Alternative History

962- Pope John XII fearful of the power of Berengar usurper-king of Italy as well as a Muslim invasion of mainland Italy called all monarchs of the Christian faith to Rome. The monarchs in attendance were Romanos II Byzantine Emperor, Otto I King of Germany, Lothair King of West Francia, Peter I King of Bulgaria, Boleslaus I Duke of Bohemia, Kreshmir II King of Croatia, Harold I King of Denmark, Harald Greycloak King of Norway, Dub King of Scotland, Edgar King of England, Sancho I King of Leon, Fernán González Count of Castille, Sancho II Garcés Abarca King of Pamplona and Pietro IV Candiano Doge of Venice. The Princes of Southern Italy were not invited as the swore fealty to the Byzantine Emperor. Meeting in the vast St John Lateran the Pope asked that for the swearing of an Oath of protection on the City of Rome and the surrounding countryside against all threats (Berengar as a threat went without saying) that he would crown one of their number Holy Roman Emperor. As all weapons were confiscated by Papal Guards a new way for the Emperor to be decided was chosen. Put forward by Otto of Germany that the rulers present would elect the Emperor. So the Pope issued a papal bull know as the Golden Bull (being the only Papal Bull to use Gold for the Seal) of Translatio Imperii which stated that on the election of the Emperor that the electors would swear loyalty to the Emperor so long he reigns. Otto of Germany is elected and successfully drove Berengar out of Italy. Otto has Alberto Giuliani a Milanese noble made Elector-King of Italy

963- Pope John XII fearful of Otto’s growing power in Italy tries to coax Emperor-Elector Nikephoros II Phokas (who succeeded Romanos by marrying his widow) with the Imperial throne if he deposed Otto. However because of the Oath of Electors (though he himself did not take it) taken after Otto’s coronation he refuses. Otto, not pleased by the duality of the Pope, marched into Rome drove John into the mountains and demanded that the synod of Rome (which included the bishops of the various capitals of the empire and the Patriarchs) declare that John resigned and elect his successor immediately. The synod elected the Layperson Leo VIII pope and hurried through the all necessary orders. Before Otto left Rome to return to Aachen (defined capital of Germany by the Golden Bull) the populous tried to stage a failed revolt (who sees the election as the Emperor meddling in Church affairs). After he left the city John returned at the head of a company of loyal followers drives Leo out of Rome.

964- John XII dies leaving the Papal throne free for Leo VIII. The synod however elects Benedict V. However not wanting to split the church between him and the Emperor, Benedict resigns before the Doors of St Peter’s and the synod not wishing to have a repeat re-elect Leo who humbly accepts the Papal Palium and Camelaucum from Benedict who took them off his body himself and placed them upon Leo. In gratitude Leo VIII creates Benedict a deacon for the Archbishop of Hamburg

965- Emperor-Elector Nikephoros captures the city of Tarsus and the Emirate of Cilicia and occupy the Island of Cyprus adding to the Empire. Leo VIII dies and the synod of Rome elects Giovanni Crescenzi as John XIII however because of his support from the Emperor the people of Rome stage a revolt causing him to flee the city; however no synod is called to replace him. As Otto is in Aachen he can’t intervene and has Elector-King Alberto of Milan deal with the situation.

966- Mieszko Duke of Poland is baptized and is created Duke-Elector of Poland. The entire duchy of Poland is added to Imperial Lands and the Council of Electors gains a new member. Elector-King of Leon Sancho I dies by poison and is succeeded by his son as Ramiro III. In November Alberto manages to reach a solution to the exile of John XIII with the people of Rome and allows John to return to the City.

967- Elector-Duke of Bohemia Boleslaus dies leaving his son Boleslaus the Pious his electorate-duchy. Dub Elector-King of Scotland dies and is succeeded by Culen. Otto II is crowned Elector-King of Germany as his father retired from his German throne in favor for his son but retains his Imperial titles. However, he calls a Elector Council to elct his successor. Lothair is elected his co-emperor and successor upon his death. To increase trade and the movement of information Lothair and Otto make Latin the lingua franca (the language of business) of the Empire. Because of the new freedom of information flowing from the east from Constantinople via Muslim traders and the Silk Road this begins the era many modern historians call the 1st Great Renaissance. This leads to a return to the Roman Standards of Living across Europe.