Lothair of France
Twelfth-century bust of Lothair, from the Musée Saint Rémi at Reims
|King of the Franks (more...)|
|Reign||10 September 954 - 2 March 986|
|Died||2 March 986 (aged 44)
- 1 Life
- 2 Family
- 3 Ancestry
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 Sources
Accession to the Throne
Born in Laon near the end of 941, was the eldest son and of Louis IV and Gerberga of Saxony. He succeeded his father on 10 September 954 at the age of thirteen and was crowned at the Abbey of Saint-Remi by Artald of Reims, Archbishop of Reims on 12 November of that year. Lothair was already being associated to the throne since 951, being this a novelty in the royal succession since the founding of the Kingdom of the Franks by the Merovingian dynasty.
Queen Gerberga made an arrangement with her brother-in-law[a] Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris, who had been an adversary to Lothair's father. In exchange for supporting Lothair's rule Hugh was given rule over Aquitaine and much of Burgundy as more or less a viceroy. Lothair inherited a Kingdom where the great magnates took lands, rights and offices almost without any regard for the King's authority. Magnates like Hugh the Great and Herbert II, Count of Vermandois were always a veiled threat.
In 955, Lothair and Hugh the Great together took Poitiers by siege. With Hugh the Great's death in 956, Lothair, only fifteen, came under the guardianship of his maternal uncle Bruno, archbishop of Cologne. With Bruno's advice, Lothair mediated between Hugh's sons, Hugh Capet and Otto. The King gave Paris and the title of dux francorum (Duke of the Franks) to Hugh Capet, and invested Otto with the Duchy of Burgundy in 956.
Worsening relations with the Holy Roman Empire
The guardianship of Archbishop Bruno of Cologne, who lasted until 965, oriented the Kingdom of the Franks to a policiy of subjection towards the Kingdom of Germany. Despite his youth, Lothair wanted to rule alone and reinforced his authority over his vassals. This desire of political independence led to a deterioration in the relations between the King and his maternal relatives and a struggle with the Kingdom of Germany. Despite this, Lothair wanted to keep, at least apparently, his bonds with Emperor Otto I by marrying Princess Emma of Italy (the only daughter of Empress Adelaide of Burgundy -second wife of Otto I- from her first marriage with King Lothair II, member of the Bosonids dynasty) in early 966.
In 962 Baldwin III of Flanders, son, co-ruler, and heir of Arnulf I died and Arnulf bequeathed Flanders to Lothair. On Arnulf's death in 965, Lothair invaded Flanders and took many cities, but was eventually repulsed by the supporters of Arnulf II. He temporarily remained in control of Arras and Douai.
In 976 the brothers Reginar IV of Mons and Lambert I of Louvain, after being dispossessed from their paternal inheritance by Emperor Otto II, made an alliance with Charles (King Lothair's younger brother) and Otto of Vermandois and with an army they marched against the Imperial troops. A great battle, which remains undecided, took place in Mons. Although Lothair secretly encouraged this war he doesn't intervene directly to help his brother.
But Charles took advantange of the situation and established himself in Lotharingia. His main interest was to break the harmony between Lothair and the House of Ardennes, loyal to Emperor Otto II and very powerful in Lotharingia and to which belonged both the Chancellor-Arbishop Adalberon of Reims and his namesake Bishop Adalberon of Laon.
In 977, Charles accused Queen Emma of adultery with Bishop Adalberon of Laon. The Synod of Sainte-Macre, led by Archbishop Adalberon of Reims, took place in Fismes to discuss the mather; due to lack of evidence, both the Queen and Bishop were absolved, but Charles, who maintains the rumors, was expelled from the Kingdom by his brother. The House of Ardennes and the Lotharingian party who was favorable to an agreement with Otto II seems all-powerful at the court of King Lothair.
Otto II, however, committed the mistakes of restoring the County of Hainaut to Reginar IV and Lambert I and of appointing Charles as Duke of Lower Lorraine, a region corresponding to the northern half of Lotharingia, separate from the Upper Lotharingia since the late 950. Rewarding the one who questioned the honor of the wife of the King of the Franks, was a way to offend the King himself.
War with the Holy Roman Empire
In August 978 Lothair then mounted an expedition into Lorraine accompanied by Hugh Capet and upon their crossing the Meuse river and takes Aachen, but he can't capture Otto II or Charles. Lothair then sacked the imperial Palace of Aachen for three days, and reversed the direction of the bronze eagle of Charlemagne to face east instead of west.[b]
In retaliation, Otto II, accompanied by Charles of Lower Lotharingia, invaded France in October 978 and ravaged Reims, Soissons (where he stopped at the Abbey of St. Medard, Soissons for devotions) and Laon. Lothair was able to escape from the Imperial troops, but Charles was proclaimed King of the Franks in Laon by Bishop Dietrich I of Metz, a relative of Emperor Otto I. The Imperial army advanced to Paris, where they faced with the army of Hugh Capet. On 30 November 978, Otto II and Charles, unable to take Paris, lift the siege of the city and turn back. The Frankish royal army led by Lothair pursued and defeated them while crossing the Aisne and being able to recover Laon, forcing Otto II to flee and take refuge in Aachen with Charles, the puppet-King he wanted to impose on West Francia.
In the Frankish Kingdom, the hasty retreat of Emperor Otto II had a considerable impact and long after was evoked as a great victory of Lothair. Thus, written in 1015, the Chronicles of Sens gives an epic description: there Lothair was exalted as a warrior-king who pursued the German Emperor to the heart of Lorraine, destroying on the banks of the Argonne a great multitude of enemies, then returned to the Kingdom of the Franks covered with glory. The chronicler say: "As for the Emperor Otto, followed by those of his people who were able to escape, he returned to his country in the greatest confusion; after which either him nor his army never returned to France". Contemporary documents speaks of the event with the same triumphal accents: written after the retirement of Otto II, a diploma of the Abbey of Marmoutier near Tours dated was dated during the reign "of the great King Lothair, in his twenty-sixth year (of rule; although apparently wrong), in which he attacked the Saxon and forced the Emperor to escape ". These retrospective was observed by some historians as Karl Ferdinand Werner as one of the first manifestations of national feeling.
Reconciliation with the Holy Roman Empire
The union of the Franks against the German Emperor has the consequence of placed the Robertians in the a prominent place in the person of Hugh Capet, whose contemporaries find it served faithfully to the King Lothair. The fight with the king of Germany also strengthened the power of Hugh Capet, which was shown in 980 when he captured Montreuil-sur-Mer at the expense of Arnulf II, Count of Flanders.
Lothair wanted to thwart the ambitions of his brother Charles, and decided to follow his father's steps to secure the succession to the Kingdom for his own son. On 8 June 979 Prince Louis was crowned as associated ruler or Junior King (iunior rex)[c] but did not actually assume power until Lothair's death in 986. –although he didn0t not actually assume power until Lothair's death in 986–, being the second time of this newly practice in the Kingdom of West Francia, who later was taken by the Capetians.
After this, Lothair began to approach to the Holy Roman Empire. The Bishops of Reims and Laon, with the House of Ardennes, supporter this rapprochement. In July 980 Lothair and Otto II met at Margut-sur-Chiers in the Frankish-German border, and concluded a peace treaty. As a part of the agreement, Lothair renounced to the Lotharingia, allowing Otto II to turn his attention to the Byzantine Italy, whom he wanted to conquer. This peace was very badly perceived by the Robertians, who were excluded from the negotiations. The Peace of Margut led the Frankish kingdom to be included in the Ottonian orbit, and consequently weakened the influence of the Robertiens within the royal government in favor of the Lotharingian nobility. Afraid of being caught between the Carolingian and Ottonian kings, Hugh Capet went to Rome in 981 to contact with Otto II in order to establish his own alliance. Lothair then gives instructions for his capture once he returned.
Marriage of the heir
To counter the power of Hugh Capet as Duke of the Franks, Lothair –following the advices of his wife Emma and Geoffrey I, Count of Anjou– decided to marry his son and heir Louis with Adelaide-Blanche, Geoffrey I's sister and widow of two powerful southern lords, Count Stephen of Gévaudan and Count Raymond of Toulouse, Prince of Gothia. The project of Lothair was ambitious: the restoration of the Carolingian presence in the south of the Kingdom of the Franks, and –according to Richerus– their support in his fight against the Robertians.
The wedding between Adelaide-Blanche and Prince Louis took place in 982 at Vieille-Brioude, Haute-Loire, and immediately both were crowned King and Queen of Aquitaine by Adelaide's brother Bishop Guy of le Puy. However, soon the notorious age difference between them –Louis was a fifteen-years-old boy while Adelaide was a forty-years-old woman– and Louis' debauched lifestyle caused the end of the marriage (984), with Lothair came for his son while Adelaide took refuge with Count William I of Provence, who shortly after became in her fourth husband. The failure of the alliance with the House of Anjou reinforced the power of the Robertiens, and finally they supported Hugh Capet against Charles of Lower Lorraine in 987.
However, the existence of the marriage, despite being recorded by relative contemporary and later sources (Richerus, Rodulfus Glaber, the Chronicon Andegavensi and the Chronicle of Saint-Maxence, among others), was recently challenged by historian Carlrichard Brülh.
Emerging from the crisis in Aquitaine, Lothair counted with the loyalty of ten powerful northern bishops of the kingdom and their vassals, and the alliance with the powerful House of Vermandois in the person of Count Herbert III, his nephew –as son of his uterine half-sister Gerberga of Lotharingia–. But Herbert III was relatively old and the bishops who had served his father Louis IV now turn more toward their spiritual tasks rather to defend the royal interests. Lothair lacks the ability to implement a large project of conquest consistent with the previous Frankish tradition and to mobilize the aristocracy around him.
Attempt to recover Lotharingia
Otto II suddenly died on 7 December 983, leaving as heir his three-year-old son Otto III. Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, as the nearest Ottonian relative, obtained the regency of the Kingdom without substantial opposition and abducted Otto III in hopes of being proclaimed king himself. Adalberon of Reims, eager to support Otto III and his mother Empress Theophanu, tried to convince Lothair to support the Empress against the Duke of Bavaria. In the name of Theophanu, Adalberon offered Lothair the recover of Lotharingia; shortly after, the King of the Franks formally claimed the guardianship of his infant nephew Otto III and the custody of the Lotharingia. Thanks to Adalberon, Lothair obtained the homage of several major Lotharingian nobles including Count Godfrey I of Verdun, a member of the House of Ardennes. In addition, he reconcile with his brother Charles, who hoped to obtain the Upper Lorraine (at that time ruled by a regent, Beatrix, widow of Duke Frederick I and sister of Hugh Capet). Lothair then hoped to receive the full sovereignty over Lotharingia. Nevertheless, the quick failure of Henry II's plans foiled the project: by mid-984 Empress Theophanu and Archbishop Willingis of Mainz were finally able to rescue Otto III and regain control of Germany. The subsequent peace concluded at Worms between Henry II and Theopanu reafirmed the end of the Caroliang pretentions over the Lotharingia and the triumph of the House of Ardennes, which strengthened there its control.
However, Lothair refused to renouncing over this land whom he considered rightfully belonged to him: he decided to make an alliance with Henry II, and on 1 February 985 their combined forces arrived to the banks of the Rhine in Brissach. This alliance worries Adalberon of Reims, who contacts with Hugh Capet. Henry II didn't kept his alliance with Lothair, so the King of the Franks decided to advanced to the Lotharingia alone. At first, he tried to obtain the support of Hugh Capet, but he refused to overthrow his sister and nephew; however, he doesn't support either party clearly, favoring the Ottonian hegemony. Finally, Lothair obtain the support of the most powerful Counts of the kingdom, Odo of Blois-Chartres and Herbert III of Troyes-Meaux. Shortly after, they invaded Upper Lotharingia, besieged Verdun and by March 985 they captured several important prisoners: Godfrey I of Verdun (brother of Adalberon) and his son Frederick, Sigfried, Count of the Ardennes (uncle of Godfrey I) and Theodoric I, Duke of Upper Lorraine (nephew of Hugh Capet).
After returned to Laon, Lothair forced Adalberon to build a fortress in Verdun to prevent the city being taken by the Imperial forces. He also forced him to write the Archbishops of Egbert of Trier, Willigis of Mainz and Ebergar of Cologne that he was the only and true heir of the Carolingian Kingdom.
Open conflict with the House of Ardennes
In 985, when the caliph of Córdoba, Al-Mansur, sacked Barcelona, Lothair was ill and could offer no assistance to the Count Borrel II upon receiving his envoys at Verdun. This contributed to the final rift between the Hispanic March and the French crown during the reign of his successors. At this point Lothair's power seemed markedly less than that of Hugh Capet. In a letter Gerbert of Aurillac wrote to the Archbishop Adalbero that "Lothair is king of France in name alone; Hugh is, however, not in name but in effect and deed." Not long after, Archbishop Adalberon began openly pressing pro-Ottonian views and tried to influence Hugh Capet into relations with Otto III. When the King ordered the destruction of the fortifications that surrounded the monastery of Saint-Paul in Verdun, Adalberon refused on the grounds that his hungry soldiers no longer were able to keep the city. Furious, Lothair wanted to bring Adalberon to justice. On 11 May 986, Adalberon was summoned to an assembly at Compiègne under false pretenses (among them, that he placed his nephew and namesake Adalberon in the bishopric seat of Verdun without royal consent) and charged the surprised archbishop with treason. Alerted, Hugh Capet marched on Compiègne with 6,000 men and dispersed the meeting before a verdict could be reached. Some historians believe that the intervention of Hugh Capet was less motivated by the defense of Adalberon than to obtain the release of his nephew, the young Duke Theodoric I of Upper Lorraine. Lothair could have intended to strengthen his stranglehold on Verdun and its region by forcing Adalberon to pursue his nephew Adalberon of Verdun, son of Count Godfrey I.
Lothair could not afford an open war against Hugh Capet because he would end up caught between two fronts. He then released his Lorraine prisoners, but Godfrey I chose to stay in prison rather than surrender Mons, in Hainaut, and force his son to give up all claims over the County and the Bishopric of Verdun. In the meanwhile, following a meeting between the King and the Duke of the Franks, Theodoric I of Upper Lorraine was released.
New projects and sudden death
In early 986, Lothair intended to attack Cambrai, an imperial city but one dependent on the Archbishoprics of Reims and Liège; he thought that he could convince Bishop Rothard to surrender the city in exchange for his appointment as Archbishop of Rheims (following the deposition of Adalberon) and Prince-Bishop of Liège (whose Prince-Bishop Notger finally escaped to Ottonian territory); but the King suddenly died at Laon on 2 March 986. He received a magnificent funeral and was buried next to his father Louis IV in the choir of Saint-Remi of Reims.
One year after the change of dynasty, Lothair's kingdom seemed indestructible because, even if Lotharingia had not submitted the inertia of the Kingdom of Germany could let him consider new conquests. According to Richerus: "He was looking for new advantages that could further extend his kingdom. His policy was very successful, and the condition of the Kingdom, favored by the capture of the great nobles, was strong." In fact, in his last years, Lothar deployed both diplomatically and militarily exceptional activity intending to conquer Lotharingia.
With his wife Emma of Italy, Lothair had two sons:
- Louis V (966/67 – 22 May 987), successor of his father as King.
- Otto (c. 970 – 13 November bef. 986), canon of Reims.
|Ancestors of Lothair of France|
- Following the death of his second wife Eadhild in early 937, Hugh the Great married thirdly between 9 May and 14 September of that year with Hedwig of Saxony, Gerberga's younger sister. This marriage finally produced for Hugh the longed-needed heirs: three sons (Hugh, Otto and Eudes-Henry) and two daughters (Beatrix and Emma).
- Richer of Reims stated: "The bronze eagle, that Charlemagne had put on top of the palace in a flight attitude, has been turned back towards the East. The Germans had turned it towards the West to symbolize that their cavalry could beat the French whenever they wanted..." See: Richer of Saint-Rémy, Histoire de France, (888-995), ed. R. Latouche (Paris: Les Belles Lettres 1964), p. 89.
- As the transition from elected kings to hereditary kings took place, fathers undertook to crown their successors before their deaths. See earlier Charlemagne's crowning of his sons, and later Hugh Capet's crowning of his son Robert. Lewis, Andrew W. (1978). "Anticipatory Association of the Heir in Early Capetian France". The American Historical Review 83: 906–927. doi:10.2307/1867651. JSTOR 1867651. In general see Bouchard, Constance Brittain (2001). Those of My Blood: Creating Noble Families in Medieval Francia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-3590-6.
- Jarrett Jonathan (2011). "Caliph, King, or Grandfather: Strategies of Legitimization on the Spanish March in the Reign of Lothar III". The Mediaeval Journal 1 (2): 1–22. doi:10.1484/j.tmj.1.102535.
- He was the fourth Lothair to rule in the former Carolingian empire (after Lothair I, Lothair II of Lotharingia and Lothair II of Italy), but only the third to rule over part of what became France.
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 1
- The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 916–966, eds & trans. Steven Fanning: Bernard S. Bachrach (New York; Ontario, Can: University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. 60
- Sassier 1995, p. 136.
- The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 916–966, eds & trans. Steven Fanning: Bernard S. Bachrach (New York; Ontario, Can: University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. xix
- Bourchard, Constance Brittain (1999). "Burgundy and Provence: 879-1032". In Reuter, Timothy; McKitterick, Rosamond; Abulafia, David. The New Cambridge Medieval History: Vol. III, c.900 - c.1024 III (first ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 328–345, page 336. ISBN 0521364477. Volume III, Table of Contents
- George Holmes, The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 163
- Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: Kings of France, 987-1328, (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 42
- Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), pp. 264–65
- Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: Kings of France, 987-1328 (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 43
- Jean Le Mayeur: La gloire belgique: poème national en dix chants... online, Valinthout and Vandenzande, 1830, p. 304.
- Lecouteux 2004, p. 11.
- Sassier 1995, p. 161.
- Sassier 1995, p. 162.
- Sassier 1995, p. 163.
- Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), pp. 276-77
- Thérèse Charmasson, Anne-Marie Lelorrain, Martine Sonnet: Chronologie de l'histoire de France, 1994, p. 90 online.
- Sassier 1995, p. 165.
- Sassier 1995, pp. 164-165.
- Carlrichard Brülh: Naissance de deux peuples, Français et Allemands (10th‑11th siècle), Fayard, August 1996, p. 247.
- Bradbury, Jim (2007). "Chapter 3: The new principalities, 800–1000". The Capetians: Kings of France, 987–1328. London: Hambledon Continuum. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-85285-528-4.
- Sullivan, Richard E. (1989). "The Carolingian Age: Reflections on Its Place in the History of the Middle Ages". Speculum 64: 267–306. doi:10.2307/2851941. JSTOR 2851941.
- Bradbury, Jim (2007). "Chapter 3: The new principalities, 800–1000". The Capetians: Kings of France, 987–1328. London: Hambledon Continuum. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-85285-528-4.
- Sassier 1995, p. 168.
- Sassier 1995, p. 169.
- Carlrichard Brülh: Naissance de deux peuples, Français et Allemands (10th‑11th siècle), Fayard, August 1996, p. 248.
- Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), p. 277
- Sassier 1995, p. 180.
- Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), p. 266
- Andrew W Lewis, Royal Succession in Capetian France: Studies on Familial Order and the State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981), p. 15
- P. Riché (1987), p. 92.
- Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family Who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), p. 278
- Sassier 1995, p. 183
- Carlrichard Brülh: Naissance de deux peuples, Français et Allemands (10th‑11th siècle), Fayard, August 1996, p. 253.
- Pierre Riché: Gerbert d'Aurillac, le pape de l'an mil, Fayard, March 1987, p. 94.
- Gallica: Histoire de France. La mort de Lothaire par le moine Richer, p. 137 online.
- Sassier 1995, p. 186.
- Carlrichard Brülh: Naissance de deux peuples, Français et Allemands (10th‑11th siècle), Fayard, August 1996, p. 252.
- Christian Settipani: La Préhistoire des Capétiens, 1993, p. 334.
- Christian Settipani: La Préhistoire des Capétiens, 1993, p. 333.
- Eleanor Shipley Duckett, Death and life in the tenth century (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1967), p. 118.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Gwatkin, H. M., Whitney, J. P. (ed) et al. (1926) The Cambridge Medieval History: Volume III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Hallam, Elizabeth M. & Everard, Judith (2001). Capetian France, 987–1328 (second ed.). Harlow, UK: Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-40428-1.
- Stéphane Lecouteux: Une reconstitution hypothétique du cheminement des Annales de Flodoard, depuis Reims jusqu'à Fécamp, 2004 online
- Ferdinand Lot: Les derniers Carolingiens. Lothaire, Louis V, Charles de Lorraine (954-991), Paris, Librairie Émile Bouillon éditeur, 1891 online.
- Pierre Riché: Les Carolingiens, une famille qui fit l'Europe, Paris, Hachette, coll. «Pluriel», 1983 (reimpr. 1997), 490 p.
- Yves Sassier: Hugues Capet: naissance d'une dynastie, Paris, Fayard, 1995, 357 p.
|King of Western Francia