East Francia (Latin: Francia orientalis) or the Kingdom of the East Franks (regnum Francorum orientalium) was a precursor of the Holy Roman Empire. A successor state of Charlemagne's empire, it was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911. It was created through the Treaty of Verdun (843) which divided the former empire into three kingdoms.[a]
The east–west division, enforced by the German-Latin language split, "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms", with East Francia becoming the Kingdom of Germany and West Francia the Kingdom of France.
Kingdom of the East Franks
East Francia and its vassal territories after the Treaty of Verdun of 843.
|Capital||Various, including Frankfurt and Ratisbon (Regensburg)|
|Common languages||Old High German|
Old Low German
limited use of Old Franconian and Latin in official and church matters; vassal territories also used Slavic and various other languages
|King of the Franks|
|Louis the German (first)|
• 936–962 (title held until his death in 973)
|Otto the Great|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
In August 843, after three years of civil war following the death of emperor Louis the Pious on 20 June 840, the Treaty of Verdun was signed by his three sons and heirs. The division of lands was largely based on the Meuse, Scheldt, Saone and Rhone rivers. While the eldest son Lothair I kept the imperial title and the kingdom of Middle Francia, Charles the Bald received the West Francia and Louis the German received the eastern portion of mostly Germanic-speaking lands of Duchy of Saxony, Austrasia, Alamannia, Duchy of Bavaria, and March of Carinthia.
The contemporary East Frankish Annales Fuldenses describes the kingdom being "divided in three" and Louis "acceding to the eastern part". The West Frankish Annales Bertiniani describe the extent of Louis's lands: "at the assigning of portions, Louis obtained all the land beyond the Rhine river, but on this side of the Rhine also the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz with their counties". The kingdom of West Francia went to Louis's younger half-brother Charles the Bald and between their realms a kingdom of Middle Francia, incorporating Italy, was given to their elder brother, the Emperor Lothair I.
While Eastern Francia contained about a third of the traditional Frankish heartland of Austrasia, the rest consisted mostly of lands annexed to the Frankish empire between the fifth and the eighth century. These included the duchies of Alemannia, Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, as well as the northern and eastern marches with the Danes and Slavs. The contemporary chronicler Regino of Prüm wrote that the "different people" (diversae nationes populorum) of East Francia, mostly Germanic- and Slavic-speaking, could be "distinguished from each other by race, customs, language and laws" (genere moribus lingua legibus).
The increasing weakness of royal power in East Francia meant that dukes of Bavaria, Swabia, Franconia, Saxony and Lotharingia from appointed nobles turned into hereditary rulers of their territories. Kings increasingly had to deal with regional rebellions.
In 911 Saxon, Franconian, Bavarian and Swabian nobles no longer followed the tradition of electing someone from the Carolingian dynasty as a king to rule over them and on November 10, 911 elected one of their own as the new king. Because Conrad I was one of the dukes, he found it very hard to establish his authority over them. Duke Henry of Saxony was in rebellion against Conrad I until 915 and struggle against Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria cost Conrad I his life. On his deathbed Conrad I chose Henry of Saxony as the most capable successor. This kingship changed from Franks to Saxons, who had suffered greatly during the conquests of Charlemagne. Henry, who was elected to kingship by only Saxons and Franconians at Fritzlar, had to subdue other dukes and concentrated on creating a state apparatus which was fully utilized by his son and successor Otto I. By his death in July 936 Henry had prevented collapse of royal power as was happening in West Francia and left a much stronger kingdom to his successor Otto I. After Otto I was crowned as the Emperor in Rome in 962 the era of the Holy Roman Empire began.
The term orientalis Francia originally referred to Franconia and orientales Franci to its inhabitants, the ethnic Franks living east of the Rhine. The use of the term in a broader sense, to refer to the eastern kingdom, was an innovation of Louis the German's court. Since eastern Francia could be identified with old Austrasia, the Frankish heartland, Louis's choice of terminology hints at his ambitions. Under his grandson, Arnulf, the terminology was largely dropped and the kingdom, when it was referred to by name, was simply Francia.
When it was necessary, as in the Treaty of Bonn (921) with the West Franks, the "eastern" qualifier appeared. Henry I refers to himself as rex Francorum orientalium, "king of the East Franks", in the treaty. By the 12th century, the historian Otto of Freising, in using the Carolingian terminology had to explain that the "eastern kingdom of the Franks" (orientale Francorum regnum) was "now called the kingdom of the Germans" (regnum Teutonicorum).
The regalia of the Carolingian empire had been divided by Louis the Pious on his deathbed between his two faithful sons, Charles the Bald and Lothair. Louis the German, then in rebellion, received nothing of the crown jewels or liturgical books associated with Carolingian kingship. Thus the symbols and rituals of East Frankish kingship were created from scratch.
From an early date the East Frankish kingdom had a more formalised notion of royal election than West Francia. Around 900, a liturgy (ordo) for the coronation of a king, called the early German ordo, was written for a private audience. It required the coronator to ask the "designated prince" (princeps designatus) whether he was willing to defend the church and the people and then to turn and ask the people whether they were willing to be subject to the prince and obey his laws. The latter then shouted, "Fiat, fiat!" (Let it be done!), an act that later became known as "Recognition". This is the earliest known coronation ordo with a Recognition in it, and it was subsequently incorporated in the influential Pontificale Romano-Germanicum.
In June 888, King Arnulf convened a council at Mainz. In attendance were the three archbishops of the East Frankish kingdom—Wilbert of Cologne, Liutbert of Mainz and Ratbod of Trier—and the West Frankish archbishops of Reims (Fulk) and Rouen (John I) along with the bishops of Beauvais and Noyon. According to Walter Ullmann, the presence of the West Franks was on account of the "barren ecclesiastical thought" of the East, and the council proceeded to adopt West Frankish ideas of royal sacrality and anointing. It was "the first phase in the process of assimilation of the two halves of the Carolingian inheritance". In another church council at Tribur in 895, the prelates declared that Arnulf was chosen by God and not by men and Arnulf in turn swore to defend the church and its privileges from all its enemies. When Arnulf died in 899, his minor son, Louis IV, was crowned, but not anointed, and placed under the tutelage of Archbishop Hatto I of Mainz. Louis's coronation was the first in German history. When Louis died in late September 911, Duke Conrad of Franconia was elected to replace him on 10 November and he became the first German king to receive unction.
The three basic services monasteries could owe to the sovereign in the Frankish realms were military service, an annual donation of money or work, and prayers for the royal family and the kingdom. Collectively, these were known by the technical term servitium regis ("king's service"). According to the evidence of the Notitia de servitio monasteriorum, list of monasteries and the services they owed drawn up around 817, the burden of military and monetary service was more severe in west Francia than in east Francia. Only four monasteries listed as "beyond the Rhine" (ultra Rhenum) owed these services: Lorsch, Schuttern, Mondsee and Tegernsee.
Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic Alemanni peoples after they broke through the Roman limes in 213.
The Alemanni expanded from the Main River basin during the 3rd century, raiding Roman provinces and settling on the left bank of the Rhine River beginning in the 4th century.
Ruled by independent tribal kings during the 4th to 5th centuries, Alamannia lost its independence and became a duchy of the Frankish Empire in the 6th century. As the Holy Roman Empire started to form under King Conrad I of East Francia (reigning 911 to 918), the territory of Alamannia became the Duchy of Swabia in 915. Scribes often used the term Suebia interchangeably with Alamannia in the 10th to 12th centuries.The territory of Alamannia as it existed from the 7th to 9th centuries centered on Lake Constance and included the High Rhine, the Black Forest and the Alsace on either side of the Upper Rhine, the upper Danube River basin as far as the confluence with the Lech River, with an unclear boundary towards Burgundy to the south-west in the Aare River basin (the Aargau). Raetia Curiensis, although not part of Alemannia, was ruled by Alemannic counts, and became part of the Duchy of Swabia since it was established by Burchard I (Duke of Alemannia from 909 to 911).
The territory corresponds to what was still the areal of Alemannic German in the modern period, i.e. French Alsace, German Baden and Swabia, German-speaking Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg.Ansgar
Saint Ansgar (8 September 801 – 3 February 865), also known as Anskar, Saint Anschar or Oscar, was a Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen in the northern part of the Kingdom of the East Franks. Ansgar became known as the "Apostle of the North" because of his travels and the See of Hamburg received the missionary mandate to bring Christianity to Northern Europe.Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia (c. 850 – December 8, 899) was the duke of Carinthia who overthrew his uncle, Emperor Charles the Fat, became 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 at Regensburg, Bavaria.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 Fat
Charles III (13 June 839 – 13 January 888), also known as Charles the Fat, was the Carolingian Emperor from 881 to 888. The youngest son of Louis the German and Hemma, Charles was a great-grandson of Charlemagne. He was the second-to-last emperor of the Carolingian dynasty and the last to rule, briefly, over a re-united Frankish empire.
Over his lifetime, Charles became ruler of the various kingdoms of Charlemagne's former empire. Granted lordship over Alamannia in 876, following the division of East Francia, he succeeded to the Italian throne upon the abdication of his older brother Carloman of Bavaria who had been incapacitated by a stroke. Crowned Emperor in 881 by Pope John VIII, his succession to the territories of his brother Louis the Younger (Saxony and Bavaria) the following year reunited the kingdom of East Francia. Upon the death of his cousin Carloman II in 884, he inherited all of West Francia, thus reuniting the entire Carolingian Empire.
Usually considered lethargic and inept—he is known to have had repeated illnesses and is believed to have suffered from epilepsy—he twice purchased peace with Viking raiders, including the infamous Siege of Paris (885–886) which led to his downfall.
The reunited empire did not last. During a coup led by his nephew Arnulf of Carinthia in November 887, Charles was deposed in East Francia, Lotharingia, and Kingdom of Italy. Forced into quiet retirement he died of natural causes in January 888, just a few weeks after his deposition. The Empire quickly fell apart after his death, splintering into five separate successor kingdoms; the territory it had occupied was not entirely reunited under one ruler until the conquests of Napoleon.Charles the Simple
Charles III (17 September 879 – 7 October 929), called the Simple or the Straightforward (from the Latin Carolus Simplex), was the King of West Francia from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919–23. He was a member of the Carolingian dynasty.Conrad I of Germany
Conrad I (German: Konrad; c. 881 – 23 December 918), called the Younger, was the king of East Francia from 911 to 918. He was the first king not of the Carolingian dynasty, the first to be elected by the nobility and the first to be anointed. He was chosen as the king by the rulers of the East Frankish stem duchies after the death of young king Louis the Child. Ethnically Frankish, prior to this election he had ruled the Duchy of Franconia from 906.Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria (German: Herzogtum Bayern) was a frontier region in the southeastern part of the Merovingian kingdom from the sixth through the eighth century. It was settled by Bavarian tribes and ruled by dukes (duces) under Frankish overlordship. A new duchy was created from this area during the decline of the Carolingian Empire in the late ninth century. It became one of the stem duchies of the East Frankish realm which evolved as the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.
During internal struggles of the ruling Ottonian dynasty, the Bavarian territory was considerably diminished by the separation of the newly established Duchy of Carinthia in 976. Between 1070 and 1180 the Holy Roman Emperors were again strongly opposed by Bavaria, especially by the ducal House of Welf. In the final conflict between the Welf and Hohenstaufen dynasties, Duke Henry the Lion was banned and deprived of his Bavarian and Saxon fiefs by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Frederick passed Bavaria over to the House of Wittelsbach, which held it until 1918. The Bavarian dukes were raised to prince-electors during the Thirty Years' War in 1623.Duchy of Franconia
The Duchy of Franconia (German: Herzogtum Franken) was one of the five stem duchies of East Francia and the medieval Kingdom of Germany emerging in the early 10th century. The word Franconia, first used in a Latin charter of 1053, was applied like the words Francia, France, and Franken, to a portion of the land occupied by the Franks.Hemma
Emma of Altdorf, also known as Hemma (c. 803 – 31 January 876), a member of the Elder House of Welf, was Queen consort of East Francia by marriage to King Louis the German, from 843 until her death.Henry the Fowler
Henry the Fowler (German: Heinrich der Finkler or Heinrich der Vogler; Latin: Henricus Auceps) (876 – 2 July 936) was the duke of Saxony from 912 and the elected king of East Francia (Germany) from 919 until his death in 936. As the first non-Frankish king, he established the Ottonian Dynasty of kings and emperors, and he is generally considered to be the founder and first king of the medieval German state, known until then as East Francia. An avid hunter, he obtained the epithet "the Fowler" because he was allegedly fixing his birding nets when messengers arrived to inform him that he was to be king.
He was born into the Liudolfing line of Saxon dukes. His father Otto I of Saxony died in 912 and was succeeded by Henry. The new duke launched a rebellion against the king of East Francia, Conrad I of Germany, over the rights to lands in the Duchy of Thuringia. They reconciled in 915 and on his deathbed in 918, Conrad recommended Henry as the next king, considering the duke the only one who could hold the kingdom together in the face of internal revolts and external Magyar raids.
Henry was elected and crowned king in 919. He went on to defeat the rebellious dukes of Bavaria and Swabia, consolidating his rule. Through successful warfare and a dynastic marriage, Henry acquired Lotharingia as a vassal in 925. Unlike his Carolingian predecessors, Henry did not seek to create a centralized monarchy, ruling through federated autonomous stem duchies instead. Henry built an extensive system of fortifications and mobile heavy cavalry across Germany to neutralize the Magyar threat and in 933 routed them at the Battle of Riade, ending Magyar attacks for the next 21 years and giving rise to a sense of German nationhood. Henry greatly expanded German hegemony in Europe with his defeat of the Slavs in 929 at the Battle of Lenzen along the Elbe river, by compelling the submission of Duke Wenceslaus I of Bohemia through an invasion of the Duchy of Bohemia the same year and by conquering Danish realms in Schleswig in 934. Henry's hegemonic status north of the Alps was acknowledged by King Rudolph of West Francia and King Rudolph II of Upper Burgundy, who both accepted a place of subordination as allies in 935. Henry planned an expedition to Rome to be crowned as Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope, but the design was thwarted by a hunting accident near the royal palace of Bodfeld in the autumn of 935 that mortally injured him.
Henry prevented a collapse of royal power, as had happened in West Francia, and left a much stronger kingdom to his successor Otto I. Henry died of a stroke on 2 July 936 in his royal palace in Memleben, one of his favourite places. He was buried at Quedlinburg Abbey, established by his wife Matilda in his honor.Kingdom of Germany
The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom (Latin: Regnum Teutonicorum "Kingdom of the Teutonics/Germans", Regnum Teutonicum "Teutonic Kingdom") developed out of Eastern Francia, the eastern division of the former Carolingian Empire, over the 9th to 11th centuries. East Francia was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective. The initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire along with Italy; it later included Bohemia (after 1004) and Burgundy (after 1032).
Like medieval England and medieval France, medieval Germany consolidated from a conglomerate of smaller tribes, nations or polities by the High Middle Ages. The term rex teutonicorum ("king of the Germans") first came into use in Italy around the year 1000. It was popularized by the chancery of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy (late 11th century), perhaps as a political tool against Emperor Henry IV. In the twelfth century, in order to stress the imperial and transnational character of their office, the emperors began to employ the title rex Romanorum (king of the Romans) on their election (by the prince-electors, seven German bishops and noblemen). Distinct titulature for Germany, Italy and Burgundy, which traditionally had their own courts, laws, and chanceries, gradually dropped from use. After the Imperial Reform and Reformation settlement, the German part of the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Reichskreise (Imperial Circles), which effectively defined Germany against imperial territories outside the Imperial Circles: imperial Italy, the Bohemian Kingdom, and the Old Swiss Confederacy. Nevertheless, there are relatively few references to a German realm distinct from the Holy Roman Empire.List of German monarchs
This is about monarchs ruling over all of Germany; for the much more extensive number of monarchs ruling territories within Germany, see List of states in the Holy Roman Empire, Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, List of historic states of Germany.
This is a list of monarchs who ruled over East Francia, and the Kingdom of Germany (Regnum Teutonicum), from the division of the Frankish Empire in 843 until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.
The title used by the early rulers was Rex Francorum orientalium, "King of the East Franks", or Rex Francorum "King of the Franks". During the later medieval period (11th to 15th centuries), the title was "King of the Romans" (Rex Romanorum), and sometimes, interchangeably, "King of the Germans" (Rex Teutonicorum).
From 1508 until 1806, "King of the Romans" continued to be used by the emperor, while Rex Germaniae "King of Germany" or Rex in Germania "King in Germany" was used by the emperor's heir-apparent.
Also listed are the heads of the various German confederations between the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (of which Germany was a part) in 1806 until the collapse of the German Empire in 1918.Louis the Child
Louis the Child (893 – 20/24 September 911), sometimes called Louis III or Louis IV, was the king of East Francia from 900 until his death in 911 and was the last ruler of Carolingian dynasty there. He succeeded his father, king Arnulf of Carinthia in 899, when he was only six. Louis also inherited the crown of Lotharingia with the death of his elder illegitimate half-brother Zwentibold in 900. During his reign the country was ravaged by Magyar raids.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.Louis the Younger
Louis the Younger (830/835 – 20 January 882), sometimes Louis III, was the second eldest of the three sons of Louis II the German and Emma. He succeeded his father as the King of Saxony on 28 August 876 and his elder brother Carloman as King of Bavaria from 880 to 882. He died in 882 and was succeeded in all his territories, which encompassed most of East Francia, by his younger brother, Charles the Fat, already King of Italy and Emperor.Ottonian dynasty
The Ottonian dynasty (German: Ottonen) was a Saxon dynasty of German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I. It is also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin in the German stem duchy of Saxony. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings (Liudolfinger), after its earliest known member Count Liudolf (d. 866) and one of its primary leading-names. The Ottonian rulers were successors of the Germanic king Conrad I who was the only Germanic king to rule in East Francia after the Carolingian dynasty and before this dynasty.Rimbert
Saint Rimbert (or Rembert) (Flanders, 830 – 11 June 888 in Bremen) was archbishop of Bremen-Hamburg from 865 until his death.
A monk in Turholt (Torhout), he shared a missionary trip to Scandinavia with his friend Ansgar, whom he later succeeded as archbishop in Hamburg-Bremen in 865. He also wrote a biography about Ansgar; Vita Ansgari.
Rimbert was unable to successfully complete the mission work to Denmark and Sweden, begun under Ansgar. He obtained market, coinage and toll rights for the city of Bremen in 888 from Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia and thus considerable improved the financial state of the archbishopric. In 884 he personally led a Frisian army against the Vikings and, after the victorious Battle of Norditi was able to drive them permanently out of East Frisia.
Rimbert is revered as a saint particularly in Frisia. His feast day is 4 February. After Ansgar, epithetised the Apostle of the North, Rimbert is revered as the Second Apostle of the North, besides the missionary Sigfrid of Sweden. Lutherans likewise honor Johannes Bugenhagen.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.