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Louis the Child
King of East Francia
Die deutschen Kaiser Ludwig das Kind.jpg
Modern illustration of Louis the Child
Reign 4 February 900 – September 20 or 24, 911
Coronation Crowned King of East Francia : 4 February 900, Forchheim
Born circa. September or October 893
Birthplace Altötting, Bavaria
Died September 20 or 24, 911
Place of death Frankfurt am Main,
Buried monastery of Saint Emmeram in Regensburg
Predecessor Arnulf
Successor Conrad I
Royal House Carolingian Dynasty
Father Arnulf of Carinthia
Mother Ota

Louis the Child (893 – September 20 or 24, 911), sometimes called Louis IV or Louis III,[1] was the last Carolingian ruler of East Francia.

Louis was the only legitimate son of the Emperor Arnulf and his wife, Ota, a member of the Conradine Dynasty. He was born in September or October 893, in Altötting, Bavaria. He succeeded his father as king upon the latter's death in 899, when he was only six. During his reign, the country was ravaged by Magyar raids.

Louis was crowned in Forchheim on 4 February 900. This is the earliest German royal coronation about which records are known to exist. Louis was of a weak personal constitution, often sick, and with his young age, the reins of government were entirely in the hands of others, the nobles and bishops. Indeed, the coronation was probably a result of the fact that there was little Louis could gain at the expense of the nobles. Louis also inherited Lotharingia with the death of his elder illegitimate half-brother, Zwentibold, in 900.

The most influential of Louis's councillors were Hatto I, Archbishop of Mainz, and Solomon III, Bishop of Constance. It was these two who assured that the royal court decided in favour of the Conradines against the Babenbergers in the matter of the Duchy of Franconia. They appointed Louis's nephew, Conrad, as duke. In 903 Louis promulgated the first customs regulations in the German part of Europe.

In 900 a horde of Hungarians ravaged Bavaria. The another group of them defeated by the Margrave Liutpold and Bishop Richer of Passau. In 901 they devastated Carinthia. In 906 they twice ravaged Saxony. In 907 they inflicted a heavy defeat on the Bavarians, killing the Margrave Liutpold. Next year they 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 Louis the Child's army near Augsburg.[2]

Louis himself tried to take some military control as he grew older, but he had little success against the Magyars. His army was destroyed at the Pressburg in 907 and it was in this state of defeat that Louis died, at Frankfurt am Main, on 20 or 24 September 911, only eighteen years of age. Louis was buried in the monastery of Saint Emmeram in Regensburg, where his father lay. His death brought an end to the eastern branch of the Carolingian dynasty. The vacuum left in the Carolingian east was eventually filled by the family of Henry the Fowler, a cousin, and heralded the beginning of the Ottonian dynasty. Firstly, however, the dukes of East Francia assembled to elect Conrad of Franconia king, as opposed to the reigning king of West Francia, Charles the Simple. The magnates of Lotharingia elected Charles.

See also


  1. ^ Louis is commonly numbered as "Louis IV", as he was the fourth king of that name (after Louis the Pious, who ruled all Franks, Louis the German and Louis the Younger). However, some omit Louis the Younger, who never ruled the whole of Germany and was no ancestor of Louis the Child and renumber the latter "Louis III".
  2. ^ Gwatking, H. M., Whitney, J. P., et al. Cambridge Medieval History: Volume III—Germany and the Western Empire.
Louis IV of East Francia
Born: September/October 893 Died: 20/24 September 911
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Arnulf of Carinthia
King of East Francia
899 – 911
Succeeded by
Conrad I

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LOUIS (893-911), surnamed the "Child," king of the Franks, son of the emperor Arnulf, was born at Ottingen, designated by Arnulf as his successor in Germany in 897, and crowned on the 4th of February 900. Although he never received the imperial crown, he is sometimes referred to as the emperor Louis IV. His chief adviser was Hatto I., archbishop of Mainz; and during his reign the kingdom was ravaged by Hungarians and torn with internal strife. He appears to have passed his time in journeys from place to place, and in 910 was the nominal leader of an expedition against the Hungarians which was defeated near Augsburg. Louis, who was the last of the German Carolingians, died in August or September 911 and was buried at Regensburg.

See Regino von Pram, "Chronicon," in the Monumenta Germanise historica. Scriptores, Band i. (Hanover and Berlin, 1826); E. Dammler, Geschichte des ostfrdnkischen Reichs (Leipzig, 1887-1888); 0. Dietrich, Beitrdge zur Geschichte Arnolfs von Kdrnthen and Ludwigs des Kindes (Berlin, 1890); and E. Mahlbacher, Die Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern (Innsbruck, 1881).

(A. W. H.*)

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