MALE Otto "der Erlauchten" (Otto, Oddo)

Duke of Sachsen (Saxony), 880-912.

Otto was probably the count Otto who appears in a document of king Ludwig in 877 [Waitz (1885), 10, citing Orr. Guelf. IV, 377]. He appears to have succeeded as duke of Saxony on the death of his brother Bruno in 880. He died in 912 (see below), and was succeeded by his son Heinrich, who became king of Germany.

Date of Birth: Say 830×840.
Place of Birth: Unknown.
If Otto's mother Oda really was born as early as 806, then a birth for Otto in the range given would be likely enough. If Oda was actually born later, then some adjustment in these dates might be needed [see the page of Oda].

Date of Death: 30 November 912.
Place of Death: Unknown.
Sources give the year either as 912 ["Otto, dux Saxonum, obiit." Regino, Chronicon (cont.), s.a. 912 (p. 155); "Oddo comes obiit." Ann. Corbeienses, s.a. 912, MGH SS 3: 4; "Ob. Otto comes" Ann. Nec. Fuld., s.a. 912, MGH SS 13: 190], as 913 ["Otto ducum praecipuus, ..., onus limosae molis abiecit." Ann. Quedlinburg., s.a. 913, MGH SS 3: 52], or as 914 ["Otto comes Saxonicus obiit." Ann. Hildesheim., s.a. 914, MGH SS 3: 52; similarly Ann. Weissemb., s.a. 914 ("dux"); Ann. Lamberti, s.a. 914, MGH SS 3: 53; Ann. Ottenburani, s.a. 914, MGH SS 5: 4; "Oido Saxonicus comes mortuus est." Ann. Altahenses Maiores, MGH SS 20: 785; "Otto magnificus Saxonum dux vita discessit." Ann. Saxo, s.a. 914, MGH SS 6: 593; "Otto dux magnus obit." Ann. Magdeburg., s.a. 914, MGH SS 16: 142]. See the detailed comments in favor of 912 by Waitz [Waitz (1885), 195-6]. Necrologies and Thietmar give the day as 30 November ["II. k. [Dec.] ... Oddo com. pat. Heinrici reg. Saxon." Calend. Merseb., 126; "ii. [kal. Dec.] Otto comes pater Heinrici regis." Kal. nec. Weissenburg., Fontes rerum Germ., 4: 314; "Post haec Ottone 2. Kal. Decembris carnis universae viam intrante, ..." Thietmar, Chron., i, 4, MGH SS 3: 736]. The date of 26 June has sometimes been given in confusion with another Otto [see Waitz (1885), 196].

Father: Liudolf, d. 12 March 865×6, count/duke of eastern Saxony.

Mother: Oda, d. [17 May?] 913.

Spouses: Hadwig, d. 24 December, prob. 903.
["Temporibus quondam regis Francorum Conradi, dux in tota Germania princeps extiterat nomine Otto, genere secundum seculi dignitatem nobilissimus, opibus pullens, et cunctos honore praecellens, quia virtutibus erat praeditus, cuius coniugium veneranda matrona Haduwich subierat moribus non dissimilis. His filiae procreantur et tres filii, ... horum unum nomine Heinricum maiori sustulit excellentia, ..." Vita Mahthildis reginae antiquior, c. 1, MGH SS 10; "... extitit in partibus Germaniae dux quidam Otto nomine, ... Cui Hathuwic, matrona venerabilis, coniugali copulabatur vinculo. Quibus duo gignebantur filii, ... Maior natu vocabatur Thancmarus, et alter Heinricus." Vita Mahthildis reginae, c. 1, MGH SS 4: 284; "Hic nobilissimo Ottonis et Hathui stemmate editus, ..." Thietmar, Chron., i, 2, MGH SS 3: 735]

As noted above, Otto and Hadwig had three sons and at least two daughters. Widukind gives the names of the three sons ["Igitur patre patriae et magno duce Oddone defuncto, illustri et magnifico filio Heinrico totius Saxoniae [ipse] reliquit ducatum. Cum autem ei essent et alii filii, Thancmarus et Liudulfus, ante patrem suum obierunt." Widukind i, 21 (p. 25)].

MALE Thankmar, d. bef. 30 November 912.
Thankmar died before his father [Widukind i, 21 (p. 25, see above)]. The Vita Mathildis calls him the eldest [Vita Mathildis reginae, c. 1, MGH SS 4: 284 see above)].

MALE Liudolf, d. bef. 30 November 912.
Liudolf died before his father[Widukind i, 21 (p. 25, see above)].

MALE Heinrich I, d. 2 July 936, king of Germany, 919-936;
m. (1) Hatheburg, (d. 21 June?),
daughter of Erwin, count of Merseburg.
m. (2) ca. 909,
Mathilde, d. 14 March 968, daughter of count Dietrich.

FEMALE Oda, living 30 December 952;
m. (1) 897, after Easter, Zwentibold, d. 13 August 900, king of Lorraine;
m. (2) 900, Gérard/Gerhard, d. 22 June 910, count.
Regino states that Oda, wife first of king Zwentibold and then of count Gérard, was daughter of a count Otto ["[Zuendibolch ...] Eius hortatu ad Ottonem comitem missum dirigit, cuius filiam nomine Odam in coniugium exposcit. Ille petitionibus eius gratanter assensum prebuit eique filiam tradidit, quam post pascha celebratis nuptiis sibi in matrimonium sociavit." Regino, Chronicon, s.a. 897 (p. 145); "Ludowicus in regnum rursus accersitur, et a comitibus Stephano, Gerardo et Matfrido circa Mosam isdem Zuendibolch in prelio interficitur Idus Augusti. Eodem anno Gerardus comes Odam uxorem eiusdem Zuendibolch regis sibi in matrimonium copulat." Regino, Chronicon, s.a. 900 (p. 148)]. It has been generally argued that this count Otto was Otto of Saxony [e.g., Krüger (1893), 47-50; Parisot (1898), 537 n. 2; Hlawitschka (1968), 59-60]. This is confirmed by an act of Otto I dated 30 December 952, which shows that he gave to St. Moriz in Magdeburg some property in Deventer which had been given to him by his amita Uota ["... in loco Dauindre ..., quod nobis nostra amita mulier deo nobisque devota nomine Ûota tradidit" MGH DD O I, 241 (#159)]. This proves that king Otto I had an amita (paternal aunt) named Uota/Oda, thus a sister of his father Heinrich I. Instead of Gerhard, Decker-Hauff would identify Oda's second husband as the "Konradiner" count Gebhard, father of duke Hermann I of Schwaben (Swabia) and count Udo [Decker-Hauff (1955), Table II, opposite p. 280]. There is no good reason to accept this.

Possible daughter:

FEMALE Liutgard, d. 21 January 923, abbess of Gandersheim, 919-923.
Liutgard was the fourth abbess of Gandersheim, who is conjectured to have been a member of this family [Althoff (1976), 400, n. 1; Hlawitschka (1987), 94; both cite Götting (1973), 291, not seen by me; Hlawitschka (1987), 26, 94 evidently accepts the relationship]. Although I have not seen Götting's work, it is not hard to guess that the basis of the conjecture is the fact that the first three abbesses of Gandersheim were sisters of Otto, and that Otto had a sister named Liutgard. While proof is lacking, the conjecture is very reasonable. As noted above, the daughters were said to be in the plural ["His filiae procreantur ..." Vita Mahthildis reginae antiquior, c. 1, MGH SS 10; see above], so there was certainly at least one daughter besides Oda.

Illegitimate daughter:

FEMALE NN, fl. 933;
m. Wido, count in Thüringen.
The historian Widukind mentions this sister of the king [Heinrich I] in connection with the Hungarian invasion of 933 ["Qui autem in oriente remansit exercitus audivit de sorore regis, quae nupserat Widoni Thuringo - erat namque illa ex concubina nata -, quia vicinam urbem inhabitaret, ..." Widukind, i, 38 (p. 48); Hlawitscka (1987), 94 n. 35].

Probable daughter:

m. Siegfried, d. ca. 937, count.
Widukind refers to Siegfried as "gener quondam regis", apparently referring to Heinrich I ["Sigefridus vero, Saxonum optimus et a rege secundus, gener quondam regis, tunc vero affinitate coniunctus, eo tempore procurabat Saxoniam, ..." Widukind, ii, 2 (p. 57); "Illo quoque tempore defunctus est Sigifridus comes, ..." (ca. 937), ibid., ii, 9 (p. 61)]. Hlawitschka states that since Siegfried's brother Gero died in 965 and since his father Thietmar died in 932, chronological considerations indicate that Siegfried's wife was a younger half-sister of Heinrich [Hlawitschka (1987), 95 n. 39]. Althoff objected that there was no way to rule out the possibility that quondam rex referred to Konrad I instead of Heinrich I [Althoff (1989), 457]. However, it seems very unlikely that this was intended to refer to Konrad I [Hlawitschka (1989), 464]. The statement comes at a point in Widukind's narrative when Heinrich I had just died and Otto I had just become king. In such a context, a reference to the late king would almost certainly be referring to the recently deceased king, i.e., Heinrich I. In classical Latin, the word gener means "son-in-law", but in medieval Latin it usually means "brother-in-law".


Falsely attributed wife (mythical): Liutgard, daughter of Arnulf, emperor.
See the page of
Heinrich I for the details.

Conjectured daughter (improbable):
m. Louis, d. after 929, count of Thurgau,
son of Rudolf I, king of Burgundy.
This theory is part of an elaborate series of conjectures, involving several families over several generations, the goal of which was to speculate on the ancestry of Adélaïde, wife of Lambert, count of Chalon [Settipani (1994), 44-53]. The supposed link is mainly based on the fact that Louis had a son named Henry/Heinrich.

Falsely attributed daughter (probably mythical):
Heinrich, d. 28 August 886, marquis of Neustia.
An eleventh century catalogue of kings and emperors states that Baba, daughter of duke Otto, was the mother of Adalbert (of Babenberg), and that Babenberg was named after Baba ["... Otto dux. Hic habuit filium qui vocabatur Heinricus humilis et filiam Babam nomine, matrem Adalberti, de cuius nomine idem mons Babenberc dictus est." Regum Imperatorum Catalogus, MGH SS 10: 137]. A genealogical table in Ekkehard's Chronicon Wirziburgense shows "Adalbertus quem Ludewicus decollavit" as son of "Baba" who is sister of "Heinricus rex" and daughter of "Otho dux" [Ekkehard, Chron. Wirziburgense, MGH SS 6: 28], and Ekkehard makes a similar statement in his universal chronicle, without the daughter's name ["... Adelbertus ..., filius sororis Heinrici ducis sed postea regis, nepos Ottonis ducis Saxoniae, ..." Ekkehard, Chron. Univ., s.a. 901, MGH SS 6: 174]. The Saxon Annalist makes a similar statement ["His temporibus Adalbertus magnus heros, cuius pater Heinricus dux, mater Baba dicebatur, idemque sororis filius Heinrici postea regis, nepos vero Ottonis Saxonum ducis, cum fratribus suis ..." Ann. Saxo, s.a. 902, MGH SS 6: 590]. These accounts were perhaps based in part on a statement of the historian Widukind that Adalbert was a nepos ex sorore of Heinrich I ["Nam cum bellum esset Cuonradi regis Cuonrado patri et Adelberto Heinrici ex sorore nepoti, primum interfectus est frater Adelberti; postea in ultionem fratris Cuonradus quoque occisus est ab Adelberto, ..." Widukind, i, 22 (pp. 26-7)]. Now, Adalbert was not a nephew of Heinrich I, for the best estimates we have of their respective ages would place Adalbert a generation earlier than Heinrich. Thus, if Widukind's statement was based on accurate information, the word nepos has to be interpreted with the more general meaning of relative [see the page of Hadwig for more on this]. As for the name of Baba, in contrast to the statement that Babenberg was named after her, it is much more likely that the name Baba was an invention of some early author based on the location of Babenberg. [See Waitz (1885), 208; Hlawitschka (2006), 46]. In an unconvincing argument, Decker-Hauff attempts to keep Baba as a daughter of Otto by making her the second wife of Heinrich, and daughter of Otto by an otherwise unknown first marriage [Decker-Hauff (1955), 298ff.].

Falsely attributed daughter:
FEMALE Adelheid;
m. Liutpold, duke of Bayern (Bavaria).
Waitz attributes this falsehood to Aventin [Waitz (1885), 228 n. 1].


Althoff (1976) = Gerd Althoff, "Unerkannte Zeugnisse vom Totengedenken der Liudolfinger", Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 32 (1976): 370-404.

Althoff (1989) = Gerd Althoff, "Die Thronbewerber von 1002 und ihre Verwandtschaft mit den Ottonen", Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins 137 (1989), 453-9.

Calend. Merseb. = Ludwig Hesse, "Calendrium Merseburgense", Zeitschrift für Archivkunde, Diplomatik und Geschichte 1 (1834): 101-150.

Decker-Hauff (1955) = Hansmartin Decker-Hauff, "Die Ottonen und Schwaben", Zeitschrift für Württemburgische Landesgeschichte 14 (1955), 233-371.

Fontes rerum Germ. = Johann Friedrich Boehmer, Fontes rerum Germanicarum, 4 vols. (Stuttgart & Tübingen, 1843-68).

Götting (1973) = Hans Götting, Das Bistum Hildesheim I: Das reichsunmittelbare Kanonissenstift Gandersheim (Germania sacra NF 7, 1973). [I have not seen this work.]

Hlawitschka (1968) = Eduard Hlawitschka, Lotharingen und das Reich an der Schwelle der deutschen Geschichte (Schriften der MGH 21, Stuttgart, 1968).

Hlawitschka (1987) = Eduard Hlawitschka, Untersuchungen zu den Thronwechseln der ersten Hälfte des. 11. Jahrhunderts und zur Adelsgeschichte Süddeutschlands (Sigmaringen, 1987).

Hlawitschka (1989) = Eduard Hlawitschka, "Nochmals zu den Thronbewerbern des Jahres 1002", Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins 137 (1989), 460-7.

Krüger (1893) = Emil Krüger, "Ueber die Abstammung Heinrich's I. von den Karolingern", Deutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 9 (1893): 28-61.

MGH DD = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata series.

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Parisot (1898) = Robert Parisot, Le Royaume de Lorraine sous les Carolingiens (1898, reprinted Geneva, 1975).

Regino, Chronicon = Friedrich Kurze, ed., Reginonis abbatis Prumiensis Chronicon cum continuatione Treverensi (MGH SRG, Hannover, 1890).

Settipani (1994) = Christian Settipani, "Les origines maternelles du comte de Bourgogne Otte-Guillaume", Annales de Bourgogne 66 (1994), 5-63.

Waitz (1885) = Georg Waitz, Jahrbücher des Deutschen Reichs under König Heinrich I. (3rd, ed., Leipzig, 1885).

Widukind = Georg Waitz & Karl Andreas Kehr, eds., Widukindi monachi Corbeiensis Rerum Gestarum Saxonicarum libri tres (4th ed., MGH SRG 55, Hannover & Leipzig, 1904).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 3 April 2011.

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