Louis the Child

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Louis the Child (893 – September 20 or 24, 911 AD), 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 Magyars 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.

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