This is the essay for the 8th week of the 7th Grade Ron Paul Curriculum. It’s about Otto the Great, AKA Otto I.

Otto I and the Holy Roman Empire

I shall be looking at Otto the I reign and what happened during his reign.


Otto the Great was born in 912 AD. He was the oldest son of Henry 1 the Fowler. In 936 he became king of Germany and Duke of Saxony after the death of his father at the age of 24. Some of the dukes rebelled during Otto’s father’s reign, but he quickly stopped the rebellions and made them his vassals.

Stopping the rebellions caused a war to break out. During the war, a few people tried to assassinate Otto. Even his brother tried to assassinate him.

In 951 Otto rescued a widowed Italian Queen from her oppressors and crowned himself king of Italy. Otto was attacked by the Magyars in 955 Ad. The Magyars were completely destroyed by Otto, but he lost three members of his family including his son, which was supposed to be his heir. He named his 2-year old son Adelaide and made him the new heir. The defeat of the Magyars allowed Christianity to spread into Eastern Europe.

Pope John XII was in need of help, just like previous popes and he called for the strongest ruler in Europe to help him. In this case, it was Otto the first. Otto the first agreed to help Pope John XII if he would crown him Holy Roman Emperor. Otto squelched the rebellion in the Papal States and he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962 AD.

After that, the title of Holy Roman Emperor was always for the ruler of Germany. This was so all the way until the time of Napoleon.

The Catholic Church tried to limit bloodshed by introducing the Pax Dei, AKA the Peace of God. The church wanted to pacify the feudal system and control the country without bloodshed. It prohibited nobles from invading churches, beating up the helpless and attacking a man of the clergy if he didn’t have a weapon. The Pax Dei also outlined guidelines for warfare.

It didn’t work very efficiently, but it set standards to limit nobles violence in the future.

Otto the Great’s reign was very successful, united Germany, established a centralized government in certain parts of Europe and he was very good at spreading Christianity in Europe.