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Otto

OTTO, king of Greece (1815-1867), was the second son of Louis I., king of Bavaria, and his wife Teresa of Saxe-Altenburg. He was born at Salzburg on the 1st of June 181 5, and was educated at Munich. In 1832 he was chosen by the conference of London to occupy the newly-erected throne of Greece, and on the 6th of February 1833 he landed at Nauplia, then the capital of independent Greece. Otto, who was not yet eighteen, was accompanied by a councU of regency composed of Bavarians under the presidency of Count Josef Ludwig von Armansperg (i 787-1853), who as minister of finance in Bavaria had succeeded in restoring the credit of the state at the cost of his popularity. The task of governing a semi-barbarous people, but recently emancipated, divided into bitter factions, and filled with an exaggerated sense of their national destiny, would in no case have been easy; it was not facihtated by the bureaucratic methods introduced by the regents. Though Armansperg and his colleagues did a good deal to introduce system and order into the infant state, they contrived to make themselves hated by the Greeks, and with sufficient reason. That the regency refused to respond to the demand for a constitution was perhaps natural, for the experience of constitutional experiments in emancipated Greece had not been encouraging. The result, however, was perpetual unrest; the regency, too, was divided into a French and a Russian party, and distracted by personal quarrels, which led in 1834 to the recall by King Louis of G. L. von Maurer and Karl von Abel, who had been in bitter opposition to Armansperg. Soon afterwards the Mainotes were in open revolt, and the money obtained from foreign loans kad to be spent in organizing a force to preserve order. On the 1st of June 1835 Otto came of age, but, on the advice of his father and under pressure of Great Britain and of the house of Rothschild, who all believed that a capable finance minister was the supreme need of Greece, he retained Armansperg as chancellor of state. The wisdom of this course was more than doubtful; for the expenses of government, of which the conversion of Athens into a dignified capital was not the least, exceeded the resources of the exchequer, and the state was only saved from bankruptcy by the continual intervention of the powers. Though King Louis, as the most exalted of PhiUiellenes, received an enthusiastic welcome when he visited Greece in the winter of 1835, his son's government grew increasingly unpopular. The Greeks were more heavUy taxed than under Turkish rule; they had exchanged government by the sword, which they understood, for government by official regulations, which they hated; they had escaped from the sovereignty of the Mussulman to fall under that of a devout Catholic, to them a heretic. Otto was well intentioned, honest and inspired with a genuine affection for his adopted country; but it needed more than mere amiable qualities to reconcile the Greeks to his rule.

In 1837 Otto visited Germany and married the beautiful and talented Princess Amalie of Oldenburg. The union was unfruitful, and the new queen made herself unpopular by interfering in the government. Meanwhile, at the instance of the Swiss PhilheUene Eynard, Armansperg had been dismissed by the king immediately on his return, but a Greek minister was not put in his place, and the granting of a constitution was stiD postponed. The attempts of Otto to conciliate Greek sentiment by eilorts to enlarge the frontiers of his kingdom, e.g. by the suggested acquisition of Crete in 1841, failed of their object and only succeeded in embroiling him with the powers.

His power rested whoUy on Bavarian bayonets; and when, in 1843, the last of the German troops were withdrawn, he was forced by the outbreak of a revolutionary movement in Athens to grant a constitution and to appoint a ministry of native Greeks.

With the grant of the constitution Otto's troubles increased. The Greek parliament, like its predecessors during the War of Liberation, was the battleground of factions divided, not by national issues, but by their adherence to one or other of the great powers who made Greece the arena of their rivalry for the control of the Mediterranean. Otto thought to counteract the effects of political corruption and incompetence by overriding the constitution to which he had sworn. The attempt would have been perilous even for a strong man, a native ruler and an Orthodox believer; and Otto was none of these. His prestige, moreover, suffered from the " Pacifico incident " in 1850, when Palmerston caused the British fleet to blockade the Peiraeus, to exact reparation for injustice done to a Levantine Jew who happened also to be a British subject. For the ill-advised inter- J vention in the Crimean War, which led to a second occupation \ of the Peiraeus, Otto was not responsible; his consent had been given under protest as a concession to popular clamour. His position in Greece was, however, becoming untenable. In 1861 I a student named Drusios attempted to murder the queen, 1 and was hailed by the populace as a modern Harmodios. In October 1862 the troops in Acarnania under General Theodore Srivas declared for the king's deposition; those in Athens followed suit; a provisional government was set up and summoned a national convention. The king and queen, who were at sea, took refuge on a British war-ship, and returned to Bavaria, where they were lodged by King Louis in the palace of the former bishops of Bamberg. Here, on the 26th of July 1867, Otto died. He had become strangely persuaded that he held the throne of Greece by divine right; and, though he made no effort to regain it, he refused to acknowledge the validity of the election of Prince George of Denmark, See E. A. Thouvenel, La Gr'ece du roi Othon (Paris, 1890); G. L. von Maurer, Das griechisclie Volk, etc. (1836) ; C. W. P. MendelssohnBartholdy, " Die Verwaltung Konig Ottos von Griechenland und sein Sturz " (in Preuss. Jahrbiiclier, iv. 365) ; K. T. v. Heigel, Ludwig /., Konig von Baiern, pp. 149 et seq. (Leipzig, 1872); H. H. Parish, The Diplomatic History of the Monarchy of Greece from the Year 1830 (London, 1838), the author of which was attached to the British Legation at Athens. ' OTTO I. (912-973), surnamed the Great, Roman emperor, eldest son of King Henry I. the Fowler by his second wife Matilda, said to be a descendant of the Saxon hero Widukind, was born on the 23rd of November 912. Little is known of his early years, but he probably shared in some of his father's campaigns. In 929 he married Edith, daughter of Edward the Elder, king of the English, and sister of the reigning sovereign yEthelstan. It is said that Matilda wished her second son Henry to succeed his father, as this prince, unhke his elder brother, was born the son of a king. However this maj' be, Henry named Otto his successor, and after his death in July 936 Otto was chosen r German king and crowned by Hildebert, archbishop of Mainz. 9 This ceremony, according to the historian Widukind, was followed by a banquet at which the new king was waited upon by the dukes of Lorraine, Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia. Otto soon showed his intention of breaking with the policy of his father, who had been content with a nominal superiority over the duchies; in 937 he punished Eberhard, duke of Franconia, for an alleged infringement of the royal authority; and in 938 deposed Eberhard, who had recently become duke of Bavaria. During these years the Bohemians and other Slavonic tribes ravaged the eastern frontier of Germany, but although one expedition against them was led by the king in person, the defence of this district was left principally to agents. Trouble soon arose in Saxony, probably owing to Otto's refusal to give certain lands to his half-brother, Thankmar, who, although the king's senior, had been passed over in the succession as illegitimate. Thankmar, aided by an influential Sa.xon noble named Wichmann, and by Eberhard of F'ranconia, seized the fortress of Eresburg and took Otto's brother Henry prisoner; but soon afterwards he was defeated by the king and killed whilst taking sanctuary. The other conspirators were pardoned, liut in 939 a fresh revolt broke out under the leadership of Henry, and Giselbert, duke of Lorraine. Otto gained a victory near Xanten, which was followed by the surrender of the fortresses held by his brother's adherents in Saxony, but the rebels, joined by Eberhard of Franconia and Archbishop Frederick of Mainz continued the struggle, and Giselbert of Lorraine transferred his allegiance to Louis IV., kingof France. Otto's precarious position was saved by a victory near Andernach when Eberhard was killed, and Giselbert drowned in the subsequent flight. Henry took refuge with Louis of France, but was soon restored to favour and entrusted with the duchy of Lorraine, where, however, he was unable to restore order. Otto therefore crossed the Rhine and deprived his brother of authority. Henry then became involved in a plot to murder the king, which was discovered in time, and the good offices of his mother secured for him a pardon at Christmas 941. The deaths of Giselbert of Lorraine and of Eberhard of Franconia, quickly followed by those of two other dukes, enabled Otto to unite the stem-duchies more closely with the royal house. In 944 Lorraine was given to Conrad, surnamed the Red, who in 947 married the king's daughter Liutgard; Franconia was retained by Otto in his own hands; Henry married a daughter of Arnulf,duke of Bavaria, and received that duchy in 947; and Swabia came in 949 to the king's son Ludolf, who had married Ida, a daughter of the late duke, Hermann. During these years the tribes living between the Elbe and the Oder were made tributary, bishoprics were founded in this district, and in 950 the king himself marched against the Bohemians and reduced them to dependence. Strife between Otto and Louis IV. of France had arisen when the French king sought to obtain authority over Lorraine and aided the German rebels in 939; but after the German king had undertaken an expedition into France, peace was made in 942. Afterwards, when Louis became a prisoner in the hands of his powerful vassal Hugh the Great, duke of France, Otto attacked the duke, who, like the king, was his brother-in-law, captured Reims, and negotiated a peace between the two princes; and in subsequent struggles between them his authority was several times invoked. In 945 Berengar I., margrave of Ivrea, left the court of Otto and returned to Italy, where he soon obtained a mastery over the country. After the death in 950 of Lothair, king of Italy, Berengar sought the hand of his widow Adelaide for his son Adalbert ; and Henry of Bavaria and Ludolf of Swabia had already been meddling independently of each other in the affairs of northern Italy. In response to an appeal from Adelaide, Otto crossed the Alps in 951. He assumed the title of king of the Lombards, and having been a widower since 946, married Adelaide and negotiated with pope Agapetus II. about his reception in Rome. The influence of Alberic, prince and senator of the Romans, prevented the pope returning a favourable answer to the king's request. But when Otto returned to Germany in 952 he was followed by Berengar, who did homage for Italy at Augsburg. The chief advisers of Otto at this time were his wife and his brother Henry. Henry's influence seems to have been resented by Ludolf, who in 946 had been formally designated as his father's successor. Whien Adelaide bore a son, and a report gained currency that Otto intended to make this child his heir, Ludolf rose in revolt and was joined by Conrad of Lorraine and Frederick of Mainz. Otto fell into the power of the rebels at Mainz and was compelled to agree to demands made by them, which, however, he promptly revoked on his return to Saxony. Ludolf and Conrad were declared deposed, and in 953 war broke out in Lorraine and Swabia, and afterwards in Saxony and Bavaria. Otto failed to take Mainz and Augsburg; but an attempt on the part of Conrad and Ludolf to gain support from the Magyars, who had seized the opportunity to invade Bavaria, alienated many of their supporters. Otto's brother Bruno, archbishop of Cologne, was successful in restoring the royal authority in Lorraine, so that when Conrad and Frederick soon afterwards submitted to Otto, the struggle was confined to Bavaria. Ludolf was not long in following the example of Conrad; and with the capture of Regcnsburg in 955 the rising ended. Conrad and Ludolf retained their estates, but their duchies were not restored to them. Meanwhile the Magyars had renewed their ravages and were attacking Augsburg. Otto marched against them, and in a battle fought on the Lechfeld on the loth of August 955 the king's troops gained a brilliant victory which completely freed Germany from these invaders; while in the same year Otto also defeated the Slavs who had been ravaging the Saxon frontier.

About this time the king seems to have perceived the necessity of living and ruling in closer union with the church, a change of policy due perhaps to the influence of his brother Bruno, or forced upon him when his plans for uniting the duchies with the royal house brought rebellion in their train. Lands and privileges were granted to prelates, additional bishoprics were founded, and some years later Magdeburg was made the seat of an archbishop. In 960 Otto was invited to come to Italy by Pope John XII., who was hard pressed by Berengar, and he began to make preparations for the journey. As Ludolf had died in 957 and Otto, his only son by Adelaide, had been chosen king at Worms, the government was entrusted to Bruno of Cologne, and Archbishop William of Mainz, a natural son of the king. Reaching Pavia at Christmas 961, the king promised to defend and respect the church. He then proceeded to Rome, where he was crowned emperor on the 2nd of February 962. After the ceremony he confirmed the rights and privileges which had been conferred on the papacy, while the Romans promised obedience, and Pope John took an oath of fidelity to the emperor. But as he did not long observe his oath he was deposed at a synod held in St Peter's, after Otto had compelled the Romans to swear they would elect no pope without the imperial consent; and a nominee of the emperor, who took the name of Leo VIII., was chosen in his stead. A pestilence drove Otto to Germany in 965, and finding the Romans again in arms on his return in 966, he allowed his soldiers to sack the city, and severely punished the leaders of the rebellion. His next move was against the Greeks and Saracens of southern Italy, but seeking to attain his objects by negotiation, sent Liudprand, bishop of Cremona, to the eastern emperor Nicephorus II. to arrange for a marriage treaty between the two empires. Nicephorus refused to admit the validity of Otto's title, and the bishop was roughly repulsed; but the succeeding emperor, John Zimisces, was more reasonable, and Theophano, daughter of the emperor Romanus II., was married to the younger Otto in 972. The same year witnessed the restoration of peace in Italy and the return of the emperor to Germany, where he received the homage of the rulers of Poland, Bohemia and Denmark; but he died suddenly at Memleben on the 7th of May 973, and was buried at Magdeburg.

Otto was a man of untiring perseverance and relentless energy, with a high idea of his position. His policy was to crush all tendencies to independence in Germany, and this led him to grant the stem-duchies to his relatives, and afterwards to ally himself with the church. Indeed the necessity for obtaining complete control over the church was one reason which induced him to obtain the imperial crown. By this step the pope became his vassal, and a divided allegiance was rendered impossible for the German clergy. The Roman empire of the German nation was indeed less universal and less theocratic under Otto, its restorer, than under Charlemagne, but what it lacked in splendour it gained in stability. His object was not to make the state religious but the church political, and the clergy must first be officials of the king, and secondly members of an ecclesiastical order. He shared the piety and superstition of the age, and did much for the spread of Christianity. Although himself a stranger to letters he welcomed scholars to his court and eagerly seconded the efforts of his brother Bruno to encourage learning; and while he neither feared nor shirked battle, he was always ready to secure his ends by peaceable means. Otto was of tall and commanding presence, and although subject to violent bursts of passion, was liberal to his friends and just to his enemies.

Bibliography. - See VVidukind, Res gestae Saxonicae; Liudprand of Cremona, Historia Oltonis; Flodoard of Rheims, Annales; Hrotsuit of Gandersheim, Carmen de gestis Oddonis - all in the Monumenta Germaniae hislorica. Scriptores, Biinde iii. and iv. ( Hanover and Berlin, 1826 fol.) ; Die Urkunden des Kaisers Ottos I., edited by Th. von Sickel in the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Diplomata (Hanover, 1879); W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit (Leipzig, 1881); R. Kopke and E. DUmmler, Jahrbiicher des deutschen Reichs unter Otto I. (Leipzig, 1876); Th. von Sickel, Das Privilegium Otto I. fiir die romische Kirclie (Innsbruck, 1883); H. von Sybel, Die deutsche Nation und das Kaiserreich (Düsseldorf, 1862) ; O. von VVydenbrugk, Die deutsche Nation und das Kaiserreich (Munich, 1862); J. Fickcr, Das deutsclie Kaiserreich in seinen universalen und nalionalen Beziehungen (Innsbruck, 1861); and Deutsches Konigthum und Kaiserthum (Innsbruck, 1862) ; G. Maurcnbrecher, " Die Kaiserpolitik Otto I." in the Historische Zeitschrifl (Munich, 1859); G. VVaitz, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte (Kiel, 1844); J. Ficker, Forschungen zur Reichs- und Rechtsgeschichte Italiens (Innsbruck, 1868-1874); F. Fischer, Uber Ottos I. Zug in die Lombardei vom Jahre Q^i (Eisenberg, 1891); and K. Kotler, Die Ungarnschlacht auf detn Lechfelde (Augsburg, 1884).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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