Louis the Younger
Louis the Younger sometimes Louis III, was the second eldest of the three sons of 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...

 and Emma
Emma of Altdorf, also known as Hemma was the wife of Louis the German, and Queen consort of Eastern Francia.Her father was Welf, Count of Altorf; her mother was Heilwig of Saxony , the daughter of Count Isanbart...

. He succeeded his father as the King of Saxony on 28 August 876 and his elder brother Carloman
Carloman of Bavaria
Carloman was the eldest son of Louis the German, king of East Francia , and Hemma, daughter of the count Welf...

 as King of Bavaria from 880. He died in 882 and was succeeded in all his territories, which encompassed most of East Francia, by his younger brother, Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat
Charles the Fat was the King of Alemannia from 876, King of Italy from 879, western Emperor from 881, King of East Francia from 882, and King of West Francia from 884. In 887, he was deposed in East Francia, Lotharingia, and possibly Italy, where the records are not clear...

, already 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 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...


Military youth

As a young man, Louis was deployed in military operations against the Abodrites to the east in 858 and 862. In 854, at the invitation of the nobles of Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 opposed to 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...

 and Pepin II
Pepin II of Aquitaine
Pepin II, called the Younger , was King of Aquitaine from 838 as the successor upon the death of his father, Pepin I. Pepin II was eldest son of Pepin I and Ingeltrude, daughter of Theodobert, count of Madrie...

, and coaxed by his father and his cousin Charles, Archbishop of Mainz, he crossed into Gaul at the head of an army, intent on receiving the Aquitainian crown. He marched as far as Limoges
Limoges |Limousin]] dialect of Occitan) is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and the administrative capital of the Limousin région in west-central France....

 before turning back.

Back home, Louis forged close ties with the nobles of the East Francia and became increasingly independent from his father. He engaged himself to the daughter of Count Adalard and, in 865, he and his brother Charles joined in rebellion against their father. This flirtation with revolt was brief, however, and Louis, Charles, and their father were reconciled later that year, though the elder Louis was forced to make a division of the remainder of his territories between his two sons. Carloman had already been given the subregulus of Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 in 864, now Louis received Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, and Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

 and Charles Alemannia and Rhaetia.

In 869, Louis married Liutgard
Liutgard of Saxony was the wife and Queen of Louis the Younger, the Frankish King of Saxony and East Francia....

, daughter of Liudolf, Duke of Eastphalia
Liudolf, Duke of Saxony
Liudolf was a Saxon count, son of one count Brun and his wife Gisla von Verla ; later authors called him duke of the Eastern Saxons and count of Eastphalia...

, at Aschaffenburg
Aschaffenburg is a city in northwest Bavaria, Germany. The town of Aschaffenburg is not considered part of the district of Aschaffenburg, but is the administrative seat.Aschaffenburg is known as the Tor zum Spessart or "gate to the Spessart"...

. Luitgard was a strong-willed and politically ambitious woman and later on spurred her husband to pursue ambitious goals. This match increased dissension between father and son and in 871 and in 873, Louis rebelled, but each time he was reconciled.

Rule in Saxony

Upon his father's death in 876, Louis fully inherited his subkingdoms, bearing the title rex Francorum ("king of the Franks"). Louis the Younger considered himself the true heir of Louis the German and as his father died in 876, Louis buried him in the abbey of Lorsch
Lorsch is a town in the Bergstraße district in Hesse, Germany, 60 km south of Frankfurt. Lorsch is well known for the Lorsch Abbey, which has been named a World Heritage Site.-Location:...

, in his own territories, in order to emphasise his primacy to his brothers. Louis also retained his father's chief advisor, Luitbert
Liutbert, Archbishop of Mainz
Liutbert was the Archbishop of Mainz from 863 until his death. He also became Abbot of Ellwangen in 874 and is reckoned the first Archchancellor of Germany...

, Archbishop of Mainz. He and his brother ruled their kingdoms independently but cooperatively and never at war.

Acquisition of Lotharingia and Bavaria

Louis's rule was immediately threatened by Charles the Bald, who tried to annex the eastern parts of 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...

 and maybe even to achieve supremacy over his nephew. Louis brought war on Charles and, on 8 October 876 at Andernach
Andernach is a town in the district of Mayen-Koblenz, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, of currently about 30,000 inhabitants. It is situated towards the end of the Neuwied basin on the left bank of the Rhine between the former tiny fishing village of Fornich in the north and the mouth of the...

, he defeated the much larger host of West Francia with a significantly smaller army. The East Frankish army displayed superiority in both unity and tactics, and the young king had even dressed his soldiers in white garments so that they appeared as an army of dead spirits.

After this victory, Louis the German's three sons met in November at Nördlingen
Nördlingen is a town in the Donau-Ries district, in Bavaria, Germany, with a population of 20,000. It is located in the middle of a complex meteorite crater, called the Nördlinger Ries. The town was also the place of two battles during the Thirty Years' War...

 to discuss the division of their father's kingdom and to have their hosts swear allegiance. According to the plan drawn up in 865, which their father, despite all his sons' rebellions, had confirmed in 872, Carloman received Bavaria, Charles Swabia, and Louis Saxony, Franconia, and Thuringia. Throughout his reign, though he is always called "King of Saxony" by historians, he never visited Saxony proper, though it formed the bulk of his territory. At the end of 877, the brothers assembled again to discuss the administration of their half of Lotharingia. After Carloman relinquished his claim, the realm was divided between Louis and Charles, who again met in September 878 in Alsatia
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

. In 879, Carloman was incapacitated by a stroke and partitioned named Louis as his successor (and erstwhile regent) in Bavaria. Louis received it a year later when Carloman expired.

In November 878 after the death of Charles the Bald, his heir, Louis the Stammerer
Louis the Stammerer
Louis the Stammerer was the King of Aquitaine and later King of West Francia. He was the eldest son of Charles the Bald and Ermentrude of Orléans. He succeeded his younger brother in Aquitaine in 866 and his father in West Francia in 877, though he was never crowned Emperor...

, and the latter's cousin Louis the Younger promised each other to respect the succession of their respective sons and to issue no claims contrary to that, at Voeren (Fourons in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

). This Treaty of Fouron was soon put to the test, when Louis the Stammerer died in April 879. A party of western nobles led by Abbot Joscelin inivited Louis the Younger to succeed to the rule of the western kingdom. Since his wife Luitgard also advocated heeding this call, Louis invaded West Francia. He marched as far as Verdun
Verdun is a city in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Verdun is the biggest city in Meuse, although the capital of the department is the slightly smaller city of Bar-le-Duc.- History :...

, but after the new kings Louis III
Louis III of France
Louis III was the King of France, still then called West Francia, from 879 until his death. The second son of Louis the Stammerer and his first wife, Ansgarde, he succeeded his father to reign jointly with his younger brother Carloman II, who became sole ruler on Louis's death...

 and Carloman
Carloman of France
Carloman II , King of Western Francia, was the youngest son of King Louis the Stammerer and Ansgarde of Burgundy, and became king, jointly with his brother Louis III of France, on his father's death in 879....

 ceded their part of 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...

 to the invader, Louis retreated. In February 880, this gain was confirmed by the Treaty of Ribemont
Treaty of Ribemont
There are two Treaties of Ribemont, the first is from 880 and the second is from 1179.-The treaty of 880:The Treaty of Ribemont in 880 was the last treaty on the partitions of the Frankish Empire...

, signed near Saint Quentin
Saint-Quentin, Aisne
Saint-Quentin is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France. It has been identified as the Augusta Veromanduorum of antiquity. It is named after Saint Quentin, who is said to have been martyred here in the 3rd century....

. This treaty determined the border of the two kingdoms that were to remain unchanged until the fourteenth century.

Relationship with the nobility

In contrast to his father, Louis the Younger preferred reconciling royal interests with those of the nobility and avoided confrontation. He managed to bind powerful families to the king, including the Luidovingian
The Ottonian dynasty was a dynasty of Germanic Kings , named after its first emperor but also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings, after its earliest known member Liudolf and one of its primary leading-names...

 relatives of his wife, that later themselves became kings and emperors. Louis mostly stayed in the Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

, avoiding Saxony or his eastern borders. Louis did visit Bavaria on two occasions, but mostly left it to the government of his illegitimate nephew, Carloman's son, Arnulf
Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia was 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.-Birth and Illegitimacy:...

, Duke of Carinthia.

Viking incursions

Since the summer of 879, Vikings had been increasing their attacks on the Frankish kingdom and occasionally penetrated deeply into the interior of the land. Louis's kingdom was the most hard-hit after that of West Francia. In February 880, Louis confronted and defeated a Norse
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 host at the Battle of Thimeon
Battle of Thimeon
The Battle of Thimeon was a German victory over the Vikings near Thimeon north of the Sambre in February 880.In 879, Vikings from England settled on the river Scheldt...

 (near modern Charleroi
Charleroi is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. , the total population of Charleroi was 201,593. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of and had a total population of 522,522 as of 1 January 2008, ranking it as...

). His son Hugh, however, was killed in this battle. Louis also drove the Norse out of the royal palace of Nijmegen, which they had occupied. In the same month, a Saxon host commanded by Duke Bruno, the king's brother-in-law, suffered a heavy defeat near Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 and Bruno and many other Saxon nobles fell. However, as the example of the victory at Thimeon illustrates, no single military victory could stop the tide of Viking incursions.

Death and succession

Louis fell sick in 881 and died in Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 on 20 January 882. He was buried beside his father in the abbey of Lorsch. By his wife Luitgard of Saxony, he had had a son called Louis (877–879), who died in a fall from a palace window, and a daughter called Hildegard (878–895). Louis had also fathered an illegitimate son, Hugh (855/60 – February 880), either with the daughter of Adalard or with an earlier concubine. Since he left no heir, all his territories fell to his brother Charles, who thus could reunite the entire East Frankish kingdom. Hildegard later joined with the Bavarian magnate Engeldeo
Engeldeo or Engildeo was the Margrave of Bavaria from 890 to 895.The first reference to Engeldeo dates to 3 December 878, when he was already a comes , for on that date King Carloman granted land in the pagus of "Tonageuue" in Engeldeo's county to a priest named Iob...

 in conspiring against King Arnulf
Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia was 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.-Birth and Illegitimacy:...

 and was deprived of her "public honours" in 895, according to the Annals of Fulda.


External links

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