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Louis the Pious (16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was
King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire. L ...

King of the Franks
and co-emperor with his father,
Charlemagne Charlemagne (; ) or Charles the Great or ''Carolus'', whence in English or in German (for this individual, specifically ''Karl der Große''). The French form and the Italian or () come from his nickname ("Charles the Great")., ''Karil' ...

Charlemagne
, from 813. He was also
King of Aquitaine The Duchy of Aquitaine ( oc, Ducat d'Aquitània, ; french: Duché d'Aquitaine, ) was a historical fiefdom in western, central and southern areas of present-day France to the south of the Loire River, although its extent, as well as its name, fluctu ...
from 781. As the only surviving son of Charlemagne and Hildegard, he became the sole ruler of the Franks after his father's death in 814, a position which he held until his death, save for the period 833–34, during which he was deposed. During his reign in Aquitaine, Louis was charged with the defence of the empire's southwestern frontier. He conquered Barcelona from the
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pron ...
in 801 and asserted Frankish authority over
Pamplona Pamplona (; eu, Iruña or ; oc, Pampalona), historically known as Pampeluna in English, is the capital city of the Chartered Community of Navarre, in Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Ba ...

Pamplona
and the
Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to the ancient Vascones and Aquitania ...
south of the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of and . It extends nearly from its union with the to on the coast. It reaches a ma ...

Pyrenees
in 812. As emperor he included his adult sons, Lothair, Pepin, and
LouisLouis may refer to: * Louis (given name) Louis is the French language, French form of the Old Frankish language, Old Frankish given name Clovis (given name), Chlodowig and one of two English language, English forms, the other being Lewis (given nam ...
, in the government and sought to establish a suitable division of the realm among them. The first decade of his reign was characterised by several tragedies and embarrassments, notably the brutal treatment of his nephew
Bernard of Italy Bernard (797 – 17 April 818) was the King of the Lombards from 810 to 818. He plotted against his uncle, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Louis the Pious, when the latter's ''Ordinatio Imperii'' made Bernard a vassal of his cousin Lothair I, Lothair. ...
, for which Louis atoned in a public act of self-debasement. In the 830s his empire was torn by civil war between his sons, only exacerbated by Louis's attempts to include his son
Charles Charles is a masculine given name predominantly found in English and French speaking countries. It is from the French form ''Charles'' of a Germanic nameGermanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two ...

Charles
by his second wife in the succession plans. Though his reign ended on a high note, with order largely restored to his empire, it was followed by three years of civil war. Louis is generally compared unfavourably to his father, though the problems he faced were of a distinctly different sort.


Birth and rule in Aquitaine

Louis was born in 778 while his father
Charlemagne Charlemagne (; ) or Charles the Great or ''Carolus'', whence in English or in German (for this individual, specifically ''Karl der Große''). The French form and the Italian or () come from his nickname ("Charles the Great")., ''Karil' ...

Charlemagne
was on campaign in Spain, at the Carolingian
villa with early terraced hillside landscape A landscape is the visible features of an area of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea leve ...
of
Cassinogilum
Cassinogilum
, according to
Einhard Einhard (also Eginhard or Einhart; la, E(g)inhardus; 775 – March 14, 840) was a Franks, Frankish scholar and courtier. Einhard was a dedicated servant of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious; his main work is a biography of Charlemagne, the ...

Einhard
and the anonymous chronicler called
Astronomus ''Vita Hludovici'' or ''Vita Hludovici Imperatoris'' (The Life of Louis or the Life of the Emperor Louis) is an anonymous biography of Louis the PiousLouis may refer to: * Louis (given name) Louis is the French language, French form of the Old ...
; the place is usually identified with
Chasseneuil
Chasseneuil
, near Poitiers. He was the third son of Charlemagne by his wife Hildegard. He had a twin brother named Lothair, who died young. Louis and Lothair were given names from the old
Merovingian dynasty The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as "Kings of the Franks" in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gaulis ...

Merovingian dynasty
, possibly to suggest a connection. Louis was crowned
King of Aquitaine The Duchy of Aquitaine ( oc, Ducat d'Aquitània, ; french: Duché d'Aquitaine, ) was a historical fiefdom in western, central and southern areas of present-day France to the south of the Loire River, although its extent, as well as its name, fluctu ...
as a three-year-old child in 781. In the following year he was sent to Aquitaine accompanied by
regent A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
s and a court. Charlemagne constituted this sub-kingdom in order to secure the border of his realm after the destructive war against the Aquitanians and Basques under Waifer (capitulated ''c''. 768) and later
Hunald II Hunald II, also spelled Hunold, Hunoald, Hunuald or Chunoald (French: ''Hunaud''), was the Duke of Aquitaine The Duke of Aquitaine ( oc, Duc d'Aquitània, french: Duc d'Aquitaine, ) was the ruler of the ancient region of Aquitaine (not to be confu ...
, which culminated in the disastrous
Battle of Roncesvalles The Battle of Roncevaux Pass (French language, French and English spelling, ''Roncesvalles'' in Spanish, ''Orreaga'' in Basque language, Basque) in 778 saw a large force of Basque people, Basques ambush a part of Charlemagne's army in Roncevaux P ...
(778). Charlemagne wanted his son Louis to grow up in the area where he was to reign. However, wary of the customs his son may have been taking in Aquitaine, Charlemagne, who had remarried to Fastrada after the death of Hildegard, sent for Louis in 785. Louis presented himself in Saxony at the royal Council of Paderborn dressed in Basque costumes along with other youths in the same garment, which may have made a good impression in Toulouse, since the Basques of
Vasconia
Vasconia
were a mainstay of the Aquitanian army. In 794, Charlemagne gave four former
Gallo-Roman Gallo-Roman culture was a consequence of the Romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includin ...
villas to Louis, in the thought that he would take in each in turn as winter residence: , Ebreuil, Angeac and the Chasseneuil. Charlemagne's intention was to see all his sons brought up as natives of their given territories, wearing the national costume of the region and ruling by the local customs. Thus were the children sent to their respective realms at a young age. The marches – peripheral principalities – played a vital role as bulwarks against exterior threats to the empire. Louis reigned over the Spanish March. In 797,
Barcelona Barcelona ( , , ) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within ci ...

Barcelona
, the largest city of the ''Marca'', fell to the Franks when Zeid, its governor, rebelled against Córdoba and, failing, handed it to them. The
Umayyad The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the ...
authority recaptured it in 799. However, Louis marched the entire army of his kingdom, including
Gascons Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; Gascon: ; eu, Gaskoinia) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territoria ...
with their duke
Sancho I of Gascony Sancho I López or Lupus Sancho (also Lupo; eu, Antso Otsoa, French: ''Sanche Loup'', Gascony Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Adminis ...
, under Leibulf, and
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between West ...
under
Bera Bera may refer to: Acronyms * Bioelectric recognition assay, a method in electrophysiology * Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority, an energy regulatory body in Botswana * Brainstem evoked response audiometry, a screening test to monitor for hearin ...
, over the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of and . It extends nearly from its union with the to on the coast. It reaches a ma ...

Pyrenees
and besieged it for seven months, wintering there from 800 to 801, when it capitulated. King Louis was formally invested with his armour in 791 at the age of fourteen. However, the princes were not given independence from central authority as Charlemagne wished to implant in them the concepts of empire and unity by sending them on remote military expeditions. Louis joined his brother Pippin at the
Mezzogiorno Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezzojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregion of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), ...

Mezzogiorno
campaign in Italy against the Duke Grimoald of
Benevento Benevento (, , ; la, Beneventum; Beneventano: ''Beneviénte'') is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance ...
at least once. Louis was one of Charlemagne's three legitimate sons to survive infancy. His twin brother, Lothair died during infancy. According to the Frankish custom of
partible inheritance Partible inheritance is a system of inheritance Inheritance is the practice of passing on private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is dist ...
, Louis had expected to share his inheritance with his brothers,
Charles the Younger Charles the Younger or Charles of Ingelheim (c. 772 – 4 December 811) was a member of the Carolingian dynasty, the second son of Charlemagne and the first by his second wife, Hildegard, wife of Charlemagne, Hildegard of Swabia and brother of Loui ...
, King of Neustria, and Pepin,
King of Italy King of Italy ( it, links=no, Re d'Italia; la, links=no, Rex Italiae) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Ro ...

King of Italy
. In the ''Divisio Regnorum'' of 806, Charlemagne had slated Charles the Younger as his successor as emperor and chief king, ruling over the Frankish heartland of
Neustria Neustria was the western part of the Kingdom of the Franks Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankland, or Frankish Empire, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe Western ...
and
Austrasia Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mention ...
, while giving Pepin the
Iron Crown of Lombardy The Iron Crown ( it, Corona Ferrea; la, Corona Ferrea) is a reliquary A reliquary (also referred to as a ''shrine'', by the French term ''châsse'', and historically including ''wikt:phylactery, phylacteries'') is a container for relics. A p ...
, which Charlemagne possessed by conquest. To Louis's kingdom of Aquitaine, he added
Septimania Septimania (french: Septimanie ; oc, Septimània ; ca, Septimània ) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic group, ethnic, ...
, Provence, and part of
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organizati ...
. However, Charlemagne's other legitimate sons died – Pepin in 810 and Charles in 811 – and Louis was crowned co-emperor with an already ailing Charlemagne in Aachen on 11 September 813. On his father's death in 814, he inherited the entire Carolingian Empire and all its possessions (with the sole exception of the kingdom of Italy; although within Louis's empire, in 813 Charlemagne had ordered that
Bernard Bernard ('' Bernhard'') is a French and West Germanic masculine given name. The name is attested from at least the 9th century. West Germanic ''Bernhard'' is composed from the two elements ''bern'' "bear" and ''hard'' "brave, hardy". Its native ...
, Pepin's son be made and called king).


Emperor

While at his palace of Doué, Anjou, Louis received news of his father's death.''Church Architecture and Liturgy in the Carolingian Era'', Michael S. Driscoll, ''A Companion to the Eucharist in the Middle Ages'', ed. Ian Levy, Gary Macy, Kristen Van Ausdall, (Brill, 2012), 194. He rushed to
Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect Aachen dialect (natively ''Öcher Platt'') is a dialect of Ripuarian language, Ripuarian Franconian spoken in the German Rhineland city of Aachen. This dialect, as part of the large West Germanic languages, West Ger ...
and crowned himself emperor to shouts of ''Vivat Imperator Ludovicus'' by the attending nobles. Upon arriving at the imperial court in Aachen in an atmosphere of suspicion and anxiety on both sides, Louis's first act was to purge the palace of what he considered undesirable. He destroyed the old Germanic
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...

pagan
tokens and texts which had been collected by Charlemagne. He further exiled members of the court he deemed morally "dissolute", including some of his own relatives. He quickly sent all of his many unmarried (half-)sisters and nieces to nunneries in order to avoid any possible entanglements from overly powerful brothers-in-law. Sparing his illegitimate half-brothers Drogo, Hugh and Theoderic, he forced his father's cousins, Adalard and Wala to be , placing them in into monastic exile at St-Philibert on the island of
Noirmoutier Noirmoutier (also in French: Île de Noirmoutier) is a tidal island 250px, St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, at high tide, ">Cornwall.html" ;"title="St Michael's Mount, Cornwall">St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, at high tide, A tidal island ...
and
Corbie Corbie (; nl, Korbei) is a commune An intentional community is a voluntary residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of group cohesiveness, social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community t ...
, respectively, despite the latter's initial loyalty. He made Bernard, margrave of Septimania, and
Ebbo Ebbo or Ebo ( – 20 March 851) was from 816 until 835 and again from 840 to 841. He was born a on the of . He was educated at his court and became the and councillor of , , son of Charlemagne. When Louis became , he appointed Ebbo to ...
,
Archbishop of Reims The Archdiocese of Reims (traditionally spelt "Rheims" in English) ( la, Archidiœcesis Remensis; French: ''Archidiocèse de Reims'') is a Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , i ...
his chief counsellors. The latter, born a serf, was raised by Louis to that office, but betrayed him later. He retained some of his father's ministers, such as Elisachar, abbot of St. Maximin near
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle The Moselle ( , ; german: Mosel ; lb, Musel ) is a river A river i ...

Trier
, and
Hildebold Hildebold (died 3 September 818) was the Bishop of Cologne from 787 until 795 and the first Archbishop of Cologne thereafter. A friend of Charlemagne, in 791 Hildebold was made the archchaplain and chancellor of the Carolingian Empire, Imperial C ...
,
Archbishop of Cologne Cologne was one of the seven electorates of the Holy Roman Empire ('' Codex Balduini Trevirorum'', c. 1340) The Archbishop of Cologne is an archbishop In many Christian denomination, Christian Denominations, an archbishop (, via Latin ''archiepis ...
. Later he replaced Elisachar with Hildwin, abbot of many monasteries. He also employed
Benedict of Aniane Benedict of Aniane ( la, Benedictus Anianensis; german: Benedikt von Aniane; 747 – 12 February 821 AD), born Witiza and called the Second Benedict, was a Benedictine monk and monastic reformer, who left a large imprint on the religious prac ...
(the Second Benedict), a Septimanian
Visigoth The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...
, whom he made abbot of the newly established ''Inden Monastery'' at
Aix-la-Chapelle Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect: ''Oche'' ; French and traditional English: Aix-la-Chapelle ; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally s ...

Aix-la-Chapelle
and charged him with the reform of the Frankish church. One of Benedict's primary reforms was to ensure that all religious houses in Louis' realm adhered to the
Rule of Saint Benedict The ''Rule of Saint Benedict'' ( la, Regula Sancti Benedicti) is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia ( AD 480–550) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. The spirit of Saint Benedict's Rule is summed ...
, named for its creator,
Benedict of Nursia Benedict of Nursia ( la, Benedictus Nursiae; it, Benedetto da Norcia; la, label=Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a m ...

Benedict of Nursia
. From the start of his reign, his coinage imitated his father Charlemagne's portrait, which gave it an image of imperial authority and prestige. In 816, , who had succeeded , visited
Reims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French Departments of France, department of Marne (department), Marne. The city lies northeast of Paris on the Vesle river, a tributary of the Aisne (river), Aisn ...

Reims
and again crowned Louis on Sunday 5 October.


''Ordinatio imperii''

On 9 April 817,
Maundy Thursday Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday (also known as Great and Holy Thursday, Holy and Great Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names) is the day during Holy Week In some traditions of , Holy W ...
, Louis and his court were crossing a wooden gallery from the cathedral to the palace in Aachen when the gallery collapsed, killing many. Louis, having barely survived and feeling the imminent danger of death, began planning for his succession. Three months later among the approval of his Aachen court and the clergy he issued an imperial decree of eighteen chapters, the ''Ordinatio Imperii'', that laid out plans for an orderly dynastic succession. The term ''Ordinatio Imperii'' is a modern (19th century) creation. The decree is called ''divisio imperii'' in the only surviving contemporary manuscript. In 815, Louis had already given his two eldest sons a share in the government, when he had sent his elder sons Lothair and Pepin to govern
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
and Aquitaine respectively, though without the royal titles. He proceeded to divide the empire among his three sons: * Lothair was proclaimed and crowned co-emperor in Aachen by his father. He was promised the succession to most of the Frankish dominions (excluding the exceptions below), and would be the overlord of his brothers and cousin. * Pepin was proclaimed King of Aquitaine, his territory including Gascony, the march around Toulouse, and the counties of Carcassonne, Autun, Avallon and Nevers. *
LouisLouis may refer to: * Louis (given name) Louis is the French language, French form of the Old Frankish language, Old Frankish given name Clovis (given name), Chlodowig and one of two English language, English forms, the other being Lewis (given nam ...
, the youngest son, was proclaimed King of Bavaria and the neighbouring marches. If one of the subordinate kings died, he was to be succeeded by his sons. If he died childless, Lothair would inherit his kingdom. In the event of Lothair dying without sons, one of Louis the Pious' younger sons would be chosen to replace him by "the people". Above all, the Empire would not be divided: the Emperor would rule supreme over the subordinate kings, whose obedience to him was mandatory. With this settlement, Louis attempted to combine his sense for the Empire's unity, supported by the clergy, while at the same time providing positions for all of his sons. Instead of treating his sons equally in status and land, he elevated his first-born son Lothair above his younger brothers and gave him the largest part of the Empire as his share. The decree failed to create order as it omitted Bernard, who immediately began to conspire. When Louis began to issue changes in favor of his second wife Judith's son
Charles the Bald Charles the Bald (13 June 823 – 6 October 877) was a 9th-century king of West Francia (843–877), king of Italy (875–877) and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (875–877). After a series of civil wars during the reign of his father, Loui ...

Charles the Bald
, his sons Lothar, Pepin and Louis refused to accept. The rule of sons being favoured over brothers in succession remained also untouched.


Bernard's rebellion and Louis's penance

The ''ordinatio imperii'' of Aachen left Bernard in Italy in an uncertain and subordinate position as king of Italy, and he began plotting to declare independence. Upon hearing of this, Louis immediately directed his army towards Italy, and headed for
Chalon-sur-Saône Chalon-sur-Saône () is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what bel ...

Chalon-sur-Saône
. Intimidated by the emperor's swift action, Bernard met his uncle at Chalon, under invitation, and surrendered. He was taken to Aachen by Louis, who there had him tried and condemned to death for treason. Louis had the sentence commuted to blinding, which was duly carried out; Bernard did not survive the ordeal, however, dying after two days of agony. Others also suffered:
Theodulf of Orléans , after a restoration in the 19th century Image:Germigny Des Pres 2007 01.jpg, Mosaic of the Ark of the Covenant, c. 806 Theodulf of Orléans ( 750(/60) – 18 December 821) was a writer, poet and the Bishop of Orléans (c. 798 to 818) during the re ...
, in eclipse since the death of Charlemagne, was accused of having supported the rebellion, and was thrown into a monastic prison, dying soon afterwards; it was rumored that he had been poisoned. The fate of his nephew deeply marked Louis's conscience for the rest of his life. In 822, as a deeply religious man, Louis performed
penance Penance is any act or a set of actions done out of repentance Repentance is reviewing one's actions and feeling contritionIn Christianity, contrition or contriteness (from the Latin ''contritus'' 'ground to pieces', i.e. crushed by guilt) is ...
for causing Bernard's death, at his palace of Attigny near Vouziers in the
Ardennes The Ardennes ( ; french: Ardenne ; nl, Ardennen ; german: Ardennen; wa, Årdene ; lb, Ardennen ), also known as the Ardennes Forest or Forest of Ardennes, is a region of extensive forest A forest is an area of land dominated b ...

Ardennes
, before
Pope Paschal I Pope Paschal I ( la, Paschalis I; died 824) was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 25 January 817 to his death in 824. Paschal was a member of an aristocratic Roman family. Before his election to the papacy, he was abbot of St. ...

Pope Paschal I
, and a council of clerics and nobles of the realm that had been convened for the reconciliation of Louis with his three younger half-brothers,
Hugo Hugo or HUGO may refer to: People * Victor Hugo, a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. * Hugo (name), including lists of people with Hugo as a given name or surname, as well as fictional characters Places in the United ...
whom he soon made abbot of St-Quentin, Drogo whom he soon made
Bishop of Metz Metz ( , , lat, Divodurum Mediomatricorum, then ) is a city in northeast France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries loca ...
, and Theodoric. This act of contrition, partly in emulation of
Theodosius I Theodosius I ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he faced and overcame a war against the Goths and two civil wars, and ...

Theodosius I
, had the effect of greatly reducing his prestige as a Frankish ruler, for he also recited a list of minor offences about which no secular ruler of the time would have taken any notice. He also made the egregious error of releasing Wala and Adalard from their monastic confinements, placing the former in a position of power in the court of Lothair and the latter in a position in his own house.


Frontier wars

At the start of Louis's reign, the many tribes –
Danes Danes ( da, danskere, ) are a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a lang ...
,
Obotrites The Obotrites ( la, Obotriti, Abodritorum, Abodritos…) or Obodrites, also spelled Abodrites (german: Abodriten), were a confederation of medieval West Slavic tribes within the territory of modern Mecklenburg Mecklenburg (; nds, label=Lo ...
,
Slovenes The Slovenes, also known as Slovenians ( sl, Slovenci ), are a nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), cust ...
,
Bretons The Bretons ( br, Bretoned, ) are a Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period ...
,
Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to the ancient Vascones and Aquitania ...
– which inhabited his frontierlands were still in awe of the Frankish emperor's power and dared not stir up any trouble. In 816, however, the
Sorbs Sorbs ( hsb, Serbja, dsb, Serby, german: Sorben, also known as Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
rebelled and were quickly followed by Slavomir, chief of the Obotrites, who was captured and abandoned by his own people, being replaced by Ceadrag in 818. Soon, Ceadrag too had turned against the Franks and allied with the Danes, who were to become the greatest menace of the Franks in a short time. A greater Slavic menace was gathering on the southeast. There, Ljudevit, duke of
Slavs in Lower Pannonia Early Slavs The early Slavs were a diverse group of Tribe, tribal societies who lived during the Migration Period and the Early Middle Ages (approximately the 5th to the 10th centuries) in Central and Eastern Europe and established the foundat ...
, was harassing the border at the
Drava The Drava or Dravefederal subject ..., Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides ...
and
Sava The Sava (; , ; sr-cyr, Сава, Hungarian: Száva) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and become ...

Sava
rivers. The
margrave of Friuli The dukes and margraves of Friuli were the rulers of the Duchy of Friuli, Duchy and March of Friuli in the Middle Ages. The dates given below, when contentious, are discussed in the articles of the respective dukes. Lombard dukes * 568–c.58 ...
, Cadolah, was sent out against him, but he died on campaign and, in 820, his margravate was invaded by Slovenes. In 821, an alliance was made with Borna of Croatia, Borna, duke of the Dalmatia, and Liudewit was brought to heel. In 824 several Slav tribes in the north-western parts of Bulgaria acknowledged Louis's suzerainty and after he was reluctant to settle the matter peacefully with the Bulgarian ruler Omurtag of Bulgaria, Omurtag, in 827 the Bulgarians attacked the Franks in the March of Pannonia and regained their lands. On the far southern edge of his great realm, Louis had to control the Lombard list of Dukes and Princes of Benevento, princes of Benevento whom Charlemagne had never subjugated. He extracted promises from Princes Grimoald IV of Benevento, Grimoald IV and Sico of Benevento, Sico, but to no effect. On the southwestern frontier, problems commenced early when c. 812, Louis the Pious crossed the western Pyrenees 'to settle matters' in Pamplona. The expedition made its way back north, where it narrowly escaped an ambush attempt arranged by the History of the Basque people#Early Middle Ages, Basques in the pass of Roncevaux thanks to the precautions he took, i.e. hostages. Semen Lop of Gascony, Séguin, duke of Duchy of Vasconia, Gascony, was then deposed by Louis in 816, possibly for failing to suppress or collaborating with the Basque revolt south of the western Pyrenees, so sparking off a Basque uprising that was duly put down by the Frankish emperor in Dax. Seguin was replaced by Lop III Centullo of Gascony, Lupus III, who was dispossessed in 818 by the emperor. In 820 an assembly at Quierzy-sur-Oise decided to send an expedition against the Cordoban caliphate (827). The counts in charge of the army, Hugh of Tours, Hugh, count of Tours, and Matfrid of Orléans, Matfrid, count of Orléans, were slow in acting and the expedition came to naught.


First civil war

In 818, as Louis was returning from a campaign to Brittany, he was greeted by news of the death of his wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye, Ermengarde. Ermengarde was the daughter of Ingerman, Count of Hesbania, Ingerman, the duke of Hesbaye. Louis had been close to his wife, who had been involved in policymaking. It was rumoured that she had played a part in her nephew's death and Louis himself believed her own death was divine retribution for that event. It took many months for his courtiers and advisors to convince him to remarry, but eventually he did, in 820, to Judith, daughter of Welf, Judith, daughter of Welf (father of Judith), Welf, count of Altdorf (Weingarten), Altdorf. In 823 Judith gave birth to a son, who was named
Charles Charles is a masculine given name predominantly found in English and French speaking countries. It is from the French form ''Charles'' of a Germanic nameGermanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two ...

Charles
. The birth of this son damaged the ''Partition of Aachen'', as Louis's attempts to provide for his fourth son met with stiff resistance from his older sons, and the last two decades of his reign were marked by civil war. At Worms, Germany, Worms in 829, Louis gave Alemannia to Charles, with the title of king or duke (historians differ on this), thus enraging his son and co-emperor Lothair, whose promised share was thereby diminished. An insurrection was soon at hand. With the urging of the vengeful Wala and the cooperation of his brothers, Lothair accused Judith of having committed adultery with Bernard of Septimania, even suggesting Bernard to be the true father of Charles. Ebbo and Hildwin abandoned the emperor at that point, Bernard having risen to greater heights than either of them. Agobard, Archbishop of Lyon, and Jesse of Amiens, bishop of Amiens, too, opposed the redivision of the empire and lent their episcopal prestige to the rebels. In 830, at Wala's insistence that Bernard of Septimania was plotting against him, Pepin of Aquitaine led an army of Gascony, Gascons, with the support of the Neustrian magnates, all the way to Paris. At Verberie, Louis the German joined him. At that time, the emperor returned from another campaign in Brittany to find his empire at war with itself. He marched as far as Compiègne, an ancient royal town, before being surrounded by Pepin's forces and captured. Judith was incarcerated at Poitiers and Bernard fled to Barcelona. Then Lothair finally set out with a large Lombard army, but Louis had promised his sons Louis the German and Pepin of Aquitaine greater shares of the inheritance, prompting them to shift loyalties in favour of their father. When Lothair tried to call a general council of the realm in Nijmegen, in the heart of
Austrasia Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mention ...
, the Austrasians and Rhinelanders came with a following of armed retainers, and the disloyal sons were forced to free their father and bow at his feet (831). Lothair was pardoned, but disgraced and banished to Italy. Pepin returned to Aquitaine and Judith – after being forced to humiliate herself with a solemn oath of innocence – to Louis's court. Only Wala was severely dealt with, making his way to a secluded monastery on the shores of Lake Geneva. Although Hilduin, abbot of Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, Saint Denis, was exiled to Paderborn and Elisachar and Matfrid were deprived of their honours north of the Alps; they did not lose their freedom.


Second civil war

The next revolt occurred a mere two years later, in 832. The disaffected Pepin was summoned to his father's court, where he was so poorly received he left against his father's orders. Immediately, fearing that Pepin would be stirred up to revolt by his nobles and desiring to reform his morals, Louis the Pious summoned all his forces to meet in Aquitaine in preparation of an uprising, but Louis the German garnered an army of Slavic peoples, Slav allies and conquered Duchy of Swabia, Swabia before the emperor could react. Once again the elder Louis divided his vast realm. At Jonac, he declared Charles king of Aquitaine and deprived Pepin (he was less harsh with the younger Louis), restoring the whole rest of the empire to Lothair, not yet involved in the civil war. Lothair was, however, interested in usurping his father's authority. His ministers had been in contact with Pepin and may have convinced him and Louis the German to rebel, promising him Alemannia, the kingdom of Charles. Soon Lothair, with the support of Pope Gregory IV, whom he had confirmed in office without his father's support, joined the revolt in 833. While Louis was at Worms gathering a new force, Lothair marched north. Louis marched south. The armies met on the plains of the Rothfeld. There, Gregory met the emperor and may have tried to sow dissension amongst his ranks. Soon much of Louis's army had evaporated before his eyes, and he ordered his few remaining followers to go, because "it would be a pity if any man lost his life or limb on my account." The resigned emperor was taken to Abbey of Saint-Médard de Soissons, Saint-Médard de Soissons, his son Charles to Prüm, and the queen to Tortona. The despicable show of disloyalty and disingenuousness earned the site the name Field of Lies, or Lügenfeld, or Campus Mendacii, ''ubi plurimorum fidelitas exstincta est''. On 13 November 833,
Ebbo Ebbo or Ebo ( – 20 March 851) was from 816 until 835 and again from 840 to 841. He was born a on the of . He was educated at his court and became the and councillor of , , son of Charlemagne. When Louis became , he appointed Ebbo to ...
, with Agobard of Lyon, presided over a synod at the Church of Saint Medard in Soissons which saw Louis undertake public
penance Penance is any act or a set of actions done out of repentance Repentance is reviewing one's actions and feeling contritionIn Christianity, contrition or contriteness (from the Latin ''contritus'' 'ground to pieces', i.e. crushed by guilt) is ...
for the second time in his reign. The penitential ritual that was undertaken began when Louis arrived at the church and confessed multiple times to the crimes levied against him. The crimes had been historic and recent, with accusations of oath breaking, violation of the public peace and inability to control his adulterous wife, Judith of Bavaria (died 843), Judith of Bavaria. Afterwards, he threw his sword belt at the base of the altar and received judgement through the imposition of the hands of the bishops. Louis was to live the rest of his life as a penitent, never to hold office again. The penance divided the aristocracy. The anonymous biographer of the Vita Hludovici criticized the whole affair on the basis that God does not judge twice for sins committed and confessed. Lothair's allies were generously compensated. Ebbo himself received the monastery of St Vaast whilst Pepin was allowed to keep the lands reclaimed from his father. Men like Rabanus Maurus, Louis' younger half-brothers Drogo and Hugh, and Emma, Judith's sister and Louis the German's new wife, worked on the younger Louis to make peace with his father, for the sake of unity of the empire. The humiliation to which Louis was then subjected at Notre Dame in Compiègne turned the loyal barons of Austrasia and Saxony against Lothair, and the usurper fled to
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organizati ...
, skirmishing with loyalists near
Chalon-sur-Saône Chalon-sur-Saône () is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what bel ...

Chalon-sur-Saône
. Louis was restored the next year, on 1 March 834. On Lothair's return to Italy, Wala, Jesse, and Matfrid, formerly count of Orléans, died of a pestilence. On 2 February 835 at the palace Thionville, Louis presided over a general council to deal with the events of the previous year. Known as the Synod of Thionville, Louis himself was reinvested with his ancestral garb and the crown, symbols of Carolingian rulership. Furthermore, the penance of 833 was officially reversed and Archbishop
Ebbo Ebbo or Ebo ( – 20 March 851) was from 816 until 835 and again from 840 to 841. He was born a on the of . He was educated at his court and became the and councillor of , , son of Charlemagne. When Louis became , he appointed Ebbo to ...
officially resigned after confessing to a capital crime, whilst Agobard of Lyon and Bartholmew, Archbishop of Narbonne were also deposed. Later that year Lothair fell ill; once again the events turned in Louis favour. In 836, however, the family made peace and Louis restored Pepin and Louis, deprived Lothair of all save Italy, and gave it to Charles in a new division, given at the diet of Crémieu. At about that time, the Vikings terrorized and sacked Utrecht (city), Utrecht and Antwerp. In 837, they went up the Rhine as far as Nijmegen, and their king, Rorik of Dorestad, Rorik, demanded the weregild of some of his followers killed on previous expeditions before Louis the Pious mustered a massive force and marched against them. They fled, but it would not be the last time they harried the northern coasts. In 838, they even claimed sovereignty over Frisia, but a treaty was confirmed between them and the Franks in 839. Louis the Pious ordered the construction of a North Sea fleet and the sending of ''missus dominicus, missi dominici'' into Frisia to establish Frankish sovereignty there.


Third civil war

In 837, Louis crowned Charles king over all of Alemannia and Burgundy and gave him a portion of his brother Louis' land. Louis the German promptly rose in revolt, and the emperor redivided his realm again at Quierzy-sur-Oise, giving all of the young king of Bavaria's lands, save Bavaria itself, to Charles. Emperor Louis did not stop there, however. His devotion to Charles knew no bounds. When Pepin died in 838, Louis declared Charles the new king of Aquitaine. The nobles, however, elected Pepin's son Pepin II of Aquitaine, Pepin II. When Louis threatened invasion, the third great civil war of his reign broke out. In the spring of 839, Louis the German invaded Swabia, Pepin II and his Gascon subjects fought all the way to the Loire, and the Danes returned to ravage the Frisian coast (sacking Dorestad for a second time). Lothair, for the first time in a long time, allied with his father and pledged support at Worms in exchange for a redivision of the inheritance. At a final ''placitum'' held at Worms on 20 May, Louis gave Bavaria to Louis the German and disinherited Pepin II, leaving the entire remainder of the empire to be divided roughly into an eastern part and a western. Lothair was given the choice of which partition he would inherit and he chose the eastern, including Italy, leaving the western for Charles. The emperor quickly subjugated Aquitaine and had Charles recognised by the nobles and clergy at Clermont-Ferrand, Clermont-en-Auvergne in 840. Louis then, in a final flash of glory, rushed into Bavaria and forced the younger Louis into the March of Pannonia, Ostmark. The empire now settled as he had declared it at Worms, he returned in July to Frankfurt am Main, where he disbanded the army. The final civil war of his reign was over.


Death

Louis fell ill soon after his final victorious campaigns and retreated to his summer hunting lodge on an island in the Rhine near his Imperial Palace Ingelheim, palace at Ingelheim. He died on 20 June 840 in the presence of many bishops and clerics and in the arms of his half-brother Drogo as he pardoned his son Louis, proclaimed Lothair emperor and commended the absent Charles and Judith to his protection. Soon dispute plunged the surviving brothers into yet another civil war. It lasted until 843 with the signing of the Treaty of Verdun, in which the division of the empire into three souvereign entities was settled. West Francia and East Francia became the kernels of modern France and Germany respectively. Middle Francia, that included
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organizati ...
, the Low Countries and northern Italy among other regions was only short-lived until 855 and later reorganized as Lotharingia. The dispute over the kingship of Aquitaine was not fully settled until 860. Louis was buried in the Abbey of Saint-Arnould in Metz.''Metz'', Steven Fanning, ''Medieval France: An Encyclopedia'', Ed. William W. Kibler and Grover A. Zinn, (Routledge, 1995), p. 615.


Marriage and issue

By his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye (married c. 794), he had three sons and three daughters: * Lothair (795–855), king of Middle Francia * Pepin (797–838), king of Aquitaine *Adelaide (b. c. 799) *Rotrude (b. 800) *Hildegard (or Matilda) (b. c. 802) *Louis the German (c. 806–876), king of East Francia By his second wife, Judith (died 843), Judith of Bavaria, he had a daughter and a son: *Gisela, daughter of Louis the Pious, Gisela, married Eberhard of Friuli *
Charles the Bald Charles the Bald (13 June 823 – 6 October 877) was a 9th-century king of West Francia (843–877), king of Italy (875–877) and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (875–877). After a series of civil wars during the reign of his father, Loui ...

Charles the Bald
, king of West Francia By an unknown concubine (probably Theodelinde of Sens), he had two illegitimate children: *Arnulf of Sens *Alpais


References


Notes


Sources

*''Vita Hludovici, Vita Hludovici Imperatoris '', the main source for his reign, written c. 840 by an unknown author usually called "the Astronomer" *''Gesta Hludowici Imperatoris'' by Thegan of Trier]
on-line Latin text


Further reading

*Booker, Courtney M. ''Past Convictions: The Penance of Louis the Pious and the Decline of the Carolingians'', University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009, *De Jong, Mayke. ''The Penitential State: Authority and Atonement in the Age of Louis the Pious, 814–840''. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. *Depreux, Philippe. ''Prosopographie de l'entourage de Louis le Pieux (781–840).'' Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1997. A useful prosopographical overview of Louis' household, court and other subordinates. * Eichler, Daniel. ''Fränkische Reichsversammlungen unter Ludwig dem Frommen''. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2007 (Monumenta Germaniae Historica Studien und Texte, 45). *François-Louis Ganshof, Ganshof, François-Louis ''The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy''. 1971. *Godman, Peter, and Roger Collins (eds.). ''Charlemagne's Heir: New Perspectives on the Reign of Louis the Pious (814–840)''. Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press, 1990. *Charles Oman, Oman, Charles. ''The Dark Ages 476–918''. London, 1914. *Fischer Drew, Katherine. ''The Laws of the Salian Franks'', University of Pennsylvania Press. *Noble, Thomas F. X. ''Louis the Pious and his piety re-reconsidered'
Link


External links



*[http://www.valleedudropt.com/historic/cassinogilum1.pdf Chasseneuil-du-Poitou and not Casseuil] by Camille Jullian {{DEFAULTSORT:Louis 01 Of France 778 births 840 deaths 9th-century Holy Roman Emperors 9th-century kings of Italy 9th-century dukes of Bavaria Frankish warriors Children of Charlemagne Medieval child rulers People from Vienne 8th-century Frankish nobility Carolingian dynasty