history of Normandy (1.)

The Carolingians

Stammbaum der Karolinger aus dem 12. Jahrhundert, public domain

family tree of the Carolingians, 12th century, public domain

During the 9th century the Vikings (mostly Danes but also Norvegians) were raiding northern and central France. They plundered villages, cities and monasteries along the rivers.

The carolingian emperor Lothar I. gave Italy to his oldest son Ludwig II.. Ludwig II. was crowned king by the pope 844 and emperor 850. 855 Ludwig II. gave his son Karl the region around the river Rhone, his son Lothar II. the northern part of the empire, Lotharingia. The death of Karl, who had no children, led to a division of his region in favour of his brothers, but a little later (879) the region of the Rhône- Saône- dip became the first non-carolingian kingdom. Led by Boso of Vienne, who was related to the Carolingians by marriage. He was followed 887/88 by more non-carolingian kings, like the Robertian Odo.

The Robertians were a franconian aristocratic family. They are named after the frequent first name Robert, also with it’s derivatives Chrodobertus or Rupert. The Robertians are the oldest generation of the Capetians – the term Capetians was used for that family after Hugo Capet became king of France(987).

Karte des historischen Frankenreiches, public domain

Map of the historic Francia, public domain

Ludwig der Deutsche (the German) tried 856 and 858, to get control over Francia occidentalis, but he had to cancel his plans because of the resistance of the westfranconian bishops. Karl der Kahle had the westfranconian bishops by his side.

Francia occidentalis is the westfranconian empire, that was given to Karl der Kahle (the Bald) 843 due to the treaty of Verdun; with the border of the rivers Schelde, Maas and Rhône. It’s the area that became modern France later.

Lothar II. tried to appoint his son Hugo as his successor. Hugo was his born in the Friedelehe (open marriage) with Waldrada. The term “Friedel” derives from “friudiea”, which means something like “lady-love”. Marriages of that kind were love matches and it was allowed to have more than one of those at the same time, unlike the Muntehe. In a Muntehe the husband had the tutelage over his wife. Friedelmarriages were mostly made by women of higher class, that didn’t want to lose their status in a marriage with a lower class husband, like the opposite of a morganatic marriage. Friedelmarriages were not accepted by the christian church.

The church refused to accept Hugo as successor of Lothar II., same for his uncles Karl der Kahle and Ludwig der Deutsche.

The latter divided Lothars II. empire after his death in the treaty Meerssen 870 and defied the inheritance rights of their other nephew emperor Ludwigs II..
Lothar II. has died trying to get a divorce of his Muntmarriage with Theutberga in Piacenza in northern Italy.

Ludwig der Deutsche, public domain

Ludwig der Deutsche on the sheath of the Reichsschwert (sword of the empire), etching 1751, public domain

Karl der Kahle became the next emperor 875, after the death of Ludwig II. Ludwig der Deutsche 876 and Karl der Kahle planned to get the eastern part of his weakened empire Lotharingia. Ludwig der Deutsche had divided his empire among his sons, Karlmann (Bavaria), KARL III. (Alemannia, Rhaetia and Alsace) and Ludwig der Jüngere (the Younger) (Rhine- and Mainfranconia and northern areas). The victory of Ludwig der Jüngere in the battle of Andernach baffled Karls der Kahle plans, and even in Italy Karlmann asserted his rights.

After the death of Karl der Kahle 877 and of his son Ludwig der Stammler (879) , who was barely able to govern, fights about the regnancy broke out in western Franconia.
In eastern Franconia Karl III. got the imperial crown 881.
Karl der Einfältige (the Naive), the illegitimate son of Ludig der Stammler (the Babbler) was crowned westfranconian king 893 in Reims.

In Eastfranconia Arnulf von Kärnten became king, an illegitimate Son of Karlmann, the son of Ludwig der Deutsche. Illegitimacy has always been a blemish, that’s why Arnulf initially wasn’t taken into consideration concerning the succession to the throne. King Karlmann gave his only son ( who was born around 850) 876 the margraviates Carinthia and Pannonia. But emperor Karl III., der Dicke (the fat), proved a failure, and the german rulers 887 summoned Arnulf and elected him as eastfranconian king. Arnulf appointed his son Zwentibold as king of Lotharingia 893.

Arnulf won a battle against the Normans at Löwen in Belgium 891, became king of Italy in 894 and was crowned last emperor of the Carolingians by the pope Formosus. Arnulf died in December 899 in Regensburg in Germany.

His son Ludwig became king and pushed Zwentibold aside. Ludwig was the last Carolingian.

The end of the battles between Normans and westfranconian empire is marked by the treaty of St. Clair sur Epte 911. The leader of the Normans, Rollo signed the treaty with the westfranconian emperor Karl der Einfältige. The Normans promised to become christians and took an oath of fealty to Karl and promised to guard the coasts against other Normans. In return Karl gave Rollo the Normandy as fiefdom and settlement area.

Uff, that took long and was very confusing. I’d wish they would have more first names and not only Karl, Ludwig and Lothar.

Rollos Grab in der Kathedrale von Rouen, Foto von Wikimedia Benutzer Urban, GFD Lizenz

Rollos grave in the cathedral of Rouen (Normandy), photo by Urban, GFD licence

Rollo died 931.


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