Otto III's kingdom of Italy

What would have happened to Italy specifically if Emperor Otto III didn't die and instead spent a long life consolidating control over Italy and weakening Papal power? What happens to the German duchies and the future Italian city states like Venice, Genoa, and Pisa? What happens when the Normans invade Sicily?
 
What would have happened to Italy specifically if Emperor Otto III didn't die and instead spent a long life consolidating control over Italy and weakening Papal power? What happens to the German duchies and the future Italian city states like Venice, Genoa, and Pisa? What happens when the Normans invade Sicily?
In the battle of Stilo, the Kalbids defeated the Imperial troops but lost their leader which followed by the decline of the Emirate of Sicily. If Otto III lives longer he can focus on Southern Italy and he might make a move on Sicily. Especially with Naval power of Italian citystates. As long as he does it before the Byzantines he's fine.

The best of this scenario is the Papal States get surrounded by Imperial lands. Which Otto III can use to use if the Pope threatens his authority aka Pope Gregory VII vs Henry IV.

The Normans can be used as Dukes and Counts in the South as they already were mercenaries in Sourhern Italy. First in the Army of Otto III. In this case Norman rule would possibly be limited to Sicily, Apulia and Sicily, and more divided.
 
In the battle of Stilo, the Kalbids defeated the Imperial troops but lost their leader which followed by the decline of the Emirate of Sicily. If Otto III lives longer he can focus on Southern Italy and he might make a move on Sicily. Especially with Naval power of Italian citystates. As long as he does it before the Byzantines he's fine.

The best of this scenario is the Papal States get surrounded by Imperial lands. Which Otto III can use to use if the Pope threatens his authority aka Pope Gregory VII vs Henry IV.

The Normans can be used as Dukes and Counts in the South as they already were mercenaries in Sourhern Italy. First in the Army of Otto III. In this case Norman rule would possibly be limited to Sicily, Apulia and Sicily, and more divided.
Yeah, southern Italy looks like it would be a point of confrontation between the Basil and Otto, still, they both have Capua, Beneveto, and Salemo to get through so that might stall all out war for a few years. Or maybe Otto would try to take care of this sooner rather then later as the HRE is kind of in a bad spot geographically but he's in the best position he could hope for. He'll probably recognize Poland as a Kingdom and I think he has Hungary under wraps for now, meanwhile France was just been given to Hugh Capet so I don't think he has much to fear from there. That just leaves the Byzantines and the Muslims to his south. This would probably be the best chance for the HRE conquering southern Italy for a while, I can imagine him trying unless something unexpected happens.

I'm not sure having Norman dukes is a good thing in the long term. But of course this wouldn't be Otto's problems but his successor's.
 
How do the Germans react? If he's spending all that time in Italy, do the lords back in Germany ignore him?
This is the elephant in the room. Germany was the heart of the empire, not Italy. He had to summon German forces to put down Italian revolts, which means if he is unseated in the north, he's done for. His "Caesar reborn" routine was pretty over the top, and neither his Byzantine affectations, nor his Byzantine wife, nor his prolonged absence from Germany are likely to endear him to the northern magnates whose support he needs. I don't know if there's a plausible alternative to him in Germany, but if he keeps it up I'd wager the disgruntled nobility will coalesce around someone.

One interesting thing to consider here is that if Otto lives, he presumably marries Zoe as planned, and presumably they have kids. If so - assuming all else goes as OTL in the east - when Constantine VIII dies in 1028, the only direct Macedonian heirs other than the childless 48 year old Theodora will be the sons and/or daughters of Otto III and Zoe. There's no way in hell a "united empire" could ever happen, but considering Otto's obsession with being the new world emperor I wouldn't put it past him to try. That is, of course, assuming he manages not to get deposed in the interim.

A Sicilian conquest is possible, but Otto was really at the distant end of his reach in southern Italy, far away from his center of power and sources of soldiers. The Norman conquest of Sicily was a 30-year project, and I'm not sure whether Otto will be able to sustain that kind of military effort considering how distant that periphery is and how many other matters will require his attention as emperor in the west.
 
Yeah, southern Italy looks like it would be a point of confrontation between the Basil and Otto, still, they both have Capua, Beneveto, and Salemo to get through so that might stall all out war for a few years. Or maybe Otto would try to take care of this sooner rather then later as the HRE is kind of in a bad spot geographically but he's in the best position he could hope for. He'll probably recognize Poland as a Kingdom and I think he has Hungary under wraps for now, meanwhile France was just been given to Hugh Capet so I don't think he has much to fear from there. That just leaves the Byzantines and the Muslims to his south. This would probably be the best chance for the HRE conquering southern Italy for a while, I can imagine him trying unless something unexpected happens.

I'm not sure having Norman dukes is a good thing in the long term. But of course this wouldn't be Otto's problems but his successor's.
Well not in the long term but same can be said to Italians and Bohemians. As long as the area of Greeks and Arabs are still a thing in the South of Italy, the Normans would the best rulers. And you need to award them if you use them too.
 
This is the elephant in the room. Germany was the heart of the empire, not Italy. He had to summon German forces to put down Italian revolts, which means if he is unseated in the north, he's done for. His "Caesar reborn" routine was pretty over the top, and neither his Byzantine affectations, nor his Byzantine wife, nor his prolonged absence from Germany are likely to endear him to the northern magnates whose support he needs. I don't know if there's a plausible alternative to him in Germany, but if he keeps it up I'd wager the disgruntled nobility will coalesce around someone.

One interesting thing to consider here is that if Otto lives, he presumably marries Zoe as planned, and presumably they have kids. If so - assuming all else goes as OTL in the east - when Constantine VIII dies in 1028, the only direct Macedonian heirs other than the childless 48 year old Theodora will be the sons and/or daughters of Otto III and Zoe. There's no way in hell a "united empire" could ever happen, but considering Otto's obsession with being the new world emperor I wouldn't put it past him to try. That is, of course, assuming he manages not to get deposed in the interim.

A Sicilian conquest is possible, but Otto was really at the distant end of his reach in southern Italy, far away from his center of power and sources of soldiers. The Norman conquest of Sicily was a 30-year project, and I'm not sure whether Otto will be able to sustain that kind of military effort considering how distant that periphery is and how many other matters will require his attention as emperor in the west.
He doesn't have to. He can award his non-German Troops those lands if they fight for Sicily. It still might take 30 years, longer or shorter, but the Conquest would be early.
 
How do the Germans react? If he's spending all that time in Italy, do the lords back in Germany ignore him?
I'm not sure. Bavaria under Henry II would definitely rebel at some point if he were still alive. But maybe his son, OTL's future emperor Henry II might also rebel over Otto's policy of weakening the papacy? Or some other duke convinces the duchies to elect him as an anti-king. But I believe that Otto is more then capable of handling any revolt against his reign during his lifetime but it would probably lay the foundations if future conflicts.
 
I wonder if Zoe would be an asset or a liability. On the one hand she seemed intelligent and capable but on the other hand, she did kill her husband when the relationship became inconvenient.
 
What would happen to the church if Otto succeeds in diminishing its power? Specifically with the great schisn of 1054 being butterflyed away as we know it.
 
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