Carolingian Empire

Carolingian Empire

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Carolingian Empire'
Start a new discussion about 'Carolingian Empire'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

Carolingian Empire is a historiographical
Historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

 term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, and ends with the death 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...

. Depending on one's perspective, this Empire can be seen as the later history of the Frankish Realm or the early history of France and of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

.

The term refers to the coronation of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 by Pope Leo III
Pope Leo III
Pope Saint Leo III was Pope from 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him as Roman Emperor....

 in 800. Because Charles and his ancestors had been rulers of the Frankish realm earlier (his grandfather Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 had essentially founded the empire during his lifetime), the coronation did not actually constitute a new empire. Most historians prefer to use the term "Frankish Kingdoms" or "Frankish Realm" to refer to the area covering parts of today's Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 from the 5th to the 9th century.

Buildup and defense of the Frankish Realm



Though Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 chose not to take the title King, as his son Pepin III the Short would, or Emperor, as his grandson Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 would be titled, he was absolute ruler of virtually all of today's continental Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 north of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

. Only the remaining Saxon realms, which he partly conquered, Lombardy
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...

, and the Marca Hispanica north of the Pyrenees were significant additions to the Frankish realms after his death.

Martel was also the founder of all the feudal systems that marked the Carolingian Empire, and Europe in general during the Middle Ages, though his son and grandson would gain credit for his innovations. What is more, Martel cemented his place in history with his defense of Christian Europe against a Muslim army at the Battle of Tours
Battle of Tours
The Battle of Tours , also called the Battle of Poitiers and in Battle of the Court of the Martyrs, was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, located in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about northeast of Poitiers...

 in 732. The Iberian Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s had incorporated Berber lighthorse cavalry with the heavy Arab cavalry to create a formidable army that had almost never been defeated. Christian European forces, meanwhile, lacked the powerful tool of the stirrup
Stirrup
A stirrup is a light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, often called a stirrup leather. Stirrups are usually paired and are used to aid in mounting and as a support while using a riding animal...

. In this victory, Charles earned the surname Martel ("the Hammer"). Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

, the historian of Rome and its aftermath, called Charles Martel "the paramount prince of his age."

Pepin III accepted the nomination as king by Pope Zachary
Pope Zachary
Pope Saint Zachary was Pope of the Catholic Church from 741 to 752. A Greek from Calabria, he was the last pope of the Byzantine Papacy...

 in about 751. Charlemagne's rule began in 768 at Pepin's death. He proceeded to take control over the kingdom of his brother, which was also inherited from Pepin, and was crowned Roman Emperor in the year 800.

The Empire during the reign of Charlemagne (768–814)




The Carolingian Empire at the death of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 covered most of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 like the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 had before. Unlike the Romans, who ventured beyond the Rhine only for vengeance after the disaster at Teutoburg Forest
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius of the Cherusci ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions, along with their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus.Despite numerous successful campaigns and raids by the...

 (9 AD), Charlemagne decisively crushed all Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 resistance and extended his realm to the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

, influencing events almost to the Russian Steppes.

The Empire of the Carolingians had been divided among various members of the Carolingian dynasty. From the inception of the Empire, these included: King Charles receiving Neustria
Neustria
The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities...

, King 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...

 receiving Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

, and King Pepin
Pippin of Italy
Pepin was the son of Charlemagne and king of the Lombards under the authority of his father.Pepin was the second son of Charlemagne by his then-wife Hildegard. He was born Carloman, but when his half-brother Pepin the Hunchback betrayed their father, the royal name Pepin passed to him...

 receiving Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Pepin died with an illegitimate son Bernard
Bernard of Italy
Bernard was the King of the Lombards from 810 to 818. He plotted against his uncle, Emperor Louis the Pious, when the latter's Ordinatio Imperii made Bernard a vassal of his cousin Lothair...

 in 810, and Charles died without heirs in 811. Although Bernard succeeded Pepin as King of Italy, Louis was made co-Emperor in 813 and the entire Empire passed to him with Charlemagne's death in the winter of 814.

The Empire until the Treaty of Verdun (814–840)



Louis the Pious often had to struggle to maintain control of the Empire. King Bernard of Italy died in 818 in imprisonment after rebelling a year earlier, and Italy was brought back into Imperial control. Louis' show of penance for Bernard's death in 822 greatly reduced his prestige as Emperor to the nobility. Meanwhile in 817, Louis had established three new Carolingian Kingships for his sons of his first marriage: Lothar
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...

 was made King of Italy and co-Emperor, Pepin
Pepin I of Aquitaine
Pepin I was King of Aquitaine.-Biography:He was the second son of Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye....

 was made King of Aquitaine, and 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...

 made King of Bavaria
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...

. His attempts in 823 to bring his fourth son (from his second marriage), 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...

 into the will was marked by the resistance of his eldest sons, and the last years of his reign were plagued by civil war.

Lothar was stripped of his co-Emperorship in 829 and was banished to Italy, but the following year his sons attacked Louis' empire and dethroned him in favour of Lothar. The following year Louis attacked his sons' Kingdoms, stripped Lothar of his Imperial title and granted the Kingdom of Italy to Charles. Pepin and Louis the German revolted in 832, followed by Lothar in 833, and together they imprisoned Louis the Pious and Charles. In 835, peace was made between the family and Louis was restored to the Imperial throne. When Pepin died in 838, Louis crowned Charles king of Aquitaine whilst the nobility elected Pepin's son Pepin II
Pepin II of Aquitaine
Pepin II, called the Younger , was King of Aquitaine from 838 as the successor upon the death of his father, Pepin I. Pepin II was eldest son of Pepin I and Ingeltrude, daughter of Theodobert, count of Madrie...

, a conflict which was not resolved until 860 with Pepin's death. When Louis the Pious finally died in 840, Lothar claimed the entire empire irrespective of the partitions.

The dispute sparked another war, this time with Charles and Louis the German allied against Lothar. After losing the Battle of Fontenay
Fontenay
Fontenay can refer to:a person*Charles L. Fontenay, journalist and science-fiction writer*Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay I, French paintera battle* Battle of Fontenay , during the Carolingian civil war...

 to his younger brothers, Lothar fled to his capital at Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

 and raised a new army. The new forces were inferior to that of the younger brothers. In 842, the Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg
The Oaths of Strasbourg were several historical documents which included mutual pledges of allegiance between Louis the German , ruler of East Francia, and his brother Charles the Bald , ruler of West Francia...

 Charles and Louis agreed to declare Lothar unfit for the imperial throne. The Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg
The Oaths of Strasbourg were several historical documents which included mutual pledges of allegiance between Louis the German , ruler of East Francia, and his brother Charles the Bald , ruler of West Francia...

, marked, before the Verdun Treaty the East-West division of the Empire between Louis and Charles. Considered as a milestone in the European History, the Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg
The Oaths of Strasbourg were several historical documents which included mutual pledges of allegiance between Louis the German , ruler of East Francia, and his brother Charles the Bald , ruler of West Francia...

 is a symbol of the birth of France and Germany. The empire was finally partitioned in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

.

The Empire after the Treaty of Verdun (843–877)




Lothar received the Imperial title, the Kingship of Italy, and the territory between the Rhine and Rhone
Rhône River
The Rhone is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in Switzerland and running from there through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhone and the Little Rhone...

 Rivers, collectively called the Central Frankish Realm. Louis was guaranteed the Kingship of all lands to the east of the Rhine and to the north and east of Italy, which was called the Eastern Frankish Realm which was the precursor to modern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Charles received all lands west of the Rhone, which was called the Western Frankish Realm.

Lothar retired Italy to his eldest son Louis II
Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis II the Younger was the King of Italy and Roman Emperor from 844, co-ruling with his father Lothair I until 855, after which he ruled alone. Louis's usual title was imperator augustus , but he used imperator Romanorum after his conquest of Bari in 871, which led to poor relations with Byzantium...

 in 844, making him co-Emperor in 850. Lothar died in 855, dividing his kingdom into three parts: the territory already held by Louis remained his, the territory of the former Kingdom of Burgundy was granted to his third son Charles of Burgundy, and the remaining territory for which there was no traditional name was granted to his second son Lothar II, whose realm was named Lotharingia
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...

, or Lorraine.

Louis II, dissatisfied with having received no additional territory upon his father's death, allied with his uncle 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...

 against his brother Lothar and his uncle Charles the Bald in 858. Lothar was reconciled with his brother and uncle shortly after. Charles was so unpopular that he could not raise an army to fight the invasion and instead fled to Burgundy. He was only saved when the bishops refused to crown Louis the German King. In 860, Charles the Bald invaded Charles of Burgundy's Kingdom but was repulsed. Lothar II ceded lands to Louis II in 862 for support of a divorce from his wife, which caused repeated conflicts with the Pope and his uncles. Charles of Burgundy died in 863, and his Kingdom was inherited by Louis II.

Lothar II died in 869 with no legitimate heirs, and his Kingdom was divided between Charles the Bald and Louis the German in 870 by the Treaty of Meerssen
Treaty of Meerssen
The Treaty of Meerssen or Mersen was a partition treaty of the Carolingian Empire concluded on 8 August 870 by the two surviving sons of Emperor Louis the Pious, King Charles the Bald of West Francia and Louis the German of East Francia, at Meerssen north of Maastricht, in the present-day...

. Meanwhile, Louis the German was involved with disputes with his three sons. Louis II died in 875, and named Carloman
Carloman of Bavaria
Carloman was the eldest son of Louis the German, king of East Francia , and Hemma, daughter of the count Welf...

, the eldest son of Louis the German, his heir. Charles the Bald, supported by the Pope, was crowned both King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor. The following year, Louis the German died. Charles tried to annex his realm too, but was defeated decisively at Andernach
Andernach
Andernach is a town in the district of Mayen-Koblenz, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, of currently about 30,000 inhabitants. It is situated towards the end of the Neuwied basin on the left bank of the Rhine between the former tiny fishing village of Fornich in the north and the mouth of the...

, and the Kingdom of the eastern Franks was divided between Louis the Younger
Louis the Younger
Louis the Younger , sometimes Louis III, was the second eldest of the three sons of Louis the German and Emma. He succeeded his father as the King of Saxony on 28 August 876 and his elder brother Carloman as King of Bavaria from 880...

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

 and 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...

.

The Empire in decline (877–888)


The Empire after the death of Charles the Bald under attack in the north and west by the Vikings, facing internal struggles from Italy to the Baltic, and Hungary to Aquitaine in the west. 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...

 died in 877 crossing the Pass of Mont Cenis
Mont Cenis
Mont Cenis is a massif and pass in Savoie in France which forms the limit between the Cottian and Graian Alps.A road over the pass was built between 1803 and 1810 by Napoleon...

, and was succeeded by his son, Louis the Stammerer
Louis the Stammerer
Louis the Stammerer was the King of Aquitaine and later King of West Francia. He was the eldest son of Charles the Bald and Ermentrude of Orléans. He succeeded his younger brother in Aquitaine in 866 and his father in West Francia in 877, though he was never crowned Emperor...

 as King of the Western Franks, but the title of Holy Roman Emperor lapsed. Louis the Stammerer was physically weak and died two years later, his realm being divided between his eldest two sons: Louis III
Louis III of France
Louis III was the King of France, still then called West Francia, from 879 until his death. The second son of Louis the Stammerer and his first wife, Ansgarde, he succeeded his father to reign jointly with his younger brother Carloman II, who became sole ruler on Louis's death...

 gaining Neustria
Neustria
The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities...

 and Francia, and Carloman gaining Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 and Burgundy. The Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (medieval)
The Kingdom of Italy was a political entity under control of Carolingian dynasty of Francia first, after the defeat of the Lombards in 774. It was finally incorporated as a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962....

 was finally granted to King Carloman of Bavaria, but a stroke forced him to abdicate Italy to his brother 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...

 and Bavaria to Louis of Saxony. Also in 879, Boso, Count of Arles founded the Kingdom of Lower Burgundy
Lower Burgundy
Lower Burgundy was a historical kingdom in what is now southeastern France, so-called because it was lower down the Rhone Valley than Upper Burgundy. Lower Burgundy is sometimes called the Kingdom of Arelat or the Kingdom of Cisjurane Burgundy...

 in Provence
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...

.

In 881, 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...

 was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor while Louis II of Saxony and Louis III of Francia died the following year. Saxony and Bavaria were united with Charles the Fat's Kingdom, and Francia and Neustria were granted to Carloman of Aquitaine who also conquered Lower Burgundy. Carloman died in a hunting accident in 884 after a tumultuous and ineffective reign, and his lands were inherited by Charles the Fat, effectively recreating the Empire of Charlemagne.

Charles, suffering what is believed to be epilepsy, could not secure the kingdom against Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 raiders, and after buying their withdrawal from Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 886 was perceived by the court as being cowardly and incompetent. The following year his nephew 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:...

, the illegitimate son of King Carloman of Bavaria, raised the standard of rebellion. Instead of fighting the insurrection, Charles fled to Neidingen
Neidingen
Neidingen is a village with approximately 100 inhabitants and part of the municipality of Beuron. Neidingen–historically important as health retreat and place of death of Emperor Charles the Fat whose death ends the Carolingian Empire the last of the great Frankish kingdoms of the Early...

 and died the following year in 888, leaving a divided entity and a succession mess.

Divisions of the Empire in 887


The Empire of the Carolingians was divided: Arnulf maintained Carinthia, Bavaria, Lorraine and modern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

; Count Odo
Odo, Count of Paris
Odo was a King of Western Francia, reigning from 888 to 898. He was a son of Robert the Strong, count of Anjou, whose branch of the family is known as the Robertians....

 of Paris was elected King of Western Francia (France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

), Ranulf II
Ranulf II of Aquitaine
Ranulf II was Count of Poitou from 866 and Duke of Aquitaine from 887...

 became King of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

, Italy went to Count Berengar of Friuli, Upper Burgundy
Upper Burgundy
Upper Burgundy is the part of Burgundy east of the Jura mountains, that together with the western County of Burgundy from 868 formed the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy, encompassing both sides of the Jura mountains range...

 to Rudolph I, and Lower Burgundy to Louis the Blind
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...

, the son of Boso of Arles, King of Lower Burgundy.

Military


It has long been held that the dominance of the Carolingian military was based on a "cavalry
Heavy cavalry
Heavy cavalry is a class of cavalry whose primary role was to engage in direct combat with enemy forces . Although their equipment differed greatly depending on the region and historical period, they were generally mounted on large powerful horses, and were often equipped with some form of scale,...

 revolution" led by Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 in 730s. However, the stirrup
Stirrup
A stirrup is a light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, often called a stirrup leather. Stirrups are usually paired and are used to aid in mounting and as a support while using a riding animal...

, which made the 'shock cavalry' lance
Lance
A Lance is a pole weapon or spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior. The lance is longer, stout and heavier than an infantry spear, and unsuited for throwing, or for rapid thrusting. Lances did not have tips designed to intentionally break off or bend, unlike many throwing weapons of the...

 charge possible, was not introduced to the Frankish kingdom until the late eighth century. Instead, the Carolingian military success rested primarily on novel siege
Siege
A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. The term derives from sedere, Latin for "to sit". Generally speaking, siege warfare is a form of constant, low intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static...

 technologies and excellent logistics. However, large numbers of horses were used by the Frankish military during the age of Charlemagne. This was because horses provided a quick, long-distance method of transporting troops
Mounted infantry
Mounted infantry were soldiers who rode horses instead of marching, but actually fought on foot . The original dragoons were essentially mounted infantry...

, which was critical to building and maintaining such a large empire.

See also

  • Carolingian architecture
    Carolingian architecture
    Carolingian architecture is the style of north European Pre-Romanesque architecture belonging to the period of the Carolingian Renaissance of the late 8th and 9th centuries, when the Carolingian family dominated west European politics...

  • Carolingian art
    Carolingian art
    Carolingian art comes from the Frankish Empire in the period of roughly 120 years from about AD 780 to 900 — during the reign of Charlemagne and his immediate heirs — popularly known as the Carolingian Renaissance. The art was produced by and for the court circle and a group of...

  • List of Carolingian monasteries
  • Category: Carolingian period
  • Francia
  • Frisian–Frankish wars
    Frisian–Frankish wars
    The Frisian–Frankish wars were a series of conflicts between the Frankish Empire and the Frisian kingdom in the 7th and 8th century.The wars where mainly about control of the Rhine delta. But after the death of the Frisian king Redbad, the Franks gained the upper hand...

  • List of Frankish kings
  • Roman Empire
    Roman Empire
    The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

  • Holy Roman Empire
    Holy Roman Empire
    The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...