Charles the Younger

Charles the Younger of Charles of Ingelheim (c. 772 – 4 December 811) was a member of the Carolingian dynasty, the second son of Charlemagne and the first by his second wife, Hildegard of Swabia[1] and brother of Louis the Pious and Pepin Carloman. When Charlemagne divided his empire among his sons, his son Charles was designated King of the Franks.


His eldest half brother, Pippin the Hunchback, had been sent to the monastery of Prüm in 792 after having been involved in a rebellion against their father, Charlemagne.[2] Of his younger brothers, Carloman (renamed Pippin) and Louis the Pious, were appointed sub-kings of Italy and Aquitaine.[3] Instead, he has been given Duke of Ingelheim.

Charles was mostly preoccupied with the Bretons, whose border he shared and who rebelled on at least two occasions and were easily put down, but he was also sent against the Saxons on multiple occasions. Charles' father outlived him, however, and the entire kingdom thus went to his younger brother Louis the Pious, Pippin also having died.

Around 789, it was suggested by Charlemagne that Charles the Younger should be married to Offa's daughter Ælfflæd. Offa insisted that the marriage could only go ahead if Charlemagne's daughter Bertha was married to Offa's son Ecgfrith. Charlemagne took offence, broke off contact, and closed his ports to English traders.[4] Eventually, normal relations were reestablished and the ports were reopened. Just a few years later, in 796, Charlemagne and Offa concluded the first commercial treaty known in English history.

His father associated Charles in the government of Francia and Saxony, Neustria in 790, and installed him as ruler of the ducatus Cenomannicus (corresponding to the later Duchy of Maine).[5] Charles was crowned King of the Franks at Rome December 25, 800, the same day his father was crowned Emperor.

He killed Sorbian duke Miliduch and Slavic Knez, Nussito (Nessyta) near modern-day Weißenfels in a Frankish campaign in 806.[6]

On 4 December 811, in Bavaria, Charles had a stroke and died. He left no children. In the Matter of France, Charles is fictionalized as Charlot.


  1. Himiltrude, by whom Charlemagne had a son, Pepin the Hunchback, was a concubine or common law wife. See Riche, Pierre, The Carolingians, p.86 ("Although he already had a son by his concubine, Himiltrude..."); Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, p.61: "he made the first of those confusing sexual relationships which was something more than concubinage, less than marriage...the Franks called it friedelehe, and it could perhaps be compared with the English system of common-law wife or husband..."
  2. Roger Collins (1998). Charlemagne. University of Toronto Press. pp. 125–. ISBN 978-0-8020-8218-3.
  3. Matthias Becher (2003). Charlemagne. Yale University Press. pp. 127–. ISBN 978-0-300-10758-6.
  4. Natalie Fryde; Dirk Reitz (2009). Walls, Ramparts, and Lines of Demarcation: Selected Studies from Antiquity to Modern Times. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-3-8258-9478-8.
  5. "Counts of Maine". Retrieved 2006-11-04.
  6. Vickers, Robert H. (1894). History of Bohemia. Chicago: C. H. Sergel Company. p. 48.
Charles the Younger
Cadet branch of the 772
Born: April 773 Died: 4 December 811
Regnal titles
Preceded by
as sole king
King of the Franks
with Charlemagne (800–811)
Succeeded by
as sole king
Preceded by
Dukes of Maine
Succeeded by
Louis the German
Preceded by
Ruler of Bohemian
Succeeded by
Louis the Pious
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