TO suggest that the captivating events of tenth-century Germany were both complex and tumultuous would be an understatement. After the death of the Emperor Charlemagne (742-814), the Holy Roman Empire had been torn asunder and an entire succession of European monarchs - beginning with Louis the Pious (778-840) - displayed a marked inability to live up to the rigorous demands of the imperial legacy. In due course, however, a new dynasty arose in the German kingdom of Saxony and changed the face of European politics forever. It began with Henry the Fowler (876-936), a king who spent much of his reign attempting to quell the Slavic and Magyar hordes that were rising in the East, a task that was later completed by his son, Otto the Great (912-973). The latter, a most formidable and ambitious leader, overcame a series of aristocratic rebellions within his own borders, prior to waging a successful campaign in Italy and finally becoming Emperor. As a result of his uncompromising approach to the Catholic papacy and the employment of some rather shrewd diplomacy with regard to the Byzantine Empire, Otto went on to become one of the most important figures in German history. Well-organised and employing a wealth of both primary and secondary sources, this passionate and invigorating account examines some of the most fascinating and intriguing aspects of Ottonian Germany and is a valuable addition within the field of Medieval European history.
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