Louis the Pious

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Louis the Pious
Emperor of the Romans
Ludwik I Pobozny.jpg
Louis the Pious, contemporary depiction from 826 as a miles Christi (soldier of Christ), with a poem of Rabanus Maurus overlaid. Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Codex Reg. lat 124, f.4v
Emperor of the Carolingian Empire
Reign813–840 [lower-alpha 1]
Coronation 11 September 813 [lower-alpha 2]
5 October 816 [lower-alpha 3]
Predecessor Charlemagne
Successor Lothair I
King of the Franks
King of Aquitaine
Predecessor Charlemagne as
King of the Franks
Successor Pepin I
Died20 June 840(840-06-20) (aged 61–62)
Spouses Ermengarde of Hesbaye
Judith of Bavaria
House Carolingian
Father Charlemagne
Mother Hildegarde
Religion Chalcedonian Christianity

Louis the Pious [lower-alpha 4] (Latin : Hludowicus Pius; German : Ludwig der Fromme; French : Louis le Pieux; 778 – 20 June 840), [2] also called the Fair and the Debonaire, was King of the Franks and co-emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813. He was also King of Aquitaine from 781. As the only surviving son of Charlemagne and Hildegard, he became the sole ruler of the Franks after his father's death in 814, a position that he held until his death except from November 833 to March 834, when he was deposed.


During his reign in Aquitaine, Louis was charged with the defence of the empire's southwestern frontier. He conquered Barcelona from the Emirate of Córdoba in 801 and asserted Frankish authority over Pamplona and the Basques south of the Pyrenees in 812. As emperor, he included his adult sons, Lothair, Pepin and Louis, in the government and sought to establish a suitable division of the realm among them. The first decade of his reign was characterised by several tragedies and embarrassments, notably the brutal treatment of his nephew Bernard of Italy for which Louis atoned in a public act of self-debasement.

In the 830s his empire was torn by civil war between his sons that was only exacerbated by Louis's attempts to include his son Charles by his second wife in the succession plans. Though his reign ended on a high note, with order largely restored to his empire, it was followed by three years of civil war. Louis is generally compared unfavourably to his father but faced distinctly different problems. [3]

Birth and rule in Aquitaine

Louis was born in 778 while his father Charlemagne was on campaign in Spain, at the Carolingian villa of Cassinogilum, according to Einhard and the anonymous chronicler called Astronomus; the place is usually identified with Chasseneuil, near Poitiers. [4] He was the third son of Charlemagne by his wife Hildegard. [5] He had a twin brother named Lothair, who died young. Louis and Lothair were given names from the old Merovingian dynasty, possibly to suggest a connection. [6]

Louis was crowned King of Aquitaine as a three-year-old child in 781. [7] In the following year he was sent to Aquitaine accompanied by regents and a court. Charlemagne constituted this sub-kingdom in order to secure the border of his realm after the destructive war against the Aquitanians and Basques under Waifar (capitulated c. 768) and later Hunald II, which culminated in the disastrous Battle of Roncesvalles (778). Charlemagne wanted Louis to grow up in the area where he was to reign. However, wary of the customs his son may have been assimilating into in Aquitaine, Charlemagne, who had remarried to Fastrada after the death of Hildegard, sent for Louis in 785. Louis presented himself in Saxony at the royal Council of Paderborn dressed in Basque costumes along with other youths in the same garment, which may have made a good impression in Toulouse, since the Basques of Vasconia were a mainstay of the Aquitanian army. [5]

In 794, Charlemagne gave four former Gallo-Roman villas to Louis, in the thought that he would take in each in turn as winter residence: Doué, Ebreuil, Angeac and the Chasseneuil. Charlemagne's intention was to see all his sons brought up as natives of their given territories, wearing the national costume of the region and ruling by the local customs. Thus were the children sent to their respective realms at a young age. The marches—peripheral principalities—played a vital role as bulwarks against exterior threats to the empire. Louis reigned over the Spanish March. In 797, Barcelona, the largest city of the Marca, fell to the Franks when Zeid, its governor, rebelled against Córdoba and, failing, handed it to them. The Córdoban authority recaptured it in 799. However, Louis marched the entire army of his kingdom, including Gascons with their duke Sancho I of Gascony, Provençals under Leibulf, and Goths under Bera, over the Pyrenees and besieged it for seven months, wintering there from 800 to 801, when it capitulated. [8] [9] King Louis was formally invested with his armour in 791 at the age of fourteen. However, the princes were not given independence from central authority as Charlemagne wished to implant in them the concepts of empire and unity by sending them on remote military expeditions. Louis joined his brother Pippin at the Mezzogiorno campaign in Italy against the Duke Grimoald of Benevento at least once. [5]

Charlemagne crowns Louis the Pious Charlemagne et Louis le Pieux.jpg
Charlemagne crowns Louis the Pious

Louis was one of Charlemagne's three legitimate sons to survive infancy. His twin brother, Lothair, died during infancy. According to the Frankish custom of partible inheritance, Louis had expected to share his inheritance with his brothers, Charles the Younger, King of Neustria, and Pepin, King of Italy. In the Divisio Regnorum of 806, Charlemagne had slated Charles the Younger as his successor as ruler of the Frankish heartland of Neustria and Austrasia, while giving Pepin the Iron Crown of Lombardy, which Charlemagne possessed by conquest. To Louis's kingdom of Aquitaine, he added Septimania, Provence, and part of Burgundy. However, Charlemagne's other legitimate sons died—Pepin in 810 and Charles in 811—and Louis was crowned co-emperor with an already ailing Charlemagne in Aachen on 11 September 813. On his father's death in 814, he inherited the entire Carolingian Empire and all its possessions (with the sole exception of the kingdom of Italy; although within Louis's empire, in 813 Charlemagne had ordered that Bernard, Pepin's son, be made and called king). [10] [5] [11]


Europe in 814 Map Europe in 814- Touring Club Italiano CART-TRC-50 02.jpg
Europe in 814
Denarius of Louis Denier Louis le Pieux.jpg
Denarius of Louis

While at his palace of Doué, Anjou, Louis received news of his father's death. [12] He rushed to Aachen and crowned himself emperor to shouts of Vivat Imperator Ludovicus by the attending nobles. [12]

Upon arriving at the imperial court in Aachen in an atmosphere of suspicion and anxiety on both sides, Louis's first act was to purge the palace of what he considered undesirable. He destroyed the old Germanic pagan tokens and texts which had been collected by Charlemagne. He further exiled members of the court he deemed morally "dissolute", including some of his own relatives. [13]

He quickly sent all of his many unmarried (half-)sisters and nieces to nunneries in order to avoid any possible entanglements from overly powerful brothers-in-law. [12] Sparing his illegitimate half-brothers Drogo, Hugh and Theoderic, he forced his father's cousins, Adalard and Wala to be tonsured, sending them into monastic exile at St-Philibert on the island of Noirmoutier and Corbie, respectively, despite the latter's initial loyalty. [14]

He made Bernard, margrave of Septimania, and Ebbo, Archbishop of Reims his chief counsellors. The latter, born a serf, was raised by Louis to that office, but betrayed him later. He retained some of his father's ministers, such as Elisachar, abbot of St. Maximin near Trier, and Hildebold, Archbishop of Cologne. Later he replaced Elisachar with Hildwin, abbot of many monasteries. [15]

He also employed Benedict of Aniane (the Second Benedict), a Septimanian Visigoth, whom he made abbot of the newly established Inden Monastery at Aix-la-Chapelle and charged him with the reform of the Frankish church. [16] One of Benedict's primary reforms was to ensure that all religious houses in Louis's realm adhered to the Rule of Saint Benedict, named for its creator, Benedict of Nursia. From the start of his reign, his coinage imitated his father Charlemagne's portrait, which gave it an image of imperial authority and prestige. [12] In 816, Pope Stephen IV, who had succeeded Leo III, visited Reims and again crowned Louis on Sunday 5 October. [5] [15] [17] As a result, most French kings were crowned in Reims, following the custom established by Louis the Pious.

Ordinatio imperii

On 9 April 817, Maundy Thursday, Louis and his court were crossing a wooden gallery from the cathedral to the palace in Aachen, when the gallery collapsed, killing many. Louis, having barely survived and feeling the imminent danger of death, began planning for his succession. Three months later among the approval of his Aachen court and the clergy he issued an imperial decree of eighteen chapters, the Ordinatio Imperii, that laid out plans for an orderly dynastic succession. The term Ordinatio Imperii is a modern (19th-century) creation. The decree is called divisio imperii in the only surviving contemporary manuscript. [5]

In 815, Louis had already given his two eldest sons a share in the government, when he had sent his elder sons Lothair and Pepin to govern Bavaria and Aquitaine, respectively, though without the royal titles. He proceeded to divide the empire among his three sons:

If one of the subordinate kings died, he was to be succeeded by his sons. If he died childless, Lothair would inherit his kingdom. In the event of Lothair dying without sons, one of Louis the Pious's younger sons would be chosen to replace him by "the people". Above all, the Empire would not be divided: the Emperor would rule supreme over the subordinate kings, whose obedience to him was mandatory.

With this settlement, Louis attempted to combine his sense for the Empire's unity, supported by the clergy, while at the same time providing positions for all of his sons. Instead of treating his sons equally in status and land, he elevated his first-born son Lothair above his younger brothers and gave him the largest part of the Empire as his share.

The decree failed to create order as it omitted Bernard, who immediately began to conspire. When Louis began to issue changes in favor of his second wife Judith's son Charles the Bald, his sons Lothar, Pepin and Louis refused to accept. The rule of sons being favoured over brothers in succession remained also untouched. [5]

Bernard's rebellion and Louis's penance

Louis the Pious doing penance at Attigny in 822 Louis the Pious.jpg
Louis the Pious doing penance at Attigny in 822

The ordinatio imperii of Aachen left Bernard in Italy in an uncertain and subordinate position as king of Italy, and he began plotting to declare independence. Upon hearing of this, Louis immediately directed his army towards Italy, and headed for Chalon-sur-Saône. Intimidated by the emperor's swift action, Bernard met his uncle at Chalon, under invitation, and surrendered. He was taken to Aachen by Louis, who there had him tried and condemned to death for treason. Louis had the sentence commuted to blinding, which was duly carried out; Bernard did not survive the ordeal, however, dying after two days of agony. Others also suffered: Theodulf of Orléans, in eclipse since the death of Charlemagne, was accused of having supported the rebellion, and was thrown into a monastic prison, dying soon afterwards; it was rumored that he had been poisoned. [18] The fate of his nephew deeply marked Louis's conscience for the rest of his life.

In 822, as a deeply religious man, Louis performed penance for causing Bernard's death, at his palace of Attigny near Vouziers in the Ardennes, before Pope Paschal I, and a council of clerics and nobles of the realm that had been convened for the reconciliation of Louis with his three younger half-brothers, Hugo whom he soon made abbot of St-Quentin, Drogo whom he soon made Bishop of Metz, and Theodoric. This act of contrition, partly in emulation of Theodosius I, had the effect of greatly reducing his prestige as a Frankish ruler, for he also recited a list of minor offences about which no secular ruler of the time would have taken any notice. He also made the egregious error of releasing Wala and Adalard from their monastic confinements, placing the former in a position of power in the court of Lothair and the latter in a position in his own house. [5]

Frontier wars

Louis on a denarius from Sens, 818-823 Louis le Pieu denier Sens 818 823.jpg
Louis on a denarius from Sens, 818–823

At the start of Louis's reign, the many tribes—Danes, Obotrites, Slovenes, Bretons and Basques—which inhabited his frontierlands were still in awe of the Frankish emperor's power and dared not stir up any trouble. In 816, however, the Sorbs rebelled and were quickly followed by Slavomir, chief of the Obotrites, who was captured and abandoned by his own people, being replaced by Ceadrag in 818. Soon, Ceadrag too had turned against the Franks and allied with the Danes, who were to become the greatest menace of the Franks in a short time.

A greater Slavic menace was gathering on the southeast. There, Ljudevit, duke of Slavs in Lower Pannonia, was harassing the border at the Drava and Sava rivers. The margrave of Friuli, Cadolah, was sent out against him, but he died on campaign and, in 820, his margravate was invaded by Slovenes. In 821, an alliance was made with Borna, duke of the Dalmatia, and Liudewit was brought to heel. In 824 several Slav tribes in the north-western parts of Bulgaria acknowledged Louis's suzerainty and after he was reluctant to settle the matter peacefully with the Bulgarian ruler Omurtag, in 827 the Bulgarians attacked the Franks in the March of Pannonia and regained their lands. [19]

On the far southern edge of his great realm, Louis had to control the Lombard princes of Benevento whom Charlemagne had never subjugated. He extracted promises from Princes Grimoald IV and Sico, but to no effect.

On the southwestern frontier, problems commenced early when c. 812, Louis the Pious crossed the western Pyrenees 'to settle matters' in Pamplona. The expedition made its way back north, where it narrowly escaped an ambush attempt arranged by the Basques in the pass of Roncevaux thanks to the precautions he took, i.e. hostages. Séguin, duke of Gascony, was then deposed by Louis in 816, possibly for failing to suppress or collaborating with the Basque revolt south of the western Pyrenees, so sparking off a Basque uprising that was duly put down by the Frankish emperor in Dax. Seguin was replaced by Lupus III, who was dispossessed in 818 by the emperor. In 820 an assembly at Quierzy-sur-Oise decided to send an expedition against the Cordoban caliphate (827). The counts in charge of the army, Hugh, count of Tours, and Matfrid, count of Orléans, were slow in acting and the expedition came to naught.

First civil war

Louis's son Charles the Bald as depicted in the Vivian Bible, c. 845 Bibliotheque nationale de France - Bible de Vivien Ms. Latin 1 folio 423r detail Le comte Vivien offre le manuscrit de la Bible faite a l'abbaye de Saint-Martin de Tours a Charles le Chauve.jpg
Louis's son Charles the Bald as depicted in the Vivian Bible, c. 845

In 818, as Louis was returning from a campaign to Brittany, he was greeted by news of the death of his wife, Ermengarde. Ermengarde was the daughter of Ingerman, the duke of Hesbaye. Louis had been close to his wife, who had been involved in policymaking. It was rumoured that she had played a part in her nephew's death and Louis himself believed her own death was divine retribution for that event. It took many months for his courtiers and advisors to convince him to remarry, but eventually he did, in 820, to Judith, daughter of Welf, count of Altdorf. In 823 Judith gave birth to a son, who was named Charles.

The birth of this son damaged the Partition of Aachen, as Louis's attempts to provide for his fourth son met with stiff resistance from his older sons, and the last two decades of his reign were marked by civil war. At Worms in 829, Louis gave Alemannia to Charles, with the title of king or duke (historians differ on this), thus enraging his son and co-emperor Lothair, whose promised share was thereby diminished. [20] An insurrection was soon at hand.

With the urging of the vengeful Wala and the cooperation of his brothers, Lothair accused Judith of having committed adultery with Bernard of Septimania, even suggesting Bernard to be the true father of Charles. Ebbo and Hildwin abandoned the emperor at that point, Bernard having risen to greater heights than either of them. Agobard, Archbishop of Lyon, and Jesse of Amiens, bishop of Amiens, too, opposed the redivision of the empire and lent their episcopal prestige to the rebels.

In 830, at Wala's insistence that Bernard of Septimania was plotting against him, Pepin of Aquitaine led an army of Gascons, with the support of the Neustrian magnates, all the way to Paris. At Verberie, Louis the German joined him. At that time, the emperor returned from another campaign in Brittany to find his empire at war with itself. He marched as far as Compiègne, an ancient royal town, before being surrounded by Pepin's forces and captured. Judith was incarcerated at Poitiers and Bernard fled to Barcelona. [19]

Then Lothair finally set out with a large Lombard army, but Louis had promised his sons Louis the German and Pepin of Aquitaine greater shares of the inheritance, prompting them to shift loyalties in favour of their father. When Lothair tried to call a general council of the realm in Nijmegen, in the heart of Austrasia, the Austrasians and Rhinelanders came with a following of armed retainers, and the disloyal sons were forced to free their father and bow at his feet (831). Lothair was pardoned, but disgraced and banished to Italy. [19]

Pepin returned to Aquitaine and Judith—after being forced to humiliate herself with a solemn oath of innocence—to Louis's court. Only Wala was severely dealt with, making his way to a secluded monastery on the shores of Lake Geneva. Although Hilduin, abbot of Saint Denis, was exiled to Paderborn and Elisachar and Matfrid were deprived of their honours north of the Alps, they did not lose their freedom. [5]

Second civil war

The next revolt occurred a mere two years later, in 832. The disaffected Pepin was summoned to his father's court, where he was so poorly received he left against his father's orders. Immediately, fearing that Pepin would be stirred up to revolt by his nobles and desiring to reform his morals, Louis the Pious summoned all his forces to meet in Aquitaine in preparation of an uprising, but Louis the German garnered an army of Slav allies and conquered Swabia before the emperor could react. Once again the elder Louis divided his vast realm. At Jonac, he declared Charles king of Aquitaine and deprived Pepin (he was less harsh with the younger Louis), restoring the whole rest of the empire to Lothair, not yet involved in the civil war. Lothair was, however, interested in usurping his father's authority. His ministers had been in contact with Pepin and may have convinced him and Louis the German to rebel, promising him Alemannia, the kingdom of Charles.

Soon Lothair, with the support of Pope Gregory IV, whom he had confirmed in office without his father's support, joined the revolt in 833. While Louis was at Worms gathering a new force, Lothair marched north. Louis marched south. The armies met on the plains of the Rothfeld. There, Gregory met the emperor and may have tried to sow dissension amongst his ranks. Soon much of Louis's army had evaporated before his eyes, and he ordered his few remaining followers to go, because "it would be a pity if any man lost his life or limb on my account." The resigned emperor was taken to Saint-Médard de Soissons, his son Charles to Prüm, and the queen to Tortona. The despicable show of disloyalty and disingenuousness earned the site the name Field of Lies, or Lügenfeld, or Campus Mendacii, ubi plurimorum fidelitas exstincta est. [21]

Louis on a sesquisolidus, essentially Roman in design Louis le Pieux sesquisolidus 814 840.jpg
Louis on a sesquisolidus , essentially Roman in design

On 13 November 833, Ebbo, with Agobard of Lyon, presided over a synod at the Church of Saint Medard in Soissons which saw Louis undertake public penance for the second time in his reign. The penitential ritual that was undertaken began when Louis arrived at the church and confessed multiple times to the crimes levied against him. The crimes had been historic and recent, with accusations of oath breaking, violation of the public peace and inability to control his adulterous wife, Judith of Bavaria. [23] Afterwards, he threw his sword belt at the base of the altar and received judgement through the imposition of the hands of the bishops. [24] Louis was to live the rest of his life as a penitent, never to hold office again. [25] The penance divided the aristocracy. The anonymous biographer of the Vita Hludovici criticized the whole affair on the basis that God does not judge twice for sins committed and confessed. [26] Lothair's allies were generously compensated. Ebbo himself received the monastery of St Vaast whilst Pepin was allowed to keep the lands reclaimed from his father.

Men like Rabanus Maurus, Louis's younger half-brothers Drogo and Hugh, and Emma, Judith's sister and Louis the German's new wife, worked on the younger Louis to make peace with his father, for the sake of unity of the empire. The humiliation to which Louis was then subjected at Notre Dame in Compiègne turned the loyal barons of Austrasia and Saxony against Lothair, and the usurper fled to Burgundy, skirmishing with loyalists near Chalon-sur-Saône. Louis was restored the next year, on 1 March 834.

On Lothair's return to Italy, Wala, Jesse and Matfrid, formerly count of Orléans, died of a pestilence. On 2 February 835 at the palace Thionville, Louis presided over a general council to deal with the events of the previous year. Known as the Synod of Thionville, Louis himself was reinvested with his ancestral garb and the crown, symbols of Carolingian rulership. Furthermore, the penance of 833 was officially reversed and Archbishop Ebbo officially resigned after confessing to a capital crime, whilst Agobard of Lyon and Bartholmew, Archbishop of Narbonne were also deposed. [27] Later that year Lothair fell ill; once again the events turned in Louis favour.

In 836, however, the family made peace and Louis restored Pepin and Louis, deprived Lothair of all save Italy, and gave it to Charles in a new division, given at the diet of Crémieu. At about that time, the Vikings terrorized and sacked Utrecht and Antwerp. In 837, they went up the Rhine as far as Nijmegen, and their king, Rorik, demanded the weregild of some of his followers killed on previous expeditions before Louis the Pious mustered a massive force and marched against them. They fled, but it would not be the last time they harried the northern coasts. In 838, they even claimed sovereignty over Frisia, but a treaty was confirmed between them and the Franks in 839. Louis the Pious ordered the construction of a North Sea fleet and the sending of missi dominici into Frisia to establish Frankish sovereignty there. [5] [28]

Third civil war

In 837, Louis crowned Charles king over all of Alemannia and Burgundy and gave him a portion of his brother Louis's land. Louis the German promptly rose in revolt, and the emperor redivided his realm again at Quierzy-sur-Oise, giving all of the young king of Bavaria's lands, save Bavaria itself, to Charles. Emperor Louis did not stop there, however. His devotion to Charles knew no bounds. When Pepin died in 838, Louis declared Charles the new king of Aquitaine. The nobles, however, elected Pepin's son Pepin II. When Louis threatened invasion, the third great civil war of his reign broke out. In the spring of 839, Louis the German invaded Swabia, Pepin II and his Gascon subjects fought all the way to the Loire, and the Danes returned to ravage the Frisian coast (sacking Dorestad for a second time).

Lothair, for the first time in a long time, allied with his father and pledged support at Worms in exchange for a redivision of the inheritance. At a final placitum held at Worms on 20 May, Louis gave Bavaria to Louis the German and disinherited Pepin II, leaving the entire remainder of the empire to be divided roughly into an eastern part and a western. Lothair was given the choice of which partition he would inherit and he chose the eastern, including Italy, leaving the western for Charles. The emperor quickly subjugated Aquitaine and had Charles recognised by the nobles and clergy at Clermont-en-Auvergne in 840. Louis then, in a final flash of glory, rushed into Bavaria and forced the younger Louis into the Ostmark. The empire now settled as he had declared it at Worms, he returned in July to Frankfurt am Main, where he disbanded the army. The final civil war of his reign was over. [5] [28]


The parting of the Carolingian Empire by the Treaty of Verdun in 843 Partage de l'Empire carolingien au Traite de Verdun en 843.JPG
The parting of the Carolingian Empire by the Treaty of Verdun in 843

Louis fell ill soon after his final victorious campaigns and retreated to his summer hunting lodge on an island in the Rhine near his palace at Ingelheim. He died on 20 June 840 in the presence of many bishops and clerics and in the arms of his half-brother Drogo as he pardoned his son Louis, proclaimed Lothair emperor and commended the absent Charles and Judith to his protection.

Soon dispute plunged the surviving brothers into yet another civil war. It lasted until 843 with the signing of the Treaty of Verdun, in which the division of the empire into three souvereign entities was settled. West Francia and East Francia became the kernels of modern France and Germany respectively. Middle Francia, that included Burgundy, the Low Countries and northern Italy among other regions was only short-lived until 855 and later reorganized as Lotharingia. [29] The dispute over the kingship of Aquitaine was not fully settled until 860. [5] [15] [30]

Louis was buried in the Abbey of Saint-Arnould in Metz. [31]

Marriage and issue

By his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye (married c. 794), [32] he had three sons and three daughters:

By his second wife, Judith of Bavaria, he had a daughter and a son:

By an unknown concubine (probably Theodelinde of Sens),[ citation needed ] he had two illegitimate children:

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Lotharingia was a medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire. It comprised present-day Lorraine (France), Luxembourg, Saarland (Germany), Netherlands, most of Belgium, and Germany west of the Rhine. It was named after King Lothair II, who received this territory as his share of the Kingdom of Middle Francia which his father, Lothair I, had held.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Francia</span> United Frankish kingdom between the 6th and 9th century

The Kingdom of the Franks, also known as the Frankish Kingdom, the Frankish Empire or Francia, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Frankish Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties during the Early Middle Ages. Francia was among the last surviving Germanic kingdoms from the Migration Period era.

Bernardof Septimania (795–844), son of William of Gellone and cousin of Charlemagne, was the Duke of Septimania and Count of Barcelona from 826 to 832 and again from 835 to his execution, and also Count of Carcassonne from 837. He was appointed to succeed the third Count of Barcelona, Rampon. During his career, Bernard was one of the closest counsellors of the Emperor Louis the Pious, a leading proponent of the war against the Moors, and was an opponent of the interests of the local Visigothic nobility in Iberia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ermengarde of Hesbaye</span> Carolingian Empress from 813 to 818

Ermengardeof Hesbaye, probably a member of the Robertian dynasty, was Carolingian empress from 813 and Queen of the Franks from 814 until her death as the wife of the Carolingian emperor Louis the Pious.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bernard of Italy</span> King of Italy

Bernard was the King of Italy from 810 to 818. He plotted against his uncle, Emperor Louis the Pious, when the latter's Ordinatio Imperii made Bernard a vassal of his cousin Lothair. When his plot was discovered, Louis had him blinded, a procedure which killed him.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pepin I of Aquitaine</span> 9th-century Frankish king

Pepin I or Pepin I of Aquitaine was King of Aquitaine and Duke of Maine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ebbo</span> 9th-century Archbishop of Rheims

Ebbo or Ebo was the Archbishop of Rheims from 816 until 835 and again from 840 to 841. He was born a German serf on the royal demesne of Charlemagne. He was educated at his court and became the librarian and councillor of Louis the Pious, king of Aquitaine, son of Charlemagne. When Louis became emperor, he appointed Ebbo to the see of Rheims, then vacant after the death of Wulfaire.

Wala was a son of Bernard, son of Charles Martel, and one of the principal advisers of his cousin Charlemagne, of Charlemagne's son Louis the Pious, and of Louis's son Lothair I. He succeeded his brother Adalard as abbot of Corbie and its new daughter foundation, Corvey, in 826 or 827. His feast day is 31 August

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Treaty of Prüm</span> 855 treaty partitioning the Carolingian Empire

The Treaty of Prüm, concluded on 19 September 855, was the second of the partition treaties of the Carolingian Empire. As Emperor Lothair I was approaching death, he divided his realm of Middle Francia among his three sons.

Lügenfeld, Lugenfeild, or Field of Lies was the name for a battle/encounter that took place between Louis the Pious, the Carolingian Emperor and his rebellious sons. When his sons and their forces met up near Colmar in Alsace, Louis the Pious' sworn supporters infamously deserted him to join his sons.


  1. Einhard; Stammerer, Notker the (2013). "Chronology". Two Lives of Charlemagne. Penguin UK. ISBN   978-0-14-139410-7.
  2. Latin: Ludovicus or Hludowicus Pius, German: Ludwig der Fromme, French: Louis le Pieux or Louis le Débonnaire, Italian: Ludovico il Pio, Spanish: Luis el Piadoso or Ludovico Pío.
  3. F. L. Ganshof (1957). "Louis the Pious Reconsidered". History. 42 (146). JSTOR: 171–180. doi:10.1111/j.1468-229X.1957.tb02281.x. JSTOR   24403332.
  4. Einhard gives the name of his birthplace as Cassanoilum. In addition to Chasseneuil near Poitiers, scholars have suggested that Louis may have been born at Casseneuil (Lot et Garonne) or at Casseuil on the Garonne near La Réole, where the Dropt flows into the Garonne.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Mayke de Jong. "The Penitential State. Authority and Atonement in the Ages of Louis the Pious (814–840) – 1. Louis the Pious – A boy who became a king". Academia. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  6. Richard E. Sullivan (1995), "The Gentle Voices of Teachers": Aspects of Learning in the Carolingian Age, Ohio State University Press, p. 64 n39, suggests that Charlemagne may have been influenced by the letter he received in about 775 from Cathwulf, who worries that "you [Charles] have few firm columns, I fear, on which to sustain the fortress of God."
  7. Pierre Riche, The Carolingians: The Family who Forged Europe, transl. Michael Idomir Allen, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), 116.
  8. David Levering Lewis (2009). God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570–1215. W. W. Norton. pp. 312–. ISBN   978-0-393-06790-3.
  9. Pierre Riche, The Carolingians:The Family who Forged Europe, 94.
  10. Contreni, John (2021). "Louis I, Holy Roman emperor". Encyclopedia Britannica .
  11. Rutger Kramer (2019). "Framing the Carolingian Reforms". Framing the Carolingian Reforms: The Early Years of Louis the Pious. JSTOR. pp. 31–58. doi:10.2307/j.ctvd1c74c.6. ISBN   9789462982642. JSTOR   j.ctvd1c74c.6 . Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Church Architecture and Liturgy in the Carolingian Era, Michael S. Driscoll, A Companion to the Eucharist in the Middle Ages, ed. Ian Levy, Gary Macy, Kristen Van Ausdall, (Brill, 2012), 194.
  13. Booker, Courtney M (2012). Past Convictions: The Penance of Louis the Pious and the Decline of the Carolingians. doi:10.9783/9780812201383. ISBN   978-0-8122-0138-3.
  14. Church Architecture and Liturgy in the Carolingian Era, Michael S. Driscoll, A Companion to the Eucharist in the Middle Ages, 195.
  15. 1 2 3 Rene Poupardin (2017). Louis the Pious and the Carolingian Kingdoms. Jovian Press. pp. 28–. ISBN   978-1-5378-0424-8.
  16. J. M. Wallace-Hadrill (1983). The Frankish Church. Oxford Scholarship. doi:10.1093/0198269064.001.0001. ISBN   9780198269069.
  17. M. M. Hildebrandt (1992). The External School in Carolingian Society. Brill. pp. 166–. ISBN   90-04-09449-0.
  18. The Frankish Kingdoms, 814–898: The West, Janet L. Nelson, The New Cambridge Medieval History, 700–900, Vol. II, ed. Rosamond McKitterick, (Cambridge University Press, 1995), 114.
  19. 1 2 3 Collins, Roger (1991). Early Medieval Europe 300–1000. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 318–330.
  20. Paired gold medallions of father and son had been struck on the occasion of the synod of Paris (825) that asserted Frankish claims as emperor, recently denigrated by the Byzantines; see Karl F. Morrison, "The Gold Medallions of Louis the Pious and Lothaire I and the Synod of Paris (825)" Speculum36.4 (October 1961:592–599).
  21. "Vita Hludowici imperatoris: Text - IntraText CT".
  22. Medieval European Coinage by Philip Grierson, Mark Blackburn, Lucia Travaini, p. 329
  23. Mayke De Jong, "Power and Humility in Carolingian society: the Public Penance of Louis the Pious", Early Medieval Europe 1 (1992). p. 29.
  24. Agobard, "Personal Attestation to the Penance of Louis the Pious" in Lievan Van Acker (ed.) Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis , trans. Courtney M. Booker (Turnhout, 1981). p. 324.
  25. Mayke De Jong, The Penitential State: Authority and Atonement in the Age of Louis the Pious, 814–840 (Cambridge, 2009), pp. 1–3.
  26. The Astronomer, The Life of Emperor Louis, trans. Thomas F.X. Noble (Pennsylvania, 2009), p. 282.
  27. The Annals of Saint Bertin, trans. Janet L. Nelson (Manchester, 1991), pp. 32–33.
  28. 1 2 Pierre Riche (1993). The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN   0-8122-1342-4.
  29. John M. Riddle (2008). A history of the Middle Ages, 300–1500. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   978-0-7425-5409-2.
  30. Marios Costambeys; Matthew Innes; Simon MacLean (2011). The Carolingian World. Cambridge University Press. pp. 379–. ISBN   978-0-521-56366-6.
  31. Metz, Steven Fanning, Medieval France: An Encyclopedia, Ed. William W. Kibler and Grover A. Zinn, (Routledge, 1995), p. 615.
  32. McKitterick, Rosamond (2008). Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity. Cambridge University Press. p. 93.


  1. Declared deposed by Ebbo, Archbishop of Rheims, between 13 November 833 and 1 March 834. [1]
  2. Crowned by his father at Aachen.
  3. Papal coronation by Stephen IV in Reims
  4. Counted as Louis I in the lists of both French and German monarchs.


Further reading

Louis the Pious
Born: 778 20 June
Regnal titles
New title King of Aquitaine
Succeeded by
Preceded by Carolingian Emperor
with Lothair I (817–840)
Succeeded by
King of the Franks
Succeeded byas king of Middle Francia
Succeeded byas king of East Francia
Succeeded byas king of West Francia