Treaty of Verdun

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Treaty of Verdun: Empire of Lothar I. Empire of Ludwig of the German Empire of Charles II, the Bald

In the Treaty of Verdun on August 10, 843, the surviving sons of Emperor Ludwig the Pious divided the Frankish empire of the Carolingians into three domains:

Negotiations and contract conclusion

The contract was preceded by a dispute between Lothar, Karl and Ludwig, who could not agree on their respective claims to the inheritance of their father, who died in 840. There were long negotiations, accompanied by mutual distrust, in the course of which the empire was inventoried. The Descriptio regni finally became the basis of the division, which took place under the aspects of equivalence of the geographical-political situation and the economic yield.

The preliminary negotiations came to an end from October 19 to 24, 842, when 110 envoys from the three emperor's sons met in the St. Kastor Basilica in Koblenz . The three brothers conjured up the result of these preliminary negotiations the following year at a meeting in Verdun. The exact wording of the contract is not known. Either it was never recorded in writing or the certificate has been lost over time. However, the main content can be reconstructed from contemporary sources.

In the West Franconian imperial annals , the Annales Bertiniani , it says:

“Karl went to the meeting with the brothers and met them in Verdun. Here, after the division had been carried out, Ludwig received everything on the other side of the Rhine, plus the towns and districts of Speyer , Worms and Mainz on this side ; Lothar the land between the Rhine and Scheldt up to their confluence and then the land around Cambrai, the Hainaut, the Lomens (between Meuse and Sombre) and Castrician area (south of it) and the counties on the left of the Meuse and further to the influence of the Saône in the Rhone , and along the Rhone to the sea with the counties on either side. Outside of these limits he only got Arras through the kindness of his brother Karl. The rest to Spain fell to Karl. And after they swore mutual oaths, they finally parted. "

In the semi-official Annales Fuldenses from East Franconia it says:

“When the empire was taken up by the nobles and divided into three parts, the three kings came together in Verdun in Gaul in August and divided the empire: Ludwig received the eastern part, Charles the western, Lothar as the oldest the part in between. When they had made peace in this way and affirmed it by oath, they went home to secure and order each his part. Charles, who laid claim to Aquitaine because it belonged to his kingdom by right, became a nuisance to his nephew Pippin , as he attacked him with numerous incursions, but often suffered great losses in his own armies. "

Short duration, lasting effect

The division of the empire into three lasted only a short time. As early as 855, after Lothar's death, the Middle Kingdom in the division of Prüm was further divided among his sons. The northern part, in turn, Lotharingia , the origin of what later became Lorraine , was divided between eastern and western France in the Treaty of Meerssen in 870 , before it fell completely to eastern France in the Treaty of Ribemont in 880 .

In nominal and ideal terms, the brothers preserved imperial unity despite the division by striving for a common policy and emphasizing dynastic cohesion. The empire was still viewed as a whole, as a shared Carolingian territory. Therefore, the Treaty of Verdun should not be seen as a division of the empire, but as a division of power within the royal family. Nevertheless, there was no longer any permanent reunification of the parts of the empire.


The Treaty of Verdun sealed the final failure of the state idea of ​​imperial unity represented in person and office of the emperor, even if under Charles III. the Franconian Empire regained its external unity for a few years.

The conclusion of the Verdun treaty is considered to be the beginning of a development that ultimately led to the emergence of Germany and France in the High Middle Ages . The notion, widespread among 19th century historians, that the treaty represented the starting point of German history is considered outdated (see the research history of Ludwig the German ).

Controversy over the exact date

The exact date of the Verdun Treaty is not known. This is because the original of the Verdun Treaty, one of the most important in European history, has been lost and there is no known copy. The text of its essential provisions could only be reconstructed by cross-checking information from subsequent contracts, chronicles and various documents relating to them.

The Annales Fuldenses mention that the meeting during which the text of the treaty was drafted took place in “mense augusto”, without further clarification. This is also the most frequent mention of the date in the documents.

From the Archdiocese of Freising there is a document dated August 10, 843 between Erchambert , 7th Bishop of Freising and a certain Palderich (Balderich, Baudri), about the sale of lands in the Archdiocese, which “in a place called Dugny in the Near the city of Verdun, where the agreement of the three brothers Lothaire, Louis and Charles was made and where the division of their kingdom took place. ”(Lat." In loco nuncupante Dungeih, quod est juxta civitate Viriduna, ubi triam fratrum Hludharii, Hludowici and Karoli facta est concordia et divisio regni ipsorum . ") From this it was concluded that the contract was concluded on August 10th. However, it cannot be ruled out that this agreement was also drawn up after the fact.

For most historians , the treaty was concluded no later than August 10th - between August 8th and August 10th. August 11th is also assumed, because if the contract could have been roughly agreed by August 10th, it may not have been concluded with the usual ceremonies on that day.

In any case, the three brothers had to separate before August 22nd, the day Lothar had already reached Gondreville near Toul .

See also


Web links

Commons : Treaty of Verdun  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See for example Georg Waitz : About the establishment of the German Empire by the Treaty of Verdun. CF Mohr, Kiel 1843 (preview) .
  2. ^ "Annales Fuldenses sive Annales Regni Francorum Orientalis", Ed. Fridericus Kurz, p. 34
  3. Meichelbeck, Historia Frisingensis, T. I 2, p. 320, no. 629
  4. ^ Dümmler, History of the East Franconian Empire, 2nd edition, t. I, p. 201, n.1
  5. Mühlbacher, Reg., 2nd edition, t. I, no.1104