Lynn Lindeman

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John R. Sommerfeldt

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



Otto of Freising is best known as the philosopher of history who wrote The Two Cities and The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa. Unfortunately, the interest Otto evokes is often limited to his philosophy of history. Many never go beyond the German historian Wilman's view of Otto as "the first to have a conception of the world-sequence of history."1

Otto of Freising's two historical works, The Two Cities and The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa, are important for more than his philosophy of history. The values and ideals Otto reflects in his writings are valuable in giving one insights into the ideals of the twelfth century, and this paper will concentrate on Otto's conception of the ideal historian, ruler, and philosopher. We will attempt to answer three questions about Otto's ideal historian, ideal ruler, and ideal philosopher. First, what did Otto conceive to be the purpose, the raison d'etre, for each? Second, what functions would Otto have his ideal figures perform to fulfill their purposes? Third, what virtues would each have to possess in order to function and fulfill his purpose? By answering these questions we hope to better understand Otto of Freising's weltanschauung and the culture of the twelfth century.

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History Commons