Note: Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor From Wikipedia Otto II (955 \endash December 7, 983), called the Red, was the third ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty, the son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy. Otto II of Saxony Otto II Holy Roman Emperor Reign December 25, 967 \endash December 7, 983 King of Germany(formally King of the Franks) Reign May 26, 961 \endash December 7, 983 King of Italy(formally King of the Lombards) Reign 980 \endash December 7, 983 Predecessor Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor Successor Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor Spouse Theophanu Issue Sophie Adelheid Matilda Otto and an unnamed twin daughter House Ottonian Father Otto I, Duke of Saxony Mother Adelaide of Italy Born 955 Saxony, Germany Died 7 December 983 Rome, Italy Burial St. Peter's Basilica Religion Roman Catholic Early years and co-ruler with Otto I Born in the year 955, Otto received his education under the care of his uncle, Bruno, archbishop of Cologne, and his illegitimate half-brother, William, archbishop of Mainz. Needing to put his affairs in order prior to his descent into Italy, his father had Otto elected German king at Worms in 961, and crowned at Aachen Cathedral on May 26, 961. Later, he was crowned joint emperor at Rome by Pope John XIII on December 25, 967. Although the nominal co-ruler, he exercised no real authority until the death of his father. He married Theophanu, niece of the Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimisces, in Rome on April 14, 972. After participating in his father's campaigns in Italy, he returned to Germany and became sole emperor on the death of his father in May 973 at the age of seventeen, without meeting any opposition. Otto spent his reign continuing his father's policy of strengthening imperial rule in Germany and extending it deeper into Italy. Rule in Germany After suppressing a rising in Lorraine, difficulties arose in southern Germany, probably owing to Otto's refusal to grant the duchy of Swabia to Henry II of Bavaria. In 974 Henry's mother, Judith, entered into a conspiracy against the emperor, which included Henry, Bishop Abraham of Freising, the dukes of Bohemia and Poland, and several members of the clergy and the nobility who were discontented by the previous emperor's policies. The plan was discovered and easily suppressed, however. In the same year, Otto's forces successfully opposed an attempt by Harald I of Denmark to throw off German overlordship; however, his expedition against the Bohemians in 975 was a partial failure owing to the outbreak of further trouble in Bavaria. The following year he restored order for the second time in Lorraine and forced Henry II to flee from Regensburg to Bohemia, Bavaria being assigned to his relative Otto of Bavaria. In 977 the king made another expedition into Bohemia, where King Boleslaus II promised to return to his earlier allegiance. Also Mieszko I of Poland submitted. (See also War of the Three Henries). Meanwhile in the west of the kingdom, Otto attempted to quell the ambitions of the great landed magnates by restoring land and privileges to them. In 973 he restored the lands of Reginar IV, Count of Mons and Lambert I of Leuven which his father had confiscated. Then in 977, he appointed Charles, the brother of King Lothair of France, as Duke of Lower Lotharingia, which infuriated the French king, who claimed the duchy as his own. After Otto had crushed an attempt by Henry to regain Bavaria, King Lothair of France invaded Lorraine with an army of 20,000 and occupied the capital Aachen for five days. Otto retired first to Cologne and then to Saxony. Otto's mother, who was of French origin, sided with Lothair and moved to the court of her brother Conrad at Bourgogne. In September 978, having mustered 30,000 men, Otto retaliated by invading France. He met with little resistance, but sickness among his troops compelled him to raise the siege of Paris, and on the return journey the rearguard of his army was destroyed and the baggage seized by the French. An expedition against the Poles was followed by peace with France: Lothair renounced his claim on Lorraine (980), and in exchange Otto recognized the rights of Lothair's son Louis. Affairs in Italy Otto II and Theophano: Byzantine ivory plaque (Mus�e de Cluny) Otto now felt himself free to travel to Italy. Influenced by his wife who was hostile to the return of the Macedonian Dynasty in the shape of Emperor Basil II after the assassination of John I Tzimisces, she persuaded Otto to bring the whole of Italy under the authority of the western emperor. The government of Germany was left to arch-chancellor Willigis and to duke Bernard I of Saxony. He was accompanied by his wife, his son, Otto of Bavaria, the bishops of Worms, Metz and Merseburg and numerous other counts and barons. Crossing the Alps in what is today Switzerland, he reconciled with his mother at Pavia where he received the Iron Crown of Lombardy before celebrating the Christmas of 980 in Ravenna. The situation at Rome was chaotic. Pope Benedict VI, elected by his father, had been imprisoned by the Romans in Castel Sant'Angelo, where he had died in 974. His successor Boniface VII had fled to Constantinople and Benedict VII, former bishop of Sutri, was now pope. Preceded by Benedict, Otto ceremoniously entered Rome on Easter day of 981. Otto proceeded to hold his court in the ancient imperial capital, attended by princes and nobles from all parts of western Europe. He was next required to stop the inroads of the Saracens on the Italian mainland and, most of all, the aggressive policy of the Sicilian emir Abu al-Qasim, whose fleet was harassing Apulia and whose troops had invaded Calabria. As early as 980 he had demanded a Pisan fleet to help him in carrying on his war in the south of Italy, and in September 981 Otto marched into southern Italy. He was first entangled in the quarrels between the local Lombard princes who had divided the area after Pandulf Ironhead's death. Otto unsuccessfully besieged Manso I of Amalfi in Salerno, but in the end obtained the recognition of his authority from all the Lombard principalities. In January 982 the German troops marched towards the Byzantine Apulia to annex this region as well to the Western Empire. His descent caused the Byzantine Empire to seek the assistance of the Saracens to hold onto their possessions in southern Italy. Otto besieged and captured Taranto in March 982, and when he moved from Taranto he initially defeated a Saracen army in early July. However, he soon met with a severe defeat near Stilo in July 982 (in which, among the others, al-Qasim was killed). Without revealing his identity, the emperor escaped on a Greek vessel to Rossano. He returned to Rome on November 12, 982. Under pressure from the Saxon magnates, who were concerned over the invasion of northern Germany by the Danes, Otto was forced to hold a diet at Verona in May 983. Largely attended by German and Italian princes, he had Otto III confirmed as king and prepared a new campaign against the Saracens. He also obtained a settlement with the Republic of Venice, whose help was much needed after the defeat of Stilo. Proceeding to Rome, Otto secured the election of Peter of Pavia as Pope John XIV. Just as the news reached him of a general rising of the Slav tribes on the eastern frontier of Germany, he died in his palace in Rome on December 7, 983. He was survived by the future emperor Otto III and three daughters. He was buried in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica, and when the church was rebuilt his remains were removed to the crypt, where his tomb can still be seen. Character Otto was a man of small stature, by nature brave and impulsive, and by training an accomplished knight. He was generous to the church and aided the spread of Christianity in many ways. According to one of the chroniclers of the time, he was given the epithet of the "Red" when in 981 he invited the most troublesome of the Roman families to a banquet, and proceeded to butcher them at dinner. More sympathetic chroniclers said that it was due to his reddish complexion. Marriage and issue On April 14, 972, Otto II married Theophanu. They had the following children: Sophie I, Abbess of Gandersheim and Essen, born 975, died 1039. Adelheid I, Abbess of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim, born November or December 977, died 1040. Matilda, born 979, died 1025; who married Ezzo, count palatine of Lotharingia Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, born June or July 980 A daughter, a twin to Otto, who died before October 8, 980
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