How was the Karelingian Empire divided at Verdun?
The Treaty of Verdun in 843 AD formally recognized the dismemberment of the Carolingian Empire.
|Kingdoms||Division of the Empire||Major Rulers|
|West Francia||The western part of the empire, which included modern-day France.||Charles the Bald, Louis the Stammerer, Charles the Fat|
|East Francia||The eastern part of the empire, which included modern-day Germany.||Louis the German|
|Middle Francia||The central part of the empire, which included modern-day Italy, Switzerland, and parts of Germany and France.||Lothair I|
After Charlemagne's death, his son Louis 'the Pius' inherited the empire. The Franks had a custom. That is, after the death of the father, the property (empire) of the father will be divided equally among the sons. But when Charlemagne's other son died, Louis 'the Pious' became sole ruler of the empire. In 816, Louis, previously crowned by his father, agreed to be crowned again by the Pope. The Carolingian Empire faced a severe political crisis shortly after the accession of the educated, polite but impersonal, warlike, administratively inept Louis the Pius. With foreign invasions on the frontiers on the one hand, and chaos and rebellion within the empire on the other, fierce civil strife broke out between the sons while father Louis was still alive. The weak-willed Louis decided to divide the empire between his warring sons, but the Church's interference prevented a direct dismemberment of the empire. In the name of Roman tradition and unity within the Carolingian Empire, the Church, keen to preserve the unity of the Empire, decided:-
- 1) Louis' eldest son Lothair would be crowned 'Emperor' and rule as his father's co-ruler over the whole Empire except Aquitaine and Bavaria.
- 2) Ludwig would rule as a feudal lord.
- 3) Pippin will be recognized as feudal lord in Bavaria.
However, Ludwig and Pippin were not satisfied with this arrangement. In 823, Charles 'the Bold', son of Louis II's second wife, Judith, claimed power and Ludwig-Pippin-Charles the Bold united against Lethair. In 829 AD, the Frankish Empire split again.
By 830 AD, the emperor's weakness had led to anarchy in the empire, and there was no support group for the emperor. In 833 AD the emperor also lost the loyalty of the army. Over the next few years there was a bitter struggle for power between Louis' sons. One son, Pippin, died in 838 AD. Emperor Louis the Pious also died in 840 AD. But the problem of imperial succession was not resolved. Ludwig and Charles united against Lothair, a claimant to the emperor's position. Even then, the Church, the main patron of the idea of the Roman Empire, supported Lothair. But even the Church's support of Lothair was not enough to solve the problem. The outcome of the fratricide over the title of Emperor was seen in June 841 AD at the Battle of Contone.
Historian Nithard wrote in his book "History of the wars of the sons of Louis Pious",
"All joined in this conflict of power with the urge to protect petty interests, the desire to strengthen themselves".
No one ran towards a higher ideal or a noble goal.
The Battle of Fontone resulted in heavy casualties, but neither side was able to win a final victory. But no one had the courage to fight again. On February 14, 842, Ludwig and Charles Meet in Strasbourg to cement their alliance and take an oath (Strasbourg Oath). First, Ludwig recited the oath in the original French language for the understanding of Charles' followers, and later in German for the understanding of Charles the Bald's followers. The soldiers of both sides then took an oath of support to the two brothers in their respective mother tongues.
As the Oath of Strasbourg proved, the relationship between the feudal lord and his subject became the basis of real power in the ninth century. Imperial solidarity, Christendom or the emancipation of Christendom—such ideals were confined to a small educated community. Real political power was proved, determining the fate of countries and various races and clans by armies organized by vassals. As feudal lords, Ludwig and Charles 'the Bold' won the loyalty of their subordinate armies.
After the Battle of Fontainebleau and the Oath Ceremony of Strasbourg, Lekhier realized the claimant to the title of Emperor. He had no hope of victory against the combined power of Ludwig and Charles. He accepted influential bishops as mediators to end the conflict. It was in this context that the Treaty of Verdun (843 AD) was signed, formally recognizing the dismemberment of the Carolingian (Frankish) Empire.
The Treaty of Verdun recognized Lothor as 'Emperor' and partitioned Charlemagne's empire as follows:-
- 1) Lekheur was given a narrow territory called 'Middle-Empire'. These included northern Italy, including Rome, Provence, Burgundy, Alsace, the West Rhineland, and present-day Holland and Belgium.
- 2) Ludwig received the eastern part of the empire i.e. the 'East Frankish Empire' (Saxony, Bavaria and Austria).
- 3) Charles 'the Bond' gained the western part of the empire.
In addition, although Lekher received the title of 'Emperor' in this treaty, Ludwig and Charles were recognized as almost independent monarchs.