of 806. As Charlemagne aged, he realized he had to make a provision for
the division of his empire among his sons, a Frankish custom. From
Charlemagne's Divisio Regnorum, "So as not
to leave my sons a confused and unsettled matter of dispute and contention
as regards the status of my entire kingdom, I have divided the whole body
of the realm into three portions; the portion that each of them is to guard
and rule, I have caused to be described and designated. I have done this
so that each may be content with his portion in accord with my ruling.
and so that each may strive to defend the borders of his kingdom which
face foreign peoples and maintain peace and charity with his brothers."
In this division, Louis received Aquitaine, his brother Pippin received
Italy and the other brother Charles Francia. Pippin died in 810 and Charles
in 811, before Charlemagne. This map reflects Charlemagne's division.
Charlemagne died in 814 his empire stretched from what is today northern
Spain throughout the Low Countries, into Bavaria and throughout northern
Italy. This was inherited by Louis the Pious.
the Pious had a fractious relationship with his sons. The empire went through
several partitions and consolidations. The first of these partitions was
among his three sons by his first wife. He had Lothar crowned as co-emperor
and they shared the central core of the empire. To Pippin he gave Aquitaine
to have and to hold, and to Louis the German he gave an area in the east
of the empire, north of Italy. He did this in his Ordinatio
where he states "Although this petition
(concerning the empire and our sons) has been made devotedly and faithfully,
it has not seemed to us nor to any right thinking men that the unity of
the empire preserved for us by God should be rent by a human act of division
out of regard for our sons, lest perchance by this act there should
arise scandal in the church and I myself offer Him in whose power lie the
laws of all kingdoms." The Roman church was not sympathetic to this
continual division of kingdoms, since it weakened the hold the clergy held
on the political process.
the death of his first wife he married Judith of Bavaria. They had a son,
the future Charles the Bald. Judith was aggressive in seeking to establish
an inheritance for him and in 829 Louis carved out a territory for him
in Alemania. This triggered revolts in 830 and 833, with an additional
attempt at partition in 831, with a larger share for Charles. In 833, after
revolt, Louis took Pippin's kingdom from him and transferred it to Charles.
Louis of Bavaria also revolted against his father.
Louis died in 840. After three years of conflict his surviving sons came to a division of the kingdom. Charles received Francia, the heart of what emerged as the nation state of France, Lothar the Lotharingie, which evolved into Italy and Louis the German Allemagne. This was recognized by the Treaty of Verdun in 842. The Frankish tradition of dividing the the kingdom made for continual strife and a series of unifications and separations. It left legacy that impaired the emergence of a strong nation state.
For background on the events leading up to the Treaty of Verdun please visit the Battle of Fontenoy page.
Riche, The Carolingians, U of Pennsylvania Press, 1993
Les Souverains de France, Maurice Griffe Editions