Talk:Louis the Pious

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It is interesting to note that, when modern historians (those from the late 18th c. on) hearken back to an example of a unified Europe, it is the Carolingian Empire, not the Roman one, to which they turn.

You sure about this? I've heard plenty of hearkening back to the Roman Empire, too, especially by historians who specialize in antiquites. Besides, the Carolingian empire was somewhat small for a unified Europe, notably lacking in Spain, the Balkans, and Britain. And even though the treaty of Verdun was not responsible for the cultural differences between France, Germany, and Italy, they still existed, as any comparison of the parts of the late Empire will show.

You're right, Josh - Rome is a model for a lot of people; but a fun fact to know and tell is that the first big UNESCO art and culture show was a year-long "Charlemagne's Aachen" Extravaganza in 1961 or 1962. The huge and scholarly catalog of the show was published in German, French, and English, and the 3-volume set of companion essays likewise. It was awfully explicit. Lots of Northern European scholars see Rome per se as both too Mediterranean and saw it in the 30 years after WWII as too burdened with a top-dressing of fascism. Medieval archaeology, which drove a lot of the last 50 years of scholarship, got a big kickstart from the bombing and other destruction of northern Europe during WWII, too! We'd really have MUCH less idea of early London without the Blitz! --MichaelTinkler

Some questions: olivier 04:36, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)

  • Was he the second or the third son of Charlemagne?
  • Did he inherit the whole empire, or was Italy excluded?

Depends on if you mean legitimate son or not -- he had three older brothers, Pepin the Hunchback, whose mother was a concubine -- but that didn't really mean much in terms of inheritance or transfer of power -- and then two full brothers who predeceased him, Charles and Carloman, king of Italy.

He inherited everything. Boots

Tortured who?[edit]

"all sons of Charlemagne's concubines, whom he had caused to be violently tortured and whom he had intended to put to death. "

Were the concubines or the sons tortured?

Any reference for that?


This is nonsense! Louis banished his father's concubines from the court. He had his nephew Bernhard put to death. And that's about it. Str1977 (smile back) 07:55, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Seeing as I wrote most of the article, I was shocked to find that sentence in it. Reviewing histories, I found that it was added by Wetman. Perhaps he has a source. I know that I have seen conflicting accounts as to what exactly was done to the illegitimate children and the concubines: exile, forced monasticism, or some form of punishment. Bernard was blinded and and the trauma killed him, it was never Louis's intention to execute him. Srnec 15:51, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Birth date[edit]

After I had already removed a fictitious birth date of Louis the Pious in my edit of May 26, 2006, this exact but wrong birth date was added again on Dec. 5, 2006. Therefore, I would like to make clear now hopefully once and for all, The exact birth date of Louis the Pious is unknown. The sources don't mention it. Louis the Pious was NOT born on April 16, 778. This date does not get more true just because it is in the Encyclopedia Britannica online. All that we know by Astronomus in his biography of Louis the Pious (chapter 2 and 3) is that Louis was born in Cassinogilus (Chasseneuil) while his father Charlemagne was absent and on a military expedition in Spain. Josef Fleckenstein in his article about Louis the Pious in the Lexikon des Mittelalters (vol. 5, col. 2171, 1991), one of the best encyclopedias of the Middle Ages currently available, estimates for this reason that Louis the Pious was born between the June and the August of 778.

The birth date April 16, 778, however, MUST be wrong. Eginhard's annals mention that Charlemagne still celebrated Easter in Chasseneuil in 778, which fell on April 19 that year. But we know from Astronomus, I've already mentioned it, that Louis the Pious was first born during his father's subsequent absence from Chasseneuil. So whereever the misinformation "born on April 16, 778" may come from, just dismiss it, it's provably wrong. -- 17:50, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

P.S. Now I've also found a possible source for the misunderstanding about the Louis the Pious' birth date: this website [1] states that he is born "[Apr 16/Sep] 778", which is intended to name a period of time (and a wrong period, morevoer, because as explained above, the real period for the birth of Louis the Pious must be "born between after Apr. 19 and Sept. 778) - but anyway, someone may have misunderstood that online genealogy as if Louis the Pious was actually born on Apr. 16, 778. --- 21:09, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

There are quite a few sources that indicate April 16 and unfortunately this "misinformation" will probably keep popping up. Especially when the source seems so authentic such as [2] Perhaps a note in the Louis the Pious article will, in some degree, prevent the use of April 16 as date of birth? Daytrivia 01:12, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


If I understand correctly, wasn't the Kingdom of the Franks an elective monarchy? If so, how did Louis divide the empire when the nobles had the final say on who became king? Did he get their permission to divide the realm or something? Emperor001 02:09, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

The Carolingians did not believe in elective monarchy and they fostered the notion that they ruled by right of birth, even though Pepin the Short was acclaimed king by the nobles ("elected"). When the Carolingian dynasty peetered out, the idea of elective monarchy was resurrected, only to be eventually stomped out again in France by the Capetians. Srnec 00:59, 29 July 2007 (UTC)


Louis le Pieux, sesquisolidus, 814-840.
Louis le Pieux, denier, Sens, 818-823.

Here are coins of Louis le Pieux. Feel free to insert them in the article. Cheers. PHG (talk) 08:28, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Daughter Adelaide[edit]

I found an inconsistency. "Robert the Strong" ( under "Death and legacy" states that "Robert left as widow Adelaide or Adalais, a daughter of Hugh of Tours and thus an Etichonid. She was the widow of a Welf when he married her... ".

But in "Hugh of Tours" ( it says "His other daughter, Adelaide married Conrad I, Count of Auxerre."

In "Conrad I, Count of Auxerre" (,_Count_of_Auxerre), it states that his wife was "Adelaide" (without naming her father), and that "[Conrad] was one of the early Welfs."

But in "Louis the Pious," (, under "Marriage and issue," it says "By his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye (married ca 794-98), he had three sons and three daughters:

  Adelaide (b. c. 799), perhaps married Robert the Strong"

So "Hugh of Tours" says that his daughter, Adelaide married Conrad I (without listing a second marriage). Conrad I was a Welf. Robert the Strong married Adelaide, the widow of a Welf. We have 3 articles that appear to be in agreement (although "Hugh of Tours" is incomplete - it could state that she married secondly to Robert the Strong). And the "Louis the Poius" article is speculating.

Two articles agree that Robert the Strong married an Adelaide. But is she the daughter of Louis the Pious. or of Hugh of Tours? If this is in dispute, then all 4 articles should acknowledge this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chickadeebro (talkcontribs) 14:30, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I've tried to clear it up. I don't know the basis for the claim in this article. I removed it. Srnec (talk) 02:12, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Reconquered and re-asserted[edit]

Hello Srnec, saw your reverts. I changed the verbs, it feels they are misleading. First of all, if it was reconquered, had it been before a Frankish position? Don´t think so. The word reconquer bears some mythical implications, or a concerted action against the Muslims, that are not true to reality, at least at this stage of history. As regards "re-asserted", it gives the impression that a strong Frankish rule was imposed and established, while it remained always very shaky as the events next years were to prove. Iñaki LL (talk) 17:21, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Why not just remove the "re", so that he conquered Barcelona and asserted authority over Pamplona? I don't see a problem with that. Srnec (talk) 19:54, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess its sounds better.Iñaki LL (talk) 23:26, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Randy Petersen[edit]

I have removed the Petersen source, per the Tyndale House Publishers[3]:
Randy Petersen is a successful author of more than forty books, including 100 Most Important Events in Christian History, 100 Bible Verses That Changed the World, The One Year Book of Psalms and The One Year Book of Hymns. He was a contributor to Christian History magazine, iLumina Bible software and the Quest Bible, as well as many other bestselling titles.
I see nothing stating Petersen is an academic historian covering this time period, thus he is not a reliable source.
The Cambridge source states, "Theodulf of Orleans, as a courtier out of favour, and as one whose local interests were threatened by Matfrid, was accused, perhaps rightly, of supporting Bernard of Italy. He was condemned by a secular, not ecclesiastical court, and flung into a monastic prison where he died soon after (rumour said, poisoned by those who had benefited from his absence to plunder his goods)." --Kansas Bear (talk) 18:07, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Ordinatio imperii[edit]

There is no word about his nephew Bernard in Ordinatione imperii 817. - MGH Capit. VIII p. 270

If you do not know Latin you can just try to find something like Bernardus in text. Or find an english translation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 22 May 2015 (UTC)


Annie Dillard wrote that "Emperor Louis of Bavaria" died after viewing the eclipse in 0840. This is in her article "Total Eclipse," which was on The Atlantic's website in the summer of 2017[1]. However, the eclipse was on 0840-05-05[2]. It would be awfully interesting if there is documentation linking Louis' death to having viewed the eclipse. Peter Jedicke (talk) 01:41, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

According to Louis's biographer, who wrote shortly after his death and is known quite appropriately as the Astronomer, the emperor asked if the apparition of Halley's comet in 837 portended his death, but ultimately decided that it merely demanded Christian penance. The Astronomer, who was probably writing shortly after Louis's death, says that the eclipse of the sun on 5 May 840 did portend the eclipse of a great earthly light (the emperor). You can read the Astronomer in Latin or German here. Note that the Astronomer actually got the date wrong (he gives 28 April), but his contemporary, Andreas of Bergamo, got it right. (Probably he was just away from his books and mixed up: he said three days after the greater litany when he should have said, as Andreas did, three days before the nones of May during the litanies.) For this you could cite my source, which is: S. Ashely (2013), "What Did Louis the Pious See in the Night Sky? A New Interpretation of the Astronomer's Account of Halley's Comet, 837", Early Medieval Europe, 21: 27–49. Nothing I've read suggests that the actual viewing of the eclipse caused Louis's death, merely that it was interpreted as a portent. Srnec (talk) 03:00, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
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  2. ^