Hugh Capet was the King of the Franks from 987 to 996. He is the founder and first king from the House of Capet, he was elected as the successor of the last Carolingian king, Louis V. Hugh was a descendant in illegitimate descent of Charlemagne through his mother and paternal grandmother; the son of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, Hedwige of Saxony, daughter of the German king Henry the Fowler, Hugh was born sometime between 938 and 941. He was born into a well-connected and powerful family with many ties to the royal houses of France and Germany. Through his mother, Hugh was the nephew of Holy Roman Emperor. Gerberga was the wife of Louis IV, King of France and mother of Lothair of France and Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine, his paternal family, the Robertians, were powerful landowners in the Île-de-France. His grandfather had been King Robert I. King Odo was his granduncle and King Rudolph was his uncle by affinity. Hugh's paternal grandmother was a descendant of Charlemagne. After the end of the ninth century, the descendants of Robert the Strong became indispensable in carrying out royal policies.
As Carolingian power failed, the great nobles of West Francia began to assert that the monarchy was elective, not hereditary, twice chose Robertians as kings, instead of Carolingians. Robert I, Hugh the Great's father, was succeeded as King of the Franks by his son-in-law, Rudolph of Burgundy; when Rudolph died in 936, Hugh the Great had to decide whether he ought to claim the throne for himself. To claim the throne would require him to risk an election, which he would have to contest with the powerful Herbert II, Count of Vermandois, father of Hugh, Archbishop of Reims, allied to Henry the Fowler, King of Germany. To block his rivals, Hugh the Great brought Louis d'Outremer, the dispossessed son of Charles the Simple, from his exile at the court of Athelstan of England to become king as Louis IV; this maneuver allowed Hugh to become the most powerful person in France in the first half of the tenth century. Once in power, Louis IV granted him the title of dux Francorum. Louis officially declared Hugh "the second after us in all our kingdoms".
Hugh gained power when Herbert II of Vermandois died in 943, because Herbert's powerful principality was divided among his four sons. Hugh the Great came to dominate a wide swath of central France, from Orléans and Senlis to Auxerre and Sens, while the king was rather confined to the area northeast of Paris; the realm in which Hugh grew up, of which he would one day be king, bore little resemblance to modern France. Hugh's predecessors did not call themselves kings of France, that title was not used by his successors until the time of his descendant Philip II. Kings ruled as rex Francorum, the title remaining in use until 1190 The lands they ruled comprised only a small part of the former Carolingian Empire; the eastern Frankish lands, the Holy Roman Empire, were ruled by the Ottonian dynasty, represented by Hugh's first cousin Otto II and by Otto's son, Otto III. The lands south of the river Loire had ceased to be part of the West Francia kingdom in the years after Charles the Simple was deposed in 922.
Both the Duchy of Normandy and the Duchy of Burgundy were independent, Brittany so—although from 956 Burgundy was ruled by Hugh's brothers Otto and Henry. In 956, when his father Hugh the Great died, the eldest son, was about fifteen years old and had two younger brothers. Otto I, King of Germany, intended to bring western Francia under his control, possible since he was the maternal uncle of Hugh Capet and Lothair of France, the new king of the Franks, who succeeded Louis IV in 954, at the age of 13. In 954, Otto I appointed his brother Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lorraine, as guardian of Lothair and regent of the kingdom of France. In 956, Otto gave him the same role over the Robertian principality. With these young princes under his control, Otto aimed to maintain the balance between Robertians and Ottonians. In 960, Lothair agreed to grant to Hugh the legacy of his father, the margraviate of Neustria and the title of Duke of the Franks, but in return, Hugh had to accept the new independence gained by the counts of Neustria during Hugh's minority.
Hugh's brother, Otto received only the duchy of Burgundy. Andrew W. Lewis has sought to show that Hugh the Great had prepared a succession policy to ensure his eldest son much of his legacy, as did all the great families of that time; the West was dominated by Otto I, who had defeated the Magyars in 955, in 962 assumed the restored imperial title. The new emperor increased his power over Western Francia with special attention to certain bishoprics on his border. Disappointed, King Lothair relied on Arnulf I, Count of Flanders. In 956, Hugh inherited his father's estates, in theory making him one of the most powerful nobles in the much-reduced kingdom of West Francia; as he was not yet an adult, his mother acted as his guardian, young Hugh's neighbours took advantage. Theobald I of Blois, a former vassal of Hugh's father, took the counties of Châteaudun. Further south, on the border of the kingdom, Fulk II
Arnulf, Count of Holland
Arnulf known as Aernout or Arnold succeeded his father in 988 as Count in Frisia. He was born in 951 in Ghent and because of this he is known as Arnulf of Ghent. Arnulf was the son of Dirk II, Count of Holland and Hildegard, thought to be a daughter of Arnulf of Flanders. Arnulf is first mentioned in 970. Like his father, his name appears in numerous Flemish documents at the time. In 983 Arnulf accompanied Emperor Otto II and future Emperor Otto III on their journey to Verona and Rome; as count he managed to expand his territories southwards. Arnulf donated several properties to Egmond Abbey, amongst others Hillegersberg and Overschie, which may have been rewards for the land-clearing activities of the monks of Egmond. Arnulf was the first count to come into conflict with the West-Frisians and in 993 he invaded deep into their territory, but on 18 September of that year he was defeated and killed in a battle near Winkel in West-Friesland, his son Dirk was still a boy at this time, but Arnulf's widow Luitgard managed to retain the county for her son with support from first Emperor Otto III and her brother-in-law, Emperor Henry II.
In May 980 Arnulf married a daughter of Siegfried, Count of Luxemburg. The couple had two sons. Arnulf, his wife and his sons were all buried at Egmond, he had a daughter, Adelina of Holland, married to Baldwin II, Count of Boulogne and Enguerrand I, Count of Ponthieu. On 20 September 993 Liutgard donated her properties at Rugge to Saint Peter's abbey of Ghent for the soul of her husband. In June 1005 she made peace with the West-Frisians through mediation by Emperor Henry. Cordfunke, Graven en Gravinnen van het Hollandse Huis. Cawley, Charles, HOLLAND, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy