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Otto I, the Great (23 November 912 in Wallhausen – 7 May 973 in Memleben), son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy".
Edith of England (910 – 26 January 946), also spelt Eadgyth or Aedgyth, was the daughter of Edward the Elder, King of England and Aelffaed. Her paternal grandparents were Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, and his wife Ealhswith.
(The obvious corollary is that Edith came from a long line of Black British royalty). Otto and his son and grandson (Otto II and Otto III) regard the imperial crown as a mandate to control the Papacy. They dismiss Popes at their will and install replacements more to their liking (sometimes even changing their mind and repeating the process).
This power, together with territories covering much of central Europe, gives the Empire and the imperial title great prestige in the late 10th century.
But subservience was not the papal intention in reinstating the Holy Roman Empire - A clash is inevitable. Meanwhile in Iberia, Sancho I, King of Portugal (1154 - 1212). He was the second, but only surviving legitimate son and fourth child of Afonso I of Portugal by his wife, Maud of Savoy.
Sancho succeeded his father in 1185. He used the title King of Silves from 1189 until he lost the territory to Almohad control in 1191. In 1170, Sancho was knighted by his father, King Afonso I, and from then on he became his second in command, both administratively and militarily. At this time, the independence of Portugal (declared in 1139) was not firmly established. The kings of León and Castile were trying to re-annex the country and the Roman Catholic Church was late in giving its blessing and approval.
Due to this situation Afonso I had to search for allies within the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal made an alliance with the Crown of Aragon and together they fought Castile and León.
To secure the agreement, Infante Sancho of Portugal married, Infanta Dulce of Aragon, younger sister of King Alfonso II of Aragon in 1174. Aragon was thus the first Iberian kingdom to recognize the independence of Portugal.
With the death of Afonso I in 1185, Sancho I became the second king of Portugal. Coimbra was the centre of his kingdom;
Sancho terminated the exhausting and generally pointless wars against his neighbours for control of the Galician borderlands. Instead, he turned all his attentions to the south, towards the Moorish small kingdoms that still thrived. With Crusader help he took Silves in 1191. Silves was an important city of the South, an administrative and commercial town with population estimates around 20,000 people.
Chafariz d'el Rey, in the Alfama District (View of a Square with the King's Fountain in Lisbon). Dutch painting 1570 - 80 A.D.
Close up, the King wears the cross of "The Order of Santiago" which was founded in the 12th century, and owes it name to the national patron of Galicia and Spain, Santiago (St James the Greater), under whose banner the christians, began in the 9th century to combat and drive back the Moors and the Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula.
Sancho ordered the fortification of the city and built a castle which is today an important monument of Portuguese heritage. However, military attention soon had to be turned again to the North, where León and Castile threatened again the Portuguese borders. Silves was again lost to the Moors.
Peter I (1068 - 1104) was the King of Aragon and Navarre for a decade from 1094 until his death. He was the son and successor of Sancho V Ramírez by his first wife, Isabella of Urgell. He was named in honour of Saint Peter, because of his father's special devotion to the Holy See, to which he had made his kingdom a vassal. Peter continued his father's close alliance with the Church and pursued the Reconquista with even greater success, allying with Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as El Cid, the ruler of Valencia, against the Almoravids.
According to the medieval Annales Compostellani Peter was in bellis expertus et audax in principio ("expert in war and daring in initiative"), and one modern historian has remarked that "his grasp of the possibilities inherent in the age seems to have been faultless."
Stephen I, also Saint Stephen, was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001, and the first King of Hungary from 1000 or 1001 until his death in 1038. He was born as Vajk in Esztergom. The year of his birth is uncertain, but many details of his life suggest that he was born in or after 975. He was the only son of Grand Prince Géza and his wife, Sarolt, who was descended from the prominent family of the Gyulas. Although both of his parents were baptized, Stephen was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian.
He married Gisela of Bavaria, a scion of the imperial Ottonian dynasty. After succeeding his father in 997, Stephen had to fight for the throne against his relative, Koppány, who was supported by large numbers of pagan warriors.
He defeated Koppány mainly with the assistance of foreign knights, including Vecelin, Hont and Pázmány, but also with help from native lords. He was crowned on 25 December 1000 or 1 January 1001 with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester II.
In a series of wars against semi-independent tribes and chieftains—including the "Black Hungarians" and his uncle, Gyula the Younger—he unified the Carpathian Basin. He protected the independence of his kingdom by forcing the invading troops of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor to withdraw from Hungary in 1030. Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries; thus the Church in Hungary developed independently of the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire.
He ensured the spread of Christianity among his subjects with severe punishments for ignoring Christian customs. His system of local administration was based on counties organized around fortresses and administered by royal officials. Hungary, which enjoyed a lasting period of peace during his reign, became a preferred route for pilgrims and merchants traveling between Western Europe and the Holy Land or Constantinople.
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively.
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Relations between East and West had long been embittered by political and ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes
There was no single event that marked the breakdown, in the centuries immediately before the schism became definitive, a few short schisms between Constantinople and Rome were followed by reconciliation's.
Pope Leo IX of Rome and Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius heightened the conflict by suppressing Greek and Latin in their respective domains.
In 1054, Roman legates traveled to Michael Cerularius to deny him the title Ecumenical Patriarch (first among equals), and to insist that he recognize the Church of Rome's claim to be the head and mother of the churches, Cerularius refused.
The leader of the Latin contingent, Cardinal Humbert, excommunicated Cerularius, while Cerularius in return excommunicated Cardinal Humbert and the other legates.
Though efforts were made to reunite the two churches in 1274 (by the Second Council of Lyon) and in 1439 (by the Council of Florence) they ended in failure.
Rome and the struggle for power: 1076-1138 A.D.
The nine-year struggle between pope Gregory VII and the emperor Henry IV provides a vivid glimpse of the political role of the medieval papacy.
St Gregory, canonized in the Catholic Reformation, is one of the great defenders of papal power.
His career involves incessant power-broking and military struggle.
Henry IV, alarmed at the demands being made over investiture, sends a threatening letter to the pope in 1076.
The pope responds by excommunicating the emperor.
By his public penance at Canossa, Henry has the excommunication lifted.
But the truce is short-lived.
Henry's enemies, prompted by the pope's action, take a hand.
German princes opposed to Henry IV elect and crown, in 1077, a rival king - Rudolf, the duke of Swabia.
Rudolf and Henry engage in a civil war, which Henry wins in 1080.
By then the pope has recognized Rudolf as the German king and has again excommunicated Henry.
This time Henry's response is more aggressive.
He summons a council which deposes the pope and elects in his place the archbishop of Ravenna (as pope Clement III).
Henry marches into Italy, enters Rome and is crowned emperor by this pope of his own creation.
Meanwhile the real pope, Gregory, is living in a state of siege in his impregnable Roman fortress, the Castel Sant'Angelo.