Constance of France, Princess of Antioch
Constance of France was the daughter of King Philip I of France and Bertha of Holland. She was a member of the House of Capet and was Countess of Troyes from her first marriage and she was regent during the minority of her son. Her mother was repudiated by her father for Bertrade de Montfort and it caused the displeasure of the church and an interdict was placed on France several times as a result. Constance was the eldest of five children and was the daughter of her father from his first marriage. Constances brother was Louis VI of France, between 1093 and 1095, Phillip I arranged for his daughter, Constance, to marry Hugh, Count of Troyes and Champagne. Philip hoped to influence Hughs family, the powerful House of Blois, but the union between Constance and Hugh was too late to achieve the desired result. Hughs half-brother, Stephen II, Count of Blois, holder of most counties of the House of Blois was married, Stephen had married Adela of Normandy, daughter of William I of England, and their marriage had produced children.
After ten years and without any surviving issue, Constance demanded an annulment of their marriage, Constance obtained a divorce at Soissons on 25 December 1104, under grounds of consanguinity. Constance went to the court of Adela, wife of Stephen and she was acting as regent since Stephen was killed in the Holy Land. Adela was well educated and all seemed to be well at the Court and it appeared that Adela used all her power to help Constance get a divorce from Hugh, who left to fight in the Holy Land. At the same time, Bohemond I of Antioch was just released by the Turks and he returned to Europe to obtain relief for the Crusaders in the Holy Land. The regency of the Principality of Antioch was assured by Bohemonds nephew Tancred and he impressed audiences across France with gifts of relics from the Holy Land and tales of heroism while fighting the Saracens, gathering a large army in the process. Henry I of England famously prevented him landing on English shores. His new-found status won him the hand of Constance, so great was the reputation for valour of the French kingdom and of the Lord Louis that even the Saracens were terrified by the prospect of that marriage.
She was not engaged since she had broken off her agreement to wed Hugh, count of Troyes, and wished to avoid another unsuitable match. The marriage was celebrated in the cathedral of Chartres between 25 March and 26 May 1106, and the festivities were held at the court of Adela, who took part in negotiations. Pleased by his success, Bohemond resolved to use his army of 34,000 men, not to defend Antioch against the Greeks and he did so, but Alexius, aided by the Venetians, proved too strong, and Bohemond had to submit to a humiliating peace. After her marriage, Constance accompanied her husband to Apulia, where she gave birth to their first son, future Prince of Antioch, a second son, was born in Apulia between 1108 and 1111, but died in early infancy, ca
Suger was a French abbot and historian. He was one of the earliest patrons of Gothic architecture, and is credited with popularizing the style. Several times in his writings he suggests that his was a humble background, in 1091, at the age of ten, Suger was given as an oblate to the abbey of St. Denis, where he began his education. He trained at the priory of Saint-Denis de lEstrée, and there first met the future king Louis VI of France, from 1104 to 1106, Suger attended another school, perhaps that attached to the abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. In 1106 he became secretary to the abbot of Saint-Denis, in the following year he became provost of Berneval in Normandy, and in 1109 of Toury. In 1118, Louis VI sent Suger to the court of Pope Gelasius II at Maguelonne, on his return from Maguelonne, Suger became abbot of St-Denis. Until 1127, he occupied himself at court mainly with the affairs of the kingdom, while during the following decade he devoted himself to the reorganization. He bitterly opposed the divorce, having himself advised the marriage.
Although he disapproved of the Second Crusade, he himself, at the time of his death, had started preaching a new crusade, Suger served as the friend and counsellor both of Louis VI and Louis VII. He urged the king to destroy the bandits, was responsible for the royal tactics in dealing with the communal movements. He left his abbey, which possessed considerable property and embellished by the construction of a new built in the nascent Gothic style. Suger wrote extensively on the construction of the abbey in Liber de Rebus in Administratione sua Gestis, Libellus Alter de Consecratione Ecclesiae Sancti Dionysii, similarly the assumption by 19th century French authors that Suger was the designer of St Denis has been almost entirely discounted by more recent scholars. Instead he is seen as having been a bold and imaginative patron who encouraged the work of an innovative master mason. A chalice once owned by Suger is now in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. Abbot Suger and confidant of the French Kings, Louis VI and Louis VII, decided in about 1137 to rebuild the great Church of Saint-Denis, Suger began with the West front, reconstructing the original Carolingian façade with its single door.
He designed the façade of Saint-Denis to be an echo of the Roman Arch of Constantine with its three-part division, the rose window above the West portal is the earliest-known such example, although Romanesque circular windows preceded it in general form. At the completion of the west front in 1140, Abbot Suger moved on to the reconstruction of the eastern end and he designed a choir that would be suffused with light. The new structure was finished and dedicated on 11 June 1144, the Abbey of Saint-Denis thus became the prototype for further building in the royal domain of northern France
Anne of Kiev
Anne of Kiev, Anna Yaroslavna, Anna of Rus called Agnes, was the queen consort of Henry I of France, and regent of France during the minority of her son, Philip I of France, from 1060 until 1065. Anne founded St. Vincent Abbey in Senlis, Anne was born between 1024 and 1032. Her parents were Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev and Novgorod, there is not much information about her childhood, but she was evidently given a careful education, and could read and write, which was rare even among royal princesses at the time. In 1043–44, Anne was suggested to marry Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1049, the King of France sent an embassy to distant Kiev, which returned with Anne. But she did bring wealth to the match, including a jacinth which Suger mounted in the reliquary of St Denis and Henry I were married at the cathedral of Reims on 19 May 1051. Immediately after the ceremony, she was crowned queen of France and she became the first French queen to be crowned at Reims. Only one year after the marriage, Anne fulfilled her task by giving birth to an heir to the throne, Anne came to play an important personal role as queen of France.
As queen, it was her role to act as the manager of the court and household, supervise the upbringing of the royal children. But she came to play a political role, Queen Anne could ride a horse, was knowledgeable in politics, and actively participated in governing France. She accompanied Henry I on his travels around France. Many French documents bear her signature, written in old Slavic language, Henry I respected Anna so much that his many decrees bear the inscription With the consent of my wife Anna and In the presence of Queen Anna. French historians point out there are no other cases in the French history. On 4 August 1060, Henry I died and was succeeded by her son Philip I, by that time eight years old. During his minority, Anne, as a member of the council, acted as Regent of France. She was the first queen of France to serve as regent, Anne was a literate woman, rare for the time, but there was some opposition to her as regent on the grounds that her mastery of French was less than fluent.
In 1061, the Regent Anne reportedly took a fancy for Count Ralph IV of Valois. The traditional story describe how Ralph IV organized an abduction of Anne when she was hunting in the hunting grounds in Senlis and brought her to Crépy-en-Valois. Accused of adultery, Ralph IVs wife Eleanor de Montdidier appealed to Pope Alexander II, the Popes investigation resulted in the marriage between Anne and Ralph IV to be declared invalid and Ralph IV to be excommunicated in 1064
William the Conqueror
William I, usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward, after a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands, William was the son of the unmarried Robert I, Duke of Normandy, by Roberts mistress Herleva. His illegitimate status and his youth caused some difficulties for him after he succeeded his father, during his childhood and adolescence, members of the Norman aristocracy battled each other, both for control of the child duke and for their own ends. In 1047 William was able to quash a rebellion and begin to establish his authority over the duchy and his marriage in the 1050s to Matilda of Flanders provided him with a powerful ally in the neighbouring county of Flanders.
By the time of his marriage, William was able to arrange the appointments of his supporters as bishops and his consolidation of power allowed him to expand his horizons, and by 1062 William was able to secure control of the neighbouring county of Maine. In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England, held by the childless Edward the Confessor, his first cousin once removed. There were other claimants, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson. William argued that Edward had previously promised the throne to him, William built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, decisively defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. After further military efforts William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066 and he made arrangements for the governance of England in early 1067 before returning to Normandy. Several unsuccessful rebellions followed, but by 1075 Williams hold on England was mostly secure, Williams final years were marked by difficulties in his continental domains, troubles with his eldest son, and threatened invasions of England by the Danes.
In 1086 William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a listing all the landholders in England along with their holdings. William died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France and his reign in England was marked by the construction of castles, the settling of a new Norman nobility on the land, and change in the composition of the English clergy. He did not try to integrate his various domains into one empire, Williams lands were divided after his death, Normandy went to his eldest son, Robert Curthose, and his second surviving son, William Rufus, received England. Norsemen first began raiding in what became Normandy in the late 8th century, permanent Scandinavian settlement occurred before 911, when Rollo, one of the Viking leaders, and King Charles the Simple of France reached an agreement surrendering the county of Rouen to Rollo. The lands around Rouen became the core of the duchy of Normandy. Normandy may have used as a base when Scandinavian attacks on England were renewed at the end of the 10th century.
In an effort to improve matters, King Æthelred the Unready took Emma of Normandy, sister of Duke Richard II, as his second wife in 1002
Hugh Capet was the first King of the Franks of the House of Capet from his election in 987 until his death. He succeeded the last Carolingian king, Louis V, the son of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, and Hedwige of Saxony, daughter of the German king Henry the Fowler, Hugh was born in 941. Hugh Capet was born into a well-connected and powerful family with ties to the royal houses of France. Through his mother, Hugh was the nephew to Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, Henry I, Duke of Bavaria, Bruno the Great, Archbishop of Cologne, and finally, Gerberga of Saxony, Queen of France. Gerberga was the wife of Louis IV, King of France and mother of Lothair of France and Charles and 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. Hughs 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 nobles of West Francia began to assert that the monarchy was elective, not hereditary. Robert I, Hugh the Greats father, was succeeded as King of the Franks by his son-in-law, when Rudolph died in 936, Hugh the Great had to decide whether he ought to claim the throne for himself. To block his rivals, Hugh the Great brought Louis dOutremer and 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, 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, and of which he would one day be king, Hughs predecessors did not call themselves kings of France, and that title was not used by his successors until the time of his descendant, Philip II.
Kings ruled as rex Francorum, the 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 Hughs first cousin Otto II and by Ottos son, Otto III. The lands south of the river Loire had largely 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 largely independent, in 956, when his father Hugh the Great died, the eldest son, was about fifteen years old and had two younger brothers. In 954, Otto I appointed his brother Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lorraine, as guardian of Lothair, in 956, Otto gave him the same role over Hugh and the Robertian principality
House of Capet
The House of Capet or the Direct Capetians, called the House of France, or simply the Capets, ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians, historians in the 19th century came to apply the name Capetian to both the ruling house of France and to the wider-spread male-line descendants of Hugh Capet. It was not a contemporary practice and they were sometimes called the third race of kings, the Merovingians being the first, and the Carolingians being the second. The name is derived from the nickname of Hugh, the first Capetian King, the direct succession of French kings, father to son, from 987 to 1316, of thirteen generations in almost 330 years, was unparallelled in recorded history. The direct line of the House of Capet came to an end in 1328, with the death of Charles IV, the throne passed to the House of Valois, descended from a younger brother of Philip IV. He proceeded to make it hereditary in his family, by securing the election and coronation of his son, Robert II, the throne thus passed securely to Robert on his fathers death, who followed the same custom – as did many of his early successors.
Louis VIII – the eldest son and heir of Philip Augustus – married Blanche of Castile, a granddaughter of Aliénor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England. In her name, he claimed the crown of England, invading at the invitation of the English Barons and these lands were added to the French crown, further empowering the Capetian family. Louis IX – Saint Louis – succeeded Louis VIII as a child, unable to rule for several years, the government of the realm was undertaken by his mother, at the death of Louis IX, France under the Capetians stood as the pre-eminent power in Western Europe. Unfortunately for the Capetians, the proved a failure. Philip IV had married Jeanne, the heiress of Navarre and Champagne, by this marriage, he added these domains to the French crown. More importantly to French history, he summoned the first Estates General – in 1302 – and in 1295 established the so-called Auld Alliance with the Scots and it was Philip IV who presided over the beginning of his Houses end. The first quarter of the century saw each of Philips sons reign in rapid succession, Louis X, Philip V, Louis – unwilling to release his wife and return to their marriage – needed to remarry.
He arranged a marriage with his cousin, Clementia of Hungary and this proved the case, but the boy – King John I, known as the Posthumous – died after only 5 days, leaving a succession crisis. Eventually, it was decided based on several reasons that Joan was ineligible to inherit the throne, which passed to the Count of Poitiers. Marie died in 1324, giving birth to a stillborn son, the last of the direct Capetians were the daughters of Philip IVs three sons, and Philip IVs daughter, Isabella. Since they were female, they could not transmit their Capetian status to their descendants, the wife of Edward II of England, Isabella overthrew her husband in favour of her son and her co-hort, only for Edward III to execute Mortimer and have Isabella removed from power. Joan, the daughter of Louis X, succeeded on the death of Charles IV to the throne of Navarre, she now being – questions of paternity aside – the unquestioned heiress
Bertrade de Montfort
Bertrade de Montfort was a queen consort of France by marriage to Philip I of France. She was was the daughter of Simon I de Montfort and Agnes and her brother was Amaury de Montfort. According to the chronicler John of Marmoutier, The lecherous Fulk fell passionately in love with the sister of Amaury de Montfort, whom no good man ever praised save for her beauty. Bertrade and Fulk were married, and they became the parents of a son, Philip married her on 15 May 1092, despite the fact that they both had spouses living. He was so enamoured of Bertrade that he refused to leave her even when threatened with excommunication, pope Urban II did excommunicate him in 1095, and Philip was prevented from taking part in the First Crusade. Astonishingly, Bertrade persuaded Philip and Fulk to be friends, according to Orderic Vitalis, Bertrade was anxious that one of her sons succeed Philip, and sent a letter to King Henry I of England asking him to arrest her stepson Louis. Orderic claims she sought to kill Louis first through the arts of sorcery, whatever the truth of these allegations, Louis succeeded Philip in 1108.
Bertrade lived on until 1117, William of Malmesbury says, still young and beautiful, took the veil at Fontevraud Abbey, always charming to men, pleasing to God, and like an angel. Her son from her first marriage was Fulk V of Anjou who became King of Jerusalem iure uxoris, the dynasties founded by Fulks sons ruled for centuries, one of them in England, the other in Jerusalem
Bertha of Holland
Bertha of Holland, known as Berthe or Bertha of Frisia and erroneously as Berta or Bertrada, was queen consort of the Franks from 1072 until 1092, as the first wife of King Philip I. Berthas marriage to the king in 1072 was a result of negotiations between him and her stepfather, Count Robert the Frisian of Flanders. After nine years of childlessness, the couple had three children, including Philips successor, Louis the Fat. Philip, grew tired of his wife by 1090 and that marriage was a scandal since both Philip and Bertrada were already married to other people, at least until Queen Bertha died the next year. Bertha was the daughter of Count Floris I of Holland and his wife and she is erroneously referred to as Matilda by Chronologia Johannes de Beke. Bertha had six siblings and both of her parents came from large families and her father ruled a territory vaguely described as Friesland west of the Vlie, which is where Bertha spent her childhood. Count Floris I was assassinated in 1061, and two years her mother remarried to Robert of Flanders, now known as Robert the Frisian, became guardian of Bertha and her six siblings.
In 1070, Robert the Frisian became involved in a war with King Philip I of France over succession to the County of Flanders. Within two years and Philip concluded a treaty which was to be sealed by a marriage, Roberts own daughters were too young. Robert thus agreed to the marriage of his stepdaughter to King Philip, Bertha married Philip, thus becoming queen of the Franks, probably in 1072. Bertha had no kings among her ancestors and lacked even tenuous links with the Carolingian that her predecessors could claim. Consequently, contemporary chroniclers did not even try to present her lineage as more exalted than that of a counts daughter, the shortage of royal candidates made Bertha a suitable choice. Little is known about Berthas queenship and she co-signed only three donation charters. However, she plays a prominent role in the hagiography titled Vita Arnulfi, the hagiography describes how she used her regal power to expel Abbot Gerard of Saint-Médard and reinstate the former abbot, who had been removed due to his mismanagement of the abbey.
Saint Arnulf of Soissons warned her that doing so would incur the wrath of God and lead to her being out of the kingdom into exile. The queen furiously refused to listen to him, the hagiography, was written after Bertha died and during Bertradas queenship, which might explain the name confusion. For six years, King Philip and Queen Bertha were troubled by their childlessness and especially by the lack of male children, the birth of the long-awaited heir apparent had such a great impact that a story of a miracle developed around it. Reportedly, the couples fertility was only restored thanks to the prayers of a hermit, Arnulf informed Queen Bertha that she was expecting a son and that it would be appropriate to give him the Carolingian name of Louis