Charles the Fat, also known as Charles III, was the Carolingian Emperor from 881 to 888. The youngest son of Louis the German and Hemma, Charles was a great-grandson of Charlemagne and was the last Carolingian to rule over the briefly re-united empire.
Over his lifetime, Charles became ruler of the various kingdoms of Charlemagne's former Empire. Granted lordship over Alamannia in 876, following the division of East Francia, he succeeded to the Italian throne upon the abdication of his older brother Carloman of Bavaria who had been incapacitated by a stroke. Crowned Emperor in 881 by Pope John VIII, his succession to the territories of his brother Louis the Younger (Saxony and Bavaria) the following year reunited the kingdom of East Francia. Upon the death of his cousin Carloman II in 884, he inherited all of West Francia, thus reuniting the entire Carolingian Empire.
Usually considered lethargic and inept - he is known to have had repeated illnesses and is believed to have suffered from epilepsy - he twice purchased peace with Viking raiders, including the infamous Siege of Paris (885–886) which led to his downfall.
The reunited Empire would not last. During a coup led by his nephew Arnulf of Carinthia in November 887, Charles was deposed in East Francia, Lotharingia, and Kingdom of Italy. Forced into quiet retirement he died of natural causes in January 888, just a few weeks after his deposition. The Empire quickly fell apart after his death, splintering into five separate successor kingdoms, not to be restored again until the conquests of Napoleon I.
|Reigned as||In Country||From||To||Coins Issued|
|King Charles the Fat, Holy Roman Emperor||Italy, Kingdom of (Holy Roman Empire)||879||26 December 887|
|Emperor Charles III the Fat, King of the Franks||Holy Roman Empire||12 February 881||13 January 888|
|King Charles the Fat, Holy Roman Emperor||East Francia||20 January 882||17 November 887|
|King Charles the Fat, Holy Roman Emperor||West Francia||20 May 885||13 January 888|