Louis the German

Louis the German

Overview
Louis the German (806 – 28 August 876), also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson 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...

 and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor 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...

 and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye
Ermengarde of Hesbaye
Ermengarde of Hesbaye was Queen of the Franks and Holy Roman Empress as the wife of Emperor Louis I. She was Frankish, the daughter of Ingeram, count of Hesbaye, and Hedwig of Bavaria...

.

He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact that the bulk of his territory had been in the former Germania
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

.

Louis II was made the 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...

 from 817 following the Emperor Charlemagne's practice of bestowing a local kingdom on a family member who then served as one of his lieutenants and the local governor.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Louis the German'
Start a new discussion about 'Louis the German'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Louis the German (806 – 28 August 876), also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson 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...

 and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor 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...

 and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye
Ermengarde of Hesbaye
Ermengarde of Hesbaye was Queen of the Franks and Holy Roman Empress as the wife of Emperor Louis I. She was Frankish, the daughter of Ingeram, count of Hesbaye, and Hedwig of Bavaria...

.

He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact that the bulk of his territory had been in the former Germania
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

.

Louis II was made the 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...

 from 817 following the Emperor Charlemagne's practice of bestowing a local kingdom on a family member who then served as one of his lieutenants and the local governor. When his father, Louis I (called the pious), partitioned the empire toward the end of his reign in 843, he was made King of East Francia, a region that spanned 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...

 drainage basin from Jutland
Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 southeasterly through the Thuringerwald into modern Bavaria from 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...

 in 843 until his death.

Divisio imperii and filial rebellion


His early years were partly spent at the court of his grandfather, 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...

, whose special affection he is said to have won. When the emperor Louis divided his dominions between his sons in 817, Louis received 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...

 and the neighbouring lands but did not undertake the governing of such until 825, when he became involved in wars with the Wends
Wends
Wends is a historic name for West Slavs living near Germanic settlement areas. It does not refer to a homogeneous people, but to various peoples, tribes or groups depending on where and when it is used...

 and Sorbs
Sorbs
Sorbs are a Western Slavic people of Central Europe living predominantly in Lusatia, a region on the territory of Germany and Poland. In Germany they live in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. They speak the Sorbian languages - closely related to Polish and Czech - officially recognized and...

 on his eastern frontier. In 827, he married Emma of Altdorf
Hemma
Emma of Altdorf, also known as Hemma was the wife of Louis the German, and Queen consort of Eastern Francia.Her father was Welf, Count of Altorf; her mother was Heilwig of Saxony , the daughter of Count Isanbart...

, sister of his stepmother Judith of Bavaria
Judith, daughter of Welf
Queen Judith , also known as Judith of Bavaria, was the daughter of Count Welf and a Saxon noblewoman named Hedwig, Duchess of Bavaria...

, and daughter of Welf
Welf (father of Judith)
Welf I of Altorf was the son of the 9th century Frankish count Rothard of Metz, to whom the sons of Charles Martel entrusted half of Alemannia. Welf was master of several counties in the southern Rhineland & Bavaria. His family became politically powerful when Louis the Pious chose his oldest...

, whose possessions ranged from Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 to Bavaria. Louis soon began to interfere in the quarrels arising from Judith's efforts to secure a kingdom for her own son Charles
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...

 (later known as Charles the Bald) and the consequent struggles of his brothers with their father.

His involvement in the first civil war of his father's reign was limited, but in the second, his elder brothers, Lothair, then King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

, and 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....

, King of Aquitaine
Duke of Aquitaine
The Duke of Aquitaine ruled the historical region of Aquitaine under the supremacy of Frankish, English and later French kings....

, induced him to invade Alamannia
Alamannia
Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic Alamanni after they broke through the Roman limes in 213.The Alamanni expanded from the Main basin during the 3rd century, raiding the Roman provinces and settling on the left bank of the Rhine from the 4th century.Ruled by...

 — which their father had given to their half-brother Charles — by promising to give him the land in the new partition they would make. In 832, he led an army of Slavs
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 into Alamannia and completely subjugated it. Louis the Pious disinherited him, but to no effect; the emperor was captured by his own rebellious sons and deposed. Upon his swift reinstatement, however, the Emperor Louis made peace with his son Louis and restored Bavaria (never actually lost) to him (836).

In the third civil war (began 839) of his father's ruinous final decade, Louis was the instigator. A strip of his land having been given to the young Charles, Louis invaded Alamannia again. His father was not so sluggish in responding to him this time, and soon the younger Louis was forced into the far southeastern corner of his realm, the March of Pannonia
March of Pannonia
The March of Pannonia was a frontier march of the Carolingian Empire erected in the mid-ninth century against the threat of Great Moravia and lasting only as long as the strength of that state....

. Peace had been made by force of arms.

Civil war, 840–843


When the elder Louis died in 840, and Lothair claimed the whole Empire, Louis allied with the half-brother, Charles the Bald, and defeated Lothair and their nephew Pepin II of Aquitaine
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...

, son of Pepin, at the Battle of Fontenay
Battle of Fontenay (841)
The three year Carolingian Civil War culminated in the decisive Battle of Fontenay-en-Puisaye, also called the Battle of Fontenoy, fought at Fontenoy, near Auxerre, on the 25 June 841...

 in June 841. In June 842, the three brothers met on an island in the Saône
Saône
The Saône is a river of eastern France. It is a right tributary of the River Rhône. Rising at Vioménil in the Vosges department, it joins the Rhône in Lyon....

 to negotiate a peace, and each appointed forty representatives to arrange the boundaries of their respective kingdoms. This developed into 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...

, concluded in August 843, by which Louis received the bulk of the lands lying east of the Rhine (Eastern Francia
Eastern Francia
East Francia , also known as the Kingdom of the East Franks or Francia Orientalis, was the realm allotted to Louis the German by the 843 Treaty of Verdun...

), together with a district around Speyer
Speyer
Speyer is a city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located beside the river Rhine, Speyer is 25 km south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany's oldest cities...

, Worms
Worms, Germany
Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. At the end of 2004, it had 85,829 inhabitants.Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only...

, and Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, on the left bank of the river. His territories included Bavaria (where he made Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 the centre of his government), Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

, and Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

. He may truly be called the founder of the German kingdom, though his attempts to maintain the unity of the Empire proved futile. Having in 842 crushed the Stellinga
Stellinga
The Stellinga was a movement of frilingi and lazzi, the lower two of the three Saxon non-slave castes, between 841 and 845. As its aim, it desired to recuperate those rights the two castes had had when practising Germanic paganism in the 770s...

rising in Saxony, in 844 he compelled the Obotrites
Obotrites
The Obotrites , also commonly known as the Obodrites, Abotrites, or Abodrites, were a confederation of medieval West Slavic tribes within the territory of modern Mecklenburg and Holstein in northern Germany . For decades they were allies of Charlemagne in his wars against Germanic Saxons and Slavic...

 to own his authority and put their prince, Gozzmovil, to death. Thachulf, Duke of Thuringia
Thachulf, Duke of Thuringia
Thacholf, Thachulf, Thaculf, or Thakulf was the Duke of Thuringia from 849 until his death. He held the titles of comes and dux and he ruled over a marca...

, then undertook campaigns against the Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

ns, Moravians
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

, and other tribes, but was not very successful in freeing his shores from the ravages of 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...

s.

Conflict with Charles the Bald


In 852, he had sent his son 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...

 to Aquitaine, where the nobles had grown resentful of Charles the Bald's rule. The younger Louis did not set out until 854, but he returned the following year. In 853 and the following years, Louis made more than one attempt to secure the throne of Western Francia
Western Francia
West Francia, also known as the West Frankish Kingdom or Francia Occidentalis, was a short-lived kingdom encompassing the lands of the western part of the Carolingian Empire that came under the undisputed control of Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, as a result of the Treaty of Verdun of...

, which, according to the Annals of Fulda
Fulda
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

(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...

), the people of that country offered him in their disgust with the cruel misrule of Charles the Bald. Encouraged by his nephews Pepin II and Charles
Charles of Provence
Charles of Provence was the Carolingian King of Provence from 855 until his early death in 863.Charles was the youngest son of Holy Roman Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours....

, 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 :...

, Louis invaded in 858; Charles the Bald could not even raise an army to resist the invasion and fled to Burgundy; in that year, Louis issued a charter dated "the first year of the reign in West Francia." Treachery and desertion in his army, and the loyalty to Charles of the Aquitanian bishops, brought about the failure of the enterprise, which Louis renounced by a treaty signed at Coblenz on 7 June 860.

In 855, the emperor Lothair died, and Louis and Charles for a time seem to have cooperated in plans to divide Lothair's possessions among themselves — the only impediments to this being Lothair's sons: Lothair II
Lothair II of Lotharingia
Lothair II was the second son of Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours. He was married to Teutberga, daughter of Boso the Elder. He is the namesake of the Lothair Crystal, which he probably commissioned, and of the Cross of Lothair, which was made over a century after his death but...

 (who received 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...

), 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...

 (who held the imperial title and the Iron Crown
Iron Crown of Lombardy
The Iron Crown of Lombardy is both a reliquary and one of the most ancient royal insignia of Europe. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy...

), and the aforementioned Charles. In 868, at Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

 they agreed definitely to a partition of 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...

; but when Lothair II died in 869, Louis the German was lying seriously ill, and his armies were engaged with the Moravians. Charles the Bald accordingly seized the whole kingdom; but Louis the German, having recovered, compelled him by a threat of war to agree to 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...

, which divided it between the claimants.

Divisio regni and his sons


The later years of Louis the German were troubled by risings on the part of his sons, the eldest of whom, Carloman
Carloman of Bavaria
Carloman was the eldest son of Louis the German, king of East Francia , and Hemma, daughter of the count Welf...

, revolted in 861 and again two years later; an example that was followed by the second son Louis, who in a further rising was joined by his brother Charles
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...

. In 864, Louis was forced to grant Carloman the kingdom of Bavaria, which he himself had once held under his father. The next year (865), he divided the remainder of his lands: Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 he gave to Louis the Younger (with Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

 and Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

) and Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

 (with Raetia
Raetia
Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It was bounded on the west by the country of the Helvetii, on the east by Noricum, on the north by Vindelicia, on the west by Cisalpine Gaul and on south by Venetia et Histria...

) to Charles, called the Fat. A report that the emperor Louis II was dead led to peace between father and sons and attempts by Louis the German to gain the imperial crown for Carloman. These efforts were thwarted by Louis II, who was not in fact dead, and Louis' old adversary, Charles the Bald.

Louis was preparing for war when he died on 28 August 876 at Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

. He was buried at the abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

 of Lorsch
Lorsch
Lorsch is a town in the Bergstraße district in Hesse, Germany, 60 km south of Frankfurt. Lorsch is well known for the Lorsch Abbey, which has been named a World Heritage Site.-Location:...

, leaving three sons and three daughters. His sons, unusually for the times, respected the division made a decade earlier and each contented himself with his own kingdom. Louis is considered by many to be the most competent of the grandsons of Charlemagne. He obtained for his kingdom a certain degree of security in face of the attacks of Norsemen
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

, Magyars, Slavs, and others. He lived in close alliance with the Church, to which he was very generous, and entered eagerly into schemes for the conversion of his heathen
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 neighbours.

Marriage and children


He was married to Hemma
Hemma
Emma of Altdorf, also known as Hemma was the wife of Louis the German, and Queen consort of Eastern Francia.Her father was Welf, Count of Altorf; her mother was Heilwig of Saxony , the daughter of Count Isanbart...

 (died 31 January 876). They had seven children:
  • Hildegard (828-856)
  • Carloman
    Carloman of Bavaria
    Carloman was the eldest son of Louis the German, king of East Francia , and Hemma, daughter of the count Welf...

     (829-880)
  • Irmgard of Chiemsee
    Irmgard of Chiemsee
    Irmgard of Chiemsee was a daughter Louis the German, King of East Francia, and his wife Hemma. She was the first Abbess of Chiemsee from 857. During her reign the chapter for noble ladies developed into a Benedictine convent.Irmgard's cult was officially recognised only in 1928 by Pope Pius XI...

     also known as Ermengard (died 866)
    • Louis, having established two of his other daughters as abbesses of convents, appointed Irmgard (also known as Ermengard) to govern first the monastery of Buchau
      Buchau Abbey
      Buchau Abbey or the Imperial Abbey of Buchau was a nunnery, and later collegiate foundation, in the present town of Bad Buchau in Baden-Württemberg, Germany....

       and then the royal abbey of Chiemsee
      Frauenchiemsee
      The island Frauenchiemsee is the second largest of the three islands in Chiemsee, Germany. It belongs to the municipality of Chiemsee in Upper Bavarian district of Rosenheim, which is the smallest municipality in all of Bavaria. The large and car free Fraueninsel houses 300 permanent residents as...

       in Bavaria. She is commemorated as a saint on 16 July.
  • Gisela
  • 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...

     (835-882)
  • Bertha (died 877)
  • 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...

     (839-888)

Ancestry