Key to Umbria: Spoleto

Spoleto under the Ottonians

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King Otto I of Italy (950-73)

In 959, Berengar II invaded conquered the Duchy of Spoleto and threatened Rome.  He probably appointed the otherwise obscure Duke Thrasimund III (959-67).

Pope John XII and the Margrave Hubert of Tuscany (who had also held the title of Duke of Spoleto in the period 943-6) therefore turned to King Otto I, who crossed the Alps for a second time in 960.  Otto I finally deposed the rebellious Berengar II in 962 and was subsequently crowned as Holy Roman Emperor.

Emperor Otto I (962-73)

Otto I detached from the Duchy of Spoleto the so-called Sabina Langobardica, which was transferred to the papacy.

In 967, Otto I accepted the homage of Pandolfo Testa di Ferro, Duke of Capua and Benevento and combined his dukedom with that of Camerino and Spoleto.

In 967, Pope John XIII crowned Otto II, the young son of Otto I, as co-emperor.

[Bishop Balderik of Utrecht, who was in Italy for the coronation, acquired relics of St Pontian of Spoleto.  As a result, St Pontian is also venerated in Utrecht.]

Pope John XIII officiated at the marriage of Otto II and a Byzantine lady called Theophanu at Saint Peter's, Rome in 972 and crowned her as co-Empress.

In 970-2, Bishop Theoderic (Dietrich or Thierry) I, cousin and adviser of the Emperor Otto I, travelled to Italy with the Emperor Otto II.  He embarked upon a major raid on the relics of Italy in 970-2 in order to enrich the Abbey of St Vincent, which he established in his diocese.   Sigebert of Gembloux, in his ‘Vita Deoderici, Mettensis Episcopi’ (Life of Bishop Theodoric of Metz), carefully listed the booty, which included the relics of St Vincent of Valencia, which the Bishop of Arezzo gave to him, and those of St Lucy from what was then Corfinium in the Abruzzi.  On 22nd November, Rothardus, the representative of Bishop Theoderic,  obtained the relics of St Serena from the church of San Savino, outside Spoleto, and also those of St Gregory of Spoleto.

Emperor Otto II (967-83)

Bishop Olderico of Cremona (973-1004) took some of the relics of St Gregory of Spoleto to Cremona.

When Pandolfo Testa di Ferro died in 981, and his son and successor, Landulf, was killed in battle in the following year.  Otto II restored the independence of the Duchy of Spoleto and granted it to Duke Thrasimund IV(982-9). 

Emperor Otto III (995-1001)

Margrave Hugh of Tuscany (961-1001), a firm supporter of Queen Adelaide (the regent for the young Otto III), became also Duke Hugh of Spoleto in (989-96).  Emperor Otto III, who came of age in 995, was concerned about his power and transferred the duchy to an otherwise unknown noble, Duke Conrad of Spoleto (996 -8).

When the Romans drove the hated foreign Pope Gregory V from the city in 996, he fled to Spoleto and secured the protection of the Duke Conrad, but their two armed attempts to re-enter Rome failed.  However, Otto III returned to Italy and restored the situation in 998.

Otto III appointed his childhood companion Adhemar as Duke Adhemar of Spoleto in 998-9.

Return to the page on the History of Spoleto.