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An oath sworn by Louis the German and Charles the Bald in 842. It is mostly known for being the oldest document in Old French (Romance) and maybe also in Old German, but it also has a great historical value, since it can be considered as the origin of France and Germany.

Louis, Charles and Lothair were the children of Louis the Pious. Lious the Pious had inherited Charlemagne's empire which covered most of modern France, most of modern Germany and everything in between. There was no difference between France and Germany then. After Louis the Pious died in 840 (and even before), his sons quarrelled and Lothair's supremacy was challenged by Louis the German and Charles the Bald. The oath of Strasbourg between Louis and Charles was followed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, where the empire was split into three parts. The western part, ruled by Charles, became France, and the eastern part, ruled by Louis, became Germany. The middle part was later fragmented into many countries, from the Low Countries to Italy.

The usage of languages in the document underlines this first appearance of France and Germany in history. Louis the German swore in French in order to be understood by Charles' soldiers, who answered in French. Charles swore in German in order to be understood by Louis' soldiers, who answered in German.

English translation of Louis' oath:

For the love of God and Christendom, and for our common safety, from this day forth, as much as God shall give me knowledge and power, I will protect my brother Charles, here present, and will aid him in everything, as a man in justice has to protect his brother, in which he would do the same for me; and I will make with Lothaire no compact, which of my own free will can injure my brother Charles, here present.

Louis' oath in Old French (Romance):

Pro Deo amur et pro christian poblo et nostro comun salvament, d'ist di in avant, in quant Deus savir et podir me dunat, si salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo, et in adjudha et in cadhuna cosa si cum om per dreit son fradra salvar dift, in o quid il mi altresi fazet; et ab Ludher nul plaid nunquam prindrai qui meon vol cist meon fradre Karlo in damno sit.

(In case you are wondering, this text looks more like Latin than French to me. Almost every word has changed in the language since that time, and grammar also is very different.)

Charles' oath in Old German:

In Godes minna ind in thes Christianes folches ind unser bedhero gealtnissi, fon thesemo dago frammordes, so fram so mir Got gewizci indi madh furgibit, so hald ih tesan minan bruodher, soso man mit rehtu sinan bruodher scal, in thiu thaz er mig so sama duo, indi mit Lutheren in noheiniu thing ne gegango, zhe mioan willan imo ve scadhen werhen.

I found the texts at http://www.orbilat.com/Gallo-Romance/French/Texts/Period_02/0842-Le_Serment_de_Strasbourg.htm.

Although the Romance text may resemble Latin more than French to a modern eye, I have taken the liberty of writing a hypothetical Latin version, which follows. Compared to the Latin version, the Romance version is much more analytic than synthetic, although it is still more synthetic than either Old French or Modern French. Note that the Western Romance phonetic changes have occured, but that the vowels have not yet taken on their characteristic French forms.

Amore Dei et salute communi populi christiani nostrique, posthac, dum Deo scientiam potestatemque mihi det, defendam Carolum fratrem meum hic praesentem, in omnibus eum adjuvabo, quia homo in iure fratrem suum defendere debit, in quibus is mihi eundem faciet; et nullam compactem cum Clothachar faciam, quae voluntate libera mea fratrem meum Carolum hic praesentem noceat.

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