Adelheid led to tensions between the king and his son and his designated successor Liudolf , as the question arose as to what rights the sons from this marriage were entitled to. Liudolf also distrusted the growing influence of his uncle, the former rebel Heinrich. Heinrich probably had a different opinion about who should take the position of secundus a rege (second after the king): the brother or the son. In any case, Liudolf left his father in November in demonstrative displeasure and without saying goodbye, which was tantamount to an affront . Archbishop Friedrich von Mainz accompanied him across the Alps . The archbishop had moved to Rome personally on Otto's behalf to ask the Pope about an imperial coronation, but his trip was in vain: Pope Agapet II refused Otto's plans for reasons unknown. Perhaps it is due to the clumsiness of the ambassador.

At Christmas 951 Liudolf organized a feast (convivium) in Saalfeld , at which he gathered Archbishop Friedrich of Mainz and all the greats of the empire present. Many contemporaries already suspected this feast and recalled that convivium that Heinrich had celebrated a good decade earlier to initiate an armed revolt against Otto. With the feast, bonds were activated to gather resistance against the king. As a reaction to this, Otto returned to Saxony with Adelheid in February 952 and demonstratively refused to show his favor to the son . Otto celebrated Osterhoftag as probably the most important event of the year in Saxony “to represent sovereign power and divine legitimation”.

Liudolf gained a powerful ally in his brother-in-law Konrad the Red . Through negotiations in Italy, Konrad had persuaded Berengar to visit Otto in Magdeburg, and obviously made Berengar binding promises about the outcome of this meeting. A group of dukes, counts and courtiers, with the dukes Konrad and Liudolf at their head, recognized Berengar as king and ostentatiously expressed this in a reception. When he arrived at court, Otto Berengar initially made him wait three days to snub him, did not allow any of Konrad's promises and only allowed Berengar to leave. Since Duke Konrad and the other advocates found Berengar Otto's answer as a personal insult, they joined the opponents of the king.

Despite the resistance that formed, a compromise was reached on the question of Berengar's position. As a place for a submission (deditio) of Berengar and for a voluntary alliance (foedus spontaneum) with Otto, the opponents agreed at a court conference in Augsburg at the beginning of August 952. Berengar and his son Adalbert gave Otto an oath of vassals and received the Kingdom of Italy from him as a fiefdom. However, the Verona and Aquileja brands were added to Duke Heinrich von Bayern.

After Adelheid had given birth to a first son with Heinrich in the winter of 952/953, Otto is said to have wanted him to be his successor instead of Liudolf. In March 953 the uprising broke out in Mainz . When Otto wanted to celebrate Easter in Ingelheim , Konrad and Liudolf openly showed him the "signs of the uprising" (rebellionis signa) . Liudolf and Konrad had meanwhile brought together a large group of armed men - especially young people from Franconia, Saxony and Bavaria are said to have been among them. The king was therefore unable to celebrate Easter as the most important act of representing power in Ingelheim, Mainz or Aachen . More and more aristocratic groups allied with Liudolf. When Otto heard that Mainz had fallen into the hands of his enemies, he moved there in great hurry and began the siege of the city that summer. Archbishop Friedrich von Mainz tried to mediate at the beginning of the uprising, but the king “ordered his son and son-in-law to hand over the perpetrators of the crime for punishment, otherwise he would regard them as outlawed enemies (hostes publici) ”. This demand was unacceptable to Liudolf and Konrad, as they should have betrayed their own allies. Such behavior would have made them perjurers, for it was customary to take vows of assistance to one another before entering into a feud .

The center of the conflict shifted to Bavaria in 954. There, with the support of Arnulf , one of the sons of the Bavarian Duke who died in 937 , Liudolf had taken Regensburg , seized the treasures that had accumulated there and distributed them among his followers as booty. At Heinrich's insistence, the king's army immediately headed south to win Regensburg back, but the siege dragged on until Christmas. At the same time as the war campaigns, Otto made two important personnel decisions: Margrave Hermann Billung was appointed Duke and Deputy King in Saxony, and Brun, the youngest of the royal brothers, was promoted to Archbishop of Cologne . In order to end the conflict, negotiation was also chosen in Bavaria.

Lechfeld Battle

The Lechfeld Battle in the Saxon World Chronicle . Illumination, around 1270 (Gotha, Research and State Library, Ms. Mamb. I. 90, fol. 87v)
The Holy Lance was of particular importance to Otto. In the Battle of Birten, in which Otto achieved a significant success against his imperial opponents, he prayed, according to Liudprand's account, "in front of the victorious nails with which the hands of the Lord Savior Jesus Christ were fastened and which were set in his lance". According to Widukind von Corvey, Otto led his army in battle with the Holy Lance in his victory over the Hungarians. The Holy Lance is now in the Vienna Treasury.

When Liudolf rose against Otto, the Hungarians still threatened the empire. Although the Eastern Marches had been set up to protect against pagan Slavs and Magyars , the Hungarians remained a permanent threat on the eastern border of Eastern Franconia. The Hungarians knew the empire and its internal weakness, which gave them reason to invade Bavaria in the spring of 954 with a large force. It is true that Liudolf and Konrad succeeded in sparing their own territories by giving the Hungarians guides to the West who led them east of the Rhine through Franconia. In addition, on Palm Sunday in 954, Liudolf held a large feast in Worms in honor of the Hungarians and showered them with gold and silver. But Liudolf now found himself exposed to the charge of having made pacts with God's enemies, and suddenly lost supporters to Otto. The bishops Ulrich von Augsburg and Hartpert von Chur , who were the king's closest confidants, mediated a meeting between the conflicting parties on June 16, 954 at a court day in Langenzenn . It was not so much the causes of the conflict between father and son that were negotiated, but rather only the reprehensibility of Liudolf's pact with the Hungarians. His defense that he did not do this "of his own free will, but driven by external need" was not convincing.

As a result of these negotiations, Archbishop Friedrich and Konrad the Red parted from Liudolf, who was nevertheless not ready to submit, but instead fought on alone against his father, who was again besieging Regensburg. Twice the son personally came out of town to ask the father for peace. Only the second time did he get it through the mediation of the princes. The final settlement of the dispute was postponed to a farm day in Fritzlar . The conflict was resolved through the ritual deditio (submission). Within the deadline, he threw himself barefoot in front of his father in autumn 954 during the king's hunt in Suveldun near Weimar and pleaded for mercy, which was granted him. "So he was again accepted by grace in fatherly love and vowed to obey and to fulfill the will of the Father in everything."

The Hungarians had meanwhile been held up in front of Augsburg because Bishop Ulrich had the city tenaciously defended. This gave Otto time to gather an army and hurry to relieve Augsburg. The battle on the Lechfeld on August 10, 955 permanently removed the danger to Hungary. The triumphant victory consolidated Otto's power and prestige. According to Widukind von Corvey , whose portrayal is doubted, Otto is said to have been proclaimed imperator by the victorious army on the battlefield ; the court chancellery did not change Otto's title even after 955 until February 962. According to the testimony of Thietmar von Merseburg, Otto vowed before the Lechfeld Battle in the event of a victory to day saint Laurentius to establish a diocese in his Palatinate Merseburg in his honor.

After the victory, Otto had thanksgiving services celebrated in all the churches of the kingdom and attributed the victory to God's help, which made the ruler's divine grace visible. Since 955 at the latest, he has been drawing up concrete plans for the establishment of an archbishopric in Magdeburg. The church in which Queen Edgith was buried in 946 was followed by a stately new building, adorned with marble and gold in Thietmar's words, from 955. In the summer of 955 he sent the Fulda abbot Hademar to Rome, where Agapet II obtained permission for the king to found dioceses at will. A protest letter from Archbishop Wilhelm of Mainz to Pope Agapet II in 955 shows that Otto apparently intended to relocate the Halberstadt diocese in order to create the new Magdeburg archdiocese within its borders. According to Wilhelm's remarks, the plan was to transfer the Halberstadt diocese to Magdeburg and raise it to an archdiocese. It would have left the association of the Archdiocese of Mainz . Such far-reaching changes, however, required the approval of the bishops concerned. Wilhelm and Halberstadt Bishop Bernhard vehemently refused to agree to such a reduction in their diocese. Otto therefore initially refrained from proceeding further in this matter. The resistance to Otto's Magdeburg plans must have been considerably stronger in Saxony, because Widukind von Corvey, Hrotsvit von Gandersheim, Ruotger of Cologne, Liudprand of Cremona and the continuator Reginonis, who later became Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg , never reported on the founding of Magdeburg Word.

The Lechfeld Battle is considered a turning point in the king's government. After 955, until Otto's death, there were no longer any uprisings by the greats against the king in the East Franconian-German Empire, as had repeatedly flared up in the first half of his reign. Furthermore, Otto's territory was spared from the Hungarian invasions. They moved to the sedentary way of life after 955 and soon adopted Christianity.

In the same year, Slavic Abodrites invaded Saxony. In response, King Otto moved with an army to the east after defeating the Hungarians. When the Abodrites refused to pay tribute and to submit, they suffered another military defeat in the Battle of the Recknitz . In contrast to their leniency towards internal rebels, the Ottonians were relentless and cruel towards external enemies. After the battle, the leader Stoinef was beheaded and 700 prisoners were killed. With the end of the fighting in the autumn of 955, the troubled period around the Liudolf uprising also ended.

Ottonian imperial church

Image of Otto I in the anonymous imperial chronicle for Emperor Heinrich V around 1112/14 Corpus Christi, Cambridge, Ms 373, fol. 42v

Not only did the rebellion of his son weaken Otto's rule at times, but important actors also died within a very short time, such as Otto's brother Heinrich von Bayern still in 955. Conrad the Red, no longer a duke, but still one of the most important people in Eastern Franconia was, fell in the battle on the Lechfeld. Liudolf was sent to Italy at the end of 956 to fight Berengar there, but he succumbed to a fever on September 6, 957 and was buried in St. Alban's Abbey near Mainz .

The Duchy of Bavaria, which had become free through Heinrich's death, was not re-assigned, but left under the reign of Heinrich's widow Judith for her four-year-old son Heinrich . Only Swabia received a full-fledged new duke, Adelheid's uncle Burkhard , who was tied more closely to the ruling family through his marriage to Judith's and Heinrich's daughter Hadwig. Shortly after his triumph over the uprising, Otto suddenly broke away important structures in the empire. In addition, the first two sons of his second marriage died young and the third son Otto was only born in late 955.

According to older research, Otto is said to have made a second attempt after the Lechfeld Battle to consolidate the empire by making the imperial church usable for his purposes against the secular greats. Otto's younger brother Brun in particular , who had been Chancellor since 940 , Archkaplan of the Empire since 951 and Archbishop of Cologne since 953 , is said to have prepared clerics in the court chapel for their later work as Reich Bishops. This so-called Ottonian-Salic imperial church system is judged more cautiously by recent research. With Poppo I. von Würzburg and Othwin von Hildesheim, only two of the 23 bishops invested by Otto came from the Mainz church province of the court chapel. Rather, the Hildesheim cathedral chapter and the cathedral schools played a central role in the relationship between king and bishop. The king could by no means alone decide on the appointment of episcopal offices. In the second phase of his government in particular, an increase in the use of intercession for bishops was observed. Sons from noble families were given preference in the court chapel. As ecclesiastical dignitaries, they were protected by canon law and largely withdrawn from royal influence.

The imperial church received numerous donations, which in addition to land ownership also included royal sovereignty rights (regalia) such as customs, coinage and market rights. These donations, however, obligated the recipients to increased service for the king and kingdom. The Ottonian kings were accommodated and fed by the imperial churches. It was also the imperial churches which, at the time of his son and successor Otto II, provided two thirds of the cavalry army in times of war, but were also obliged to pay in kind ( servitium regis ) in peacetime . In addition to the supply function, the imperial monasteries and dioceses served to realize the divine religious order, to provide prayer assistance and to increase the Christian cult.

Preparation of the second Italian train

Certificate of Otto the Great for the Mauritius Monastery in Magdeburg, issued on April 23, 961. Magdeburg, State Archives Saxony-Anhalt, Rep. U 1, Tit. I, No. 14

A serious illness of Otto in 958 contributed to the serious crisis of the empire along with the uprising of Liudolf. Berengar II used it to continue consolidating his power, although formally he only held Italy as Otto's fief . Liudolf's death and Otto's problems in the northern part of the empire in the face of numerous vacant duchies then seem to have encouraged Berengar to bring Rome and the patrimony of Petri under his influence to Northern Italy . He came into conflict with Pope John XII. who asked Otto for help in the fall of 960. Several great Italians intervened at Otto's court with a similar aim, including the Archbishop of Milan , the Bishops of Como and Novara, and Margrave Otbert. The path to the imperial coronation was treated differently in research. There is controversy as to whether Otto's policy was aimed at a renewal of the Carolingian empire in the long term or whether it was solely the initiative of the Pope in an acute emergency.

The king, who has since recovered, carefully prepared his journey to Rome. At the court day in Worms in May 961, he raised his underage son Otto II to be co-king. At Pentecost 961 Otto II was honored by the Lorraine in Aachen and anointed king by the Rhenish archbishops Brun of Cologne, Wilhelm of Mainz and Heinrich von Trier . The long absence brought with it numerous "problems in realizing power". The Italian trains demanded high performance from the aristocratic families and the imperial churches. Rule was essentially dependent on the presence of the king. A stable network of relatives, friends and loyal followers had to guarantee the maintenance of order during the ruler's absence. The two archbishops Brun and Wilhelm were appointed deputies of the empire. Young Otto II stayed with them north of the Alps. During Otto's absence in Italy, the king's son recorded his own documents north of the Alps. Through compensation, such as the priority over other bishops and the king's coronation right, Otto broke Wilhelm's resistance and received from him the support of his Magdeburg plans.

Imperial coronation and Italian politics

Meeting of Otto I and Pope John XII. (based on a drawing around 1450)

In August 961 Otto's army marched from Augsburg to Italy and crossed the Brenner Pass to Trento . The first destination was Pavia , where Otto celebrated Christmas. Berengar and his followers withdrew to castles and avoided open combat. Without being stopped, Otto moved on to Rome.

On January 31, 962 the army reached Rome. On February 2, Otto was from Pope John XII. crowned emperor. The imperial coronation established a tradition for all future imperial coronations of the Middle Ages. Adelheid was also anointed and crowned and thus received the same rank. This was a novelty: not a single wife of a Carolingian had ever been crowned empress. For the couple, the common coronation was combined with the claiming of Italy as their property, for themselves and for their heir, who had already been raised to be king.

Fundamental changes occurred in the 960s in the seal image, in the perception of the ruler in historiographical representation and in the language of the office. The representation of the ruler on the seals suddenly changed in February 962 from Frankish-Carolingian models to a ruler based on the Byzantine model. According to Hagen Keller , these changes in the representation of power under Otto I can by no means be derived as a result of the imperial crown, but the takeover of the royal rule in Italy should have already set decisive impulses.

A synod on February 12th documented the collaboration between the emperor and the pope. In order to ensure the success of the mission, the Pope ordered the elevation of the Moritz monastery in Magdeburg to the archbishopric and the Merseburg Laurentius monastery to the bishopric. Otto and his successors were also given permission to found further dioceses. The Pope obliged the archbishops of Mainz, Trier and Cologne to support these projects. In the document, John once again emphasized Otto's merits that justified his elevation to emperor: the victory over the Hungarians, but also the efforts to convert the Slavs. One day later Otto exhibited the so-called Ottonianum . He thereby recognized the papal property rights and claims with which his Carolingian predecessors had already confirmed the possessions of the Roman Church to the incumbent Pope. But the Privilegium Ottonianum went well beyond the previous documents in the awards and gave the papacy areas that previously belonged to the Kingdom of Italy. The possession of the city and ducat of Rome, the Exarchate of Ravenna , the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento and a wealth of other possessions were recognized. But none of the emperors really gave the territories out of their hands, and their possession remained a point of contention in papal-imperial relations until the Staufer period . The election of the Pope was also regulated by the Ottonianum; it should be incumbent on the clergy and "people of Rome". The Pope was only allowed to be ordained after having sworn an oath of allegiance to the emperor. In addition, the Magdeburg plans were negotiated. Otto obtained from Pope John XII. a first charter according to which the Moritzkloster in Magdeburg was to be converted into an archbishopric. But again the project failed due to the contradiction of the Mainz and Halberstadt bishops. After the imperial coronation Otto went back to Pavia, from where he led the campaign against Berengar , who withdrew in 963 to the impregnable castle of San Leo near San Marino .

The so-called Third Emperor's Seal (around 965) of Otto I no longer depicts the ruler with a lance and shield, but rather shows regal insignia (crown, scepter of the cross and orb). The previous profile or side view becomes the front view.

Apparently disgruntled by Otto's will to power, John XII. in the spring of 963 an unexpected U-turn. He received Berengar's son Adalbert in Rome and made an alliance with him against the emperor. As a result, Otto had to break off the siege of Berengar that lasted all summer in October 963 and rush to Rome to reassert his claim. However, there was no fight, Johannes and Adalbert fled. As soon as he entered, Otto obtained an oath from the Romans that he would never elect or consecrate a pope before they had obtained the approval or vote of the emperor and his fellow king.

In Rome a synod sat in the presence of the emperor to judge the pope. Pope John XII replied by letter with the threat of banishment against all who should dare to depose him. As a reaction, the Synod actually had John deposed and raised Leo VIII as the new Pope, which an emperor had never dared to do before, since according to the papal self-understanding only God was allowed to judge the successor of the apostle Peter. At the same time, Berengar and his wife Willa were captured and exiled to Bamberg . Thus at the end of 963 the return to more stable conditions in Italy and Rome seemed to have been achieved. But the deposed Pope succeeded in unleashing an uprising of the Romans against Otto and Leo VIII, of which the emperor was initially able to master. However, after his departure from Rome, the Romans took John XII. back in town, and all Leo was left with was to flee to the emperor. A synod declared the resolutions of the previous imperial synod invalid and Leo VIII deposed. Before there could be an armed conflict, John XII died unexpectedly on May 14, 964, and the Romans elected a new Pope, Benedict V, despite the imperial prohibition . Otto then besieged Rome in June 964 and was able to move into the city after a few weeks. There he enthroned Leo VIII again and had Benedict sent into exile in Hamburg .

Rome and Magdeburg: The last few years

The ivory plate shows the foundation of the Magdeburg Cathedral by the Emperor, given to the enthroned Christ in the presence of Peter and other saints.

After the provisional order of circumstances, Otto returned to the northern part of the empire in the winter of 965. His procession was accompanied by several large court parties. Since written form as an instrument of rule lost in importance in the 10th century compared to the Carolingian era , ritual acts of representation of rule gained in importance. The festivities thus became the most important instrument for realizing power. To express the hope for dynastic continuity , the anniversary of the imperial coronation was celebrated on February 2 in Worms , the site of Otto II's election as king. A few weeks later Otto celebrated Easter in Ingelheim . A big court day in Cologne at the beginning of June, at which almost all members of the imperial family were present, was the highlight.

But the calm in Italy was deceptive. Adalbert, the son of Berengar, fought again for the royal crown of Italy, so that Otto had to send Duke Burkhard von Schwaben against him, who did his job successfully.

Otto was now able to continue his plans to found the Archdiocese of Magdeburg and made a far-reaching decision at the end of June. After the death of Margrave Gero , who had carried the brunt of the fighting on the Slavic border since 937, the emperor decided to split the margraviate into six new rulers. The three southern ones roughly coincided with the districts of the later dioceses of Merseburg , Zeitz and Meißen . However, Brun's death on October 11, 965 robbed Otto of a person who had always seen himself as a loyal helper to her royal brother from the very beginning in the court orchestra.

On October 1, Pope John XIII. elected with the approval of the Ottonian court to succeed the late Leo VIII. But only ten weeks later he was captured by the city Romans and imprisoned in Campania . His cry for help moved Otto to move to Italy again. He was to spend the next six years there.

In Worms, Otto arranged for representation during his absence in August 966: Archbishop Wilhelm was to be responsible for the empire, Duke Hermann for Saxony. Then he moved with an army to Italy via Chur . The repatriation of the Pope took place on November 14, 966 without resistance. The twelve leaders of the Roman militia who captured and mistreated the Pope were punished by the Emperor and Pope with death on the cross. In 967, Emperor and Pope John XIII traveled. to Ravenna and celebrated Easter there. The Magdeburg question was negotiated again at a subsequent synod. In a papal document, unlike in the preliminary document of 962, the scope of the planned church province was defined in more detail. Magdeburg was to be raised to an archbishopric and the dioceses of Brandenburg and Havelberg from the Mainz diocese were assigned to it, and new dioceses were to be established in Merseburg, Meißen and Zeitz. However, the implementation of the new diocese organization still required the consent of the Bishop of Halberstadt and the Mainz Metropolitan . Bernhard von Hadmersleben (923 to 968), the Bishop of Halberstadt, had refused to approve the establishment of the Magdeburg Church Province until the end of his life.

Otto's letter to the great Saxons announcing the foundation of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg (October / November 968). Magdeburg, State Main Archives Saxony-Anhalt, Rep. U 1, Tit. I, No. 31

After Bishop Bernhard von Hadmersleben, Archbishop Wilhelm von Mainz and Queen Mathilde died in the first months of 968 , Otto's plans for the founding of Magdeburg continued to take shape. Before the investiture , the emperor was able to oblige the successors of the deceased bishops to agree to his plans. He ordered the bishops Hatto of Mainz and Hildeward of Halberstadt to come to Italy and obtained from the Halberstadt bishop that parts of his diocese were ceded to Magdeburg and others to Merseburg. Archbishop Hatto also gave his consent to the subordination of his dioceses Brandenburg and Havelberg to the new Archdiocese of Magdeburg. However, Otto was dissuaded from his candidate, the abbot of the Moritz monastery Richar, in a letter with an unknown sender , and he complied with the request to appoint the Russian missionary and abbot of Weissenburg , Adalbert , as the new archbishop of Magdeburg. The new Archdiocese of Magdeburg primarily served to spread the Christian faith and was Otto's grave from the start. Due to the difficult Italian conditions, Otto could not personally experience the establishment of the archdiocese. It was not until the spring of 973, four and a half years after its foundation, that Otto visited the Archdiocese of Magdeburg for the first time.

Parallel to the Magdeburg plans, Otto shifted his radius of action to the area south of Rome from February 967. On trains to Benevento and Capua he received homage from the dukes there. Since Byzantium claimed sovereignty over these areas and its rulers saw themselves as the only legitimate holders of the imperial title, the conflicts with Emperor Nikephoros Phokas intensified, who particularly resented Otto's contact with Pandulf I of Capua and Benevento . Nevertheless, the Byzantine seems to have initially been ready to enter into peace and friendship, which was also important to Otto, who also thought of a purple-born Byzantine princess as the bride for his son and successor. Otto apparently hoped that the marriage connection with the glorious Macedonian dynasty would legitimize his son and his house. In order to promote his dynastic plans, Otto asked his son in a letter written together with the Pope to travel to Rome in the autumn of 967 to celebrate Christmas with them.

The uprising of the young Otto must have been decided with the invitation. The father traveled to meet him as far as Verona . Three miles from the city, Otto and his son were solemnly overtaken by the Romans on December 21, and on Christmas Day John XIII rose to death. Otto II as co-emperor. The desired marriage was intended to act as a catalyst to clarify the open questions: the two emperor problem and the regulation of the area of ​​rule in Italy within the framework of a friendship alliance in which neither party had to accept a loss of prestige. As a result, military entanglements in southern Italy took place in parallel to legation traffic in the years to come. In order to organize the situation in southern Italy and to expand, the Emperor and Pope elevated the diocese of Benevento to an archdiocese in 969 . It was only when Nikephoros was murdered and replaced by Johannes Tzimiskes in December 969 that the new Byzantine emperor entered into courtship with the Ottonians and sent his niece Theophanu , a princess who was not “ purple ” but who came from the imperial family, to Rome. In 972, immediately after the wedding, Theophanu was crowned empress by the Pope on April 14th. With a certificate of splendor Otto II as co-emperor assigned his wife large estates. The marriage of Otto II with Theophanu eased the conflicts in the southern parts of Italy; how the realignment of the situation there was actually carried out is unknown. After the wedding celebrations, it was only a few months before the imperial family returned to the empire in August.

Otto I's grave in Magdeburg Cathedral

After his return to the East Franconian Empire, a synod was held in Ingelheim in September 972 . This dealt primarily with the succession plan for Bishop Ulrich von Augsburg . Otto and Ulrich had already agreed on Ulrich's nephew Adalberto in Italy . However, the synod initially decided against the nominee-designate, since Ulrich's nephew already openly held the bishopric. The crisis was resolved by an oath with which Adalberto had to confirm that he had unwittingly become a heretic. This decision clearly disavowed the approval that Otto the Great had given to the plan and illustrates the self-confidence of the Ottonian episcopate. In spring 973 the Emperor visited Saxony and celebrated Palm Sunday in Magdeburg. This celebration in Magdeburg also restored an order that had been provocatively questioned the previous year. Otto's up to then loyal deputy in Saxony, Hermann Billung, had Archbishop Adalbert overtake him into the city like a king. In Otto's Palatinate he had taken his place at the table and even slept in the king's bed and finally made sure that this was reported to the emperor. In the usurpation of the royal reception ceremony there was apparently a protest against the long absence of the emperor. Otto had stayed in Italy for six years without interruption, so that the authority of the king in his homeland began to diminish in a predominantly personally structured rulership.

Easter on March 23, 973 in Quedlinburg showed the emperor at the height of his power and the European dimension of his rule. In Quedlinburg he received envoys from Denmark, Poland and Hungary, but also from Byzantium, Lower Italy and Rome, and even from Spain. For the Prayer Days and Ascension Day Otto came to Palatinate Memleben via Merseburg . Here he fell seriously ill. After attacks of fever, he asked for the sacraments of death and died on May 7, 973 in the place where his father had already died.

The transfer of rule to his son Otto II took place seamlessly, as the succession was already regulated by the coronation of Otto II. The next day, the greats present confirmed the now sole ruling son in his office. After a splendid 30-day funeral procession, his father was buried in the presence of Archbishops Adalbert of Magdeburg and Gero of Cologne in Magdeburg Cathedral at the side of his wife Edgith, who died in 946.


Continuity and change under Otto II.

Image of Otto II in the anonymous imperial chronicle for Emperor Henry V (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Ms. 373, fol.47r)

In Italy, the unresolved problems of his father's last decade persisted, that is, above all, rule over Italy and responsibility for the papacy. In Italian politics, Otto II broke with his father's tradition. In relation to Venice , which had always successfully defended itself against territorial incorporation into the empire and political subordination, the new emperor took massive action - regardless of the long-term mutual agreement between Venice and the Rich.

While the first trade blockade ordered by Otto II in January or February 981 hardly affected Venice (see economic history of the Republic of Venice ), the second in July 983 caused Venice considerable damage and split its ruling group. Only the early death of Otto II possibly prevented the threatened submission of Venice to the empire.

Otto I had limited himself to binding the principalities of Capua , Benevento and Salerno to himself by feudal rights; his son had much more ambitious goals. Otto II made great efforts to subject it politically and ecclesiastically more intensively and more directly to his imperial rule.

Otto II also broke new ground in the religious and monastic sphere: monasticism and monasteries were intended to serve as factors that support and stabilize power in the structure of the empire. While Otto the Great founded only one monastery with St. Mauritius in Magdeburg in 37 years of reign , Otto II can claim the rank of founder or co-founder of at least four monasteries - Memleben , Tegernsee , Bergen bei Neuburg / Donau and Arneburg . The active involvement of monasticism in imperial politics formed a fundamental constant in his relationship to the monastic system, whose representatives he entrusted with central political functions.

The plan to set up a church province did not come to rest with the foundation of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg after 968. The regulation of many details, starting with the exact demarcation up to the equipment of the new dioceses, had to leave Otto to his successor and his helpers. Otto II took advantage of the first opportunity in 981 to abolish the diocese of Merseburg by putting its bishop Giselher on the Magdeburg ore chair. This step seems to have been planned for the long term and agreed with the most important bishops. What was the decisive factor in turning away from the work of Otto the Great is unknown.

A year after the abolition of Merseburg, the imperial army at Crotone was defeated by troops of the Muslim calbites in southern Italy. Another year later, the Slavic tribes on the other side of the Elbe rose successfully against Ottonian rule. Finally, the emperor died in 983 at the age of 28, leaving behind a three-year-old son .

Cultural boom

Ruling couple, around 1250, in Magdeburg Cathedral. The enthroned ruling couple was seen as Otto and Edgith, but should rather have represented Jesus as the ruler of the world and the church.

The collapse of the Greater Franconian Empire had led to a decline in cultural life. Only after Heinrich I introduced the new system of rule and Otto finally secured it with the Hungarian victory in 955, could it flourish again. This cultural boom can be divided into two phases. During the first phase, the royal court secured the material conditions and thus created the basis for the rise. Otto's success in power brought new sources of income, such as tributes from the Slavic area in the east and the newly developed silver veins in the Harz Mountains. These also benefited the churches.

The second phase was determined by the work of Otto's spiritual brother Brun . As head of the court chapel and archbishop of Cologne, Brun made a special effort to promote cathedral schools, but also art and church building. Cathedral schools in Magdeburg, Würzburg and numerous other places were built based on his model. In addition, monasteries such as Fulda , St. Gallen , St. Emmeram / Regensburg or Corvey kept their place as centers of education. It was the women's pens sponsored by Otto that heralded the so-called Ottonian Renaissance . The most important works of the time were created in the diocese and the monasteries that were most closely connected to the king. Widukind von Corvey and Hrotsvith von Gandersheim proudly confessed that the king and his successes had inspired them to do their work.

Bishops such as Gero of Cologne or Willigis of Mainz competed in the construction of churches and attracted illuminators, goldsmiths and bronze casters to make the liturgy of their churches ever more splendid. The Ottonian art, which developed in exchange and competition between different centers, drew on late antiquity and Carolingian traditions and processed contemporary Byzantine suggestions, without it being possible to precisely define the proportion of the various influences.

Judgments of medieval historiography

In the 10th century, the importance of written form as an instrument of rulership practice and communication decreased enormously compared to the High Carolingian era. It was not until the middle of the 10th century that a whole series of historical works emerged with the works of Widukind , Liudprand , Hrotsvits , the Mathildenviten and Thietmar Chronicle, which were mainly devoted to the Ottonian ruling house. The authors legitimized Otto's kingship with three strategies: the express will of God (divine electio ), the recognition of Otto by the ecclesiastical and secular principes (princes) and the strengthening of the dynastic principle.

The Ottonian historian Widukind von Corvey is considered to be the “key witness” for the history of Otto I. With the Res gestae Saxonicae he wrote a “history of the Saxons” that goes back to their legendary conquest in the 6th century and Otto as a climax that surpassed everything before in the history of the Saxons. For Widukind Otto was even “the head of the whole world” ( totius orbis caput ). He dedicated his history to Otto's daughter Mathilde . It must therefore have been clear to him that the content of his work would become known to the ruler. He emphasized several times that " devotio " (devotion) had guided him while writing, and he asked for " pietas " (mildness) of the high-ranking readers when he received his work. For example, Widukind began his report on Friedrich von Mainz , who had rebelled against Otto, with the imploring assurance: “It is not my place to disclose the reason for the apostasy and to reveal the royal secrets ( regalia mysteria ) . But I think I have to do with history. If I am guilty of something in the process, I may be forgiven. ”Such topoi of modesty can often be found in historiography.

Widukind unveiled a surprising legitimation strategy by ignoring the imperial coronation and developing an “imperial idea free of Rome”. In place of the sacralization by the Pope and the coronation of the emperor, there was an acclamation of the emperor by the victorious armies. Otto's victory on the Lechfeld became the actual act of legitimizing power. In addition to this idea of ​​the imperial coronation in the style of ancient soldier emperors, Widukind also mixed Germanic and Christian ideas of rule and heroism. The emperor is not a universal ruler, but a Germanic rex gentium , an upper king over the peoples. In conclusion, the historian praises the achievements of Otto I's long reign: “The emperor ruled with paternal grace, freed his subjects from enemies, defeated the Avars, the Saracens, Danes and Slavs, subjugated Italy, and destroyed the idols of the pagan neighbors as well as churches and spiritual communities. "

Liudprand of Cremona was initially in the service of Berengar of Ivrea. After a falling out with him, he found refuge with Otto and was appointed bishop of Cremona by him in 961 . In his main work Antapodosis (Retribution), Liudprand wanted to portray the deeds of all the rulers of Europe. The title retaliation also indicates a personal reckoning with King Berengar, whom Liudprand seeks to brand as a tyrant . Otto's kingship is willed by God for Liudprand (divine electio) . Henry I was a humble ruler who overcame his illness and defeated the Hungarians (933). Otto I is his worthy successor, who also with God's help overcomes his enemies. Liudprand knew the Byzantine court from several embassies. His ironic portrayal of Byzantine court life serves the greater glory of Otto, as a counter-image it should glorify his rule.

For the historian Thietmar von Merseburg, the work performed for Merseburg was an essential criterion for assessing the Ottonian rulers. About forty years after Otto's death, Thietmar described Otto's reign with the words: “In his days the golden age shone!” ( Temporibis suis aureum illuxit seculum ) He celebrated Otto as the most important ruler since Charlemagne.

A characteristic feature of all three representations is that they show Otto as God's tool, as a king who gains his strength from the fact that he walks in the right way and can therefore count on God's protection and help. In the historical works that emerged at the end of his life or shortly afterwards, Otto the Great is usually stylized as a hero. The works praise his successes, praise his administration and attest in many ways that he had all the qualities a king should have. However, an anonymous historian has also survived from the Ottonian period who not only criticizes Otto, but also sees his life ended through divine vengeance. This depiction comes from Halberstadt , where Otto was not forgiven for significantly downsizing the Halberstadt diocese in favor of founding the Archdiocese of Magdeburg and the Diocese of Merseburg.

The epithet "the great" has been a fixed name attribute since the middle of the 12th century at the latest in the world chronicle of Otto von Freising . Otto von Freising found: Otto had brought the empire back from the Lombards to the "German East Franconia" ( ad Teutonicos orientales Francos ) and was perhaps therefore named as the first king of the Germans (rex Teutonicorum) , although the empire remained Frankish, in which only the ruling dynasty changed.

In the late 13th century the Dominican chronicler Martin von Troppau called Otto the Great the first German emperor ( primus imperator Theutonicum ) .

Historical images and research perspectives

Since the 19th century, the Ottonian era became the focus of national histories. In the Middle Ages, historians looked for the reasons for the belated formation of a nation. The empire of Heinrich I and Otto I was considered the first independent state of the Germans. With his victory in the Lechfeld Battle of 955 against the Hungarians, the capture of Italy and in 962 with the acquisition of the imperial crown, Otto had given Germany first place among the European peoples. With the establishment of the archbishopric in Magdeburg, Otto also initiated the Eastern movement. Heinrich and Otto were considered the founders of the German Empire in the Middle Ages for decades. It was only through research on nation building over the past few decades that such ideas, which were previously considered certain, have been lost. Modern Medieval Studies sees the German Empire emerging today in a process that was not yet completed in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Under the aspect of national interests, in the Sybel-Ficker dispute of the 19th century, the Italian policy was played off against the Ostpolitik, which is said to have been fatal due to the fixation on Italy. The historical Ostpolitik came into focus when attempts were made to decide the national structure of Germany, the so-called Großdeutsche or Kleindeutsche solution , with historical arguments.

The dispute over German imperial politics in the Middle Ages was triggered in 1859 by Wilhelm Giesebrecht . He glorified the imperial era as “a period in which our people, strong through unity, flourished to their highest level of power, where they not only freely dispose of their own fate, but also commanded other peoples where the German man was most important in the world and the German name had the fullest sound “The Prussian historian Heinrich von Sybel contradicted Giesebrecht energetically. For Sybel Otto was “no savior of Germany and Europe from the desolate misery of an imperial time”. For the German empire and the German kingship, however, "no salvation grew out of the imperial splendor so achieved." His core demand was to see expansion into the east as the natural goal of the German people. According to Sybel, Charlemagne , Otto the Great, and Red Beard Friedrich did not promote them, but rather risked them lightly and thus wasted the imperial power. Giesebrecht countered in 1861 that his political world view and his view of the past differ from that Sybels only in the direction of the compass. He also counted the development of power and world-dominating influence among his standards.

In 1861 Julius Ficker got involved in the historians' dispute and accused Sybel of anachronistic positions: A German nation did not yet exist in Otto's time; The emperors are not to blame for the decline, but rather Barbarossa's immoderate reach into Sicily. Leopold von Ranke stayed away from the quarrel. He interpreted Otto's empire more from the contrast between the Romanesque and Germanic world than from the Italian or Eastern policy, with those represented by the church and these by the emperor from Saxony. The result was that at that time new research approaches and questions such as Karl Lamprecht's cultural history were ignored. The dispute, in which the positions of small or large German, Prussian or Austrian, Protestant or Catholic, opened up European perspectives at the same time.

In 1876, in his most detailed account of Otto's government to date, Ernst Dümmler saw a “youthful upswing”, a “national train” under this emperor “going through the hearts of the people”, “which at that time first began ... to call itself German and German to feel". The historians' dispute divided historical studies and shaped the judgments of historians in the early 20th century. Even though Heinrich Claß was “proud of joy” in Otto's achievement in 1926, he still condemned his Italian policy as “fateful and unlucky”. In 1936 Robert Holtzmann dedicated his biography Otto to “the German people” with the remark that he “showed the way and goal of German history in the Middle Ages, not only initiated the German imperial era, but also truly dominated it for centuries”.

In National Socialism , the ideologues under Heinrich I began “the national gathering of the Germans”, under Otto the Great “the conscious attempt at national establishment and cultivation”. This tenor was soon spread by all training centers of the party up to the “ Völkischer Beobachter ”. In contrast, Heinrich Himmler and Prussian-oriented historians such as Franz Lüdtke or Alfred Thoss initially only wanted Otto's father Heinrich I to be the founder of the German people. That changed with the “Anschluss” of Austria and the claim to the Reich that became “ Greater German ”. Albert Brackmann, the most influential and high-ranking historian at the time, wrote “Crisis and Construction in Eastern Europe. A world-historical picture ”, which was published by the SS's own Ahnenerbe- Verlag in 1939 and of which 7,000 copies were also ordered by the Wehrmacht for training purposes. Otto's plan to "subordinate the entire Slavic world" to the Magdeburg Archdiocese is presented as "the most comprehensive plan that a German statesman has ever drawn up with regard to the East".

Adolf Hitler agreed with Sybel's assessment with a more favorable view of Otto. In Mein Kampf he named three essential and lasting phenomena that had emerged from the “sea of ​​blood” in German history: the conquest of the East Mark after the Battle of Lechfeld, the conquest of the area east of the Elbe and the creation of the Brandenburg-Prussian state. As a result, he called "The military instructions for the invasion of Austria of March 11, 1938" the first document of his activity as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, " Enterprise Otto ", which came with the instruction to rename Austria to "Ostmark" of May 24, 1938 was completed. Hitler's new chief of staff, Franz Halder , who was not involved in "Operation Otto", worked out the campaign against Russia in 1940 as " Plan Otto ". In order to avoid duplication, it became the " Operation Barbarossa ".

In 1962, on the occasion of the millennium of Leo Santifaller's coronation , it was heard that Otto had “a solid conception of a strong German state as a whole”, that he had “succeeded in unifying the empire internally and successfully repelling enemy attacks externally To expand the territory of the Reich and to extend the German sphere of influence almost over the whole of Europe - in such a way that the empire of Otto I can be described as an ... attempt at European unification ”.

Such tones of enthusiasm for a national fulfillment in the 10th century, including its European summit, have now practically fallen silent in specialist circles. Since the 1980s, the perspective on Otto I changed permanently. Medieval studies gained new insights into the functioning of medieval royal rule in the 10th century through investigations into the organization of rule and the importance of ceremonial and symbolic actions. In the double biography of Gerd Althoff and Hagen Keller (1985), the first two Ottonians Heinrich I and Otto I are no longer considered symbols of Germany's early power and greatness, but rather as distant representatives of an archaic society. In 2001, Johannes Laudage saw the “structural change that Otto I strived for within the system of rule and ultimately also largely implemented” as one of his most significant acts. This change essentially consisted of a stronger "accentuation of his decision-making power and authority". For the 1100th anniversary of Otto's birthday, Matthias Becher presented a biography in 2012. According to Becher, "Otto's successes and the acquisition of the imperial crown [...] gave German history a decisive impetus".

Afterlife in Magdeburg

Magdeburg rider ; Copy on the old market in Magdeburg from 1961 (after re-gilding 2000)

In contrast to Charlemagne , Otto never became popular as a legendary figure. Rather, all the pictures created by the first Saxon emperor after his death are related to Magdeburg . The importance of Magdeburg for Otto's reign is also evident from the frequency of his visits. Various documents and other written records testify that Otto the Great visited Magdeburg, which he favored, at least 23 times during his life. No more frequent stay can be proven at any other location. The liturgical remembrance of Otto's salvation was cultivated for centuries by the Magdeburg cathedral chapter. However, at no time has there been an increase in the cult of saints.

During the reign of Archbishop Hartwig von Magdeburg (1079–1102), coins were minted that show a stylized cityscape with the inscription + MAGAD (A) BVRG on one side and an image of an archbishop identified by his bishop's staff on the other is, but is surrounded by the legend OTTO IM (P) AVGV + (Otto imperator augustus) . These coins are associated with the 150th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg.

In the 12th and early 13th centuries, under the influence of the Magdeburg foundry, the " Otto shells " were created, which were widely used in the Elbe-Saale area and in the southern Baltic region. Of particular quality is an "Otto bowl" found in Halle and dated to around 1200, in the middle of which there is a medallion depicting a crowned man inscribed as "OTTO". The inscription HERE (RUSALEM V) ISIO PACIS ("Jerusalem, Apparition of Peace") suggests a contextual connection with thoughts of the crusade. In Saxony in the 12th century, these were particularly directed against the pagan Slavic neighbors to whom the archbishopric had lost a large part of its suffragans after the Liutizen uprising of 983 . With the portrayal of Otto the Great, the missionaries followed his tradition.

For the Saxon World Chronicle , which may have originated in Magdeburg , the empire of Otto the Great was one of the nine most important events in world history from the birth of Christ to 1229. The imperial tomb, which had not been raised since 1844, was also important for Magdeburg. According to his grave inscription, described in 1501, Otto the Great was celebrated as the "summus honor patriae" (the highest fame of the fatherland). Around 1240, the Magdeburg Horseman was the most important monument to the afterlife of Otto the Great in Magdeburg. The sculpture is almost life-size and depicts a high medieval ruler on horseback. However, the interpretation of the equestrian statue is still controversial.

For the citizens of Magdeburg, Otto was not only seen as the founder of the archbishopric, but also as the founder of the city and a great giver of privileges. So the equestrian memorial was included in this strand of meaning very early on. The city saw in the rider a stone certificate, a monument to the privileges of Otto the great. In the Schöppenchronik , begun by the city council clerk Heinrich von Lammespringe in the middle of the 14th century, the privileges conferred by Emperor Otto are commemorated for the year 938 under the heading “ Koning Otto gaf der stad Magdeborch water and pasture ”.

To commemorate the founding of Magdeburg, the city had coins minted in 1622, which became known as the so-called whore cart or Venus thaler , and showed the emperor on horseback in armor with scepter.

Otto was honored as the first city lord in the late Middle Ages until the city lost its political independence in the Berge monastery in 1666 . Magdeburg now established itself as a Brandenburg city, later as a Prussian state and garrison city. More popular monuments now gained importance.

It was not until the 19th century that more important monuments were dedicated to Otto and he found its way into literature, which particularly addressed the psychological component of Otto's struggles against his relatives.

Under the rulers Friedrich Wilhelm III. , Friedrich Wilhelm IV. And Wilhelm I. Magdeburg Cathedral was renovated and restored several times. The equestrian monument was also renovated and was given a neo-Gothic sandstone border. In 1858 the Magdeburg citizenship was the Crown Prince and later Emperor Friedrich III. and his newlywed wife Victoria , daughter of the British Queen Victoria , presented a centerpiece on their visit , which bore the inscription "Be part of Editha's happiness and glory for your and the country's health". This gift was meant to commemorate the first marriage of the East Franconian ruler from a Saxon family to the Anglo-Saxon princess Edgith .

During the Wilhelmine Empire , the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Magdeburg, inaugurated in 1906, was the highlight of Kaiser Otto's reception in Magdeburg. A key element of the museum is the “Magdeburg Hall”, in which selected highlights of the city's history are discussed. A 120 square meter mural by the history painter Arthur Kampf shows three scenes from Otto's life connected with the city: The left picture with the signature "Otto I. and Editha are working on the fortifications of Magdeburg" shows his first wife Edgith Otto who appears Have a builder explain a plan to a construction site. The middle picture with the title "Otto I. enters Magdeburg as the victor over the Slavs and Wends" shows a triumphant arrival of the emperor in middle age. The third picture, entitled “Otto I and Adelheid bid farewell to Editha's grave” shows the ruler shortly before his own death with his second wife Adelheid.

While under National Socialism the burial places of some medieval rulers, such as the Salian imperial burial place in Speyer Cathedral or the collegiate church in Quedlinburg with the grave of King Heinrich I, were structurally changed or were to be changed in line with National Socialist ideology, interventions remained to a greater extent the Magdeburg Cathedral. The sculptures of the Magdeburg Reiter Memorial were brought to safety in the Elbe bunker during the Second World War to protect them from bombing. In 1961 the group of sculptures of the Magdeburg rider was set up in the foyer of the rebuilt cultural history museum. An artistic replica made by Heinrich Apel was gilded.

At the beginning of the 21st century, three Magdeburg exhibitions brought Otto into the focus of a historically interested audience and at the same time intensified research. In 2001 Otto's reign and the 10th century were brought into European and regional references at the Magdeburg exhibition Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe . Two hundred years after the end of the Old Kingdom , an exhibition from Otto the Great up to the end of the Middle Ages was shown in Magdeburg in 2006. For Otto's 1100th birthday and the 1050th return of his coronation as emperor in 962, the Magdeburg Cultural History Museum organized an exhibition in 2012 on the emperors of the first millennium. The focus was on the history of the emergence of the empire from Augustus to the re-establishment of the western Roman empire in 962 on Carolingian foundations by Otto the Great. From 2006 to 2010 excavations were carried out in and around the Magdeburg Cathedral, the highlight of which was the discovery of the remains of Otto's first wife Edgith in 2008. Since 2018, the city of Magdeburg and the state of Saxony-Anhalt have been honoring Otto with their own museum, the Dommuseum Ottonianum Magdeburg .


Documents and regesta works

Literary sources

  • Hrotsvitha von Gandersheim: Poem about Gandersheim's foundation and the deeds of Emperor Oddo I (= historian of the German prehistoric times. Vol. 32). Translated by Theodor Pfund, revised by Wilhelm Wattenbach, Leipzig 1941.
  • Liudprand of Cremona : Works. In: Sources on the history of the Saxon imperial era (= Freiherr vom Stein memorial edition. Vol. 8). Translated by Albert Bauer, Reinhold Rau. 5th edition extended by a supplement compared to the 4th. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2002, pp. 233-589.
  • Thietmar von Merseburg, chronicle . Retransmitted and explained by Werner Trillmich . With an addendum by Steffen Patzold . (= Freiherr vom Stein memorial edition. Vol. 9). 9th, bibliographically updated edition. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2011, ISBN 978-3-534-24669-4 .
  • Widukind von Corvey : The Saxon history of Widukind von Corvey. In: Sources for the history of the Saxon imperial era (= selected sources for the German history of the Middle Ages. Freiherr vom Stein-Gedächtnisausgabe. Vol. 8). Translated by Albert Bauer, Reinhold Rau. 5th edition extended by a supplement compared to the 4th. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2002, ISBN 3-534-01416-2 , pp. 1–183.



General representations

  • Gerd Althoff : The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 3rd, revised edition, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-17-022443-8 .
  • Helmut Beumann : The Ottonians. 5th edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 2000, ISBN 3-17-016473-2 .
  • Joachim Henning (Ed.): Europe in the 10th century. Archeology of a New Age: International conference in preparation for the exhibition "Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe". Von Zabern, Mainz am Rhein 2002, ISBN 3-8053-2872-9 .
  • Hagen Keller : The Ottonians. Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-44746-5 .
  • Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: The time of the late Carolingians and Ottonians. Crises and consolidations 888-1024 (= Gebhardt. Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte. Vol. 3). 10th, completely revised edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-608-60003-2 .
  • Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: Heinrich I and Otto the Great. New beginning and Carolingian legacy (= personality and history. Biographical series. Vol. 122/123). 3rd improved edition, Muster-Schmidt, Göttingen et al. 2006, ISBN 3-7881-0122-9 .
  • Ludger Körntgen : Ottonen and Salier. 3rd reviewed and bibliographically updated edition, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Darmstadt 2010, ISBN 978-3-534-23776-0 .
  • Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great. Magdeburg and Europe. Catalog for the 27th exhibition of the Council of Europe, State Exhibition Saxony-Anhalt, Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg, August 27–2. December 2001. Catalog manual in two volumes. Von Zabern, Mainz am Rhein 2001, ISBN 3-8053-2616-5 . ( Review )
  • Matthias Puhle, Gabriele Köster (Ed.): Otto the Great and the Roman Empire. Empire from antiquity to the Middle Ages. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2012 (= catalog for the state exhibition Saxony-Anhalt 2012, Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg, 27 August - 9 December 2012).
  • Timothy Reuter (Ed.): The New Cambridge Medieval History 3. c. 900-1024. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999, ISBN 0-521-36447-7 .
  • Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter, Hartmut Leppin (eds.): Empire in the first millennium. Scientific companion volume for the state exhibition “Otto the Great and the Roman Empire. Empire from antiquity to the Middle Ages ”. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-7954-2509-8 .
  • Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (eds.): Ottonian new beginnings (= symposium on the exhibition "Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe" ). Von Zabern, Mainz am Rhein 2001, ISBN 3-8053-2701-3 .
  • Hans K. Schulze : Hegemonic Empire. Ottonen and Salier (= The Reich and the Germans. Vol. 3). Siedler, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-88680-307-4 .
  • Harald Zimmermann (Ed.): Otto the Great (= ways of research. Vol. 450). Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1976, ISBN 3-534-06749-5 .

Web links

Commons : Otto I.  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Otto von Freising: Chron. VI, 24 . In: Adolf Hofmeister (ed.): Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separatim editi 45: Ottonis episcopi Frisingensis Chronica sive Historia de duabus civitatibus. Hannover 1912, p. 286 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized ).
  2. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte I, 34.
  3. See Stephan Freund: Wallhausen - birthplace of Otto the Great, residence of German kings and emperors. Regensburg 2013. Stephan Freund: Wallhausen - royal residence, possible birthplace of Otto the great. In: Stephan Freund, Rainer Kuhn (Ed.): Medieval royal palaces in the area of ​​today's Saxony-Anhalt. History - topography - state of research. Regensburg 2014, pp. 115–148.
  4. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: Heinrich I and Otto the Great. New beginning on the Carolingian legacy. Vol. 1–2, Göttingen et al. 1985, p. 64f .; Gerd Althoff: Amicitiae and Pacta. Alliance, unification, politics and prayer commemoration in the early 10th century. Hanover 1992.
  5. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: The time of the late Carolingians and the Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, p. 137.
  6. MGH DD HI , No. 20, pp. 55-56.
  7. Karl Schmid: The succession to the throne of Otto the great. In: Eduard Hlawitschka (Ed.): Election of the king and succession to the throne in Ottonian-Early German times. Darmstadt 1971, pp. 417-508.
  8. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 59.
  9. Hagen Keller: Widukinds report on the Aachen election and coronation of Otto I. In : Frühmedalterliche Studien 29, 1995, pp. 390–453, here: 390ff., 423ff., 439 ( PDF ).
  10. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 1–3. Compare: Gerd Althoff: Die Ottonen. Royal rule without a state. 2nd extended edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, pp. 69ff., Johannes Laudage: Otto der Große. A biography. Regensburg 2001, p. 96 ff., Hagen Keller: Widukind's report on the Aachen election and coronation of Otto I. In: Early medieval studies. 29, 1995, pp. 390-453, esp. 410-421 ( PDF ).
  11. ^ Hagen Keller: The Ottonians and Charlemagne. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 34, 2000, pp. 112-131, here: p. 122.
  12. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 74.
  13. Hagen Keller: On the seals of the Carolingians and the Ottonians. Documents as emblems in communication between the ruler and his followers. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 32, 1998, pp. 400–441, here: p. 416.
  14. Flodoard von Reims, Annales zu 936, p. 64.
  15. MGH DD HI , No. 3, p. 41.
  16. Widukind, Saxony history II, 2.
  17. Matthias Becher: Otto the Great. Emperor and Empire. A biography. Munich 2012, p. 120.
  18. ^ Vita Mathildis reginae posterior c. 9.
  19. MGH DD OI , No. 1, p. 90.
  20. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: The time of the late Carolingians and the Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, p. 156.
  21. Liudprand of Cremona, Antapodosis IV, 23rd
  22. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 8.
  23. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 6; On the meaning of the ritual: Karl Leyser: ritual, ceremony and gesture. The Ottonian Empire. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 27, 1993, p. 1–26, here: p. 9. Stefan Weinfurter: A mangy dog ​​on the shoulders: The ritual of carrying dogs in the Middle Ages. In: Claus Ambos, Stephan Hotz, Gerald Schwedler, Stefan Weinfurter (ed.): The world of rituals. From antiquity. Darmstadt 2005, pp. 213-219.
  24. Gerd Althoff: Noble and royal families in the mirror of their memorial tradition. Studies on the commemoration of the dead of the Billunger and Ottonians. Munich 1984, p. 204 f.
  25. Johannes Laudage: Otto the Great. A biography. Regensburg 2001, p. 122.
  26. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 24.
  27. Gerd Althoff: Breisach - a refuge for rebels in the early Middle Ages? In: Archeology and History of the First Millennium in Southwest Germany. Sigmaringen 1990, pp. 457-471.
  28. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 30.
  29. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 20. Gerd Althoff: Saxony and the Elbe Slavs in the Tenth Century. In: Timothy Reuter (Ed.): The New Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. 3: c. 900 – c.1025, Cambridge 1999, pp. 267-292, here: p. 282.
  30. Matthias Becher: Otto the Great. Emperor and Empire. A biography. Munich 2012, p. 136; 154.
  31. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 15. Gerd Althoff: On the question of the organization of Saxon coniurationes in the Ottonian period. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 16, 1982, pp. 129–142, especially p. 136.
  32. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte II, 31.
  33. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state . 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 86.
  34. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 81.
  35. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte I, 39.
  36. Gerd Althoff: Rules of the game of politics in the Middle Ages. Communication in peace and feud. Darmstadt 1997.
  37. ^ Gerd Althoff: Royal rule and conflict resolution in the 10th and 11th centuries. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 23, 1989, pp. 265–290, here: p. 276.
  38. Johannes Laudage: Otto the Great. A biography. Regensburg 2001, pp. 126-127.
  39. Hagen Keller: Decision-making situations and learning processes in the 'beginnings of German history'. Otto the Great's 'Italy and Imperial Policy'. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 33, 1999, pp. 20–48, here: p. 27.
  40. Hagen Keller: Empire structure and conception of rule in the Ottonian-Early Salian times. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 16, 1982, pp. 74–128, here: pp. 104 ff.
  41. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 90.
  42. Hagen Keller: The 'legacy' of Otto the Great. The Ottonian Empire after expanding to become an Empire. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 41, 2007, pp. 43–74, here: pp. 50–58.
  43. ^ Stephan Freund: Carolingian and Ottonian politics in Saxony. In: Rainer-Maria Weiss, Anne Klammt (ed.): Myth Hammaburg. Archaeological discoveries from the beginnings of Hamburg. Hamburg 2014 pp. 203-218.
  44. Liudprand, Antapodosis IV, c. 25th
  45. Thietmar II, 34.
  46. Tobias Hoffmann: Diplomacy in the crisis. Liutprand of Cremona at the court of Nikephorus II. Phocas. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 43, 2009, pp. 113–178, here: p. 121 ( online ).
  47. ^ Stefan Weinfurter: Empress Adelheid and the Ottonian Empire. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 33 (1999) pp. 1–19, here: pp. 4 ff. ( Online )
  48. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 96.
  49. Hagen Keller: Decision-making situations and learning processes in the 'beginnings of German history'. Otto the Great's 'Italy and Imperial Policy'. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 33, 1999, pp. 20–48, here: pp. 32 f.
  50. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: The time of the late Carolingians and the Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, p. 188.
  51. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 9; Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 98.
  52. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 98.
  53. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: The time of the late Carolingians and the Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, p. 188 f.
  54. Johannes Laudage: Otto the Great. A biography. Regensburg 2001, p. 147.
  55. Gerd Althoff: On the question of the organization of Saxon coniurationes in the Ottonian period. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 16, 1982, pp. 129–142, here: pp. 136 ff.
  56. See Gerd Althoff: The peace, alliance and community-creating character of the meal in the early Middle Ages. In: Irmgard Bitsch, Trude Ehlert, Xenja von Ertzdorff (eds.): Eating and drinking in the Middle Ages and modern times. Sigmaringen 1987, pp. 13-25.
  57. Hagen Keller: Otto the Great documents in the Lake Constance area. Staging of the ›presence of the ruler‹ in a landscape rarely visited by the king. In: Jürgen Petersohn (Ed.): Mediaevalia Augiensia. Research on the history of the Middle Ages, presented by members of the Constance working group on the occasion of the 50th anniversary. Stuttgart 2001, pp. 205–245, here: p. 227. ( full text online )
  58. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 10.
  59. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: The time of the late Carolingians and the Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, p. 193.
  60. ^ Adalberti Continuatio Reginonis ad 952.
  61. ^ Hermann Kamp: Peacemaker and mediator in the Middle Ages. Darmstadt 2011, p. 174.
  62. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 15.
  63. Liudprand, Antapodosis IV, 24th
  64. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 46.
  65. Sarah Thieme: “'So may all the people know' - functions of public advice in the 10th and 11th centuries.” In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 46, 2012, pp. 157–189, here: pp. 169–173.
  66. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 32.
  67. ^ Gerd Althoff: The privilege of the deditio. Forms of amicable ending of conflict in medieval aristocratic society. In: Otto Gerhard Oexle, Werner Paravicini (Ed.): Nobilitas. Function and representation of the nobility in ancient Europe. Göttingen 1997, pp. 27-52; again in: Gerd Althoff: Rules of the game of politics in the Middle Ages. Communication in peace and feud. Darmstadt 1997, pp. 99-125; Gerd Althoff: The power of rituals. Symbolism and rule in the Middle Ages. Darmstadt 2003, p. 68 ff.
  68. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 40.
  69. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 49.
  70. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd extended edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 107.
  71. Thietmar II, 10.
  72. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 49.
  73. ^ Gerd Althoff: The foundation of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. An exhibition in the cultural history museum Magdeburg from August 27 to December 2, 2001. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 344–352.
  74. Thietmar II, 17.
  75. ^ Letter from Wilhelm to Agapet II: Epistolae Moguntinae No. 18, pp. 347-350.
  76. Gerd Althoff: Widukind von Corvey. Key witness and challenge. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 27 (1993), pp. 253–272, here: p. 258, note 18; Gerd Althoff: The foundation of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. An exhibition in the cultural history museum Magdeburg from August 27 to December 2, 2001. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 344–352, here: p. 344.
  77. ^ Matthias Springer: 955 as a turning point - Otto I. and the Lechfeld battle. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 199-208, here: p. 200.
  78. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 55. Thomas Scharff: The avenging ruler. On dealing with defeated enemies in Ottonian historiography. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 36, 2002, pp. 241-253 ( online ).
  79. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: Late antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. The time of the late Carolingians and Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, pp. 364-372. The criticism was triggered by: Timothy Reuter: The "Imperial Church System" of the Orronian and Salian Rulers. A reconsideration. In: Journal of Ecclastiastical History , 33, 1982, pp. 347-374. Against: Josef Fleckenstein: Problem and form of the imperial church. In: Karl Schmid (Ed.): Empire and Church before the Investiture Controversy. Festschrift Gerd Tellenbach. Sigmaringen 1985, pp. 83-98.
  80. Tina Bode: King and Bishop in Ottonian times. Rule practice - scope for action - interactions. Husum 2015, pp. 331 and 541.
  81. Tina Bode: King and Bishop in Ottonian times. Rule practice - scope for action - interactions. Husum 2015, p. 541.
  82. Tina Bode: King and Bishop in Ottonian times. Rule practice - scope for action - interactions. Husum 2015, p. 546.
  83. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: Late antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. The time of the late Carolingians and Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, p. 365; Rudolf Schieffer: The Ottonian imperial episcopate between royalty and nobility. In: Frühmedalterliche Studien 23, 1989, pp. 291–301, here: p. 295.
  84. Stephan Freund: Rulers of the Reich: Conflicts and Consensus under Otto. In: Matthias Puhle, Gabriele Köster (Hrsg.): Otto the Great and the Roman Empire. Empire from antiquity to the Middle Ages . Regensburg 2012, pp. 529–537, here: p. 535.
  85. Johannes Laudage: Otto the Great. A biography. Regensburg 2001, p. 253.
  86. For example Herbert Zielinski : The way to Rome. Otto the Great and the beginnings of Ottonian politics in Italy. In: Wilfried Hartmann, Klaus Herbers (Hrsg.): The fascination of the papal history. New approaches to the early and high Middle Ages. Cologne 2008, pp. 97-107; Hagen Keller: Decision-making situations and learning processes in the 'beginnings of German history'. Otto the Great's 'Italy and Imperial Policy'. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 33, 1999, pp. 20–48, here: pp. 44–45.
  87. For example Werner Maleczek : Otto I. and Johannes XII. Reflections on the coronation of the emperor in 962. In: Jürgen Petersohn (Ed.): Mediaevalia Augiensia. Research on the history of the Middle Ages, presented by members of the Constance working group. Stuttgart 2001, pp. 151-204 ( online )
  88. Hagen Keller: The 'legacy' of Otto the Great. The Ottonian Empire after expanding to become an Empire. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 41, 2007, pp. 43–74, here: pp. 70–74.
  89. ^ Andreas Kränzle: The absent king. Reflections on Ottonian royal rule. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 31, 1997, pp. 120–157, here: p. 124; Gerd Althoff: Otto III. Darmstadt 1996, p. 24.
  90. Hagen Keller: The 'legacy' of Otto the Great. The Ottonian Empire after expanding to become an Empire. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 41, 2007, pp. 43–74, here: p. 72.
  91. ^ Rudolf Schieffer: Otto II. And his father. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 36, 2002, pp. 255–269, here: p. 258 ( PDF ).
  92. Gerd Althoff: The imperial coronation of Otto the Great 962. In: Georg Scheibelreiter (Hrsg.): Highlights of the Middle Ages. Darmstadt 2004, pp. 70-84.
  93. ^ Stefan Weinfurter: Empress Adelheid and the Ottonian Empire. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 33, 1999, pp. 1–19, here: p. 10.
  94. Hagen Keller: The imperial coronation of Otto the great. Conditions, events, consequences. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great. Magdeburg and Europe, Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 461-480, especially p. 468. Hagen Keller: The new image of the ruler. On the change in the "representation of power" under Otto the Great. In: Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (Ed.): Ottonian new beginnings. Mainz 2001, pp. 189-211, here: p. 209.
  95. So-called Ottonianum (certificate from Emperor Otto the Great for the Roman Church of February 13, 962; MGH DD OI , No. 235, p. 322).
  96. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: The time of the late Carolingians and the Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, pp. 348-358; Hagen Keller: The 'legacy' of Otto the Great. The Ottonian Empire after expanding to become an Empire. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 41, 2007, pp. 43–74, here: p. 71.
  97. JL 3715 / Papal documents No. 177, p. 347 f.
  98. Gerd Althoff: The cathedral as a meeting place of religion and politics: The example of the Magdeburg cathedral. In: Wolfgang Schenkluhn , Andreas Waschbüsch (Ed.): The Magdeburg Cathedral in a European context. Contributions to the international scientific colloquium on the 800th anniversary of the cathedral in Magdeburg from 1st to 4th October 2009. Regensburg 2012, pp. 13–23, here: p. 15.
  99. Gerd Althoff: The Ottonians. Royal rule without a state. 2nd expanded edition, Stuttgart et al. 2005, p. 126.
  100. ^ Hagen Keller: The Ottonian Church Empire and Byzantium. In: Cristianità d'Occidente e Cristianità d'Oriente (secoli VI – XI) (Settimane di studio della Fondazione Centro italiano di Studi sull'Alto Medioevo 51) Spoleto 2004, pp. 249–288.
  101. Gerd Althoff: The King's Bed in Magdeburg. On Thietmar II, 28. In: Helmut Maurer, Hans Patze (ed.): Festschrift for Berent Schwineköper. For his 70th birthday. Sigmaringen 1982, pp. 141-153; also in: Staged rule. Historiography and Political Action in the Middle Ages. Darmstadt 2003, pp. 211-229. Matthias Becher: Otto the Great. Emperor and Empire. A biography. Munich 2012, p. 252 f.
  102. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: Late Antiquity to the End of the Middle Ages. The time of the late Carolingians and Ottonians. Crises and Consolidations 888–1024. Stuttgart 2008, p. 228; Gerd Althoff: The cathedral as a meeting place for religion and politics: The example of Magdeburg Cathedral. In: Wolfgang Schenkluhn, Andreas Waschbüsch (Hrsg.): The Magdeburg Cathedral in a European context. Contributions to the international scientific colloquium on the 800th anniversary of the cathedral in Magdeburg from 1st to 4th October 2009. Regensburg 2012, pp. 13–23, here: p. 16.
  103. Gerd Althoff: Otto the Great and the new European identity. In: Andreas Ranft (Ed.): The Hoftag in Quedlinburg 973. From the historical roots to the New Europe. Berlin 2006, pp. 3-18.
  104. Thietmar II, 31.
  105. Cf. on this: Wolfgang Giese: Venice policy and imperial idea among the Ottonians. In: Georg Jenal (Ed.): Dominion, Church, Culture. Contributions to the history of the Middle Ages. Festschrift for Friedrich Prinz on his 65th birthday. Stuttgart 1993, pp. 219-243.
  106. Hubertus Seibert: A great father's hapless son? The new politics of Otto II. In: Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (Hrsg.): Ottonische Neuanfänge. Symposium on the exhibition "Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe". Mainz 2001, pp. 293-320, here: p. 309.
  107. Hubertus Seibert: A great father's hapless son? The new politics of Otto II. In: Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (Hrsg.): Ottonische Neuanfänge. Symposium on the exhibition "Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe". Mainz 2001, pp. 293-320, here: p. 315.
  108. ^ Matthias Springer: Magdeburg, the Holy Roman Empire and the Emperors in the Middle Ages. In: Matthias Puhle, Claus-Peter Hasse (ed.): Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation 962 to 1806. Vol. 2, Dresden 2006, pp. 124-134, here: p. 132.
  109. ^ Josef Fleckenstein: Otto the Great in his century. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 9, 1975, pp. 253-267, here: p. 258.
  110. ^ Ludger Körntgen: Ottonen and Salier. Darmstadt 2002, pp. 18-20.
  111. Giovanni Isabella: The sacred kingdom in sources from the Ottonian period: direct reference to God or mediation by the bishops? In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 44, 2010, pp. 137–152, here: p. 141.
  112. Gerd Althoff: Widukind von Corvey. Key witness and challenge. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 27, 1993, pp. 253-272; also in: Staged rule. Historiography and Political Action in the Middle Ages. Darmstadt 2003, pp. 78-104.
  113. Widukind, Sachsengeschichte I, 34.
  114. Widukind, Saxony history II, 25.
  115. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 49.
  116. ^ Widukind, Sachsengeschichte III, 75.
  117. Giovanni Isabella: The sacred kingdom in sources from the Ottonian period: direct reference to God or mediation by the bishops? In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 44, 2010, pp. 137–152, here: p. 141.
  118. Thietmar II, 13.
  119. Thietmar II, 45.
  120. Gerd Althoff: Otto the Great in Ottonian historiography. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 16-27, here: p. 25.
  121. ^ Gesta Episcoporum Halberstadensium . In: Georg Heinrich Pertz et al. (Ed.): Scriptores (in Folio) 23: Chronica aevi Suevici. Hannover 1874, pp. 73–123 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized version ), here: p. 85.
  122. Otto von Freising: Chron. VI, 17 . In: Adolf Hofmeister (Ed.): Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separatim editi 45: Ottonis episcopi Frisingensis Chronica sive Historia de duabus civitatibus. Hannover 1912, p. 277 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized ).
  123. Martini chronicon pontificum et imperatorum , edited by Ludwig Weiland, in: Georg Heinrich Pertz et al. (Ed.): Scriptores (in Folio) 22: Historici Germaniae saec. XII .. Hanover 1872, p. 465 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized ).
  124. Rudolf Schieffer: The place of Otto the great in history. In: Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (Hrsg.): Ottonian new beginnings. Symposium on the exhibition "Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe". Mainz 2001, pp. 17–35, here: p. 17 ( online ); Gerd Althoff: The Middle Ages picture of the Germans before and after 1945. A sketch. In: Paul-Joachim Heinig (Ed.): Empire, regions and Europe in the Middle Ages and modern times. Festschrift for Peter Moraw. Berlin 2000, pp. 731-749.
  125. Hans-Werner Goetz: Introduction: Konrad I - a king in his time and the importance of historical images. In: Hans-Werner Goetz with collabor. from Simon Elling: Konrad I .: on the way to the "German Reich"? Bochum 2006, p. 13–29, here: p. 18. Cf. also: Joachim Ehlers: The emergence of the German Empire. 4th edition, Munich 2012.
  126. Gerd Althoff: The assessment of the medieval Ostpolitik as a paradigm for time-bound history assessment In: Ders. (Ed.): The Germans and their Middle Ages. Topics and functions of modern historical images from the Middle Ages. Darmstadt 1992, pp. 147-164.
  127. ^ Wilhelm Giesebrecht: History of the German Imperial Era. Vol. 1, 5th edition, Braunschweig 1881, p. 74.
  128. ^ Wilhelm Giesebrecht: German speeches. Leipzig 1871, p. 74.
  129. Johannes Fried: Otto the Great, his Empire and Europe. Images of the past of a millennium. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 537-562, here: p. 548.
  130. Rudolf Köpke, Ernst Dümmler: Emperor Otto the Great. Leipzig 1876, p. 553.
  131. ^ Heinrich Class: German history by Einhart. Leipzig 1926, p. 23.
  132. Robert Holtzmann: Emperor Otto the Great. Berlin 1936, p. 7 f.
  133. Quotations from: Johannes Fried: Otto the Great, his Empire and Europe. Images of the past of a millennium. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 537-562, here: p. 553.
  134. ^ Alfred Thoss: Heinrich I. The founder of the German People's Empire. Berlin 1943.
  135. ^ Michael Burleigh: Germany Turns Eastwards. A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich. London 2002, p. 134.
  136. ^ Albert Brackmann: Crisis and construction in Eastern Europe. A picture of world history. Berlin 1939, p. 18 f. (In the original highlighted in bold).
  137. Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf. Second volume, The National Socialist Movement , Munich 1933, pp. 733–742.
  138. Leo Santifaller : Otto I. the empire and Europe. In: Festschrift for the millennium of the imperial coronation of Otto the Great. First part. Graz et al. 1962, pp. 19–30, here: p. 21.
  139. Gerd Althoff: He shared power in order to rule. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , November 24, 2012, No. 275, p. Z3.
  140. Gerd Althoff, Hagen Keller: Heinrich I and Otto the Great. New beginning on the Carolingian legacy. Vol. 1–2, Göttingen et al. 1985, p. 14.
  141. Johannes Laudage: Otto the Great. A biography. Regensburg 2001, p. 122 ff.
  142. Matthias Becher: Otto the Great. Emperor and Empire. A biography. Munich 2012, p. 271.
  143. Percy Ernst Schramm : The German emperors and kings in pictures of their time: 751–1190. Munich 1983, p. 74.
  144. ^ Babette Ludowici: The Palatinate of Otto the Great in Magdeburg. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 391-402, here: p. 391.
  145. Rudolf Schieffer: The place of Otto the great in history. In: Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (Hrsg.): Ottonian new beginnings. Symposium on the exhibition "Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe". Mainz 2001, pp. 17–35, here: p. 34.
  146. ^ Claus-Peter Hasse: Otto the Great and Magdeburg. The afterlife of an emperor in his city. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 427-443, here: pp. 427 f.
  147. ^ Claus-Peter Hasse: Otto the Great and Magdeburg. The afterlife of an emperor in his city. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 427-443, here: p. 428.
  148. Bernd Schneidmüller: Magdeburg and the dreamed kingdom of the Middle Ages. In: Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (Eds.): Holy - Roman - German. The empire in medieval Europe. Dresden 2006, pp. 10–43, here: p. 23.
  149. Ernst Schubert, Uwe Lobbedey: The grave of Otto the great in Magdeburg Cathedral. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 381-390, here: p. 387.
  150. ^ Claus-Peter Hasse: Otto the Great and Magdeburg. The afterlife of an emperor in his city. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 427-443, here: p. 433.
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  152. ^ Claus-Peter Hasse: Otto the Great and Magdeburg. The afterlife of an emperor in his city. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 427-443, here: p. 436.
  153. Dagmar Jank: The representation of Otto the great in the late medieval historiography. In: Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 61/1979, pp. 69–101, here: p. 70. See also: Lexicon of historical events and people in art, literature and music. Vienna 1956, p. 555 ff.
  154. ^ Claus-Peter Hasse: Otto the Great and Magdeburg. The afterlife of an emperor in his city. In: Matthias Puhle (Ed.): Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Vol. 1, Mainz 2001, pp. 427-443, here: pp. 436 f.
  155. ^ Matthias Puhle: The Magdeburg exhibition trilogy on Otto the Great. In: Gabriele Köster (Hrsg.): History and cultural heritage of the Middle Ages. Dealing with history in Saxony-Anhalt and elsewhere. Regensburg 2014, pp. 79–91.
  156. Nikolaus Jaspert: The show as an event: For the exhibition “Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe”. In: History in Science and Education 53, 2002, pp. 617–621; Ernst-Dieter Hehl: Otto the Great, Magdeburg and Europe. Income and prospects of an exhibition. In: Saxony and Anhalt 24 (2002/2003), pp. 423–437.
  157. Harald Meller, Wolfgang Schenkluhn, Boje E. Hans Schmuhl (ed.): Uncovered II. Research excavations at Magdeburg Cathedral 2006–2009. Hall 2009.
predecessor Office successor
Heinrich I. Duke of Saxony
Bernhard I.
Heinrich I. East Franconian King
Otto II.
Berengar I as Roman Emperor
(Interregnum is 924)
Roman-German Emperor
Otto II.
Berengar II King of Italy
Otto II.
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on August 9, 2008 in this version .