In considering the problem of the peoples, the gentes living in their regions which, as we have seen, were also called regna and provinciae as well as duchies, we arrive at one of the basic dimensions of medieval German politics. When Otto the Great, crowned emperor in 962, and his successors re-established the western Roman Empire as the official political structure for their possessions in the last four decades of the tenth century, this created no real challenge to the identities of the various subject peoples. In 983, for example, Otto II held an imperial assembly at Verona consisting of ‘Saxons, Swabians and Lotharingians, Bavarians, Italians and others (probably the Slavs or Franconians are indicated here), dissimilar in race, language and custom’. This dissimilarity was typical of medieval society and culture, and was not perceived as a source of political weakness. When his son Otto III arrived in Rome for his imperial coronation in 996, his entourage consisted of Romans, Franks, Bavarians, Saxons, Alsatians, Swabians and Lotharingians.1 The individual identities of the diverse peoples within the imperial realm, consisting at that time of Germany and Italy, was thus a living political reality which needs to be explained.
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- The Peoples and Provinces of Medieval Germany
- Macmillan Education UK
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- Part I