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Otto II (Holy Roman emperor)

Otto II, 955–83, Holy Roman emperor (973–83) and German king (961–83), son and successor of Otto I. He was crowned joint emperor in 967. Shortly after his father died Otto faced a rebellion by his cousin, Henry the Wrangler, duke of Bavaria, who coveted the crown. Otto defeated and deposed Henry (976), at the same time making Austria, Carinthia, and the Nordgau virtually independent of Bavaria. During this period he also repulsed a Danish attack. In 978, Otto invaded France in retaliation for the French king Lothair's attempt to conquer Lorraine; the inconclusive war ended in 980. Campaigning in Italy (981–82), Otto was, after some initial success, disastrously defeated by the Arabs in S Italy. In 983 he held a diet of German and Italian nobles at Verona, where he had his son Otto III elected German king. Meanwhile, the Danes and the Slavs were again attacking his German lands, but Otto died suddenly before he could act. Regarding Germany and Italy as a united realm, Otto II felt his position as emperor more keenly than his role as German king. His failure in Italy greatly weakened the imperial prestige.

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