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Kingdom of Arles

Kingdom of Arles

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The Kingdom of Arles or Second Kingdom of Burgundy of the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

 was a 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...

 dominion established in 933 from lands of the early medieval Kingdom of Burgundy
Kingdom of Burgundy
Burgundy is a historic region in Western Europe that has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities - the first around the 6th century, the second around the 11th century - have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy; a third was very...

 at Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

. Its territory stretched from the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to the High Rhine
High Rhine
The High Rhine is the name used in Germany for the part of the Rhine River that flows westbound from Lake Constance to Basel.The High Rhine begins at the outflow of the Rhine from the Untersee in Stein am Rhein and turns into the Upper Rhine in Basel...

 in the north roughly corresponding to the present-day French
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...

 regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur or PACA is one of the 27 regions of France.It is made up of:* the former French province of Provence* the former papal territory of Avignon, known as Comtat Venaissin...

, Rhône-Alpes
Rhône-Alpes is one of the 27 regions of France, located on the eastern border of the country, towards the south. The region was named after the Rhône River and the Alps mountain range. Its capital, Lyon, is the second-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris...

 and Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté the former "Free County" of Burgundy, as distinct from the neighbouring Duchy, is an administrative region and a traditional province of eastern France...

, as well as western Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. It was ruled by independent kings until 1032, after which it fell to 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 Carolingian
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...

 subdivision of Burgundy originally was part of Middle Francia
Middle Francia
Middle Francia was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom created by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire among the sons of Louis the Pious...

 allotted to Emperor 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...

 by the 843 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...

, as distinct from the Duchy of Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

 which fell to West Francia. By 875 all sons of Lothair I had died without heirs and most of the Burgundian territories were held by the West Frankish king 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...

, with the exception of those parts of 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...

 north of the Jura mountains
Jura mountains
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of the watershed of each...

 (Bourgogne Transjurane) that had fallen to King 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...

 of East Francia by the 870 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...


In the confusion after the death of Charles' 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...

 in 879, the West Frankish count Boso of Provence
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 ....

 took the chance to establish 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...

 (Bourgogne Cisjurane) at Arles. Parallel in 888, Count Rudolph of Auxerre
Rudolph I of Burgundy
Rudolph I was King of Burgundy from his election in 888 until his death.Rudolph belonged to the elder Welf family and was the son of Conrad, Count of Auxerre, from whom he inherited the lay abbacy of St Maurice en Valais, making him the most powerful magnate in Upper Burgundy - present-day...

 upon the death of the Emperor 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...

 of East Francia founded the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy at Saint-Maurice. Both kingdoms were united in 933, when King Hugh of Arles
Hugh of Italy
Hugh of Arles was King of Italy from 924 until his death. He was a Bosonid. During his reign, he empowered his relatives at the expense of the aristocracy and tried to establish a relationship with the Byzantine-Roman Empire...

 ceded Lower Burgundy to King Rudolph II
Rudolph II of Burgundy
Rudolph II was king of Upper Burgundy , Lower Burgundy , and Italy . He was the son of Rudolph I, king of Upper Burgundy, and it is presumed that his mother was his father's known wife, Guilla of Provence...

 of Upper Burgundy in turn for Rudolph's waiver of the Italian
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....


Rudolph merged both Upper and Lower Burgundy into the new Kingdom of Arles (Arelat). In 937, he was succeeded by his son Conrad the Peaceful
Conrad of Burgundy
Conrad the Peaceful was the king of Burgundy from 937 until his death. He was the son of King Rudolph II, the first king of a united Burgundy and Bertha of Swabia...

. Inheritance claims by Hugh of Arles were rejected with the support of the German
Kingdom of Germany
The Kingdom of Germany developed out of the eastern half of the former Carolingian Empire....

 king 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...

, whereafter the kingdom fell into the Imperial
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...

 sphere of influence. In 993 Conrad was succeeded by Rudolph III
Rudolph III of Burgundy
Rudolf III of Burgundy was the last King of an independent Burgundy. He was the son of Conrad, King of Burgundy, and Matilda of France...

, who, as he had no heirs, in 1006 signed an inheritance treaty with King Henry II
Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry II , also referred to as Saint Henry, Obl.S.B., was the fifth and last Holy Roman Emperor of the Ottonian dynasty, from his coronation in Rome in 1014 until his death a decade later. He was crowned King of the Germans in 1002 and King of Italy in 1004...

 of Germany. In 1032, King Rudolph III died, and the Kingdom was inherited by Henry's successor Emperor Conrad II
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

 from the Salian dynasty
Salian dynasty
The Salian dynasty was a dynasty in the High Middle Ages of four German Kings , also known as the Frankish dynasty after the family's origin and role as dukes of Franconia...


Though the Emperors from that time on counted themselves "Kings of Arles", few went to be crowned in the cathedral. An exception was Emperor Frederick Barbarossa
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

 who in 1178 was crowned King of Burgundy by the Archbishop of Arles. The Kingdom operated with considerable autonomy. The office of an archchancellor
An archchancellor or chief chancellor was a title given to the highest dignitary of the Holy Roman Empire, and also used occasionally during the Middle Ages to denote an official who supervised the work of chancellors or notaries....

 was held by the Archbishop of Trier, confirmed by the Golden Bull of 1356
Golden Bull of 1356
The Golden Bull of 1356 was a decree issued by the Reichstag assembly in Nuremberg headed by the Luxembourg Emperor Charles IV that fixed, for a period of more than four hundred years, important aspects of the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire...


Between the 11th century and the end of the 14th century, several parts of the kingdom's territory broke away: 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...

, Vivarais
Vivarais is a traditional region in the south-east of France, covering the département of Ardèche, named after its capital Viviers on the river Rhône...

, Lyonnais
The Lyonnais is a historical province of France which owes its name to the city of Lyon.The geographical area known as the Lyonnais became part of the Kingdom of Burgundy after the division of the Carolingian Empire...

, Dauphiné
The Dauphiné or Dauphiné Viennois is a former province in southeastern France, whose area roughly corresponded to that of the present departments of :Isère, :Drôme, and :Hautes-Alpes....

, Savoy, Franche-Comté, parts of western Switzerland. Most of the territory of Lower Burgundy was progressively incorporated into France
France in the Middle Ages
France in the Middle Ages covers an area roughly corresponding to modern day France, from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the middle of the 15th century...

 — the County of Provence fell to the House of Anjou
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 in 1246 and finally to the French crown in 1481, the Dauphiné was annexed and sold to the French king Charles V of Valois
Charles V of France
Charles V , called the Wise, was King of France from 1364 to his death in 1380 and a member of the House of Valois...

 in 1349 by the dauphin de Viennois
Dauphin de Viennois
The Counts of Albon were minor French nobles in south-eastern France, in the Rhône Alps region.Under Guigues IV, Count of Albon, who was nicknamed le Dauphin or the Dolphin from the dolphin on his coat of arms, they took a new hereditary title, Dauphin of Viennois , named for the region around...

 Humbert II de La Tour-du-Pin
Humbert II of Viennois
Humbert II de la Tour-du-Pin was the Dauphin of the Viennois from 1333 to 16 July 1349. He was a son of the Dauphin John II and Beatrice of Hungary...

. On the other hand the County of Burgundy
County of Burgundy
The Free County of Burgundy , was a medieval county , within the traditional province and modern French region Franche-Comté, whose very French name is still reminiscent of the unusual title of its count: Freigraf...

 was acquired by the Imperial House of Hohenstaufen in 1190 and the eastern parts of Upper Burgundy fell to the House of Zähringen and later to the Habsburgs.

Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV , born Wenceslaus , was the second king of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first king of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor....

 in 1361 detached the County of Savoy
County of Savoy
The Counts of Savoy emerged, along with the free communes of Switzerland, from the collapse of the Burgundian Kingdom of Arles in the 11th century....

 from the Burgundian kingdom. In 1365 he was the last emperor to be crowned King of Arles, though in 1378, he appointed the Dauphin of France (later King Charles VI of France
Charles VI of France
Charles VI , called the Beloved and the Mad , was the King of France from 1380 to 1422, as a member of the House of Valois. His bouts with madness, which seem to have begun in 1392, led to quarrels among the French royal family, which were exploited by the neighbouring powers of England and Burgundy...

) as permanent Imperial vicar
Imperial vicar
An imperial vicar was a prince charged with administering all or part of the Holy Roman Empire on behalf of the Emperor. Later, an imperial vicar was invariably one of two princes charged by the Golden Bull with administering the Holy Roman Empire during an interregnum.The Holy Roman Empire had no...

of the kingdom. From then on, Arelat existed only on paper.


  • Marie-Luise Heckmann, Das Reichsvikariat des Dauphins im Arelat 1378.