Thursday, October 4, 2007

Berengar of Ivrea
For other historical figures with similar names, see Berengar.
Berengar of Ivrea (before 913-966), sometimes also referred to as Berengar II of Italy, was margrave of Ivrea, and usurper King of Italy. He was of Lombard descent.
He was a son of Adalbert I of Ivrea and Gisela of Friuli. His maternal grandparents were Berengar I of Italy and Bertila of Spoleto.
From the time of Berengar's successful uprising of the nobles in 945, all real power and patronage in the Kingdom of Italy was concentrated in his hands. Thus, the king's power in Italy was nominal and, following the uprising, Berengar became the effective King of Italy upon the withdrawal to Provence of Hugh of Arles, who left his young son Lothar as titular king. Lothair's brief reign ended upon his death in 950.
Berengar, for his part, then attempted to legitimize his rule in Lombardy by forcing Lothar's widow Adelaide, the respective daughter, daughter-in-law, and widow of the last three kings of Italy, into marriage with his son Adalbert. Instead she entreated the protection of Otto, King of Germany, whom she married. Berengar then seized the opportunity and declared himself king, with his son as co-king. Adelaide's requests for intervention resulted in Otto's invasion in 951, where Berengar was forced to pay homage to the German king (952). Otto, a widower, subsequently married Adelaide himself. Berengar was deposed by Otto, and Northern Italy came under direct control of the German kingdom.
Berengar continued in his position as a vassal of the Empire. Later (from 960) Berengar and his son Adalbert attacked Pope John XII, on whose appeal Otto marched into Rome and was crowned emperor (962). John's subsequent negotiations with Berengar caused Otto to depose the pope and capture and imprison Berengar in Germany (963).
His consort was Willa, the daughter of Boso, count of Arles and Avignon and margrave of Tuscany; she mistreated Adelaide when Berengar held her captive for several months in 951. The chronicler Liutprand of Cremona, raised at his court at Pavia, gives several particularly vivid accounts of Willa's character. She was held captive in a German nunnery.


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