23 January in German History


Death of Otto III, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Viterbo, Italy (born in Germany in 980). As a child, Otto was crowned King of the Germans in Aachen in 983 following the death of his father, Otto II. In 996 he led his army to Rome to assist Pope John XV who was facing an insurrection by the forces of Crescentius. By the time Otto arrived the Pope had died but Otto was able to use his influence to secure the election of his cousin, Bruno von Kärnten, who took the name Gregory V and became the first German pope. In 996 Gregory V crowned Otto III as the Holy Roman Emperor. After Otto had left Crecentius challenged the papacy again, installing an anti-pope. Once again Otto led his troops to Rome and in 998 executed Crecentius and secured Gregory V in the office of pope. At this time he determined to remain in Rome with the intention of ruling Europe as a theocracy with himself as the ruler and the pope only somewhat below him in power in the Christian Europe he planned.