Louis VI of France

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Louis VI the Fat
Sceau de Louis VI.jpg
Seal of Louis VI of France
King of the Franks
Reign 29 July 1108 – 1 August 1137
Coronation 3 August 1108 in Orléans Cathedral
Predecessor Philip I
Successor Louis VII
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
Born (1081-12-01)1 December 1081
Paris, France
Died 1 August 1137(1137-08-01) (aged 55)
Béthisy-Saint-Pierre, France
Burial Saint Denis Basilica, Paris, France
Religion Roman Catholicism

Louis VI (1 December 1081 – 1 August 1137), called the Fat (French: le Gros), was King of the Franks from 1108 until his death (1137). Chronicles called him "roi de Saint-Denis".


Louis VI

Louis, the first member of the House of Capet to make a lasting contribution to the centralizing institutions of royal power,[1] was born in Paris as the son of Philip I and of his first wife, Bertha of Holland.[2] He spent almost all of his twenty-nine-year reign in fighting either the "robber barons" who plagued Paris[3] 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 in 843. 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 historians know 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 before Louis became king. He succeeded his father at the age of 26 upon the death of the old King Philip on 29 July 1108. Louis's half-brother prevented him from reaching Rheims, and so Daimbert, Archbishop of Sens, crowned him in the cathedral of Orléans on 3 August.[4] Ralph the Green, archbishop of Rheims, sent envoys to challenge the validity of the coronation and anointing, but to no avail.[4]

The crowning of Louis VI in Orléans.

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.[5] Louis came with an army to help the citizens besiege Castillon (the fortress dominating the city, from which Enguerrand was making punitive expeditions).[5] At the siege, the king took an arrow to his hauberk, but the castle, considered impregnable, fell after two years.[5]

Just before William X, Duke of Aquitaine died in April 1137, he 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.[6] The prospect of adding Aquitaine to his sons' domains was a fortuitous political gain for Louis.[6]

Louis VI died on 1 August 1137 in Paris of dysentery.[7] He was interred in Saint Denis Basilica.[7] His son Louis VII, called "the Younger", who had originally wanted to become a monk, succeeded him on the throne.

Marriages and children[edit]

Epitaph of Louis VI, after 1137, Eglise Abbatiale de Saint Denis, today at Cluny Museum.

He married in 1104: 1) Lucienne de Rochefort — the marriage was annulled on 23 May 1107 at the Council of Troyes by Pope Paschal II.[8]

He married in 1115: 2) Adélaide de Maurienne (1092–1154)[8]

With Marie de Breuillet, daughter of Renaud de Breuillet de Dourdan,[9] Louis VI was the father of a daughter:

  • Isabelle (ca 1105 – before 1175), married (ca. 1119) Guillaume I of Chaumont in 1117.[10]



  1. ^ Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages 1993, p 410.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ a b c 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.
  6. ^ a b John M. Riddle, A History of the Middle Ages, 300-1500, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008), 298.
  7. ^ a b Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: kings of France, 987-1328, (Hambledon Continuum, 2007), 147.
  8. ^ a b Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: kings of France, 987-1328, 132.
  9. ^ (FR) Jean Dufour, Un Faux de Louis VI Relatif a Liancourt (Oise), Bibliotheque de L'Ecole des Chartes Revue D'Erudition, Jan-June 1986: 46.
  10. ^ Robert Fawtier, The Capetian Kings of France:Monarchy and Nation 987-1328, transl. Lionel Butler and R.J. Adam, (Macmillan Education Ltd, 1989), 19.


  • 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 France
Born: 1 December 1081 Died: 1 August 1137
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Philip I
King of the Franks
1108 – 1137
with Philip as junior king (1129 – 1131)
Louis VII as junior king (1131 – 1137)
Succeeded by
Louis VII