Middle Francia
Overview
 
Middle Francia was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom created by the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

 in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

 among the sons of Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

. Situated between the realms of East and West Francia, Middle Francia comprised the Frankish territory between the rivers Rhine and Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

—later known as 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...

—the Frisia
Frisia
Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

n coast of the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

, the former Kingdom of Burgundy
Kingdom of Burgundy
Burgundy is a historic region in Western Europe that has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities - the first around the 6th century, the second around the 11th century - have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy; a third was very...

 (except for a western portion, later known as Bourgogne
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

) and 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...

, as well as the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (medieval)
The Kingdom of Italy was a political entity under control of Carolingian dynasty of Francia first, after the defeat of the Lombards in 774. It was finally incorporated as a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962....

.

Middle Francia was that portion of the Frankish Empire that fell to 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...

, the eldest son and successor of Emperor Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, after an intermittent civil war with his younger brothers 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 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...

.
Encyclopedia
Middle Francia was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom created by the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

 in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

 among the sons of Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

. Situated between the realms of East and West Francia, Middle Francia comprised the Frankish territory between the rivers Rhine and Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

—later known as 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...

—the Frisia
Frisia
Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

n coast of the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

, the former Kingdom of Burgundy
Kingdom of Burgundy
Burgundy is a historic region in Western Europe that has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities - the first around the 6th century, the second around the 11th century - have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy; a third was very...

 (except for a western portion, later known as Bourgogne
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

) and 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...

, as well as the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (medieval)
The Kingdom of Italy was a political entity under control of Carolingian dynasty of Francia first, after the defeat of the Lombards in 774. It was finally incorporated as a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962....

.

Middle Francia was that portion of the Frankish Empire that fell to 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...

, the eldest son and successor of Emperor Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, after an intermittent civil war with his younger brothers 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 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...

. In acknowledgement of Lothair's Imperial
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...

 title, Middle Francia contained the imperial cities of Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

, the residence of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, as well as 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...

. Middle Francia had no historical or ethnic identity to bind its varied peoples.

In 855, on his deathbed at Prüm Abbey
Prüm Abbey
Prüm Abbey is a former Benedictine abbey in Prüm/Lorraine, now in the diocese of Trier , founded by a Frankish widow Bertrada, and her son Charibert, count of Laon, on 23 June 720. The first abbot was Angloardus....

, Emperor Lothair I again partitioned his realm amongst his sons. He bequeathed the Kingdom of Italy with Rome to his eldest son, Louis II the Younger, crowned emperor since 850. Most of the lands north of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 passed to Lothair II
Lothair II of Lotharingia
Lothair II was the second son of Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours. He was married to Teutberga, daughter of Boso the Elder. He is the namesake of the Lothair Crystal, which he probably commissioned, and of the Cross of Lothair, which was made over a century after his death but...

 and consecutively were named Lotharingia. Provence and Burgundy passed to Charles
Charles of Provence
Charles of Provence was the Carolingian King of Provence from 855 until his early death in 863.Charles was the youngest son of Holy Roman Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours....

, upon his death in 863 his realm was divided among his brothers. After Lothair II had died in 869, Lotharingia was partioned by his uncles Louis the German and Charles the Bald in the Treaty of Meerssen
Treaty of Meerssen
The Treaty of Meerssen or Mersen was a partition treaty of the Carolingian Empire concluded on 8 August 870 by the two surviving sons of Emperor Louis the Pious, King Charles the Bald of West Francia and Louis the German of East Francia, at Meerssen north of Maastricht, in the present-day...

.

Unlike East and West Francia, the precursors of Germany
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and France
France in the Middle Ages
France in the Middle Ages covers an area roughly corresponding to modern day France, from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the middle of the 15th century...

, Middle Francia remained only a brief episode. Over the next centuries its lands were incorporated by the Holy Roman Empire—Lotharingia by the 880 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...

, Italy in 951 and Burgundy (Kingdom of Arles
Kingdom of Arles
The Kingdom of Arles or Second Kingdom of Burgundy of the High Middle Ages was a Frankish dominion established in 933 from lands of the early medieval Kingdom of Burgundy at Arles...

) in 1033. By the 15th century, the Dukes of Burgundy had acquired a number of Imperial and French territories stretching from Upper Burgundy
Upper Burgundy
Upper Burgundy is the part of Burgundy east of the Jura mountains, that together with the western County of Burgundy from 868 formed the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy, encompassing both sides of the Jura mountains range...

 to the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 reminiscent of the Middle Frankish realm. Duke Charles the Bold's ambitious plans to create a new middle kingdom however finally shattered with his death in the Battle of Nancy
Battle of Nancy
The Battle of Nancy was the final and decisive battle of the Burgundian Wars, fought outside the walls of Nancy on 5 January 1477 between Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and René II, Duke of Lorraine...

(1477).

Literature

  • John M. Riddle: A History of the Middle Ages: 300-1500. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008.
  • Timothy Reuter‎ (ed.): The New Cambridge Medieval History, III: c. 900–c. 1024. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
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