Hugh, Duke of Alsace

Hugh, Duke of Alsace

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Hugh was the only son of Lothair II, an illegitimate child by his relationship with Waldrada. He did not inherit his father's kingdom, but he did receive a lot of lands and benefices in the Duchy of Alsace
Duchy of Alsace
The Duchy of Alsace was a large political subdivision of the Frankish Empire during the last decade and a half of Merovingian rule. It corresponded to the territory of Alsace and was carved out of southern Austrasia in the last decade of the reign of Dagobert I, probably to stabilise the southern...

 from 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...

.

When his cousin 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...

 died in 879, he seized authority in 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...

 and 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...

accuse him of "playing the tyrant in Gaul." It is likely that he refused to recognise the succession of Louis's young 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...

 and Carloman
Carloman of France
Carloman II , King of Western Francia, was the youngest son of King Louis the Stammerer and Ansgarde of Burgundy, and became king, jointly with his brother Louis III of France, on his father's death in 879....

, to the West Frankish kingdom, as with Boso
Boso of Provence
Boso was a Frankish nobleman from the Bosonid-family, who was related to the Carolingian dynasty, who rose to become King of Provence ....

 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...

. He had a sizable following in Lotharingia, but 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...

, son of Louis the German, came to the defence of the young Louis and Carloman. In 880, he sent men against Hugh's castle at Verdun
Verdun
Verdun is a city in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Verdun is the biggest city in Meuse, although the capital of the department is the slightly smaller city of Bar-le-Duc.- History :...

 and defeated his army, burning down the fortress.

After his Easter court (23 April) in 882, Louis the Younger enfeoffed Hugh with Alsace, but the latter rebelled and Louis chased him in Burgundy. In 883, Hugh's sister Gisela married Godfrey
Godfried, Duke of Friesland
Godfrid, Godafrid, Gudfrid, or Gottfrid was a Danish Viking leader of the late ninth century. He had probably been with the Great Heathen Army, descended on the continent, and became a vassal of the emperor Charles the Fat, controlling most of Frisia between 882 and 885.In 880, Godfrid ravaged...

, the 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...

 leader ruling in Frisia
Frisia
Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

. With this alliance, Hugh plotted to seize his father's old kingdom, but in 885, 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...

 heard of the scheme and called both Hugh and Godfrey to court, where the former was blinded and the latter killed. Hugh was sent first to Sankt Gallen
Sankt Gallen
Sankt Gallen may refer to:* St. Gallen, town in Switzerland* Canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland* Sankt Gallen, Austria, town* St. Gall...

, then to Fulda, and finally to Prüm
Prüm
Prüm is a town in the Westeifel , Germany. Formerly a district capital, today it is the administrative seat of the Verbandsgemeinde Prüm.-Geography:...

 in his own country.

Sources

  • Reuter, Timothy (trans.) The Annals of Fulda. (Manchester Medieval series, Ninth-Century Histories, Volume II.) Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992.