|Map of Saxony (light orange), c. 1000|
Date of Birth: c. 950
Royal House: Billung
Spouse: Hildegard, daughter of Henry I the Bald, count of Stade
Reign: 973 – 1011
Summary: Bernard grew up in the tough times in Germany after the fall of the Carolingian empire when the Ottonians were just establishing themselves. Bernard's father, Herman, fought his whole life for acceptance as the leader of the Saxons and never achieved the status of duke. Bernard, therefore, succeeded where his father had failed. Taking strength from the military victories of his father and grandfather, Bernard inherited Saxony during its rise to greatness and expanded upon that.
Bernard fought against the Slavs in order to secure his eastern border. He fought the Danes in the north in three separate invasion attempts. In 983, he was a strong supporter of Otto III for the Holy Roman Imperial throne against the claims of Otto's uncle, Henry the Wrangler. For his loyalty to the throne, Bernard was made a marshal of the reich in 986. In 991 and 995 he joined Otto in campaigns against the encroaching Slavs. Inso-doing, he unified the Saxons under his banner and served as their representative and confidant to the emperor. And while his son ratified the union with the tribal leaders of the Saxons, Bernard set the stage for such a union. Bernard died in 1011 after a reign of 38 years. He was buried in a the Church of Saint Michael in Lüneburg in western Germany.
Date of Death: 9 February 1011
Successor: Bernard II
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