- Otto II
A.D. 955-983, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 973-983 (son of Otto I).
* * *▪ Holy Roman emperorborn 955died Dec. 7, 983, RomeGerman king from 961 and Holy Roman emperor from 967, sole ruler from 973, son of Otto I and his second wife, Adelaide.Otto, a cultivated man, continued his father's policies of promoting a strong monarchy in Germany and of extending the influence of his house in Italy. In 961 he was crowned co-regent king of Italy and Germany with his father and was made co-regent emperor in 967. On April 14, 972, he married the Byzantine princess Theophano. At his father's death in 973 he was accepted without opposition as successor, although revolts in the duchy of Bavaria and in Lorraine occupied the early years of his reign. Bavaria, the most independent of the duchies, rebelled in 974, under the leadership of its duke, Henry II the Quarrelsome, Otto's cousin. It was not until 978 that Bavaria was pacified, the same year that Lothar, king of France, invaded Lorraine. In 979 Otto received the submission of Bohemia and Poland, and in 980 Lothar renounced his claim to Lorraine. Having thus secured his German dominions, Otto marched into Italy in 980, where German rule had been maintained by an imperial party headed by Hugh, marquis of Tuscany. Otto invaded southern Italy and was decisively defeated there by a Muslim army in 982. In 983 he summoned a diet at Verona, where his young son, Otto III, was crowned German king. Otto II died in 983 in Rome, of malaria. His absence from Germany had occasioned revolts along its borders, and after his defeat in Calabria in 982 the German position east of the Elbe collapsed because of a revolt by the Danes and an invasion by the Slavs. Nonetheless, Otto maintained the essential successes of his father and left a firmly established realm to his son and successor Otto III.▪ duke of Bavariaalso called Otto Of Nordheim, German Otto Von Nordheimdied Jan. 11, 1083duke of Bavaria and also a leading noble in Saxony, the most implacable opponent of the German king Henry IV.In 1061, Agnes of Poitou, regent for her young son Henry IV, invested Otto with the duchy of Bavaria. The following year, however, he helped Archbishop Anno of Cologne to kidnap Henry IV, an act that deprived Agnes of the regency. From then until the end of Henry's minority, Otto was prominent in the government of the German state. Along with other Saxon nobles, he did not hesitate to take advantage of Henry's minority to usurp part of the King's demesne. In 1070 Otto was accused of complicity in a plot to murder the King and was deprived of his Bavarian and Saxon possessions. Taken prisoner in 1071, he was restored to his lands in Saxony in 1072.Shortly after the Saxon uprising against Henry IV broke out in 1073, Otto assumed its leadership. The short-lived Peace of Gerstungen (1074) stipulated Otto's restoration to Bavaria. But when Henry resumed war in June 1075, Otto was taken prisoner again. Around Christmas of that year, however, Henry not only pardoned Otto but also gave him a high administrative post in Saxony.Nevertheless, after the excommunication and deposition of Henry by Pope Gregory VII over the investiture of bishops (1076), Otto rejoined the Saxon rebels. As soon as his restoration to Bavaria was assured, he assented to the election of Rudolf of Rheinfelden as German king in opposition to Henry (1077). A skillful fighter, Otto inflicted losses on Henry's forces in 1078 and in January 1080 and won the battle on the Elster River in October of that year; but Rudolf received a mortal wound in the battle. The forces opposing Henry then elected Hermann of Salm as anti-king, but Hermann's chief military support collapsed with Otto's death less than three years later.
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