MALE Otto I the Great

King of Germany, 936-973.
King of Italy, 961-973.
Emperor, 962-973.

In 936, Otto succeeded his father Heinrich I as king of Germany ["Heinricus rex ... VI. Non. Iul. diem clausit extremum, cui filius suus Otto consensu primorum regni successor eligitur." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 936, 159]. Having obtained a claim to Italy by his second marriage to Adélaïde of Burgundy, widow of king Lotario of Italy, he invaded Italy, and in 961 deprived kings Berengario II and Adalberto of Italy of their kingdom ["Deinde venit primus Otto in Italia, et prevavit regnum eorum Berengarius et Adelbertus, et fuit cauronatus ad inperator esse, et inperavit annos 12." Regnum et imperatorum catalogi, MGH SS 3: 216; "Tunc Otto rex eiecit eos de regno indic. 4. anno Domini 961. Dehinc predictus Otto Romam ingressus atque imperator ibidem effectus, omnem Italiam suo subiugavit imperio; regnavit annos 11. mens. 3; obiit anno Domini 972. indic. 15." ibid., 218]. In 962 he was declared emperor in Rome by pope John XII ["rex natale Domini Papiae celebravit; indeque progrediens Romae favorabiliter susceptus acclamatione totius Romani populi et cleri ab apostolico Iohanne, filio Alberici, imperator et augustus vocatur et ordinatur." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 962, 171]. At his death in 973, his son Otto II succeeded.

Date of Birth: 23 November 912.
According to Hrosvitha of Gandersheim, Otto was born on the eighth day before the death of his grandfather duke Otto, who died on 30 November 912 ["Scilicet ante dies octo totidem quoque noctes, / Quam ducis occasus miserabilis accidit huius, / Ipsius nato, regi quandoque futuro, / Nascitur Henrico famosus filius Oddo, / ..." Hrosvitha, Primordia Gandersheim., 561-4, MGH SS 4: 316; see the page of duke Otto for his date of death]. The Annals of Quedlinburg mistakenly place both the death of the older Otto and the birth of the younger Otto in 913 ["Otto rex et imperator futurus natus est." Annales Quedlinburgenses, MGH SS 3: 52].
Place of Birth: Unknown.

Date of Death: 7 May 973.
Place of Death: Memleben.
["Tertia autem feria ante pentecosten locum devenit qui dicitur Miminlevu. Proxima nocta iuxta morem diluculo de lecto consurgens, nocturnis et matutinis laudibus intererat. Post haec paululum requievit; missarum deinde officiis celebratis pauperibus iuxta morem manus porrexit, paululum gustavit, iterumque in lecto requievit. Cum autem hora esset, processit, laetus et hilaris ad mensam resedit. Peracto ministerio vespertinis laudibus interfuit; peracto cantico evangelii aestuari atque fatigari iam coepit. Quod cum intellexissent principes circumstantes, sedili eum inposuerunt. Inclinantem autem caput, quasi iam defecisset, refocillaverunt, expetitoque sacramento divini corporis ac sanguinis et accepto, sine gemitu cum magna tranquillitate ultimum spiritum cum divinis officiis pietati Creatoris omnium tradidit." Widukind, iii, 75 (pp. 126-7); "ac non longe post Otto senior pius imperator Non. Mai. obiit; cui domnus Otto successit." Ann. Hildesheim., s.a. 973, MGH SS 3: 62; "Eodem anno Otto imperator senior obiit in Mimelieba Nonis Maii; cui filius eius secundus Otto successit." Lambert, Annales, s.a. 973, ibid., 63; "Nonas [Maii] Otto maior magnus impr." Calend. Merseb., 113; "non. [Mai.] Otto magnus imper." Kalendarium necrologicum Weissenburgense, Fontes rerum Germ., 4: 311; for further details, see Dümmler (1876), 510, n. 2]

Father: Heinrich I, d. 2 July 936, king of Germany.
Mother: Mathilde, d. 14 March 968, daughter of count Dietrich.
See the page of
Heinrich I for further details.

Spouses:

(1) m. 930, Eadgyth, d. 26 January 946, daughter of Eadweard "the Elder", king of Wessex.
["Edmundus rex Transmarinus defungitur, uxor quoque regis Othonis, soror ipsius Edmundi, decessit." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 946, 101; "domna Edgid regina obiit, quae maximo regis omniumque suorum planctu Magedeburg sepelitur." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 947, MGH SS 1: 620; "Otto filius regis Heinrici Edgid filiam regis Anglorum duxit uxorem." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 930, 158; "Nam rex dedit filio suo Oddoni coniugem filiam Ethmundi regis Anglorum, sororem Adalstani, quae genuit ei filium nomine Liudulfum, virum magnum meritoque omnibus populis carum, filiam quoque nomine Liudgardam, quae nupserat Conrado Francorum duci." Widukind, i, 37 (pp. 46-7), wrongly calling Eadgyth a son of her brother Eadmund; "Ille annus notabilis casu calamitoso totius populi, de morte scilicet beatae memoriae Edidis reginae, cuius dies extrema VII. Kal. Februar. celebrata est cum gemitu et lacrimis omnium Saxoniam. ... Reliquit filium nomine Liudulfum, omni virtute animi et corporis ea aetate nulli mortali secundum; filiam quoque nomine Liudgardam, quae nupserat Conrado duci. Sepulta est autem in civitate Magathaburg in basilica nova latere aquilonali ad orientem." Widukind, ii, 41 (p. 84); for the date of death, see further in Dümmler (1876) 146, n. 3; see also the page of
Eadweard the Elder]

(2) m. 951, Adélaïde, d. 17 December 999, daughter of Rudolf II, king of Burgundy, widow of Lotario, king of Italy.
After the death of her first husband Lotario on 22 November 950, Adélaïde was taken prisoner by Berengario II, Lotario's successor, but she was freed by Otto, who married her in 951 ["rex Otto in Italiam ire volens multo se ad hoc iter apparatu prestruxit, quoniam Adalheidam viduam Lotharii regis Italici, filiam Ruodolfi regis, a vinculis et custodia, qua a Berengario tenebatur, liberare sibique eam in matrimonium assumere regnumque cum ea simul Italicum adquirere deliberavit." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 951, 164-5]. She died on 17 December 999 [Aedelheid quoque imperatrix obivit." Ann. Hildisheim., s.a. 999, MGH SS 3: 91; Ann. Quedlinb., s.a. 999, MGH SS 3: 76; "Adelgeid imperatrix obiit" Ann. Weissemb., s.a. 1000, MGH SS 3: 70; Thietmar, iv, 27, MGH SS 3: 780; Odilo, Epitaphium Adalheidae, MGH SS 4: 636-645; "XVI. k. [Ian.] ... Athelheith. imperatrix." Calend. Merseb., 127]

Children:

(by Eadgifu)
["Reliquit filium nomine Liudulfum, omni virtute animi et corporis ea aetate nulli mortali secundum; filiam quoque nomine Liudgardam, quae nupserat Conrado duci." Widukind, ii, 41 (p. 84)]

MALE Liudolf, d. 6 September 957, duke of Swabia, 950-4;
m. 947, Ida, d. 17 May 985×6,
daughter of Hermann, duke of Swabia.
In 947, Liudolf married Ida, daughter of Hermann, duke of Swabia ["Liudolfus filius regis tali, ut decuerat, apparatu Idam filiam Herimanni ducis sibi coniugio copulavit." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 947, 163]. Hermann died on 10 December 949 [ibid., s.a. 949, 164], and soon after, in 950, Liudolf was made duke of Swabia by his father ["... et filio suo Liudolfo ducatum Alamanniae commisit." ibid., s.a. 950, 164]. In 954, Liudolf lost Swabia, which was given to Burchard II ["Ea tempestate Liudolfus in gratiam regis revocatus vassallos, quos habuit, et ducatum patri reddidit; cui Burchardus in ducatu successit." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 954, 168]. He died in Italy on 6 September 957 ["Liudolfus in Italia obiit, cuius corpus inde translatum a venerabli archiepiscopo Willihelmo fratre eius Magontiae apud sanctum Albanum honorifice sepultum est." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 957, 169; "8. Id. Sept. ob. Liutolf, filius regis." Ann. nec. Fuldenses, s.a. 957, MGH SS 13: 198; "VIII. id. [Sep.] ... Liudulf' dux." Calend. Merseb., 121; "viii. id. [Sep.] Liudolfus dux." Kalendarium necrologicum Weissenburgense,
Fontes rerum Germ., 4: 313; Dümmler (1876), 289, n. 3; for Ida's date of death, see Althoff (1984), 378 (H13)]

FEMALE Liutgard, d. 18 November 953;
m. 947, Konrad, d. 10 August 955, duke of Lorraine.
["Cuonradus dux, regi tunc temporis pene pre omnibus carus, Liutgardam filiam regis in matrimonium sumpsit." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 947, 163; "Liutgarda filia regis obiit." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 953, 167; "XIIII. k. [Dec.] ... Luidgard filia imp. Ottonis." Calend. Merseb., 125; "Cuonradus quondam dux ibi occiditur." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 955, 168; "IIII. id. [Aug.] ... Conrad. dux" Calend. Merseb., 119; "iiii. id. [Aug.] Cuonradus dux cum aliis occisus est." Kalendarium necrologicum Weissenburgense, Fontes rerum Germ., 4: 312; "[iiii. id. Aug.] Cunradus dux." Kal. necrol. b. Mariae virg. in Monte Fuldensis, Fontes rerum Germ., 4: 454]

(by Adélaïde)
["Nati sunt autem regi filii ex serenissima regina primogenitus Heinricus, secundus Brun, tertius paterni nominis maiestate designatus, quem iam post patrem dominum ac imperatorem universus sperat orbis; filiam quoque sanctae matris eius vocabulo insignitam, de qua non presumimus aliquid dicere, cum eius claritus precellat omne quod dicere aut scribere valemus." Widukind, iii, 12 (p. 94)]

MALE Heinrich, b. 953, d. young, 7 April.
He must be the son whose birth is mentioned by Flodoard in 953 ["Nato siquidem regi filio ex moderna conjuge, ferebatur eidem puero rex regnum suum promittere, quod olim, prius quam Italiam peteret, Liudulfo delegaverat, et magnates suos eidem promittere fidelitatem jurejurando fecerat." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 953, 135]. His death occurred on a 7 April, presumably not long afterward ["VII. id. [Apr.] Heinric' filius Oddonis regis ob." Calend. Merseb., 112].

MALE Bruno, b. probably 954, d. 8 September 957.
["6. Id. Sept. ob. Brun, parvulus filius regis." Ann. nec. Fuldenses, MGH SS 13: 198]

MALE Otto II, b. 955, d. 7 December 983, emperor, 967-983;
m. 14 April 972, Theophano, d. 15 June 991,
niece of John Tsimiskes, Byzantine emperor.
Born in 955 ["Otto filius regis nascitur." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 955, 168], Otto II was declared joint-emperor on 25 December 967, at the age of 12 ["... et sequenti die Ottonem regem acclamatione tocius Romane plebis ante confessionem beati Petri cesarem et augustum ordinavit" ibid., s.a. 967, 179]. On 14 April 972, he was married to Theophano, niece of the Byzantine emperor John Tsimiskes ["... sed neptem suam, Theophanu vocatam, imperatori nostro trans mare mittens, ..." Thietmar, Chronicon, ii, 9, MGH SS 3: 748; "... et accepit coniugem filio suo Ottoni neptem Iohanni Constantinopolitani imperatori qui cognominatus est Cimiski." Annales Casinates, MGH SS 3: 172; Theophano's parentage is given differently by Liudprand: "... filiam Romani imperatoris et Theophanae imperatricis, domino meo filio suo, Ottoni imperatori augusto, in coniugium tradere volueris, ..." Liudprand, Legatio, c. 7, Dümmler (1877), 140; "Ottoni imperatori iuniori venit imperatrix Romam de Constantinopoli 18. Kal. Mai. octaba pascae." Annales Hildesheimenses, s.a. 972, MGH SS 3: 62; Dümmler (1876), 479-481; Uhlirz (1902), 25, n. 43]. Otto died on 7 December 983, and was succeeded by his son Otto III ["Ac non longe post 8. Id. Decembris Otto benignissimus imperator obiit, filio et equivoco eius regna relinquens." Ann. Hildisheim., s.a. 983, MGH SS 3: 64; "... et piae memoriae Otto imperator secundus obiit." Ann. Weissemb., s.a. 983, ibid., 65; "Otto secundus imperator Romam post male gestas res regressus [6. Idus Decembris] obiit, ibidemque sepultus est." (words in brackets only in one manuscript) Lambert, Annales, ibid.;
"VII. id. [Dec.] Otto impr." Calend. Merseb., 126; "vii. id. [Dec.] Otto ii. imp." Kalendarium necrologicum Weissenburgense, Fontes rerum Germ., 4: 314; "[vii. id. Dec.] Otto imperator." Kal. necrol. b. Mariae virg. in Monte Fuldensis, Fontes rerum Germ., 4: 455; for more details, see Uhlirz (1902), 206, n. 57]. Theophano died on 15 June 991 ["... Theophanu imperatrix consummato in bonis vitae suae cursu, pro dolor! quod est miserabile dictu, immatura dissolvitur morte, 17. Kal. Iulii; ..." Ann. Quedlinb., s.a. 991, MGH SS 3: 68; "Theophanu imperatrix obiit." Ann. Hildisheim., s.a. 991, MGH SS 3: 68; Lambert, Annales, ibid.; "XVII. K. [Jul.] ... Theuphanu. imp. oddonis imp." Calend. Merseb., 115; ES 1: 3 incorrectly gives 15 September 991].

FEMALE Mathilde, b. ca. 956?, d. 7 February 999, first abbess of Quedlinburg.
["imperatricem Adelheidam, matrem illius Mechtildis" Ann. Quedlinb., s.a. 999, MGH SS 3: 76] In an obviously retrospective entry, the Annals of Quedlinburg place Mathilde's birth in 955 ["Mechtild, gemma praelucida e medio coronae imperialis, decori suis et gaudio cunctis nascendo enituit." Ann. Quedlinb., MGH SS 3: 58]. However, that is the same year that Regino's continuator places the birth of Otto (see above), and there does not seem to be any evidence that would make Otto and Mathilde twins [ES 1: 3 places Mathilde's birth in 956, source unclear]. Mathilde died on 7 February 999 ["Mahtilda abbatissa, soror imperatoris Ottonis secundi, obiit."
Ann. Hildisheim., s.a. 999, MGH SS 3: 91; Ann. Quedlinb., s.a. 999, MGH SS 3: 75-6; Thietmar, iv, 27, MGH SS 3: 780; "Mathild abb." (7 Feb.) Necrology of Lüneburg, Althoff (1984), 343 (A 10); ES 1: 3 gives 6 February 999 as the date of death].

Illegitimate son:

MALE Wilhelm, b. ca. 928 (before Otto's marriage), d. 2 March 968, archbishop of Mainz, 954-968.
["Ea tempestate Ottoni filio eiusdem regis natus est filius Willihelmus." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 928, 158; "Fridericus archiepiscopus obiit, ... Cui successit regis filius Willihelmus, a populo et clero in Arnestat concorditer electus." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 954, 168; "Tunc etiam domnus archiepiscopus Willihelmus aliquantula infirmitate detentus, in brevi, Deo miserante, convaluit." Regino, Chronicon (continuation), s.a. 967, MGH SS 1: 629; "6. Non. Mar. obiit domnus Willihelmus archiepiscopus ordinationis suae anno 14." Annales necrologici Fuldenses, s.a. 968, MGH SS 13: 201; for more details on the date of death, see Dümmler (1876), 438, n. 4]



Commentary

Supposed daughter (existence doubtful):

FEMALE Richlind;
m. Kuno "of Öhningen" (Konrad, duke of Swabia?).

Richlind appears in genealogical sources of the "Welf" family. The earliest mention of this supposed daughter of Otto is in Genealogia Welforum, from about 1123×6, which states that the Welf Rudolf married Ida of Öhningen, daughter of count Kuno by an unnamed daughter of Otto the Great ["Ruºdolfus uxorem accepit de Oningen Itam nomine, cuius pater fuit Chuºno nobilissimus comes, mater vero filia Ottonis Magni inperatoris fuit." Genealogia Welforum, MGH SS 13: 734 (here, "" should be read as an "o" above the "u")]. This is supplemented by the Historia Welforum, from about 1167×74, giving the same information and supplying Kuno's wife with the name Richlind ["Roudolfus, frater superiorum, accepit uxorem de Oningen Itam nomine, cuius pater Couno nobilissimus comes, mater vero eius filia Ottonis Magni imperatoris fuit, Richlint nomine." Historia Welforum Weingartensis, MGH SS 21: 460]. Richlind's name and supposed relationship to Otto also appears in a false charter of Otto the Great from the last third of the twelfth century [MGH DD O I, 601-3 (#445)].

The obvious problem with this information is that it is from a source written 150 years after the death of Otto the Great, and there is no hint from earlier sources that he had such a daughter. An extensive literature has developed around the problem of the identity of Kuno "of Öhningen" (i.e., was he identical with Konrad, duke of Swabia?), and with the problem of the "Konradiner" genealogy, with the interpretation of the information on Otto's supposed daughter Richlind being just one element (but an important one) in these arguments. Although the disagreements on various isuues have often been major, the arguments about Richlind have centered on whether or not she was a daughter of Otto's son Liudolf [see, e.g., Wolf (1980); Hlawitschka (1987); Jackman (1990); Hlawitschka (2003)], and it has been widely agreed that Otto had no such daughter. These (lengthy) arguments will not be discussed here.


Bibliography

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

Dümmler (1876) = Rudolf Köpke & Ernst Dümmler, Kaiser Otto der Große (Leipzig, 1876).

Dümmler (1877) = Ernst Dümmler, ed., Liudprandi episcopi Cremonensis opera omnia (MGH SRG, Hannover, 1877).

ES = Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln (neue Folge), (Marburg, 1980-present).

Flodoard, Annales = Ph. Lauer, ed., Les Annales de Flodoard (Paris, 1905).

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

Hlawitschka (2003) = Eduard Hlawitschka, Konradiner-Genealogie, unstatthafte Verwandtenehen und spätottonisch-frühsalische Thronbesetzungpraxis (Hannover, 2003).

Jackman (1990) = Donald C. Jackman, The Konradiner. A Study in genealogical methodology (Frankfurt, 1990).

MGH DD = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata series.

MGH SRG = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Germanicarum (separate editions).

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

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

Uhlirz (1902) = Karl Uhlirz, Jahrbücher des Deutschen Reiches under Otto II. und Otto III. (vol. 1, Leipzig, 1902).

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

Wolf (1980) = Armin Wolf, "Wer war Kuno 'von Öhningen'? Überlegungen zum Herzogtum Konrads von Schwaben (+ 997) und zur Königswahl vom Jahre 1002", Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 36 (1980): 25-83 (reprinted in Genealogisches Jahrbuch 39 (1999): 5-49, with "Nachwort", pp. 49-56).


Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 3 April 2011.

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