Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War, it was an early colonial power, with possessions around the world. France originated as West Francia, the western half of the Carolingian Empire, with the Treaty of Verdun. A branch of the Carolingian dynasty continued to rule until 987, when Hugh Capet was elected king and founded the Capetian dynasty; the territory remained known as Francia and its ruler as rex Francorum well into the High Middle Ages. The first king calling himself Roi de France was Philip II, in 1190. France continued to be ruled by the Capetians and their cadet lines—the Valois and Bourbon—until the monarchy was overthrown in 1792 during the French Revolution. France in the Middle Ages was a feudal monarchy. In Brittany and Catalonia the authority of the French king was felt. Lorraine and Provence were states of the Holy Roman Empire and not yet a part of France.
West Frankish kings were elected by the secular and ecclesiastic magnates, but the regular coronation of the eldest son of the reigning king during his father's lifetime established the principle of male primogeniture, which became codified in the Salic law. During the Late Middle Ages, the Kings of England laid claim to the French throne, resulting in a series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years' War. Subsequently, France sought to extend its influence into Italy, but was defeated by Spain in the ensuing Italian Wars. France in the early modern era was centralised. Religiously France became divided between the Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, the Huguenots, which led to a series of civil wars, the Wars of Religion. France laid claim to large stretches of North America, known collectively as New France. Wars with Great Britain led to the loss of much of this territory by 1763. French intervention in the American Revolutionary War helped secure the independence of the new United States of America but was costly and achieved little for France.
The Kingdom of France adopted a written constitution in 1791, but the Kingdom was abolished a year and replaced with the First French Republic. The monarchy was restored by the other great powers in 1814 and lasted until the French Revolution of 1848. During the years of the elderly Charlemagne's rule, the Vikings made advances along the northern and western perimeters of the Kingdom of the Franks. After Charlemagne's death in 814 his heirs were incapable of maintaining political unity and the empire began to crumble; the Treaty of Verdun of 843 divided the Carolingian Empire into three parts, with Charles the Bald ruling over West Francia, the nucleus of what would develop into the kingdom of France. Charles the Bald was crowned King of Lotharingia after the death of Lothair II in 869, but in the Treaty of Meerssen was forced to cede much of Lotharingia to his brothers, retaining the Rhone and Meuse basins but leaving the Rhineland with Aachen and Trier in East Francia. Viking advances were allowed to increase, their dreaded longships were sailing up the Loire and Seine rivers and other inland waterways, wreaking havoc and spreading terror.
During the reign of Charles the Simple, Normans under Rollo from Norway, were settled in an area on either side of the River Seine, downstream from Paris, to become Normandy. The Carolingians were to share the fate of their predecessors: after an intermittent power struggle between the two dynasties, the accession in 987 of Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, established the Capetian dynasty on the throne. With its offshoots, the houses of Valois and Bourbon, it was to rule France for more than 800 years; the old order left the new dynasty in immediate control of little beyond the middle Seine and adjacent territories, while powerful territorial lords such as the 10th- and 11th-century counts of Blois accumulated large domains of their own through marriage and through private arrangements with lesser nobles for protection and support. The area around the lower Seine became a source of particular concern when Duke William took possession of the kingdom of England by the Norman Conquest of 1066, making himself and his heirs the King's equal outside France.
Henry II inherited the Duchy of Normandy and the County of Anjou, married France's newly divorced ex-queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who ruled much of southwest France, in 1152. After defeating a revolt led by Eleanor and three of their four sons, Henry had Eleanor imprisoned, made the Duke of Brittany his vassal, in effect ruled the western half of France as a greater power than the French throne. However, disputes among Henry's descendants over the division of his French territories, coupled with John of England's lengthy quarrel with Philip II, allowed Philip II to recover influence over most of this territory. After the French victory at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214, the English monarchs maintained power only in southwestern Duchy of Guyenne; the death of Charles IV of France in 1328 without male heirs ended the main Capetian line. Under Salic law the crown could not pass through a woman (Philip IV's daughter
Maine is one of the traditional provinces of France. It corresponds to the former County of Maine, whose capital was the city of Le Mans; the area, now divided into the departments of Sarthe and Mayenne, counts about 857,000 inhabitants. In the 8th and 9th centuries there existed a Duchy of Cénomannie, which several of the Carolingian kings used as an appanage; this duchy was a march that may have included several counties including Maine, extended into Lower Normandy, all the way to the Seine. In 748, Pepin the Short Mayor of the Palace and thus the most powerful man in Francia after the king, gave this duchy to his half-brother Grifo. In 790 Charlemagne in turn gave it to Charles the Younger. Charlemagne's grandson, the future Charles the Bald, his son Louis the Stammerer inherited the title. At the height of the Scandinavian invasions Ragenold of Neustria held the title as well as the Neustrian march and the county of Maine, given to him on the death of Gauzfrid by Charles the Bald because Gauzfrid's children were too young to act in that capacity.
Ragenold, who may have been the son of Renaud d'Herbauges, died in 885 fighting the Vikings who were pillaging Rouen. The son-in-law of Charlemagne, was the count of Maine between 832 and 839. In the last half of the 9th century, Maine took on strategic importance because of invasions from Normandy and Brittany. Rorgon's son Gauzfrid in turn became Count of Maine, he fought against Salomon, King of Brittany and in 866 participated in the battle of Brissarthe alongside Robert the Strong, the Frankish Margrave of Neustria. In 924 King Rudolph of France was said to give Maine to the Norse nobleman Rollo, Duke of Normandy. Bordering the county of Anjou to the south and the Duchy of Normandy to the north, Maine became a bone of contention between the rulers of these more powerful principalities. Hugh III of Maine was forced to recognize Fulk Count of Anjou as his overlord. Sometime between 1045 and 1047 Hugh IV married Bertha, daughter of Odo II, Count of Blois and widow of Alan III, Duke of Brittany.
The Angevins did not want Maine to come under the influence of Blois, Count Geoffrey Martel invaded Maine. But the Normans did not want Maine to return to the Angevin orbit; the precise chronology is disputed, but it is clear that in 1051 Hugh IV died and the citizens of Le Mans opened their gate to the Angevins. Anjou wound up with effective control of most of the county, but the Normans did take several important strongholds on the Maine–Normandy border. Hugh IV's son Herbert II fled to the Norman court and his death in 1062 precipitated a succession crisis. Herbert died childless in 1062 after declaring William the Bastard Duke of Normandy, his heir, his sister Marguerite was engaged to William's eldest son, Robert Curthose and Herbert had taken refuge at William's court in 1056 when Geoffrey Martel, Duke of Anjou, invaded Le Mans. While the county was in Angevin hands, Anjou had its own succession problem. Duke William of Normandy claimed the county on their behalf of Herbert's young sister Margaret, betrothed to his son Robert Curthose.
The other claimant was Herbert's aunt Biota, a sister of Hugh IV, her husband Walter, Count of the Vexin. William invaded Maine in force in 1063 and despite stiff opposition Fulk IV, Count of Anjou, from local barons such as Geoffrey of Mayenne and Hubert de Sainte-Suzanne he controlled the county by the beginning of 1064. Biota and Walter were captured at the taking of Le Mans, they died sometime in 1063, poisoned, it was rumoured, though there is no hard evidence for this. Norman control of Maine secured the southern border of Normandy against Anjou and is one factor which enabled William to launch his successful invasion of England in 1066. In 1069 the citizens of Le Mans revolted against the Normans. Soon some of the Manceaux barons joined the revolt, the Normans were expelled in 1070, young Hugh V was proclaimed Count of Maine, he was the son of Azzo d'Este and his wife Gersendis, the other sister of Count Hugh IV. Azzo returned to Italy; the real power, was one of the Manceaux barons, Geoffrey of Mayenne, who may have been Gersendis' lover.
After Norman attacks in 1073, 1088, 1098 and 1099, Elias I succeeded his cousin Hugh V, who sold Maine to him in 1092 for ten thousand shillings. His daughter married Count of Anjou, who took Maine over in 1110 after the death of Elias. Henri Beauclerc, agreed to recognize him as Count of Maine so long as he acknowledged the Duke of Normandy as his overlord. Fulk's son Geoffrey Count of Anjou inherited Maine; when Geoffrey died in 1151, it passed to King Henry II of England. Since Henry had been Duke of Normandy since 1150, Anjou and Normandy all had the same ruler for the first time. Henry founded the Plantagenet dynasty in England. King Philip II of France attacked the Plantagenet holding, known as the Angevin Empire, being held by John, King of England; the Plantagenet loss of Normandy may have led to the increased sway of the House of Capet and thus to the Hundred Years' War, the French seneschal William des Roches took Touraine and Maine on behalf of the king. In 1331 the Count of Maine became a peer of the realm.
After the Battle of Verneuil in 1424, the English occupied Maine, John of Lancaster took the title of Duke. The English held Le Mans until 1448 and Fresnay until 1449. In 1481, Charles IV, Duke of Anjou bequeathed his lands to Louis XI of France, thus returning the county to the crown. At the beginning, a part of the Maine population supported the French revolution that took place in Par
Matilda of Tuscany
Matilda of Tuscany was a powerful feudal Margravine of Tuscany, ruler in northern Italy and the chief Italian supporter of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy. In 1076 she came into possession of a substantial territory that included present-day Lombardy, the Romagna and Tuscany, made the castle of Canossa, in the Apennines south of Reggio, the centre of her domains. Between 6 and 11 May 1111 she was crowned Imperial Vicar and Vice-Queen of Italy by Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor at the Castle of Bianello. Sometimes called la Gran Contessa or Matilda of Canossa after her ancestral castle of Canossa, Matilda was one of the most important figures of the Italian Middle Ages, she lived in a period of constant battles and excommunications, was able to demonstrate an extraordinary force enduring great pain and humiliation, showing an innate leadership ability. In a miniature in the early twelfth-century Vita Mathildis by the monk Donizo, Matilda is referred to as'Resplendent Matilda'.
Since the Latin word lucens is similar to lucensis, this may be a reference to Matilda's origins. She was descended from the nobleman Sigifred of Lucca, was the youngest of the three children of Margrave Boniface III of Tuscany, ruler of a substantial territory in Northern Italy and one of the most powerful vassals of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III. Matilda's mother, Beatrice of Lorraine, was the Emperor's first cousin and connected to the imperial household. Renowned for her learning, Matilda was literate in Latin, as well as reputed to speak German and French; the extent of Matilda's education in military matters is debated. It has been asserted that she was taught strategy, tactics and wielding weapons, but recent scholarship challenges these claims. Following the death of their father in 1052, Matilda's brother, inherited the family lands and titles under the regency of their mother. Matilda's sister, died the next year, making Matilda heir presumptive to Frederick's personal holdings. In 1054, determined to safeguard the interests of her children as well as her own, her mother married Godfrey the Bearded, a distant kinsman, stripped of the Duchy of Upper Lorraine after rebelling against Emperor Henry III.
Henry was enraged by Beatrice of Lorraine's unauthorised union with his most vigorous adversary and took the opportunity to have her arrested, along with Matilda, when he marched south to attend a synod in Florence on Pentecost in 1055. Frederick's rather suspicious death soon thereafter made Matilda the last member of the House of Canossa. Mother and daughter were taken to Germany, but Godfrey avoided capture. Unable to defeat him, Henry sought a rapproachment; the Emperor's death in October 1056, which brought to throne the underage Henry IV, seems to have accelerated the negotiations. Godfrey was reconciled with the crown and recognized as Margrave of Tuscany in December, while Beatrice and Matilda were released. By the time she and her mother returned to Italy, in the company of Pope Victor II, Matilda was formally acknowledged as heir to the greatest territorial lordship in the southern part of the Empire. Matilda's mother and stepfather became involved in the series of disputed papal elections during their regency, supporting the Gregorian Reforms.
Godfrey's brother Frederick became Pope Stephen IX, while both of the following two popes, Nicholas II and Alexander II, had been Tuscan bishops. Matilda made her first journey to Rome with her family in the entourage of Nicholas in 1059. Godfrey and Beatrice assisted them in dealing with antipopes, while the adolescent Matilda's role remains unclear. A contemporary account of her stepfather's 1067 expedition against Prince Richard I of Capua on behalf of the papacy mentions Matilda's participation in the campaign, describing it as the "first service that the most excellent daughter of Boniface offered to the blessed prince of the apostles." In 1069, Godfrey the Bearded lay dying in Verdun. Beatrice and Matilda hastened to reach Lorraine, anxious to ensure a smooth transition of power. Matilda was present at her stepfather's deathbed, on that occasion she is for the first time mentioned as the wife of her stepbrother, Godfrey the Hunchback, to whom she had been betrothed since childhood; the marriage proved a failure.
By the end of 1071, Matilda had returned to Tuscany. Matilda's bold decision to repudiate her husband ensured her independence. Beatrice started preparing Matilda for rule by holding court jointly with her and encouraging her to issue charters on her own as countess and duchess. Godfrey fiercely protested the separation and demanded that Matilda come back to him, which she refused; the Duke descended into Italy in 1072, determined to enforce the marriage. He sought the help of both Matilda's mother and her ally, the newly elected Pope Gregory VII, promising military aid to the latter. Matilda's resolution was unshakable, Godfrey returned to Lorraine alone, losing all hope by 1074. Rather than supporting the Pope as promised, Godfrey turned his attention to imperial affairs. Meanwhile, the conflict known as the Investit
The mark was a currency or unit of account in many nations. It is named for the mark unit of weight; the word mark comes from a merging of three Teutonic/Germanic words, Latinised in 9th-century post-classical Latin as marca, marha or marcus. It was a measure of weight for gold and silver used throughout Western Europe and equivalent to eight ounces. Considerable variations, occurred throughout the Middle Ages; as of 2018, the only circulating currency named "mark" is the Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark. "Mark" can refer to one of the following historical German currencies: Since the 11th century: the Kölner Mark, used in the Electorate of Cologne. In England the "mark" was only a unit of account, it was introduced in the 10th century by the Danes. According to 19th-century sources, it was equivalent to 100 pence, but after the Norman Conquest, it was worth 160 pence, two-thirds of a pound sterling. In Scotland, the merk Scots was a silver coin of that value, issued first in 1570 and afterwards in 1663.
In northern Germany and Scandinavia, the mark was a unit of account, a coin, worth 16 schillings or skillings. In an attempt to prevent debasement of the currency, the Bank of Hamburg was founded in 1619, after the example of the Bank of Amsterdam. Both these banks established a stable money of account; the Hamburg unit of account was the mark banco. It was credited by way of credit against collateral. No coins or banknotes were issued; the account holders could use their credit balances by remittances to other accounts or by drawing bills of exchange against them. These bills circulated and could be transferred by endorsement, were accepted as payment, they could be redeemed. This currency proved to be stable. Following German unification in 1871, the country adopted the German gold mark as its currency in 1873; the name was taken from the mark banco. The coins and banknotes of the various predecessor currencies, such as the thaler, the kreuzer, the guilder, continued to circulate, were treated as fixed multiples of the new unit of account to the introduction period of the euro between 1999 and 2002.
Coins denominated in gold marks were first issued in 1871, replaced the old coins. The mark banco was converted into the new gold mark at par; the Bank of Hamburg was incorporated as the Hamburg subsidiary into the newly founded Reichsbank, issuing banknotes denominated in gold marks. In 1914, the Reichsbank stopped demanding first-class collateral; the gold mark became a weak currency, colloquially referred to as the paper mark, in order to finance the war effort. In 1918, the pre-war sound money policy was not re-established, the continuing loose money policy resulted in inflation, in 1923, in hyperinflation. In late 1923, when the paper mark had become worthless, it was replaced by a new currency, the Rentenmark; the new currency was issued by the newly established Rentenbank as credit to borrowers, but requiring collateral in the form of first-class claims to real estate. In 1924, the Reichsbank stopped providing unrestricted credit against worthless financial bills, pegged its new currency, the Reichsmark, to the stable Rentenmark.
The Reichsbank rationed its lending, so that the Reichsmark remained at par with the stable Rentenmark. The currencies continued to exist in parallel, were both abbreviated RM; the original intention was to withdraw the Rentenmark by 1934, but the Nazi government decided to continue to use the Rentenmark, which enjoyed a considerable trust due to its stability. The Nazis deliberately overissued both currencies to finance infrastructure investments by the state, expanded government employment and expenditure on items such as armaments. By 1935, laws limiting increases of prices and rents were needed to suppress inflation. Enormous extra taxes, charged on real estate owners, on the occasion of the anti-Semitic November Pogrom, on J
Henri Decaisne was a Belgian historical and portrait painter. Decaisne was born at Brussels in 1799; as early as 1814 he began to study painting under François, in 1818 upon the advice of David he went to Paris and entered the studio of Girodet, whence he removed to that of Gros. Several pictures by him are at Versailles. In 1839 he completed his colossal work,' Les Belges Illustres.' He died in Paris in 1852. Among his best works are: The Queen of the Belgians. 1835. The Duke of Orleans. 1833. The Princess Clementina of Orleans. 1833. Madame Malibran as Desdemona. 1831. Victor Schoelcher. 1833. Alphonse de Lamartine. 1839. An Indian Family in Exile. 1824. Milton dictating'Paradise Lost' to his Daughter. 1827. Charles I taking leave of his Children. 1827. Cromwell and his Daughter. 1829. Mater Dolorosa. 1835. Hagar in the Desert. 1836. The Guardian Angel. 1836. Charity. 1839. The Adoration of the Shepherds. 1841. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Michael. "De Caisne, Henri". In Graves, Robert Edmund.
Bryan's Dictionary of Engravers. I. London: George Bell & Sons. Media related to Henri Decaisne at Wikimedia Commons
William II of England
William II, the third son of William the Conqueror, was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers over Normandy, influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is known as William Rufus because of his ruddy appearance or, more due to having red hair as a child that grew out in life. William was a figure of complex temperament, capable of both flamboyance, he did not marry, nor did he father any offspring, which has led to speculations of possible homosexuality by historians. He died under circumstances that remain unclear. Circumstantial evidence in the behaviour of those around him raise strong, but unproven, suspicions of murder, his younger brother Henry I hurriedly succeeded him as king. Barlow says he was "A rumbustious, devil-may-care soldier, without natural dignity or social graces, with no cultivated tastes and little show of conventional religious piety or morality—indeed, according to his critics, addicted to every kind of vice lust and sodomy."
On the other hand, he was a wise ruler and victorious general. Barlow finds that, "His chivalrous achievements were all too obvious, he had maintained good order and satisfactory justice in England and restored good peace to Normandy. He had extended Anglo-Norman rule in Wales, brought Scotland under his lordship, recovered Maine, kept up the pressure on the Vexin." William's exact date of birth is not known, but it was some time between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons born to William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders, the eldest being Robert Curthose, the second Richard, the youngest Henry. William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death in 1087, but Robert inherited Normandy. Richard had died around 1075 while hunting in the New Forest. William had six sisters; the existence of sisters Adeliza and Matilda is not certain, but four sisters are more securely attested: Adela, who married the Count of Blois Cecily, who became a nun Agatha, who died unmarried Constance, who married the Duke of Brittany.
Records indicate strained relations between the three surviving sons of William I. William's contemporary, chronicler Orderic Vitalis, wrote about an incident that took place at L'Aigle in Normandy in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by emptying a chamber pot onto their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, their father had to intercede to restore order. According to William of Malmesbury, writing in the 12th century, William Rufus was "well set; the division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the English Channel. Since the younger William and his brother Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other, or both; the only solution, as they saw it, was to unite Normandy once more under one ruler.
The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, a half-brother of William the Conqueror. As Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1091 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands; the two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine. This plan was abandoned, but William continued to pursue a ferociously warlike defence of his French possessions and interests to the end of his life, exemplified by his response to the attempt by Elias de la Flèche, Count of Maine, to take Le Mans in 1099. William Rufus was thus secure in what was the most powerful kingdom in Europe, given the contemporary eclipse of the Salian emperors.
As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations. The king's personal power, through an effective and loyal chancery, penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France; the king's administration and law unified the realm, rendering him impervious to papal condemnation. In 1097 he commenced the original Westminster Hall, which when completed in 1099 was the largest hall in Europe, built "to impress his subjects with the power and majesty of his authority". Less than two years after becoming king, William II lost his father William I's adviser and confidant, the Italian-Norman Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. After Lanfranc's death in 1089, the king delayed appointing a new archbishop for many years, appropriating ecclesiastical revenues in the interim. In panic, owing to serious illness in 1093, William nominated as archbishop another Norman-Italian, Anselm – considered the greatest theologian of his generation – but this led to a long period of animosity between Church and State, Anselm being a stronger supporter of the Gregorian reforms in the Church than Lanfranc.
William and Anselm disagreed on a range of ecclesiastica
Vexin is a historical county of northwestern France. It covers a verdant plateau on the right bank of the Seine running east to west between Pontoise and Romilly-sur-Andelle, north to south between Auneuil and the Seine near Vernon; the plateau is crossed by the Andelle river valleys. The name Vexin is derived from a name for a Gaulish tribe now known as the Veliocasses, they had made Rouen their most important city. The Norse nobleman Rollo of Normandy, the first ruler of the Viking principality that became Normandy, made several incursions into the western half of the county, he halted his actions when the Carolingian king Charles the Simple abandoned the part of the territory that Rollo occupied under the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911. The terms of the treaty established the Duchy of Normandy and fixed its boundary with the Kingdom of France along the river Epte; this divided the county of Vexin into two parts: Norman Vexin, bounded by the rivers Epte and Seine, which became part of the Duchy of Normandy.
French Vexin, bounded by the rivers Epte and Seine, which remained part of the Île-de-France province. During the twelfth century, the county of Vexin was a contested border between the Angevin kings of England and Capetian France, it was of particular importance due to its close proximity to Paris and the location of the route to the coastal cities of Normandy. As a result, Vexin was the site of defensive castle construction, notably at Château Gaillard. Today, the county's territory is shared by parts of five departments of France: Val-d'Oise and Yvelines in the Île-de-France region; the major towns are Pontoise, Meulan-en-Yvelines and Les Andelys. The plateau is an agricultural region with some manufacturing located in the valleys; the French Impressionist artist Claude Monet made his home at Giverny, the Dutch Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh painted the wheat fields of Vexin. A regional nature park was established in the French Vexin in 1995. Ownership of Vexin, the court intrigue related to securing it, is a key plot point in James Goldman's play The Lion in Winter.
It features in the Angevin novels of Sharon Kay Penman. Latouche, Robert. "Normandy". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 19. Cambridge University Press. Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, Carte du Vexin, Beauvoisis, et Hurepoix, historical map of the Vexin region by Christophe Nicolas Tassin