Charles the Bald

Charles the Bald (13 June 823 – 6 October 877) was the King of West Francia (843–877), King of Italy (875–877) and Holy Roman Emperor (875–877, as Charles II). After a series of civil wars during the reign of his father, Louis the Pious, Charles succeeded by the Treaty of Verdun (843) in acquiring the western third of the Carolingian Empire. He was a grandson of Charlemagne and the youngest son of Louis the Pious by his second wife, Judith.

Charles the Bald
Carlo calvo
Charles the Bald in old age; picture from his Psalter
Holy Roman Emperor
Coronation29 December 875, Pavia
PredecessorLouis II
SuccessorCharles III
King of West Francia
PredecessorLouis I as King of the Franks
SuccessorLouis II
Born13 June 823
Died6 October 877 (aged 54)
SpouseErmentrude of Orleans
Richilde of Provence
FatherLouis the Pious
Denier de Charles II le Chauve
Denier of Charles the Bald struck at Paris

Struggle against his brothers

Carolingian empire 876
Kingdoms of Charles the Bald (orange) and other Carolingians in 876

He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt,[1] when his elder brothers were already adults and had been assigned their own regna, or subkingdoms, by their father. The attempts made by Louis the Pious to assign Charles a subkingdom, first Alemannia and then the country between the Meuse and the Pyrenees (in 832, after the rising of Pepin I of Aquitaine) were unsuccessful. The numerous reconciliations with the rebellious Lothair and Pepin, as well as their brother Louis the German, King of Bavaria, made Charles's share in Aquitaine and Italy only temporary, but his father did not give up and made Charles the heir of the entire land which was once Gaul. At a diet in Aachen in 837, Louis the Pious bade the nobles do homage to Charles as his heir.[2] Pepin of Aquitaine died in 838, whereupon Charles at last received that kingdom,[2] which angered Pepin's heirs and the Aquitainian nobles.[3]

The death of the emperor in 840 led to the outbreak of war between his sons. Charles allied himself with his brother Louis the German to resist the pretensions of the new Emperor Lothair I, and the two allies defeated Lothair at the Battle of Fontenoy-en-Puisaye on 25 June 841.[4] In the following year, the two brothers confirmed their alliance by the celebrated Oaths of Strasbourg. The war was brought to an end by the Treaty of Verdun in August 843. The settlement gave Charles the Bald the kingdom of the West Franks, which he had been up until then governing and which practically corresponded with what is now France, as far as the Meuse, the Saône, and the Rhône, with the addition of the Spanish March as far as the Ebro. Louis received the eastern part of the Carolingian Empire, known then as East Francia and later as Germany. Lothair retained the imperial title and the Kingdom of Italy. He also received the central regions from Flanders through the Rhineland and Burgundy as king of Middle Francia.

Reign in the West

Charles the Bald denier struck Reims
Denier (type Temple and cross) of Charles the Bald, minted at Reims between 840-864 (pre-Edict of Pistres).
Charles Marville, Hôtel Carnavalet, statue of Charlemagne, ca. 1853–70
The so-called Equestrian statuette of Charlemagne (c. 870), thought to most likely depict Charles the Bald

The first years of Charles's reign, up to the death of Lothair I in 855, were comparatively peaceful. During these years the three brothers continued the system of "confraternal government", meeting repeatedly with one another, at Koblenz (848), at Meerssen (851), and at Attigny (854). In 858, Louis the German, invited by disaffected nobles eager to oust Charles, invaded the West Frankish kingdom. Charles was so unpopular that he was unable to summon an army, and he fled to Burgundy. He was saved only by the support of the bishops, who refused to crown Louis the German king, and by the fidelity of the Welfs, who were related to his mother, Judith. In 860, he in his turn tried to seize the kingdom of his nephew, Charles of Provence, but was repulsed. On the death of his nephew Lothair II in 869, Charles tried to seize Lothair's dominions by having himself consecrated as King of Lotharingia at Metz, but he was compelled to open negotiations when Louis found support among Lothair's former vassals. Lotharingia was partitioned between Charles and Louis in the resulting treaty (870).[5]

Besides these family disputes, Charles had to struggle against repeated rebellions in Aquitaine and against the Bretons. Led by their chiefs Nomenoë and Erispoë, who defeated the king at the Battle of Ballon (845) and the Battle of Jengland (851), the Bretons were successful in obtaining a de facto independence. Charles also fought against the Vikings, who devastated the country of the north, the valleys of the Seine and Loire, and even up to the borders of Aquitaine. At the Vikings' successful siege and sack of Paris in 845 and several times thereafter Charles was forced to purchase their retreat at a heavy price. Charles led various expeditions against the invaders and, by the Edict of Pistres of 864, made the army more mobile by providing for a cavalry element, the predecessor of the French chivalry so famous during the next 600 years. By the same edict, he ordered fortified bridges to be put up at all rivers to block the Viking incursions. Two of these bridges at Paris saved the city during its siege of 885–886.

Reign as emperor

Apparition Charles le chauve
Apparition of Charles the Bald after his death and burial in Saint Denis

In 875, after the death of the Emperor Louis II (son of his half-brother Lothair), Charles the Bald, supported by Pope John VIII, traveled to Italy, receiving the royal crown at Pavia and the imperial insignia in Rome on 29 December. Louis the German, also a candidate for the succession of Louis II, revenged himself by invading and devastating Charles' dominions, and Charles had to return hastily to West Francia. After the death of Louis the German (28 August 876), Charles in his turn attempted to seize Louis's kingdom, but was decisively beaten at the Battle of Andernach on 8 October 876.

In the meantime, John VIII, menaced by the Saracens, was urging Charles to come to his defence in Italy. Charles again crossed the Alps, but this expedition was received with little enthusiasm by the nobles, and even by his regent in Lombardy, Boso, and they refused to join his army. At the same time Carloman, son of Louis the German, entered northern Italy. Charles, ill and in great distress, started on his way back to Gaul, but died while crossing the pass of Mont Cenis at Brides-les-Bains, on 6 October 877.[6]

According to the Annals of St-Bertin, Charles was hastily buried at the abbey of Nantua, Burgundy because the bearers were unable to withstand the stench of his decaying body. He was to have been buried in the Basilique Saint-Denis and may have been transferred there later. It was recorded that there was a memorial brass there that was melted down at the Revolution.

Charles was succeeded by his son, Louis. Charles was a prince of education and letters, a friend of the church, and conscious of the support he could find in the episcopate against his unruly nobles, for he chose his councillors from among the higher clergy, as in the case of Guenelon of Sens, who betrayed him, and of Hincmar of Reims.


It has been suggested that Charles' nickname was used ironically and not descriptively; i.e. that he was not in fact bald, but rather that he was extremely hairy.[7] An alternative or additional interpretation is based on Charles' initial lack of a regnum. "Bald" would in this case be a tongue-in-cheek reference to his landlessness, at an age where his brothers already had been sub-kings for some years.[8]

Contemporary depictions of his person, e.g., in his Bible of 845, on his seal [[:|of 847]] (as king) as well as on his seal of 875 (as emperor) show him with a full head of hair, as does the equestrian statuette (c. 870) thought to depict him.

The Genealogy of Frankish Kings, a text from Fontanelle dating from possibly as early as 869, and a text without a trace of irony, names him as Karolus Calvus ("Charles the Bald"). Certainly, by the end of the 10th century, Richier of Reims and Adhemar of Chabannes refer to him in all seriousness as "Charles the Bald".[9]

Marriages and children

Charles married Ermentrude, daughter of Odo I, Count of Orléans, in 842. She died in 869. In 870, Charles married Richilde of Provence, who was descended from a noble family of Lorraine.

With Ermentrude:

With Richilde:

  • Rothilde (871–929), married firstly to Hugues, Count of Bourges and secondly to Roger.[10]
  • Drogo (872–873)
  • Pippin (873–874)
  • a son (born and died 875)
  • Charles (876–877)


Ancestors of Charles the Bald
16. Charles Martel
8. Pepin the Short
17. Rotrude
4. Charlemagne
18. Charibert of Laon
9. Bertrada of Laon
2. Louis the Pious
10. Gerold of Vintzgau
5. Hildegard
22. Hnabi
11. Emma of Alamannia
1. Charles the Bald
6. Welf
3. Judith of Bavaria
7. Hedwig of Bavaria

See also


  1. ^ Riche 1983, p. 150.
  2. ^ a b Riche 1983, p. 157.
  3. ^ Riche 1983, p. 158.
  4. ^ Bradbury 2007, p. 14.
  5. ^ Nelson 1992, p. 17-18.
  6. ^ Riche 1983, p. 204.
  7. ^ Nelson 1992, p. 13.
  8. ^ Lebe 2003.
  9. ^ Dutton 2008.
  10. ^ Riche 1983, p. 237.


  • Bradbury, Jim (2007). The Capetians: Kings of France 987-1328. Hambledon Continuum.
  • Dutton, Paul E. (2008). Charlemagne's Mustache. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lebe, Reinhard (2003). War Karl der Kahle wirklich kahl? Historische Beinamen und was dahintersteckt. Dt. Taschenbuch-Verlag.
  • Nelson, Janet (1992). Charles the Bald. Essex.
  • Riche, Pierre (1983). The Carolingians:The Family who forged Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press.

External links

Emperor Charles II the Bald
Born: 13 June 823 Died: 6 October 877
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Pepin I
King of Aquitaine
Disputed by Pepin II
Succeeded by
Charles the Child
Duke of Maine
Succeeded by
Robert the Strong
Preceded by
Louis the Pious
as king of the Franks
King of Western Francia
Succeeded by
Louis the Stammerer
Preceded by
Louis the Younger
(Holy) Roman Emperor
Title next held by
Charles the Fat
King of Italy
Succeeded by

The 840s decade ran from January 1, 840, to December 31, 849.

== Events ==

=== 840 ===

==== By Place ====

====== Europe ======

June 20 – Emperor Louis the Pious falls ill and dies at his hunting lodge, on an island in the Rhine, near his imperial palace at Ingelheim, while suppressing a revolt. His eldest son Lothair I succeeds him as Holy Roman Emperor, and tries to seize all the territories of the late Charlemagne. The 17-year-old Charles the Bald becomes king of the Franks, and joins the fight with his half-brother Louis the German in resisting Lothair.

====== Britain ======

King Wigstan of Mercia, grandson of former ruler Wiglaf (see 839), declines his kingship in preference of the religious life. He asks his widowed mother, Princess Ælfflæd, to act as regent. A nobleman of the line of the late king Beornred, named Berhtric, wishes to marry her but he is a relative. Wigstan refuses the match, and is murdered by followers of Berhtric at Wistow. He is buried at Repton Abbey, and later revered as a saint. The Mercian throne is seized by Berhtric's father, Beorhtwulf.

Vikings make permanent settlements with their first 'wintering over', located at Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland (approximate date).

====== Asia ======

Emperor Wen Zong (Li Ang) dies after a 13-year reign, in which he has failed to break the power of his palace eunuchs. He is succeeded by his brother Wu Zong, as Chinese ruler of the Tang Dynasty.

The Yenisei Kirghiz settle along the Yenisei River, and sack with a force of around 80,000 horsemen the Uyghur capital, Ordu-Baliq (driving the Uyghurs out of Mongolia). This ends the Uyghur Khaganate.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Nobis becomes bishop of St. David's, in the Welsh Kingdom of Dyfed (approximate date).

=== 841 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

June 25 – Battle of Fontenay: Frankish forces of Emperor Lothair I, and his nephew Pepin II of Aquitaine, are defeated by allied forces of King Louis the German, and his half-brother Charles the Bald, at Fontenoy (Eastern France), in a civil war among the three surviving sons of the former emperor Louis the Pious. A total of 40,000 men are killed, including the Frankish nobles Gerard of Auvergne and Ricwin of Nantes, fighting on the side of Charles.

Summer – Vikings sail up the River Seine and devastate the city of Rouen in Normandy. They burn the Benedictine monastery of Jumièges Abbey; 68 captives are taken, and returned on payment of a ransom, by the monks of St. Denis.

====== Ireland ======

The town of Dyflin (meaning "Black Pool") or Dublin (modern Ireland) is founded by Norwegian Vikings, on the south bank of the River Liffey. The settlement is fortified with a ditch and an earth rampart, with a wooden palisade on top. The Norsemen establish a wool weaving industry, and there is also a slave trade. An artificial hill is erected, where the nobility meets to make laws and discuss policy.

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Constantine Kontomytes, Byzantine general (strategos) of the Thracesian Theme, inflicts a severe defeat on the Cretan Saracens. He leads a Byzantine expeditionary force, to raid the monastic community near Mount Latros (modern Turkey).

Venice sends a fleet of 60 galleys (each carrying 200 men) to assist the Byzantines in driving the Arabs from Crotone, but the attack fails. Muslim troops conquer the city of Brindisi (approximate date).

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

A pro-Umayyad rebellion, led by al-Mubarqa in Palestine, breaks out against caliph al-Mu'tasim of the Abbasid Caliphate (ending in 842).

====== Asia ======

In the Chinese capital of Chang'an, the West Market (and East Market) are closed every night one hour and three quarters before dusk (by government order); the curfew signals by the sound of 300 beats to a loud gong. After the official markets have been closed for the night, small night markets in residential areas thrive with plenty of customers, despite government efforts to shut them down. With the decline of the government's authority (by mid 9th century), this edict (like many others) is largely ignored, as urban dwellers keep attending the night markets regardless.

=== 842 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

January 20 – Emperor Theophilos dies of dysentery at Constantinople, after a 12-year reign, in which he expended much effort defending the eastern frontier, against the invading Muslim Arabs. Theophilos is succeeded by his 2-year-old son Michael III, with his mother Theodora, who becomes regent and the 'temporary' sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

February 19 – The Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ends as a council in Constantinople formally reinstates the veneration of icons in the churches.

====== Europe ======

February 14 – Oaths of Strasbourg: King Louis the German, ruler of East Francia, and his half-brother Charles the Bald, ruler of West Francia, meet with their armies at Strasbourg. They agree to swear allegiance (recorded in vernacular languages) to each other, and to support each other against their brother Lothair I (nominal emperor of all the Frankish kingdoms and the Holy Roman Empire).

March 20 – King Alfonso II of Asturias (Northern Spain) dies after a 50-year reign, in which he undertook numerous campaigns against the Muslim armies of the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba, and allied himself with the late Charlemagne. The childless Alfonso chooses Ramiro I, son of former king Bermudo I, as his successor.

====== Britain ======

Uurad of the Picts dies after a 3-year reign, and is succeeded by his son Bridei VI, who contests his power with rival groups, led by Bruide son of Fokel and Kenneth MacAlpin.

Vikings attack the Irish monastery at Clonmacnoise from bases in Ireland.

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

January 5 – Caliph Al-Mu'tasim dies at Samarra (modern Iraq), after an 8-year reign. He is succeeded by his son Al-Wathiq, as ruler of the Abbasid Caliphate.

=== 843 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

August – Treaty of Verdun: The Frankish Empire is divided into three kingdoms, between the three surviving sons of the late emperor Louis the Pious. King Louis the German receives the eastern portion (everything east of the River Rhine), called the Eastern Frankish Realm, which is the precursor to modern-day Germany. Emperor Lothair I receives the central portion (Low Countries, Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy and the northern half of Italy), called the Central Frankish Realm. King Charles the Bald receives the western portion (everything west of the River Rhône), called the Western Frankish Realm, which later becomes modern-day France.

Battle of Messac: Breton forces under Erispoe, count of Vannes, defeat the Franks led by Renaud d'Herbauges, near the town of Messac, at the River Vilaine. This battle marks a Breton war between Charles the Bald and Nominoe, duke of Brittany.

Summer – Viking raiders attack Nantes, located on the River Loire; they kill the town's bishop along with many of the clergy, and murder men, women, and children. They plunder the western parts of Aquitaine, and reach an island north of the mouth of the River Garonne, near what later will be La Rochelle. There the Vikings bring materials from the mainland, and build houses to spend the winter.

====== Scotland ======

King Kenneth I (Cináed mac Ailpín) of the Scots also becomes king of the Picts; he is crowned (by the Stone of Destiny), as first monarch of the new nation of Scotland. The Alpin Dynasty of Scottish kings begins to reign.

====== Arabian Empire ======

Summer – A Byzantine expedition, led by Theoktistos, conquers Crete from the Saracens. After initial success, he is forced to abandon his army, due to political intrigues in Constantinople. The troops are left behind, and slaughtered by the Arabs.

Al-Andalus: The city of Zaragossa (modern Spain) rises against the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba.

====== Asia ======

In the Chinese capital of Chang'an, a large fire consumes 4,000 homes, warehouses, and other buildings in the East Market, yet the rest of the city is at a safe distance from the blaze (which is largely quarantined in East Central Chang'an, thanks to the large width of roads in Chang'an that produce fire breaks).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Feast of Orthodoxy: Official end of Iconoclasm; Empress Theodora II restores the veneration of icons in the Orthodox churches in the Byzantine Empire.

Theodora II orders a persecution against the Paulicians throughout Anatolia; about 100,000 followers in the Byzantine Theme Armenia are massacred.

=== 844 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Spring – Battle of Mauropotamos: A Byzantine expedition under Theoktistos is sent to Anatolia (modern Turkey), against the Muslim Arabs of the Abbasid Caliphate, who have raided the Byzantine themes of Cappadocia, Anatolikon, Boukellarion, and Opsikion. The Byzantines are defeated, and many of the officers defect to the Arabs.

====== Europe ======

Viking raiders ascend the River Garonne as far as the city of Toulouse, and pillage the lands of Septimania. Part of the marauding Vikings invades Galicia (Northern Spain), where some perish in a storm at sea. After being defeated in Corunna, the Scandinavian raiders sack the Umayyad cities of Seville (see below), Niebla, Beja, and Lisbon.

Summer – King Charles the Bald struggles against the repeated rebellions in Aquitaine, and against the Bretons in West Francia. He besieges Bernard I at the Battle of Toulouse, while Duke Nominoe raids into Maine, and plunders other Frankish territory.

June 15 – Louis II, eldest son of Emperor Lothair I, is crowned king at Rome by Pope Sergius II, and becomes co-ruler of Middle Francia, and over Lombardy, Friuli, and Tuscany in Italy.

September 25–November 11 or 17 – Viking raid on Seville (844): Vikings arrive in Seville by the Guadalquivir, taking the city on October 1 or 3 and pillaging it; but are expelled by forces of the Emirate of Córdoba.

====== Britain ======

King Æthelred II of Northumbria is expelled from his kingdom by Rædwulf, who takes the throne. Rædwulf is later killed in battle against the Vikings, along with many of his noblemen. Æthelred returns and claims his right to rule.

King Merfyn Frych dies after a 24-year reign. He is succeeded by his son Rhodri Mawr ("the Great"), who becomes ruler of Gwynedd (Wales).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

January 25 – Pope Gregory IV dies after a 16-year reign, in which he has supported the Frankish policy of late emperor Louis the Pious, and established the observance of All Saints' Day. He is succeeded by Sergius II, as the 102nd pope of Rome. Sergius imprisons the antipope John VIII, and is elected by popular acclamation.

=== 845 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Byzantine–Arab War: A prisoner exchange occurs between the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate, at the River Lamos in Cilicia (modern Turkey). The exchanges last for 10 days, and the Byzantines recover 4,600 prisoners.

====== Europe ======

March 28 or 29 (Easter) – Siege of Paris: Viking forces under the Norse chieftain Ragnar Lodbrok enter the River Seine, with a fleet of 120 longships (5,000 men). They pass through the city of Rouen and plunder the countryside. King Charles the Bald assembles an army and sends it to protect Paris, the capital of the West Frankish Kingdom. Ragnar routs the enemy forces, and hangs 111 of their prisoners in honour of Odin. Charles — to keep them from plundering his kingdom — pays a large tribute of 7,000 livres (pounds) of silver or gold, in exchange for their leaving. The Vikings also sack the cities of Hamburg and Melun.

November 22 – Battle of Ballon: Frankish forces (3,000 men) led by Charles the Bald are defeated by Nominoe, count of Vannes, near Redon, Ille-et-Vilaine. After the battle, Brittany becomes a regnum 'kingdom' within the Frankish Empire.

Viking forces destroy Hamburg.

====== Asia ======

Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution: Emperor Wu Zong begins the persecution of Buddhists and other foreign religions in China, such as Zoroastrianism, Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism. More than 4,600 monasteries, 40,000 temples and numerous shrines are destroyed. More than 260,000 Buddhist monks and nuns are forced to return to secular life.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

John Scotus Eriugena, Irish theologian, travels to France and takes over the Palatine Academy in Paris, at the invitation of Charles the Bald (approximate date).

=== 846 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Byzantine–Bulgarian War: The Bulgarians violate the peace treaty (see 815), and invade Macedonia along the River Struma. The cities of Serres and Philippi are devastated.

====== Europe ======

Summer – Breton forces under Nominoe occupy the Frankish cities of Nantes and Rennes. He makes raids in Anjou and threatens Bayeux. King Charles the Bald recognizes him as duke of Brittany.

Prince Pribina becomes a vassal of the Frankish Empire. King Louis the German grants him land near Lake Balaton (modern Hungary). He establishes Blatnohrad, capital of Balaton Principality.

Frankish forces led by Louis the German invade Moravia. They encounter little resistance, and depose King Mojmir I from the throne. His relative, Rastislav, is set up as the new client ruler.

The Mozarabs, Iberian Christians who live under Moorish rule, try to repopulate León in Al-Andalus (modern Spain). The city is recaptured by the Muslim Arabs.

====== Britain ======

King Æthelred II of Northumbria sends military assistance to the Picts, in their fight against the invading Scots (approximate date).

Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid becomes the first High King of Ireland.

====== Arabian Empire ======

A Saracen Arab expeditionary force from Africa, consisting of 11,000 men and 500 horses, raid the outskirts of Rome, sacking the basilicas of Old St. Peter's and St. Paul's Outside the Walls.

====== Asia ======

April 22 – Emperor Wu Zong (Li Chan) dies after a 6-year reign. He is succeeded by his uncle Xuān Zong, as Chinese ruler of the Tang Dynasty.

Jang Bogo, a powerful maritime hegemon of Silla, is assassinated by aristocratic elements at his garrison headquarters by Yeom Jang (or 841).

=== 847 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Danish Vikings land in the Breton March (western part of Gaul). Duke Nominoe of Brittany fails to withstand them in battle, but succeeds in buying them off with gifts and persuading them to leave (approximate date).

Viking period: The Vikings plunder the Lower Rhine as part of their attacks on the Empire of Francia

The Saracens, under the Berber leader Kalfun, capture the Byzantine city of Bari (Southern Italy). He becomes the first ruler of the Emirate of Bari, and expands his influence on the Italian mainland with raids.

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

August 10 – Caliph Al-Wathiq dies of dropsy after a five-year reign. He is succeeded by his brother al-Mutawakkil.

==== By topic ====

==== Natural events ====

November 24 – 847 Damascus earthquake

====== Religion ======

January 24 – Pope Sergius II dies of gout after a 3-year reign. He is succeeded by Leo IV, as the 103rd pope of Rome.

April 21– Rabanus Maurus, a Frankish Benedictine monk, becomes archbishop of Mainz after the death of Odgar.

=== 848 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Summer – Bordeaux, capital of Aquitaine, falls into the hands of Viking raiders. King Charles the Bald sends a Frankish fleet to lift the siege. Despite destroying some Viking longships on the Dordogne River, they fail to save the city. The Abbey of Saint-Pierre in Brantôme is sacked.

Emperor Lothair I, and his (half) brothers Louis the German and Charles the Bald, meet in Koblenz to continue the system of "con-fraternal government".

Frankish forces under Count (comté) William of Septimania assume authority over the counties of Barcelona and Empúries (modern Spain).

The Saracens conquer Ragusa (Sicily), after its Byzantine garrison is forced by severe famine to surrender. The city and its castle are razed to the ground.

====== Britain ======

The armies of Brycheiniog and Gwent clash in the battle of Ffinnant (Wales). King Ithel of Gwent is killed in the fighting (approximate date).

Máel Sechnaill mac Maíl Ruanaid, High King of Mide, defeats a Norse Viking army at Sciath Nechtain in Ireland (approximate date).

====== Asia ======

The Chola Dynasty in Southern India starts to rule (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Pope Leo IV builds (on the opposite of the Tiber River) the Leonine City, a fortified three-kilometre wall that encircles the Vatican Hill and Borgo, to defend Rome.

The Roman Catholic church of Santa María del Naranco, on the slope of Monte Naranco (Northern Spain), is completed.

=== 849 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Summer – Battle of Ostia: A Saracen Arab fleet from Sardinia sets sail towards Rome. In response, Pope Leo IV forms a coalition of maritime Italian cities, including Naples, Amalfi and Gaeta, led by Admiral Caesar — which is assembled off the re-fortified port of Ostia — and repels the Saracen marauders. Their navy is scattered, resulting in many sunken vessels. Rome is saved from plunder and the expansion of the Aghlabids.

Frankish forces under King Charles the Bald invade southern France, and conquer the territory of Toulouse. He appoints Fredelo as count (comté) of Toulouse, who founds the Rouergue dynasty. Aquitaine is submitted to the West Frankish Kingdom.

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

The Armenian prince Bagrat II begins a rebellion against Caliph Al-Mutawakkil, of the Abbasid Caliphate.

====== Asia ======

In the Chinese capital city of Chang'an, an imperial prince is impeached during the Tang Dynasty from his position by officials at court, for erecting a building that obstructs a street in the northwesternmost ward in South Central Chang'an.

King Pyinbya of Burma founds the city of Pagan, located in the Mandalay Region, and fortifies it with walls.


The 850s decade ran from January 1, 850, to December 31, 859.

== Events ==

=== 850 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

February 1 – King Ramiro I dies in his palace at Santa María del Naranco (near Oviedo), after an 8-year reign. He is succeeded by his son Ordoño I, as ruler of Asturias.

Danish Viking raiders, led by King Rorik, conquer Dorestad and Utrecht (modern-day Netherlands). Emperor Lothair I recognizes him as ruler of most of Friesland.

King Louis II, the eldest son of Lothair I, is crowned joint emperor by Pope Leo IV at Rome, and becomes co-ruler of the Middle Frankish Kingdom.

====== Britain ======

King Kenneth I (also called Kenneth MacAlpin) of Alba (modern Scotland) invades Northern Northumbria during the period of 850–858, burning Dunbar and Melrose.

The Pillar of Eliseg is erected by King Cyngen ap Cadell of Powys (Wales), as a memorial to his great-grandfather Elisedd ap Gwylog (or Eliseg) (approximate date).

====== Japan ======

May 6 – Emperor Ninmyō dies after a 17-year reign. He is succeeded by his son Montoku, as the 55th emperor of Japan.

====== India ======

It is hypothesized that sometime around 850 a group of Buddhist pilgrims travelling through a valley near Roopkund (modern India) were killed when caught out in the open in a sudden hailstorm. Their remains were discovered in 1942.

====== Mesoamerica ======

Uxmal becomes the capital of a large state in the Puuk hills region of northern Yucatán (modern Mexico). The city is connected by causeways (sakbe) to other important Puuk sites, such as K'abah, Sayil, and Labna (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Food and Drink ======

Coffee is discovered (according to legend) by the Ethiopian goatherder Kaldi in East Africa, who notices that his goats become energetic after chewing the red berries from certain wild bushes (approximate date).

====== Religion ======

April 22 – Gunther becomes archbishop of Cologne (modern Germany).

June 18 – Perfecto, a Christian priest in Muslim Córdoba, is executed (beheaded) after he refuses to retract numerous insults he made about the prophet Muhammad.

=== 851 ===

==== By place ====

====== Asia ======

Bagrat II Bagratuni, Armenian prince and leader of a rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate, is captured by the Abbasid army, and brought to the caliphal capital of Samarra.

====== Britain ======

Danish Viking raiders enter the Thames Estuary, and plunder Canterbury and London. They land at Wembury near Plymouth, but are defeated by Anglo-Saxon forces led by King Ethelwulf of Wessex. His eldest son Æthelstan of Kent, accompanied by Ealdorman Ealhhere, attacks a Viking fleet off the coast at Sandwich, and captures nine of the enemy vessels while the remainder flees.

====== China ======

Suleiman al-Tajir, Muslim merchant and traveller, visits China during the Tang Dynasty. He observes the manufacturing of Chinese porcelain at Guangzhou, and writes of his admiration for its transparent quality. Suleiman also describes the mosque at Guangzhou, its granaries, its local government administration, some of its written records, and the treatment of travellers, along with the use of ceramics, rice wine, and tea (approximate date).

====== Europe ======

August 22 – Battle of Jengland: Duke Erispoe takes command of the Breton forces after his father Nominoe, king of Brittany, dies. He continues an offensive against the Franks in alliance with Lambert II of Nantes. In Ille-et-Vilaine near Grand-Fougeray (Brittany), Erispoe defeats a Frankish-Saxon army (4,000 men) led by King Charles the Bald.

Treaty of Angers: Charles the Bald meets Erispoe in Angers, and acknowledges him as "king of Brittany". He recognizes the authority of Breton rule over the areas around Nantes, Rennes and Pays de Retz, which become part of the Breton March, a border zone. Erispoe takes the oath to Charles as king of the West Frankish Kingdom (but not an hommage lige which would be an allegiance). To mark the sovereignty of the Breton state, the future Dukes of Brittany are crowned as "Duke, king in their lands".

September – King Pepin II of Aquitaine is captured by the forces of Count Sans II Sancion, and handed over to Charles the Bald. He is detained in the monastery of Saint Medard in Soissons.

Emperor Lothair I meets with his (half) brothers Louis the German and Charles the Bald in Meerssen (modern-day Netherlands), to continue the system of "con-fraternal government".

King Íñigo Arista of Pamplona dies after a 27-year reign. He is succeeded by his son García Íñiguez, as king of Pamplona (later Navarra).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Great Mosque of Samarra (modern Iraq) is completed during the reign of Caliph Al-Mutawakkil.

=== 852 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

March 4 – Trpimir I, duke (knez) of Croatia, and founder of the Trpimirović dynasty, issues a first state document in Bijaći of all Slavonic peoples. In this Latin document Trpimir refers to himself as the "duke of the Croats" (dux Chroatorum), and to his country as the "state of the Croats" (regnum Chroatorum).

Presian I, ruler (khan) of the Bulgarian Empire, dies after a 23-year reign in which the Bulgarians have expanded into Upper Macedonia and Serbia. He is succeeded by his son Boris I, as monarch of Bulgaria.

Emperor Lothair I and his (half) brother Charles the Bald join forces to remove the Vikings from the island of Oscelles, in the River Seine. After this has failed, Charles again pays them tribute (Danegeld).

====== Britain ======

A Viking fleet of 350 vessels enters the Thames Estuary before turning north, and engages the Mercian forces under King Beorhtwulf. The Mercians are defeated, and retreat to their settlements. The Vikings then turn south and cross the river somewhere in Surrey; there they are slaughtered by a West Saxon army, led by King Æthelwulf and his son Aethelbald, at Oak Field (Aclea).

King Æthelstan, the eldest son of Æthelwulf, is killed by a Viking raiding party. He is succeeded by his brother Æthelberht, who becomes sub-king of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex (approximate date).

Beorhtwulf dies after a 12-year reign, and is succeeded by his son Burgred as king of Mercia.

====== Al-Andalus ======

Abd al-Rahman II, Umayyad emir of Córdoba, dies after a 30-year reign in which he has made additions to the Mosque–Cathedral at Córdoba. He is succeeded by his son Muhammad I, who will put down several revolts of the Muladi and Mozarabs in Muslim controlled areas in al-Andalus (modern Spain).

==== By topic ====

====== Aviation ======

According to a 17th century account, the Andalusian inventor Abbas ibn Firnas makes a tower jump in Córdoba. He wraps himself with vulture feathers and attaches two wings to his arms. The alleged attempt to fly is not recorded in earlier sources and is ultimately unsuccessful, but the garment slows his fall enough that he only sustains minor injuries.

====== Religion ======

Gandersheim Abbey in Lower Saxony (modern Germany) is founded by Duke Liudolf of Saxony.

=== 853 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

May 22 – A Byzantine fleet (85 ships and 5,000 men) sacks and destroys the port city of Damietta, located on the Nile Delta in Egypt. A large quantity of weapons and supplies intended for the Emirate of Crete are captured.

====== Europe ======

Danish Vikings attempt to subjugate the Curonians on the shoreline of the Baltic Sea, but they are repulsed. King Olof leads Swedish Vikings in retaliation, and attacks the towns of Seeburg and Apuolė (modern Courland).

Viking marauders in Gaul sail eastward from Nantes without opposition, and reach Tours. The monasteries at Saint-Florent-le-Vieil and Marmoutier are ravaged.

King Charles the Bald bribes Boris I, ruler (khan) of the Bulgarian Empire, to form an alliance against his brother Louis the German, with Rastislav of Moravia.

Gauzbert, count of Maine, is killed during an ambush by citizens of Nantes, in revenge for the death of Lambert II.

====== Britain ======

King Burgred of Mercia appeals to Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, for help against the rebellious Welsh king Rhodri the Great. Æthelwulf agrees to send help, and Wales is subdued as far north as Anglesey.

Burgred (who inherited his crown last year) marries Æthelwulf's daughter Æthelswith, during a ceremony at the royal estate at Chippenham.

====== China ======

Tuan Ch'eng-Shih, Chinese author and scholar during the Tang Dynasty, publishes Miscellaneous Offerings from Yu-yang.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Fraumünster Church in Zürich (modern Switzerland) is founded by Louis the German.

=== 854 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Emperor Lothair I meets his (half) brothers (Louis the German and Charles the Bald) in Attigny, Ardennes for the third time, to continue the system of "con-fraternal government".

The Viking chieftains Rorik and Godfrid Haraldsson return to Demark, to gain power after the death of King Horik I. During a civil war, they are forced to go back to Friesland.

The German city of Ulm is first mentioned in a document by Louis the German.

====== Britain ======

King Æthelwulf of Wessex sends his two youngest sons, Alfred and Æthelred, on a pilgrimage to Rome.

King Æthelweard of East Anglia dies, and is succeeded by his 14-year-old son Edmund ("the Martyr").

King Cyngen of Powys makes the first pilgrimage to Rome of a Welsh ruler.

Viking chieftain Ubba winters in Milford Haven (Wales) with 23 ships.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Eardulf becomes bishop of Lindisfarne, after the death of Eanbert.

=== 855 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

November 20 – Theoktistos, co-regent of the Empire on behalf of 15-year old Emperor Michael III, is murdered on the orders of Michael.

====== Central Europe ======

September 29 – Emperor Lothair I dies after a 15-year reign (co-ruling with his father Louis the Pious until 840). He divides the Middle Frankish Kingdom between his three sons in an agreement called the Treaty of Prüm—the eldest, Louis II, receives the northern half of Italy and the title of Holy Roman Emperor. The second, Lothair II, receives Lotharingia (the Low Countries and Upper Burgundy). The youngest, Charles, receives Lower Burgundy and Provence.

====== Britain ======

Spring – King Æthelwulf of Wessex decides to go on a pilgrimage to Rome, accompanied by his youngest son Alfred (age 6) and a large retinue. He divides the kingdom between his two eldest sons; Æthelbald receives the western part of Wessex, while Æthelberht becomes ruler over Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Essex.

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

Caliph al-Mutawakkil sends an Abbasid army, led by the Turkic general Bugha al-Kabir, to suppress an uprising of rebellious Armenian nakharars. He subdues the country, and deports many Armenian nobles to the caliphal capital of Samarra.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

July 17 – Pope Leo IV dies after an 8-year reign, and is succeeded by Benedict III as the 104th pope of Rome. Anastasius is made anti-pope by Lothair I.

Æthelwulf grants churches in Wessex the right to receive tithes. He gives one-tenth of his lands to the Church.

The Slavic alphabet is created by Saints Cyrill and Methodius.

=== 856 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

March 15 – Emperor Michael III overthrows the regency of his mother Theodora and the logothete Theoktistos. He appoints his uncle Bardas as the de facto regent and co-ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

====== Europe ======

King Charles the Bald cedes the county of Maine to Erispoe, ruler (duke) of Brittany—this in return for an alliance against the Vikings.

King Ordoño I of Asturias is said to have begun the repopulation of the town of León in the northwest of Spain (approximate date).

====== Britain ======

October 1 – King Æthelwulf of Wessex marries the 12- or 13-year-old Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, at Verberie (Northern France). She is crowned queen and anointed by Hincmar, archbishop of Reims. The marriage is a diplomatic alliance between Wessex and the West Frankish Kingdom.

Winter – Æthelwulf returns to Wessex to face a revolt by his eldest son Æthelbald, who usurps the throne. Æthelwulf agrees to give up the western part of his kingdom, in order to avoid a civil war. He keeps control over Sussex, Surrey, Essex and Kent, over which Prince Æthelberht has presided.

==== By topic ====

====== Geology ======

November (approximate date) – An earthquake in Corinth in Greece kills an estimated 45,000 people.

December 3 – Another earthquake strikes the Abbasid Caliphate (modern-day Tunisia), also killing an estimated 45,000 people.

December 22 – Another earthquake strikes Damghan (modern-day Iran), killing an estimated 200,000 people.

=== 857 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Michael III, under the influence of his uncle Bardas, banishes his mother Theodora to the Gastria Monastery. Bardas, the de facto regent, becomes the most powerful person in the Byzantine Empire.

====== Europe ======

November – Erispoe, ruler (duke) of Brittany, is assassinated by his cousin Salomon and followers, in the church at Talensac. King Charles the Bald acknowledges Salomon as the rightful 'king' of Brittany.

A Danish Viking fleet raids the cities of Dorestad, Paris and Orléans. Others sail up the Oise River, ravaging Beauvais and the abbey of Saint-Germer-de-Fly (approximate date).

Viking chieftain Rorik, with the agreement of King Lothair II, leaves Dorestad with a fleet and forces his rival Horik II to recognise him as ruler over Denmark (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Medicine ======

The first recorded major outbreak of ergotism kills thousands of people in the Rhine Valley. They have eaten bread made from rye infected with the ergot fungus parasite Claviceps purpurea (approximate date).

=== 858 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Summer – King Louis the German, summoned by the disaffected Frankish nobles, invades the West Frankish Kingdom and secures Aquitaine for his nephew Pepin II ("the Younger"). King Charles the Bald flees to Burgundy; he is saved by the help of the bishops, and by the fidelity of the family of the Welfs, who are related to Judith (second wife of former emperor Louis the Pious).

Viking raiders, led by Björn Ironside, set fire to the earliest church on the site of Chartres Cathedral. Charles the Bald pays him tribute (Danegeld) to save Verberie (Northern France).

====== Britain ======

January 13 – King Æthelwulf of Wessex dies after an 18-year reign, and is succeeded by his eldest son Æthelbald. He marries his father's young widow Judith (daughter of Charles the Bald), and becomes sole ruler of Wessex. His brother, Æthelberht, is left to rule Kent and the south-east of England.

February 13 – King Kenneth I (Cináed mac Ailpín), king of the Scots, dies after a 15-year reign in which he has been crowned at Scone, and united the various parts of Scotland with his native Dál Riata. His 46-year-old brother succeeds as Donald I, king of Alba.

====== Asia ======

October 7 – Emperor Montoku dies after an 8-year reign. He is succeeded by his 8-year-old son Seiwa as the 56th emperor of Japan, with Fujiwara no Yoshifusa (Seiwa's grandfather) governing as regent and great minister of the Council of State.

An enormous flood along the Grand Canal inundates thousands of acres of farmland and kills tens of thousands of people in the North China Plain.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

April 17 – Pope Benedict III dies after a 3-year reign, in which he has intervened in a political conflict between the sons of Emperor Lothair I. He is succeeded by Nicholas I, as the 105th pope of Rome.

Synod of Quierzy: The bishops remain loyal to Charles the Bald during the invasion of his dominions by Louis the German. They address a conciliatory letter to Louis the German, which includes the False Decretals.

October 23 – Ignatios I, patriarch of Constantinople, is imprisoned by orders of Emperor Michael III, and replaced by the layman Photius I.

=== 859 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

January 15 – Battle of St. Quentin: Frankish forces led by Humfrid defeat King Louis the German at Saint-Quentin (Northern France). Humfrid is enfeoffed with the County of Autun, and appointed Margrave of Burgundy by King Charles the Bald.

Summer – The Viking chieftains Hastein and Björn Ironside (a son of Ragnar Lodbrok) begin an expedition, and sail from the Loire River with a fleet of 62 ships, to raid cities and monasteries in the Mediterranean Sea.

Viking raiders invade the Kingdom of Pamplona (Western Pyrenees), and capture King García Íñiguez I, somewhere in the Andalusian heartland. They extort a ransom, rising to around 70,000 gold dinars.

The Russian city of Novgorod is first mentioned in the Sofia chronicles.

Winter - The weather is so severe that the Adriatic Sea freezes, and Italy is covered in snow for 100 days.

====== Iberian Peninsula ======

Battle of Albelda: King Ordoño I of Asturias, and his ally García Íñiguez I, defeat the Muslims under Musa ibn Musa al-Qasawi at Albelda.

Viking raiders burn the mosques of Seville and Algesiras in al-Andalus (modern Spain).

====== Africa ======

The University of Al Karaouine is founded in Fes (modern Morocco), by Fatima al-Fihri (recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest university in the world).

====== China ======

September 7 – Emperor Xuān Zong (Li Yi) dies after a 13-year reign. He is succeeded by his eldest son Yi Zong, as ruler of the Tang Dynasty.


The Bosonids were a dynasty of Carolingian era dukes, counts, bishops and knights descended from Boso the Elder. Eventually they married into the Carolingian dynasty and produced kings and an emperor of the Frankish Empire.

The first great scion of the dynasty was Boso V, Count of Arles and of other Burgundian counties in the mid-9th century. Boso rose in favour as a courtier of Charles the Bald. He was even appointed viceroy in Italy in 875. After the death of Charles' son Louis II, Boso refused to recognise both Louis' sons, Carloman and Louis III as kings of France and proclaimed himself King of Provence in 879 at Vienne, with the support of the nobility. Boso strove throughout the rest of his life to maintain his title in the face of the Emperor Charles III. He died in 887 and was succeeded by his son Louis under the regency of his wife Ermengard, a daughter of the Emperor Louis II.

Louis was adopted by Charles III and legitimised in his royal title. With this legal basis, he sought to take the place of his Carolingian relatives on the imperial and Italian thrones in 900. He was crowned in Pavia and then in Rome, but could not actually hold on to power there.

Carloman, son of Charles the Bald

Carloman (848 – c. 877) was the youngest son of Charles the Bald, king of West Francia, and his first wife, Ermentrude. He was intended for an ecclesiastical career from an early age, but in 870 rebelled against his father and tried to claim a part of the kingdom as an inheritance.

Born in 848, Carloman was tonsured as a child in 854 in furtherance of his father's policy of preventing a partition of the kingdom (as had happened at Verdun in 843) by placing his younger sons in the church. Carloman was tutored by Abbot Wulfad, a future archbishop. In 860 Carloman was ordained a deacon and acquired the abbacy of Saint-Médard de Soissons. In the following decade he acquired the abbacies of Saint-Amand d'Elnon, Saint-Riquier, Lobbes and Saint-Arnould de Metz.In 865 Carloman's older brother and fellow ecclesiastic, Lothair the Lame, died and Carloman succeeded him in the abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre. The next year (866), another brother, Charles the Child, whom Charles the Bald had made King of Aquitaine, died. With these deaths, Carloman became second in line to the throne after the eldest brother, Louis the Stammerer. Resenting being shunted into the church, and perhaps at heart a warrior, by 870 he had gathered an aristocratic following. No specific names have come down to us of those who supported Carloman, although they appear to have been mostly from Lotharingia and Flanders. Before his defiance of his father amounted to anything, he was arrested, tried and imprisoned at Senlis. His abbacies were forfeited.Pope Hadrian II unsuccessfully intervened to try to secure Carloman's release, but the latter escaped to Flanders, where he gathered a small army. The bishops of the province of Reims then met under the leadership of Archbishop Hincmar at Compiègne in early 871. They pronounced excommunication on all of Carloman's supporters in the province of Reims, with one dissenting voice—Bishop Hincmar of Laon, who was perhaps a supporter of Carloman himself. In 873, Carloman was re-tried and blinded, but he avoided imprisonment by escaping to East Francia, where his uncle, King Louis the German, gave him protection. He died there about 877.

Carloman of Bavaria

Carloman (German: Karlmann, Latin: Karlomannus; c. 830 – 22 March 880) was a Frankish king of the Carolingian dynasty. He was the eldest son of Louis the German, king of East Francia, and Hemma, daughter of a Bavarian count. His father appointed him margrave of Pannonia in 856, and upon his father's death in 876 he became King of Bavaria. He was appointed by King Louis II of Italy as his successor, but the Kingdom of Italy was taken by his uncle Charles the Bald in 875. Carloman only conquered it in 877. In 879 he was incapacitated, perhaps by a stroke, and abdicated his domains in favour of his younger brothers: Bavaria to Louis the Younger and Italy to Charles the Fat.

Charles the Child

Charles the Child (Latin Karolus puer, from the Annales Bertiniani; 847/848, Frankfurt am Main – 29 September 866, Buzançais) was the King of Aquitaine from October 855 until his death in 866.He was the second son of Charles the Bald and brother of Louis the Stammerer. The younger Charles was appointed by his father, who had previously ruled as King of Aquitaine himself from 838, as a sop to Aquitainian separatism. The Aquitainians had previously rebelled against Charles the Bald, requesting from Louis the German that he send one of his sons to rule over them. Louis had sent his second son, Louis the Younger, prompting Charles the Bald to release his rival claimant to Aquitaine, Pippin II. Pippin succeeded in rallying the nobles to support himself and Charles the Bald against Louis the Younger, who was driven out. By October, however, Pippin lost his popularity with the still-rebellious Aquitainians, prompting Charles the Bald to appoint Charles the Child as King. Charles the Child was duly anointed at Limoges. Within a year, he had been replaced by the Aquitainians with Pippin II. These same then deposed Pippin and restored Charles the Child. Pippin was captured in 864 and imprisoned at Senlis, at which point he disappears from history.

Unlike previous sub-kings of Aquitaine, (Louis the Pious, Pippin I, Pippin II), Charles the Child had no real authority at all. Before 840, the kingdom had been ruled in person by an autonomous king; Charles the Bald, however, after his accession as King of Western Francia, attempted to maintain power in Aquitaine. Consequently, Charles the Child, and his brother, Louis the Stammerer, did not rule in person, had no chancery, could issue no instruments; they were no longer empowered to bestow privileges, endow religious establishments, or dispose of royal property. All the rights of the region were invested in Charles the Bald, in whose absence the nobles of the Kingdom gathered power.

Nonetheless, as Charles grew older, he began to exercise what little personal authority he could. For example, in 862 he chose and married a wife against the will of his father. The name of his wife is unknown, although she was apparently the widow of a count named Humbert. Charles the Bald reasserted his power over his son in 863, forcing the younger Charles to put away his wife and be loyal to his father. A year later, he was accidentally struck with a sword in the head by a member of his own hunting party in a mock combat, leading Ado of Vienne to say that "Charles was dishonoured (dehonestatus) by having suffered it". The blow left him mentally incapacitated until his resultant death in 866. He died childless and was buried in Bourges.

County of Toulouse

The County of Toulouse was a territory in southern France consisting of the city of Toulouse and its environs, ruled by the Count of Toulouse from the late 9th century until the late 13th century.The territory is the center of a region known as Occitania.

Ermentrude of Orléans

Ermentrude of Orléans (27 September 823 – 6 October 869) was Queen of the Franks by her marriage to Charles the Bald, Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia. She was the daughter of Odo, Count of Orléans and his wife Engeltrude.

She and Charles married in 842. Their children were:

Judith of Flanders (born c. 843, died ?), wife of Æthelwulf of Wessex, Æthelbald of Wessex, and Baldwin I, Margrave of Flanders

Louis the Stammerer (846–879)

Charles the Child (847–866)

Lothar (848–865), monk in 861, became Abbot of Saint-Germain

Carloman, son of Charles the Bald (849–876)

Rotrud (852–912), a nun

Ermentrud (854–877), a nun

Hildegard (born 856, died ?)

Gisela (857–874)

Godehilde (864–907)Ermentrude had a gift for embroidery and an interest in religious foundations. Her husband gave her the Abbey of Chelles. She separated from her husband after he executed her rebellious brother William in 866, and retreated to life in a nunnery. Ermentrude was buried in the Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris, France.

First Bible of Charles the Bald

The First Bible of Charles the Bald (BNF Lat. 1) is a Carolingian-era Bible commissioned by Count Vivien in 845, the lay abbot of Saint-Martin de Tours, and presented to Charles the Bald in 846 on a visit to the church, as shown in the presentation miniature at the end of the book. It is also known as the Count Vivian Bible or the Vivian Bible. It is 495 mm by 345 mm and has 423 vellum folia.

It is also thought to be the third illuminated Bible to have been made at Tours following the Bamberg (Staatsbibliothek Bamberg Msc. Bibl. 1) and Moutier-Grandval (British Library Add MS 10546) bibles.


Hincmar (; 806 – 21 December 882), archbishop of Reims, was the friend, advisor and propagandist of Charles the Bald. He belonged to a noble family of northern Francia.

Louis the German

Louis (also Ludwig or Lewis) "the German" (c. 806 – 876), also known as Louis II, was the first king of East Francia, and ruled from 843-876AD. Grandson of emperor Charlemagne and the third son of emperor of Francia, Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye, he received the appellation Germanicus shortly after his death in recognition of Magna Germania of the Roman Empire, reflecting the Carolingian's assertions that they were the rightful descendants of the Roman Empire

After protracted clashes with his father and his brothers, Ludwig received the East Frankish Empire in the 843 Treaty of Verdun. His attempts to conquer the West Frankish Empire of his half-brother Charles the Bald in 858-59 were unsuccessful. The 860s were marked by a severe crisis, with the East Frankish rebellions of the sons, as well as struggles to maintain supremacy over his realm. In the Treaty of Meerssen he acquired Lotharingia for the East Frankish Empire in 870. On the other hand, he tried and failed to claim both the title of Emperor and Italy. In the East, Ludwig was able to reach a longer-term peace agreement in 874 after decades of conflict with the Moravians. Due to a decline in the written form in administration and government, Ludwig's reign predates Ottonian times.


Nominoe or Nomenoe (French: Nominoë; Breton: Nevenoe; b. c. 800, d. 7 March 851) was the first Duke of Brittany from 846 to his death. He is the Breton pater patriae and to Breton nationalists he is known as Tad ar Vro ("father of the country").

Pepin II of Aquitaine

Pepin II, called the Younger (823 – after 864 in Senlis), 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. He was a grandson of the Emperor Louis the Pious.

Pepin was elected king upon his father's death by the nobles of Aquitaine who were keen to establish their independence from the Empire. However, his grandfather Louis the Pious had appointed his son Charles the Bald, Pepin's uncle who was about the same age, as King of Aquitaine in 832 when he (nominally) dispossessed Pepin’s father Pepin I, and eventually contested the kingship on Pepin I’s death in 838. Pepin had thereafter been at war with his half-uncle Charles. Louis the Pious fully disinherited him at Crémieu and then at Worms in two subsequent divisions of the empire.

Louis demanded the Aquitainians send Pepin to Aachen to learn the ways of good governance, which they refused. Pepin was in total control of Aquitaine until 841 when he went to his uncle Lothair I's aid at the Battle of Fontenoy (a year after his aging grandfather died at age 62). Pepin defeated Charles the Bald, but Lothair was routed by Louis the German, another son of Emperor Louis. Pepin returned to Aquitaine and continued war with Charles the Bald.

In 844 Pepin made the fatal error of asking for help from Jarl Oscar, a Viking adventurer. He guided Oscar's forces up the Garonne to Toulouse, giving them an opportunity to scout the land for plundering. In 845 Pepin welcomed Seguin of Bordeaux who had defected from the Emperor's side. Pepin made him dux Wasconum, to help his fight against Sans II Sancion of Gascony, who had been at war with his father Pepin I.

Bordeaux, the largest city in Aquitaine and then controlled by Charles, was seized by Oscar in 847, with the aid of disaffected citizens. These were either Jews or partisans of Pepin. The loss of this city to a heathen pirate, coupled with Pepin's heavy drinking and loose living, eroded his support in the nobility until 848 he was left with no support. His younger brother, Charles then tried to claim the Aquitainian Kingdom for himself.

Pepin II's rule finally ended in 851 or 852 when he was captured by Sans II Sancion, and handed over to Charles. He was detained in the monastery of Saint Médard in Soissons. As reward Sans was awarded the status of Duke.

Louis the German, who was at war with Charles the Bald, sent his son Louis the Younger, to claim Aquitaine. He marched as far as Limoges in 855 before returning east.

Pepin escaped and recovered some of his old authority and lands in 854. The Vikings now established in the Loire Valley ravaged Poitiers, Angoulême, Périgueux, Limoges, Clermont, and Bourges while Charles the Bald was busy trying to subdue Pepin. In 864 Pepin joined the Vikings and is rumored to have turned from Christianity to worship Woden and "lived like one of them [the Vikings]". He joined the Vikings in an attack on Toulouse. He was captured again later in 864, deposed by the Edict of Pistres, and imprisoned in Senlis, where he would die.

Richilde of Provence

Richilde of the Ardennes (or Richilde of Provence) (ca. 845 – 2 June 910, Kingdom of Lower Burgundy) was the second consort of Charles the Bald, King and Emperor of the Franks. By her marriage, she became Queen of the West Franks, and then Empress of the Franks. She also served as a regent.

Richilde was the daughter of Bivin of Gorze, Count of the Ardennes, and the sister of Boso of Provence (of the Bosonid dynasty). Her aunt was Theutberga, the wife of Lothar II of Lotharingia. Her marriage to Charles the Bald, in 870 after the death of his first wife, Ermentrude of Orléans, was intended to secure his rule in Lotharingia through her powerful family and her connection to Theutberga, the previous Queen consort. She bore him five children, but only the eldest daughter, Rothilde survived to adulthood.

Whenever Charles went to war, Richilde managed the realm, and acted as head of state after the death of Charles in 877. Louis the Stammerer (son of Charles the Bald and Ermentrude of Orléans) died on 10 April 879 while his children were too young to rule on their own. Richilde planned to place her brother Boso, Duke of Burgundy, on the throne. However, she was accused of incest with her brother and the lords of the kingdom refused to subject themselves to her authority. She then helped Boso to become King of Provence.

She attempted to assume a position of authority upon the death of Louis III in 882, and of Carloman II in 884; however, the empire was agitated and under threat by the Normans, and the grandees of the realm forced her to withdraw to Provence, then the realm of her nephew Louis the Blind, where she died on 2 June 910.

Robert the Strong

Robert the Strong (c. 830 – 866) was the father of two kings of West Francia Odo (or Eudes) and Robert I of France. His family is named after him and called the Robertians. In 853 he was named missus dominicus by Charles the Bald, King of West Francia. Robert the Strong was the great-grandfather of Hugh Capet and thus the ancestor of all the Capetians.

Siege of Paris (845)

The Siege of Paris and the Sack of Paris of 845 was the culmination of a Viking invasion of France. The Viking forces were led by a Norse chieftain named "Reginherus", or Ragnar, who traditionally has been identified with the legendary saga character Ragnar Lodbrok (Old Norse: "Ragnarr Loþbrók", contemporary Icelandic: "Ragnar Loðbrók"). Ragnar's fleet of 120 Viking ships, carrying thousands of men, entered the Seine in March and proceeded to sail up the river. The Frankish king Charles the Bald assembled a smaller army in response, but as the Vikings defeated one division, comprising half of the army, the remaining forces retreated. The Vikings reached Paris at the end of the month, during Easter. After plundering and occupying the city, the Vikings withdrew when they had been paid a ransom of 7,000 French livres (2,570 kilograms (83,000 ozt)) of silver and gold from Charles the Bald.

Treaty of Meerssen

The Treaty of Mersen or Meerssen, concluded on 8 August 870, was a treaty of partition of the realm of Lothair II (Lotharingia), by his uncles Louis the German of East Francia and Charles the Bald of West Francia, the two surviving sons of Emperor Louis I the Pious.

West Francia

In medieval historiography, West Francia (Latin: Francia occidentalis) or the Kingdom of the West Franks (regnum Francorum occidentalium) was the western part of Charlemagne's Empire, ruled by the Germanic Franks that forms the earliest stage of the Kingdom of France, lasting from about 840 until 987. West Francia was formed out of the division of the Carolingian Empire in 843 under the Treaty of Verdun after the death of Emperor Louis the Pious and the east–west division which "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms (...) of what we can begin to call Germany and France."West Francia extended further south than modern France, but it did not extend as far east. West Francia did not include such future French holdings as Lorraine, Burgundy, Alsace and Provence in the east and southeast. In addition, by the 10th century the rule of its kings was greatly reduced even within the West Frankish realm by the increase in power of great territorial magnates over their large and usually territorially contiguous fiefs. This process was compounded by wars among those magnates, including against or alongside the Crown, and by foreign invasion. Notably, Normandy was given to the rule of Norse invaders under Rollo as a county and later duchy in return for their willingness to end their raids, and like other great fiefs became largely autonomous of, and more powerful than, the Crown. In Brittany and Catalonia the authority of the West Frankish king was barely felt. West Frankish kings were elected by the secular and ecclesiastic magnates, and for the half-century between 888 and 936 they chose alternately from the Carolingian and Robertian houses. By this time the power of king became weaker and more nominal, as the regional dukes and nobles became more powerful in their semi-independent regions. The Robertians, after becoming counts of Paris and dukes of France, became kings themselves and established the Capetian dynasty.

William of Septimania

William of Septimania (29 November 826 – 850) was the son of Bernard and Dhuoda. He was the Count of Toulouse from 844 and Count of Barcelona from 848.

The sources for his life are primarily the Annales Bertiniani and the Chronica Fontanellensis, while his mother wrote an educational instruction book called the Liber Manualis for him and his brother sometime before February 842.

William was initially sent to the court of his uncle, Theodoric of Autun, who died around 830, and left the child in the charge of Louis the Pious, then reigning Emperor. When Louis died in June 840, custody of the youth passed to Charles the Bald of West Francia. Throughout most of this time, William lived in Uzès, with frequent stays with his father in Toulouse. On 25 June 841, the same day as the Battle of Fontenoy, William petitioned Charles the Bald for investiture of the benefices of his godfather Theodoric in Burgundy. This was granted and the young William was invited to live at the royal palace, being promised investiture with the county of Autun in the future. When, however, Guerin of Provence was installed in Autun, dissension ripped apart the court.

William's father was dispossessed of his benefices, offices, and titles in July 842 and they were not passed to William. In May 844, his father was executed and he promptly joined the rebellion then under way in Aquitaine led by Pepin II. In June, he fought in the Battle of Angoumois. Pepin invested him with Toulouse, while Charles installed Fredelo there. It has been hypothesised that William was also the same person as the Count of Bordeaux and possible Duke of Gascony appointed by Pepin in 845. At that time, the Vikings invaded Aquitaine and ravaged as far as Limoges. In 847, they again besieged Bordeaux, and when William came to the city's relief he was captured. Finally liberated in 848 through an accord signed by Pepin, William returned to Gothia to lead the ongoing revolt there.

In that year, William entered Barcelona and Empúries and assumed authority there, "more by cunning and lies than by force of arms," according to the chroniclers. It has been supposed that Sunifred I of Barcelona died a natural death and Charles the Bald nominated Aleran to succeed him, but William, not recognising this, laid claim to the counties of Sunifred as the heir of Bernard. He asserted these rights and was recognised in the counties themselves. However, the sudden disappearance of Sunyer I of Empúries and Bera II of Conflent has led some scholars to posit an act of treachery (coup d'état) to secure his claimed inheritance.

In summer 849, when Charles the Bald decided to attack Aquitaine, Fredelo welcomed him with open gates at Toulouse and the king reconfirmed Fredelo's investiture. Pepin fled in haste and Charles marched to Narbonne, where he named Aleran as count in Barcelona, Empúries, and Roussillon and as Margrave of Septimania. He granted Wilfred the counties of Girona and Besalú, and Solomon those of Cerdanya, Urgell, and Conflent. Aleran, who was possibly also the Count of Troyes and son of William I of Blois, appointed an adjunct, Isembard, son of Guerin of Provence, given that he had to guard against William's territorial aspirations. In the end, Charles' nominations had little trouble taking up their charges. William thus turned to Abd al-Rahman II, Emir of Córdoba.

In February 850, when Charles the Bald marched into Aquitaine and the nobles en masse switched allegiance to Pepin II, Sancho II Sánchez of Gascony took control of Bordeaux, William marched over Catalonia and allied himself with the Andalusians. Charles sent reinforcements and William was defeated in battle. William fled to Barcelona, where he was caught and killed by the royal partisans. William was reportedly still in possession of his mother's Manual when he died. In Barcelona, Sancho and his brother-in-law Emenon were captured by Musa ibn Musa of the Banu Qasi. In 851, the Moors occupied Barcelona, decimating the population. In September 852, Sancho was released by a treaty.

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