King of Germany (983-1002) and Emperor of the Holy Empire (996-1002), born in July of 980 and died January 23, 1002 in Paternò. Known by the nickname of Mirabilia Mundi, was imbued with a strong imperialist sentiment and wanted to carry out a renovation of the Empire, by devising a Christian universe in which the Emperor and the Pope would be co-gobernantes.
Belonging to the dynasty of Saxony, was the son of the Emperor Otto II and Greek Princess Theophano (Theophany). The same year of his birth traveled with his parents to Italy and was appointed King and successor of Otto II, immediately initiating the trip for his coronation in Aachen, at the festival of Christmas in the diet of Verona in 983. He received a fine education in charge of the count Hoiko, the bishops Juan de Calabria (Bishop of Plasencia) and Bernardo de Hildesheim, completed by the illustrious Gerberto, who would later become Pope with the name of Sylvester II. Exceptional conditions and his great talent, you were worth, already during the training stage, the nickname of Mirabilia Mundi.
On the death of Otto II (983), Otto III was only three years old and was entrusted the Regency to his mother, the Empress Teofano. The deposed Duke Henry the quarrelsome, over which, in accordance with the Germanic custom, should have been the Regency was immediately released from prison. In fact, what Enrique sought was not the Regency, but the throne. Without giving time to which its opponents consider the issue, it came to Cologne and took hold of the young King, who was in the custody of Archbishop Willigis of Mainz. The situation became more complex with the unexpected appearance of Lothair of France as a candidate for the Regency, although this one, whose real objective was to gain influence over Lorraine, withdrew immediately. The center of the action returned to the East, where Henry had proclaimed King of Germania with the support of his followers, while the Saxons Assembly deposed him and Otto III rights were recognized in the Assembly of German princes in Bürstadt unanimously. The main supporters of these rights were Willigis of Mainz and Swabian Conrado, who had avoided that the deposed Duke of Bavaria managed to support other Duchies. Isolated, the Pendenciero gave the young boy to the care of Theophano and her grandmother Adelaide, in the diet which met in rare June 29, 984.
Initially, Theophano and Adelaide assumed the Regency in conjunction, but he soon began to prevail the criterion of the second, that when in 989 went to take charge of Italy, left in charge of the Affairs of Germany to the Archbishop of Mainz. The grandmother of the Emperor returned to assume the Regency of Theophano died in 991. Defeated Enrique of Bavaria's opposition, the main problem that arose during the Regency was combating the vendos and bohemos. In 990 Theophane had supported the Duke of Poland, Mesco, against Boleslav of Bohemia. In 991 the young King was already participating in campaigns and Brandenburg took over with the help of Mesco, but the fortress was reconquered and it was not until April of 993 Otto returned to retrieve it. 995 against the vendos campaign restored sufficient order in Germany so that Otto III could raise his trip to Italy.
The King took over the Government in 994, when he was fourteen years of age. Imperial authority in Italy had been weakened since the unfortunate campaign in 982 Otto II, but Otto III still had the perception that the Roman see was a metropolitan see within the Empire. Otto III, imbued with the imperial dream advocated by the first Otto, crossed the Alps through the Brenner pass in February of 996. It overcame the opposition of the Veronese and received the pledge of allegiance of the Italian magnates at Pavia, where the news of the death of the Pope Juan XVcame to him. In Ravenna, Otto received a delegation urged him so he chose Pope and this appointed his cousin, Bruno Carintia, who reigned as Gregory V. Although he was the first German Pope, the Romans showed no resistance to the appointment and Otto III may 21, received his imperial crown.
His conception of the Empire was far from its predecessors, as already it was expressed in the legend of one of its hallmarks: "Renovatio Imperii Romanorum". While Otto the great had set up two ministries, one for Italy and one for Germany, Otto III met both in the person of Heriberto, returning to the Carolingian tradition of a single Foreign Ministry throughout the Empire. Taking as models to Charlemagne and Constantine, Otto III wanted to restore a true Western Roman Empire. Reported the donation of Constantine, it supported with decision the church reform and tried to establish an imperial administration based on the Byzantine model. Seeing in the church his main ally, Otto frequently supported the great prelates against the nobility and the bourgeoisie, in an attempt to create an imperial theocracy. Their aspirations were thwarted, however, by the fact that his power base was Germany and therefore his grip on the Italian nobility was based on alliances with the powerful bishops and Abbots.
Neither the emperor nor the new Pope were willing to allow that to continue the institution of the Roman patriciate. Crescencio was judged by their trespasses to Juan XV and sentenced to exile, even though he was pardoned upon request of the Pope. The culmination of the Italian plans of Otto III had been quick and easy and the emperor took the route of Germany. But the Romans hated his German father and in September 996 Crescencio regained power and expelled from Rome to Gregory, who had to take refuge in Pavia. The emperor sent his godfather, Juan Philagathus, Archbishop of Piacenza, who, continuing the policy of Alliance with the Roman patricians Theophane, yielded to the demands of Crescencio. This was only to buy time, since at the end of 997 Emperor returned to cross the Alps and came to Rome, where in February 998 returned to Gregorio. Juan XVI, antipope sponsored by the patrician It was captured, blinded and mutilated and the own Crescencio, who had taken refuge in the castle of Sant Angelo, fell prisoner and was executed.
Otto III was still in Italy, alternate issues of Church and State, when Pope Gregory died in February 999. True to its policy, Otto returned to select another non Roman Pope in the person of Aurillac Gerberto, Sylvester II, who was the first French Pope. This, following the path of the former Curia, asserted the supremacy of the priesthood over the Empire, distancing itself from the imperial dream of Otto III.
In 1000 Otto III made a pilgrimage to the tomb of his friend Adalbert, in Gnesen, which erected a bishopric to promote the emancipation of Eastern Slavs. He practiced mortification at the graveside of an ascetic, and opened the tomb of Charlemagne in Aachen. Later, he met the Pope in Rome and was forced to leave the city. Nor it could count on the German Lords for fulfilling their dreams of universal empire and recovery of the eternal city. After his death, only thanks to the weapons, got transferred his body to Aachen. His tomb was discovered in the 20th century.
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