Date of Birth: circa 900
Predecessor: Otto I
Spouse: Oda, then Hildegarde of Westerbourg
Reign: 961 – 973
Summary: A relatively unknown duke of Saxony during the transitional years before the House of Wettin took the throne, Herman was originally a margrave (marcher lord) of the Holy Roman Empire. His father was a little known local lord and his wife a Frankish woman. He ruled an area north of the Elbe River between the Limes Saxoniae and Peene Rivers. Herman began expanding his domains to the east, pushing into Slavic land and creating what became known as the March of the Billungs, named after his family. The Saxons at this time were in an almost constant state of warfare with the eastern Slavs. Otto I, the Holy Roman Emperor, was the duke of Saxony at this time but entrusted increasing amounts of authority to Herman while Otto was away on Imperial business. It is unclear if Herman was ever officially duke, but Otto relinquished the title during his reign and it is fairly certain Herman received it around the year 961.
The new duke ruled in his own right but under the authority of Otto. He was known as a military leader outside of Saxony and supported the emperor's prerogatives. His son, Bernard, was responsible for making Saxony a strong bastion in the center of Germany. Herman centralized his rule around Lüneburg in western Germany and founded the monastery of St. Michael there. He had five children, the eldest of whom succeeded him to Saxony in 973. Of his other children, one married two margraves of Meissen, a margraviate that would later inherit Saxony, another married the count of Flanders and then the count of Verdûn. A third became an abbess in Herford in Saxony. Herman died at Quedlinburg after a long and successful life. His family ruled Saxony for 150 years before the dynasty ended in dynastic warfare.
Date of Death: 27 March 973
Successor: Bernard I
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