Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine

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Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Lothar1 karel.jpg
Charles and his brother Lothair of France
Spouse(s) a daughter of Robert of Vermandois, Count of Meaux and Troyes
Adelaide, the daughter of a vassal of Hugh Capet
possibly Bonne, the daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Verdun
Noble family Carolingian
Father Louis IV of France
Mother Gerberga of Saxony
Born 953
Laon
Died 993
Orléans
Tomb of Charles in the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht
Lithograph printed in circa 1850 with the caption Founder of Brussels, ca 976

Charles (953–993) was the Duke of Lower Lorraine from 977 until his death.

Born at Reims in the summer of 953, Charles was the son of Louis IV of France and Gerberga of Saxony and the younger brother of King Lothair.[1] He was a sixth generation descendant of Charlemagne.[1][2] When his father was captured by the Normans and held, both his sons were demanded as ransom for his release.[3] Queen Gerberga would only send Charles, who was then handed over and his father was released into the custody of Hugh Capet.[3]

In or before 976, he accused Lothair's wife, Emma, daughter of Lothair II of Italy, of infidelity with Adalberon, Bishop of Laon.[4] The council of Sainte-Macre at Fismes (near Reims) exonerated the queen and the bishop, but Charles maintained his claim and was driven from the kingdom, finding refuge at the court of his cousin, Otto II. Otto promised to crown Charles as soon as Lothair was out of the way and Charles paid him homage, receiving back Lower Lorraine.[4]

In August 978, Lothair invaded Germany and captured the imperial capital of Aachen, but failed to capture either Otto or Charles. In October, Otto and Charles in turn invaded France, devastating the land around Rheims, Soissons, and Laon. In the latter city, the chief seat of the kings of France, Charles was crowned by Theodoric I, Bishop of Metz. Lothair fled to Paris and was there besieged. But a relief army of Hugh Capet's forced Otto and Charles to lift the siege on 30 November. Lothair and Capet, the tables turned once more, chased the German king and his liege back to Aachen and retook Laon.

As he had been a vassal also of Lothair, Charles' acts on behalf of Otto were considered treason and he was thereafter excluded from the throne. On Lothair's death (986), the magnates elected his son Louis V and on the latter's death (987), Hugh Capet. Thus, the House of Capet came to the throne over the disgraced and ignored Charles.[5] Charles' unexceptional marriage and his lack of wealth are two of the reasons he was denied the throne.[5] Charles made war on Hugh, even taking Rheims and Laon. However, on Maundy Thursday[6] (26 March) 991, he was captured, through the perfidy of the Bishop Adalberon, and was imprisoned by Hugh in Orléans, where he died a short while later, in or before 993.[7] He was succeeded as Duke of Lower Lorraine by his son Otto.[7]

In 1666, the sepulchre of Charles was discovered in the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht.[need quotation to verify] His body appears to have been interred there only in 1001, but that is not the date of his death, as some scholars assumed. Though Charles ruled Lower Lorraine, the Dukes of Lorraine (Upper Lotharingia) counted him as Charles I of Lorraine.

Family[edit]

In 970 Charles married Adelaide, whose parentage is unknown.[1] Together he and Adelaide had:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 1
  2. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band I (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1980), Tafel 2
  3. ^ a b The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 919–966, eds. & trans. Stephen Fanning; Bernard S. Bachrach (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004), p. 44
  4. ^ a b Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), p. 276
  5. ^ a b Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), p. 278
  6. ^ La cathédrale de Laon by madame Suzanne Martinet, page 80
  7. ^ a b Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), p. 279

Additional references[edit]

Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Born: 953 Died: 993
Preceded by
Richar
Duke of Lower Lorraine
977–993
Succeeded by
Otto