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The Saxons (Lat., Saxones ) were originally a small tribe living on the North Sea between the Elbe and Eider Rivers in the present Holstein.
Their name, derived from their weapon called Sax, a stone knife, is first mentioned by the Roman author Claudius Ptolemæus (about 130 A. In the third and fourth centuries the Saxons fought their way victoriously towards the west, and their name was given to the great tribal confederation that stretched towards the west exactly to the former boundary of the Roman Empire, consequently almost to the Rhine.
In attempting to reach Gaul by land the Saxons came into violent conflict with the Franks living on the Rhine.
The Medieval Duchy of Saxony When the Frankish kingdom was divided by the Treaty of Verdun (843) the territory east of the Rhine became the East Frankish Kingdom, from which the present Germany has developed.The first Saxon duke was Otto the Illustrious (880-912) of the Liudolfinger line (descendants of Liudolf); Otto was able to extend his power over Thuringia.Otto's son Henry was elected King of Germany (919-936); Henry is justly called the real founder of the German Empire.His son Otto I (936-973) was the first German king to receive from the pope the imperial Roman crown (962).Otto I was followed as king and emperor by his son Otto II (973-983), who was succeeded by his son Otto III (983-1002); both the kings last mentioned vainly endeavoured to establish German authority in Italy.