Treaty of Prüm

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Lothair I dividing his realm between his sons (copper engraving 1698)

The Treaty of Prüm was the partition treaty signed as the Carolingian emperor Lothair I was approaching death in 855. Twelve years prior, in 843, he concluded his fighting of the Carolingian Civil War against his two brothers, Louis the German and Charles the Bald, and signed the Treaty of Verdun. As a result of this treaty, Louis the Pious' Francia was officially divided between his three surviving sons, with Lothair I, the eldest son, retaining the title of emperor and the lands of Middle Francia. This Lotharii Regnum was further partitioned between Lothair's sons on 19 September at his estate of Sconilare, ten days before he died of severe illness in Prüm Abbey in the Eifel:

Empire carolingien 855-fr.svg

     Lothair II († 869) was granted Frisia and the parts of Austrasia that remained his father's after Verdun (containing the original area of the Roman Empire settled by the Franks and the capital of Aachen) - this kingdom became known as Lotharingia, after its ruler, and was the shortest lived of the three successor kingdoms

     Charles († 863), the youngest of the three sons, became King of Provence, being granted Provence and most of Burgundy (the north-western part of which was given to East Francia at Verdun and would later become the Duchy of Burgundy in France) - this kingdom would later evolve into the Second Kingdom of Burgundy

     Louis II († 875), the eldest son, was granted the imperial crown and the medieval Kingdom of Italy (then only comprising the northern half of the Italian peninsula)

Due to the deaths of Charles in 863 and Lothair II in 869, the two northernmost kingdoms lasted no more than 15 years, and were divided between East Francia, West Francia and the Kingdom of Italy. The effects of the Treaty of Prüm came to a complete end in 962, when Otto I, king of Germany, invaded and conquered Italy during a period of political unrest caused by the ascension of a woman to the throne, Adelaide of Italy. The Treaty of Prüm is regarded as one of the last significant effects of partible inheritance before being surpassed by feudalism as the primary cause of European state decentralization.

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  • Deanesly, Margaret. A History of Early Medieval Europe. Taylor & Francis, 1963