Chronology: Reconstruction of the Roman Empire under the Carolingian dynasty

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Mario, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Decade of 810s

    *** PoD: Pepin survives the siege of Venice in 810 and conquers the city.

    810: Pepin conquers the city of Venice after a long siege. Venice and its surroundings is included in the Kingdom of the Lombards. Peace with the Danes.

    811: Charles the Younger has a stroke and dies in Bavaria. Pepin marches to the former Avar Kingdom in order to consolidate the Frankish authority there.

    812: Pepin campaigns against the Slavs in the former Avar lands. Conquest of the Slavic centre of Bratislava.

    813: Pepin reaches the former Roman city of Syrmium and establishes a permanent military garrison there in order to protect the area against the Bulgars.

    814: Death of Emperor Charlemagne. Pepin is crowned (Western) Roman Emperor. His younger brother Louis the Pious inherits most of Gaul (including Aachen) and the Spanish March.

    815: Pepin grants the Kingdom of the Lombards to his only son Bernard, retaining the Imperial overlordship. Pepin strips most of the land granted by his father to the Papacy and claims the Imperial authority over the remaining Papal duchy, which is bond to Bernard's rule as well.

    816: Treaty of peace with the Byzantines in the Adriatic. Ragusa falls under Frankish control, but Byzantium secures its dominion of the Central Balkans.

    817: Louis the Pious dies in an accident in Aachen. Pepin reunites again all the Empire under his rule.

    818: Pepin concedes other satellital areas to his nephews (sons of Louis), but retaining the Imperial overlordship:

    * For his nephew Lothair, the Kingdom of the Saxons (including Thuringia).
    * For his nephew Pepin, the Kingdom of the Avars (including Bohemia, Moravia, Pannonia and Croatia).
    * For his nephew Louis, the Kingdom of the Goths (Spanish March and Septimania).

    819: Reorganization of the rest of the Empire in eleven duchies, granted to loyal men who assisted Pepin in his campaigns through the East: West Francia, Middle Francia, East Francia, Frisia, Flanders, Alamannia, Bavaria, Burgundy, Provence, Aquitaine and Vasconia.
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  2. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Feb 5, 2014
    All this seems rather unlikely, or at least very dumb on Pepin's part.

    -- First of all, Kingship has greater connotations of independence than a Ducal tital does, but all Dukes of the Empire are likely to have great autonomy anyway. It should absolutely suffice to make his nephews Dukes instead of Kings. (It makes sense to allow his son to be King of the Lombards, but for others, he'd certainly have to be very cautious in handing out titles. Anyone too powerful is a threat!) Saxony was already a Duchy, and by making the others also Dukes, he would essentially split the old royal authority over the Avars and Goths 'evenly' between Duke and Emperor. That would be to his advantage!

    -- A "Kingdom of the Goths" makes little sense, and the proposed Kingdom of the Avars is way too big. That's ready to secede and form its own thing at the first hint of imperial weakness, and everyone would know it. Instead, I suggest nephew Pepin gets the Ducky of Bohemia (essentially Czechia) and nephew Louis gets the Duchy of Avaria (basically Pannonia+Croatia).

    -- This leaves the Spanish March and Septimania for others. More on that later.

    -- Flanders wouldn't be a Duchy, it was a fief within West Francia (and first gets so much as mentioned in OTL about eight decades later). Ideally, Pepin or someone after him could institute rudimentary federalism, with the Empire consisting of Duchies (and maybe the occasional Kingdom), which in turn consist of multiple Counties. Flanders would be a County within a greater Duchy. (Likewise, I suppose Thuringia can be a County within Saxony, although I suspect there may be some friction there. Historical Thuringian autonomy was just ruthlessly stripped away there!)

    -- Frisia is unlikely to be a Duchy, either, and is more likely to be a bit of a quasi-independent fief as in OTL. (Not part of the general Duchy-structure.)

    -- The Spanish March should also remain a separate region, since it is a militarised frontier and exists on that basis. To be re-organised and/or merged with other territories after the inevitable Reconquista. (I know you, Mario, so I just assume the Reconquista is coming.)

    -- Septimania can be merged with Provence instead, thus creating a viable coastal Duchy.

    -- Is Carinthia included in Bavaria? I assume so, but some clarity on this point would be nice.

    -- Alamannia, Burgundy, Aquitania and Vasconia all check out okay.

    -- But what the hell are "West Francia, Middle Francia and East Francia"? At this point in time, the relevant region consists of Neustria and Austrasia. I'd actually propose merging those two into the Kingdom of Francia, and having Pepin himself rule that bit directly. That gives you a great imperial core. You don't want that handed off to others to be Duke there. You want to keep direct control over that for yourself.
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  3. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Maybe, but I have tried for once to explore a different handling of the early HRE. Instead of following an unitarian model (unlikely for that era) or try the 1000th model of alternate Verdun divisions, this is a model where Pepin (I chose Pepin and not Louis for important reasons) keeps control of the core and let the peripheral entities to his son and nephews in order to help them to build their own realms in the limits of the Empire (following a more militaristic strategy), while he consolidate the still fragile Imperial power in the 'central duchies'.

    Pepin was not as conservative as Louis was, so he could have followed this more heterodox model.

    Making Bernard king and the sons of Louis just dukes sounds like a recipe of future plot of the brothers against his cousin. All four were grandsons of Charlemagne so they should hold equal treat if the Empire wants stability.

    The former Kingdom of the Avars was big but heavily depopulated after the fall of the Avars. Splitting it in minor entities might leave them too vulnerable for Bulgarians, Magyars etc etc. as every single entity would not be capable to rise large armies to confront the nomadic peoples coming from the East.

    I think Flanders in a more extended sense (Belgium + Southern NL) could qualify for duchy with Brabant, Toxandria etc. as constitutive counties. As Saxony is indeed a Kingdom, Thuringia can form its own autonomous duchy inside it.

    I think it would have been a good idea to consider an 'ethnic' duchy for the Frisians which could act as an umbrella for the development of the Bishopric of Utrecht.

    The idea of placing a Kingdom there is just for boosting a Carolingian Reconquista (or something similar).

    I will post a map.
  4. Sertorius126 Badass guerrilla fighter

    Jul 22, 2018
    Why doesn’t Pepin simply get rid of his nephews? Charlemagne and Louis had no problem doing so, with Carloman’s sons and Bernard respectively, and it was probably for the best, so that their children could enjoy a stabler succession. Pepin shouldn’t put Louis’ sons on the same level as Bernard if he doesn’t want the latter position to be assailed later on, and he can’t genuinely expect Lothair, Pepin and Louis to stay loyal, they’d try to undermine him the first chance they get.
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  5. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Not the same situation.

    By 814, the three sons of Louis had secured a strong position inside the Empire. Bernard was only one young boy and even this Louis paid with his prestige to kill him IOTL.

    If Pepin would have tried to confront his three nephews...not a good idea, unless he wanted a civil war. Giving them peripheral realms that they could expand would have pushed them away from plotting for ruling parts of the core: Lothair had to deal with Danes and Slavs, Pepin with Bulgars and Byzantines and Louis with the Saracens.

    Meanwhile the core under Pepin's rule is not bordering any external enemy.
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  6. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Map of Europe in 820

    RecRome_810 (FILEminimizer).jpg
  7. Sertorius126 Badass guerrilla fighter

    Jul 22, 2018
    That’s not true. Lothar, the eldest, was 19 in 814, he had his first official rank as governor of Bavaria in the next year, and was only crowned emperor in 817. Previously he was simply Charlemagne’s grandchild, nothing more. Bernard was around his same age, if just slightly younger. Pepin could blind Lothar and his brothers in 814 and nobody would care. Civil wars are more likely to happen after giving them kingdoms, which would actually enable them to create a power base.
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  8. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Well, according to my chronology Louis the Pious would be still alive in 814, so that's not possible without enraging his father, who actually ruled part of the Empire.
  9. Sertorius126 Badass guerrilla fighter

    Jul 22, 2018
    You’re right about that, but you made Louis die in 817, and Lothar didn’t receive any kingdom IOTL until 822, and I don’t see why that would change ITL, so once Louis dies, Pepin has his chance to get rid of his nephews.
  10. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Yes, he would have that chance, and I agree that it would be a likely option...but he could also use them for ruling these borderlands and carry on the military campaigns instead of him.

    Maybe not the most likely scenario, but we could not rule it out. I think this would be interesting.
  11. Sertorius126 Badass guerrilla fighter

    Jul 22, 2018
    Personally, it’s not what I would do in his place, considering he also made the pope his enemy, whom a potential rival, I.E. Lothar, or even Bernard, could exploit by going to Rome and being crowned emperor in Pepin’s place. But, all things considered, it could be interesting, history can and did take most unpredictable turns after all.
  12. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    That's why ITTL I made him to strip the Papal authority out of Rome. I don't think Bernard would have challenged this decision in his favour; Lothar maybe, but ITTL it's not in a good position for doing so.
  13. Sertorius126 Badass guerrilla fighter

    Jul 22, 2018
    Stripping the Pope of his territories is not the same as stripping him of his authority. Let’s not forget that he did crown Charlemagne, establishing an important precedent. Lothar needed only gather support by some of the dukes, be crowned emperor by the pope, and he would be a powerful contender for the throne. As for Bernard, he wouldn’t revolt from his father as things stand, it’s merely an eventuality, but it wouldn’t be the first time a father and his heir quarreled in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, it happened so often that there was almost a 50/50 chance for that. If Pepin does have another son, a legitimate one, revolt from Bernard would be almost granted, as Lothar and his brothers revolted against their father when Charles the Bald came in the picture.
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  14. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Decade of 820s

    820: Insurrection of the Vascons in the Spanish March. The conflict between Pepin and Pope Paschal I escalates; the Emperor nullifies any kind of civil power of the Pope outside the Vatican district. Bernard appoints a secular duke in Rome for ruling the city (excepting the Vatican) along with the rest of Lazio.

    821: Louis' army is defeated in Pamplona and the Kingdom of the Goths loses control over the Iberian Vasconia. In the Kingdom of the Avars, Pepin the Young struggles to keep the Bulgars out of the Illyricum.

    822: The Vikings cause troubles in Frisia and Flanders. Lothair claims the rule of the Duchy of Frisia, but Pepin does not agree. The tension between the Emperor and his nephew escalates, but an important uprising of the Thuringians obliges Lothair to seek peace with Pepin and begs his military assistance. The Thuringian uprising is finally crushed.

    823: Pepin travels to the Kingdom of the Goths and helps Louis with the Vascon crisis, but both fail to reconquer Pamplona. In retaliation, Pepin troops takes the tributary Muslim city of Calahorra and establishes a military garrison there in order to push the Vascons away from the upper Ebro valley. The Emirate of Cordoba sends an expedition in order to recover the control of the area, but is defeated in Arnedo.

    824: Second Thuringian Uprising: Pepin concedes the Thuringians their own duchy under his rule. The Emperor compensates Lothair with the cesion of part of Frisia.

    825: In Spain, Louis conquers Tudela, while in Avaria Pepin the Young loses Singidunum to the Bulgars. The Croats are granted a high degree of autonomy inside the Kingdom, in order to attract them for fighting the Bulgars in the Eastern borders.

    826: Saracen invasion of Byzantine Sicily. Pepin pushes Bernard for an anti-Saracen alliance with Benevento, but Bernard opts for marching up to Naples with the excuse of 'protecting the city'. After a Byzantine ultimatum, Bernard retreats, but gains the support of the citizens of Naples who feel helpless after the fall of Sicily.

    827: The Saracens of Zaragoza attacks the Gothic fief of Calahorra and forge and alliance with the Vascons. Pepin intervenes, but Calahorra is finally lost. The Goths then retreat to Huesca.

    828: Decisive attack of the Goths against the Saracens of Zaragoza in their northern border. The city of Lerida is besieged by the Gothic army and falls at the beginning of 829. In Avaria, an uprising in Bohemia is suffocated only after the intervention of neighbouring Bavaria, whose duke feared that this could extend to his dominions. Pepin the Young, extremely challenged by the Bulgar pressure, decides to withdraw his authority from many parts of his Kingdom, including Bohemia, Moravia and the Dalmatian coastland, driving the whole Kingdom of the Avars to the collapse.

    829: After a decisive Byzantine defeat by the Saracens, Bernard conquers Naples and Amalfi with almost no opposition. The Saracens conquers the Byzantine Lucania and gets into conflict with Benevento. In Saxony, Lothair succeeds in a campaign against the Polabians and takes Schwerin, isolating the Obodrites of Wegria from the main bulk of their dominion.
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  15. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Decade of 830s

    Large-scale intervention of Pepin's armies in Avaria in order to stop the Bulgars, which are finally defeated in Syrmium. The Emperor strips the title of Kingdom of the Avars and divides the former realm in five duchies: Bohemia, Moravia, Pannonia, Carinthia and Croatia. Louis, ill and injured, moves to the court of his brother Lothair in Hamburg, where he is invested vice-King in Frisia and Westphalia.

    831: Fearing a Saracen invasion, the Sardinian chiefs call Bernard for protection. Sardinia is legally incorporated as an Lombard duchy the following year.

    832: In Gothia, Pepin the Young advances into the lower Ebro valley, isolating the city of Tarragona from the lands under Saracen control. In Saxony, Lothair conquers Wegria and re-founds the city of Kiel.

    833: Following the example of Sardinia, the Goths incorporate the exposed Balearic Islands. The Saracens fail to reconquer the area of Lerida.

    834: Treaty of Syrmium: the Bulgars accept peace from Pepin and sets the river Tisza as common border between the Bulgar Empire and the Roman Empire. Then, the Bulgars start a long war against Byzantium in the South. Bernard secures a strip of land from Naples up to Lucania and offers protection to Benevento, but this is rejected.

    835: Death of Pepin in Aachen. Bernard is crowned Roman Emperor without Papal intervention, but with the assistance of the Archbishop of Milan. He decides to do not move to Aachen, so the 'de facto' capital of the Empire moves to Pavia; he merges the title of King of the Lombards with the Imperial title, so the Italian duchies are considered at the same level than the Imperial ones. Only Saxony and Gothia retain their royal status.

    836: Death of Louis in Westphalia. The Danes attack Nordalbingia and Wegria. The Saracens raid Huesca, but fail to reconquer it.

    837: After complete Byzantine withdrawal from the West, Bernard claims the last Byzantine territory in Italy, with Benevento remaining the last entity not controlled from Pavia.

    838: Tensions between Bernard and his cousin Lothair escalates after the Emperor refused to help his cousin in Jutland. The Vikings raid Frisia and Flanders again.

    839: With Imperial assistance, the Goths finally conquers the city of Tarragona, and the Saracens retreat from the lower Ebro valley.
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  16. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Map of Europe in 840


  17. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Decade of 840s

    840: The Danes and the Norse start a large-scale settlement in the Eastern coast of Great Britain. The Saxons fight hordes of them which travel through Frisia.

    841: Year of the Four Campaigns:
    - Emperor Bernard intervenes in Avaria against the hostilities of new Bulgarian Emperor Boris: alliance with the Byzantines against the Bulgars.
    - King Lothair of Saxony attacks the Danes in South Jutland, trying to halt them in their moves into Frisia.
    - King Louis launches a big expedition against the Saracens of Zaragoza.
    - Prince Bernard II campaigns in Benevento against a new Saracen invasion from Sicily.

    842: Slavic Uprising in Croatia and Moravia. Moravia is temporarily raided by the Bulgars.

    843: Death of Lothair while campaigning in South Jutland. His eldest son Louis inherits most of Saxony, while his underage son Lothair II inherits Frisia. Louis continues the fight against the Danes.

    844: Fall of Zaragoza. The Saracens start to evacuate the Ebro valley completely.

    845: The Sicilian Saracens destroy the Duchy of Benevento and besiege Naples. The Vikings raid Frisia and captures young King Lothair II.

    846: Louis the Saxon fails to rescue his brother, who eventually dies. The Danes of Britain takes control over Frisia, but Louis massacres a lot of them in South Jutland.
    The Sicilian Saracens fail to conquer Naples, but do not evacuate the other southern areas under his dominion.

    847: In Gothia, Louis grants the new duchy of Zaragoza to his eldest son Carloman, who starts a series of campaigns againts the hostile Iberian Basques.

    848: After seven years of hard fight, the Imperial forces under the command of Bernard and the Byzantine armies defeat the First Bulgan Empire. Boris is overthrown and then the weaker Second Empire is established west of the Carpathians and north of the Danube river. The Bulgarian nobility gradually embraces Christianism under the influence of the Church of Constantinople.

    849: Bernard pacifies Moravia and Croatia before returning to Pavia. Massive migration of Danes from Jutland up to Frisia and Britain; Jutland is gradually conquered by Saxony, but the Kingdom gets military and financially exhausted.
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  18. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Decade of 850s

    850: The Danes extend their dominions over all Frisia and defeat the Mercians in Britain. Bernard collaborates with Carloman of Zaragoza in his campaigns against the Iberian Basques with a new capture of villages north of Calahorra.

    851: Truce between Bernard II and the Sicilian Saracens. A stable border between the Empire and the Caliphate is established south of Naples.

    852: Bernard succeeds in expanding the duchy of (North) Vasconia into Navarre. Pamplona is besieged and burnt down at the end of the year.

    853: Formal division of Iberian Vasconia between the duchies of Vasconia and Zaragoza. A Gothic expedition against Guadalajara fails to reach its destination.

    854: Famine hits northern and central parts of the Empire. Bernard grants new lands to Saxon and Swabian communities in newly conquered eastern Pannonia (Transylvania).

    855: Death of Louis in Gothia. His son Carloman inherits the whole Kingdom and sets his court in Zaragoza. Slavic hordes raid Bohemia and Moravia; Bernard boosts Germanic migrations into the area, in order to increase local population.

    856: Increase of the warfare in Jutland between Saxons and Danes. The pressure of the Saxons split the Danish realms in two areas (Britain + Frisia vs. Danish Islands + Scania).

    857: Septimania rebels against Gothic dominion from Zaragoza. War between Byzantium and the Caliphate resumes in the East.

    858: Death of Emperor Bernard. His son Bernard II is crowned new Emperor. New duchies are created: Aquitania is split in two, the Saxons and Swabians in Pannonia get their own duchies and the Roman-Langobardic Dalmatians are separated from the Slavic duchy of Croatia.

    859: Wessex and Mercia remain as the only Anglo-Saxon entities in Britain not dominated by the Danes. The duke of Flanders repeal the advance of the Danes of Frisia.
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  19. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    Map of Europe in 860

  20. luis3007 History amateur

    Aug 6, 2007
    The Grey City, South America
    The Empire (is it called and/or recognized as the Western Roman Empire?) will live or die upon their successful integration of the Germanic population, otherwise it will be overrun by the Slavic and Magyar invasions.