T. F. (Thomas Frederick) Tout.

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dominions and erected them into a mark to withstand the
assaults of the Arabs and Greeks of southern Italy. But
while waging war against the Mohammedans, Otto was
anxious to be on good terms with the Romans of the East
The accession of John Zimisces to the Eastern Empire [see
pages 161-162] gave Otto his opportunity. The new lord of
Constantinople offered the hand of Theophano, daughter of
Marriage of his predecessor Romanus n., as the bride of the
the young young Otto n., with Greek Italy as her marriage

Otto and ' ,

Theophano, portion. The Emperor welcomed the opportunity
97*- to win peacefully what he had sought in

vain to acquire by war. Early in 972 Theophano was

Revival of the Roman Empire by Otto L 35

crowned by John xin. at Rome, and immediately afterwards
married to the young Emperor. The gorgeous festivities
that attended this union of East and West brought clearly
before the world the reality of Otto's power.

Otto was now growing old, and had outlived most of his
fellow-workers. His brother Henry had died soon after the
battle on the Lechfeld. His bastard son William had already
sunk into a premature grave. Now came the news of the
death of the faithful Hermann Billung. In the spring of 973
Otto went on progress for the last time through Death ^
his ancestral domains on the slopes of the Harz. otto i.,
Death came upon him suddenly as he was cele- 973>
brating the Whitsuntide feast in his palace at Memleben.
He was buried beside his first wife, the English Edith, in his
favourite sanctuary of St. Maurice of Magdeburg, raised by
his care to metropolitan dignity. His long and busy life
had not only restored some sort of peace and prosperity to
two distracted nations, but his policy had begun a new
development of western history that was to last nearly three
centuries, and was to determine its general direction up to
the Reformation. He had built up a mighty state in an age
of anarchy. He had made Germany strong and peaceful,
and the leading power of Europe. He had subjected the
Church and pacified Italy. Under him the Roman Empire
had again acquired in some real sense the lordship of the
civilised world.



M AROZIA m. (i) ALBERIC I., Marquis of Camerino THEODORA

(2) GUIDO, Marquis of Tuscany (the younger) (?)

(3) HUGH, King of Italy

(*) I (?)


(<* 954) (931-936) (981)

POPB JOHN xn. (Octavian) CRESCENTIUS n. (Patrician)

(955-964) (998)

CRESCENTIUS in. (Patrician)




(973-1056) l

The reign of Otto ii. Break-up of Bavaria Projects of Crusade War and
Alliance with Greek Empire The Reign of Otto HI. Regency of
Theophano and Bavarian Revolt Otto and the Bishops Gerbert of
Aurillac Visionary Schemes of Otto His failure Reign of Henry II.
The two Conrads Reign of Conrad n. His Italian and Slavonic Policy
Union of Arelate and Empire Fiefs declared Hereditary Aribert
Reign of Henry in. His Policy in the East, France, Germany, and Italy
Synod of Sutri Death of Henry in.

OTTO n. was eighteen years of age when the death of his
father made him sole ruler. His education and surround-
otto ii., i n g s g ave his policy a very different direction from
973-983- that of Otto i. The elder prince was purely
German, and even in winning the imperial crown sought
to subserve a Teutonic object. His son, born and reared
in the purple, Burgundian or Italian on his mother's side,
and married to a Byzantine Emperor's daughter, took wider
views. To Otto n. Italy was as important as Germany, and
his ambition was to weld the two realms together in a solid
imperial unity, while constantly keeping his eyes even beyond
these two kingdoms. To him the Emperor's lordship of the
world was a reality, and he strove with all the force of an ardent,
impetuous, and impulsive nature to give effect to his ideal.
But while Otto ii.'s short reign witnessed the Empire assuming
a more universal character, it also saw the first signs of that
essential incompatibility between the position of German

1 For authorities see note to chapter ii.

The German Empire at the Height of its Power 37

king and Roman Emperor which, in after ages, was to bear
such bitter fruit.

Despite the quietness of Otto i.'s last years, the difficulties
against which the old Emperor had struggled still remained.
The separatist spirit of the national dukedoms still lived on
in Bavaria, and had only been temporarily glossed over by
the good understanding between Otto i. and Duke Henry.
Judith, the widow of Duke Henry, now ruled Bavaria in the
name of her son Henry n., surnamed the Quarrelsome, while
she controlled Swabia through her influence on her daughter
Hedwig, and Hedwig's aged husband, the Swabian Duke
Burkhard. Otto n. saw the danger of a close union between
the two southern duchies, and, on Burkhard's death, invested
his nephew Otto, Duke Ludolfs son, with Swabia. Judith and
her partisans were instantly aroused. A new civil war was
threatened, in which the Bavarians did not scruple to call in
the help of the Bohemians and Poles. But the young Emperor's
vigorous measures proved fatal to the attempted rebellion,
and Otto took the opportunity of his triumph to Break . up of
lessen the influence of the Bavarian dukes by the Bavarian
intrusting, to separate margraves, the east mark, Duchy> w 6 - 8 -
on the Danube (the later Austria), and the north mark be-
tween the Danube and the Bohemian Forest. The great
highland marchland of Carinthia and Carniola, with which still
went the Italian March of Verona, or Friuli, was constituted
a seventh duchy. The rest of the Bavarian duchy was con-
signed to the care of the faithful Otto of Swabia. Judith
was shut up in a convent. Henry the Quarrelsome fled to
Bohemia, whence he made subsequent unsuccessful attempts
to recover his position. Thus the Emperor triumphed, but
he had simply to do over again the work of his father. It
was a thankless business, and showed how insecure were the
very foundations of the German kingdom. But for the rest
of his short reign Germany gave Otto but little trouble. The
extension of Christianity among Wends, Poles, and Bohemians
gave Magdeburg and Mainz new suffragans in the Bishops

38 European History ', 918-1273

of Gnesen and Prague, though renewed attacks on the
marches soon taught Otto that the Christianised Slavs were
scarcely less formidable enemies than their heathen fathers
had been.

In 978 Otto marched with a great army almost to the walls
of Paris to avenge on the Carolingian king, Lothair, his
War with attempt to withdraw Lorraine from the imperial
France, 978. obedience [see page 70]. Few of his acts bring
out more clearly his imperial position than this long progress
through hostile territory. But Italy was the scene of Otto ii.'s
most famous actions, and best illustrates his high conception
of the imperial dignity. Rome was, as usual, a constant
source of trouble. A series of insignificant Pontiffs succeeded
John xin. ; but above them towered the noble Roman,
Crescentius Crescentius, Duke of the Romans, perhaps the
at Rome, 980. son o f ^ e younger Theodora, Marozia's sister, who
aspired to renew the great part played by Alberic n. In
980 Otto crossed the Alps for Italy, and on his approach the
opposition was shattered. In 981 he restored the Pope to
Rome, whence he had fled from fear of Crescentius, and
forced Crescentius himself to withdraw into the seclusion of
a monastery, where a few years later he died. The need of
protection still kept the Papacy faithful to the imperial

Otto now assumed new responsibilities directly flowing
from his position as Emperor. The Mohammedan lords of
Sicily had re-established themselves in southern Italy, and
threatened the march of Benevento. Otto marched to the
Campaign* help of the Lombard Duke of Benevento. At the
against same time he sought to make a reality of the

Greeks and ... . ,

Saraceni, cession of Greek Italy, the promised portion of
9*^32. Theophano, but which, owing to the unwilling-

ness of the Byzantines, had never actually come into his
hands. In 981 and 982 Otto carried on successful war in
southern Italy. A whole series of Greek towns Salerno,
Bari, Taranto fell into his hands. In the summer of 982

The German Empire at the Height of its Power 39

Otto traversed the old road of Pyrrhus, along the Gulf
of Taranto, and defeated the Arabs at Cotrone (the ancient
Croton), slaying Abul Cassim, the Ameer of Sicily, in the
fight. A few days later Otto fell into a Saracen ambush
as he pursued his route along the narrow road between
the Calabrian mountains and the sea. His army was almost
destroyed, though he himself, after a series of remarkable
adventures, succeeded in eluding his enemies.

Germans and Italians vied with each other in their
efforts to restore the Emperor's preponderance. In 983 a
remarkable Diet assembled at Verona, in which the Diet of
magnates of Germany and Italy sat side by side, Verona and
to show that the two realms constituted but one crusade,
Empire. The spirit that a century later inspired 983-
the Crusades first appeared in this remarkable assembly.
It was resolved to follow the Emperor on a holy war against
the Mussulmans. That the succession might be peacefully
secured during his absence the magnates chose as their
future ruler the little Otto, his three-years-old son by
Theophano. Preparations were then made for the war
against Islam. But the rising commercial city of Venice,
jealous of the imperial policy, and already enriching itself
by trade with the enemies of the Christian faith, refused to
supply the necessary ships for an expedition against Sicily,
the centre of the infidel power. Otto sought to block up
the land approaches to the recalcitrant town, but, secure
in her impregnable lagoons, Venice was able to defy the
Emperor. The news of a Wendish invasion now came from
Germany; and the disturbed condition of Rome again de-
manded Otto's personal presence. There he laboured with
feverish earnestness to prepare for his mighty task ; but there
he was smitten with a sudden and deadly disease, Death of
that carried him off on 7th December 983. He ottoii.,
was only twenty-eight years old. His body was 98a *
buried, as became a Roman Emperor, in the Church of St.
Peter's. The difficulties which had proved almost too much

40 European History, 918-1273

for the strong and capable grown man, were now to be faced,
as best they might be, by his young widow Theophano, the
regent of the new lord of the world, a child scarcely four
years of age.

The German Empire rested almost entirely on the warlike
character of its head, and any failure of the central military
power involved the gravest evils. A wave of heathen re-
action burst from the Wendish and Danish lands into the
very heart of the Saxon Empire. In the south, Islam, excited
by the threatened Crusade, menaced the centre of the Christian
world. It seemed as if the Empire of the Ottos was on the
verge of dissolution, when Henry the Quarrelsome, the deposed
Revolt of Duke of Bavaria, came back, and, by claiming the
Henry of regency from Theophano, added the terrors of
Bavana, 984. mterna j di scor cl to those of barbarian invasion.
At first Henry made good progress, and, advancing in his
claims, began to covet the crown itself. The Dukes of Poland
and Bohemia paid him homage, and Lothair of France eagerly
supported him. It was more important that Henry had
won over many of the bishops, who, as the natural result of
Otto i.'s policy, had the balance of power in their hands.
He also secured the person of the young Otto in. But, as
the Archbishop of Magdeburg favoured Henry, the lay nobles
of the Wendish mark, who hated their clerical supplanters,
and Archbishop Willegis of Mainz, who still looked with
detestation on the mushroom primacy on the Elbe, declared
for Theophano. The adhesion of the mass of the Saxon
nation at last secured the victory of the Greek. Henry was
forced to submit, and was pacified by being restored to his
duchy of Bavaria.

Otto in. owed his throne to the clergy. The influence of
the bishops kept Germany quiet during the regency of
Regency of Theophano. The fall of the last of the West
Theophano, Prankish Carolingians, and the accession of
983-991- Hugh Capet in 987, prevented any further

danger from the French side, while on the east, the Margrave

The German Empire at the Height of its Power 4 1

Eckhard of Meissen hurled back the Slavonic invaders, and
cleverly set the Bohemians and the Poles by the ears.
Adelaide, Otto's grandmother, ruled Italy from the old
Lombard capital of Pavia. She was less fortunate than her
daughter-in-law, with whom, moreover, her relations were not
cordial. Rome fell away almost altogether, so that a French
synod at Reims (995) was able, with good reason, to denounce
the scandals that degraded the Papacy, and to threaten that
France, like the east, might be provoked into breaking off
all connections with the See of Peter. John Crescentius,
son of the man driven by Otto n. into a cloister, renewed
the policy of his father, and, taking the name of Patrician,
ruled over Rome with little opposition.

Theophano died in 991. No new regent was appointed,
but a council of regency set up, prominent among its members
being the Empress Adelaide, Willegis of Mainz,
Eckhard of Meissen, and Henry, Duke of bishops and
Bavaria, son and successor of Henry the Quarrel- education of

mi * f i i OttO QQI-QQ6

some. The composition of this body was a
further proof of the extension of ecclesiastical influence. But
an even more significant indication of this was the fact that
the young king was brought up almost entirely under the
direction of highly-placed churchmen. Willegis of Mainz,
and Bernward, Bishop of Hildesheim, the future saint, were
the -two prelates most directly responsible for his education.
The result was that, though the young king spent his early
years amidst his fierce and half-barbarous Saxon subjects, he
became still less of a German than Otto n., and was pos-
sessed by ideals that stand in the strongest contrast with
those of his predecessors. Bernward caused him to be
schooled in the best culture of his time, and gave him an abid-
ing love of letters and learned men. He also strongly inspired
the quick-witted and sympathetic youth with the ascetic views
and the sacerdotal sympathies of the Cluniacs. Thus Otto
became enthusiastically religious, and ever remained a devout
pilgrim to holy places and seeker out of inspired anchorites

4 2 European History, 918-1273

and saints. Moreover, Otto inherited from Theophano all
the high Byzantine notions of the sacredness of the Empire,
and, seeking to combine the two aspects of his education, his
mind was soon filled with glowing visions of a kingdom of
God on earth, in which Pope and Emperor ruled in har-
mony over a world that enjoyed perfect peace and idyllic
happiness. Otto's ideals were generous, noble, and unselfish ;
but in the iron age in which he lived they were hopelessly
unpractical. The young king lived to become the 'wonder
of the world ' and the 'renewer of the Empire.' But his early
death came none too soon to hide the vanity of his ambitions.
At best, he was the first of that long line of brilliant and
attractive failures which it was the special mission of the
mediaeval Empire to produce.

In 996 Otto attained his legal majority, and crossed the
Alps to seek his coronation at Rome as Emperor. The king
otto's an( ^ ms armv marched as though bound on a

coronation pilgrimage, or like the crusading hosts of a cen-
at Rome, 996. tury j ater ^ they entere( j t h e Lombard plain,

the news came that the Papacy was vacant, and a deputation
of Romans, tired of the tyranny of Crescentius, begged Otto
to nominate a new Pope. The young king at once appointed
his cousin, Bruno, grandson of Conrad the Red and Liut-
Oregory v., g ar de, daughter of Otto i., a youth of four-and-
996-999. twenty, and a zealous champion of the Cluniacs,

who took the name of Gregory v. On 25th May 996, Otto
was crowned by Gregory at Rome.

Pope and Emperor strove at once to embody their theories
in acts. The proceedings of the anti-papal synod of Reims
were annulled ; its nominee to the see of Reims, Gerbert of
Aurillac, was forced to yield up his post to the worldly
Arnulf that the synod strove in vain to depose. The whole
French episcopate bowed in submission before the new Pope,
and Gerbert soon repudiated his earlier teachings. The
French king, Robert, was visited with the severest censures
of the Church for contracting a marriage within the prohibited

The German Empire at the Height of its Power 43

degrees. The holy Adalbert, the apostle of Bohemia, but
driven from his see of Prague by a pagan reaction, was
sternly ordered to return to his bishopric, or, if that were
impossible, to engage in a new mission to the heathen.
Adalbert chose the latter alternative, and his early death
at the hands of the heathen Prussians made him the proto-
martyr of the new order that Otto and Gregory were striving
to introduce. But while the two enthusiasts were busy in the
regeneration of the universe, they were unable to maintain
themselves in the very centre of their power. A new Roman
rebellion brought back Crescentius. Only through Fall of
the help of the iron soldiery of the Saxon borders, Crescentius,
headed by the valiant Eckhard of Meissen, could " 8-
Otto win back the Eternal City to his obedience. In 998
Rome surrendered, and Crescentius atoned for his rebellion
on the scaffold.

An early death now cut off Gregory v., and Otto raised
Gerbert of Aurillac l to the papal throne. Gerbert was quite
the most remarkable man of his age. A poor Gerbert
Frenchman of obscure birth from the uplands lAuril iac.
of the centre, he received his first schooling in a cloister at
his native Aurillac, where he took the monastic vows.
Borrel, a pious Count of Barcelona, made his acquaintance
while visiting Aurillac on a pilgrimage, and took him back
with him to the Spanish march. There Gerbert abode some
years, and there he acquired that profound knowledge of
mathematics which had perhaps filtered into the march from
the Mussulman schools of Cordova, and which gave him in
the unlearned north a reputation for extraordinary learning,
if not for magical skill. Ever eager for knowledge, he accom-
panied his patron to Italy, and attracted the notice of Otto i.
Finally he settled down at Reims, attracted by the fame of

1 Havet's Lettres de Gerbert (Picard's ' Collection de Textes'), with the
editor's introduction, are a chief authority for Gerbert's history and policy.
See also an article on Gerbert by Mr. R. Allen, in the English Historical
Review, vol. vii. pp. 625-668.

44 European History, 918-1273

a certain archdeacon who taught in the cathedral school.
The good Archbishop Adalbero made Gerbert ' scholasticus '
of the school at Reims. Accompanying the archbishop
to Italy, Gerbert received from Otto n. the headship of
Columban's old abbey of Bobbio, and speedily reformed its
lax discipline. On Otto ii.'s death, the angry monks drove
him away, and he went back to Reims and resumed his
teaching as ' scholasticus.' He dominated the policy of the
archbishop in the critical years that saw the accession of
Hugh Capet to the French throne [see pages 70-71], but on
Adalbero's death was ungratefully passed over by Hugh,
whose interests procured the election of Arnulf, an unlearned
but high-born Carolingian, to the great see. A few years
later, Arnulf was deposed by the synod of 995, and Gerbert
put in his place. But Arnulf still claimed to be archbishop,
and Gerbert went to Italy to plead his cause with Gregory v.
Finding his chances hopeless, he closely attached himself to
Otto in., with whom he had strong affinities in character.
Gerbert loved pomp and splendour, was attracted by Otto's
high ideals, and was of a pliant, complaisant, and courtier-like
disposition. He was made Archbishop of Ravenna to com-
pensate him for the loss of Reims. When elevated to the
Papacy, he chose to call himself Sylvester n. As Sylvester i.
had stood to the first Christian Emperor, so would Sylvester n.
stand to the new Constantine. Under him the close alliance
of Pope and Emperor was continued as fervently as during
the lifetime of Gregory v.

Otto's plans grew more mystical and visionary. Rome,
and Rome alone, could be the seat of the renewed Empire,
visionary and Otto began the building of an imperial palace
schemes of on ^ e Aventinc on the site of the abode of the

Otto and

Sylvester ii., early Caesars. He abandoned the simple life of a
999- I00 3- Saxon etheling, which had been good enough for
his father and grandfather, and secluded his sacred person
from a prying world by all the devices of Byzantine court-
etiquette and Oriental exciusivencss. His court officials

The German Empire at the Height of its Power 45

dropped their old-fashioned Teutonic titles, and were renamed
after the manner of Constantinople. The chamberlain became
the Protovestiarius, the counsellor the logothetes, the generals
were comites imperialis militia, and their subordinates proto-
spatharii. The close union of the Pope and Emperor in
a theocratic polity was still better illustrated by the institu-
tion of t\\& judices palatii ordinarii. They were of the mystic
number of seven, ecclesiastics by profession, and were to act
as supreme judges in ordinary times, but were also to ordain
the Emperor (a new ceremony to be substituted for coronation)
and to elect the Pope. But apart from its fantastic character,
the whole policy of Otto depended upon a personal harmony
between Pope and Emperor. Even under Otto himself this
result could only be secured by the Emperor's utter subor-
dination of his real interests to the pursuit of his brilliant
but illusive fancies.

Otto's cosmopolitan imperialism soon brought him in col-
lision with Germany, and especially with the German Church.
He set up a new archbishopric at Gnesen in opposition
Poland, where reposed the relics of the martyred to otto in.
Adalbert, and surrounded it with the mystical
number of seven suffragans. In the same way, Sylvester, in re-
cognising Stephen, the first Christian Duke of Hungary, as a
king, established a Hungarian archbishopric at Gran. These
acts involved a recognition of the national independence
of Poland and Hungary. Wise as they were, they were
resented in Germany as being directly counter to the
traditional Saxon policy of extending German influence east-
wards, by making the bishops subject to the German
metropolitans at Magdeburg and Salzburg. The practical
German bishops saw with disgust the Emperor giving
up the very corner-stone of the policy of Henry and Otto i.
The deep differences of sentiment came to a head in a petty
dispute as to whether a new church for the nuns of Ganders-
heim should be consecrated by Bernward of Hildesheim, the
diocesan, who favoured Otto's fancies, or by the metropolitan

46 European History, 918-1273

Willegis of Mainz, who bitterly lamented the outlandish ideas
of his old pupil. Sylvester upheld Bernward, but the German
bishops declared for Willegis, and paid no heed to the papal
censures that followed quickly on their contumacy. They
refused even to be present at the Councils in which Sylvester
professed to condemn the Archbishop of Mainz. The German
clergy were thus in open revolt from Rome, and they were,
as we have seen, the leaders of the German nation.

While the outlook was thus gloomy in Germany, the march
of events in Italy gave but little encouragement to Pope and
Breakdown Emperor, and demanded the personal presence of
of otto' Otto, who had been forced to return to Germany
system m j n ^g yam h O p e o f appeasing the general opposi-
tion to his policy. Before he crossed the Alps
for the last time, Otto went to Aachen, and, if we can believe
one of his followers' statement, visited the vaults beneath
the venerable palace-chapel to gaze upon the corpse of
Charles the Great, sitting as in life upon a throne, with
crown on head and sceptre in hand. When he reached the
south, he found to his dismay that lower Italy had fallen
altogether from his obedience, and that even Tivoli, in the
immediate neighbourhood of Rome, had rebelled against
him. Otto made feverish efforts to restore his authority.
He clamoured for Byzantine help, and begged for a Byzantine
wife. He paid a flying visit to the Venetian lagoons, seeking

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