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Emma of Altdorf
Tomb effigy at St. Emmeram's Abbey
Queen consort of the Franks
East Frankish queen
Tenure 843–876
Predecessor Judith of Bavaria
Successor Liutgard of Saxony
Born c. 808
Died 31 January 876(876-01-31)
Spouse Louis the German
Louis the Younger
Irmgard of Chiemsee
Carloman of Bavaria
Charles the Fat
House House of Welf
Father Welf of Altdorf
Mother Hedwig of Saxony

Emma of Altdorf, also known as Hemma (c. 808 – 31 January 876), a member of the Elder House of Welf, was the wife of King Louis the German, and thereby Queen consort of East Francia from 843 until her death.


Her father was Welf I (d. 825), Count of Altorf in Alamannia; her mother was Hedwig (Heilwig; c. 775 – after 833), a daughter of the Saxon count Isambart. Emma's elder sister was Judith (sometimes called of Bavaria), who in February 819 married the Carolingian emperor Louis the Pious, and thereby became Queen consort of the Franks and Holy Roman Empress. The marriage marked a crucial step forward in the rise of the Welf dynasty.

In 827, probably at the instigation Judith, Emma married Louis the German, the youngest son of Emperor Louis the Pious from his first marriage with Ermengarde of Hesbaye, and stepson of Emma's sister Judith. The wedding cereminy possibly took place in Regensburg, Bavaria, where since 817 Louis the German was to rule as a King of Bavaria subordinate to his father; Emma was thus Queen consort of Bavaria. She was given in 833, by her husband Louis, Obermünster Abbey in Regensburg.

Emperor Louis died in 840. After severe innerdynastic struggles, the Carolingian Empire eventually was divided according to the Treaty of Verdun in 843. The Kingdom of Bavaria was merged in Louis the German's Kingdom of East Francia (the predecessor of the Kingdom of Germany), and his wife Emma became first East Frankish queen.

Emma is rarely mentioned in contemporary sources; she does not seem to have had much influence on her husband's rule. Nevertheless, she is described as having had great qualities: an uncommon courage and talent, deployed on more than one occasion. In particular, she led an army against Adelchis of Benevento, when he revolted against Louis the German; it is said that, frightened by the arrival of the Queen, the traitor fled by boat to seek safety in Corsica. The Annales Bertiniani written by Archbishop Hincmar of Reims however reproach Emma for a pride which displeased the people of Italy. She is also said to have inordinately favoured her son Carloman, designated heir of his father in Bavaria, which led to a revolt by his brothers.

Emma suffered a stroke in 874 and subsequently became paralyzed and speechless; King Louis visited her the last time in 875. She died on 31 January 876, a few months before her husband, and was buried in St. Emmeram's Abbey, Regensburg. Her tomb, erected around 1300, is considered a masterpiece of medieval sculpture.


By Louis, she had seven children:

Her sons became Kings; three of her daughters became nuns.

Preceded by
Ermengarde of Hesbaye
Queen consort of Bavaria
Title next held by
Preceded by
Judith, daughter of Welf
First following the Treaty of Verdun
Queen consort of East Francia (Germany)
Succeeded by
Liutgard, Queen consort of Saxony
(Eventually Queen consort of East Francia)
Succeeded by
Richardis, Queen consort of Swabia
(Eventually Queen consort of East Francia)