John I of France

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John the Posthumous
John I of France.jpg
Tomb Effigy of John the Posthumous
King of France and Navarre
Reign 15–20 November 1316
Predecessor Louis the Quarreler
Successor Philip the Tall
House House of Capet
Father Louis X of France
Mother Clemence of Hungary
Born (1316-11-15)15 November 1316
Paris, France
Died 20 November 1316 (aged 5 days)
Paris, France
Burial Saint Denis Basilica

John I (15–20 November 1316), called the Posthumous, was a Capetian King of France and Navarre, and Count of Champagne, as the posthumous son and successor of Louis the Quarreler, for the five days he lived. He thus had the shortest undisputed recognized reign of any French king.[1] The son of Louis the Quarreler and Clementia of Hungary, sister of Charles I of Hungary, he is the only person to be King of France since birth, and thus, the youngest King of France and the only person to have been King of France during his entire lifetime.

John reigned for five days under the regency of his uncle Philip the Tall, until his death on 20 November 1316. The infant King was buried in Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded by Philip, whose contested legitimacy led to the re-affirmation of the Salic law, which excluded women from the line of succession to the French throne.

Consequences[edit]

Funerary convoy of John I.

Child mortality rate was very high in medieval Europe and John may have died from any number of causes, but rumours of poisoning spread immediately after his death, as many people benefited from it and as John's father died himself in strange circumstances. The cause of his death is still not known today.[2]

The premature death of John brought the first issue of succession of the Capetian dynasty. When Louis the Headstrong, his father, died without a son to succeed him, it was the first time since Hugh Capet that the succession from father to son of the kings of France was interrupted. It was then decided to wait until his pregnant widow, Clementia of Hungary, delivered the child. The king's brother, Philip the Tall, was in charge of the regency of the kingdom against his uncle Charles of Valois. The birth of a male child was expected to give France its king. The problem of succession remained when the infant that was proclaimed King of France, under the name of John I, died five days after birth. It was his uncle who ascended the throne at the expense of his four-year-old half-sister, Joan, daughter of Louis X and Margaret of Burgundy.

Supposed survival[edit]

Various legends circulated about this royal child. First, it was claimed that his uncle Philip the Tall had him poisoned. Then a strange story a few decades later came to start the rumor that the little King John was not dead. During the captivity of John the Good (1356-1360), a man named Giannino Baglioni claimed to be John I and thus the heir to the throne. He tried to assert his rights, but captured in Provence, he died in captivity in 1363. A recent book provides an update on this story. It is said that Cola di Rienzo was supposed to manufacture false evidence that Giannino Baglioni was John the Posthumous, and who tried to place on the throne of France to strengthen his power in Rome. Shortly after they met in 1354, Cola di Rienzo was assassinated, and Giannino waited two years to report his claims. He went to the Hungarian court where Louis I of Hungary, nephew of Clemence of Hungary, recognized him as the son of Louis and Clemence. In 1360, Giannino went to Avignon, but Pope Innocent VI refused to receive him. After several attempts to gain recognition, he was arrested and imprisoned in Naples, where he died in 1363.

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Specific references:

  1. ^ (The shortest recorded reign was that of Louis XIX, who reigned for 20 minutes, but his legitimacy was disputed.)
  2. ^ http://www.histoire-et-secrets.com/articles.php?lng=fr&pg=101

General references:

  • Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri, L'uomo che si credeva re di Francia. Una storia medievale, Roma-Bari 2005, ISBN 88-420-7619-8
  • Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri, The Man Who Believed He was King of France, transl. by William McCuaig, University of Chicago Press 2008, ISBN 978-0-226-14525-9
John I of France
Born: 15 November 1316 Died: 20 November 1316
Regnal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Louis the Quarreler
King of France and Navarre
Count of Champagne

15 November – 20 November 1316
Succeeded by
Philip the Tall