the great) (912-973. German king and emperor. A member of the Saxon dynasty, he succeeded his father, Henry I, in 936. By emphasizing his position as head of the Christians in Germany, Otto revived Charlemagne's alliance of church and state. He reasserted the old Carolingian rights over the appointment and control of ecclesiastical lords, established new bishoprics in frontier districts to support missionary activities, and patronized to a limited extent the cultural and scholarly endeavors of the church. Otto's policy was that of giving political power to the church in order to counterbalance the secular lords.