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Report: Timeline for Italy

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# History: Date History: Place History Full Name
1 Jan 49 B.C.  Rubicon River, Emilia-Romagna, Italy   The previous year, the Senate, led by his son-in-law Pompey, ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as governor had finished. Caesar thought he would be prosecuted if he entered Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a magistrate. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason. In Jan 49 BC Caesar crossed the Rubicon river, at that time the frontier boundary of Italy, with only one legion and ignited civil war.  Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic 
2 82 B.C.  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   As dictator rei publicae constituendae (Dictator for the Reconstitution of the Republic) Sulla had the Senate draw up a list of those he considered enemies of the state and published the list in the Roman Forum. The office of dictator, which had not been used since the Second Punic War over a century before. Any man whose name appeared on the proscribed list was stripped of his citizenship and excluded from all protection under law; reward money was given to any informer who gave information leading to the death of a proscribed man and any person who killed a proscribed man was entitled to keep part of his estate (the remainder went to the state). No person could inherit money or property from the proscribed men, nor could any woman married to a proscribed man remarry after his death. Many victims of proscription were decapitated and their heads were displayed on spears in the Forum.  Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Dictator of the Roman Republic 
3 Between 264 B.C. and 241 B.C.  Sicily, Italy   The First Punic War (Latin for Phoenician) was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was largely a Naval war. The Punics were western Semitic-speaking peoples originating from Carthage, Tunisia who originated from sea faring Phoenician traders, Cypriot settlers, and North African Berbers. The war began as a local conflict in Sicily between Hiero II of Syracuse, Sicily, and the Mamertines of Messina, Sicily. The Romans began with no knowledge of Naval warfare but by copying their opponents fleet and adding an innovative boarding device called a Corvus, the Romans were victorious seizing Sicily.

Carthage spent the years following the war improving its finances and expanding its colonial empire in Hispania (Iberia) under the militaristic Barcid family. In 219 B.C. Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar Barca, attacked Saguntum in Hispania, a city allied to Rome, sparking the Second Punic War. 
Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio, Asina (Donkey) 
4 390 B.C.  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Rome was founded from a collection of villages in 753 B.C. Its subsequent monarchy was overthrown in 509 B.C. when it was declared a Republic. In 390 B.C. the Battle of the Allia, near the Allia river, was the first Gallic invasion of Italy, which saw the Roman army defeated and the Gauls to sack Rome.  Gnaeus Scipio 
5 133 B.C.  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   As a Plebeian Tribune, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus's reforms of agrarian legislation caused political turmoil in the Roman Republic. The land reforms threatened the holdings of rich landowners in Italy. He was murdered along with many of his supporters, by members of the Roman Senate and supporters of the conservative Optimate faction.  Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus 
6 27 B.C  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   The Roman Republic (res publica; literally, thing of the people) was constituted on a profound anti-monarchy basis and prior to its later dictators had been administered by Senatus Populusque Romanus ("The Senate and People of Rome", SPQR). As one of the surviving dictators Octavian changed his name to Augustus to disguise the new class of Imperial dynasty he introduced. As Emperor his status was that of primus inter pares (first among equals) assuming several offices of the Republic at the same time, and thus consolidated absolute power vested in his person in all but name. This legal fiction became increasingly meaningless as the succession of Emperors consolidated power. It was maintained at least to a ceremonial degree until the very end of the Roman Empire.  Gaius Octavianus Augustus, 1st Emperor of the Roman Empire 
7 87 B.C.  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   A comet (later called Halley's comet) appears in the night sky  Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic 
8 12 Nov 164 B.C.  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   A comet (later called Halley's comet) appears in the night sky  Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus 
9 25 May 240 B.C.  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   A comet (later called Halley's comet) appears in the night sky  Lucius Cornelius Scipio, Barbatus 
10 Aft 27 B.C  The Pantheon, Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Marcus Agrippa commissioned The Pantheon during the reign of Augustus. Later rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian abt. 126 AD  Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa 
11 64  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   After 30 years of ministering the words of Christ, the apostle Simon nicknamed Peter (St. Peter) 'the Rock' after the Greek word 'Petrvs' by Jesus, one of the first disciples arrives in Rome and is martyred there. Crucified upside down because he said he was not worthy to die as Christ did. Peter is considered the first Pope (from Pape, Greek for father; Papa was in common useage in the 5th century) and as he was anointed by Christ, so to would he and his successors anoint by laying hands on those who would minister the new Christian Church.

St. Paul also dies in Rome bet. 64 and 67 A.D. during Emperor Nero's persecutions.

Peter probably died at the time of the Great Fire of Rome. Emperor Nero 'fiddled as Rome burned', and the Empire would be thrown into chaos within a year of Nero's death in 68 A.D. 
Lucius Domitius'Nero' Ahenobarbus, 5th and last Julio-Claudian Emperor of the Roman Empire 
12 66  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   A comet (later called Halley's comet) appears in the night sky   Lucius Domitius'Nero' Ahenobarbus, 5th and last Julio-Claudian Emperor of the Roman Empire 
13 126  The Pantheon, Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Rebuilt The Pantheon  Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (Hadrian) Augustus, 14th Emperor of the Roman Empire 
14 22 Mar 141  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   A comet (later called Halley's comet) appears in the night sky  Titus Fulvius Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius (Antoninus Pius) Augustus, 15th Emperor of the Roman Empire 
15 293  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   The Tetrarchy (Greek "leadership of four [people]") instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marked the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire.

The Tetrarchy divided the Roman Empire into Western and Eastern portions. Each would be ruled by an Augustus, supported by a Caesar. Diocletian became Augustus of the Eastern empire, with Galerius as his Caesar. Constantius was appointed Caesar to the Western Augustus, Maximian, and married Theodora, Maximian's stepdaughter. They had six children. Constantius divorced his first wife (or concubine), Helena, by whom he already had a son, Constantine I. Constantius was given command of Gaul, Britannia and possibly Hispania

The Diocletianic Persecution (or Great Persecution) was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman empire. Christians had become regarded as disruptive in Roman society and stories of them drinking blood (where wine was represented the blood of Christ) were taken literally. Christians had adopted the sign of the Fish to secretly meet each other (Fish in Greek is Ichthys, or IXOYC an acronym of "Jesus Christ, God's son, savior"). In 303, Emperor Diocletian and his colleagues Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding the legal rights of Christians and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Later edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods. The persecution varied in intensity across the Empire, weakest in Gaul and Britannia, where only the first edict was applied, and strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different Emperors at different times, but Constantine I and Licinius's Edict of Milan in 313 has traditionally marked the end of the persecution.

This Tetrarchy lasted until abt 313, when internecine conflict eliminated most of the claimants to power, leaving Constantine I in the West and Licinius in the East. 
Constantius Chlorus, 54th Emperor of the Roman Empire 
16 20 Apr 295  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   A comet (later called Halley's comet) appears in the night sky  Constantius Chlorus, 54th Emperor of the Roman Empire 
17 307  Lateran Palace, Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   To seal an alliance for control of the Tetrarchy (government where power is divided between four individuals), Emperor Maximianus betrothed his daughter Fausta in 293 to Constantine I who married her in 307.

Fausta brought to the marriage the Domus Laterani, once the home of Lucius Sextius Lateranus a Roman tribune of the plebs in 375 to 367 B.C., then renamed as Domus Faustae 'House of Fausta'. Around 313 Constantine I gifted it to the Bishop of Rome from where it became known as the 'Lateran', the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran, the future home of government by the Pope. 
Fausta FlaviaMaxima 
18 28 Oct 312  The Milvian Bridge, Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   While crossing the Alps from Gaul to conquer Rome and its Eastern provinces, Constantine and his army see a blazing cross in the night sky. That night in his tent, he is visited by Christ who says 'By this sign, conquer'. He gives orders to inscribe the heavenly sign on his soldier's shields and marched on to conquer the pagan romans.

Rome was defended by Emperor Maxentius, Constantine's brother-in-law, with twice the number of troops but Constantine was victorious pushing the defenders and Maxentius back into The Tiber. Maxentius drowned but his body was recovered, decapitated and his head paraded victoriously around Rome by Constantine.

Constantine entered Rome on 29 Oct 312 and not forgetting to whom he owed his triumph, and turning his back on a millennium of pagan tradition, became its first 'Christian' Roman Emperor 
Constantine I'the Great', 1st Emperor of the Christian Roman Empire 
19 Mar 313  Milan (Mediolanum), Lombardy, Italy   Constantine I meets in Milan with Licinius, Emperor of Rome in the East to agree a marriage to Constantine's step sister and thereby unite the Empire.  Constantine I'the Great', 1st Emperor of the Christian Roman Empire 
20 386  Milan (Mediolanum), Lombardy, Italy   In the summer of 386, after having read an account of the life of St. Anthony of the Desert (b. 251 Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt d. 356 Mount Colzim, Egypt) the first known ascetic (religious and spiritual pursuit) going into the wilderness, who helped spread the concept of monasticism, which greatly inspired Augustine (later St. Augustine of Hippo b. 13 Nov 354 Tagaste (Souk Ahras), Algeria d. 28 Aug 430 Hippo Regius, Numidia (Annaba), Algeria) abandons rhetoric and converts to Christianity. Augustine was the father of the Latin (language) Church and one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. He defined the (Augustinian) concepts of original sin, of a just war and the concept of purgatory (that the eternal fate of the soul is determined at death where purgatorial fires of the intermediate state purify only those that died in communion with the Church). His teaching provided fuel for later theology. After Rome is sacked in 410, Augustine's writes 'that the City of God is not shaken by events on earth', which chimes with the barbaric times to uphold the Christian faith.   Theodosius I, Emperor of the Christian Roman Empire 
21 390  Milan Cathedral, Milan (Mediolanum), Lombardy, Italy   Theodosius I was threatened with excommunication by Bishop Ambrose of Milan (b. 337/40 d. 4 Apr 397) for the massacre of 7,000 persons at Thessalonica in 390, after the murder of the Roman governor there by rioters. Ambrose told Theodosius to imitate David in his repentance as he had imitated him in guilt. Ambrose readmitted the emperor to the Eucharist only after several months of penance. The incident showed how power could shift to a Bishop of the Christian church at the Western edge of the Roman empire, even when facing a strong Emperor. the controversy of John Chrysostom (golden mouthed) (b. 349 d. 407), Archbishop of Constantinople whose reforms called for service rather than glorification went down badly, particularly with Aelia Eudoxia, the wife of a much weaker eastern Emperor Arcadius and led to a crushing defeat and banishment of the Bishop.

Bishop Ambrose was a master of rhetoric, being older and more experienced, he most influence Augustine (St. Augustine of Hippo) during his time in Milan. 
Theodosius I, Emperor of the Christian Roman Empire 
22 24 Aug 410  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   The Visigoths (West Goths), led by Alaric I sack Rome on 24 Aug 410. This was the first time in almost 800 years that Rome had fallen to an enemy. Some historians see this as a major landmark in the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire. The West fell into 'the dark ages' when civilised life was thought to have collapsed. After Rome's collapse, the Western Church would begin to fill the power vacuum.  Honorius, Western Roman Emperor 
23 24 Aug 410  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   The Visigoths (West Goths) were one of two main branches of Germanic Goth tribes, the Ostrogoths (East Goths) being the other. Together these tribes were among the barbarians who disturbed the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period.

On 24 Aug 410 Rome is sacked by Visigoths led by Araric I the first Germanic leader to take the city. 
Alaric I, King of the Visigoths 
24 455  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   In 455, Roman Emperor Valentinian III was murdered on orders of Petronius Maximus, who usurped the throne. Genseric, King of the Vandals and Alans, was of the opinion that these acts voided his 442 peace treaty with Valentinian, and on 31 May 455, he and his men landed on Italian soil and marched on Rome, where Pope Leo I implored him not to destroy the ancient city or murder its inhabitants. Genseric agreed and the gates of Rome were thrown open to him and his men.

Maximus, who fled rather than fight the Vandal warlord, was killed by a Roman mob outside the city. Although history remembers the Vandal sack of Rome as extremely brutal (making the word vandalism a term for any wantonly destructive act) in actuality the Vandals did not wreak great destruction in the city; they did, however, take gold, silver and many other things of value. Geiseric also took with him Empress Licinia Eudoxia, Valentinian's widow, and her daughters, Eudocia and Placidia. Many important people were taken hostage for even more riches. Eudocia married Genseric's son Huneric after arriving in Carthage. 
Geiseric'Spear-King', King of the Vandals and Alans 
25 523  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   In 520, Anicius Manlius Severinus BoŽthius (Boethius) (b. abt.480 d.524/5) was working to revitalize the relationship between the Church in Rome and the Church in Constantinople. He was imprisoned and eventually executed in 524 by King Theodoric the Great.

While imprisoned he wrote Consolation of Philosophy, arguing that despite the apparent inequality of the world, there is, in Platonic fashion, a higher power and everything else is secondary to that divine Providence. 
Theodoric (Theoderic)'the Great' Amal, King of the Ostrogoths 
26 Bef 526  The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy   This Arian church, originally dedicated to Christ the Redeemer was erected by the Ostrogoth King Theodoric as his palace chapel, during the first quarter of the 6th century.

It contains a mosaic which may be the earliest depiction of Christ (view here Jesus of Zazareth).

The Basilica was reconsecrated in 561, under the rule of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I under the new name "Sanctus Martinus in Coelo Aureo" (Saint Martin in Golden Heaven). 
Theodoric (Theoderic)'the Great' Amal, King of the Ostrogoths 
27 548  Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy   Under Justinian I's patronage the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, which features two famous mosaics representing Justinian and his consort Theodora, was completed. The church was begun by Bishop Ecclesius in 527, when Ravenna was under the rule of the Ostrogoths, and completed by the 27th Bishop of Ravenna, Maximian in 548 during the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna.  Justinian I'the Great', Byzantine Emperor (Eastern Roman Empire)  
28 Jun 552  Gualdo Tadino (Taginae), Umbria, Italy   Justinian I dispatched a force of approximately 35,000 men (2,000 men were detached and sent to invade southern Visigothic Spain) under the command of Narses. The army reached Ravenna in June 552, and defeated the Ostrogoths decisively within a month at the battle of Busta Gallorum in the Apennines.  Justinian I'the Great', Byzantine Emperor (Eastern Roman Empire)  
29 561  The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy   The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo, erected by the Ostrogoth King Theodoric as his palace chapel, was reconsecrated in 561, under the rule of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, under the new name "Sanctus Martinus in Coelo Aureo" (Saint Martin in Golden Heaven).

Justinian I may also be responsible for defacing mosaics that once depicted the Basilica's founder King Theodoric and now show Justinian I's face. 
Justinian I'the Great', Byzantine Emperor (Eastern Roman Empire)  
30 781  Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy   In 781, King Elfwald I of Northumbria sent Alcuin of York, a scholar, ecclesiastic, poet and teacher to Rome to petition the Pope for official confirmation of York, Northumbia, status as an archbishopric and to confirm the election of a new archbishop, Eanbald I. On his way home Alcuin met Charlemagne, though not for the first time, in the Italian city of Parma.

Alcuin was reluctantly persuaded to join Charlemagne's court. His love of the church and his intellectual curiosity made the offer one that he could not refuse. Alcuin became a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, where he remained in the 780's and 790's. Alcuin is considered among the most important architects of the Carolingian Renaissance. From 796 until his death he was abbot of the great monastery of St. Martin of Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France 
Charlemagne (Charles'le Magne (the Great)') Franks, Emperor of the Romans, Carolingian King of the Franks 
31 25 Dec 800  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   By 800 Charlemagne rules over all of the West except for Britain and some Spanish states and is hailed by Pope Leo III as "Augustus", the honorific of the ancient Caesars and is regarded as the second 'Constantine'. Pope Leo III has to find a crown for Charlemagne as, in the Roman style (see Leo I) there could be no coronation without a crown. In addition he is anointed with holy oil, a ceremony known as 'unction'. Charlemagne's sucessors would be known as Holy Roman Emperors.

As the new century begins, Clerics in Charlemagne's service, rather than using Regnal dates, begin measuring dates ifrom 'the year of our Lord, anno Domini, A.D.' 
Charlemagne (Charles'le Magne (the Great)') Franks, Emperor of the Romans, Carolingian King of the Franks 
32 826  Sicily, Italy   Euphemius the Byzantines commander in Sicily killed his wife and forced a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II heard wind of the outrage and ordered the marriage annuled and Euphemius' head cut off. Euphemius occupied Syracuse but was defeated and driven out to North Africa. There he offered rule of Sicily over to Ziyadat Allah the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia in return for a place as a general and safety; a Muslim army of Arabs, Berbers, Spaniards of Al-Andalus (by then an Islamic region), Cretans and Persians was sent. The conquest met with much resistance. It took over a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered. Syracuse held for a long time, Taormina fell in 902, and all of Sicily was eventually conquered by Arabs in 965.  Michael II, Byzantine Emperor (Eastern Roman Empire) 
33 845  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Liudolf and his wife travel to Rome in order to ask Pope Sergius II for permission to found a house of secular canonesses, duly established in Brunshausen around 852, and moved in 881 to form Gandersheim Abbey, Lower Saxony, Germany  Liudolf, Duke of Saxony 
34 850  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Before he died 29 Sep 855 Lothair had divided his kingdom between his three sons. Louis II who gained Italy tenuously held on to power, and seeking validation submitted to being crowned and anointed Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo IV, an act that 50 years since Louis grandfather Charlemagne had snubbed the Church, restored its authority to bestow imperial power.  Louis II'the Younger', Holy Roman Emperor, King of Italy 
35 951  Lombardy, Italy   Claiming himself King of Italy, Berengar, Margrave of Ivrea attempts to legitimize his rule in Lombardy by forcing Lothair II's widow Adelaide, the respective daughter, daughter-in-law, and widow of the last three kings of Italy, into marriage with his son Adalbert.

Adelaide requests Otto 'the Great' to intervene resulted in Otto's invasion in 951. Otto received the homage of the Italian nobility and assumes the title of King of the Lombards. The next year Berengar is forced to pay Otto homage and Otto marries Adelaide himself. 
Berengar II, Usurper King of Italy, Margrave of Ivrea 
36 02 Feb 962  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Following the assassination of Berengar I of Friuli in 924, the imperial title of Holy Roman Emperor had lain vacant for nearly 40 years. On 2 Feb 962, Pope John XII crowned Otto Emperor in the West which was later to become the Holy Roman Empire.

Before Pope John XII who had been called Octavian, a notorious, promiscuous 16 year old, only one other had changed his name on being elevated to Pope, John II in 533. The practice became increasingly common and by the 11th century it was the norm.

Otto replaced Pope John XII in 963 but citing an ancient principle that no earthly power could depose the Bishop of Rome, John XII refused to accept the decision. The result was an outrage of two competing Popes. A year later John XII died whilst involved with a married woman. 
Otto I'the Great' Liudolfing, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, King of Italy, Duke of Saxony 
37 972  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   The Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimiskes calculated that a marriage between his relation Theophanu and Otto II could secure a united Empire of East and West Roman. However after the marriage contract was signed and a ceremony concluded at st. Peter's in Rome, it transpired that Otto II's 13 year old bride was neither virginal, or a daughter of Tzimiskes as Otto II had expected, rather she was a non blood line niece. Some sugested she be returned to Constantinople as damaged goods. Otto II's father refused recgnising the pearl he had obtained in his new daughter in law. Within a year, Theophanu had cast her spell of star quality over the East Franks. She was talented at forging political friendships.  Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor 
38 981  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Seven years before taking his throne in France, Hugh Capet is granted an audience with Emperor Otto II in Rome. Otto II, aware his guest did not speak latin, insisted on speaking exclusively in that language. Thereafter Hugh made sure his children received the best education, provided by Gerbert of Aurillac.  Hugh Capet, First Capetian King of the West Franks 
39 Apr 982  Taranto, Puglia, Apulia, Italy   The Byzantine Emperor Tzimiskes was dead and Otto II's wife was hostile to his successors. In 981 she rode with her husband south out of Rome to consolidate the peninsula of Italy. Along the way Otto II saw the devastation of Roman memorials and a desolate countryside ravaged by 'Saracen' raiders from across the sea, who with the support of the rulers of Sicily and collaborative merchants from Amalfi and Naples for 'Saracen gold', had for 100 years shipped thousands of citizens out of the Italian southern ports to North African slave markets. Any remaining citizens were poor and lived impotently in walled towns in the hills. Muslim slavery needn't be for life, Muhammad decreed only infidels could be sold as chattels, the freeing of converts, those who acknowledged their submission, (in Arabic: 'islam') was a blessed act. For christians who did convert not only was it freedom but also recovery of dignity, for the Muslims their kingdom of souls was increasing at the expense of Christianity. Muslims also extorted protection monies and those who paid 'dhimmis' (non-Muslim people living freely under the protection of an Islamic state) were made to 'feel subdued'. Traveling to pax taxes, they could not travel on horses or must ride side-saddle on mules like women and must keep their hands below the official who collected the tax.

When they reached the port of Taranto in 982, their way was barred by its fellow christian citizens who refused to engage in battle with the Saracens. Otto II after giving them every opportunity and infuriated, seized the port from its Byzantine garrison, and claimed himself Emperor of Rome.  
Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor 
40 Jul 982  Cotrone, Calabria, Italy   Otto II engages battle with the Saracens and his troops are annihilated. The captain of the Saracens, the Sicilian 'Emir' Abu al-Qasim fell in the hour of his victory. Otto II escapes by sea  Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor 
41 21 May 996  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   In 996 Otto III came to the aid of Pope John XV to put down a rebellion led by John Crescentius II a Roman nobleman. Otto II was declared King of the Lombards at Pavia, but failed to reach Rome before the Pope died.

Rome was then a city of 25,000 souls with city walls 12 miles long. The Colosseum, once stained purple with christian blood, now hung in a malarial swamp amid the stench or corpse pits. The royal Palatine Hill lay in rubble. But Rome was forever renewing itself.

Once Otto III reached Rome, he engineered the election of his 24 year old Saxon cousin, Bruno of Carinthia as Pope Gregory V, the first German pope. Otto III regarded Popes as subordinates. The new pontiff crowned Otto Emperor on Ascension Day 21 May 996 in Rome. His advisors were two of the main characters of the age, his tutor Gerbert of Aurillac and the bishop Adalbert of Prague. Together with these visionary men Otto III devised a plan to restore of a universal Empire formed by the union of the Papacy, Byzantium and Rome. He also introduced some court customs in Greek.

Adalbert born in Bohemia of aristocratic parents and educated in Magdeburg became a monk and scorned worldly titles. He had been run out of town for attempting to halt the slave trade. He laid aside the dignity of his bishop's office to return to the brotherhood, but in 996 set out across the Elbe to the quell pagans in the land of the Poles. He was hacked to death. His killers were Prussians. The christian duke Boleslav of Poland entombed the martyr's remain at Gniezno. The sole act of his death helped purge the Eastern wilds of paganism.

One year later Otto III left Rome and the city magnate Crescentius II deposed Gregory and installed John (Philagathos) XVI as pope. John had been a tutor to Otto III and was his godfather. Leaving his aunt, Matilda of Quedlinburg, as regent in Germany, Otto III returned to retake Rome in Feb 998, storming the Castel Sant'Angelo. Crescentius II was decapitated in the Castel, the antipope John had his eyes, nose, lips and tongue removed, placed on the back of a donkey facing its tail and paraded through Rome, then led away to a monastery. Gregory was reinstated.

A hermit Nilus dared to confront the Emperor at the trial of the antipope pleading for Otto III and Gregory to show forgiveness warning them that 'neither will the heavenly Father forgive you of your own sins'. Pope Gregory fell ill and died in Feb 999. 
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor 
42 02 Apr 999  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Otto III, disturbed by his cousin Pope Gregory V abrupt death, visited Nilus in his hermitage, knelt and removed his crown. Nilus gave him his blessing and returned the crown to Otto's head.

Gerbert of Aurillac had dazzled Otto III's court at Magdeburg with his 'astrolabe' to track and measure the stars, something Greeks and Muslim astronomers knew but had not before demonstrated. As one of the greatest christian philosopher of his time, Gerbert explained that numbers encode the origins of the universe. On 02 Apr 999, Gerbert of Aurillac, a peasant from Auvergne was crowned Pope Sylvester II after Sylvester who supposedly served Constantine 'the Great' 
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor 
43 1001  Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy   As the new millennium dawned, Rome rose again in revolt. Only a full scale onslaught by his soldiers and the unveiling of the Holy Lance served to quell the uprising. Disappointed with their ingratitude, Otto III decided to withdraw his court to Ravenna.

Otto would travel out of Ravenna to consult Romuald, a hermit to put even Nilus in the shade. Both shared a conviction that the Second Coming was imminent. Otto III revealed to Romuald that he would abdicate his crown to Christ and travel to Jerusalem. He believed himself to be the Last Roman Emperor. However his dreams perished with him, in Jan 1002 advancing to Rome, Otto III died of malaria.

After a miserable year being bullied by the resurgent Crescentius family, Gerbert of Aurillac, Pope Sylvester II died in May 1003 
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor 
44 14 Feb 1014  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   After being crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Pope Benedict VIII, Henry II gifts his orb, sceptre, crown and coronation robes to Cluny Abbey, perhaps to muster all the supernatural support he could summon.

On Easter Day 1003, the holiest festival of the year, Henry had signed a treaty of friendship with the pagan Wends and in 1015 rode with the Wends at his side to put down Boleslav, the upstart Duke of christian Poland. It was scandalous but the campaign culminated in a lasting compromise peace with the Poles in 1018. 
Henry II(Heinrich), Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany and Italy 
45 1017  Monte Gargano, Gargano, Puglia, Apulia, Italy   The Normans (not necessarily William I 'Iron Arm' of Hauteville) were first seen in Italy at Monte Gargano, the Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano in 1017. Here they paid homage to the Archangel Michael who's apparition visited the cave four times between 494 or 530-40. Monte Gargano is the oldest shrine in Western Europe and is dedicated to the Archangel Michael, 'patron in war'.  William I'Iron Arm' of Hauteville, Count of Apulia 
46 Mar 1027  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Canute, King of England and Denmark makes a pilgrimage to Rome for the coronation on Easter Day of Conrad II as Holy Roman Emperor. He agrees with Conrad II that his daughter Gunhilda should marry Conrad II's son the future Henry III. The marriage was part of a pact between her Canute and Conrad II over peaceful borders in the area of Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.  Canute (Knut ,Knud ,Cnut)'the Great', King of England, Denmark and Norway 
47 1047  Fortress of Scribla, Calabria, Italy   Following his brothers to Itlay, Robert Guiscard is dispatched to the swamps of Scribla, Calabria, but he is successful at horse rustling throughout 'the toe of Itlay' and acquires much land over the next three years. By 1050 he has a well connected wife over 200 knights and a moniker 'Guiscard', 'the Cunning One'.  Robert'Guiscard (the Cunning One ,'the Wily ,the Fox)' of Hauteville, Duke of Apulia and Calabria 
48 20 Dec 1046  Sutri, Viterbo, Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Arriving in Rome. Italy for his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor, Henry III was met by three Popes. Benedict IX a sexually scandalous young man of 18 years when he had bribed his way to his office in 1032; Sylvester III an heir of the Crescentians, of which, John, had been beheaded by Otto III and had been supplanted in office when Benedict IX had been out of town; and Gregory VI a converted jew elected by prominent reformers. An ardent supporter of Gregory VI was a monk called Hildebrand (born abt. 1015 Sovana, Tuscany, Italy, died 25 May 1085) of humble upbringing, who was appointed Gregory's chaplain. Benedict IX was Gregory VI's grandson, and in accordance with Roman tradition had offered Benedict IX a hefty bribe to stand down. Just as the apostle St. Peter was offered gold by Simon so he too could work miracles and was abruptly rebuffed, the sin of trading in powers of office had been damned as 'simony'.

At the Council of Sutri, Gregory VI was found out and deposed by the scrupulous Henry III. Sylvester III was similarly dispatched. Three days later in Rome Benedict IX was also removed and replaced by one of Henry III's countrymen Clement II, who on Christmas day 1046 anointed Henry III Holy Roman Emperor.

The chaplain Hildebrand followed his master Gregory to the Rhineland. When Clement II died less than a year into his papacy, Benedict IX swept back into office, only to be kicked out again by Henry III and replaced by another German Pope, and when he died another German Pope. 
Henry III(Heinrich)'the Black'or'the Pious' Salian, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany 
49 1050  Rome (Roma), Lazio (Latium), Italy   Pope Leo IX appoints Humbert of Moyenmoutier, an old colleague from Lorraine, France, as cardinal bishop. In the Pope's palace the 'Lateran', Humbert set about organising, the college of cardinals into Pope Leo IX's government.

Leo IX traveled south in Italy later that year in an attempt to wrest the remainder of Italy from Saracen and Byzantine hands. He found the same wilderness that had confronted Otto II in 982 except worse and plagued by mercenaries on horseback, the Normans. in 1018 they had been hired to defend the Apulia region 'the heel of Italy' against Byzantines and had stayed on. The Normans were not just interested in gold but land, in 1030 the ruler of Naples had rewarded a Norman his own fortress and rank of Count and in 1042 William 'Iron Arm' of Hauteville had been declared Count of Apulia.

Leo IX backed off to Mount Gargano to consult the holy shrine of the 'warrior' archangel Michael, who had appeared there in 493. The shrine had been visited by Otto II and his wife Theophanu as well as Otto III. Henry 'the Fowler' and Otto 'the Great' had both inscribed their battle standards with St. Michael's image. 
Henry III(Heinrich)'the Black'or'the Pious' Salian, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany 
50 18 Jun 1053  Civitella del Fortore, Foggia, Puglia, Apulia, Italy   By the summer of 1053 Emperor Henry III made it clear to his Pope Leo IX that he had enough battles of his own to fight with Princes of the Reich, but did sent 700 Swabian swordsmen to assist Leo IX. Frustrated at not receiving Henry III's full support to rid southern Italy of its christian Norman bandits, for the first time a Pope, Leo IX, blessed a standard of battle, raised an army with impunity for its crimes, and papally sanctioned a holy war. Even though earlier at Reims, Leo IX had sworn against priests bearing arms, he led his army at the Battle of Civitate sul Fortore, 18 Jun 1053, and was defeated by a much smaller force of Norman horsemen led by Hunphrey of Hauteville, Count of Apulia and his step-brother Robert 'Guiscard'. The Normans respectfully escorted Leo IX back to Benevento where he was kept prisoner for 9 months and only released when he conceded to accept the rights of the Norman's to their conquests. The Pope's sanctioning of war had perhaps been judged unlawful by God.  Henry III(Heinrich)'the Black'or'the Pious' Salian, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany 

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