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the succession to the imperial title. Lothair had been crowned co-regent emperor many years before, and before his father's death had been restored to favour, and acknowledged as heir to the imperial throne. But would he be strong enough to sustain the burden which had been too much for his father, to combine a strong hand and a conciliatory policy, and hold the various races of his subjects together, without driving any one of them to discontent and revolt? Lothair was brave, unscrupulous, active, troubled by none of the morbid scruples and ill-placed tenderness which character of had been so fatal to his father. But he was Lothair, full of faults of the opposite extreme, as dangerous to a ruler as his parent's over-great mildness and long-suffering. He was quite destitute of natural affection, as his doings at the penance of St. Médard and the Lügenfeld had shown, and was not merely wanting in tenderness for his kith and kin, but unable even to pretend to a reasonable regard for brother, father, or nephew. Even in that rough time his unfilial conduct had shocked his own subjects and followers. His ambition and pride were the only sentiments to which an appeal could be made with success. He was filled with an overweening idea of the greatness of the imperial position, though he had done so much himself to cause its degradation in the eyes of all the nations of the empire, by his cruel and offensive treatment of his father. He had taught the Franks that an emperor could be imprisoned, preached at, dictated to, publicly chastised, deposed, and he foolishly supposed that his own imperial dignity would not suffer from the precedent. The moment his accession was proclaimed it was known that harsh unbending rigour would reign all over the Frankish realm. Yet Lothair's situation in 840 was not disadvantageous; his enemies Lewis and Pippin had been driven into remote corners of the empire. He was loyally supported by the Lombards of his old Italian kingdom and by the Austrasians, the old ruling race, whose imperialist tendencies had been shown by their constant fidelity to Lewis the Pious throughout all his troubles. But Lothair wasted his strength by a strange combination of arbitrary claims and dilatory action. He began by showing the most reckless disregard for his father's dying wishes. He made no secret of his intention of stripping his young brother Charles of the Neustrian dominions which had been left him, though the child of his father's declining years had been specially commended to his protection. But he did not follow up his threats by any prompt action against the young king, but went off to Germany to conclude the campaign against his war of the brother Lewis of Bavaria, which his dead father three brothers. had left half finished. But on arriving in Bavaria he did not strike down his enemy, but made a six months' truce with him, and returned to Neustria. There he made a feeble attempt to put down Charles, but finally returned to Aachen, where he spent the winter in pomp and feasting, while his two brothers were repairing their strength and raising large armies. Lewis and Charles had determined to combine, for they saw that strict union was needful against their common enemy. In the spring of 841 the king of Neustria and the king of Germany each drew towards the Rhine, with the purpose of joining their armies. The emperor was frightened by the strength which they displayed, and thought it necessary to add to his own forces by enlisting in his cause his only possible ally. He hastily promised to confirm the young Pippin in his kingdom of Aquitaine if he would lead the men of the south to his aid. Pippin accepted the offer, and brought an army of Gascons across Burgundy to join his uncle. Meanwhile Charles and Lewis had successfully united their hosts at Chalons-sur-Saône in such force that Lothair feared to fight them. He held them off by disloyal negotiation for some weeks, till he heard that his nephew had arrived with all the forces of Aquitaine, and then suddenly declared that nothing could be settled without a battle, and proceeded to attack his brothers. The armies met in the valley of the Yonne, and there followed the decisive and disastrous battle of Fontenay, the greatest fight that Europe had seen since Charles Martel Battle of smote the Saracens at Poictiers. The whole of Fontenay, the nations of the empire were arrayed against each other. On the hill by Bretignolles Lothair, with the host of Austrasia, faced the Bavarians and Saxons of king Lewis. In the plain by Lefay the Neustrians of Charles were drawn up against the Aquitanians of the young Pippin. After much hard fighting the Neustrians gave way before the onslaught of their southern countrymen, but on the other flank the Germans of Lewis won a far more decisive advantage over the emperor's Austrasian followers. Lothair was driven down from the hill with fearful slaughter, the flower of the nobility of the land between Meuse and Rhine lay dead on the field. It was a blow from which Austrasia never recovered. Her ancient supremacy over the rest of the empire, won six generations back at Testry and Ambleve, was gone for ever. The swords of the Teutons of the east had shattered the reputation of her invincibility, and the balance of power was permanently transferred eastward (June 25th, 841). The slaughter was long remembered, and the evils which the empire was to pass through during the next forty years were often ascribed to the result of this fatal fight. “By that day,” says the chronicler Regino, “the strength of the Franks was so cut down, and their fame and valour so diminished, that for the future they were not merely unable to extend the bounds of their realm, but even incapable of protecting their own frontiers.’ Lothair drew back the wrecks of his army to Aachen, while Pippin fled southward to Aquitaine. The victorious brothers, Charles and Lewis, succeeded before the year was out in subduing all the partisans of the emperor, both in Neustria and in Germany. It was in vain that Lothair tried to stir up trouble against them by supporting a rebellion in Saxony, where, in the wilder corners of the land, a rising of the servile classes, and the few surviving adherents of paganism, was troubling king Lewis. In the next spring the kings of Neustria and Germany united their armies to drive Lothair from Austrasia. They met at Strasburg, where they swore to each other The oath of the solemn oath, whose wording is so precious to Strasburg. us as giving the first monument of the new French and German tongues that were just developing in their realms. When they marched on Aachen Lothair was compelled to take his wife and children and the royal treasure-hoard, and fly southward into Burgundy. It was long remembered how on his retreat he broke up the great silver globe, which had been the pride of his grandfather Charles the Great, “whereon were represented the divisions of the world, and the constellations of heaven, and the courses of the planets,’ and distributed its fragments as pay among his discontented soldiery. He halted at Lyons, and there his proud spirit at last bowed to the necessity of asking for peace from his brothers. The two kings showed themselves willing to treat, and the final result of the negotiations was the famous Partition of Verdun. It was indeed no time for civil wars. While the brothers were fighting, the Danes had sacked Quentovic, a great port on the English channel, and the Moors had landed in Provence and harried Arles, while the Slavs beyond the Elbe had shaken off the Frankish yoke. The Partition of Verdun finally broke up the empire. Though Charles and Lewis restored to Lothair his capital of Aachen, and consented to recognise him as emperor, and to respect him as elder brother, yet for the future they were for all practical purposes independent sovereigns. The scheme which Charles the Great had worked so successfully, and Lewis the Pious so feebly, for conducting the government of Western Christendom by an emperor assisted in certain outlying regions by subject-kings of his kindred, now definitely disappeared. Lothair had no power or authority outside the district which his brothers consigned to his direct sovereignty.
Examining the boundaries fixed by the treaty of Verdun, we find the Frankish empire divided into three long strips Treaty of running from north to south. In the east Lewis Verdun, 843. of Bavaria took all the Teutonic lands east of the Rhine—Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Suabia, and the
suzerainty over the Slavs of the Elbe and Save. He had also one small tract of Austrasian territory west of the Rhine, the gaus of Speier, Worms, and Mainz. Lothair kept his old kingdom of Italy, together with a long narrow strip of territory reaching from the mouth of the Rhone to the mouths of the Rhine and Yssel. This strip consisted of Frisia, the bulk of Austrasia, the most of Burgundy, and Provence. Charles