In 856, his father had him betrothed to a daughter of the Breton king Erispoé, and gave him the duchy of Maine, but the marriage never took place ["Karlus rex cum Respogio Brittone paciscens, filiam eius filio suo Ludoico despondet, dato illi ducatu Cenomannico usque ad viam quae a Lotitia Parisiorum Cesaredunum Turonem ducit." Ann. Bertin., s.a. 856, 46]. He appears to have received the title of king at that time [Settipani (1993), 314, n. 829]. Following the death of his brother Charles in 866 [Ann. Bertin., s.a. 866, 83], Louis was named as king of Aquitaine in the following year ["Et circa mediam quadragesimam super Ligerim fluvium ad villam quae Bellus-Pauliacus dicitur perrexit; ubi primores Aquitaniorum sibi obviam accersivit et filium suum Hludowicum, ordinatis illi ministerialibus de palatio suo, eisdem Aquitanis regem praefecit." Ann. Bertin., s.a. 867, 86]. After the death of his father, he was crowned as king on 8 December 877 by Hincmar, archbishop of Reims ["... 6. Idus Decembris ... consecratus et coronatus est in regem Hludowicus ab Hincmaro Remorum episcopo." Ann. Bertin., s.a. 877, 138]. At his death in 879 (see below), he was succeeded by his sons Louis III and Carloman as joint kings [Ann. Bertin., s.a. 879, 149-150].
Date of Birth: 1 November, ca. 846.
In an act of 878, Louis states that his birthdate was 1 November ["... diem nativitatis nostræ, quæ est Calendis Novembris, ..." RHF 9: 404]. Annales Vedastini state that he was in about his 33rd year at the time of his death ["... anno aetatis suae circiter XXXIII, ..." Ann. Vedast., s.a. 879, 44; see also Brandenburg (1964), 86; Werner (1967), 453]
Place of Birth: Unknown.
Date of Death: 10 April 879.
Place of Death: Compiègne.
"Ipse [i.e., Louis] autem cum magna difficultate per Iodrum monasterium Compendium venit, et sentiens se mortem evadere non posse, per Odonem Belgivacensem episcopum et Albuinum comitem coronam et spatam ac reliquum regium apparatum filio suo Hludowico misit, mandans illis qui cum eo erant, ut eum in regem sacrari ac coronari facerent. Ipse autem 4. Idus Aprilis in die parasceue iam vespere obiit; et in crastina, scilicet in vigilia sancti paschae, in ecclesia sanctae Mariae sepultus fuit." [Ann. Bertin., s.a. 879, 147-8]
Father: Charles the Bald, d. 877, king of the Western Franks, Emperor.
Mother: Ermentrude, d. 869, daughter of Eudes, count of Orleans.
(1) m. March 862, Ansgard,
d. 18 November (after 879), daughter of
"Sed et sepefatus Hludowicus, frater ipsius Karoli, e vestigio in ipso quadragesimae sanctae initio filiam Harduini quondam comitis, sororem scilicet Odonis sui multum complaciti, sibi coniugem copulat." [Ann. Bertin., s.a. 862, 58]
(2) m. ca. 870?, Adélaïde.
[For her ancestry, see Werner (1967), 429-441]
Having married Ansgard without the permission of his father, Louis separated from her and married Adélaïde at his father's instigation ["Paucis interiectis diebus, Hludowicus rex, filius Caroli, qui Balbus appellabatur, eo quod impeditioris et tradioris esset eloquii, ab hac luce subtractus est. Fuit vero iste princeps vir simplex ac mitis, pacis, iustitiae et religionis amator. Habuit autem, cum adhuc iuvenilis aetatis flore polleret, quandam nobilem puellam nomine Ansgard sibi coniugii foedere copulatam, ex qua duos liberos suscepit elegantis formae ac ingentis animi virtute praestantes: horum unus Hludowicus, alter Carlomannus vocabatur. Sed quia hanc sine genitoris conscientia et voluntatis consensu suis amplexibus sociaverat, ab ipso patre ei postmodum est interdicta, et interposito iurisiurandi sacramento, ab eius consortio in perpetuum separata. Tradita est autem eidem ab eodem patre Adalheidis in matrimonium, quam gravidam ex se reliquit idem rex cum obiret; quae tempore pariendi expleto, enixa est puerum, cui nomen avi imposuit, eumque Carolum vocitari fecit." Regino, s.a. 878, MGH SS 1: 590]. Regino's date for the death of Louis is off by a year, and his entry is a retrospective account of the marriages and sons of Louis, which is not chronologically tied to the date of Regino's entry. The conjectured marriage date of ca. 870 given above for Adélaïde allows room for the four children of Ansgard at one end, and allows sufficient time at the other end for Louis and Adélaïde to be the great-grandparents of bishop Adalbero of Metz, who became bishop in 929 [see the page of Adalbero's mother Cunégonde].
"Hludovicus rex genuit Hludovicum et Karlomannum et Hildegardim ex Ansgardi vocata regina, Karolum quoque postumum et Irmintrudim ex Adelheidi regina." [Witgeri Genealogia Arnulfi Comitis, MGH SS 9: 303; for the sons, see also Regino, Chronicon, s.a. 878 (recté 879), MGH SS 1: 590]
Louis III, d. 5 August 882; (joint)
king of France (Neustria), 879-882.
["Unde egrotare coepit et delatus apud Sanctum Dionysium, Nonis Augusti defunctus maximum dolorem Francis reliquit, sepultusque est in aecclesia sancti Dionisii." Ann. Vedast., s.a. 882, 52]
Carloman, d. 6 December 884, king of
France, 879-884 (Aquitaine and Burgundy only until 882).
["... defunctus est . . . Decembris, anno aetatis suae circiter 18." Ann. Vedast., s.a. 884, 56; Settipani 320, n. 878 cites the obituary of Saint-Denis for the exact date of death]
(probably by Ansgard)
Gisela, m. Robert, d.
886, count of Troyes.
[Werner (1967), 456-7, citing an act of king Carloman, dated 17 November 882, which refers to his sister Gisla as wife of wife of count Robert.] The chronology would suggest that she was by the earlier marriage.
Ermentrude, b say 870×7, m. NN.
Charles III "the Simple", b.
(posthumously) 17 September 879, d. 7 October 929, king of France
Charles stated that he was born on the day of St. Lambert (i.e., 17 September) in an act of 28 May 917 ["... in die nativitas nostrae, quae est Missa S. Lamberti, ..." RHF 9: 531]. That, along with the information that he was born posthumously, gives us his birthdate. In 923, he was captured by count Heribert II (of Vermandois) [Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 923, 15], and he died in 929 ["Karolus quoque rex apud Perronam obiit." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 929, 44; "Non. Oct. Karolus simplex obiit." Hugues de Flavigny, Chronicon, MGH SS 8: 287].
m. (1) shortly before 19 April 907, Frederuna, d. 10 February 917;
[For the date of marriage, see Settipani (1993), 324, n. 907] Her date of death is given as "IIII Idus Febr."in an act dated 14 March 918 [RHF 9: 536], and she was mentioned as deceased in a donation for her soul on 14 February 917 [RHF 9: 530]
m. (2) 919, Eadgifu (Ottogeba), d. after 951, daughter of Eadweard "the Elder", king of Wessex.
[Will. Malmesbury, 170-1 (c. 112), 200-1 (c. 126)] Eadgifu was still living in 951, when she was remarried to count Heribert (son of Heribert II of Vermandois) ["Ottogeba regina, mater Ludowici regis, egressa Lauduno, conducentibus se quibusdam tam Herberti quam Adalberti, fratris ipsius, hominibus, ad Heribertum proficiscitur; qui suscipiens eam, ducit in conjugem." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 951, 132]
Falsely attributed wife:
Hildegarde, daughter of Eticho, a member of the
["Eticho genuit filium Heinricum et filiam Hiltigardam. Hiltigardam Luduwicus
Balbus inperator accepit uxorem." Genealogia Welforum, c. 1, MGH SS 13: 733] The Genealogia Welforum is not a reliable source for this period, and there is no reason to believe that such a wife existed. Decker-Hauff tries to identify Hildegarde with Louis's known wife Adélaïde, but his argument is unconvincing [Decker-Hauff (1955), 329ff.]
Ann. Bertin. = G. Waitz, ed., Annales Bertiniani (MGH SRG 6, Hannover, 1883).
Ann. Vedast. = B. de Simson, Annales Xantenses et Annales Vedastini (MGH SRG 12, Hannover, 1909).
Brandenburg (1964) = Erich Brandenburg, Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen (Frankfurt, 1964).
Decker-Hauff (1955) = Hansmartin Decker-Hauff, "Die Ottonen und Schwaben", Zeitschrift für Württemburgische Landesgeschichte 14 (1955), 233-371.
Flodoard, Annales = Ph. Lauer, ed., Les Annales de Flodoard (Paris, 1905).
MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.
RHF = Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France.
Settipani (1993) = Christian Settipani, La préhistoire des Capétiens 481-987 (Première partie - Mérovingiens, Carolingiens et Robertiens) (Villeneuve d'Ascq, 1993).
Werner (1967) = Karl Ferdinand Werner, "Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen bis um das Jahr 1000 (1.-8. Generation)", Karl der Große 4 (1967): 403-483.
Will. Malmesbury = R. A. B. Mynors, R. M. Thomson, & M. Winterbottom, eds., William of Malmesbury - Gesta Regvm Anglorvm - The History of the English Kings, vol. 1 (Oxford, 1998).
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
First uploaded 23 May 2007.
Minor revision uploaded 16 August 2012 (added falsely attributed wife Hildegarde).
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