Louis I (“the pious,” also “the Weakhearted”)

See also Louis the Pious

Frankish emperor from 814. King of Aquitaine in 781 and co-emperor in 813, Louis was the youngest and the sole surviving son of Charles the Great. In 817 he divided his empire among his three sons, Lothair, Pepin, and Louis. His later attempt to include a fourth son born in his second marriage (819) was thwarted by the other sons. Louis was greatly interested in missions and monastic reform. He wanted mission work to proceed apart from territorial conquest, and as a result he stimulated the creation of a large Scandinavian mission. Anskar* was his chief missionary. For leadership in monastic reform he turned to Benedict of Aniane.* In 815 Louis built a model abbey (Inden) for him near Aachen. In 816, 817, and 818 he gathered all the abbots of the empire to Aachen for meetings with Benedict. The council in 817 endorsed a set of interpretations of monastic rule, but this uniformity and reform were soon shattered by Scandinavian raiders. Louis’s reform scheme was too advanced for his age; Benedict’s early death left the abbeys without a visible leader.