Chapter 5 - Division, Invasion and Reorganization, C 800 - 1000
Charlemagnes Empire never rivaled those of the of Byzantine Emperors orAbbasid Caliphs.
His empire disintegrated between 800 - 1000 while the others flourished with Military strength,
unification and stable control of borders along with a few other things:
Byzantium - conquests of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer, Conversion of the Slavs, Influ-
ence over Russia.
Abbasid - Continued Rule over an extensive empire, rich courts, intellectual strives
and artistic culture.
Even with the break up of Abbasid Caliphs in the 900s they retained there well run and artistic
status by Carolingian standards.
Charlemagnes empire was not so lucky, the build in weaknesses along with power struggles
after his death and internal invasion destroyed the Franks.
In 843 the Kingdom was divided among his grandsons and even further divisions only served
to destroy the already volatile political unity. This combined with frequent attacks from three
sides made life difficult for the heirs.
Charlemagnes dream of a unified Christian Empire would survive but it would emerge from
battle with a different political system, centralized kingdom in England, several countries in West
Francia the Holy Roman Empire and several powerful cities in the Italian Peninsula.
Division - The Later Carolingians
Charlemagne made arrangements for his lands to be divided among all his sons - however only
one heir survived him, Louis the Pious, so by accident rather than plan Charlemagnes empire
passed intact to his single heir.
Louis the Pious did several things in his time in power like: getting rid of Charlemagnes con-
cubines, giving support to monastic reforms of Benedict ofAniane, committed himself to the
idea of a City of God brought down to earth.
Despite these goals he was unable to maintain control over the lands won to him by his father,
his grandfather (Pepin the Short r. 741 - 768) and his great grandfather (Charles Martel r. 714 -
741) because he was not politically astute nor militarily successful (Wars of Conquest for Wars
Louis primary issue came from home - unhappy sons, he made preparations to pass the imperi-
al power to his eldest sons and modest kingdoms to his two youngest sons. This was complicated
by the birth of his fourth son whose provisions had to be made for.
Later his sons would openly oppose him and plunge the empire into civil war. Louis was cap-
tured and briefly deposed.
The war was composed of battles for power but also battles for language and culture.
The Treaty of Verdun (843) had to solve not only the issues between brothers but also the is-
sues between regions.
Lothar (r. 823-855) maintained the Imperial Title but kept practical power over what was called
the Middle Kingdom - when he eventually died the division of his Kingdom would prove im-
portant to the formation of modern day Europe.
Louis the German (r. 840-876) took East Francia the nucleus of modern Germany. Charles the Bold (r. 840-877) tookWest Francia that would become modern France.
None of these kingdoms would survive, for all coped poor military crisis later in the 9 Centu- th
By 843, Muslim Pirates and Viking Raiders wrecked havoc along the Mediterranean andAt-
lantic Coast; Magyar Horsemen would similarly ravage the Eastern parts of the Old Carolingian
Plagued by thternal wethness and external threats the Carolingian leadership simply crumbled
in the late 9 early 10 Century.
Invasion - Muslims, Magyars and Vikings
Invasions were terrifying for the victims but were a part of life in Medieval Europe.
Muslim pirates in the 9 and 10 Century echoed of the disciplined Umayyed armies that
seized Iberia from the Visigoths.
The Magyars, following the the footsteps ofAttila the Hun (r. 433-453).
The Viking Raiders came from, like the Saxons, Franks, and other barbarians came from
Interesting note about history is that Europe had relatively few incursions between 750 and 850
which was Carolingian Empire flourished.
At first contact the Muslim Pirates, Viking Raiders and Magyar Horsemen inflicted suffering
Muslim Pirates and Magyar Horsemen:
Muslim Pirates, unlike the predecessors, came as raiders against people
and property and not as settlers of land and to control the politics of an
From land bases in NorthAfrica, Iberia and Sicily they preyed on ship-