75%

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Otto of Nordheim

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
[ 376 ]

OTTO OF NORDHEIM (d. 1083), duke of Bavaria, belonged to the rich and influential Saxon family of the counts of Nordheim, and having distinguished himself in war and peace alike, received the duchy of Bavaria from Agnes, widow of the emperor Henry III., in 1061. In 1062 he assisted Anno, archbishop of Cologne, to seize the person of the German king, Henry IV.; led a successful expedition into Hungary in 1063; and took a prominent part in the government during the king's minority. In 1064 he went to Italy to settle a papal schism, was largely instrumental in securing the banishment from court of Adalbert, archbishop of Bremen, and crossed the Alps in the royal interests on two other occasions. He neglected his duchy, but added to his personal possessions, and in 1069 shared in two expeditions in the east of Germany. In 1070 Otto was accused by a certain Egino of being privy to a plot to murder the king, and it was decided he should submit to the ordeal of battle with his accuser. The duke asked for a safe-conduct to and from the place of meeting, and when this was refused he declined to appear, and was consequently deprived of Bavaria, while his Saxon estates were plundered. He obtained no support in Bavaria, but raised an army among the Saxons and carried on a campaign of plunder against Henry until 1071, when he submitted; in the following year he received back his private estates. When the Saxon revolt broke out in 1073 Otto is represented by Bruno, the author of De bello Saxonico, as delivering an inspiring speech to the assembled Saxons at Wormsleben, after which he took command of the insurgents. By the peace of Gerstungen in 1074 Bavaria was restored to him; he shared in the Saxon rising of 1075, after which he was again pardoned and made administrator of Saxony. After the excommunication of Henry IV. in 1076 Otto attempted to mediate between Henry and the Saxons, but when these efforts failed he again placed himself at their head. He assented to the election of Rudolph, count of Rheinfelden, as German king, when his restoration to Bavaria was assured, and by his skill and bravery inflicted defeats on Henry's forces at Mellrichstadt, Flarchheim and Hohenmolsen. He remained in arms against the king until his death on the 11th of January 1083. Otto is described as a noble, prudent and warlike man, and he possessed great abilities. His repeated pardon showed that Henry could not afford to neglect such a powerful personality, and his military talents were repeatedly displayed. By his wife Richenza, widow of Hermann, count of Werla, he left three sons and three daughters.

See W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit, Band iii. (Leipzig, 1881-1890); H. Mehmel, Otto von Nordheim, Herzog von Bayern (Göttingen, 1870); E. Neumann, De Ottone de Nordheim (Breslau, 1871); S. Riezler, Geschichte Bayerns (Gotha, 1878); and A. Vogeler, Otto von Nordheim (Göttingen, 1880).