Emperorship from Antiquity
Otto the Great (912-973), bust on seal, Landeshauptarchiv Magdeburg. Photo: Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg
This year, 2012, marks the 1100th birthday of Otto the Great (emperor from 962-971) and the 1050th anniversary of this coronation as emperor at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 962. On this occasion the kulturhistorisches Museum in Magdeburg is giving the European history of the idea of emperorship from the first European emperor Augustus (emperor from 27 BC-14 AD) and other Roman emperors, through the dynasty of the Ottonian emperors (who ruled from 962-1024). The exhibition shows how Augustus cunningly availed of the Roman Republic principles around the turn of the century top create new forms of legitimacy for his rule. When the last Roman emperor was deposed in 476, the title of emperor initially remained confined to the Eastern Roman Empire, which evolved into the Byzantine Empire and emperors. Western Roman Emperorship was revived in 800, when Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the pope in Rome in 800. The milieu of Roman, Byzantine, Carolingian and Ottonian emperors produced splendid works of art. The exhibition is bringing these riches from one thousand years together as well.