- Imperial Sites
The Exhibition 2012 marks the 1100th anniversary of the birth of Otto the Great and the 1050th anniversary of his coronation as emperor. The Museum of Cultural History in Magdeburg is marking the occasion with a major exhibition telling the fascinating story of the role and office of emperor: its origins in ancient Rome and how it changed through the ages.
The idea of rule by a single emperor arose in ancient Rome under Caesar and Augustus and was increasingly influenced by Christianity under Constantine I and thereafter. By the sixth century the power of the Roman emperor was restricted to Byzantium in the eastern Mediterranean.
In the year 800 the Pope crowned Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, emperor in Rome. This act revived the Western Roman Empire with a ruler whose power base lay north of the Alps. It was Otto the Great who finally anchored the concept in the north, using the designation “Otto Imperator” in his seal after his coronation as emperor in 962.