Louis' song: The Ludwigslied or Rithmus Teutonicus

The Ludwigslied or Rithmus Teutonicus (in French, " louis song Is a poem written in ancient High German by an anonymous, monk or layman of the court. It was undoubtedly composed during the lifetime of King Louis. This song of praise is transcribed in a manuscript of the 9th century of the monastery of Saint-Amand.

This abbey, founded in the 7th century by the monk Amand of Maastricht under the patronage of King Dagobert under the initial name of Elnon Abbey, was one of the main intellectual centers of the West from the reign of Charles the Bald until 10th century, with an important library and a scriptorium producing important manuscripts, such as the bible of Charles the Bald. Rediscovered in 1672 by Don Mabillon, the song is now kept in the municipal library of Valenciennes (Codex 150, f. 141v-143r), which preserves the archives of the former abbey. This poem is considered one of the oldest testimonies of the Germanic language.

Louis III

Louis III (865, † 882) reigned over West Francia alongside his younger brother Carloman II, from 879 to 882. Both are the sons that Louis II the Stutterer (843, † 879) had by his first wife, Ansgarde de Bourgogne, wife whom he had to repudiate, because he took her for wife, in secret, against the advice of his father Charles le Chauve (823, † 877). In second wedding, Louis II the Stammerer married Adélaïde, daughter of Count Adélard of Paris, who gives him a posthumous son Charles, known as Charles the Simple. When Louis le Bègue died, these two marriages caused trouble. Some of the adults, not recognizing the first marriage, offered the crown of West Francia to Louis the Younger, son of Louis the German. Ansgarde succeeds, however, in having the repudiation of which she was the object annulled; she attacks Adelaide's marriage, going so far as to accuse her of adultery and thus manages to carry her two sons to the throne of West Francia. They were sacred in September 879 in the abbey church of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul de Ferrières-en-Gâtinais by the archbishop of Sens. Louis, aged 15, receives Neustria and Carloman, aged 13, Aquitaine, Septimanie and Western Burgundy

The eastern part of the Empire is in the hands of the descendants of Louis the Germanic (806, † 876), Louis III the Younger and Charles the Fat. In the south of the kingdom, Boson, brother-in-law of Charles the Bald, has been king of Provence since 879. This prince intrigued to become king of Italy and receive the title of emperor. But without success. In 879, a few months after the coronation of Louis and Carloman, he gathered in Mantaille near Vienna six metropolitan and seven bishops who proclaimed him king. It is the first usurpation of this type, which violates the rights of the Carolingians.

Princes Louis and Carloman are young, but they are energetic young men. Unfortunately, their reigns are short-lived. Louis died in 882, following a horse accident. While chasing a young girl on horseback, he walks into the house where she had taken refuge, hits her shoulders and chest as he walks through the door. He died of his injuries a few days later in Saint-Denis. His brother Carloman succeeded him, but he died in his turn in 884 from a wild boar hunting accident. Charles, posthumous son of Louis le Bègue, being only five years old, the great of the kingdom of West Francia appealed to Charles the Fat to ensure the regency of the kingdom.

The battle of Saucourt-en-Vimeu (August 3, 881)

In the summer of 879, a large Viking army, driven out of Wessex by King Alfred the Great († 899), landed near Calais. It operates in the Somme valley and in the Scheldt valley. The region between the two rivers is devastated and plundered: Thérouanne, Arras, Cambrai, Saint-Omer, the abbeys of Saint-Bertin, Saint-Valery, Saint-Amand, Saint-Riquier are attacked.

Palace of Versailles. "Src =" / images / articles / dossiers / Vikings / Dassy-Invasions_normandes.jpg "alt =" Dassy-Norman Invasions "width =" 400 "height =" 261 "/> As he besieges Boson in his kingdom, in the company of his brother Carloman and his uncle Charles the Fat, Louis decides to bring his army to meet this Viking army. The annals of Saint-Vaast tell us about this battle. Louis crosses the Oise with his troops and sends lookouts to reconnoitre the Vikings. The latter are on the way back; they turn back to return to their boats, heavily laden with booty. Louis is stationed on their route, not far from the villa of Sathulcurtis (Saucourt ), south of Abbeville, near the current town of Abbas. It was there that he surprised them. Pressed by the Frankish cavalry, the Vikings took refuge in the walls of the probably abandoned villa, pursued by the Franks, who massacre a large number of them. They are already delighted with their victory. ire; the Vikings then attempt an exit which takes the Franks by surprise. The king's army is rushed; some are already fleeing. Fortunately, Louis stops them; he harangues them vigorously and restores their audacity. The Franks turn against the Vikings, a large majority of whom are killed. It is a resounding victory for King Louis. Its impact is considerable especially since, for several years, the Carolingian power prefers to pay the Vikings to make them leave, to pay the danegeld, "the tax to the Danes", rather than to face them.

A tuff cross stood for a long time in the middle of a field, near the locality of Saucourt, until 1994, when this cross was damaged. Bought and restored by neighboring municipalities, it now stands at a nearby crossroads. This cross was said to have been erected to commemorate Louis' triumph.

Louis's song (translation from the site)

The Ludwigslied or Rithmus Teutonicus is a song of praise in honor of King Louis. It consists of stanzas of four lines and stanzas of six lines, rhyming two by two. It was undoubtedly recited in the form of a sung recitation, but the music, if it existed, has not reached us. In this song, the Vikings are referred to as pagan warriors. They are a punishment, sent by God, to punish the Franks who do not live as good Christians. Louis himself is faithful in his faith. God has been his guide since his childhood. Thanks to God and to the Saints, he wins the victory, saves the people from the peril which threatens him and thus triumphs over the trial which has been sent to him.

An epic poem from the second half of the 11th century or the first half of the 12th century, Gormont et Isembart, bases its plot on Louis' victory at Saucourt-en-Vimeu. In this song of gesture, the young French lord Isembart, persecuted by his uncle, King Louis, leaves for England where he joins the pagan King Gormont and adjures his faith. He encourages the latter to attack France; King Louis goes to meet them; after long fights where all the champions of the king of France fail against king Gormont, the king himself goes against the pagan and kills him, but he himself is mortally wounded and dies a few days later. Isembart, defeated, spreads out and dies in the shade of an olive tree.

“I know a sovereign, King Louis, faithful to the worship of God who rewards him with his faith.
“Still young, he lost his father. In this misfortune, God himself welcomed him and wanted to become his guide.
“He gave him fearless knights for his companions; he gave him a throne in the land of the Franks. May he enjoy it for many years!
“Louis shared the throne with Carloman, his brother, by a fair and loyal agreement.
“After this pact, God wanted to test him; he wanted to see if he would endure the pain.
“He allowed the pagan warriors to invade his states, the Franks to become their slaves.
“Some got lost at once, others were greatly tempted; whoever abstained from evil was overwhelmed with outrages.
“Each armed robber, enriched with plunder, took away a castle and thus became a noble.
“One lived on lies, the other on assassination, the other on defection; everyone gloried in it.
“The king was in turmoil, the kingdom in disorder; Christ being angry allowed these misfortunes.
“But God had mercy on us; he knew our distress, he ordered Louis to walk in all haste.
“O King Louis! help my people, because the Normans oppress them with harshness.
“Louis then answered: Lord, I will do it; death will not prevent me from following your commandments.
“According to the order of God he raised the banner, he marched through France to meet the Normans.
“He gave thanks to God, while waiting for his coming, he said: Lord, here we are waiting for you.
"Then the illustrious Louis cried out in a loud voice: Courage, warriors, companions of my fate!
“- God brought me here; but I must know if it is according to your wishes that I am going into battle.
"- I will expose myself to anything, as long as I save you. May they follow me all who are faithful to God!
“- This life is acquired for us as long as Christ grants it to us; our bodies are in his care, it is he who watches over us.
“- Whoever, serving God with zeal, comes out alive from this struggle, will have a reward from me; if he dies, they will be his children.
"He arms himself with these words with the shield and the lance, he flies on his steed to punish his enemies.
“It was not long to find the Normans. “Praise be to God! he cries, seeing those he is looking for.
“Riding valiantly, he sings the sacred hymn, and all sing together: Lord, have mercy on us!
“The hymn was sung, the fight began, blood bathed the faces of the Franks who played their weapons.
“The knights took revenge, but above all King Louis. Prompt and fearless, that was his custom.
“He hit one, he pierced the other; he watered his enemies with bitterness, and their souls escaped from their bodies.
“Blessed be the power of God! King Louis was victorious. Thanks be to all the saints! His was the victory.
“King Louis was happy; as he was quick, so also he was firm in the trial. Maintain him, O Lord, in all his majesty! "


• Pierre Riché, The Carolingians, a family that made Europe, Plural
• Schneider Jens, The Northmanni in West Francia in the 9th century. The song of Louis. Annales de Normandie, 53e year, n ° 4, 2003, p 291-315.
• Pierre Ripert, The shattered empire of Charlemagne, the time of swords, Editions Privat
• Christian Bonnet, Christine Descatoire, Les Carolingiens (741 - 987), Armand Colin
• Gormont and Isembart: Cycle of rebellious barons, Nathalie Desgrugillers-Billard, Paléo
•, site for translations of classical texts, from which the translation of Louis' song came.

Video: André Heller - Wiener Lied 1974 (December 2021).