Strasbourg, Oath of

Strasbourg, Oath of
   An agreement between Charles the Bald and Louis the German, the Oath of Strasbourg solidified an alliance between the two kings during the civil wars following the death of Louis the Pious. Subscribed to by the two kings and their followers, the oath marked an important turning point in the struggles with the emperor Lothar. The oath, preserved by the historian Nithard, is also an important linguistic milestone because it was pronounced and recorded in early versions of the Romance and Germanic languages.
   Following their victory over their brother Lothar at the Battle of Fontenoy in 841, Charles the Bald and Louis the German met to forge a pact confirming their continued cooperation because Lothar refused to accept peace after his defeat. They met at the city of Strasbourg on February 12, 842, to exchange oaths of loyalty and mutual assistance, declaring also that if they should violate the oath, their followers were released from their oaths to the kings. Louis, as the elder brother, spoke first in Romance, the language of Charles's followers, and swore to aid his brother and treat him as one should his brother on the condition that Charles treat him in the same way. Charles in turn, speaking in the Germanic language (lingua teudisca) of his brother's soldiers, made the same oath, and each brother swore not to enter into any agreement with Lothar that might harm the other's interests. The followers of the two kings then swore in their own languages that they would not give any aid to their king if the king violated the oath. The Oath of Strasbourg thus confirmed the pact of friendship and cooperation between Charles and Louis and enabled them to bring Lothar to a settlement in the Treaty of Verdun in 843.
   See also
 ♦ Dutton, Paul Edward. Carolingian Civilization: A Reader. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 1993.
 ♦ McKitterick, Rosamond. The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751-987. London: Longman, 1983.
 ♦ Nelson, Janet. Charles the Bald. London: Longman, 1992.
 ♦ Riché, Pierre. The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe. Trans Michael Idomir Allen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.
 ♦ Scholz, Bernhard Walter, trans. Carolingian Chronicles: Royal Frankish Annals and Nithard's History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972.

Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe. 2014.

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