List of rulers of Brittany

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This is a list of rulers of the Duchy of Brittany. In different epochs the sovereigns of Brittany were kings, princes, and dukes. The Breton ruler was sometimes elected, sometimes attained the position by conquest or intrigue, or by hereditary right. Hereditary dukes were sometimes a female ruler, carrying the title duchesse of Brittany. Its principal cities and regions were ruled by counts who often found themselves in conflict with the Breton ruler, or who became the Breton ruler.

During the declining years of the Roman Empire, the earliest Breton rulers in Gaul were styled "kings" of the small realms of Cornouaille and Domnonia. Some such kings may have had a form of hegemony over all of the Brythonic populations in the Armorican peninsula, and Riothamus is called King of the Britons by the chronicler Jordanes. However, there are no certain rulers of the whole of Brittany, which was divided into the fiefdoms of local counts.

The Duchy of Brittany had its origins in the Battle of Trans-la-Forêt of 939, which established the river Couesnon as the boundary between Brittany and Normandy.[1] In 942, Alan II paid homage to Louis IV of France, however the duchy did not gain royal attention until 1123, when Louis VI of France confirmed the bishop of Nantes.[2] No other Duke of Brittany repeated Alan II's homage until Arthur I recognised Philip II of France as his liege in 1202.[3]

The area was often called a Duchy, and its rulers were considered independent Sovereign Dukes. However one historical view is that before the middle of the 12th century the Dukes of Brittany were often also called Counts by the Kings of France, as the kingdom of France then saw Brittany as no more than a county.[citation needed] In 1297, the peninsula was elevated into a Duchy in the peerage of France.[4] This view is not consistent with the manner in which Charles VIII of France and then Louis XII of France approached the Duchy and the rights of Anne of Brittany who married each in succession.

Early Breton rulers[edit]

Dukes of Brittany[edit]

Dukes under the Carolingians[edit]

  • Nominoe (or Nevenoe) (r.841–851), as a missus dominicus of the Emperor Louis the Pious,[5] a count of Vannes (Gwened) and arguably a duke (dux) of Brittany
  • Erispoe (r.851–857), as a duke, then as a king
  • Salomon (or Salaun) (r.857–874), as a duke, then a king
  • Pasquitan (or Paskweten) (r.874–877), ruling Brittany (southern part) with Gurvand
  • Gurvand (r.874–877), ruling Brittany (northern part) with Pasquitan
  • Judicael (r.877–888), successor of Gurvand, ruled Brittany (north) with Alan the Great (south)
  • Alan the Great (reigned from 877 to 888 with Judicaël, alone as a duke, then as a king up to 907)
  • Gourmaëlon, Count of Cornouaille (reigned from 907 as a guardian of the kingdom)

The succession was interrupted by the Viking occupation (907–937)

House of Nantes[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Alan II
the Fox

(Alan al Louarn)
c. before 919
son of Mathuedoi, Count of Poher, and a daughter of Alan I
(1) Roscille of Anjou
(2) ? of Blois
bef. 949/51
one son
c. 952
aged 33+
c. 949/52
only legitimate son of Alan II
never married c. 958
aged 5–9
Hoël I
(Hoel Iañ )
illegitimate son of Alan II and the "noble" Judith
never married c. 981
(Guerech Iañ)
illegitimate son of Alan II and the "noble" Judith, younger brother of Hoël I
Aremburga of Ancenis
after 981
one son
c. 988
(Alan Breizh)
after 981
son of Guerech and Aremburga of Ancenis
never married c. 990

House of Rennes[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Conan I
(Konan Iañ)
c. 927
eldest son of Judicael Berengar, Count of Rennes and Gerberga
Ermengarde-Gerberga of Anjou
five children
27 June 992
aged 64–65
Geoffrey I
(Jafrez Iañ )
c. 980
eldest son of Conan I and Ermengarde-Gerberga of Anjou
Hawise of Normandy
four children
20 November 1008
aged 27–28
Alan III
(Alan III)
with Odo I as regent, then co-ruler (1008–1034)
Alan III of Brittany (icon).jpg c. 997
eldest son of Geoffrey I and Hawise of Normandy
Bertha of Blois
two children
1 October 1040
aged 42–43
Odo I
(Eozen I)
as regent, then co-ruler to Alan III
Eudes.jpg c. 999
second son of Geoffrey I and Hawise of Normandy
Orguen of Cornouaille
six children
c. 1079
aged 79–80
Conan II
(Konan II)
with Odo I as regent (1040–1057)
c. 1033
only son of Alan III and Bertha of Blois
never married 11 December 1066
aged 32–33
with Hoël II
c. 1037
only daughter of Alan III and Bertha of Blois
seven children
19 August 1072
aged 34–35
Hoël II
(Hoël II)
with Hawise
c. 1031
eldest son of Alain Canhiart, Count of Cornouaille and Judith of Nantes, descendant of Alan II
13 April 1084
aged 52–53

House of Cornouaille[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Alan IV
the Younger

(Alan IV Fergant )
with Hoël II as regent
Sceau Alain Fregent.jpg bef. 1060
eldest son of Hoël II and Hawise
(1) Constance of Normandy
no issue
(2) Ermengarde of Anjou
three children
13 October 1119
Redon Abbey
aged 60s
Conan III
the Fat

(Konan III)
Bannière Maison Cornouaille.svg c. 1093-1096
eldest son of Alan IV and Ermengarde of Anjou
Maud FitzRoy
three children
17 September 1148
aged 54–58
with Odo II
Bannière Maison Cornouaille.svg c. 1114
eldest daughter of Conan III and Maud FitzRoy
(1) Alan, 1st Earl of Richmond
three children
(2) Odo II
three children
c. 1156
aged 41–43
Odo II
(Eozen II)
with Bertha
Bannière Eudes de Porhoët.svg ?
eldest son of Geoffrey, Viscount of Porhoet and Hawise
(1) Bertha
three children
(2) Joan-Eleanor of Léon
August 1167
two or three children
c. 1170

House of Penthièvre[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Conan IV the Black
(Konan IV)
Conan IV de Bretagne.jpg c. 1138
only son of Alan of Penthièvre, 1st Earl of Richmond and Bertha
Margaret of Huntingdon
one daughter
20 February 1171
aged 33
with Geoffrey II
with Arthur I
with Guy
Bannière Maison Penthièvre.svg c. 1161
daughter of Conan IV and Margaret of Huntingdon
(1) Geoffrey II
July 1181
three children
(2) Ranulf
3 February 1188
no issue
(3) Guy of Thouars
October 1199
two or three daughters
5 September 1201
aged 40
Geoffrey II
(Jafrez II)
with Constance
Geoffrey2.jpg 23 September 1158
fourth son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine
July 1181
three children
19 August 1186
Paris, France
aged 27
with Constance
with Alix
birth date unknown
second son of Aimery IV of Thouars and Aénor of Lusignan
(1) Constance
October 1199
two or three daughters
(2) Eustachie of Chemillé
two sons
13 April 1213
Chemillé, France

House of Plantagenet[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Arthur I
(Arzhur Iañ)
with Constance
Artur of Brittany.jpg 29 March 1187
in Nantes,
only son of Geoffrey II and Constance
never married Disappeared in captivity aged 16; fate unknown

Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany, eldest daughter of Geoffrey and Constance and full elder sister of Arthur, also unmarried, was prevented from succession for her imprisonment in England which lasted till her death in 1241, thus was merely a titular duchess until 1214 when King John of England ceased to support her claim.

House of Thouars[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
with Guy as regent
with Peter I
Alix de Thouars.jpg 1200
eldest daughter of Guy and Constance
Peter I
three children
21 October 1221
aged 21
Peter I

(Pêr Iañ)
with Alix
Pierre de Dreux.png c. 1190
second son of Robert II of Dreux and Yolanda de Coucy
(1) Alix
three children
(2) Nicole
c. 1230
one son
(3) Marguerite de Commequiers
bef. January 1236
no issue
6 July 1250
sea off Damietta
aged 59–60

House of Dreux[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
John I
the Red

(Yann Iañ ar Ruz)
with Peter I as regent
Jean le Roux.jpg c. 1217/18
eldest son of Peter I and Alix
Blanche of Navarre
Château-Thierry, Aisne
16 January 1236
eight children
8 October 1286
Château de l'Isle, Férel, Morbihan
aged 67–69
John II
(Yann II)
Jean II de Bretagne (détail).png 3/4 January 1239
eldest son of John I and Blanche of Navarre
Beatrice of England
Westminster Abbey, London
25 December 1260
eight children
16 November 1305
aged 66
Arthur II
(Arzhur II)
Artur Bretan.jpg 2 July 1262
eldest son of John II and Beatrice of England
(1) Marie of Limoges
three children
(2) Yolande of Dreux
May 1292
six children
27 August 1312
Château de l'Isle, Férel, Morbihan
aged 50
John III
the Good

(Yann III)
PohrebJana3Bretan.jpg 8 March 1286
Château de Champtoceaux, Maine-et-Loire
eldest son of Arthur II and Marie of Limoges
(1) Isabella of Valois
18 February 1298
no issue
(2) Isabella of Castile and León
21 June 1310
no issue
(3) Joan of Savoy
21 March 1330
no issue
30 April 1341
aged 55

Breton War of Succession[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
the Lame

with Charles I
Jeanne de Penthièvre - Louvre L.P. 2665 (Room 12).jpg c. 1319
only daughter of Guy of Brittany, Count of Penthièvre and Joan of Avaugour
4 June 1337
five children
10 September 1384
aged 64–65
Charles I
(Charlez Iañ)
with Joan
CarlosIdebritania.jpg c. 1319
second son of Guy I, Count of Blois and Margaret of Valois
29 September 1364
aged 44–45
John (IV) of Montfort
(Yann IV Moñforzh)
May 1341-1345
Jan z Montfortu.gif c. 1293
only son of Arthur II and Yolande de Dreux
Joanna of Flanders
March 1329
two children
26 September 1345
Château d'Hennebon, Hennebont
aged 51–52
John (V) of Montfort
(Yann V Moñforzh)
Jan5Bretan.jpg c. 1339
only son of John of Montfort and Joanna of Flanders
(1) Mary Plantagenet of England
Woodstock Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
summer of 1361
no issue
(2) Joan Holland
May 1366
no issue
(3) Joan of Navarre
2 October 1386
nine children
1/2 November 1399
aged 59–60

House of Montfort[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
John IV
the Conqueror

(Yann IV)
(Previously John V in pretentious succession from his father.)
Jan5Bretan.jpg c. 1339
only son of John of Montfort and Joanna of Flanders
(1) Mary Plantagenet of England
Woodstock Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
summer of 1361
no issue
(2) Joan Holland
May 1366
no issue
(3) Joan of Navarre
2 October 1386
nine children
1/2 November 1399
aged 59–60
John V
the Wise

(Yann V ar Fur)
Sceau de Jean V - Duc de Bretagne.png 24 December 1389
Château de l'Hermine, Vannes, Morbihan
eldest son of John IV and Joan of Navarre
Joan of France
Hôtel de Saint-Pol, Paris
19 September 1396
seven children
29 August 1442
Manoir de La Touche, Nantes
aged 52
Francis I
the Well-Loved

(Frañsez Iañ)
Franta1.jpg 11 May 1414
eldest son of John V and Joan of France
(1) Yolande of Anjou
20 August 1431
one son
(2) Isabella of Scotland
Château d'Auray
30 October 1442
two daughter
17 July 1450
Château de l'Hermine, Vannes, Morbihan
aged 36
Peter II
the Simple

(Pêr II)
Pierre II de Bretagne (BNF-NB-C-181416).png 7 July 1418
second son of John V and Joan of France
Françoise d'Amboise
c. 1442
no issue
22 September 1457
aged 41
Arthur III
the Justicier

(Arzhur III)
Arthur III de Bretagne.png 24 August 1393
Château de Suscinio, Vannes
second son of John IV and Joan of Navarre
(1) Margaret of Burgundy
10 October 1423
no issue
(2) Jeanne d'Albret
29 August 1442
no issue
(3) Catherine of Saint Pol
2 July 1445
no issue
26 December 1458
aged 65
Francis II
(Frañsez II)
François II de Bretagne (BNF-RC-A-86355).png 23 June 1433
Château de Clisson
eldest son of Richard de Dreux, Count of Étampes and Marguerite d'Orléans, Countess of Vertus
(1) Marguerite of Brittany
Château de l'Hermine
16 November 1455
one son
(2) Marguerite of Foix
Château de Clisson
27 June 1474
two daughters
9 September 1488
aged 55
Portrait of Anne of Brittany - Mostaert.jpg 25 January 1477
Château de Nantes
eldest daughter of Francis II and Margaret of Foix
(1) Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
(by proxy) Rennes Cathedral
19 December 1490
no issue
(2) Charles VIII of France
Château de Langeais
19 December 1491
four children
(3) Louis XII of France
Château de Nantes
8 January 1499
four children
9 January 1514
Château de Blois
aged 36

House of Valois[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
ClaudeFranceEdit.JPG 14 October 1499
eldest daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne
Francis I of France
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
18 May 1514
eight children
20 July 1524
Château de Blois
aged 24
with Claude
François 1515.jpg 12 September 1494
Château de Cognac
only son of Charles de Valois, Count of Angoulême and Louise of Savoy
(1) Claude
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
18 May 1514
eight children
(2) Eleanor of Austria
Abbaye de Veien
7 August 1530
no issue
31 March 1547
Château de Rambouillet
aged 52
Francis III
(Frañsez III)
François III de Bretagne - Dauphin de France.jpg 28 February 1518
Château d'Amboise
eldest son of Francis I of France and Claude
never married 10 August 1536
Chateau de Tournon
aged 18
Henry II, king of France.. F Clouet.jpg 31 March 1519
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
second son of Francis I of France and Claude
Catherine de' Medici
Marseille Cathedral
28 October 1533
ten children
10 July 1559
Place des Vosges
aged 40

As courtesy title[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Louis de France
Grand Royal Coat of Arms of France.svg 25 June 1704
Palace of Versailles
eldest son of Louis, Duke of Burgundy and Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy
never married 13 April 1705
Palace of Versailles
died before first birthday
Louis de France
Louis de bourbon (1707-1712).jpg 8 January 1707
Palace of Versailles
second son of Louis, Duke of Burgundy and Marie Adélaïde of Savoy
never married 18 February 1712
Palace of Versailles
aged 5
Francis de Bourbon
Arms of the Duke of Anjou and Cadix.svg 22 November 1972
eldest son of Alfonso, Duke of Anjou and Cádiz and María del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco
never married 7 February 1984
aged 11

Family tree[edit]



  1. ^ John Le Patourel, Feudal Empires: Norman and Plantagenet; ed. Michael Jones, (The Hambledon Press, 1984), p. 241.
  2. ^ Michael Jones, The Creation of Brittany, (The Hambledon Press, 1988), 4.
  3. ^ Michael Jones, The Creation of Brittany, 4.
  4. ^ Michael Jones, The Creation of Brittany, 287.
  5. ^ Pierre Riche, The Carolingians:A family who forged Europe, Transl. Michael Idomir Allen, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), 195.

See also[edit]