Page 1184


Italy, was loath to see the crown transferred

to his cousin Lothaire, more particularly since

the latter had no better claim on the throne

of Italy than might be found in the caprice

of the Emperor Louis. The prince Bernard

undertook to maintain his rights by force;

but the rebellion received little countenance,

even south of the Alps, and Bernard was

quietly put aside. The Vascons were also

easily reduced to submission. In Brittany,

however, a revolt occurred of more serious

proportions. The country was still covered

with heavy forests, and many facilities of

resistance were afforded to an insurgent

population. In the year 818, the inhabitants

chose for their king one of their chieftains

named Morvan. They renounced their allegiance and refused to pay tribute to the


At the very time when the Emperor Louis was presiding in a national assembly

at Aix la Chapelle, Count Lambert, governor

of Brittany, made his way to the capital,

and reported that his province was in a

state of revolt and that France was invaded.

Thereupon a Frankish monk, named Ditcar,

was sent to the Breton king to know his

grievances and to command submission. A

haughty answer was returned, and the Frankish monarch was obliged to go to war. A

battle was fought in the dense woods of

Brittany, and the rebels were utterly routed.

Morvan was slain, and his bloody head

was brought by the slayer to Ditcar for recognition. The revolt was quickly extinguished in blood.

After the death of the Empress Hermengarde, Louis chose for his second wife the

princess Judith of Bavaria, daughter of

Count Guelf-a family destined to the highest

distinction in the subsequent annals of

European monarchy. In the year 823, the

new Empress presented her lord with a son,

who became known among the rulers of

France as Charles the Bald. There was thus

added to the king's household of heirs another expectant, who, backed by the absorbing passion and brilliant abilities of his mother, was from the first an object of dread

to the three princes upon whom the Emperor

had already settled the succession.

Nor was it long until good reason was

shown for their jealousy. In the year 829

the king, now completely under the influence of Queen Judith, went before a national

assembly at Worms and openly annulled the

settlement which he had made twelve years

previously. He took away from Pepin and

Louis the provinces of Burgundy and Alemannia and assigned them to the young

prince Charles. This flagrant act led to an

immediate revolt on the part of Lothaire, Pepin, and Louis, and to the bitterness of

this rebellion were added the disgraceful

quarrels which prevailed at the royal court.

An ambitious Septimanian nobleman, named

Bernard, was advanced to the position of

chamberlain of the palace. He soon engaged

in an intrigue with Queen Judith which scandalized the court and increased the opposition

to Louis and his government. A conspiracy

was organized, including many of the chief

men of the kingdom. The Empress was

seized and shut up in a convent. Louis was

obliged to go forth from his capital and give

himself up to the insurgents. By them he

was deposed from office and the crown confirmed to Lothaire. The old act of 817,

by which the distribution of. the kingdom

among the sons of Hermengarde had been

determined, was restored; and the more

recent act of Emperor Louis, relative to

Prince Charles, was annulled. Thus, by a

sudden out bust of popular indignation, the

ambitious schemes of Queen Judith were

brought to naught.

Soon, however, there was a great revulsion

of public feeling in favor of the dishonored

king. It was tardily perceived that he had

been more sinned against than sinning. The

princes Louis and Pepin, moreover, became

bitterly jealous on account of the Imperial

dignity conferred upon Lothaire. They accordingly went over to their father's side; nor

were the ecclesiastics slow to repent of the

course which they had recently pursued towards their sovereign. Another national assembly was convened at Nimeguen, and the

acts which had been adopted by the former

body were abrogated. Louis the Debonair was

restored to his rights, and the two princes,

Pepin and Louis, were reinstated in their

former rank.

Now it was that the Emperor was obliged

to maintain his authority by force. He

accordingly mustered an army and marched

against his refractory sons. Prince Pepin,

of Aquitaine, had been already overthrown