Alternate divisions of alternate divisions of the Frankish Imperium

OTL the Carolingian realm was divided into 3 then Middle Francia itself divided. The resultant toing and froing lead to the Kingdom of France (West Francia) and the Holy Roman Empire (containing Arelat, Italy, and East-Francia/Germany).
What plausible ATL divisions and subsequent divisions and unions can you think of?
 
Basically any duchies/sub-kingdoms of Late Merovigian or Early Carolingian period : Aquitaine and Bavaria were originally planned as sub-kingdoms by Louis I for his sons, and Italy by Charlemagne for his own. You could see a revival of Burgundy on old Merovingian lines (not the semi-Carolingian kingdoms of Burgundy) and other course the more or less opportunistic "border kingdoms" such as Lotharingia, semi-Carolingian Burgundies, or even variations on Saxony.
We're less talking of building kingdoms over already existing lines, than using these entities as a starting point (after all, WFrancia, MFrancia or EFrancia weren't built on pre-existing kingships) : we could be talking of an Italy that would reach Danube, or a WFrancia that would be deprived of Aquitaine but include a good part of Burgundy.

Note, however, that the IOTL division was guided by two/three principles : giving each pretender his share of Carolingian palatii, and unifying them around their own aristocracy (it's quite obvious with the name of West and Midlle Francian populations : Carlenses and Lotharenses) which tended to be fairly regionalized. So you can't be totally wild how to divide the realm, such as splitting Neustria and half and putting it with a third of Frisia.
A third principle, altough not that well respected, was to give each pretender enough fiscus to redistribute to their supporters and ensure their own maintenance So, a kingdom that would be too vulnerable and not prosperous enough would probably be not considered...At first. Then with the passing of the first generation, it would be another story.
 
Perhaps geographically, a rather land-balanced state of Northern-expanded Italy and a south-depleted state of France and Germania?
 
Perhaps geographically, a rather land-balanced state of Northern-expanded Italy and a south-depleted state of France and Germania?
That's actually close enough of the planned division of Francia by Charlemagne in 806, IOTL.
806.jpg
 
Who would be emperor in this scenario?
Nobody : at this point the imperium was mostly just another pearl to the crown of Charlemagne, which enabled him to challenge the dominance over Christians and to legitimize his religious interventionism : it's, among other reasons, why the imperial title ("August Emperor ruling over the Roman Empire") wasn't particularily stressed and why the title of "Kings of Franks and Lombards" remained in large use.
It wasn't before Louis that the imperial title was really pointed out, due to a neo-classical take on clerical and political culture. Maybe it would be claimed eventually in a TL where 806 division is enacted but it wasn't planned this way.
 
And the imperial title was mostly associated with holding the Crown of Italy/Lombardy anyway.
I'm not sure it was really the case at this point : I'm under the impression there's a distinct lack of imperial ambition or undertones to Lombard kingship before Frankish conquest. Not that the imperial claim wasn't heavily tied to Rome and Papacy, making control if Italy indispensable in facts, but it wasn't tied yet to Italian kingship as it became in the Late Carolingian period.
 
I'm not sure it was really the case at this point : I'm under the impression there's a distinct lack of imperial ambition or undertones to Lombard kingship before Frankish conquest. Not that the imperial claim wasn't heavily tied to Rome and Papacy, making control if Italy indispensable in facts, but it wasn't tied yet to Italian kingship as it became in the Late Carolingian period.
That's why I used "associated". I can't think of a single Emperor who wasn't King of Italy first.
 
That's why I used "associated". I can't think of a single Emperor who wasn't King of Italy first.
The problem being that until the second half of the IXth century, royal titles were non-descript : one wasn't king of WFrancia or Italy, but king of the Franks. As such Charles II wasn't king of Italy, but king in Italy and not even completely so, because the title was open for any Carolingian king, which was no longer the case later in the century.
The need to reach Rome, even briefly, to be acknowledged as emperor by the pope (and eventually other rulers) isn't the same than being associated with Italian kingship (even if the latter partly comes from the first, with the difference Papacy was a lot more proactive into electing Italian kings) : Louis II was barely acknowledged as "Emperor of Italy" because being king in Italy wasn't seen as enough for claiming the title (and even Louis II had to enforce his claim by great lengths, being active in southern Italy).

While Charlemagne didn't intended to transmit the imperial title, it's still telling that the planned Frankish kingdom of Charles was probably supposed to have a dominance over Aquitaine and Italy.

It's conceivable that a pretender for imperium could content himself with campaigning in Italy, be acknowledged by the pope, and still using only the title of King of Franks, and not really controlling Italy on the long run, at least in a period of transition as it happened with Charles II. It wouldn't last, but as we're talking of early and different splits there...
I agree the difference is meager, a more arbitrary than really conceptualized, but it does exist and is enough to provide some tweak to the association between Italian and imperial kingship in the Xth century.
 
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What does that mean? Distribution of titles and land?
Historically the sons of Louis were supported by aristocratic families which were already regionalized, but not necessarily included in their initial sub-kingdoms. It was necessary to award and to compensate these, in order to prevent one king to have supporters in his brither's kingdom.
Remember that distributing land associated with titles was a Carolingian practice since the VIIIth, the Carolingian feudality, in order to appease and clientelise Frankish aristocracy : by the IXth, they were powerful and asked for more especially as nobody wanted to die for the imperial pretentions or opposition if they could avoid this.
 
Historically the sons of Louis were supported by aristocratic families which were already regionalized, but not necessarily included in their initial sub-kingdoms. It was necessary to award and to compensate these, in order to prevent one king to have supporters in his brither's kingdom.
Remember that distributing land associated with titles was a Carolingian practice since the VIIIth, the Carolingian feudality, in order to appease and clientelise Frankish aristocracy : by the IXth, they were powerful and asked for more especially as nobody wanted to die for the imperial pretentions or opposition if they could avoid this.
Did this not happen in Merovingian times?
 
Only major division I can think of is the Stem Duchies of East Francia becoming their own independent kingdoms rather than remaining parts of the successor Kingdom of Germany.
 
Did this not happen in Merovingian times?
Mostly in the latter period and it was importantly related to Carolingian power-building.
Until the VIIIth century, there wasn't yet a fusion between titles, political power and landed benefices : they were increasingly associated especially on the periphery (Bavaria, Thuringia, etc.) were royal authority was more on a personal and remote level,but while giving in tenancy (due to the partial demonetarisation of economy) part of the royal fiscus to the militia in exchange for their service allowed them to take power from themselves instead of royal favour (which was really facilitated by the successive minority crises, allowing aristocratic and court shifts) you still had a distinction between honores and beneficii.
It changed with Peppinid/Arnulfids/Carolingians, which thanks to their redistributive role (as majordomii) could support their own clientele and oust opponents, needing to really boost their legitimacy and authority as a power-grabbing aristocratic family among other aristocratic families (where Merovingians had a special status).

It's not rare to see a Frankish (or associated, such as a Saxon or an Alaman) noble being trusted with functions and given land revenues in the other part of the realm, then being replaced by someone else, unrelated. Not that, again, you didn't have a growing confusion by the VIIth century, as well a broad regionalisation, but it was more contingential than an actual management policy.
This key difference might be one of the reasons why Merovingian Francia managed to last three centuries making do as things went, and why Carolingian Francia barely survived four generations, counting from Peppin II.

(Note that it was not a political absurdity for Carolingians, the Barbarian state inherited from Rome wasn't as functional it used to be, they saw an opportunity to overtake power and used means at their disposal to do just that. And they systematized a first form of what was eventually called feudality.)
 
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OTL the Carolingian realm was divided into 3 then Middle Francia itself divided. The resultant toing and froing lead to the Kingdom of France (West Francia) and the Holy Roman Empire (containing Arelat, Italy, and East-Francia/Germany).
What plausible ATL divisions and subsequent divisions and unions can you think of?
What if a Frankisch division results in an warly independent kingdom in Italy ?
 
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