Louis the Pious

Louis the Pious[lower-alpha 3] (German: Ludwig der Fromme; French: Louis le Pieux; 16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire,[3] was King of the Franks and co-emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813. He was also King of Aquitaine from 781. As the only surviving son of Charlemagne and Hildegard, he became the sole ruler of the Franks after his father's death in 814, a position which he held until his death, save for the period 833–34, during which he was deposed.

Louis the Pious
Emperor of the Romans
Louis the Pious, contemporary depiction from 826 as a miles Christi (soldier of Christ), with a poem of Rabanus Maurus overlaid. Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Codex Reg. lat 124, f.4v
Emperor of the Carolingian Empire
Coronation11 September 813[lower-alpha 1]
5 October 816[lower-alpha 2]
SuccessorLothair I
King of the Franks
PredecessorCharlemagne (Charles I)
King of Aquitaine
PredecessorCharlemagne as
King of the Franks
SuccessorPepin I
Born16 April 778[1][2]
Died20 June 840(840-06-20) (aged 62)
SpouseErmengarde of Hesbaye
Judith of Bavaria

During his reign in Aquitaine, Louis was charged with the defence of the empire's southwestern frontier. He conquered Barcelona from the Emirate of Córdoba in 801 and asserted Frankish authority over Pamplona and the Basques south of the Pyrenees in 812. As emperor he included his adult sons, Lothair, Pepin and Louis, in the government and sought to establish a suitable division of the realm among them. The first decade of his reign was characterised by several tragedies and embarrassments, notably the brutal treatment of his nephew Bernard of Italy, for which Louis atoned in a public act of self-debasement.

In the 830s his empire was torn by civil war between his sons, only exacerbated by Louis's attempts to include his son Charles by his second wife in the succession plans. Though his reign ended on a high note, with order largely restored to his empire, it was followed by three years of civil war. Louis is generally compared unfavourably to his father, though the problems he faced were of a distinctly different sort.[4]

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