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THE death of Charles the Bald did not ensure the triumph of Carloman, who was soon forced by an epidemic which broke out in his army to make the best of his way back to Germany. It seemed, however, as if it would be the signal for renewed civil discord in Gaul. When Louis the Stammerer received news at Orville near Laon of the pitiable end of his father, he hastened, without the assent of the magnates, to distribute to such of his partisans as happened to be around him, “honors”, counties, estates and abbeys, thus violating an engagement made at Quierzy. Accordingly, when he was about to go into Francia to receive the oath of fidelity from his new subjects, he learned that the magnates, rallying round Boso and the Abbot Hugh, and supported by the widowed Empress Richilda, refused him obedience, and, as a sign of their displeasure, were ravaging the country. Nevertheless, thanks, no doubt, to the mediation of Hincmar, and after some time had been spent in arranging terms, the rebels agreed to a settlement. Richilda was reconciled to her step-son, handing over to him the royal insignia and the deed by which Charles the Bald before his death had nominated his heir. The magnates, whose rights the king promised to recognize, all made their submission. The Abbot Hugh even became one of the most influential counselors of Louis the Stammerer. On 8 December, after having sternly exhorted the new sovereign to respect the rights of his vassals, Hincmar crowned him King of the West-Franks in the church of Compiegne.

Louis, however, was not the man to carry out his father’s imperialist policy, in spite of the opportunity which occurred for it the next year. Anarchy set in more fiercely than ever in Italy. Carloman had obtained from his brothers the cession of their rights over the peninsula, in exchange for those which he possessed over Lorraine in virtue of a partition treaty concluded the year before (877), but he was in no plight to attempt another expedition. Lambert, Duke of Spoleto, and his brother-in-law Adalbert, Duke or Marquess of Tuscany, were making open war upon John VIII, and plainly intended to bring back to Rome the political opponents whom the Pope had formerly expelled, particularly the celebrated Formosus, Bishop of Porto. So John VIII decided upon another attempt to make the Western Kingdom his ally. After having bought a peace from the Saracens, who were still a menace to the Papal States, he embarked on a Neapolitan vessel and landed at Arles, where Boso, who had returned to his former duchy, and his wife Ermengarde, welcomed him with assurances of devotion and in company with him ascended the Rhone as far as Lyons. After somewhat laborious negotiations with Louis the Stammerer, a council presided over by the Pope met at Troyes, at the beginning of autumn. But there were few practical results attained from the assembly; little was settled, except a few points relating to discipline, and the confirmation of the sentence of excommunication against Lambert, Adalbert, and their supporters. John VIII would have wished to see Louis put himself at the head of another expedition against the enemies of the Holy See, whether rebel counts or Saracens : the king, however, seems not to have had the least inclination for such a course, and John VIII was forced to turn to that one among the magnates who, if only by his connection with Italy, seemed best fitted to take up the task which the Carolingians refused to accept, namely Boso. It was in his company that the Pope re-crossed the Alps, at the end of the year, calling a great meeting of the bishops and lay lords of Northern Italy to assemble at Pavia. In a letter which he addressed at this time to Engilberga, widow of Louis II, he anticipated for her son-in-law the most brilliant prospects. Ermengarde’s husband might look forward to the Lombard crown, perhaps even to the imperial one. But Boso himself did nothing to forward the ambitious views of the Pontiff on his behalf. At Pavia, under one pretext or another, he quitted John VIII and made his way back to Gaul.

Louis the Stammerer, who had concluded a treaty at Fouron with his cousins of Germany for the partition of Louis II’s inheritance, and being free from anxiety in that quarter, had just resolved upon an expedition against Bernard, Marquess of Gothia, who had not made his submission at the beginning of the reign and still remained contumacious. But a change came over the situation with the death of King Louis on 10 April 879. The leaders of the party, opposed to the Abbot Hugh and to the magnates actually in power, made use of the event to appeal for aid to the foreigner. At the instigation of one of the Welfs, Conrad, Count of Paris, and of Joscelin, Abbot of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Louis of Saxony entered the kingdom from the west to dispute possession of their father’s inheritance with Louis III and Carloman, the two young sons of Louis the Stammerer. He penetrated as far as Verdun, ravaging the country as he went. But those who took up his cause were few in number. Envoys from the Abbot Hugh, from Boso, and Theodoric, Count of Autun, who were at the head of affairs in the Western Kingdom, had no great difficulty in persuading the king of Germany to abandon his enterprise in return for a promise of the cession of that part of Lorraine which by the Treaty of Meersen fell to the share of Charles the Bald. In the month of September the coronation of the two sons of Louis the Stammerer by his marriage with Ansgarde, took place quietly at Ferrières. But Ansgarde had been afterwards repudiated by her husband, who had taken a second wife named Adelaide, the mother of his son Charles the Simple. The legitimacy of Louis III and Carloman was not universally admitted, discontent still existed, and before the end of 879 the Frankish kingdom was threatened by a new danger. Boso, at the instance of his wife, Ermengarde, who, by birth the daughter of an emperor, was dissatisfied with her position as the wife of a duke, took advantage of the weakness of the kings to re-establish for his own benefit the former kingdom of Charles of Provence (that is, the counties of Lyon and Vienne with Provence) and to have himself proclaimed king of it at an assembly of bishops held at Mantaille, near Vienne. A little later he was solemnly crowned by the Archbishop, Aurelian, at Lyons (autumn of 879).

In the spring of 880 Conrad and Joscelin again called in Louis of Saxony. This second attempt had no better success than the first, and Louis was obliged to return to his own dominions after having concluded with his cousins the Treaty of Ribemont, which again confirmed him in possession of the former kingdom of Lothar II. His tenure of it, however, was somewhat insecure, since the Lyon and Vienne districts were under Boso’s control. The Archbishop of Besançon appears to have recognized the usurper. In the north, Hugh, an illegitimate son of Lothar II, had taken up arms and was also endeavoring to make himself independent. Confronted with these dangers, and also with incessant attacks by the Danish pirates, the Carolingian kings felt the necessity for union. By a treaty agreed to at Amiens in the beginning of 880, Louis III was to have France and Neustria, Carloman taking Aquitaine and Burgundy, with the task of making head against Boso. None the less, the two kings were agreed in desiring an interview at Gondreville with one of their cousins from Germany, and taking concerted measures against the rebels. It was Charles the Fat, the ruler of Alemannia, who, on his return from Italy whither he had gone to secure his proclamation as king by an assembly of magnates held at Ravenna, met Louis III and Carloman at this last fraternal colloquium in June 880. The three sovereigns began by joining forces against Hugh of Lorraine, whose brother-in-law, Count Theobald, was defeated and compelled to take refuge in Provence. The allies then directed their efforts against the latter country. The Count of Macon, who adhered to Boso, was forced to surrender, and the Carolingian kings, pursuing their advance without encountering any resistance, laid siege to Vienne where the usurper had fortified himself. The unlooked for defection of Charles the Fat put a stop to the campaign. For a long time John VIII, compelled by the desertion of Boso to go back to the policy of an alliance with Germany, had been demanding the return of Charles to Italy. Suddenly abandoning the siege, the king again crossed the Alps in order to go to Rome and there to receive the imperial crown from the hands of the Pope (February 881) while his cousins, unable to subdue Boso at once, returned to their dominions, leaving the task of blockading Vienne to the Duke of Burgundy, Richard the Justiciar, who was own brother, as it happened, to the rebel king of Provence. Queen Ermengarde, who was defending the place, was obliged to surrender a few months later (September 882).

Charles the Fat made no long stay at Rome. As early as February 881 he took the road leading northwards. It is true that the new Emperor made a fresh expedition into Italy at the end of the same year, though he got no farther than Ravenna. Here the Pope came to meet him in order to try and obtain from him measures likely to protect the patrimony of St Peter from the attacks of the dukes of Spoleto. But the death of Louis of Saxony (20 January 882) now recalled the Emperor to Germany. This event made Charles master of the whole Eastern Kingdom, for Carloman of Bavaria, who by an agreement made in 879 with Louis had secured to the latter his whole inheritance, had died in 880. Carloman’s illegitimate son Arnulf had been by the terms of the same treaty forced to content himself with the duchy of Carinthia. Hugh of Lorraine, who still under pretext of claiming his paternal heritage had again been indulging in acts of brigandage, had been defeated by Louis some time before his death and constrained to take refuge in Burgundy.

In the Western Kingdom, Louis III of France had died of a fall from his horse on 5 August 882. Carloman, summoned from Burgundy, received the magnates’ oaths of fidelity at Quierzy and thus became the sole sovereign of the Western Kingdom. His brief reign is wholly taken up with fruitless struggles against the Northmen. On 12 December 884 he also was carried off by an accident while out hunting. Louis the Stammerer’s posthumous son, Charles, known later as the Simple, was by reason of his youth unfit to reign. Thus the Frankish nobles appealed to Charles the Fat, in whose hands were thus concentrated all the kingdoms which had gone to make up the empire of Charles the Great. But the Emperor, though a man of piety and learning, was very far from possessing the activity and vigor demanded by a position now more difficult than ever. For the ravages of the Northmen had redoubled in violence during the preceding years. Established permanently in Flanders, they took advantage of their situation to ravage at once what was formerly Lorraine and the kingdoms of the East and West. A victory gained over them at Thion on the Sambre by Louis of Saxony in 880, had led to no results, for in the same year they burnt Nimeguen, while another band made their way into Saxony. The Abbot Joscelin had in vain attempted to drive out those on the Scheldt, who from their fortified camp at Courtrai made perpetual raids for pillage into the Western Kingdom.

Nevertheless, King Louis III won over them at Saucourt in Ponthieu a renowned victory, commemorated by a cantilène, a popular song in celebration of it, in the German language which has come down to us. Yet it did not hinder the Danes settled at Ghent from reaching the valley of the Meuse and forming a new entrenched camp at Elsloo. During the winter of 881-882 they burnt Liège, Tongres, Cologne, Bonn, StavelotPrüm and Aix, and took possession of Treves. Walo, the Bishop of Metz, who with Bertulf, Archbishop of Treves, had put himself at the head of the defenders, was defeated and killed in April 882. At the assembly held at Worms (May 882), Charles the Fat, who was returning from Italy, determined to act with vigor, and gathered a numerous army at the head of which he placed to second his efforts two tried warriors, Arnulf of Carinthia, and Henry, Count or Duke of Thuringia. But on the point of attacking the camp at Elsloo his courage failed. He fell back on the dangerous method, already too often practiced by the Carolingians, of negotiating with the invaders. Of their leaders Godefrid obtained Frisia as a fief on condition of receiving baptism, and Sigefrid was paid to withdraw.

The chief part of the great Northman army then turned to attack the Western Kingdom. By the autumn they were ravaging it up to the gates of Reims. The aged archbishop, Hincmar, was forced to leave his metropolitan city and flee for refuge to Epernay, where he died on 21 December 882. Carloman succeeded in checking the Danes more than once on the banks of the Aisne and of the Vicogne, but the invasion was not beaten off. Another fortified camp was formed by the Northmen at Condé on the Scheldt. The bands which came forth from it next year seized Amiens, and ravaged the district between the Seine and the Oise without meeting with resistance. Carloman was obliged to negotiate with them, and, thanks to the intervention of Sigefrid, he obtained a pledge that the band in cantonments near Amiens should evacuate the Western Kingdom in consideration of the enormous sum of 12,000 pounds of silver (884). The engagement, moreover, was respected. The main part of the great Northman army crossed over to England, but other bands passed into the kingdom of Lorraine, and a party among them settled down behind the woods and marshes which covered the site of the present town of Louvain.

Such was the position of things at the time when Charles the Fat became sole ruler of the Frankish Empire and the magnates of France and Lorraine came to do homage to their new sovereign at Gondreville near Toul and Ponthion. The beginning of the reign was marked, besides, by several victories gained over the Northmen who had penetrated into Saxony. Other bands were defeated by Count Henry of Alemannia and Liutbert, Archbishop of Mayence. But Hugh of Lorraine had decided that the occasion was a good one for again putting forward his claim to his father's kingdom, with the support of his brother-in-law, the Northman Godefrid. Count Henry, whose task it was to resist them, chose to employ treachery. Godefrid was imprudent enough to consent to an interview in the course of which he was assassinated, and the Franks succeeded in inflicting a check on his leaderless troops. Hugh, being allured to Gondreville under pretext of negotiations, also fell into an ambush. He was blinded, tonsured, and immured in the Abbey of Prüm. His sister, Gisela, Godefrid’s widow, was a little later to die as Abbess of the Convent of Nivelles. This partial success was, however, balanced by the defeat suffered in front of Louvain by the army raised in Lorraine and in the Western Kingdom. Charles seemed indeed to be losing his interest in this unceasing war. At the assembly which he held at Frankfort at the beginning of the year 885, his only care seemed to be to procure the recognition of his illegitimate son Bernard’s right to succeed him. His wishes, however, were opposed by the magnates. Charles counted on the support of Pope Hadrian III, the successor of John VIII who had been assassinated in 884, but Hadrian died 8 July 885, and this event forced the Emperor finally to give up his project. The successor of the dead Pope, Stephen V, had been elected without consulting Charles the Fat, and so much was the Emperor displeased that he thought it necessary to cross the Alps yet again. But he lingered in the north of the peninsula while his confidential agent, the Arch-Chancellor Liutward, Bishop of Vercelli, went to Rome to negotiate with the Pope. An outbreak of sedition at Pavia nearly cost the Emperor his life, and he decided not to advance farther, but to take the road for Gaul once more, whither he was recalled by the imperious necessity of resisting the Northmen.

Carloman’s death had liberated the bands with whom he had treated at Amiens from their pledge to respect the Western Kingdom. Large numbers of the Northmen who had crossed over into England came back during the summer of 885 to rejoin their compatriots at Louvain who, for their part, had got as far as the mouth of the Seine. Other companies, coming from the Lower Scheldt, joined them there. On 25 July they entered Rouen, and their fleet, three hundred strong, carrying some forty thousand men, began to push up the Seine. A Neustrian army which attempted to bar the way to the invaders was obliged to beat a retreat without having succeeded in defending the fortified bridge which Charles the Bald had built at Pitres, and the great viking fleet, reinforced by Danes from the Loire, arrived before Paris on 24 November, covering the river’s surface for more than two leagues. The city of Paris at this time did not extend beyond the island of the Cité. On the right bank, however, and especially on the left, lay the suburbs with their churches and abbeys, Saint-Merri and Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois to the north, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Sainte-Geneviève to the south, with the houses, gardens and vineyards surrounding them. Of course no wall enclosed these suburbs. The city itself had been without a rampart in the days of Charles the Bald, since the Roman fortifications there as elsewhere had for long centuries fallen into ruins. Thus the Danes had on several occasions descended on the town and pillaged it without let or hindrance. The last of their incursions dated from 866. But since then Paris had made preparation for resistance. Under the superintendence of Odo, the count, son of Robert the Strong, helped by Bishop Joscelin, the old wall had been rebuilt. Two bridges establishing communication between the island and both banks of the Seine barred the way to the viking ships. One Sigefrid, who seems to have been in command of the expedition, made a demand for himself and his followers of free access to the upper valley of the Seine. Odo and Joscelin refused. A general assault next morning was repulsed with loss, and the Northmen were obliged to undertake a formal siege.

This lasted for long months, varied by attacks upon the bridges and the works defending them on both banks of the river, and also by pillaging expeditions into the neighboring districts. But the Parisians met the efforts of their assailants with indomitable energy and endurance. On 16 April 886 Joscelin was carried off by sickness. Odo tried a sortie in order to seek for reinforcements; it proved successful, and he made use of his opportunity to send pressing appeals to the Emperor and his counselors. He then for the second time traversed the enemy lines to re-enter the besieged city. Meanwhile, Charles, on his return from Italy, had held a great assembly at Metz, and had then set out, at a deliberate rate, to go to the succor of the Parisians. Having reached Quierzy he sent forward his best warrior Count Henry of Alemannia, at the head of a detachment of his men. But in attempting to reconnoiter the enemy’s camp, Henry fell, with his horse, into one of the fosses dug by the besiegers, and was killed (28 August). His death threw a gloom over his followers, and the relieving detachment which he had been leading fell back. On 28 October the Emperor came up in person before Paris, and the inhabitants could see his army on the heights of Montmartre. But instead of crushing the heathen between his troops and the city walls, Charles once more began negotiations with them. Sigefrid consented to raise the siege, in return for a sum of seven hundred pounds in silver, and permission for his followers to go and winter in Burgundy, with the right to go up the Seine freely. The Parisians, however, refused to agree to this last condition and to allow the viking vessels to pass under the fortified bridges which they had defended with so much valor. The Danes were obliged to draw their boats to land to get them above the city by the river bank, but, none the less, they reached Burgundy, which they ravaged. Sens, in particular, stood a siege of six months.

In the meanwhile the Emperor fell sick and returned to Alsace. During the Easter season he held an assembly at Waiblingen near Stuttgart, at which was present, among others, Berengar, Marquess of Friuli. From thence he went to Kirchen in the Breisgau, where he was sought out by Ermengarde, widow of Boso, with her young son Louis. Boso, in spite of the capture of Vienne and the efforts of the Carolingian kings and their lieutenants, had succeeded in maintaining his ground in the kingdom he had created for himself, and died unsubdued (11 January 887). The son whom he left, Louis, was still almost a child when his mother brought him to the Emperor. Charles the Fat received him kindly, recognized his right to succeed his father, and even went through some kind of ceremony of adopting him. But the young prince was not long to be benefited by his protection. The discontent of the magnates with the Emperor, whom they accused of weakness and incapacity, and with the counselor by whom he was chiefly guided, his chancellor Liutward, Bishop of Vercelli, grew greater every day. Charles endeavored to placate them by dismissing his chancellor, but their dissatisfaction still continued undiminished, and at the end of 887 a revolt broke out, facilitated by Charles’s illness and physical incapacity. The rebels, in an assembly held at Tribur near Darmstadt, formally deposed the Emperor. He returned to Neidingen on the Danube near Constance, where he made a pitiable end on 13 January 888, while his former vassals proclaimed in his room Arnulf of Carinthia, son of Carloman of Bavaria, of illegitimate birth, it is true, but well known for his warlike qualities, and, in the eyes of the magnates, the only prince capable of defending the Empire, or at least the kingdom of Germany, against the enemies threatening it on every side.

The deposition of Charles the Fat marks the epoch of the final dismemberment of the Empire of Charlemagne. Even contemporaries were conscious of this. “Then”, said the Lotharingian chronicler, Regino of Prüm, in a justly famous passage, “the kingdoms which had been subject to the government of Charles split up into fragments, breaking the bond which united them, and without waiting for their natural lord, each one sought to create a king of its own, drawn from within itself; which thing was the cause of long wars, not that there were lacking Frankish princes worthy of empire by their noble birth, their courage, and their wisdom, but because their equality in origin, dignity and power was a fresh cause for discord. None of them in fact was sufficiently raised above the rest to make them willing to submit to his authority”. The West Franks elected as king Odo, the valiant defender of Paris. In Italy Berengar, Marquess of Friuli, and Guy (Guido), Duke of Spoleto, contended for the crown. Louis of Provence held the valley of the Rhone as far as Lyon. Finally, a new claimant, the Welf Rodolph, son of Conrad, Count of Auxerre, already duke of “the duchy beyond the Jura” comprising the dioceses of Geneva, Lausanne and Sion, claimed the ancient kingdom of Lorraine, without, however, succeeding in building up more than a “kingdom of Burgundy”, restricted to the Helvetian pagi and the countries which formed the ancient diocese of Besancon.

The expressions used by Regino must not, however, be understood too literally. The kings whom the new nations “drew from within themselves” were all of the Austrasian race and had their origin in France, their families having been for hardly more than two or three generations settled in their new counties. The dismemberment, which began under Louis the Pious and was finally consummated in 888, was by no means caused by a reaction of the different nations within the Carolingian Empire against the political and administrative unity imposed by Charles the Great. The building up of new nationalities may have been largely the work of the chances of the various partitions which had taken place since the Treaty of Verdun. Nevertheless the fact that Louis the German and his heirs had as their portion the populations of Teutonic speech, and Charles the Bald and his successors those of the Romance language, no doubt accentuated such consciousness as these peoples might have of their individuality, a consciousness further strengthened by the antagonism between the sovereigns. Italy, on the other hand, had long been accustomed to live under a king of its own, a little outside the sphere of the other Frankish kingdoms. Besides these more remote causes, we must bear in mind the need which each fraction of the Empire felt of having a protector, an effective head to organize resistance against the Slavs, the Saracens or the Northmen. A single Emperor must often be at too great a distance from the point at which danger threatened. “The idea of the Empire, the idea of the Frankish kingdom recedes into the background, and gives place to an attachment to the more restricted country of one's birth, to the race to which one belongs”. Under the influence of geographical situation and of language, or even through the chances of political alliances, new groups had been formed, and each of these placed at its head the man best fitted to defend it against the innumerable enemies who for half a century had been devastating all parts of the Empire.

In spite of this separatist movement, the kinglets (reguli) set up in 888 still attributed a certain supremacy to Arnulf as the last representative of the Carolingian family. Odo sought his presence at Worms in order to place himself under his protection (August 888) before going to Reims to receive the crown of Western France. At Trent, Berengar also took up the attitude of a vassal in order to obtain from Arnulf the recognition of his Italian kingship. Rodolph of Burgundy yielded to the threat of an expedition to be sent against him, and came and made his submission at Ratisbon. A little later, at Worms, it was the turn of young Louis of Provence (894). Doubtless no homage strictly so called was performed, such as would establish between Arnulf and the neighboring sovereigns a relation of positive vassalage with the reciprocal obligations it entailed. There was, however, a ceremony analogous to that of homage, and the recognition of a kind of over-lordship belonging, at any rate in theory, to the King of Germany. Thus between Arnulf and the rulers of the states which had arisen from the dismemberment of the Carolingian Empire peace seemed assured. But it was less safe against enemies from without and against revolts on the part of the German magnates. Though in 889 Arnulf had received an embassy from the Northmen bearing pacific messages, the struggle had begun again in 891. The Danes had invaded Lorraine and had inflicted on Count Arnulf and Archbishop Sunderold of Mayence the bloody defeat of La Gueule (26 June) balanced, it is true, by the success won by King Arnulf in the same year on the banks of the Dyle. On the other hand, the struggle against the Moravian kingdom founded by a prince named Svátopluk (Zwentibold) was going on amidst alternations of success and failure. In 892 Arnulf, with the assistance of the Slovene duke Braslav, led a successful expedition against the Moravians, but he had been imprudent enough to call to his aid a troop of Hungarians, thus, as it were, pointing out to the Magyar immigrants from Asia the road into the kingdom of Germany which a few years later was to have such a fearful experience of them. Two years later (894) the death of Svátopluk led to the recognition of Arnulf’s authority by his two sons, Moimir and Svátopluk II, and the civil war which before long broke out between them enabled the Franks to intervene successfully in Moravia. But like Charles the Fat, Arnulf was haunted by the dream of wearing the imperial crown. At the opening of his reign the fear of a revolt among the discontented magnates of Swabia had alone prevented him from responding to the appeals made to him by Pope Stephen V (890). Events in Italy now offered him the opportunity of renewing his attempts in that quarter.

The two rivals, Guy and Berengar, who after the deposition of Charles the Fat disputed for the crown of Italy, were each recognized as king by a certain number of adherents. A truce had been arranged between them up to the beginning of the year 889. They used this respite merely to seek support in foreign countries. Berengar, for twenty years the faithful ally of the Eastern Carolingians, received reinforcements from Germany. Guy, after an unsuccessful attempt to secure for himself the crown of the Western Kingdom, had recruited contingents in the district of Burgundy round Dijon, which was his native land.

The Italian lords again took sides with one competitor or the other, with the exception of the most powerful of them all, Adalbert, Marquess of Tuscany, who contrived to maintain a prudent neutrality. War then broke out afresh. A bloody battle—a rare event in the ninth century—in which some 7000 men fought on either side was waged for a whole day on the banks of the Trebbia. Berengar, thoroughly worsted, was forced to retreat beyond the Po, where Verona, Cremona and Brescia still remained faithful to him, and to abandon the struggle with Guy. The latter seems not to have troubled himself to follow up his enemy’s flight. His victory gave him possession of the palace of Pavia, that is, of the capital of the Italian kingdom. In the middle of February 889, he held a great assembly of bishops there, to whom he solemnly promised that church property and rights should be respected and maintained, and that the plundering raids and usurpations of the magnates should be put down. Then the prelates declared him king, and bestowed on him the royal unction.

For more than half a century, the supreme title of Emperor had seemed to be bound up with the possession of Italy. Guy therefore approached Pope Stephen V, with whom he had hitherto been on good terms, with a demand for the imperial crown. Stephen, however, was not anxious to add to the power of the house of Spoleto, always a menace to the papacy. A more distant Emperor seemed to offer a fairer prospect of safety. He therefore sent a private summons to Arnulf. But as the latter was unable to leave Germany, Stephen V was compelled (11 February 891) to proceed to the consecration of Guy as Emperor. His wife, Ageltrude, was crowned with him, and their son, Lambert, received the title of king and joint-Emperor. Adalbert of Tuscany now resolved on making his official submission to the new ruler. Berengar alone persisted in refusing to recognize him, and maintained his independence in his old domain, the March of Friuli. He even retained some supporters outside its limits who objected to Guy’s Burgundian origin and reproached him with the favor which he showed to certain of his compatriots who had followed him from beyond the Alps, such as Anscar (Anscarius), on whom he bestowed the March of Ivrea. Nevertheless the new Emperor, in the beginning of May 891, held a great placitum at Pavia, at which, to satisfy the demands of the prelates, he promulgated a long capitulary enacting the measures necessary to protect church property. On the same occasion, anxious, no doubt, to secure the support of the clergy, he made numerous grants to the bishops.

In September Stephen V died. His successor was the Bishop of Porto, Formosus, an energetic man, but one whose energy had gained him many enemies. In particular he seems to have been on bad terms with Guy, and doubtless considered an Italian Emperor a danger to the Holy See. He therefore made a fresh appeal to Arnulf. The King of Germany did not come in person, but he sent his illegitimate son, Zwentibold, to whom he entrusted the task of “restoring order” beyond the Alps with the assistance of Berengar of Friuli. Zwentibold allowed himself to be daunted or bribed by Guy, and returned to Germany without having accomplished anything (893). At the beginning of the next year (894) Arnulf resolved to make a descent into Italy himself. He carried Bergamo by assault, and massacred the garrison. Intimidated by this example, Milan and Pavia opened their gates, and the majority of the magnates joined in taking the oath of fidelity to Arnulf. The latter, however, went no further than Piacenza, whence he turned homewards. But on his way back he found the road barred close to Ivrea by the troops of the Marquess Anscar, swelled by a contingent sent by Rodolph, King of Burgundy. Arnulf, however, succeeded in forcing a passage and turned his arms against Rodolph, but without gaining any advantage, as the enemy took refuge in the mountains. Zwentibold was placed at the head of a fresh expedition against the regnum Jurense, but was no more successful.

In a word, the brief irruption of Arnulf into Italy had done nothing to alter the situation. Guy remained Emperor. But just as he was about to resume his struggle with Berengar, an attack of hemorrhage carried him off. His successor was his son Lambert who had already been his colleague in the government. But Lambert was young and devoid of energy or authority. Disorder broke out more fiercely than ever, and in the autumn of 895 Formosus again sent a pressing appeal to Arnulf. Again the king of Germany set out, and on this occasion pushed on to Rome. But the population was hostile to him. The resistance was organized by Ageltrude, Guy’s widow, an energetic Lombard of Benevento. Arnulf was obliged to carry the city by assault. In February 896 Formosus crowned him Emperor in the basilica of St Peter, and a few days later the Romans were compelled to take the oath of fidelity to him. But his success was to be short-lived. Ageltrude, who had taken refuge in her duchy of Spoleto, held out there in the name of Lambert. Just as he was about to lead an expedition against her, Arnulf fell sick. Thereupon he gave up the struggle and took the road back to his dominions, where, moreover, other disturbances called for his presence. Once he had gone, Lambert lost no time in re-appearing in Pavia, where he again exercised royal power. He also got possession of Milan in spite of the resistance of Manfred, the count whom Arnulf had placed there, and again began hostilities with Berengar. But the two rivals soon agreed upon a treaty, guaranteeing to Berengar the district north of the Po and east of the Adda.

All the rest of Italy was left to Lambert, who again entered Rome with Ageltrude in the beginning of 897. Formosus had died on 4 April 896. After the brief pontificate of Boniface VI which lasted only a fortnight, the Romans had elected Stephen VII. This Pope was a personal enemy of Formosus and, perhaps in co-operation with Lambert, undertook to indict his detested predecessor with a horrible travesty of the forms of law. The corpse of Formosus—if an almost contemporary tradition is to be credited—was dragged from its tomb and clothed in its pontifical vestments and a simulacrum of a judicial trial was gone through. Accused of having infringed canonical rules by his translation from Porto to Rome, of having violated an oath taken to John VIII never to re-enter Rome, and, as a matter of course, condemned, the dead Pope's body was stripped of its vestments and cast into the Tiber. All the acts of Formosus, in particular the ordinations performed by him, were declared null and void.

This sinister condemnation brought about a revulsion of feeling, although opinion had been generally somewhat hostile to Formosus. A revolt broke out in Rome, Stephen VII was made prisoner and strangled; some months of confusion followed until finally, the election of John IX (June 898) restored some measure of quiet. In agreement with Lambert, the new Pope took steps to pacify opinion. The judgment pronounced against Formosus was annulled, and the priests who had been deposed as having been ordained by him were restored. A synod, held at Rome, busied itself with measures to secure the good government of the Church and the observance of canonical rule. The prescribed form for the election of a supreme Pontiff was again laid down; the choice was to be made by the clergy of Rome with the assent of the people and nobles in the presence of an official delegated by the Emperor. A great assembly held by Lambert at Ravenna also made provision for the safety of Church property and for the protection of freemen against the oppressions exercised by the counts. But on 15 October 898 the young king lost his life through a hunting accident. Lambert left no heir and Berengar profited by the situation to make himself master of the kingdom of Italy without striking a blow. By 1 December Ageltrude herself acknowledged him, receiving from him a deed confirming her in possession of her property. With the accession of Berengar a new period begins in the history of Italy, not less disturbed than the preceding one, but almost entirely unconnected with the Carolingian Empire and the Kings of Germany.

On his return from Italy in 894 Arnulf was also to find in the western part of his dominions a situation of considerable difficulty. At the diet of Worms in 895, resuming a project which the opposition of his great vassals had forced him to lay aside in the preceding year, he had caused his son Zwentibold to be proclaimed King of Lorraine. Zwentibold was a brave and active prince, often entrusted by his father with the command of military expeditions. Arnulf hoped by this means to protect Lorraine against possible attempts by the rulers of Burgundy or of the Western Kingdom, and at the same time to maintain order, which was often disturbed by the rivalry of two hostile clans who were contending for mastery in the country, that of Count Reginar, inaccurately called the “Long-necked”, and that of Count Matfrid. But with regard to the latter object, Zwentibold, who was of a violent and hasty temper, seems to have been but little fitted to play the part of a pacificator. It was not long before he had given offence to the greater part of the magnates. At the assembly of Worms (May 897) Arnulf seemed for a moment to have restored peace between the King of Lorraine and his counts. But no later than next year disorder broke out afresh. Reginar, whom Zwentibold was attempting to deprive of his honors, made an appeal to Charles the Simple, who advanced as far as the neighborhood of Aix-la-Chapelle. Thanks to the help of Franco, the Bishop of Liege, Zwentibold succeeded in organizing a resistance sufficiently formidable to induce Charles to make peace and go back to his own kingdom.

The death of Arnulf (November or December 899) heightened the confusion. He left a son, Louis the Child, born in 893, whose right to the succession had been acknowledged by the assembly at Tribur (897). On 4 February 900, an assembly at Forchheim in East Franconia proclaimed him King of Germany. Some time afterwards in Lorraine the party of Matfrid, with the support of the bishops who resented the dissolute life of Zwentibold and the favor shown by him to persons of low condition, abandoned their sovereign and appealed to Louis the Child. Zwentibold was killed in an encounter with the rebels on the banks of the Meuse (13 August 900). Louis remained until his death titular King of Lorraine, where he several times made his appearance, but where feudalism of the strongest type was developing. A few years later, civil war again broke out between Matfrid’s family and the Frankish Count Gebhard, on whom Louis had conferred the title of Duke and the government of Lorraine. Nor did affairs proceed much better in the other parts of the kingdom, to judge by the few and meager chronicles of the time. Outside, Louis had no longer the means of making good any claim upon Italy, where Louis of Provence was contending with Berengar for the imperial crown. Germany itself was wasted by the feuds between the rival Franconian houses of the Conradins and Babenberg. The head of the latter, Adalbert, in 906 defeated and killed Conrad the Old, head of the rival family, but being himself made prisoner by the king's officers, he was accused of high treason and executed in the same year (9 September). But the most terrible scourge of Germany was that of the Hungarian invasions. It was in 892 that the Hungarians, a people of Finnish origin who had been driven from their settlements between the Don and the Dnieper, made their first appearance in Germany as the allies of Arnulf in a war against the Moravians. A few years later they established themselves permanently on the banks of the Theiss. In 900 a band of them, returning from a plundering expedition into Italy, made its way into Bavaria, ravaged the country and carried off a rich booty. The defeat of another band by the Margrave Liutpold and Bishop Richer of Passau, as well as the construction of the fortress of Ensburg, intended to serve as a bulwark against them, were insufficient to keep them in check. Thenceforth not a year passed without some part of Louis’s kingdom being visited by these bold horsemen, skilled in escaping from the more heavily armed German troops, before whom they were wont to retreat, galling them as they went, with flights of arrows, and at a little distance forming up again and continuing their ravages. In 901 they devastated Carinthia. In 906 they twice ravaged Saxony. Next year they inflicted a heavy defeat on the Bavarians, killing the Margrave Liutpold. In 908 it was the turn of Saxony and Thuringia, in 909 that of Alemannia. On their return, however, Duke Arnulf the Bad of Bavaria inflicted a reverse upon them on the Rott, but in 910 they, in their turn, defeated near Augsburg the numerous army collected by Louis the Child.

It was in the autumn of the following year (911) that the life of this last representative of the Eastern Carolingians came to an end at the age of barely eighteen. He was buried in the Church of St Emmeram at Ratisbon. In the early days of November the Frankish, Saxon, Alemannian, and Bavarian lords met at Forchheim and elected as king Conrad, Duke of Franconia, a man of Frankish race, and noble birth, renowned for his valor. This prince’s reign was hardly more fortunate than that of his predecessor. Three expeditions in succession (912-913) directed against Charles the Simple did not avail to drive the Western King out of Lorraine. Rodolph, King of Burgundy, even took advantage of the opportunity to seize upon Basle. Besides this, the Hungarians, in spite of their defeat on the Inn at the hands of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria in 913, continued their ravages in Saxony, Thuringia and Swabia. In 917 they traversed the whole of the southern part of the kingdom of Germany, plundered Basle and even penetrated into Alsace. On the other hand, domestic discords still went on, and the chiefs of the nascent feudal principalities were in a state of perpetual war either with one another or with the sovereign. One of the most powerful vassals about the king, Erchanger, the Count Palatine, had in 913 raised the standard of revolt. Restored to favor for a short time in consequence of the energetic help he gave to Duke Arnulf in the struggle with the Hungarians, he lost no time in giving fresh offence to Conrad by attacking one of his most influential counselors, Solomon, Bishop of Constance, whom he even kept for some days a prisoner. The sentence of banishment pronounced on him in consequence did not prevent him from continuing to keep the field with the help of his brother Berthold and Count Burchard, or from defeating the royal troops next year by Wahlwies near Lake Constance. To get the better of him Conrad was obliged to have him arrested for treason at the assembly of Hohen Altheim in Swabia and executed a few weeks later with his brother Berthold (21 January 917). But one of the rebels, Count Burchard, succeeded in maintaining possession of Swabia. Conrad was hardly more successful with regard to his other great vassals. One of the most powerful, Henry of Saxony, gave signs from the very beginning of the reign of a hostile tempers towards the new sovereign which manifested itself in 915 by an open rebellion, marked by the defeat of the expeditions led against the rebel by the Margrave Everard, brother of Conrad, and by the king himself. In Bavaria, Duke Arnulf had also revolted in 914. Temporarily worsted, and obliged to take refuge with his former foes, the Hungarians, he had re-appeared next year in his duchy. He was forced to submit and to surrender Ratisbon, but he took up the struggle afresh a little later (917) and again became master of the whole of Bavaria.

Conrad and the magnates both lay and ecclesiastical who had remained loyal to him held a great assembly at Hohen Altheim in 916 “to strengthen the royal power”, when the severest penalties were threatened against any who should “conspire against the life of the king, take part with his adversaries or attempt to deprive him of the government of the kingdom”. When Conrad ended his short reign (23 December 918), recommending the magnates to choose as his successor his former enemy, Henry of Saxony, he was in a position to testify that the magnates had seldom done anything else than transgress the precepts laid down at Hohen Altheim. To split up the realm into great feudal principalities, handed down from father to son and owning little or no obedience to a sovereign always in theory elective,—this was the constantly increasing evil from which Germany was to suffer throughout the whole of the Middle Ages.

The appearance of tribal dukes was not a mere outburst of disorder. Local leaders undertook the defense neglected by the central power, and so duchies, founded upon common race and memories, appeared and grew apart in reaction against Frankish hegemony. In Saxony, left to itself, the Liudolfing Bruno headed from 880 the warfare against Danes and Wends. Bavaria, troubled by Hungarians, found a Duke in Arnulf c. 907. Franconia, less harassed and more loyal to the Carolingians, lacked traditions of unity, but in Conrad, the future king, Conradins of the west triumphed over Babenberger rivals in the east. In Lorraine, the Carolingian homeland, even less united, Reginar (a grandson of the Emperor Lothar I) became Duke. Swabia found, under King Conrad I, a Duke in Burchard. Thus everywhere, as local unity met local needs, ducal dynasties arose.