Berengar I of Italy
Berengar of Friuli was the Margrave of Friuli from 874 until no earlier than 890 and no later than 896, King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

 (as Berengar I) from 887 (with interruption) until his death, and Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 from 915 until his death.

Berengar rose to become one of the most influential laymen in the empire of Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat was the King of Alemannia from 876, King of Italy from 879, western Emperor from 881, King of East Francia from 882, and King of West Francia from 884. In 887, he was deposed in East Francia, Lotharingia, and possibly Italy, where the records are not clear...

 before he was elected to replace Charles in Italy after the latter's deposition. His long reign of 36 years saw him opposed by no less than seven other claimants to the Italian throne. Though he is sometimes seen as a "national" king in Italian histories, he was in fact of Frankish
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 birth. His reign is usually characterised as "troubled" because of the many competitors for the crown and because of the arrival of Magyar raiders in Western Europe. He was the last emperor before Otto the Great was crowned in 962, after a 38-year interregnum.

Margrave of Friuli, 874–887

His family was called the Unruochings
The Unruochings were a Frankish noble family who established themselves in Italy. The family is named for the first member to come to prominence, Unruoch II of Friuli ....

 after his grandfather, Unruoch II. Berengar was a son of Eberhard of Friuli
Eberhard of Friuli
Eberhard was the Frankish Duke of Friuli from 846. His name is alternatively spelled Everard, Evrard, Erhard, Eberhard, or Eberard, or in Latinized fashion Everardus, Eberardus, or Eberhardus. He wrote his own name "Evvrardus"...

 and Gisela
Gisela, daughter of Louis the Pious
Gisela was the youngest daughter of Louis the Pious and his second wife, Judith of Bavaria. She married the powerful and influential Evrard, Duke of Friuli, later canonized as Saint Evrard, with whom she had several children including King Berengar I of Italy, Margrave of Friuli, and Ingeltrude...

, daughter of Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 and his second wife Judith
Judith, daughter of Welf
Queen Judith , also known as Judith of Bavaria, was the daughter of Count Welf and a Saxon noblewoman named Hedwig, Duchess of Bavaria...

. He was thus of Carolingian extraction on his mother's side. He was born probably at Cividale. His name in Latin is Berengarius or Perngarius and in Italian is Berengario. Sometime during his margraviate, he married Bertilla
Bertila of Spoleto
Bertila of Spoleto was the wife of Berengar I of Italy, and by marriage Queen consort of Italy and Holy Roman Empress.She was the daughter of Suppo II , and of Bertha . Her paternal grandfather was Adelchis I of Spoleto, second son of Suppo I and father of Suppo II.She married Berengar c. 880,...

, daughter of Suppo II
Suppo II
Suppo II was a member of the Supponid family and Engelberga, the wife of Louis II may have been his sister. He was Count of Parma, Asti, and Turin. Along with his cousin, Suppo III, he was the chief lay magnate in Italy during Louis's reign....

, thus securing an alliance with the powerful Supponid family. She would later rule alongside him as a consors, a title specifically denoting her informal power and influence, as opposed to a mere coniunx, "wife."

When his older brother Unruoch III
Unruoch III of Friuli
Unruoch III or unroch III was the margrave of Friuli from 863 to 874. He was the eldest surviving son and successor of Eberhard of Friuli. He married Ava, a daughter of Liutfrid of Monza, and left a son Eberhard of Sulichgau, but was succeeded by his brother Berengar...

 died in 874, Berengar succeeded him in the March of Friuli
March of Friuli
The March of Friuli was a Carolingian frontier march against the Slavs and Avars in the ninth and tenth centuries. It was a successor to the Lombard Duchy of Friuli....

. With this he obtained a key position in the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

, as the march bordered the Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 and other Slavs who were a constant threat to the Italian peninsula. He was a territorial magnate with lordship over several counties in northeastern Italy. He was an important channel for the men of Friuli to get access to the emperor and for the emperor to exercise authority in Friuli. He even had a large degree of influence on the church of Friuli. In 884–885, Berengar intervened with the emperor on behalf of Haimo, Bishop of Belluno.

When, in 875, the Emperor Louis II, who was also King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

, died, having come to terms with Louis the German
Louis the German
Louis the German , also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson of Charlemagne and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye.He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact...

 whereby the German monarch's eldest son, Carloman
Carloman of Bavaria
Carloman was the eldest son of Louis the German, king of East Francia , and Hemma, daughter of the count Welf...

, would succeed in Italy, Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia , was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.-Struggle against his brothers:He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt, when his elder...

 of West Francia invaded the peninsula and had himself crowned king and emperor. Louis the German sent first Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat was the King of Alemannia from 876, King of Italy from 879, western Emperor from 881, King of East Francia from 882, and King of West Francia from 884. In 887, he was deposed in East Francia, Lotharingia, and possibly Italy, where the records are not clear...

, his youngest son, and then Carloman himself, with armies containing Italian magnates led by Berengar, to possess the Italian kingdom. This was not successful until the death of Charles the Bald in 877. The proximity of Berengar's march to Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, which Carloman already ruled under his father, may explain their cooperation.

In 883, the newly-succeeded Guy III of Spoleto
Guy III of Spoleto
Guy of Spoleto , sometimes known by the Italian version of his name, Guido, or by the German version, Wido, was the Margrave of Camerino from 880 and then Duke of Spoleto and Camerino from 883. He was crowned King of Italy in 889 and Holy Roman Emperor in 891...

 was accused of treason at an imperial synod held at Nonantula late in May. He returned to the Duchy of Spoleto
Duchy of Spoleto
The independent Duchy of Spoleto was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald.- Lombards :The Lombards, a Germanic people, had invaded Italy in 568 and conquered much of it, establishing a Kingdom divided between several dukes dependent on the King, who had...

 and made an alliance with the Saracens. The emperor, then Charles the Fat, sent Berengar with an army to deprive him of Spoleto. Berengar was successful before an epidemic of disease, which ravaged all Italy, affecting the emperor and his entourage as well as Berengar's army, forced him to retire.

In 886, Liutward
Liutward was the archchancellor of the Carolingian Empire from 878 and the bishop of Vercelli from 880 by appointment of Charles the Fat, whose chief minister he was. He should not be confused with his predecessor in this office of the same name, who would be archbishop of Mainz...

, Bishop of Vercelli, took Berengar's sister from the nunnery of S. Salvatore at Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 in order to marry her to a relative of his; whether or not by force or by the consent of the convent and Charles the Fat, her relative, is uncertain. Berengar and Liutward had a feud that year, which involved his attack on Vercelli
Vercelli is a city and comune of about 47,000 inhabitants in the Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy. One of the oldest urban sites in northern Italy, it was founded, according to most historians, around the year 600 BC.The city is situated on the river Sesia in the plain of the river...

 and plundering of the bishop's goods. Berengar's actions are explicable if his sister was abducted by the bishop, but if the bishop's actions were justified, then Berengar appears as the initiator of the feud. Whatever the case, bishop and margrave were reconciled shortly before Liutward was dismissed from court in 887.

By his brief war with Liutward, Berengar had lost the favour of his cousin the emperor. Berengar came to the emperor's assembly at Waiblingen
Waiblingen is a town in the southwest of Germany, located in the center of the densely populated Stuttgart Region, directly neighboring Stuttgart. It is the capital of the Rems-Murr district...

 in early May 887. He made peace with the emperor and compensated for the actions of the previous year by dispensing great gifts. In June or July, Berengar was again at the emperor's side at Kirchen
Kirchen is a town and climatic spa in the district of Altenkirchen in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated on the river Sieg, approx. 12 km southwest of Siegen. Among its notable features is the Freusburg castle....

, when Louis of Provence
Louis the Blind
Louis the Blind was the king of Provence from January 11, 887, King of Italy from October 12, 900, and briefly Holy Roman Emperor, as Louis III, between 901 and 905. He was the son of Boso, the usurper king of Provence, and Ermengard, a daughter of the Emperor Louis II. Through his father, he was...

 was adopted as the emperor's son. It is sometimes alleged that Berengar was pining to be declared Charles' heir and that he may in fact have been so named in Italy, where he was acclaimed (or made himself) king immediately after Charles' deposition by the nobles of East Francia in November that year (887). On the other hand, his presence may merely have been necessary to confirm Charles' illegitimate son Bernard
Bernard, son of Charles the Fat
Bernard or Bernhard was the only child of Charles the Fat. He was born of an unknown concubine and was thus illegitimate. Charles tried to make him his heir, but failed in two attempts....

 as his heir (Waiblingen), a plan which failed when the pope refused to attend, and then to confirm Louis instead (Kirchen).

King of Italy, 887–915

Berengar was the only one of the reguli (petty kings) to crop up in the aftermath of Charles' deposition besides Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia was the Carolingian King of East Francia from 887, the disputed King of Italy from 894 and the disputed Holy Roman Emperor from February 22, 896 until his death.-Birth and Illegitimacy:...

, his deposer, who was made king before the emperor's death. Charter evidence begins Berengar's reign at Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 between 26 December 887 and 2 January 888, though this has been disputed. Berengar was not the undisputed leading magnate in Italy at the time, but he may have made an agreement with his former rival, Guy of Spoleto, whereby Guy would have West Francia and he Italy on the emperor's death. Both Guy and Berengar were related to the Carolingians in the female line. They represented different factions in Italian politics: Berengar the pro-German and Guy the pro-French.

In Summer 888, Guy, who had failed in his bid to take the West Frankish throne, returned to Italy to gather an army from among the Spoletans and Lombards and oppose Berengar. This he did, but the battle they fought near Brescia in the fall was a slight victory for Berengar, though his forces were so diminished that he sued for peace nevertheless. The truce was to last until 6 January 889.

After the truce with Guy was signed, Arnulf of Germany endeavoured to invade Italy through Friuli. Berengar, in order to prevent a war, sent dignitaries (leading men) ahead to meet Arnulf. He himself then had a meeting, sometime between early November and Christmas, at Trent
Trento is an Italian city located in the Adige River valley in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. It is the capital of Trentino...

. He was allowed to keep Italy, as Arnulf's vassal, but the curtes of Navus and Sagus were taken from him. Arnulf allowed his army to return to Germany, but he himself celebrated Christmas in Friuli, at Karnberg.

Early in 889, their truce having expired, Guy defeated Berengar at the Battle of the Trebbia and made himself sole king in Italy, though Berengar maintained his authority in Friuli. Though Guy had been supported by Pope Stephen V
Pope Stephen V
Pope Stephen V was pope from 885 to 891. He succeeded Pope Adrian III, and was in turn succeeded by Pope Formosus. In his dealings with Constantinople in the matter of Photius, as also in his relations with the young Slavonic church, he pursued the policy of Pope Nicholas I.His father, Hadrian, who...

 since before the death of Charles the Fat, he was now abandoned by the pope, who turned to Arnulf. Arnulf, for his part, remained a staunch partisan of Berengar and it has even been suggested that he was creating a Carolingian alliance between himself and Louis of Provence, Charles III of France, and Berengar against Guy and Rudolph I of Upper Burgundy.

In 893, Arnulf sent his illegitimate son Zwentibold
Zwentibold was the illegitimate son of the Carolingian Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia. In 895 his father, then king of East Francia, granted him the Kingdom of Lotharingia, which he ruled until his death.After his death he was declared a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church.- Life :Zwentibold...

 into Italy. He met up with Berengar and together they cornered Guy at Pavia, but did not press their advantage (it is believed that Guy bribed them off). In 894, Arnulf and Berengar defeated Guy at Bergamo
Bergamo is a town and comune in Lombardy, Italy, about 40 km northeast of Milan. The comune is home to over 120,000 inhabitants. It is served by the Orio al Serio Airport, which also serves the Province of Bergamo, and to a lesser extent the metropolitan area of Milan...

 and took control of Pavia and Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. Berengar was with Arnulf's army that invaded Italy in 896. However, he left the army while it was sojourning in the March of Tuscany
March of Tuscany
The March of Tuscany or Tuscia was a frontier march in central Italy, bordering the Papal States to the south and east, the Ligurian Sea to the west, and the rest of the Kingdom of Italy to the north. It was a Carolingian creation, a successor of the Lombard Duchy of Tuscia...

 and returned to Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

. A rumour spread that Berengar had turned against the king and had brought Adalbert II of Tuscany
Adalbert II of Tuscany
Adalbert II , called the Rich, son and successor of Adalbert I of Tuscany, and grandson of Boniface II, was much concerned in the troubles of Lombardy, at a time when so many princes were contending for the wrecks of the Carolingian Empire. Before his father died in 884 or 886, he is accredited the...

 with him. The truth or falsehood of the rumour cannot be ascertained, but Berengar was removed from Friuli and replaced with Waltfred, a former supporter and "highest counsellor" of Berengar's, who soon died. The falling out between Berengar and Arnulf, who was crowned Emperor in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 by Pope Formosus
Pope Formosus
Pope Formosus was Pope of the Catholic Church from 891 to 896. His brief reign as Pope was troubled, and his remains were exhumed and put on trial in the notorious Cadaver Synod.-Biography:...

, has been likened to that between Berengar II
Berengar II of Italy
Berengar of Ivrea , sometimes also referred to as Berengar II of Italy, was Margrave of Ivrea and usurper King of Italy from 950 until his deposition in 961, the last before Italy's incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire...

 and Otto I
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

 more than half a century later.

Arnulf left Italy in the charge of his young son Ratold
Ratold of Italy
Ratold was a King of Italy who ruled for a month or so in 896.He was younger illegitimate son of Arnulf of Carinthia by a concubine. His mother may have been the same mother as Zwentibold, but may on the other hand have been a Lombard, thus gaining the child standing among the people of Italy, or...

, who soon crossed Lake Como
Lake Como
Lake Como is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 km², making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore...

 to Germany, leaving Italy in the control of Berengar, who made a pact with Lambert
Lambert II of Spoleto
Lambert II was the King of Italy from 891, Holy Roman Emperor, co-ruling with his father from 892, and Duke of Spoleto and Camerino from his father's death in 894. He was the son of Guy III of Spoleto and Ageltrude, born in San Rufino...

, Guy's son and successor. According to the Gesta Berengarii Imperatoris
Gesta Berengarii Imperatoris
The Gesta Berengarii imperatoris is an epic poem chronicling the career of Berengar of Friuli from its inception until his imperial coronation in Rome in December 915. It is a court panegyric and highly laudatory of its namesake. To the modern historian it is "difficult and often maddeningly...

, the two kings met at Pavia in October and November and agreed to divide the kingdom, Berengar receiving the eastern half between the Adda
Adda River
The Adda is a river in North Italy, a tributary of the Po. It rises in the Alps near the border with Switzerland and flows through Lake Como. The Adda joins the Po a few kilometres upstream of Cremona. It is 313 kilometres long...

 and the Po
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

, "as if by hereditary right" according to the Annales Fuldenses
Annales Fuldenses
The Annales Fuldenses or Annals of Fulda are East Frankish chronicles that cover independently the period from the last years of Louis the Pious to shortly after the end of effective Carolingian rule in East Francia with the accession of the child-king, Louis III, in 900...

. Bergamo was to be shared between them. This was a confirmation of the status quo of 889. It was this partitioning which caused the later chronicler Liutprand of Cremona
Liutprand of Cremona
Liutprand, also Liudprand, Liuprand, Lioutio, Liucius, Liuzo, and Lioutsios was a Lombard historian and author, and Bishop of Cremona....

 to remark that the Italians always suffered under two monarchs. As surety for the accord, Lambert pledged to marry Gisela, Berengar's daughter.

The peace did not long last. Berengar advanced on Pavia, but was defeated by Lambert at Borgo San Donnino and taken prisoner. Nonetheless, Lambert died within days, on 15 October 898. Days later Berengar had secured Pavia and become sole ruler. It was during this period that the Magyars made their first attacks on Western Europe. They invaded Italy first in 899. This first invasion may have been unprovoked, but some historians have suspected that the Magyars were either called in by Arnulf, no friend of Berengar's, or by Berengar himself, as allies. Berengar gathered a large army to meet them and refused their request for an armistice. His army was surprised and routed near the Brenta River
Brenta River
The Brenta is an Italian river that runs from Trentino to the Adriatic Sea just south of the Venetian lagoon in the Veneto region.During Roman era, it was called Medoacus and near Padua it divided in two branches, Medoacus Maior and Medoacus Minor ; the river changed its course in early Middle...

 in the eponymous Battle of the Brenta (24 September 899).

This defeat handicapped Berengar and caused the nobility to question his ability to protect Italy. As a result, they supported another candidate for the throne, the aforementioned Louis of Provence, another maternal relative of the Carolingians. In 900, Louis marched into Italy and defeated Berengar; the following year he was crowned Emperor by Pope Benedict IV
Pope Benedict IV
Pope Benedict IV was Pope from 900 to 903. He was the son of Mammalus, a native of Rome. The tenth-century historian Frodoard, who nicknamed him the Great, commended his noble birth and public generosity...

. In 902, however, Berengar struck back and defeated Louis, making him promise never to return to Italy. When he broke this oath by invading the peninsula again in 905, Berengar defeated him at Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

, captured him, and ordered him to be blinded on 21 July. Louis returned to Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

 and ruled for another twenty years as Louis the Blind. Berengar thereby cemented his position as king and ruled undisputed, except for a brief spell, until 922. As king, Berengar made his seat at Verona, which he heavily fortified. During the years when Louis posed a threat to Berengar's kingship, his wife, Bertilla, who was a niece of the former empress Engelberga
Engelberga was the wife of Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor, from 5 October 851 to his death on 12 August 875. As empress, she exerted a powerful influence over her husband. Her family, the Supponids, prospered during Louis's reign...

, Louis's grandmother, played an important part in the legitimisation of his rule. She later disappeared from the scene, as indicated by her absence in his charters post-905.

In 904, Bergamo was subjected to a long siege by the Magyars. After the siege, Berengar granted the bishop of the city walls and the right to rebuild them with the help of the citizens and the refugees fleeing the Magyars. The bishop attained all the rights of a count in the city.

Emperor, 915–924

In January 915, Pope John X
Pope John X
Pope John X, Pope from March 914 to May 928, was deacon at Bologna when he attracted the attention of Theodora, the wife of Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, the most powerful noble in Rome, through whose influence he was elevated first to the see of Bologna and then to the archbishopric of...

 tried to forge an alliance between Berengar and the local Italian rulers in hopes that he could face the Saracen threat in southern Italy
History of Islam in southern Italy
The history of Islam in southern Italy begins with the Islamic conquest and subsequent rule of Sicily and Malta, a process that started in the 9th century. Islamic rule over Sicily was effective from 902, and the complete rule of the island lasted from 965 until 1061...

. Berengar was unable to send troops, but after the great Battle of the Garigliano, a victory over the Saracens, John crowned Berengar as Emperor in Rome (December). Berengar, however, returned swiftly to the north, where Friuli was still threatened by the Magyars.

As emperor, Berengar was wont to intervene outside of his regnum of Italy. He even dabbled in an episcopal election in the diocese of Liège. After the death of the saintly Bishop Stephen in 920, Herman I, Archbishop of Cologne, representing the German interests in Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

, tried to impose his choice of the monks of the local cloister, one Hilduin, on the vacant see. He was opposed by Charles III of France, who convinced Pope John to excommunicate Hilduin. Another monk, Richer, was appointed to the see with the support of pope and emperor.

In his latter years, his wife Bertilla was charged with infidelity, a charge not uncommon against wives of declining kings of that period. She was poisoned. He had remarried to one named Anna by December 915. It has been suggested, largely for onomastic reasons, that Anna was a daughter of Louis of Provence and his wife Anna, the possible daughter of Leo VI the Wise
Leo VI the Wise
Leo VI, surnamed the Wise or the Philosopher , was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912. The second ruler of the Macedonian dynasty , he was very well-read, leading to his surname...

, Byzantine Emperor. In that case, she would have been betrothed to Berengar while still a child and only become his consors and imperatrix in 923. Her marriage was an attempt by Louis to advance his children while he himself was being marginalised and by Berengar to legitimise his rule by relating himself by marriage to the house of Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

 which had ruled Italy by hereditary right since 817.

By 915, Berengar's eldest daughter, Bertha, was abbess of San Salvatore in Brescia, where her aunt had once been a nun. In that year, the following year, and in 917, Berengar endowed her monastery with three privileges to build or man fortifications. His younger daughter, Gisela, had married Adalbert I of Ivrea
Adalbert I of Ivrea
Adalbert I was the son of Anscar of Ivrea and, from his death in 902, margrave of Ivrea.He rebelled against his father-in-law Berengar I in 905 in support of Louis III. When Louis was defeated, captured, and blinded, Adalbert was exiled to Burgundy, whence his family had originated...

 as early as 898 (and no later than 910), but this failed to spark an alliance with the Anscarids
The Anscarids or Anscarii or the House of Ivrea were a medieval Frankish dynasty of Burgundian origin which rose to prominence in Italy in the tenth century, even briefly holding the Italian throne. They also ruled the County of Burgundy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and it was one of their...

. She was dead by 913, when Adalbert remarried. Adalbert was one of Berengar's earliest internal enemies after the defeat of Louis of Provence. He called on Hugh of Arles between 917 and 920 to take the Iron Crown
Iron Crown of Lombardy
The Iron Crown of Lombardy is both a reliquary and one of the most ancient royal insignia of Europe. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy...

. Hugh did invade Italy, with his brother Boso
Boso of Tuscany
Boso was the count of Arles and Avignon , and margrave of Tuscany . He was the younger son of Theobald of Arles and Bertha, illegitimate daughter of Lothair II of Lotharingia. His elder brother was Hugh, king of Italy.Boso supported his brother's Italian designs...

, and advanced as far as Pavia, where Berengar starved them into submission, but allowed them to pass out of Italy freely.

Dissatisfied with the emperor, who had ceased his policy of grants and family alliances in favour of paying Magyar mercenaries, several Italian nobles — led by Adalbert and many of the bishops — invited Rudolph II of Upper Burgundy to take the Italian throne in 921. Moreover, his own grandson, Berengar of Ivrea, rose up against him, incited by Rudolph. Berengar retreated to Verona and had to watch sidelined as the Magyars pillaged the country. John, Bishop of Pavia, surrendered his city to Rudolph in 922 and it was sacked by the Magyars in 924. On 29 July 923, the forces of Rudolph, Adalbert, and Berengar of Ivrea met those of Berengar and defeated him in the Battle of Fiorenzuola, near Piacenza
Piacenza is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza...

. The battle was decisive and Berengar was de facto dethroned and replaced by Rudolf. Berengar was soon after murdered at Verona by one of his own men, possibly at Rudolph's instigation. He left no sons, only a daughter (the aforementioned Bertha) and an anonymous epic poem, the Gesta Berengarii Imperatoris, about the many happenings of his troublesome reign.

Berengar has been accused of having "faced [the] difficulties [of his reign] with particular incompetence," having "never once won a pitched battle against his rivals," and being "not recorded as having ever won a battle" in "forty years of campaigning." Particularly, he has been seen as alienating public lands and districtus (defence command) to private holders, especially bishops, though this is disputed. Some historians have seen his "private defense initiatives" in a more positive light and have found a coherent policy of gift-giving. Despite this, his role in inaugurating the incastellamento of the succeeding decades is hardly disputed.
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