Bertha, daughter of Lothair II
Bertha (863-8 March 925 in Lucca) was the second illegitimate daughter of Lothair II, King of Lotharingia, by his concubine Waldrada. She was renowned to be beautiful, spirited, and courageous. Ambition, coupled with her influence, involved her husbands in many wars.
Between 879 and 880, she firstly married the Bosonid Theobald of Arles, who was a son of Hucbert, brother-in-law of Lothair II. With Theobald she had two sons: Hugh (882 – 10 April 947) and Boso (885–936), and daughters Teuberga of Arles (890–948), and another daughter (d. after 924). Her second husband was Adalbert II of Tuscany, by whom she had two other sons, Guy (d. 3 February 929) and Lambert (d. after 938), and a daughter, Ermengard. After the death of Adalbert II in 915, Guy became the count and duke of Lucca and margrave of Tuscany. His mother was his regent from his father's death until 916. Bertha died on 8 March 925 in Lucca.
Bertha is also known for her curious correspondence to Caliph al-Muktafi in 906, in which she described herself rather grandly as "Queen of the Franks". Bertha's letter is of interest in that she appears to have little knowledge of Baghdad politics or culture, and it is for this reason that details of her correspondence were recorded by one of the Muslim chroniclers. Bertha was seeking a marriage alliance between herself and the Emir of Sicily, unaware that al-Mukfati has little influence over the Aghlabid colony in Sicily. Moreover, the letter was written in a language unfamiliar to the Caliph's translators, and the accompanying gifts (among them a multicoloured woollen coat) which no doubt indicated a largesse on Bertha's part, were unlikely to have impressed al-Muktafi beyond their novelty value.
Hugh was count of Arles (911-923), count of Provence (911-933) and became king of Italy in 924. In the same year, his half-brother Guy married Marozia. On Guy's death in 928 or 929, his brother Lambert came into possession of Guy's familial possession of Lucca and of Tuscany. Also after Guy's death, Hugh desired to marry Guy's widow. However, Hugh was already married, so he had that marriage annulled. Another impediment was the Church's prohibition of the marriage because of the affinity relationship between them; so Hugh disowned and removed Bertha's descendants by Adalbert II. Lambert was removed from his familial possession of Lucca and of Tuscany, which were given in 931 to Hugh's brother Boso. Hugh and Marozia married in 932. However, during the wedding ceremonies Hugh insulted Alberic II, Marozia's son by her first marriage to Alberic I of Spoleto, who then stirred a Roman mob to revolt against Hugh, who was deposed but escaped the city. Alberic II was now ruler of Rome until his death in 954, and he imprisoned his mother for over 50 years, until her death in 982. In 933, Hugh exchanged Provence with Rudolph II of Upper Burgundy for the rule of Italy. Rudolph also married his daughter Adelaide to Hugh's son Lothair, who became nominal King of Italy in 948. In 936 Hugh deposed and arrested his brother Boso, and made his illegitimate son Humbert margrave of Tuscany. In 936, Alberic II married his stepsister Alda, Hugh's daughter, and they had a son, Octavianus. On his deathbed Alberic nominated Octavianus as pope, becoming Pope John XII. The nobles of Rome successfully revolted against Hugh in 945, who was forced into exile.
- C. W. Previté Orton. "Italy and Provence, 900-950."
- Previté Orton, 347.
- Townsend, Geo (1847) Ecclesiastical and Civil History Philosophically Considered, Vol. II, p. 157
- Muslims of Medieval Italy, Google Books
- Metcalfe, A. (2009) Muslims of Medieval Italy (Edinburgh University Press). ISBN 9780748620074.
- Previté Orton, C. W. "Italy and Provence, 900-950." The English Historical Review Vol. 32, No. 127 (Jul., 1917) (pp. 335–347)