journal Articles

Claudia Lydorf

Das Testament Kaiser Ottos IV.

Otto IV. died on the 19. Mai 1218. He was the first medieval emperor, whose will survived until our days as a document. The events taking place around his death-bed are described in the “Narratio de testamento et morte Ottonis quartuor imperatoris”. Since the first edition of Ottos last will, the question is discussed in which way these two different sources are related. Is the document more to be trusted than the narrative? Does the narration report real events or is its only purpose the perpetuation of the emperors memoria? Are the evidences about the making of the will given in the document supporting the description of the Narratio?

But not only the possibility to compare the document and the Narratio is interesting. From two different perspectives, these sources are reflecting the difficult situation Otto faced as an excommunicated and politically abandoned ruler in Mai 1218. How he tried to be absolved and to maintain his dignity as a sovereign at the same time, is another important aspect in this study.


Articles Aug. 4, 2007
© 2007 fhi
ISSN: 1860-5605
First publication