Old St. Peter's Basilica
Old St. Peter's Basilica was the building that stood, from the 4th to 16th centuries, where the new St. Peter's Basilica stands today in Vatican City. Construction of the basilica, built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero, began during the reign of Emperor Constantine I; the name "old St. Peter's Basilica" has been used since the construction of the current basilica to distinguish the two buildings. Construction began by orders of the Roman Emperor Constantine I between 318 and 322, took about 40 years to complete. Over the next twelve centuries, the church gained importance becoming a major place of pilgrimage in Rome. Papal coronations were held at the basilica, in 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire there. In 846, Saracens damaged the basilica; the raiders seem to have known about Rome's extraordinary treasures. Some holy – and impressive – basilicas, such as St. Peter's Basilica, were outside the Aurelian walls, thus easy targets, they were "filled to overflowing with rich liturgical vessels and with jeweled reliquaries housing all of the relics amassed".
As a result, the raiders pillaged the holy shrine. In response Pope Leo IV built the Leonine wall and rebuilt the parts of St. Peter's, damaged. In 1099, Urban II convened a council including St Anselm. Among other topics, it repeated the bans on lay investiture and on clergy's paying homage to secular lords. By the 15th century the church was falling into ruin. Discussions on repairing parts of the structure commenced upon the pope's return from Avignon. Two people involved in this reconstruction were Leon Battista Alberti and Bernardo Rossellino, who improved the apse and added a multi-story benediction loggia to the atrium facade, on which construction continued intermittently until the new basilica was begun. Alberti pronounced the basilica a structural abomination: I have noticed in the basilica of St. Peter's in Rome a crass feature: an long and high wall has been constructed over a continuous series of openings, with no curves to give it strength, no buttresses to lend it support... The whole stretch of wall has been pierced by too many openings and built too high...
As a result, the continual force of the wind has displaced the wall more than six feet from the vertical. At first Pope Julius II had every intention of preserving the old building, but his attention soon turned toward tearing it down and building a new structure. Many people of the time were shocked by the proposal, as the building represented papal continuity going back to Peter; the original altar was to be preserved in the new structure. The design was a typical basilica form with the plan and elevation resembling those of Roman basilicas and audience halls, such as the Basilica Ulpia in Trajan's Forum and Constantine's own Aula Palatina at Trier, rather than the design of any Greco-Roman temple. Constantine went to great pains to build the basilica on the site of Saint Peter's grave, this fact influenced the layout of the building; the Vatican Hill, on the west bank of the Tiber River, was leveled. Notably, since the site was outside the boundaries of the ancient city, the apse with the altar was located in the west so that the basilica's façade could be approached from Rome itself to the east.
The exterior however, unlike earlier pagan temples, was not lavishly decorated. The church was capable of housing from 3,000 to 4,000 worshipers at one time, it consisted of five aisles, a wide central nave and two smaller aisles to each side, which were each divided by 21 marble columns, taken from earlier pagan buildings. It was over 350 feet long, built in the shape of a Latin cross, had a gabled roof, timbered on the interior and which stood at over 100 feet at the center. An atrium, known as the "Garden of Paradise", stood at the entrance and had five doors which led to the body of the church; the altar of Old St. Peter's Basilica used several Solomonic columns. According to tradition, Constantine took these columns from the Temple of Solomon and gave them to the church; when Gian Lorenzo Bernini built his baldacchino to cover the new St. Peter's altar, he drew from the twisted design of the old columns. Eight of the original columns were moved to the piers of the new St. Peter's; the great Navicella mosaic in the atrium is attributed to Giotto di Bondone.
The giant mosaic, commissioned by Cardinal Jacopo Stefaneschi, occupied the whole wall above the entrance arcade facing the courtyard. It depicted St. Peter walking on the waters; this extraordinary work was destroyed during the construction of the new St. Peter's in the 16th century, but fragments were preserved. Navicella means "little ship" referring to the large boat which dominated the scene, whose sail, filled by the storm, loomed over the horizon; such a natural representation of a seascape was known only from ancient works of art. The nave ended with an arch, which held a mosaic of Constantine and Saint Peter, who presented a model of the church to Christ. On the walls, each having 11 windows, were frescoes of various people and scenes from both the Old and New Testament; the fragment of an eighth-century mosaic, the Epiphany, is one of the rare remaining bits of the medieval decoration of Old St. Peter's Basilica; the precious fragment is kept in the sacristy of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
It proves the high artistic quality of the destroyed mosaics. Another one, a standing madonna, is on a side altar in the Basilica of San Marco in Florence. Since the crucifixion and burial of Saint Peter in
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials and miniature illustrations. In the strictest definition, the term refers only to manuscripts decorated with either gold or silver. Comparable Far Eastern and Mesoamerican works are described as painted. Islamic manuscripts may be referred to as illuminated, illustrated or painted, though using the same techniques as Western works; the earliest extant substantive illuminated manuscripts are from the period 400 to 600, produced in the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire. Their significance lies not only in their inherent artistic and historical value, but in the maintenance of a link of literacy offered by non-illuminated texts. Had it not been for the monastic scribes of Late Antiquity, most literature of Greece and Rome would have perished; as it was, the patterns of textual survivals were shaped by their usefulness to the constricted literate group of Christians. Illumination of manuscripts, as a way of aggrandizing ancient documents, aided their preservation and informative value in an era when new ruling classes were no longer literate, at least in the language used in the manuscripts.
The majority of extant manuscripts are from the Middle Ages, although many survive from the Renaissance, along with a limited number from Late Antiquity. The majority are of a religious nature. From the 13th century onward, an increasing number of secular texts were illuminated. Most illuminated manuscripts were created as codices. A few illuminated fragments survive on papyrus, which does not last nearly as long as parchment. Most medieval manuscripts, illuminated or not, were written on parchment, but most manuscripts important enough to illuminate were written on the best quality of parchment, called vellum. Beginning in the Late Middle Ages, manuscripts began to be produced on paper. Early printed books were sometimes produced with spaces left for rubrics and miniatures, or were given illuminated initials, or decorations in the margin, but the introduction of printing led to the decline of illumination. Illuminated manuscripts continued to be produced in the early 16th century but in much smaller numbers for the wealthy.
They are among the most common items to survive from the Middle Ages. They are the best surviving specimens of medieval painting, the best preserved. Indeed, for many areas and time periods, they are the only surviving examples of painting. Art historians classify illuminated manuscripts into their historic periods and types, including Late Antique, Carolingian manuscripts, Ottonian manuscripts, Romanesque manuscripts, Gothic manuscripts, Renaissance manuscripts. There are a few examples from periods; the type of book most heavily and richly illuminated, sometimes known as a "display book", varied between periods. In the first millennium, these were most to be Gospel Books, such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells; the Romanesque period saw the creation of many large illuminated complete Bibles – one in Sweden requires three librarians to lift it. Many Psalters were heavily illuminated in both this and the Gothic period. Single cards or posters of vellum, leather or paper were in wider circulation with short stories or legends on them about the lives of saints, chivalry knights or other mythological figures criminal, social or miraculous occurrences.
The Book of Hours commonly the personal devotional book of a wealthy layperson, was richly illuminated in the Gothic period. Other books, both liturgical and not, continued to be illuminated at all periods; the Byzantine world produced manuscripts in its own style, versions of which spread to other Orthodox and Eastern Christian areas. The Muslim World and in particular the Iberian Peninsula, with their traditions of literacy uninterrupted by the Middle Ages, were instrumental in delivering ancient classic works to the growing intellectual circles and universities of Western Europe all through the 12th century, as books were produced there in large numbers and on paper for the first time in Europe, with them full treatises on the sciences astrology and medicine where illumination was required to have profuse and accurate representations with the text; the Gothic period, which saw an increase in the production of these artifacts saw more secular works such as chronicles and works of literature illuminated.
Wealthy people began to build up personal libraries. Up to the 12th century, most manuscripts were produced in monasteries in order to add to the library or after receiving a commission from a wealthy patron. Larger monasteries contained separate areas for the monks who specialized in the production of manuscripts called a scriptorium. Within the walls of a scriptorium were individualized areas where a monk could sit and work on a manuscript without being disturbed by his fellow brethren. If no scriptorium was available “separate little rooms were assigned to book copying.
Arabic numerals are the ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. It is the most common system for the symbolic representation of numbers in the world today; the Hindu-Arabic numeral system was developed by Indian mathematicians around AD 500 using quite different forms of the numerals. From India, the system was adopted by Arabic mathematicians in Baghdad and passed on to the Arabs farther west; the current form of the numerals developed in North Africa. It was in the North African city of Bejaia that the Italian scholar Fibonacci first encountered the numerals; the use of Arabic numerals spread around the world through European trade and colonialism. The term Arabic numerals is ambiguous, it may be intended to mean the numerals used by Arabs, in which case it refers to the Eastern Arabic numerals. Although the phrase "Arabic numeral" is capitalized, it is sometimes written in lower case: for instance in its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, which helps to distinguish it from "Arabic numerals" as the Eastern Arabic numerals.
Alternative names are Western Arabic numerals, Western numerals, Hindu–Arabic numerals, Unicode calls them digits. The decimal Hindu–Arabic numeral system with zero was developed in India by around AD 700; the development was gradual, spanning several centuries, but the decisive step was provided by Brahmagupta's formulation of zero as a number in AD 628. The system was revolutionary by including zero in positional notation, thereby limiting the number of individual digits to ten, it is considered an important milestone in the development of mathematics. One may distinguish between this positional system, identical throughout the family, the precise glyphs used to write the numerals, which varied regionally; the first universally accepted inscription containing the use of the 0 glyph in India is first recorded in the 9th century, in an inscription at Gwalior in Central India dated to 870. Numerous Indian documents on copper plates exist, with the same symbol for zero in them, dated back as far as the 6th century AD, but their dates are uncertain.
Inscriptions in Indonesia and Cambodia dating to AD 683 have been found. The numeral system came to be known to the court of Baghdad, where mathematicians such as the Persian Al-Khwarizmi, whose book On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals was written about 825 in Arabic, the Arab mathematician Al-Kindi, who wrote four volumes, On the Use of the Indian Numerals about 830, propagated it in the Arab world, their work was principally responsible for the diffusion of the Indian system of numeration in the Middle East and the West. In the 10th century, Middle-Eastern mathematicians extended the decimal numeral system to include fractions, as recorded in a treatise by Syrian mathematician Abu'l-Hasan al-Uqlidisi in 952–953; the decimal point notation was introduced by Sind ibn Ali, who wrote the earliest treatise on Arabic numerals. A distinctive West Arabic variant of the symbols begins to emerge around the 10th century in the Maghreb and Al-Andalus, which are the direct ancestor of the modern "Arabic numerals" used throughout the world.
Woepecke has proposed that the Western Arabic numerals were in use in Spain before the arrival of the Moors, purportedly received via Alexandria, but this theory is not accepted by scholars. Some popular myths have argued that the original forms of these symbols indicated their numeric value through the number of angles they contained, but no evidence exists of any such origin. In 825 Al-Khwārizmī wrote a treatise in Arabic, On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals, which survives only as the 12th-century Latin translation, Algoritmi de numero Indorum. Algoritmi, the translator's rendition of the author's name, gave rise to the word algorithm; the first mentions of the numerals in the West are found in the Codex Vigilanus of 976. From the 980s, Gerbert of Aurillac used his position to spread knowledge of the numerals in Europe. Gerbert studied in Barcelona in his youth, he was known to have requested mathematical treatises concerning the astrolabe from Lupitus of Barcelona after he had returned to France.
Leonardo Fibonacci, a mathematician born in the Republic of Pisa who had studied in Béjaïa, promoted the Indian numeral system in Europe with his 1202 book Liber Abaci: When my father, appointed by his country as public notary in the customs at Bugia acting for the Pisan merchants going there, was in charge, he summoned me to him while I was still a child, having an eye to usefulness and future convenience, desired me to stay there and receive instruction in the school of accounting. There, when I had been introduced to the art of the Indians' nine symbols through remarkable teaching, knowledge of the art soon pleased me above all else and I came to understand it; the numerals are arranged with their lowest value digit to the right, with higher value positions added to the left. This arrangement is the same in Arabic as well as the Indo-European languages; the reason the digits are more known as "Arabic numerals" in Europe and the Americas is that they were introduced to Europe in the 10th century by Arabic-speakers of North Africa, who were using the digits from Libya to Morocco.
Arabs, on the other hand, call the base-10 system "Hindu numerals", referring to their origin in India. This is not to be confused with what the Arabs call the "Hindi numerals", namely the Eastern Arabi
Computus is a calculation that determines the calendar date of Easter. Because the date is based on a calendar-dependent equinox rather than the astronomical one, there are differences between calculations done according to the Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar; the name has been used for this procedure since the early Middle Ages, as it was considered the most important computation of the age. For most of their history Christians have calculated Easter independently of the Jewish calendar. In principle, Easter falls on the Sunday following the full moon that follows the northern spring equinox. However, the vernal equinox and the full moon are not determined by astronomical observation; the vernal equinox is fixed to fall on 21 March. The full moon is an ecclesiastical full moon determined by reference to a lunar calendar, which again varied in different areas. While Easter now falls at the earliest on the 15th of the lunar month and at the latest on the 21st, in some areas it used to fall at the earliest on the 14th and at the latest on the 20th, or between the sixteenth and the 22nd.
The last limit arises from the fact that the crucifixion was considered to have happened on the 14th and the resurrection therefore on the sixteenth. The "computus" is the procedure of determining the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon falling on or after 21 March, the difficulty arose from doing this over the span of centuries without accurate means of measuring the precise tropical year; the synodic month had been measured to a high degree of accuracy. The schematic model, accepted is the Metonic cycle, which equates 19 tropical years to 235 synodic months. In 1583, the Catholic Church began using 21 March under the Gregorian calendar to calculate the date of Easter, while the Eastern Churches have continued to use 21 March under the Julian calendar; the Catholic and Protestant denominations thus use an ecclesiastical full moon that occurs four, five or thirty-four days earlier than the eastern one. The earliest and latest dates for Easter are 22 March and 25 April, in the Gregorian calendar as those dates are understood.
However, in the Orthodox Churches, while those dates are the same, they are reckoned using the Julian calendar. Easter is the most important Christian feast, the proper date of its celebration has been the subject of controversy as early as the meeting of Anicetus and Polycarp around 154. According to Eusebius's Church History, quoting Polycrates of Ephesus, churches in the Roman Province of Asia "always observed the day when the people put away the leaven", namely Passover, the 14th of the lunar month of Nisan; the rest of the Christian world at that time, according to Eusebius, held to "the view which still prevails," of fixing Easter on Sunday. Eusebius does not say. Other documents from the 3rd and 4th centuries reveal that the customary practice was for Christians to consult their Jewish neighbors to determine when the week of Passover would fall, to set Easter on the Sunday that fell within that week. By the end of the 3rd century some Christians had become dissatisfied with what they perceived as the disorderly state of the Jewish calendar.
The chief complaint was that the Jewish practice sometimes set the 14th of Nisan before the spring equinox. This is implied by Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, in the mid-3rd century, who stated that "at no time other than the spring equinox is it legitimate to celebrate Easter", and it was explicitly stated by Peter, bishop of Alexandria that "the men of the present day now celebrate before the equinox...through negligence and error." Another objection to using the Jewish computation may have been that the Jewish calendar was not unified. Jews in one city might have a method for reckoning the Week of Unleavened Bread different from that used by the Jews of another city; because of these perceived defects in the traditional practice, Christian computists began experimenting with systems for determining Easter that would be free of these defects. But these experiments themselves led to controversy, since some Christians held that the customary practice of holding Easter during the Jewish festival of Unleavened Bread should be continued if the Jewish computations were in error from the Christian point of view.
At the First Council of Nicaea in 325, it was agreed that the Christians should observe a common date, independent from the Jewish method. The council agreed to two rules without explicitly stating them, that 14 Nisan was to occur after the vernal equinox, that Easter was to occur on the Sunday after 14 Nisan; the first prevented two Easters in one solar year, while the second prevented Christians from celebrating Easter at the same time as the Jews celebrated Passover. The council ignored the fact that the Christian vernal equinox was a day rather than an astronomical instant, that the Christian 14 Nisan was a different day than the Jewish 14 Nisan, that Alexandria and Rome used different Easter tables; the Patriarchy of Alexandria celebrated Easter on the Sunday after the 14th day of the moon that falls on or after the vernal equinox, which they placed on 21 March. However, the Patriarchy of Rome stil
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III was Holy Roman Emperor from 996 until his early death in 1002. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto III was the only son of the Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophanu. Otto III was crowned as King of Germany in 983 at the age of three, shortly after his father's death in Southern Italy while campaigning against the Byzantine Empire and the Emirate of Sicily. Though the nominal ruler of Germany, Otto III's minor status ensured his various regents held power over the Empire, his cousin Henry II, Duke of Bavaria claimed regency over the young king and attempted to seize the throne for himself in 984. When his rebellion failed to gain the support of Germany's aristocracy, Henry II was forced to abandon his claims to the throne and to allow Otto III's mother Theophanu to serve as regent until her death in 991. Otto III was still a child, so his grandmother, the Dowager Empress Adelaide of Italy, served as regent until 994. In 996, Otto III marched to Italy to claim the titles King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor, left unclaimed since the death of Otto II in 983.
Otto III sought to reestablish Imperial control over the city of Rome, which had revolted under the leadership of Crescentius II, through it the papacy. Crowned as Emperor, Otto III put down the Roman rebellion and installed his cousin as Pope Gregory V, the first Pope of German descent. After the Emperor had pardoned him and left the city, Crescentius II again rebelled, deposing Gregory V and installing John XVI as Pope. Otto III returned to the city in 998, reinstalled Gregory V, executed both Crescentius II and John XVI; when Gregory V died in 999, Otto III installed Sylvester II as the new Pope. Otto III's actions throughout his life further strengthened imperial control over the Catholic Church. From the beginning of his reign, Otto III faced opposition from the Slavs along the eastern frontier. Following the death of his father in 983, the Slavs rebelled against imperial control, forcing the Empire to abandon its territories east of the Elbe river. Otto III fought to regain the Empire's lost territories throughout his reign with only limited success.
While in the east, Otto III strengthened the Empire's relations with Poland and Hungary. Through his affairs in Eastern Europe in 1000, he was able to extend the influence of Christianity by supporting mission work in Poland and through the crowning of Stephen I as the first Christian king of Hungary. Returning to Rome in 1001, Otto faced a rebellion by the Roman aristocracy, which forced him to flee the city. While marching to reclaim the city in 1002, Otto suffered a sudden fever and died in a castle near Civita Castellana at the age of 21. With no clear heir to succeed him, his early death threw the Empire into political crisis. Otto III was born in July 980 somewhere between Aachen and Nijmegen; the only son of Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophanu, Otto III was the youngest of the couple's four children. Prior to Otto III's birth, his father had completed military campaigns in France against King Lothar. On 14 July 982, Otto II's army suffered a crushing defeat against the Muslim Emirate of Sicily at the Battle of Stilo.
Otto II had been campaigning in southern Italy with hopes of annexing the whole of Italy into the Holy Roman Empire. Otto II himself escaped the battle unharmed but many important imperial officials were among the battle's casualties. Following the defeat and at the insistence of the Empire's nobles, Otto II called an assembly of the Imperial Diet in Verona at Pentecost, 983, where he proposed to the assembly to have the three-year-old Otto III elected as King of Germany, becoming Otto II's undoubted heir apparent; this was the first time. After the assembly was concluded, Otto III and his mother Theophanu traveled across the Alps in order for Otto to be crowned at Aix, the traditional location of the coronation of the German kings. Otto II stayed behind to address military action against the Muslims. While still in central Italy, Otto II died on 7 November 983, was buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Otto III was crowned as king on Christmas Day 983, three weeks after his father's death, by Willigis, the Archbishop of Mainz, by John, the Archbishop of Ravenna.
News of Otto II's death first reached Germany shortly after his son's coronation. The unresolved problems in southern Italy and the Slavic uprising on the Empire's eastern border made the Empire's political situation unstable. With a minor on the throne, the Empire was thrown into confusion and Otto III's mother Theophanu assumed the role of regent for her young son. Otto III's cousin Henry II had been deposed as Duke of Bavaria by Otto II in 976 following his failed rebellion and imprisoned under the Bishopric of Utrecht. Following Otto II's death, Henry was released from prison; as Otto III's nearest male Ottonian relative, Henry II claimed the regency over his infant cousin. Archbishop of Cologne Warin granted Henry II the regency without substantial opposition. Only Otto III's mother Theophanu objected, along with his grandmother, the Dowager Empress Adelaide of Italy, his aunt, Abbess Matilda of Quedlinburg. Adelaide and Matilda, were both in Italy and unable to press their objections; as regent, Henry II took actions aimed less at guardianship of his infant cousin and more at claiming the throne for himself.
According to Gerbert of Aurillac, Henry II adopted a Byzantine-style joint-kingship. Towards the end of 984, Henry II sought to form alliances between himself and other important figure in the Ottonian world, chief among them his cousin King Lothar of France. In exchange for agreeing to make Henry II king of Germany, Henry II agreed to rel
Theophanu, was an Empress consort of the Holy Roman Empire by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, regent of the Holy Roman Empire during the minority of her son from 983 until her death in 990. She was the niece of the Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimiskes. According to the marriage certificate issued on 14 April 972—a masterpiece of the Ottonian Renaissance—Theophanu is identified as the neptis of Emperor John I Tzimiskes, of Armenian descent, she was of distinguished noble heritage: the Vita Mahthildis identifies her as augusti de palatio and the Annales Magdeburgenses describe her as Grecam illustrem imperatoriae stirpi proximam, ingenio facundam. Recent research tends to concur that she was most the daughter of Tzimiskes' brother-in-law Constantine Skleros and cousin Sophia Phokaina, the daughter of Kouropalatēs Leo Phokas, brother of Emperor Nikephoros II. Theophanu was not the blue-blood or "purple-born" princess. Theophanu's uncle, John I Tzimiskes, was considered the usurper of the Byzantine throne, placing Theophanu in a precarious position.
The match was made, on paper, to seal a treaty between the Holy Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Otto I was told by some to send Theophanu away, on account of the notion that her questionable imperial origin would not legitimize the emperorship. A reference by the Pope to Emperor Nikephoros II as "Emperor of the Greeks" in a letter while Otto's ambassador, Bishop Liutprand of Cremona, was at the Byzantine court, had destroyed the first round of marriage negotiations. With the ascension of John I Tzimiskes, who had not been referred to other than as Roman Emperor, the treaty negotiations were able to resume. However, not until a third delegation led by Archbishop Gero of Cologne arrived in Constantinople, were they completed. After the marriage negotiations completed and Otto II were married by Pope John XIII in April 972 and she was crowned as Holy Roman Empress the same day in Rome. According to Karl Leysers' book Communications and Power in Medieval Europe: Carolingian and Ottonian, Otto I's choice was not "to be searched for in the parlance of high politics" as his decision was made on the basis of securing his dynasty with the birth of the next Ottonian emperor.
Otto II succeeded his father on 8 May 973. Theophanu accompanied her husband on all his journeys, she is mentioned in one quarter of the emperor's formal documents - evidence of her privileged position and interest in affairs of the empire, it is known that she was at odds with her mother-in-law, Adelaide of Italy, which caused an estrangement between Otto II and Adelaide. According to Abbot Odilo of Cluny, Adelaide was happy when "that Greek woman" died; the Benedictine chronicler Alpert of Metz describes Theophanu as being an unpleasant and chattery woman. Theophanu was criticized for her relative decadence, which manifested in her bathing more than once a day and introducing new luxurious garments and jewelry into the royal court, she is credited with introducing the fork to Western Europe—chroniclers mention the astonishment she caused when she "used a golden double prong to bring food to her mouth" instead of using her hands as was the cultural norm." The theologian Peter Damian asserts that Theophanu had a love affair with John Philagathos, a Greek monk who reigned as Antipope John XVI.
Otto II died on 7 December 983 at the age of 28 from malaria. His three-year-old son, Otto III, had been appointed King of the Romans during a diet held on Pentecost of that year at Verona. At Christmas, Theophanu had him crowned by the Mainz archbishop Willigis at Aachen Cathedral, with herself ruling as Empress Regent on his behalf. Upon the death of Emperor Otto II, Bishop Folcmar of Utrecht released his cousin, the Bavarian duke Henry the Quarrelsome from custody. Duke Henry allied with Archbishop Warin of Cologne and seized his nephew Otto III in spring 984, while Theophanu was still in Italy, he was forced to surrender the child to his mother, backed by Archbishop Willigis of Mainz and Bishop Hildebald of Worms. Theophanu ruled the Holy Roman Empire as regent for a span of five years, from May 985 to her death in 990, despite early opposition by the Ottonian court. In fact, many queens in the tenth century, on an account of male rulers dying early deaths, found themselves in power, creating an age of women rulers for a small period of time.
During her regency, Theophanu brought from her native east, a culture of royal women at the helm of a small amount of political power, something that the West--of which she was in rule of--had remained opposed to for centuries before her regency. Theophanu and her mother-in-law, are known during the empress' regency to butt heads frequently--Adelaide of Italy is quoted in referring to her as "that Greek empress." Theophanu's rivalry with her mother-in-law, according to historian and author Simon Maclean, is over-stated. Theophanu's "Greekness" was not an overall issue, there was a grand fascination with the culture surrounding Byzantine court in the west that slighted most criticisms to her Greek origin. Theophanu did not remain as an image of the Ottonian empire, but as an influencer w
Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, the Near East. The popularization of this periodization in English has been accredited to historian Peter Brown, after the publication of his seminal work The World of Late Antiquity. Precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Middle Ages placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the edges of the Western Roman Empire; the Roman Empire underwent considerable social and organizational changes starting with the reign of Diocletian, who began the custom of splitting the Empire into Eastern and Western halves ruled by multiple emperors.
Beginning with Constantine the Great, Christianity was made legal in the Empire, a new capital was founded at Constantinople. Migrations of Germanic tribes disrupted Roman rule from the late 4th century onwards, culminating in the eventual collapse of the Empire in the West in 476, replaced by the so-called barbarian kingdoms; the resultant cultural fusion of Greco-Roman and Christian traditions formed the foundations of the subsequent culture of Europe. The term Spätantike "late antiquity", has been used by German-speaking historians since its popularization by Alois Riegl in the early 20th century, it was given currency in English by the writings of Peter Brown, whose survey The World of Late Antiquity revised the post-Gibbon view of a stale and ossified Classical culture, in favour of a vibrant time of renewals and beginnings, whose The Making of Late Antiquity offered a new paradigm of understanding the changes in Western culture of the time in order to confront Sir Richard Southern's The Making of the Middle Ages.
The continuities between the Roman Empire, as it was reorganized by Diocletian, the Early Middle Ages are stressed by writers who wish to emphasize that the seeds of medieval culture were developing in the Christianized empire, that they continued to do so in the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire at least until the coming of Islam. Concurrently, some migrating Germanic tribes such as the Ostrogoths and Visigoths saw themselves as perpetuating the "Roman" tradition. While the usage "Late Antiquity" suggests that the social and cultural priorities of Classical Antiquity endured throughout Europe into the Middle Ages, the usage of "Early Middle Ages" or "Early Byzantine" emphasizes a break with the classical past, the term "Migration Period" tends to de-emphasize the disruptions in the former Western Roman Empire caused by the creation of Germanic kingdoms within her borders beginning with the foedus with the Goths in Aquitania in 418; the general decline of population, technological knowledge and standards of living in Europe during this period became the archetypal example of societal collapse for writers from the Renaissance.
As a result of this decline, the relative scarcity of historical records from Europe in particular, the period from the early fifth century until the Carolingian Renaissance was referred to as the "Dark Ages". This term has been abandoned as a name for a historiographical epoch, being replaced by "Late Antiquity" in the periodization of the late West Roman Empire, the early Byzantine empire and the Early Middle Ages. One of the most important transformations in Late Antiquity was the formation and evolution of the Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism and Islam. A milestone in the rise of Christianity was the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great in 312, as claimed by his Christian panegyrist Eusebius of Caesarea, although the sincerity of his conversion is debated. Constantine confirmed the legalization of the religion through the so-called Edict of Milan in 313, jointly issued with his rival in the East, Licinius. By the late 4th century, Emperor Theodosius the Great had made Christianity the State religion, thereby transforming the Classical Roman world, which Peter Brown characterized as "rustling with the presence of many divine spirits."Constantine I was a key figure in many important events in Christian history, as he convened and attended the first ecumenical council of bishops at Nicaea in 325, subsidized the building of churches and sanctuaries such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, involved himself in questions such as the timing of Christ's resurrection and its relation to the Passover.
The birth of Christian monasticism in the deserts of Egypt in the 3rd century, which operated outside the episcopal authority of the Church, would become so successful that by the 8th century it penetrated the Church and became the primary Christian practice. Monasticism was not the only new Christian movement to appear in late antiquity, although it had the greatest influence. Other movements notable for their unconventional practices include the Grazers, holy men who ate only grass and chained themselves up. Late Antiquity marks the decline of Roman state religion, circumscribed in degrees by edicts inspired by Christian advisors such as Eusebius to 4th century emperors, a period of dynamic religious experimentation and spirituality with many syncretic sects, some formed centuries earl