Charles Constantine of Vienne
Name and maternity
About his name; he was never called "Charles Constantine", rather Flodoard, copied later by Richer, calls him "Constantinus". We know that his proper name was "Carolus" (Charles), from a diploma of his father, and from his own charters. Modern scholars have typically called him Charles Constantine, but this was not a name used during his lifetime.
Some modern genealogical scholars speculated that his mother was Anna of Constantinople, daughter of Leo VI the Wise and his second wife Zoe Zaoutzaina. However, his father's marriage to this princess is much disputed. Christian Settipani postulates that his name refers to the founders of the empires governed by his father and maternal grandfather, i.e., to Charlemagne and Constantine the Great. He asserts this Byzantine ancestry based on a letter by Patriarch Nicholas I Mystikos discovered by byzantinists, in which he testifies that Emperor Leo VI of Byzantium, father of Constantine VII, had united his daughter to a Frank Prince, a cousin of Berta (of Tuscia), to whom came later a great misfortune. That unfortunate Prince could only be Louis III, whose mother Irmingardis was a first cousin of Berta de Tuscia and who was blinded on 21 July 905.
Regarding his birthyear, or age, we have few datapoints. He was Count of Vienne and acting as an adult by (but not in) December 927. This evidences that his father must have had a prior union. Some speculation would place him born in 901/3 but this is just a force-fit to allow Anna to be his mother and his father's wife.
When Charles' father Louis died in 929, Hugh of Arles, who was already king of Italy, took over Provence and gave it, in 933, to King Rudolf II of Burgundy. Charles-Constantine for whatever reason, could not inherit his father's right to the imperial throne or his right to rule Provence. This has led many to believe he was, in fact, a bastard. He did however rule the county of the Viennois, until his death in 962.
He was married to Thiberge de Troyes. It has been speculated[who?] that Constance, wife to Boso II of Arles and grandmother of Queen Constance of Arles, was their daughter. Through her, Charles Constantine would be an ancestor of the Capetian kings of France and the Norman and Plantagenet kings of England (through Queen Constance's daughter Adela Capet, and Adela's daughter Queen Matilda of Flanders, who married William the Conqueror).
References and Notes
- The third marriage, I have said to the Emperor, was already unworthy of your majesty, but there was an excuse with the agreement that you had concluded with the Frank. Since it was conveined that you destined him as his spouse your only daughter. It was the cousin of Berta, to whom had arrived the misfortune that is known.
- Christian Settipani, Nos Ancêtres de l' Antiquité, p. 6-7
- Dictionnaire de Biographie Française. Roman d'Amat and R. Limousin-Lamothe (ed). Paris, 1967.
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