By , Otto had conquered the Kingdom of Italy and extended his realm's borders to the north, east, and south. In control of much of central and southern Europe, the patronage of Otto and his immediate successors caused a limited cultural renaissance of the arts and architecture. Otto's later years were marked by conflicts with the Papacy and struggles to stabilize his rule over Italy. Reigning from Rome, Otto sought to improve relations with the Byzantine Empire, which opposed his claim to emperorship and his realm's further expansion to the south.
Otto finally returned to Germany in August and died of natural causes in Otto II succeeded him as Emperor. Otto II was made joint-ruler of Germany in , at an early age, and his father named him co-Emperor in to secure his succession to the throne. His father also arranged for Otto II to marry the Byzantine Princess Theophanu, who would be his wife until his death. When his father died after a year reign, the eighteen-year old Otto II became absolute ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in a peaceful succession.
Otto II spent his reign continuing his father's policy of strengthening Imperial rule in Germany and extending the borders of the Empire deeper into southern Italy. Early in his reign, Otto II defeated a major revolt against his rule from other members of the Ottonian dynasty who claimed the throne for themselves. His victory allowed him to exclude the Bavarian line of Ottonians from the line of Imperial succession. This strengthened his authority as Emperor and secured the succession of his own son to the Imperial throne.
With domestic affairs settled, Otto II would focus his attention from onward to annexing the whole of Italy into the Empire. His conquests brought him into conflict with the Byzantine Empire and with the Muslims of the Fatimid Caliphate, who both held territories in southern Italy. After initial successes in unifying the southern Lombard principalities under his authority and in conquering Byzantine-controlled territory, Otto II's campaigns in southern Italy ended in following a disastrous defeat by the Muslims.
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While he was preparing to counterattack Muslim forces, a major uprising by the Slavs broke out in , forcing the Empire to abandon its major territorial holdings east of the Elbe river. Otto II died suddenly in at the age of 28 after a ten-year reign. Otto III was crowned as King of Germany in at the age of three, shortly after his father's death in southern Italy while campaigning against the Byzantine Empire and the Emirate of Sicily.
His cousin Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, initially claimed regency over the young king and attempted to seize the throne for himself in When his rebellion failed to gain the support of Germany's aristocracy, Henry II was forced to abandon his claims to the throne and to allow Otto III's mother Theophanu to serve as regent until her death in Otto III also sought to reestablish Imperial control over the city of Rome, which had revolted under the leadership of Crescentius II , and through it the papacy.
Otto III's actions throughout his life further strengthened imperial control over the Catholic Church.
From the beginning of his reign, Otto III faced opposition from the Slavs along the eastern frontier. Following the death of his father in , the Slavs rebelled against imperial control, forcing the Empire to abandon its territories east of the Elbe river. Otto III would fight to regain the Empire's lost territories throughout his reign with only limited success. Through his affairs in Eastern Europe in , he was able to extend the influence of Christianity by supporting mission work in Poland and through the crowning of Stephen I as the first Christian king of Hungary. While marching to reclaim the city in , however, Otto III suffered a sudden fever and died in a castle near Civita Castellana at the age of With no clear heir to succeed him, his early death threw the Empire into political crisis.
Since his father had rebelled against two previous emperors, the younger Henry was often in exile. This led him to turn to the Church at an early age, first finding refuge with the Bishop of Freising and later being educated at the cathedral school of Hildesheim.
Unlike his predecessor, who had focused upon imperial attention in Italy, Henry spent most of his reign concerned with imperial territory north of the Alps. His main focus was on a series of wars against the Polish Duke Boles? Henry did, however, lead three expeditions into Italy to ensure imperial dominion over the peninsula: twice to suppress secessionist revolts and once to challenge the Byzantine Empire for dominance over southern Italy.
The rule of Henry II is seen as a period of centralized authority throughout the Empire.
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He consolidated his power by cultivating personal and political ties with the Catholic Church. He greatly expanded the Ottonian dynasty's custom of employing clergy as counter-weights against secular nobles. Through donations to the Church and the establishment of new dioceses, Henry strengthened imperial rule across the Empire and increased control over ecclesiastical affairs.
He stressed service to the Church and promoted monastic reform. For his personal holiness and efforts to support the Church, Pope Bl.
Henry II married Cunigunde of Luxembourg, who later became his queen and empress. Conrad was the first of the Salian dynasty of Emperors.
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Salian Frankish Dynasty. Conrad II c. The founder of the Salian dynasty of emperors, Conrad also served as King of Germany from , King of Italy from , and King of Burgundy from The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when his father died. Conrad extended his power beyond his inherited lands, receiving the favor of the princes of the Kingdom of Germany. When the Saxon-based Ottonian dynasty of emperors died off with the childless Emperor Henry II, Conrad was elected to succeed him as King in at the age of Conrad founded his own dynasty of rulers, known as the Salian dynasty, which ruled the Holy Roman Empire for over a century.
Conrad continued to build the Church as a center for imperial power, preferring to appoint church bishops over secular lords to important posts across the Empire. Like Henry II before him, Conrad also continued a policy of benign neglect over Italy, especially for the city of Rome. His reign marked a high point of the medieval imperial rule and a relatively peaceful period for the Empire.
The three kingdoms Germany, Italy, and Burgundy formed the basis of the Empire as the "royal triad" regna tria.
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Holy Roman Empress Agnes - Regent - From until his forced abdication in , he was also referred to as the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century. His reign was marked by the Investiture Controversy with the Papacy and several civil wars over his throne both in Italy and Germany. Henry V - Holy Roman Emperor - Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor.
By the settlement of the Concordat of Worms, he surrendered to the demands of the second generation of Gregorian reformers. House of Supplinburger. He died whilst returning from a successful campaign against the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. House of Hohenstaufen. Conrad III - King - When the Emperor died in the electors, rejecting the hereditary principle, chose Lothar, duke of Saxony, to succeed him.
By the end of the year Frederick and Conrad were in revolt; on Dec. Returning to Germany in , he fought Lothar until , when he submitted, was pardoned, and recovered his estates. Two years later, the term sacrum "holy" first appeared in a document in connection with his Empire. He was later formally crowned King of Burgundy , at Arles on 30 June He got the name Barbarossa from the northern Italian cities he attempted to rule: Barbarossa means "red beard" in Italian; in German, he was known as Kaiser Rotbart , which has the same meaning.
Frederick therefore descended from the two leading families in Germany, making him an acceptable choice for the Empire's prince-electors. From he was also King of Sicily. Henry, still stuck in the Hohenstaufen conflict with the House of Welf, had to enforce the inheritance claims by his wife against her nephew Count Tancred of Lecce. Based on an enormous ransom for the release of King Richard I of England, he conquered Sicily in , however, the intended unification with the Holy Roman Empire ultimately failed.
Philip of Swabia - King - In the long-time struggle for the German throne upon the death of Emperor Henry VI between the Hohenstaufen and Welf dynasties, he was the first German king to be assassinated. House of Welf - Guelph. Otto IV — May 19, was one of two rival kings of Germany from on, sole king from on, and Holy Roman Emperor from until he was forced to abdicate in House of Staufen - Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous; however, his enemies, especially the popes, prevailed, and his dynasty collapsed soon after his death.
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Historians have searched for superlatives to describe him, as in the case of Professor Donald Detwiler, who wrote:. A man of extraordinary culture, energy, and ability — called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi the wonder of the world , by Nietzsche the first European, and by many historians the first modern ruler — Frederick established in Sicily and southern Italy something very much like a modern, centrally governed kingdom with an efficient bureaucracy. Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman Emperors of Antiquity, he was Emperor of the Romans from his papal coronation in until his death; he was also a claimant to the title of King of the Romans from and unopposed holder of that monarchy from As such, he was King of Germany , of Italy, and of Burgundy.
His other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade.