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The stem Duchy of Bavaria

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The stem duchy of Bavaria (6th century - 907)

The history of Bavaria stretches from its earliest settlement and its formation as a stem duchy in the 6th century through its inclusion in the Holy Roman Empires to its status as an independent kingdom and, finally, as a large and significant Bundesland (state) of the modern Federal Republic of Germany.

Older stem duchy (Bavaria and the Agilolfings under Frankish overlordship)

The origins of the older Bavarian duchy can be traced to the year 551/555. In his Getica the chronicler Jordanes writes: "That area of the Swabians has the Bavarii in the east, the Franks in the west ..." Until the end of the first duchy all rulers descended from the family of the Agilolfings. The Bavarians then colonised the area from the March of the Nordgau along the Naab river (the later Upper Palatinate) up to the Enns in the east and southward across the Brenner Pass to the Upper Adige in present-day South Tyrol. The first documented duke was Garibald, a scion of the Frankish Agilolfings, who ruled from 555 onwards as largely independent Merovingian vassals.

On the eastern border changes occurred with the departure of the East Germanic Lombard tribes from the Pannonian basin to northern Italy (568) and the succession of the Avars, as well as with the settlement of West Slavic Czechs on the adjacent territory beyond the Bohemian Forest at about the same time. Around 743 the Bavarian duke Odilo vassalised the Slavic princes of Carantania (roughly corresponding with the later March of Carinthia), who had asked him for protection against the invading Avars. The residence of the largely independent Agilolfing dukes was then Regensburg, the former Roman Castra Regina, on the Danube river.

During Christianization, Bishop Corbinian laid the foundations for the later Diocese of Freising before 724; Saint Kilian in the 7th century had been a missionary of the Franconian territory in the north, then ruled by the Dukes of Thuringia, where Boniface founded the Diocese of Würzburg in 742. In the adjacent Alamannic (Swabian) lands west of the Lech river, Augsburg was a bishop's seat. When Boniface established the Diocese of Passau in 739, he could already build on local Early Christian traditions. In the south, Saint Rupert had founded in 696 the Diocese of Salzburg, probably after he had baptized Duke Theodo of Bavaria at his court in Regensburg, becoming the "Apostle of Bavaria". In 798 Pope Leo III created the Bavarian ecclesiastical province with Salzburg as metropolitan seat and Regensburg, Passau, Freising and Säben (later Brixen) as suffragan dioceses.

With the rise of the Frankish Empire under the Carolingian dynasty, the autonomy of the Bavarian dukes under the Merovingians was terminated: In 716 the Carolingians had incorporated the Franconian lands in the north formerly held by the Dukes of Thuringia, whereby the bishops of Würzburg gained a dominant position. In the west, the Carolingian mayor of the palace Carloman had suppressed the last Alamannic revolt at the 746 Blood court at Cannstatt. The last tribal stem duchy to be incorporated was Bavaria in 788, after Duke Tassilo III had tried in vain to maintain his independence through an alliance with the Lombards. The conquest of the Lombard Kingdom by Charlemagne entailed the fall of Tassilo, who was deposed in 788. Bavaria was then administrated by Frankish prefects.

Younger stem duchy (The Duchy during the Carolingian period)

In his 817 Ordinatio Imperii, Charlemagne's son and successor Emperor Louis the Pious tried to maintain the unity of the Carolingian Empire: while imperial authority upon his death was to pass to his eldest son Lothair I, the younger brothers were to receive subordinate realms. From 825 Louis the German styled himself "King of Bavaria" in the territory that was to become the centre of his power. When the brothers divided the Empire by the 843 Treaty of Verdun, Bavaria became part of East Francia under King Louis the German, who upon his death bequested the Bavarian royal title to his eldest son Carloman in 876. Carloman's natural son Arnulf of Carinthia, raised in the former Carantanian lands, secured possession of the March of Carinthia upon his father's death in 880 and became King of East Francia in 887. Carinthia and Bavaria were the bases of his power, with Regensburg as the seat of his government.

Due mainly to the support of the Bavarians, Arnulf could take the field against Charles in 887 and secure his own election as German king in the following year. In 899 Bavaria passed to Louis the Child, during whose reign continuous Hungarian ravages occurred. Resistance to these inroads became gradually feebler, and tradition has it that on 5 July 907 almost the whole of the Bavarian tribe perished in the Battle of Pressburg against these formidable enemies.

During the reign of Louis the Child, Luitpold, Count of Scheyern, who possessed large Bavarian domains, ruled the Mark of Carinthia, created on the southeastern frontier for the defence of Bavaria. He died in the great battle of 907, but his son Arnulf, surnamed the Bad, rallied the remnants of the tribe in alliance with the Hungarians and became duke of the Bavarians in 911, uniting Bavaria and Carinthia under his rule. The German king Conrad I unsuccessfully attacked Arnulf when the latter refused to acknowledge his royal supremacy. History of Bavaria

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I created this page by pasting the contents from the old category page "Bavaria".