Otto II

[Otto II]
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Roman emperor and German king. Son of Otto the Great, he was frail in body but intrepid and arbitrary in spirit. He inaugurated an extravagant policy of imperialism, in which Germany and Italy were to wield the balance of power. Henry of Bavaria, resenting Otto’s arbitrary disposal of Swabia, declared war, but Otto was victorious and Henry lost his duchy. In 978 he drove Lothair out of Lorraine, but failing to capture Paris made peace at Sedan in 980. Otto next entered Italy and saved the papacy from the oppression of the Roman faction headed by Crescentius; he then captured Tarentum, but his defeat near Capo Colonne cost him Apulia and Calabria, and ruined the imperial prestige in Lower Italy. Slavonia thereupon revolted and the missions east of the Elbe were destroyed. Returning to Italy to avenge his defeat, he died of malaria.

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