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On Maundy Thursday 817, a wooden gallery connecting cathedral and palace in Aachen collapsed. Many perished but Roman Emperor and Frankish king Louis was lucky enough to survive. Nevertheless, the near-death experience left him with a deep urge to settle the issue of succession. His eldest son Lothair was crowned co-emperor and was destined to inherit a lion's share of the great empire built by Charlemagne, Louis' father. However, Lothair had numerous brothers - and Louis made sure they wouldn't be left empty-handed. They were supposed to rule over their own realms as subordinate kings with Lothair as their Emperor, effectively keeping the Empire divided but intact. Needless to say, Louis forgot that one can't have his cake and eat it too. Elevating Lothair over others made them jealous and inherited lands gave them means to launch successful revolts against him. It took only 3 years from Louis' death in 840 to reshape this status quo - and to lay foundations for disputes that lasted well into the 20th century. Military defeats at the hands of his brothers, Louis and Charles, forced Lothair to sit down at the negotiation table. The result was the Treaty of Verdun, a distant ancestor of modern international treaties as well as first written source of Proto-French and Proto-German languages. The Treaty divided the Empire into three parts. Charles received all lands west of the Rh?ne, which was called West Francia, and which later developed into France. Louis received all lands to the east of the Rhine and to the north and east of Italy, which was called East Francia, and which later formed the German core of Holy Roman Empire. Lothair retained his Emperorship and received the middle portion of the Empire, called Middle Francia, an unviable rump state cut apart by Alps.