Germany History – The Last Carolingians: Arnulf of Carinthia (887 – 899) and Louis the Child (899 – 911)

An undeniable sense of national solidarity induced the various Germanic peoples, Saxons and Thuringians, Franconians, Alamanni and Bavarians, to pay homage, as their king, to Arnolfo, who then ruled the Carinthian marque. Natural son of Charlemagne of Bavaria, he could be considered a continuer of the line of the German Carolingians. Thus, the entire legacy of Louis the German was gathered in an independent kingdom, under a single German sovereign. But the task to be accomplished was not easy: the consolidation of the royal authority and the fusion of the different parts of the kingdom, within; the defense of external borders. In the north-west and south-east, two serious threats were urgent at the borders: the Normans who settled in Friesland with the acquiescence of the Frankish kings, who subjected the entire Rhine region to periodic ferocious raids; the Moravians who, under Prince Svatopluk, had extended their dominion to a large part of the Carpathian-Danubian region. Louvain’s victory over the Dyle (The November 891) allowed to Arnolfo to lift West Germany Norman nightmare. Instead, the fortunes of the campaigns conducted in 892 and 893 against the Moravians were minor. However, the death of Svatopluk (894), and the internal dissensions of the Slavs were able to neutralize the danger here too. But Arnolfo made the terrible mistake of using the Hungarians as an auxiliary. The Moravians were, it is true, overwhelmed under the spread of those ruthless barbarians, but at the same time a new terrifying scourge was unleashed on Europe.

The ambition not to let imperial rights, which had moved with Charles the Fat in the German Carolingians, distracted Arnolfo from the most vital problems of internal politics, and committed him to those of the Italian peninsula, drawing him to the two expeditions of 894 and of 895-896. The only results of Arnolfo’s imperial policy: the two crowns, of the kingdom of Italy and of the Empire, and an external recognition of his supremacy by the other kingdoms that emerged from the Carolingian collapse. Very little, compared to the actual weakness of his own crown in Germany, in the face of the unwillingness of the most powerful lords. In Lorraine, however, he succeeded in having his son Sventiboldo proclaimed king (895), who, however, barely resisted; and with the support of the clergy obtained that the diet of Worms (897) was granted the rights to the succession in the Germanic kingdom of his other son Ludovico. But the latter, when Arnolfo died (8 December 899), was only 6 years old. In the German dynasties of the Middle Ages, the fact of infantile succession still had to be repeated several times, which exacerbated the crisis due to the inevitable weakening of central power under the regency governments.

According to Usprivateschoolsfinder, the archbishop of Mainz, Attone, now held the kingdom for the child, who, thanks to him, was proclaimed king at the diet of Forchheim (4 February 900), and also recognized by Lorraine, where Sventiboldo could not keep himself any longer against the opposition from local lords. But the situation of the kingdom, threatened at all borders, by the Normans in the north-west, by the Danes and the Vendas in the north-east, by the Moravians in temporary recovery in the south-east, immediately became very serious. Above all others, the threat of the Hungarians from 901 onwards soon prevailed. Their savage hordes brought devastation and death to the heart of Germany. The Bavarians broke up in a battle, where the Margrave Liutpoldo lay on the field (907); beaten the Thuringian Margrave Burcardo (908); defeated a royal army on the Lech near Augusta (910), those barbarians seemed unbeatable. On September 24, 911 Ludovico the Child died, while the kingdom fell into complete disrepair, and all the progress towards unity, which in every way had been made from the time of Louis the German onwards, was suddenly almost annihilated.

Germany History - The Last Carolingians