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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Arnulf was everywhere victorious Karl the Fat


classes of the Germans were filled with rage and shame, at this disgrace. The Dukes and Princes who were building up their local governments profited by the state of affairs, to strengthen their power. Karl was called to Italy to defend the Pope against the Saracens, and when he returned to Germany in 884, he found a Count Hugo almost independent in Lorraine, the Norsemen in possession of the Rhine nearly as far as Cologne, and Arnulf of Carinthia engaged in a fierce war with Zwentebold, king of Bohemia. Karl turned his forces against the last of these, subdued him, and then, with the help of the Frisians, expelled the Norsemen. The two grand-sons of Karl the Bald, Ludwig and Karlmann, died about this time, and the only remaining one, Charles (afterwards called the Silly), was still a young child. The Frank nobles therefore offered the throne to Karl the Fat, who accepted it and thus restored, for a short time, the Empire of Charlemagne.

Once more he proved himself shamefully unworthy of the power confided to his hands. He suffered Paris to sustain a nine months' siege by the Norsemen, before he marched to its assistance, and then, instead of meeting the foemen in open field, he paid them a heavy ransom for the city and allowed them to spend the following winter in Burgundy, and plunder the land at their will. The result was a general conspiracy against his rule, in Germany as well as in France. At the head of it was Bishop Luitward, Karl's chancellor

and confidential friend, who, being detected, fled to Arnulf in Carinthia, and instigated the latter to rise in rebellion. Arnulf was everywhere victorious: Karl the Fat, deserted by his army and the dependent German nobles, was forced, in 887, to resign the throne and retire to an estate in Suabia, where he died the following year.


Duke Arnulf, the grandson of Ludwig the German, though not legitimately born, now became king of Germany. Being accepted at Ratisbon and afterwards at Frankfort by the representatives of the people, he was able to keep them united under his rule, while the rest of the former Frank Empire began to fall to pieces. As early as 879, a new kingdom, called Burgundy, or Arelat, from its capital Arles, was formed between the Rhone and the Alps; Berengar, the Lombard Duke of Friuli, in Italy, usurped the inheritance of the Carolingian line there; Count Rudolf, a great-grandson of Ludwig the Pious, established the kingdom of Upper Burgundy, embracing a part of Eastern France, with Western Switzerland; and Count Odo of Paris, who gallantly defended the city against the Norsemen, was chosen king of France by a large party of the nobles.

King Arnulf, who seems to have possessed as much wisdom as bravery, did not interfere with the pretensions of these new rulers, so long as they forbore to trespass on his German territory, and he thereby secured the friendship of all. He devoted himself to the liberation of Germany from the repeated invasions of the Danes and Norsemen on the north, and the Bohemians on the east. The former had entrenched themselves strongly among the marshes near Louvain, where Arnulf's best troops, which were cavalry, could not reach them. He set an example to his army by dismounting and advancing on foot to the attack: the Germans followed with such impetuosity that the Norse camp was taken, and nearly all its defenders slaughtered. From that day Germany was free from Northern invasion.

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