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unruliness was the arrival on the eastern srontier of the kingdom of a new race of enemies. These were the Ugrian tribe of the Magyars or Hungarians who appeared in 896 on the middle Danube and Theiss, where the decaying remnant of the Avars were now dwelling mixed among the Slavonic Moravians. The Magyars had been driven westward by another wild horde, the Tartar Petchenegs, who thrust them out of South Russia and forced them to find new homes. They were a race of light horsemen, mighty with the bow, skilful in sudden onsets and feigned retreats, but wanting the perseverance and steady strength in pitched battle which The Hun. would have rendered them invincible. Their garians. raids were even more rapid and destructive than those of the Northmen, but they were not such formidable foes to meet as the Vikings, for they never could learn to besiege a fortified place, or to defend themselves in entrenched camps, or to fight in regular line of battle. All their attacks were mere ambushes or sudden surprises, and they seldom allowed the heavy horsemen of Germany to fight them on equal terms and in the open field. Their custom was to ride through the open country burning defenceless monasteries and villages, but avoiding walled towns and always escaping in haste if the levies of the district came out against them in full force. Arnulf himself was responsible for the first visit of the Magyars to the empire. During his Moravian war he hired some of their warriors to follow him to the field as auxiliary light horse. Thus they learnt the way into Moravia and Germany alike: during Arnulf's own life they do not seem to have seriously molested his kingdom, for they were mainly occupied in evicting the Slavs from the plains by the Danube. But no sooner was the emperor dead than they began to extend their ravages into Bavaria and Thuringia. At an even earlier date they are found already harassing north Italy, and vexing the soul of king Berengar by ravaging his native duchy of Friuli (899). In December 899 Arnulf died, old before his time, and was
buried in his favourite city of Regensburg. Then the dukes, counts, and bishops of Germany met at Forchheim and chose Death of as king Lewis the Child, the six-year-old son of Arnulf, 899 their deceased monarch. The reign of a minor was always dangerous to the old Teutonic kingdoms, and that of Lewis was no exception to the rule. The eleven years during which he nominally ruled as king of Germany were almost the most disastrous ever known in the history of the East Frankish realm. Hitherto the land had been fortunate in its rulers; of all the descendants of Charles the Great the German line had been by far the most able and vigorous; save the unhappy Charles the Fat, who only reigned for five years—they had all proved strong and capable rulers. weaknesser But now under the nominal sway of Lewis the Lewis the Child all the evils that had been kept down by Child. his sather's strong hand came to a sudden head. Germany was deprived of all central authority, and exposed to two evils at once, invasion by the enemy from without and civil war at home. The first troubles came from Lotharingia, where king Zwentibold had made himself so hated that many of the Austrasian nobles determined to disavow their allegiance to him, and to acknowledge his boy-brother as immediate ruler as well as suzerain. While waging war on his rebellious subjects Zwentibold fell in battle; as he very happily left no male issue, his kingdom was at once reunited with the main body of the Germanic realm. But worse was to come: in 902 there burst out the first of the great family feuds which were to be such a curse to Germany. During the last generation the succession to the posts of duke, count, and margrave throughout the land had been tending more and more toward hereditary right. It was growing quite usual to continue the son in the father's office, and to give to brothers countships in each other's close neighbourhood. Under a strong government this had not led to any danger. Arnulf had been powerful enough to keep all his vassals in
order. But his son was a mere child without any grown relative at his side to act as protector, and not even provided with a strong Mayor of the Palace to vindicate the royal authority. So far as there was any central government at all, it was worked by two great bishops, Adalbero of Augsburg and Hatto of Mainz—the wicked prelate of German tales, of whom posterity persisted in believing that he was devoured alive by rats in divine punishment for his sins. But Hatto and Adalbero were not even formally acknowledged as regents by the national diet, and had no authority to use the royal name save to execute the behests of that council. In the third year of Lewis two powerful family-groups of counts in Franconia began to wage open war on each other, not under any pretence of serving the crown but purely to settle a personal feud. Adalbert of Bamberg and his two kinsmen, who governed the land of the Saal and upper Main, fell upon Conrad and Eberhard, two civil wars in brothers who ruled in Hesse and on the Lahn, Franconia. and for four years central Germany was torn by their intermittent struggles. The meeting of the national council, and the anathemas of the bishops proved quite unable to bring the feud to an end. Presently the quarrel spread into western Lotharingia, where two other counts, Gerhard and Matfrid, espoused the cause of Adalbert and attacked his enemies in Hesse. It was only after four counts had fallen in battle, and the whole Main valley had been miserably ravaged, that a diet, summoned by bishop Hatto at Tribur, finally put its ban on Adalbert of Bamberg, as the fomenter of the war, and raised a great army against him. He was beleaguered by the national levy in his castle of Theres, captured and executed, while his friends Gerhard and Matfrid were exiled. But it had taken four years to induce the nation to move, and meanwhile other great counts and dukes had learnt the lesson that they might enjoy along impunity, whatever turbulent enterprise they might take in hand. A few years later we find Burchard margrave of Rhaetia endeavouring to make himself duke of all Suabia by coercing the small governors in his neighbourhood; when he was put down and executed, by counsel of the bishops who surrounded the young king, popular sympathy was decidedly in favour of the feudal usurper and not of the central government. In Lotharingia too troubles never ceased; they culminated in a second attempt of count Reginald-with-theLong-Neck to make over the Austrasian countries to the king of Neustria, Charles the Simple. But serious as were these civil broils, their importance was as nothing compared with the greater disasters caused by the Hungarians' ravages on the eastern frontier. From the first year of king Lewis onward their attacks knew no intermission. They began by raids on Bavaria and Carinthia; a little later, while the Franconian civil war was in progress, we find them penetrating into Suabia and even into the distant Saxony. In 907 they defeated the whole levy of Bavaria, and slew its duke Luitpold together with the archbishop of Salzburg and the invasion, bishops of Freising and Seben. The consequence of the of this disaster was the temporary loss to Germany *** of its eastern frontier, the Bavarian ‘Ostmark,' which we now know as Austria; the Magyars overran the whole of it as far as the Enns. In the very next year the victorious horde entered Thuringia and slew its duke together with the bishop of Wurzburg. In 91o the young king himself, now sixteen years old, took the field against them for the first time, and for once Bavarians, Suabians, and Franconians were found united under him for a common campaign against the invader. But the first fight of king Lewis was a disaster: his army was caught in an ambush and routed with great slaughter, only the Bavarian troops escaped the panic and succeeded in checking the outset of the victorious enemy. How Lewis might have fared in future warfare against the Magyars we cannot say, for a year later, ere yet he had attained the threshold of manhood, he was carried off by disease. With him was extinguished the German line of the Carolingian house, for he left no male heir of any kind, whether brother, uncle, or cousin, to take up the heavy heritage of the Teutonic crown. (91.1.)
The only alternatives that now lay before the German nobles were either to elect as king one of the French branch of the Carolingian line, or else to follow the example of the Burgundians, Italians, and Provençals and choose one of themselves as the new ruler. After much hesitation the latter course commended itself to the diet, and at Forchheim the Franconians, Saxons, Suabians, and Bavarians joined in elevating to the throne Conrad, a count of lower Franconia, the son of that Conrad who had fallen in the war with Adalbert of Bamberg five years before. Only the Austrasians, Election of faithful now as ever to the house of Charles the Conrad I., 911. Great, refused to acknowledge the new king, and once more did homage to Charles the Simple, the weak but ambitious monarch of Neustria. Conrad seems to have been remotely descended in the female line from the house of St. Arnulf, but could not pretend to represent the old traditions of Frankish royalty. He was simply the most powerful, or almost the most powerful, man among the German noble houses, and was chosen purely for his military abilities.
Conrad's reign of seven years (911-918) was one continuous story of rebellion and disaster. Under a ruler of a new line, whom they regarded merely as one of themselves, the local governors became even more insolent to the central power than before. They made war on each other at their good pleasure, and each endeavoured to put down his weaker neighbours and make their possessions his own. Each of the ancient divisions of the German realm, the original tribal unities of Suabian and Bavarian, Saxon and Frank, showed a tendency to draw apart from its fellows. Each sought to reassert its individuality under some new ruler of its own, to hail its strongest noble as duke and follow him even against the king. It required a strong and persevering monarch to keep this separatist tendency under, and to prevent it from splitting up the realm.