||Louis VI (Capet) de France was a member of aristocracy in Europe.|
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ouis VI, King of France, from 1108 to 1137, was a member of the house of Capet. He was known as Louis "le Gros" (the fat).
Louis VI, the son of Philip I and Bertha of Holland, was born in Paris, the 1st of December 1081. He died the 1st of August 1137 at the castle of Béthisy-Saint-Pierre, near Senlis and Compiègne. He is buried at Saint Denis Basilica, Paris, France.
When Louis was a young man, of twelve or thirteen he was “elegant and handsome.” He had a good character and a “fine body.” He loved the church, especially St. Denis. He loved France, and defended its poor, and it could be foreseen, even at his young age, that he would be good for the future of France.
“William king of the English was skilled in military arts, avid for praise and eager for fame.” He (William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror) pushed against the French borders of Normandy, hoping to add to his kingdom. The young Louis pushed back, fearlessly, so that eventually William returned to England, where he was killed by a “mis-aimed” arrow and his brother Henry became king. As Henry reigned the borders between Normandy and France were sometimes at peace and sometimes a battleground, with neither side winning or losing unequivocally. Louis did not hesitate to ride into battle. He fought beside his armies and nobles to protect and defend his subjects, the churches of France, his lands, and his property.
In 1098, he was elected “rex designatus,” and in 1101 his father, Philip I, invested him as Count de Vermandois, effectively transfering power to Louis. Upon the king’s death, in 1108, he succeeded his father.
Fearing that plots by the “evil” men of the domain, would prevent Louis from ascending the throne, the Bishops and the assembly attending Philip’s funeral decided to quicken Louis’ elevation to King. On the feast of St. Stephen, Daimbert, Archbishop of Sens, anointed Louis as King. Barely had the festive garments been removed when bearers of the letters of protest arrived to forbid the coronation.
“Because the hand of kings is very powerful, in virtue of the right attached to their office they repress the audacity of tyrants each time they see them provoking wars, or taking infinite pleasure in pillage, in harming the poor or in destroying the churches.” Under this duty and right Louis VI went about destroying such men as the “pernicious” Thomas of Marle, the wicked Hugh de Puiset, and William, the brother-in-law, of Guy de Roche-Guyon. These men and their fortresses were attacked by Louis. The rebellious noblemen were frequently tortured and killed, although sometimes after proper penitence, they were allowed to live.
As an example, Count Charles, cousin to Louis, and ruler of Flanders, was treacherously beheaded by a group of low born, rich men, who were attempting to rise above their stations by this murder. Louis, went to Flanders, where first he established William of Normandy, who had a blood claim, as Count of Flanders. Then he exacted vengence on the traitors. He had the main group besieged in a tower. A couple were able to escape, but when captured they were tortured, and hung out live to be feasted on by crows, etc., where they died. Eventually the beseiged group in the tower had to surrender and were thrown from the tower window. Only William the Bastard who had encited the murder remained. His castle was captured by a flanking movement and William was banished.
Emperor Henry, of Germany, had been excommunicated at Rheims, and so held a grudge against Louis. He gathered an army, had some council and help from Henry of England and planned a coup against Rheims, with the thought to destroy it. Louis heard about it, informed his nobles, called a levy for men, said some prayers, and at the head of a handful of men left for battle. As he progressed, armies joined him: men of Rheims and Chalons, comprisied more than sixty thousand knights and foot-soldiers; men of Laon and Soisson were equally numerous. There were men from Orleans, Étampes and Paris, and of course St. Denis; the duke of Burgundy, the count of Nevers, Raoul count of Vermandois joined; a large force from St. Quentin; men of Ponthieu, Amiens and Beauvais; The Count of Flanders came “with ten thousand men eager for battle.” Even Count Thibaud, who was working with the English Henry, came to the defense of France.
This was a huge army, drawn from a vast territory, ready to defend France against the Emperor Henry. Poor Henry, outnumbered, left. He was totally demoralized and died within the year. The clergy was able to convince the French Army not to overun Germany itself. The French without shedding a drop of blood had obtained a great victory. “The king in person carried on his own shoulders his lords and patrons, and in tears like a dutiful son he put them back in their usual place; then he rewarded them for the benefits he had received on this and other occasions, with gifts of land and other comforts.”
In 1131, Philip, son and heir to the throne of France, was out riding. His horse “collided with a devil of a pig in the road, and fell down very heavily, throwing the noble boy his rider against a stone, which crushed him to pieces under its weight.” Suger, saw the grief of Louis, and worried that it might cause his sudden death. He counseled the King to immediately name the young Louis to be co-ruler of the kingdom. And so the young Louis was raised to royalty and crowned.
Towards the end of his life, Louis turned his throne and his earthly kingdom over to his son and heir Louis VII. “For the love of God,” he gave his riches and wealth to the poor and the churches of France, saving a special portion for his friend and advisor the abbot Suger to be used at St. Denis. When the Duke of Aquitaine, at his death gave the care of his kingdom and the care of his daughter Elenor into the hands of Louis. Louis married Elenor to his son Louis, who had her crowned Queen of France and married her.
And so Louis, weak from frequent bouts of diarrhea, and the cares of his kingdom, at the end, lay down on a cross of ashes placed on a sheet on the floor, and there died.
Louis VI married Lucienne de Rochefort in 1104. This marriage was annulled on causes of consanguinity (close blood relationships).
Louis VI married second, in Paris, in April 1115, Adélaide de Maurienne (1092–1154), alternately called Adelaide de Savoy. She was the daughter of Count Humbert II of Savoy and Gisela of Burgundy.
First Child Isabelle by Lucienne de Rochefort. Other children by Adelaide de Savoy.
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