Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Overview
 
Louis II the Younger was the 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 Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 from 844, co-ruling with his father Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

 until 855, after which he ruled alone. Louis's usual title was imperator augustus ("august emperor"), but he used imperator Romanorum after his conquest of Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

 in 871, which led to poor relations with Byzantium
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. He was called imperator Italiae ("emperor of Italy") in West Francia while the Byzantines called him Basileus Phrangias ("Emperor of the Franks").
Encyclopedia
Louis II the Younger was the 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 Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 from 844, co-ruling with his father Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

 until 855, after which he ruled alone. Louis's usual title was imperator augustus ("august emperor"), but he used imperator Romanorum after his conquest of Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

 in 871, which led to poor relations with Byzantium
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. He was called imperator Italiae ("emperor of Italy") in West Francia while the Byzantines called him Basileus Phrangias ("Emperor of the Franks"). The chronicler Andreas Bergomatis, who is the most important source for Louis's activities in southern Italy, notes that "after his death a great tribulation came to Italy."

He was the eldest son of the Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours
Ermengarde of Tours
Ermengarde of Tours was the wife of Emperor Lothair I of the Franks. Her father was Hugh of Tours, a member of the Etichonen family, which claimed descent from the Merovingian Kings...

. He was designated King of Italy in 839 and took up his residence in that country and was crowned king at Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 by Pope Sergius II
Pope Sergius II
Pope Sergius II was Pope from January 844 – January 24, 847.On the death of Gregory IV the archdeacon John was proclaimed pope by popular acclamation, while the nobility elected Sergius, a Roman of noble birth. The opposition was suppressed, with Sergius intervening to save John's life...

 on 15 June 844. He at once claimed the rights of an emperor in the city, which claim was decisively rejected; but in 850 he was crowned joint emperor at Rome by Pope Leo IV
Pope Leo IV
Pope Saint Leo IV was pope from 10 April 847 to 17 July 855.A Roman by birth, he was unanimously chosen to succeed Sergius II. When he was elected, on 10 April 847, he was cardinal of Santi Quattro Coronati, and had been subdeacon of Gregory IV and archpriest under his predecessor...

, and soon afterwards, in 851, married Engelberga
Engelberga
Engelberga was the wife of Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor, from 5 October 851 to his death on 12 August 875. As empress, she exerted a powerful influence over her husband. Her family, the Supponids, prospered during Louis's reign...

 and undertook the independent government of Italy. He marched into the south of Italy in the year of his imperial coronation and compelled the rival dukes of Benevento, Radelchis I
Radelchis I of Benevento
Radelchis I was the treasurer, then prince of Benevento from 839, when he assumed the throne upon the assassination of Sicard and imprisonment of Sicard's brother, Siconulf, to his death, though in his time the principality was divided.According to the Chronica S...

 and Siconulf, to make peace. His mediation split the Lombard duchy and gave Radelchis his share with Benevento as his capital and gave Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

 as a principality independent to Siconulf. Radelchis, now pacified, had no need of his Saracen mercenaries and happily betrayed them to the emperor. Louis fell on them and they were massacred. He then quashed some accusations against Pope Leo and held a Diet
Diet (assembly)
In politics, a diet is a formal deliberative assembly. The term is mainly used historically for the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and for the legislative bodies of certain countries.-Etymology:...

 at Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

. He confirmed the usurping regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 Peter
Peter of Salerno
Peter was originally the tutor and guardian of the young prince of Salerno, Sico II. He held that post for two years from 851 to 853....

 as prince of Salerno in December 853, displacing the dynasty he had installed there three years earlier. On the death of his father in September 855, he became sole emperor.

The division of Lothair's dominions, by which he obtained no territory outside Italy, aroused his discontent, and in 857 he allied himself with Louis the German
Louis the German
Louis the German , also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson of Charlemagne and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye.He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact...

 against his own brother Lothair, King of Lotharingia, and King Charles the Bald
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...

. But after Louis had secured the election of Pope Nicholas I
Pope Nicholas I
Pope Nicholas I, , or Saint Nicholas the Great, reigned from April 24, 858 until his death. He is remembered as a consolidator of papal authority and power, exerting decisive influence upon the historical development of the papacy and its position among the Christian nations of Western Europe.He...

 in 858, he became reconciled with his brother, and received some lands south of the Jura mountains
Jura mountains
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of the watershed of each...

 in return for assistance given to Lothair in his efforts to obtain a divorce from his wife, Teutberga.

In 863, on the death of his brother Charles, Louis received the kingdom of Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, and in 864 came into collision with Pope Nicholas I over his brother's divorce. The archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

s, who had been deposed by Nicholas for proclaiming this marriage invalid, obtained the support of the emperor, who reached Rome with an army in February 864; but, having been seized with fever, he made peace with the pope and left the city.

In his efforts to restore order in Italy, Louis met with considerable success both against Italy's turbulent princes and against the Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s who were ravaging southern Italy. In 866 he routed these invaders, but could not follow up his successes owing to the lack of a fleet. So in 869 he made alliance with the eastern emperor, Basil I
Basil I
Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine emperor of probable Armenian descent who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia, he rose in the imperial court, and usurped the imperial throne from Emperor Michael III...

, who sent him ships to assist in the capture of Bari, capital of a local Islamic emirate
Emirate of Bari
The Emirate of Bari was a short-lived Saracen state centred on the south Italian city of Bari from 847 to 871. It was the most lasting episode in the history of Islam in peninsular southern Italy....

, which succumbed in 871.
Meanwhile his brother Lothair had died in 869, and owing to his detention in southern Italy, Louis failed to prevent the 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...

 between Louis the German and Charles the Bald. Some jealousy between Louis and Basil followed the victory at Bari, and in reply to an insult from the eastern emperor Louis attempted to justify his right to the title "emperor of the Romans."

He had withdrawn into Benevento
Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

 to prepare for a further campaign when he was treacherously attacked in his palace, robbed and imprisoned by Adelchis
Adelchis of Benevento
Adelchis was the son of Radelchis I, Prince of Benevento, and successor of his brother Radelgar in 854.It was given to Adelchis to preserve the ancient principality and its independence in the face of repeated assaults by the Saracens from the south, the Emperor Louis II from the north, and...

, prince of Benevento, in August 871. The landing of fresh bands of Saracens compelled Adelchis to release his prisoner a month later, and Louis was forced to swear he would take no revenge for this injury, nor ever enter Benevento with an army. Returning to Rome, he was released from his oath, and was crowned a second time as emperor by Pope Adrian II
Pope Adrian II
Pope Adrian II , , pope from December 14, 867 to December 14, 872, was a member of a noble Roman family, and became pope in 867, at an advanced age....

 on May 18, 872.

Then Louis won further successes against the Saracens, who were driven from Capua
Capua
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere is now...

, but the emperor's attempts to punish Adeichis were not very successful. Returning to northern Italy, he died, near Ghedi
Ghedi
Ghedi is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy, Italy. It received the honorary title of city with a presidential decree on November 24, 2001....

, in what is now the province of Brescia
Province of Brescia
The Province of Brescia is a Province in Lombardy, Italy. It borders with the province of Sondrio in the N and NW, the province of Bergamo in the W, province of Cremona in the SW and S, the province of Mantova to the S, and to the east, the province of Verona and Trentino .Source for statistical...

, on August 12, 875, and was buried in the church of Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio
Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio
The Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio is a church in Milan, northern Italy.-History:One of the most ancient churches in Milan, it was built by St. Ambrose in 379-386, in an area where numerous martyrs of the Roman persecutions had been buried. The first name of the church was in fact Basilica...

 at Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, having named as his successor in Italy his cousin Carloman, son of Louis the German.

Sources

  • Annales Bertiniani
    Annales Bertiniani
    Annales Bertiniani, or The Annals of St. Bertin, are late Carolingian, Frankish annals that were found in the monastery of St. Bertin, after which they are named. Their account is taken to cover the period 830-82, thus continuing the Royal Frankish Annals , from which, however, it has circulated...

    and Chronica S. Benedicti Casinensis, both in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica
    Monumenta Germaniae Historica
    The Monumenta Germaniae Historica is a comprehensive series of carefully edited and published sources for the study of German history from the end of the Roman Empire to 1500.The society sponsoring the series was established by the Prussian reformer Heinrich Friedrich Karl Freiherr vom...

    . Scriptores
    , Bände i. and iii. (Hanover and Berlin, 1826 fol.)
  • Muhlbacher, E. Die Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern (Innsbruck, 1881)
  • Sickel, T. Acta regum et imperatorum Karolinorum, digesta et enarrata (Vienna, 1867—1868)
  • Dummler, E. Geschichte des ostfrankischen Reiches (Leipzig, 1887—1888).
  • Oman, Charles
    Charles Oman
    Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman was a British military historian of the early 20th century. His reconstructions of medieval battles from the fragmentary and distorted accounts left by chroniclers were pioneering...

    . The Dark Ages 476–918. London: Rivingtons, 1914.


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