In 837, Louis the Pious was becoming more devoted to Charles the Bald, his son by his second wife. He made Charles king of Alemannia and Burgundy, including a portion of the land that had been given to Louis the German, Louis' youngest son by his first wife. Louis the German (understandably) objected, invaded Alemannia (for the second time: he had invaded Alemannia as his part of the 2nd civil war). In 838, Pepin died, and Charles was named King of Aquitaine. Unfortunately, the nobles of Aquitaine decided to name Pepin's son, Pepin II, their new king. Lothair actually sided with his father this time; their combined forces quickly deposed Pepin II, forced Louis the German to retreat quickly (but gave him Bavaria), and then granted the whole eastern part of the Empire to Lothair, including Italy.
This was merely a prequel to the free-for-all in 840, when Louis the Pious died.
Pepin was gone, but there were still three (half-) brothers capable of alliance or discord, whichever suited their goals.* Louis the German, with little land, allied himself with the now-more-powerful ruler of the western half of the empire, Charles, and they attacked Lothair. While they marched their armies eastward, Pepin II reared his head again and claimed kingship of the now-deserted Aquitaine, offering his support to Lothair. A decisive battle was fought in June 841, in which Charles and Louis forced Lothair to flee.
|Division after the Treaty of Verdun [link]|
Events were not in Bernard's control, however. The Treaty of Verdun in 843 made an arrangement between the three brothers—Lothair, Louis the German, and Charles the Bald—to divide the empire. Pepin continued to make trouble in Aquitaine for many years. Bernard was captured a year later near Uzés in the south, where he had sent his wife years earlier when he became more involved in politics, and brought before Charles where his execution was arranged. A sad end for a man on the fringe of great events; if only he had been the recipient of good advice. For that, he would have had to spend more time with his wife; more on that tomorrow.
*Historians consider this the same war that began in 837-8.
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