Weapons and Warfare

stammtafelottonen0002Depiction of the Ottonian family tree in a 13th-century manuscript of the Chronica sancti Pantaleonis

The lack of a crowned emperor from 925 to 961 was largely due to the reluctance of the Theophylact popes to play their last card in their game against increasingly powerful kings of Italy. Hugo of Arles had been succeeded by Berengar II, margrave of Ivrea, who, by 959, had conquered Spoleto and was threatening Rome as the Lombards had done two centuries before. The best chance of relief appeared to be the Ottonians, who followed the Carolingians in eastern Francia from 919. Otto I had already made two botched attempts to assert authority in northern Italy between 951 and 952. He spent the next decade consolidating his hold over Germany, whilst carefully cultivating contact with bishops fleeing the troubles in Italy. Otto was determined to present himself as liberator, not conqueror, and thus worthy…

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