Kingdom of the East Franks
East Francia and its vassal territories after the Treaty of Verdun of 843.
|Capital||Various, including Frankfurt and Ratisbon (Regensburg)|
|Common languages|| Old High German |
Old Low German
limited use of Old Franconian and Latin in official and church matters; vassal territories also used Slavic and various other languages
|King of the Franks|
|Louis the German (first)|
• 936–962 (title held until his death in 973)
|Otto the Great|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
Part of a series on the
|History of Germany|
|Early Modern period|
East Francia (Latin: Francia orientalis) or the Kingdom of the East Franks (regnum Francorum orientalium) was a successor state of Charlemagne's empire ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911. It was created through the Treaty of Verdun (843) which divided the former empire into three kingdoms.
The east–west division, enforced by the Germanic-Latin language split, "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms",with East Francia becoming the Kingdom of Germany and West Francia the Kingdom of France.
In August 843, after three years of civil war following the death of emperor Louis the Pious on 20 June 840, the Treaty of Verdun was signed by his three sons and heirs. The division of lands was largely based on the Meuse, Scheldt, Saone and Rhone rivers. While the eldest son Lothair I kept the imperial title and the kingdom of Middle Francia, Charles the Bald received West Francia and Louis the German received the eastern portion of mostly Germanic-speaking lands: the Duchy of Saxony, Austrasia, Alamannia, the Duchy of Bavaria, and the March of Carinthia.
The contemporary East Frankish Annales Fuldenses describes the kingdom being "divided in three" and Louis "acceding to the eastern part".The West Frankish Annales Bertiniani describe the extent of Louis's lands: "at the assigning of portions, Louis obtained all the land beyond the Rhine river, but on this side of the Rhine also the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz with their counties". The kingdom of West Francia went to Louis's younger half-brother Charles the Bald, and between their realms a kingdom of Middle Francia, incorporating Italy, was given to their elder brother, the Emperor Lothair I.
While Eastern Francia contained about a third of the traditional Frankish heartland of Austrasia, the rest consisted mostly of lands annexed to the Frankish empire between the fifth and the eighth century.These included the duchies of Alamannia, Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, as well as the northern and eastern marches with the Danes and Slavs. The contemporary chronicler Regino of Prüm wrote that the "different people" (diversae nationes populorum) of East Francia, mostly Germanic- and Slavic-speaking, could be "distinguished from each other by race, customs, language and laws" (genere moribus lingua legibus).
In 869 Lotharingia was divided between West and East Francia under the Treaty of Meersen. The short lived Middle Francia turned out to be the theatre of Franco-German wars up until the 20th century. All the Frankish lands were briefly reunited by Charles the Fat, but in 888 he was deposed by nobles and in East Francia Arnulf of Carinthia was elected king. The increasing weakness of royal power in East Francia meant that dukes of Bavaria, Swabia, Franconia, Saxony and Lotharingia turned from appointed nobles into hereditary rulers of their territories. Kings increasingly had to deal with regional rebellions.
In 911 Saxon, Franconian, Bavarian and Swabian nobles no longer followed the tradition of electing someone from the Carolingian dynasty as a king to rule over them and on 10 November, 911 elected one of their own as the new king. Because Conrad I was one of the dukes, he found it very hard to establish his authority over them. Duke Henry of Saxony was in rebellion against Conrad I until 915 and struggle against Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria cost Conrad I his life. On his deathbed Conrad I chose Henry of Saxony as the most capable successor. This kingship changed from Franks to Saxons, who had suffered greatly during the conquests of Charlemagne. Henry, who was elected to kingship by only Saxons and Franconians at Fritzlar, had to subdue other dukes and concentrated on creating a state apparatus which was fully utilized by his son and successor Otto I. By his death in July 936 Henry had prevented collapse of royal power as was happening in West Francia and left a much stronger kingdom to his successor Otto I. After Otto I was crowned as the Emperor in Rome in 962 the era of the Holy Roman Empire began.
The term orientalis Francia originally referred to Franconia and orientales Franci to its inhabitants, the ethnic Franks living east of the Rhine. The use of the term in a broader sense, to refer to the eastern kingdom, was an innovation of Louis the German's court. Since eastern Francia could be identified with old Austrasia, the Frankish heartland, Louis's choice of terminology hints at his ambitions.Under his grandson, Arnulf of Carinthia, the terminology was largely dropped and the kingdom, when it was referred to by name, was simply Francia.
When it was necessary, as in the Treaty of Bonn (921) with the West Franks, the "eastern" qualifier appeared. Henry I refers to himself as rex Francorum orientalium, "king of the East Franks", in the treaty.By the 12th century, the historian Otto of Freising, in using the Carolingian terminology, had to explain that the "eastern kingdom of the Franks" (orientale Francorum regnum) was "now called the kingdom of the Germans" (regnum Teutonicorum).
The regalia of the Carolingian empire had been divided by Louis the Pious on his deathbed between his two faithful sons, Charles the Bald and Lothair. Louis the German, then in rebellion, received nothing of the crown jewels or liturgical books associated with Carolingian kingship. Thus the symbols and rituals of East Frankish kingship were created from scratch.
From an early date the East Frankish kingdom had a more formalised notion of royal election than West Francia. Around 900, a liturgy (ordo) for the coronation of a king, called the early German ordo, was written for a private audience. It required the coronator to ask the "designated prince" (princeps designatus) whether he was willing to defend the church and the people and then to turn and ask the people whether they were willing to be subject to the prince and obey his laws. The latter then shouted, "Fiat, fiat!" (Let it be done!), an act that later became known as "Recognition". This is the earliest known coronation ordo with a Recognition in it, and it was subsequently incorporated in the influential Pontificale Romano-Germanicum.
In June 888, King Arnulf of Carinthia convened a council at Mainz. In attendance were the three archbishops of the East Frankish kingdom—Wilbert of Cologne, Liutbert of Mainz and Ratbod of Trier—and the West Frankish archbishops of Reims (Fulk) and Rouen (John I) along with the bishops of Beauvais and Noyon. According to Walter Ullmann, the presence of the West Franks was on account of the "barren ecclesiastical thought" of the East, and the council proceeded to adopt West Frankish ideas of royal sacrality and anointing. It was "the first phase in the process of assimilation of the two halves of the Carolingian inheritance".In another church council at Tribur in 895, the prelates declared that Arnulf was chosen by God and not by men and Arnulf in turn swore to defend the church and its privileges from all its enemies. When Arnulf died in 899, his minor son, Louis IV, was crowned, but not anointed, and placed under the tutelage of Archbishop Hatto I of Mainz. Louis's coronation was the first in German history. When Louis died in late September 911, Duke Conrad I, then the Duke of Franconia, was elected to replace him on 10 November and he became the first German king to receive unction.
The three basic services monasteries could owe to the sovereign in the Frankish realms were military service, an annual donation of money or work, and prayers for the royal family and the kingdom. Collectively, these were known by the technical term servitium regis ("king's service").According to the evidence of the Notitia de servitio monasteriorum , a list of monasteries and the services they owed drawn up around 817, the burden of military and monetary service was more severe in west Francia than in east Francia. Only four monasteries listed as "beyond the Rhine" (ultra Rhenum) owed these services: Lorsch, Schuttern, Mondsee and Tegernsee.
Arnulf of Carinthia was the duke of Carinthia who overthrew his uncle, Emperor Charles the Fat, became the Carolingian king of East Francia from 887, the disputed King of Italy from 894 and the disputed Holy Roman Emperor from February 22, 896 until his death at Regensburg, Bavaria.
Henry the Fowler was the Duke of Saxony from 912 and the King of East Francia from 919 until his death in 936. As the first non-Frankish king of East Francia, he established the Ottonian dynasty of kings and emperors, and he is generally considered to be the founder of the medieval German state, known until then as East Francia. An avid hunter, he obtained the epithet "the Fowler" because he was allegedly fixing his birding nets when messengers arrived to inform him that he was to be king.
The Ottonian dynasty was a Saxon dynasty of German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I. It is also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin in the German stem duchy of Saxony. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings, after its earliest known member Count Liudolf and one of its primary leading-names. The Ottonian rulers were successors of the Germanic king Conrad I who was the only Germanic king to rule in East Francia after the Carolingian dynasty and before this dynasty.
The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of the Lombards in Italy from 774. In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in an effort to transfer the Roman Empire from east to west. The Carolingian Empire is considered the first phase in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806.
Louis the Child, sometimes called Louis III or Louis IV, was the king of East Francia from 900 until his death in 911 and was the last ruler of the Carolingian dynasty there. He succeeded his father, king Arnulf of Carinthia in 899, when he was six and reigned until his death aged 17 or 18. Louis also inherited the crown of Lotharingia with the death of his elder illegitimate half-brother Zwentibold in 900. During his reign the country was ravaged by Magyar raids.
Charles III, called the Simple or the Straightforward, was the king of West Francia from 898 until 922 and the king of Lotharingia from 911 until 919–23. He was a member of the Carolingian dynasty.
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family founded by Charles Martel with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The dynasty consolidated its power in the 8th century, eventually making the offices of mayor of the palace and dux et princeps Francorum hereditary, and becoming the de facto rulers of the Franks as the real powers behind the Merovingian throne. In 751 the Merovingian dynasty which had ruled the Germanic Franks was overthrown with the consent of the Papacy and the aristocracy, and Pepin the Short, son of Martel, was crowned King of the Franks. The Carolingian dynasty reached its peak in 800 with the crowning of Charlemagne as the first Emperor of Romans in the West in over three centuries. His death in 814 began an extended period of fragmentation of the Carolingian Empire and decline that would eventually lead to the evolution of the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire.
Lotharingia was a medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire and a later duchy of the Ottonian Empire, comprising the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), Saarland (Germany), and Lorraine (France). It was named after King Lothair II who received this territory after the kingdom of Middle Francia of his father Lothair I was divided among his sons in 855.
Charles III, also known as Charles the Fat, was the emperor of the Carolingian Empire from 881 to 888. A member of the Carolingian dynasty, Charles was the youngest son of Louis the German and Hemma, and a great-grandson of Charlemagne. He was the last Carolingian emperor of legitimate birth and the last to rule over all the realms of the Franks.
Conrad I, called the Younger, was the king of East Francia from 911 to 918. He was the first king not of the Carolingian dynasty, the first to be elected by the nobility and the first to be anointed. He was chosen as the king by the rulers of the East Frankish stem duchies after the death of young king Louis the Child. Ethnically Frankish, prior to this election he had ruled the Duchy of Franconia from 906.
Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic Alemanni peoples after they broke through the Roman limes in 213. The Alemanni expanded from the Main River basin during the 3rd century, raiding Roman provinces and settling on the left bank of the Rhine River beginning in the 4th century.
Arnulf, also known as the Bad or the Evil, a member of the Luitpolding dynasty, held the title of Duke of Bavaria from about 907 until his death in 937.
The Duchy of Bavaria was a frontier region in the southeastern part of the Merovingian kingdom from the sixth through the eighth century. It was settled by Bavarian tribes and ruled by dukes (duces) under Frankish overlordship. A new duchy was created from this area during the decline of the Carolingian Empire in the late ninth century. It became one of the stem duchies of the East Frankish realm which evolved as the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.
A stem duchy was a constituent duchy of the Kingdom of Germany at the time of the extinction of the Carolingian dynasty and through the transitional period leading to the formation of the Holy Roman Empire later in the 10th century. The Carolingians had dissolved the original tribal duchies of the Frankish Empire in the 8th century. As the Carolingian Empire declined in the late 9th century, the old tribal areas assumed new identities as subdivisions of the realm. The five stem duchies were: Bavaria, Franconia, Lotharingia (Lorraine), Saxony and Swabia (Alemannia). The Salian emperors retained the stem duchies as the major divisions of Germany, but they became increasingly obsolete during the early high-medieval period under the Hohenstaufen, and Frederick Barbarossa finally abolished them in 1180 in favour of more numerous territorial duchies.
The terms Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom denote the mostly Germanic-speaking Eastern Frankish kingdom, which was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, especially after the kingship passed from Frankish kings to the Saxon Ottonian dynasty in 919. The king was elected, initially by the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire, which also included the Kingdom of Italy and, after 1032, the Kingdom of Burgundy.
In medieval history, West Francia or the Kingdom of the West Franks refers to the western part of the Frankish Empire established by Charlemagne. It represents the earliest stage of the Kingdom of France, lasting from about 840 until 987. West Francia emerged from the partition of the Carolingian Empire in 843 under the Treaty of Verdun following the death of Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious.
The March of Carinthia was a frontier district (march) of the Carolingian Empire created in 889. Before it was a march, it had been a principality or duchy ruled by native-born Slavic princes at first independently and then under Bavarian and subsequently Frankish suzerainty. The realm was divided into counties which, after the succession of the Carinthian duke to the East Frankish throne, were united in the hands of a single authority. When the march of Carinthia was raised into a Duchy in 976, a new Carinthian march was created. It became the later March of Styria.
The Conradines or Conradiner were a dynasty of Franconian counts and dukes in the 8th to 11th Century, named after Duke Conrad the Elder and his son King Conrad I of Germany.
Otto I, traditionally known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda.