ARNULF (c.850-899), Roman emperor, illegitimate son of Carloman, king of Bavaria and Italy, was made margrave of Carinthia about 876, and on his father's death in 880 his dignity and possessions were confirmed by the new king of the east Franks, Louis III. The failure of legitimate male issue of the later Carolingians gave Arnulf a more important position than otherwise he would have occupied; but he did homage to the emperor Charles the Fat in 882, and spent the next few years in constant warfare with the Slavs and the Northmen. In 887, however, Arnulf identified himself with the disgust felt by the Bavarians and others at the incapacity of Charles the Fat. Gathering a large army, he marched to Tribur; Charles abdicated and the Germans recognized Arnulf as their king, a proceeding which L. von Ranke describes as "the first independent action of the German secular world." Arnulf's real authority did not extend far beyond the confines of Bavaria, and he contented himself with a nominal recognition of his supremacy by the kings who sprang up in various parts of the Empire. Having made peace with the Moravians, he gained a great and splendid victory over the Northmen near Louvain in October 891, and in spite of some opposition succeeded in establishing his illegitimate son, Zwentibold, as king of the district afterwards called Lorraine. Invited by Pope Formosus to deliver him from the power of Guido III., duke of Spoleto, who had been crowned emperor, Arnulf went to Italy in 894, but after storming Bergamo and receiving the homage of some of the nobles at Pavia, he was compelled by desertions from his army to return. The restoration of peace with the Moravians and the death of Guido prepared the way for a more successful expedition in 895 when Rome was stormed by his troops; and Arnulf was crowned emperor by Formosus in February 896. He then set out to establish his authority in Spoleto, but on the way was seized with paralysis. He returned to Bavaria, where he died on the 8th of December 899, and was buried at Regensburg. He left, by his wife Ota, a son Louis surnamed the Child. Arnulf possessed the qualities of a soldier, and was a loyal supporter of the church.
See "Annales Fuldenses" in the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Scriptores, Band i. (Hanover and Berlin, 1826); E. Dümmler, Geschichte des ostfränkischen Reichs (Leipzig, 1887-1888); M.J.L. de Gagern, Arnulfi imperatoris vita (Bonn, 1837); E. Dümmler, De Arnulfo Francorum rege (Berlin, 1852); W.B. Wenck, Die Erhebung Arnulfs und der Zerfall des karolingischen Reiches (Leipzig, 1852); O. Dietrich, Beitrâge zur Geschichte Arnolfs von Karnthen und Ludwigs des Kindes (Berlin, 1890); E. Mühlbacher, Die Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern (Innsbruck, 1881).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)