The Archduke of Cologne: Bruno I.

Cologne becomes the starting point of the so-called imperial church system that forms in eastern France in the middle of the 10th century. The little brother of Emperor Otto I, also called Otto the Great, becomes a big guy himself when he is elected Archbishop of Cologne in 953 and at the same time appointed Duke of Lorraine. As archduke, Bruno thus has more power than anyone else in the empire. With the exception of his big brother. What effects will this have for Cologne?

Sometimes it’s good to let the little brother play along. Bruno will prove indispensable as a support for his brother, Emperor Otto the Great.

How did the young Byzantine princess Theophanu become the richest woman in Europe at only 12 years old at the end of the 10th century? And how did she become the most powerful woman in Europe at the age of 24, with far-reaching effects on European history? In this episode, we will look at her breathtaking life and, of course, at the end, what all this actually has to do with Cologne itself.
  1. Theophanu
  2. How Archbishop Bruno changed the face of Cologne forever – until today
  3. Retrospective on Frankish Cologne
  4. The Archduke of Cologne
  5. From the Empire of the Franks to the Land of the Germans

Bruno I.

Modern-Day depiction of Bruno in the church St. Aposteln in Cologne with his CV in German in his hand.

Bruno the Great. From a genealogy of the Ottonians (Chronica St. Pantaleonis, 2nd half of 12th century.)
Medieval representation of Bruno after an original of the monastery of St. Pantaleon in Cologne.

Duchy of Lorraine (Lotharingia)

Otto I.

King Otto in front of one of his rivals defeated rivals (in this case Berengar). Around 1200.

Otto I. in an chronicle from 1112.

Otto I. and Pope John XII. If the encounter of these two was really that nice, I doubt it… Painting from around 1450.

Tomb of Otto I. in Magedburg. I took this photo in 2012 when I went on a trip with my university class. I mostly remember a lot of beer.

The Throne of Charles the Great in Aachen

Over 30 kings and emperors got crowned on the throne of Charles the Great in the Palatine Chapel in Aachen (nowadays Aachen Cathedral) Even though Charles never got coronated here, it was still Charles’ favorite palace in his whole realm. To be crowned her as king or emperor was a must have!

Even Napoleon seems to have liked it many centuries later. According to the painter who painted this in the late 19th century, long after Napoleon was dead. Note, that even the crown of the Holy Roman Empire laid on the chair to symbolize the importance of that chair.

Aachen Cathedral

Only the Palatine Chapel (in the middle) existed at Otto’s and Bruno’s lifetime. And in a way simpler form too.

Battle of Lechfeld

East Frankish troops defeat the Hungarian invaders at Lechfeld near Augsburg. From the “Saxon World Chronicle”

The Holy Roman Empire

By Holy Roman Empire 1000 map-fr.svg: Sémhurderivative work: OwenBlacker | Discussion – Holy Roman Empire 1000 map-fr.svg, originally based on HRR 10Jh.jpg (2005)., CC BY-SA 3.0,

2 thoughts on “The Archduke of Cologne: Bruno I.

  1. Some of my favorite terms you used to embellish this middle-times episode: “nutcase”, “zaboom”, “myspace”. Once again, an engaging and colorful episode!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. 🙂 I remember when I said “nutcase”. But I have no idea when I said “zaboom” or “myspace”. I guess I have to listen to my own episode. 😀


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