Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine the Great. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire. In Greek sources, the term is translated either as stratelates; the title of magister militum was created in the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine the Great deprived the praetorian prefects of their military functions. Two posts were created, one as head of the foot troops, as the magister peditum, one for the more prestigious horse troops, the magister equitum; the latter title had existed since Republican times, as the second-in-command to a Roman dictator. Under Constantine's successors, the title was established at a territorial level: magistri peditum and magistri equitum were appointed for every praetorian prefecture, and, in addition, for Thrace and, Africa. On occasion, the offices would be combined under a single person styled magister equitum et peditum or magister utriusque militiae.
As such they were directly in command of the local mobile field army of the comitatenses, composed of cavalry, which acted as a rapid reaction force. Other magistri remained at the immediate disposal of the Emperors, were termed in praesenti. By the late 4th century, the regional commanders were termed magister militum. In the Western Roman Empire, a "commander-in-chief" evolved with the title of magister utriusque militiae; this powerful office was the power behind the throne and was held by Stilicho, Flavius Aetius and others. In the East, there were two senior generals, who were each appointed to the office of magister militum praesentalis. During the reign of Emperor Justinian I, with increasing military threats and the expansion of the Eastern Empire, three new posts were created: the magister militum per Armeniam in the Armenian and Caucasian provinces part of the jurisdiction of the magister militum per Orientem, the magister militum per Africam in the reconquered African provinces, with a subordinate magister peditum, the magister militum Spaniae.
In the course of the 6th century and external crises in the provinces necessitated the temporary union of the supreme regional civil authority with the office of the magister militum. In the establishment of the exarchates of Ravenna and Carthage in 584, this practice found its first permanent expression. Indeed, after the loss of the eastern provinces to the Muslim conquest in the 640s, the surviving field armies and their commanders formed the first themata. Supreme military commanders sometimes took this title in early medieval Italy, for example in the Papal States and in Venice, whose Doge claimed to be the successor to the Exarch of Ravenna. 383-385/8: Flavius Bauto, magister militum under Valentinian II 385/8-394: Arbogast, magister militum under Valentinian II and Eugenius 383–388: Andragathius after 383-408: Flavius Stilicho 422-?: Asterius? – 480: Ovida 411 – 421: Flavius Constantius 422 - 425: Castinus 425 - 430: Flavius Constantius Felix 431 - 432: Bonifacius 432 - 433: Sebastianus 433 – 454: Flavius Aetius 455 - 456: Avitus & Remistus 456 – 472: Ricimer 472–473: Gundobad 475: Ecdicius Avitus 475–476: Flavius Orestes 352–355: Claudius Silvanus 362–364: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian and Jovian?
– 419: Flavius Gaudentius 425–430: Flavius Aetius 435-439: Litorius 452–458: Agrippinus 458–461: Aegidius 461/462: Agrippinus? - 472: Bilimer 441-442: Asterius 443: Flavius Merobaudes 446: Vitus?-350: Vetranio, magister peditum under Constans 361: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian 365–375: Equitius, magister utriusquae militiae under Valentinian I 395-? Alaric I 448/9 Agintheus. 468–474: Julius Nepos 477–479: Onoulphus 479–481: Sabinianus Magnus 528: Ascum 529–530/1: Mundus 532–536: Mundus c. 538: Justin c. 544: Vitalius c. 550: John 568–569/70: Bonus 581–582: Theognis c. 347: Flavius Eusebius, magister utriusquae militiae 349–359: Ursicinus, magister equitum under Constantius 359–360: Sabinianus, magister equitum under Constantius 363–367: Lupicinus, magister equitum under Jovian and Valens 371–378: Iulius, magister equitum et Peditum under Valens 383: Flavius Richomeres, magister equitum et peditum 383–388: Ellebichus, magister equitum et peditum 392: Eutherius, magister equitum et peditum 393–396: Addaeus, magister equitum et peditum 395/400: Fravitta 433–446: Anatolius 447–451: Zeno 460s: Flavius Ardabur Aspar -469: Flavius Iordanes 469–471: Zeno 483–498: Ioannes Scytha c.
503–505: Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus 505–506: Pharesmanes?516-?518: Hypatius?518–529: Diogenianus 520-525/526: Hypatius 527: Libelarius 527–529: Hypatius 529–531: Belisarius 531: Mundus 532–533: Belisarius 540: Buzes 542: Belisarius 543–544: Martinus 549–551: Belisarius 555: Amantius 556: Valerianus 569: Zemarchus 572–573: Marcian 573: Theodorus 574: Eusebius 574/574-577: Justinian 577–582: Maurice 582–583: John Mystacon 584-587/588: Philippicus 588: Priscus 588–589: Philippicus 589–591: Comentiolus 591–603: Narses 603-604 Germanus 604-605 Leontius 605-610 Domentziolus Valerian Dagisthaeus Bessas 377–378: Flavius Saturninus, magister equitum under Valens 377–378: Traianus, magister peditum under Valens 378: Sebastianus, magister peditum under Valens 380–383: Flavius Saturninus, magister peditum under Theodosius I 392–393: F
Pope Sergius III
Pope Sergius III was Pope from 29 January 904 to his death in 911. He was pope during a period of feudal violence and disorder in central Italy, when warring aristocratic factions sought to use the material and military resources of the Papacy; because Sergius III had reputedly ordered the murder of his two immediate predecessors, Leo V and Christopher, fathered an illegitimate son who became pope, his pontificate has been variously described as "dismal and disgraceful", "efficient and ruthless". Sergius was the son of Benedictus, traditionally was believed descended from a noble Roman family, although it has been speculated that he was in fact related to the family of Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, he was ordained as a subdeacon by Pope Marinus I, followed by his being raised to the deaconate by Pope Stephen V. During the pontificate of Pope Formosus, he was a member of the party of nobles who supported the Emperor Lambert, the opponent of Formosus and the pope’s preferred imperial candidate, Arnulf of Carinthia.
Formosus consecrated Sergius as bishop of Caere in 893 in order to remove him from Rome. Sergius ceased to act as bishop of Caere with the death of Formosus in 896, as all of the ordinations conferred by Formosus were declared null and void, although Formosus’ ordination of Sergius was reconfirmed by Theodore II, he actively participated in the farcical Cadaver synod that condemned the pontificate of Formosus. With the death of Theodore in 898, with a small following of Roman nobility led by his father Benedictus, attempted to have himself elected pope, contrary to the wishes of the emperor Lambert, duke of Spoleto. Although Sergius was elected, a rival candidate, Pope John IX, was elected. With Lambert’s support, John was installed as pope, one of his first acts was to convene a synod which excommunicated Sergius and his followers. Sergius was forcibly exiled by Lambert, fleeing to his see at Caere, where he placed himself under the protection of Adalbert II, Margrave of Tuscany. By the time the Antipope Christopher seized the chair of Saint Peter by force, circumstances had changed at Rome, with the rise of the magister militum Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, stationed at Rome by the retreating emperor Louis the Blind in 902.
Putting himself at the head of a faction of the nobility, Theophylact revolted against Christopher, asked Sergius to return to Rome to become pope. Sergius accepted, with the armed backing of Adalbert II, he entered Rome, by which stage Christopher had been cast into prison by Theophylact. Sergius was consecrated Pope on 29 January 904. Sergius III owed his rise to the power of his new patron Theophylact, rewarded him with the position of sacri palatii vestararius, the principal official at the top of papal patronage in control of the disbursements, thus of patronage. All real power now devolved onto Theophylact, Sergius became his puppet; the first clear sign of this shift in power was the fate of Sergius’ two predecessors, Pope Leo V and the Antipope Christopher. According to the pro-Formosan Eugenius Vulgarius, Sergius ordered both men to be strangled in prison sometime in early 904; that both men were murdered during Sergius’ pontificate appears probable, although other accounts state that Christopher at least was allowed to retire to a monastery.
Given where the real power lay, it seems more that either Theophylact gave the orders directly, or that he directed Sergius to give the orders. For the remainder of his pontificate, Sergius promoted his family and members of his aristocratic party to positions of authority and prominence within the church. Pope Sergius III convoked a synod which annulled all the ordinations of Formosus and required all bishops ordained by Formosus to be re-ordained, it was alleged that Sergius managed to get the consent of the Roman clergy at the synod by threatening them with exile, violence or through the use of bribery. The decision to require reordination was unpopular, those affected at sees distant from Rome not only ignored the synod’s instructions, but wrote letters both condemning the revoking of ordinations and justifying validity of the original ordinations; the ruling was subsequently reversed again after his death. Confirming his continued support of the anti-Formosus faction, Sergius honoured the murdered Pope Stephen VI, responsible for the "Cadaver Synod" that had condemned and mutilated the corpse of Pope Formosus, by writing a laudatory epitaph on Stephen VI's tombstone.
For centuries it was believed that Sergius had the much-abused corpse of Formosus exhumed once more, found guilty again, beheaded, thus in effect conducting a second Cadaver Synod. However, the source for this was Liutprand of Cremona, who mistakenly placed the cadaver synod in the pontificate of Sergius III, instead of Stephen VI. Although neither Sergius nor Theophylact supported the continued nominal rule of Emperor Louis, they were somewhat unwilling to grant the imperial title to the only other contender, Berengar I of Italy. On the one occasion that Sergius agreed to crown Berengar in around 906, Berengar was prevented from reaching Rome by the forces of Alberic I of Spoleto and Adalbert II of Tuscany, both of whom had been supporters of Sergius, but were unhappy with his decision to support Berengar. Berengar’s unwillingness to control his vassals contributed to the papal reluctance; when Sergius was ignored, the pope wrote to the bishop of
The Roman Senate was a political institution in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city of Rome, it survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the barbarian rule of Rome in the 5th, 6th, 7th centuries. During the days of the kingdom, it was little more than an advisory council to the king; the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was overthrown following a coup d'état led by Lucius Junius Brutus, who founded the Roman Republic. During the early Republic, the Senate was politically weak, while the various executive magistrates were quite powerful. Since the transition from monarchy to constitutional rule was most gradual, it took several generations before the Senate was able to assert itself over the executive magistrates. By the middle Republic, the Senate had reached the apex of its republican power.
The late Republic saw a decline in the Senate's power, which began following the reforms of the tribunes Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. After the transition of the Republic into the Principate, the Senate lost much of its political power as well as its prestige. Following the constitutional reforms of the Emperor Diocletian, the Senate became politically irrelevant; when the seat of government was transferred out of Rome, the Senate was reduced to a purely municipal body. This decline in status was reinforced when the emperor Constantine the Great created an additional senate in Constantinople. After Romulus Augustulus was deposed in 476 the Senate in the West functioned under the rule of Odovacer, 476–489 and during Ostrogothic rule, 489–535, it was restored after the reconquest of Italy by Justinian I. However, the Senate in Rome disappeared at some point after AD 603. Despite this, the title "senator" was still used well into the Middle Ages as a meaningless honorific. However, the Eastern Senate survived in Constantinople, until the ancient institution vanished there, c. 14th century.
The senate was a political institution in the ancient Roman Kingdom. The word senate derives from the Latin word senex, which means "old man"; the prehistoric Indo-Europeans who settled Italy in the centuries before the legendary founding of Rome in 753 BC were structured into tribal communities, these communities included an aristocratic board of tribal elders. The early Roman family was called a gens or "clan", each clan was an aggregation of families under a common living male patriarch, called a pater; when the early Roman gentes were aggregating to form a common community, the patres from the leading clans were selected for the confederated board of elders that would become the Roman senate. Over time, the patres came to recognize the need for a single leader, so they elected a king, vested in him their sovereign power; when the king died, that sovereign power reverted to the patres. The senate is said to have been created by Rome's first king, Romulus consisting of 100 men; the descendants of those 100 men subsequently became the patrician class.
Rome's fifth king, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, chose a further 100 senators. They were chosen from the minor leading families, were accordingly called the patres minorum gentium. Rome's seventh and final king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, executed many of the leading men in the senate, did not replace them, thereby diminishing their number. However, in 509 BC Rome's first and third consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus and Publius Valerius Publicola chose from amongst the leading equites new men for the senate, these being called conscripti, thus increased the size of the senate to 300; the senate of the Roman Kingdom held three principal responsibilities: It functioned as the ultimate repository for the executive power, it served as the king's council, it functioned as a legislative body in concert with the people of Rome. During the years of the monarchy, the senate's most important function was to elect new kings. While the king was nominally elected by the people, it was the senate who chose each new king.
The period between the death of one king and the election of a new king was called the interregnum, during which time the Interrex nominated a candidate to replace the king. After the senate gave its initial approval to the nominee, he was formally elected by the people, received the senate's final approval. At least one king, Servius Tullius, was elected by the senate alone, not by the people; the senate's most significant task, outside regal elections, was to function as the king's council, while the king could ignore any advice it offered, its growing prestige helped make the advice that it offered difficult to ignore. Only the king could make new laws, although he involved both the senate and the curiate assembly in the process; when the Republic began, the Senate functioned as an advisory council. It consisted of 300–500 senators, who were patrician and served for life. Before long, plebeians were admitted, although they were denied the senior magistracies for a longer period. Senators were entitled to wear a toga with a broad purple stripe, maroon shoes, an iron ring.
The Senate of the Roman Republic passed decrees called senatus consulta, which in form constituted "advice" from the senate to a magistrate. While these decrees did not hold legal force, they were obeyed in practice. If a senatus consultum conflicted with a
Louis the Blind
Louis the Blind was the king of Provence from 11 January 887, King of Italy from 12 October 900, Holy Roman Emperor, as Louis III, between 901 and 905. He was the son of Boso, the usurper king of Provence, Ermengard, a daughter of the Emperor Louis II. Through his father, he was a Bosonid, but through a Carolingian, he was blinded after a failed invasion of Italy in 905. As a boy of seven, Louis succeeded to the throne of his father Boso as King of Provence upon Boso’s death on 11 January 887; the kingdom Louis inherited was much smaller than his father’s, as it did not include Upper Burgundy, nor any of French Burgundy, absorbed by Richard the Justiciar, Duke of Burgundy. This meant; the Provençal barons elected Ermengard to act as his regent, with the support of Louis's uncle, Richard the Justiciar. In May, Ermengard traveled with Louis to the court of her relative, the emperor Charles the Fat, received his recognition of the young Louis as king. Charles put both mother and son under his protection.
In May 889, she traveled to the court of Charles' successor, Arnulf, to make a new submission, while at the same time seeking the blessing of Pope Stephen V. The short work, Visio Karoli Grossi, may have been written shortly after Charles' death to support Louis's claim. If so, Louis must have had the support of Fulk the Venerable, Archbishop of Reims. On the other hand, the Visio may have been written circa 901, to celebrate Louis's imperial coronation. In August 890, at the Diet of Valence, a council of bishops and feudatories of the realm, after hearing the recommendation of the pope, receiving notification of Charles the Fat’s previous agreement to the proposition, proclaimed Louis as King of Arles and Cisjurane Burgundy. In 894, Louis himself did homage to Arnulf. In 896, Louis waged war on the Saracens. Throughout his reign he fought with these Saracen pirates, who had established a base at Fraxinet in 889 and had been raiding the coast of Provence, alarming the local nobility. In 900, Louis, as the grandson and heir of the Emperor Louis II, was invited into Italy by various lords, including Adalbert II, Margrave of Tuscany, who were suffering under the ravages of the Magyars and the incompetent rule of Berengar I. Louis thus marched his army across the Alps and defeated Berengar, chasing him from Pavia, the old Lombard capital, where, in the church of San Michele, he was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy on 12 October, 900.
He travelled onwards to Rome, where, in 901, he was crowned Emperor by Pope Benedict IV. However, his inability to stem the Magyar incursions and impose any meaningful control over northern Italy saw the Italian nobles abandon his cause and once again align themselves with Berengar. In 902, Berengar defeated Louis's armies and forced him to flee to Provence and promise never to return. In 905, after again listening to the Italian nobles who were tired of Berengar’s rule, this time led by Adalbert I of Ivrea, launched another attempt to invade Italy. Once again throwing Berengar out of Pavia, he marched and succeeded in taking Verona with only a small following, after receiving the promise of support from the bishop, Adalard. Partisans of Berengar in the town soon got word to Berengar of Louis’s exposed position at Verona, his limited support. Berengar returned, accompanied by Bavarian troops, entered Verona in the dead of night. Louis sought sanctuary at the church of St Peter, but he was captured, on 21 July 905, he had his eyes put out and was forced to relinquish his royal Italian and imperial crowns.
Berengar became Emperor. After this last attempt to restore Carolingian power over Italy, Louis continued to rule Provence for over twenty years, though his cousin Hugh, Count of Arles, was the dominant figure in the territory. Louis returned to Vienne, his capital, by 911, he had put most of the royal powers in the hands of Hugh. Hugh moved the capital to Arles; as regent, Hugh married Louis's sister Willa. Louis lived out his days until his death in obscurity, through his life he continued to style himself as Roman Emperor, he was succeeded by his brother-in-law in 928. In 899, Louis III was betrothed to Anna, the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise and his second wife, Zoe Zaoutzaina; the evidence for this is a letter by Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos in which he testifies that Leo VI had united his daughter to a Frank prince, a cousin of Bertha, to whom came a great misfortune. That unfortunate Prince could only be Louis III, whose mother Irmingardis was a first cousin of Berta de Tuscia and, blinded on 21 July 905.
This betrothal occurred shortly before the fall of Taormina to the Arabs, was part of extended diplomatic activities meant to strengthen Byzantine alliances with the western powers to preserve Byzantine territory in southern Italy. The question of whether the betrothal was followed up by an actual marriage is still a matter of some controversy. Louis fathered. Charles' mother is not named in any sources. There has been modern speculation, proposed by Previté-Orton and championed by Christian Settipani, that she was Anna, the daughter of Leo VI and Zoe Zaoutzaina, based both upon the documented betrothal, as well on the onomastic evidence, stating that Charles-Constantine's name points to a Byzantine mother. Though Shaun Tougher doubts they were married. Detractors of the theory point out that when Anna was born, she was the daughter of a concubine who became Empr
Christopher held the papacy from October 903 to January 904. Although he was listed as a legitimate Pope in most modern lists of Popes until the first half of the 20th century, the uncanonical method by which he obtained the papacy led to his being removed from the quasi-official roster of popes, the Annuario pontificio; as such, he is now considered an antipope by the Catholic Church. Little is known about the life of Christopher, it is believed that he was a Roman, that his father's name was Leo. He was cardinal-priest of the title of St. Damasus, his predecessor, Leo V, was deposed and imprisoned, most around October 903. As it is believed that Leo died in prison, Christopher may be regarded as Pope after his death. However, the account of Auxilius of Naples says that Sergius III murdered both Leo V and Christopher. An eleventh-century Greek document says that Christopher was the first pope to state that the Holy Ghost proceeded "from the Father and from the Son". However, the document claims that Christopher made this profession to Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople.
At that time, Nicholas Mystikos was Patriarch of Constantinople, making the account suspect. Christopher was driven from the papacy by Pope Sergius III. Hermannus Contractus contends. However, the historian Eugenius Vulgarius says; some hold that Christopher was a legitimate pope, regardless of the illegitimate means by which he appears to have ascended to the throne. His name is included in all major catalogues of the popes through the early twentieth century, his portrait figures among the other likenesses of the popes in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, among the frescoes of tenth-century popes painted in the thirteenth century on the walls of the ancient church of San Pietro a Grado, outside Pisa. He was, acknowledged as pope by his successors. For example, in confirming the privileges of the Abbey of Corbie in France, Leo IX mentioned the preceding grants of Benedict and Christopher; this privilege is the only one of Christopher's acts, extant. However, he has not been considered a legitimate pope since the first half of the 20th century and has been erased from the Annuario pontificio's list of popes.
Papal selection before 1059 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Pope Christopher". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Christopher
Pope Benedict VIII
Pope Benedict VIII reigned from 18 May 1012 to his death in 1024. He was born Theophylactus to the noble family of the counts of Tusculum, descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, like his predecessor Pope Benedict VII. Horace Mann considered him "...one of the few popes of the Middle Ages, at once powerful at home and great abroad." Benedict VIII was opposed by Gregory VI, who compelled him to flee Rome. He was restored by Henry II of Germany, whom he crowned Holy Roman Emperor on 14 February 1014, he remained on good terms with Henry for his entire pontificate. In Benedict VIII's pontificate, they effected a settlement in sacked Pisa. The Normans then began to settle in Italy; the Pope promoted peace in Italy by allying himself with the Normans, orchestrating the defeat of the Saracens in Sardinia and subjugating the Crescentii. In 1022, he held a synod at Pavia with the Emperor to restrain simony and incontinence of the clergy; the reformation sponsored by Cluny Abbey was supported by him, he was a friend of its abbot, St. Odilo.
In 1020, Benedict VIII travelled to Germany to confer with Henry II about the renewed Byzantine menace in the Mezzogiorno. Arriving at Bamberg at Eastertide, he consecrated the new cathedral there, obtained a charter from Henry II confirming the donations of Charlemagne and Otto the Great, visited the monastery of Fulda. In 1022 Benedict received Æthelnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had traveled to Rome to obtain the pallium. To further the interest of peace, he encouraged the Truce of God, he convinced the Emperor to lead an expedition into the south of Italy and subordinate his vassals who had defected to Greek authority. List of popes
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I, traditionally known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry I the Matilda. Otto inherited the Duchy of Saxony and the kingship of the Germans upon his father's death in 936, he continued his father's work of unifying all German tribes into a single kingdom and expanded the king's powers at the expense of the aristocracy. Through strategic marriages and personal appointments, Otto installed members of his family in the kingdom's most important duchies; this reduced the various dukes, co-equals with the king, to royal subjects under his authority. Otto transformed the Roman Catholic Church in Germany to strengthen royal authority and subjected its clergy to his personal control. After putting down a brief civil war among the rebellious duchies, Otto defeated the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, thus ending the Hungarian invasions of Western Europe; the victory against the pagan Magyars earned Otto a reputation as a savior of Christendom and secured his hold over the kingdom.
By 961, Otto had conquered the Kingdom of Italy. The patronage of Otto and his immediate successors facilitated a so-called "Ottonian Renaissance" of arts and architecture. Following the example of Charlemagne's coronation as "Emperor of the Romans" in 800, Otto was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962 by Pope John XII in Rome. Otto's years were marked by conflicts with the papacy and struggles to stabilize his rule over Italy. Reigning from Rome, Otto sought to improve relations with the Byzantine Empire, which opposed his claim to emperorship and his realm's further expansion to the south. To resolve this conflict, the Byzantine princess Theophanu married his son Otto II in April 972. Otto returned to Germany in August 972 and died at Memleben in May 973. Otto II succeeded him as Holy Roman Emperor. Otto was born on 23 November 912, the oldest son of the Duke of Saxony, Henry the Fowler and his second wife Matilda, the daughter of Dietrich of Ringelheim, a Saxon count in Westphalia. Henry had married Hatheburg of Merseburg a daughter of a Saxon count, in 906, but this marriage was annulled in 909 after she had given birth to Henry's first son and Otto's half-brother Thankmar.
Otto had four full siblings: Hedwig, Gerberga and Bruno. On 23 December 918, King of East Francia and Duke of Franconia, died. According to the Res gestae saxonicae by the Saxon chronicler Widukind of Corvey, Conrad persuaded his younger brother Eberhard of Franconia, the presumptive heir, to offer the crown of East Francia to Otto's father Henry. Although Conrad and Henry had been at odds with one another since 912, Henry had not opposed the king since 915. Furthermore, Conrad's repeated battles with German dukes, most with Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria, Burchard II, Duke of Swabia, had weakened the position and resources of the Conradines. After several months of hesitation and the other Frankish and Saxon nobles elected Henry as king at the Imperial Diet of Fritzlar in May 919. For the first time, a Saxon instead of a Frank reigned over the kingdom. Burchard II of Swabia soon swore fealty to the new king, but Arnulf of Bavaria did not recognize Henry's position. According to the Annales iuvavenses, Arnulf was elected king by the Bavarians in opposition to Henry, but his "reign" was short-lived.
In 921, Henry forced him into submission. Arnulf had to accept Henry's sovereignty. Otto first gained experience as a military commander when the German kingdom fought against Wendish tribes on its eastern border. While campaigning against the Wends/West Slavs in 929, Otto's illegitimate son William, the future Archbishop of Mainz, was born to a captive Wendish noblewoman. With Henry's dominion over the entire kingdom secured by 929, the king began to prepare his succession over the kingdom. No written evidence for his arrangements is extant, but during this time Otto is first called king in a document of the Abbey of Reichenau. While Henry consolidated power within Germany, he prepared for an alliance with Anglo-Saxon England by finding a bride for Otto. Association with another royal house would give Henry additional legitimacy and strengthen the bonds between the two Saxon kingdoms. To seal the alliance, King Æthelstan of England sent Henry two of his half-sisters, so he could choose the one which best pleased him.
Henry selected Eadgyth as Otto's bride and the two were married in 930. Several years shortly before Henry's death, an Imperial Diet at Erfurt formally ratified the king's succession arrangements; some of his estates and treasures were to be distributed among Thankmar and Bruno. But departing from customary Carolingian inheritance, the king designated Otto as the sole heir apparent without a prior formal election by the various dukes. Henry died from the effects of a cerebral stroke on 2 July 936 at his palace, the Kaiserpfalz in Memleben, was buried at Quedlinburg Abbey. At the time of his death, all of the various German tribes were united in a single realm. At the age of 24, Otto assumed his father's position as Duke of Saxony and King of Germany, his coronation was held on 7 August 936 in Charlemagne's former capital of Aachen, where Otto was anointed and crowned by Hildebert, the Archbishop of Mainz. Though he was a Saxon by birth, Otto appeared at the coronation in Frankish dress in an attempt to demonstrate his sovereignty over the Duchy of Lotharingia and his role as true successor to Charlemagne