Posts Tagged ‘Carolingians’

On This Day in 879…

Posted in General, On This Day on September 17th, 2007 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

No one in 9th century France was literate enough to write a birth announcement, but if you were in proximity to a town crier you would have heard of the birth of a heir to the throne. History would remember the birthday boy as Charles the Simple. Of course, a town crier–the medieval version of a press secretary–would have insisted that the epithet of “Simple” referred to Charles’ straight-forward manner.

However, then that town crier would have to explain the rest of the family’s nicknames. Charles’ father was “Louis the Stammerer”, his uncle “Charles the Fat, and his grandfather “Charles the Bald.” In fact, the Carolingian dynasty was plagued by its epithets. The royal line began with Pepin the Short and ended with Louis the Sluggard. Charlemagne (Charles the Great) was the happy exception among the miserable monikers. Even Charlemagne’s son had the nickname curse. He was known as Louis the Pious, which suggests that he was better at prayers than statecraft. (And his prayers couldn’t have been very efficient because they did not protect France from either his feuding sons or the Vikings.)

At least, Charles the Simple solved the Viking attacks. He simply surrendered. In 911 he ceded northwest France to the Norsemen. The region is still known as Normandy.