Louis VI of France
|Louis VI the Fat|
Seal of Louis VI of France
|King of the Franks|
|Reign||29 July 1108 – 1 August 1137|
|Coronation||3 August 1108 in Orléans Cathedral|
|Spouse||Lucienne de Rochefort
Adélaide de Maurienne
|Issue||Philip, King of the Franks
Louis VII, King of the Franks
Henry, Archbishop of Reims
Robert, Count of Dreux
Constance, Countess of Toulouse
Philip, Archdeacon of Paris
Peter, Lord of Courtenay
|House||House of Capet|
|Father||Philip I, King of the Franks|
|Mother||Bertha of Holland|
1 December 1081|
|Died||1 August 1137
|Burial||Saint Denis Basilica, Paris, France|
Louis was born in Paris, the son of Philip I and his first wife, Bertha of Holland. The first member of the House of Capet to make a lasting contribution to the centralizing institutions of royal power. Almost all of his twenty-nine-year reign was spent fighting either the "robber barons" who plagued Paris or the Norman kings of England for their continental possession of Normandy. Nonetheless, Louis VI managed to reinforce his power considerably and became one of the first strong kings of France since the division of the Carolingian Empire. The biography of Louis prepared by his loyal advisor Abbot Suger of Saint Denis offers a fully developed portrayal of his character, in contrast to what little is known about most of his predecessors.
In his youth, Louis fought the Duke of Normandy, Robert Curthose, and the lords of the royal demesne, the Île de France. Suger became his adviser already before Louis became king. He succeeded his father at the age of 27 upon the death of the old King Philip on 29 July 1108. Louis's half-brother prevented him from reaching Rheims, and so he was crowned on 3 August in the cathedral of Orléans by Daimbert, Archbishop of Sens. Ralph the Green, archbishop of Rheims, sent envoys to challenge the validity of the coronation and anointing, but to no avail.
On Palm Sunday 1115, Louis was present in Amiens to support the bishop and inhabitants of the city in their conflict with Enguerrand I of Coucy, one of his vassals, who refused to recognise the granting of a charter of communal privileges. Louis came with an army to help the citizens besiege Castillon (the fortress dominating the city, from which Enguerrand was making punitive expeditions). At the siege, the king took an arrow to his hauberk, but the castle, considered impregnable, fell after two years.
Just before his death in 1137, William X, Duke of Aquitaine, appointed Louis guardian of his daughter and future successor, Eleanor, and expressed his wish for her to marry Louis's son, the future Louis VII. The prospect of adding Aquitaine to his sons' domains was a fortuitous political gain for Louis.
Louis VI died on 1 August 1137 in Paris of dysentery. He was interred in Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded on the throne by his son Louis VII, called "the Younger", who had originally wanted to be a monk.
Marriages and children
- Their children:
- Philip (1116 – 13 October 1131), King of France (1129–31), not to be confused with his brother of the same name; he died as a result of a fall from a horse.
- Louis VII (1120 – 18 September 1180), King of France
- Henry (1121–75), archbishop of Reims
- Hugues (born ca 1122)
- Robert (ca 1123 – 11 October 1188), count of Dreux
- Constance (ca 1124 – 16 August 1176), married first Eustace IV, count of Boulogne, and then Raymond V of Toulouse.
- Philip (1125-1161), Archdeacon of Paris, not to be confused with his elder brother.
- Peter of France (ca 1125–83), married Elizabeth, Lady of Courtenay
With Marie de Breuillet, daughter of Renaud de Breuillet de Dourdan, Louis VI was the father of a daughter:
- Isabelle (ca 1105 – before 1175), married (ca. 1119) Guillaume I of Chaumont.
|Ancestors of Louis VI of France|
- The Kingdom of the Frank to 1108, Constance Brittain Bouchard, The New Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. 4, Part II, ed. David Luscombe, Jonathan Riley-Smith, (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 126.
- Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages 1993, p 410.
- Government, law and society, R. van Caenegem, The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought C.350-c.1450, ed. J. H. Burns, (Cambridge University Press, 1988), 188.
- The Historia Iherosolimitana of Robert the Monk and the Coronation of Louis VI, James Naus, Writing the Early Crusades: Text, Transmission and Memory, ed. Marcus Bull, Damien Kempf, (Boydell Press, 2014), 112.
- The Peace of God and Bishops at War in the Gallic Lands from the Late Tenth to the Early Twelfth Century, Dominique Barthelemy, transl. Graham Robert Edwards, Anglo-Norman Studies 32: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2009, ed. C. P. Lewis, (The Boydell Press, 2010), 21.
- John M. Riddle, A History of the Middle Ages, 300-1500, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008), 298.
- Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: kings of France, 987-1328, (Hambledon Continuum, 2007), 147.
- Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: kings of France, 987-1328, 132.
- Suger, Abbot of Saint Denis. The Deeds of Louis the Fat. Translated with introduction and notes by Richard Cusimano and John Moorhead. Washington, DC : Catholic University of America Press,1992. (ISBN 0-8132-0758-4)
- Suger, Abbot of Saint Denis. The Deeds of Louis the Fat. Translated by Jean Dunbabin (this version is free, but has no annotations)
Louis VI of FranceBorn: 1 December 1081 Died: 1 August 1137
|King of the Franks
1108 – 1137
with Philip as junior king (1129 – 1131)
Louis VII as junior king (1131 – 1137)