Louis III of France

Louis III of France

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Louis III was the King of France, still then called West Francia, from 879 until his death. The second son of 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...

 and his first wife, Ansgarde
Ansgarde of Burgundy
Ansgarde of Burgundy was a French queen of Aquitaine, but never of West Francia, the daughter of Hardouin of Burgundy. She secretly married Louis II of France before he was king; her sons became Louis III and Carloman II of France....

, he succeeded his father to reign jointly with his younger brother Carloman II, who became sole ruler on Louis's death. His short reign was marked by military success.

Louis was born while his father was still just King of Aquitaine and his grandfather, 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...

, was ruling West Francia. Some doubts were raised as to their legitimacy, since their parents had married secretly and Ansgarde was later repudiated at Charles insistence. When Charles (877) and then the elder Louis died within two years, some nobles advocated electing the younger Louis as sole king, but another party favoured each brother ruling a separate sphere of the country. In September 879 Louis was crowned at Ferrières
Ferrière, Ferrières or La Ferrière may refer to:*Château Ferrière, a Bordeaux wine producer in Margaux*Château de Ferrières, château in the Seine et Marne département of France...

. In March 880 at Amiens
Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy...

 the brothers divided their father's kingdom, Louis receiving the northern part, called 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...

 or sometimes simply Francia.
One of Charles the Bald's most trusted lieutenants, Duke 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 ....

 had renounced his allegiance to both brothers and had been elected King of Provence
King of Burgundy
The following is a list of the Kings of the two Kingdoms of Burgundy, and a number of related political entities devolving from Carolingian machinations over family relations.- Kings of the Burgundians :...

. In the summer of 880 Carloman and Louis marched against him and captured Mâcon
Mâcon is a small city in central France. It is prefecture of the Saône-et-Loire department, in the region of Bourgogne, and the capital of the Mâconnais district. Mâcon is home to over 35,000 residents, called Mâconnais.-Geography:...

 and the northern part of Boso's realm. They united their forces with those of their cousin 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...

, then ruling Germany and Italy, and unsuccessfully besieged Vienne
Vienne is the northernmost département of the Poitou-Charentes region of France, named after the river Vienne.- Viennese history :Vienne is one of the original 83 departments, established on March 4, 1790 during the French Revolution. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Poitou,...

 from August to November. In 881 Louis achieved a momentous victory against 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...

 pirates, whose harassments had been ongoing since his grandfather's reign, at the Battle of Saucourt-en-Vimeu
Battle of Saucourt-en-Vimeu
The Battle of Saucourt occurred between Danish forces of pagan Viking warriors and the Christian troops of Carolingian joint Kings Louis III of France and...

. Within a year of the battle an anonymous poet had celebrated it and the king, for both his prowess and piety, in the Old High German
Old High German
The term Old High German refers to the earliest stage of the German language and it conventionally covers the period from around 500 to 1050. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as 'prehistoric' and date the start of...

 short poem Ludwigslied
The Ludwigslied is an Old High German poem of 59 rhyming couplets, celebrating the victory of the Frankish army, led by Louis III of France, over Danish raiders at the Battle of Saucourt-en-Vimeu on 3 August 881.The poem is thoroughly Christian in ethos...


Louis died on 5 August 882 at Saint Denis in the centre of his realm, having fallen from his horse whilst chasing a girl with amorous intent. Since he had no children, his brother Carloman became the sole king and the victor of Saucourt was buried in the royal mausoleum of the Basilica of Saint-Denis.