OF GERMANY, son of the preceding, was emperor from 983 to 1002. He was born in 980, and was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle first and at Rome in 996, whither he had been called by pope John XV to quell the insurrection of Crescentius, a remarkable character of the Middle Ages, who aspired to re-establish the Roman republic under a nominal allegiance to the Eastern emperors. Pope John XV dying in the mean time, Gregory V assumed the pontificate, and it was this pope who crowned Otho III. After the restoration of peace the emperor returned to Germany; but the renewed rebellion of Crescentius, who drove Gregory from the papal throne, and instituted a Calabrian Greek as antipope under the title of John XVI, compelled Otho to return to Italy, where success, as usual, attended his measures. Crescentius, who had thrown himself into St. Angelo, was seized and beheaded, together with twelve of his chief adherents; the antipope imprisoned, Gregory restored; and on the speedy death of the latter, Otho's old tutor, Gherbert, archbishop of Ravenna, was raised to the papacy under the title of Sylvester II. Otho, elated with his success, took up his residence at Rome, where he organized the government, erected new buildings, and showed every disposition, notwithstanding the ill- concealed dissatisfaction of the Romans, to convert their city into the capital of the Western empire. The near approach of the year 1000, to which so many alarming prophecies were then believed to point as the end of the world, induced Otho to undertake a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he founded an archbishopric. On his return, after visiting Charlemagne's grave at Aix-la-Chapelle, and removing the consecrated cross suspended from the emperor's neck, he again repaired to Rome to consolidate his schemes of establishing a Roman empire. The insurrection of the Romans frustrated his plans, and, escaping from Rome at the risk of his life, he withdrew to Ravenna to await the arrival of powerful re- enforcements from Germany; but before they had crossed the Alps he died, in 1002, apparently from poison, said to have been administered to him by the widow of Crescentius, who, it is believed, had deliberately set herself to win his affections that she might have an opportunity of avenging the death of her husband. With Otho III the male branch of the Saxon imperial house became extinct. See Wilman, Jahrbucher des deutschen Reichs unter
Kaiser Otto III (Berl. 1840). and the histories referred to in the article SEE OTHO I.