Charles VIII of France

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Charles VIII
Charles VIII Ecole Francaise 16th century Musee de Conde Chantilly.jpg
King of France
Reign30 August 1483 – 7 April 1498
Coronation 30 May 1484 (Reims)
Predecessor Louis XI
Successor Louis XII
Regent Anne of France (1483–1491)
Born30 June 1470
Château d'Amboise, France
Died7 April 1498(1498-04-07) (aged 27)
Château d'Amboise, France
Burial
Saint Denis Basilica, France (body)
Notre-Dame de Cléry Basilica, Cléry-Saint-André, France (heart)
Spouse
Issue
among others...
Charles Orlando, Dauphin of France
House Valois
Father Louis XI, King of France
Mother Charlotte of Savoy
Religion Roman Catholicism
French Monarchy
Capetian Dynasty
(House of Valois)
Arms of the Kingdom of France (Ancien).svg
Philip VI
Children
John II
Philip, Duke of Orléans
John II
Children
Charles V
Louis I of Anjou
John, Duke of Berry
Philip the Bold
Charles V
Children
Charles VI
Louis, Duke of Orléans
Charles VI
Children
Isabella of Valois
Michelle of Valois
Catherine of Valois
Charles VII
Charles VII
Children
Louis XI
Charles, Duke of Berry
Louis XI
Children
Charles VIII
Charles VIII

Charles VIII, called the Affable (French : l'Affable; 30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498), was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. [1] His elder sister Anne acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon [1] [2] until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485–1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Anne of France Regent of France

Anne of France was a French princess and regent, the eldest daughter of Louis XI by Charlotte of Savoy. Anne was the sister of Charles VIII, for whom she acted as regent during his minority from 1483 until 1491. During the regency she was one of the most powerful women of late fifteenth-century Europe, and was referred to as "Madame la Grande". Between 1503 and 1521, she also acted as de facto regent of the Duchy of Bourbon during the reign of her daughter Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon.

A regent is a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. Regent is sometimes a formal title. If the regent is holding his position due to his position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is his mother, she is often referred to as queen regent.

Contents

In a remarkable stroke of audacity, Charles married Anne of Brittany in 1491 after she had already been married by proxy to the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in a ceremony of questionable validity. Preoccupied by the problematic succession in the Kingdom of Hungary, Maximilian failed to press his claim. Upon his marriage, Charles became administrator of Brittany and established a personal union that enabled France to avoid total encirclement by Habsburg territories.

Anne of Brittany Duchess of Brittany and twice Queen of France

Anne of Brittany was Duchess of Brittany from 1488 until her death, and queen consort of France from 1491 to 1498 and from 1499 to her death. She is the only woman to have been queen consort of France twice. During the Italian Wars, Anne also became queen consort of Naples, from 1501 to 1504, and duchess consort of Milan, in 1499–1500 and from 1500 to 1512.

Holy Roman Emperor Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Emperor, officially the Emperor of the Romans, and also the German-Roman Emperor, was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

Maximilian I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death. He was never crowned by the pope, as the journey to Rome was always too risky. He was instead proclaimed emperor elect by Pope Julius II at Trent, thus breaking the long tradition of requiring a papal coronation for the adoption of the imperial title. Maximilian was the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal. He ruled jointly with his father for the last ten years of the latter's reign, from c. 1483 to his father's death in 1493.

To secure his rights to the Neapolitan throne that René of Anjou had left to his father, Charles made a series of concessions to neighbouring monarchs and conquered the Italian peninsula without much opposition. A coalition formed against the French invasion of 1494–98 finally drove out Charles' army, but Italian Wars would dominate Western European politics for over 50 years.

René of Anjou 15th-century French prince, briefly King of Naples

René of Anjou, also known as René I of Naples and Good King René, was count of Piedmont, Duke of Bar (1430–80), Duke of Lorraine (1431–53), Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence (1434–80), briefly King of Naples, titular King of Jerusalem (1438–80) and Aragon including Sicily, Majorca and Corsica (1466–70).

Italian War of 1494–1498 war

The First Italian War, sometimes referred to as the Italian War of 1494 or Charles VIII's Italian War, was the opening phase of the Italian Wars. The war pitted Charles VIII of France, who had initial Milanese aid, against the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and an alliance of Italian powers led by Pope Alexander VI.

Italian Wars Wars in Italy from the 15th to 16th centuries

The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a long series of wars fought between 1494 and 1559 in Italy during the Renaissance. The Italian peninsula, economically advanced but politically divided between several states, became the main battleground for European supremacy. The conflicts involved the major powers of Italy and Europe, in a series of events that followed the end of the 40-years long Peace of Lodi agreed in 1454 with the formation of an Italic League.

Charles died in 1498 after accidentally striking his head on the lintel of a door at the Château d'Amboise, his place of birth. Since he had no male heir, he was succeeded by his cousin Louis XII of France from the Orléans cadet branch of the House of Valois.

Château dAmboise château located in Amboise, France

The Château d'Amboise is a château in Amboise, located in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. Confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it became a favoured royal residence and was extensively rebuilt. King Charles VIII died at the château in 1498 after hitting his head on a door lintel. The château fell into decline from the second half of the 16th century and the majority of the interior buildings were later demolished, but some survived and have been restored, along with the outer defensive circuit of towers and walls. It has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1840. The Château d'Amboise is situated at an elevation of 81 meters.

Louis XII of France King of France

Louis XII was King of France from 1498 to 1515 and King of Naples from 1501 to 1504. The son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Maria of Cleves, he succeeded his cousin Charles VIII, who died without a closer heir in 1498.

In history and heraldry, a cadet branch consists of the male-line descendants of a monarch or patriarch's younger sons (cadets). In the ruling dynasties and noble families of much of Europe and Asia, the family's major assets—realm, titles, fiefs, property and income—have historically been passed from a father to his firstborn son in what is known as primogeniture; younger sons—cadets—inherited less wealth and authority to pass to future generations of descendants.

Life

Youth

Charles was born at the Château d'Amboise in France, the only surviving son of King Louis XI by his second wife Charlotte of Savoy. [2] His godparents were Charles II, Duke of Bourbon (the godchild's namesake), Joan of Valois, Duchess of Bourbon, and the teenage Edward of Westminster, the son of Henry VI of England who had been living in France since the deposition of his father by Edward IV. [3] Charles succeeded to the throne on 30 August 1483 at the age of 13. His health was poor. He was regarded by his contemporaries as possessing a pleasant disposition, but also as foolish and unsuited for the business of the state. In accordance with the wishes of Louis XI, the regency of the kingdom was granted to Charles' elder sister Anne, a formidably intelligent and shrewd woman described by her father as "the least foolish woman in France." [4] She would rule as regent, together with her husband Peter of Bourbon, until 1491.

Charlotte of Savoy French queen

Charlotte of Savoy was queen of France as the second spouse of Louis XI. She served as regent during the king's absence in 1465, and was a member of the royal regency council during her son's minority in 1483.

Charles II, Duke of Bourbon Catholic cardinal and Duke of Burbon

Charles II, Duke of Bourbon, was Archbishop of Lyon from an early age and a French diplomat under the rule of Louis XI of France. He had a 2-week tenure as Duke of Bourbon in 1488, being ousted afterward by his younger brother and successor, Peter II, Duke of Bourbon.

Edward of Westminster, also known as Edward of Lancaster, was the only son of King Henry VI of England and Margaret of Anjou. He was killed aged seventeen at the Battle of Tewkesbury, making him the only heir apparent to the English throne to die in battle.

Marriages

Charles was betrothed on 22 July 1483 to the 3-year-old Margaret of Austria, daughter of the Archduke Maximilian of Austria (later Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I) and Mary, Duchess of Burgundy. The marriage was arranged by Louis XI, Maximilian, and the Estates of the Low Countries as part of the 1482 Peace of Arras between France and the Duchy of Burgundy. Margaret brought the Counties of Artois and Burgundy to France as her dowry, and she was raised in the French court as a prospective Queen consort.

Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy Austrian archduchess

Archduchess Margaret of Austria, Princess of Asturias and Duchess of Savoy by her two marriages, was Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1507 to 1515 and again from 1519 to 1530.

Treaty of Arras (1482)

The Treaty of Arras was signed at Arras on 23 December 1482 by King Louis XI of France and Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg as heir of the Burgundian Netherlands in the course of the Burgundian succession crisis.

Duchy of Burgundy historic principality

The Duchy of Burgundy emerged in the 9th century as one of the successors of the ancient Kingdom of the Burgundians, which after its conquest in 532 had formed a constituent part of the Frankish Empire. Upon the 9th-century partitions, the French remnants of the Burgundian kingdom were reduced to a ducal rank by King Robert II of France in 1004. Robert II's son and heir, King Henry I of France, inherited the duchy but ceded it to his younger brother Robert in 1032. Other portions had passed to the Imperial Kingdom of Arles and the County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté).

In 1488, however, Francis II, Duke of Brittany, died in a riding accident, leaving his 11-year-old daughter Anne as his heir. Anne, who feared for the independence of her duchy against the ambitions of France, arranged a marriage in 1490 between herself and the widower Maximilian, thus making Anne a stepmother to Margaret of Austria. The regent Anne of France and her husband Peter refused to countenance such a marriage, however, since it would place Maximilian and his family, the Habsburgs, on two French borders. The French army invaded Brittany, taking advantage of the preoccupation of Frederick III and his son with the disputed succession to Mathias Corvinus, King of Hungary. [5] Anne of Brittany was forced to renounce Maximilian (whom she had only married by proxy) and agree to be married to Charles VIII instead. [6]

Marriage to Anne of Brittany at the Chateau de Langeais. Loire Indre Langeais tango7174.jpg
Marriage to Anne of Brittany at the Château de Langeais.

In December 1491, in an elaborate ceremony at the Château de Langeais, Charles and Anne of Brittany were married. The 14-year-old Duchess Anne, not happy with the arranged marriage, arrived for her wedding with her entourage carrying two beds. However, Charles's marriage brought him independence from his relatives and thereafter he managed affairs according to his own inclinations. Queen Anne lived at the Clos Lucé in Amboise.

There still remained the matter of Charles' first betrothed, the young Margaret of Austria. Although the cancellation of her betrothal meant that she by rights should have been returned to her family, Charles did not initially do so, intending to marry her usefully elsewhere in France. It was a difficult situation for Margaret, who informed her father in her letters that she was so determined to escape that she would even flee Paris in her nightgown if it gave her freedom. Eventually, in 1493, she was returned to her family, together with her dowry – though the Duchy of Burgundy was retained in the Treaty of Senlis.

Around the king there was a circle of court poets, the most memorable being the Italian humanist Publio Fausto Andrelini from Forlì, who spread the New Learning in France. During a pilgrimage to pay respects to his father's remains, Charles observed Mont Aiguille and ordered Antoine de Ville to ascend to the summit in an early technical alpine climb, later alluded to by Rabelais. [7] [8]

Italian War

Charles VIII Charles VIII l'Affable.jpg
Charles VIII
Anne of Brittany as Queen Anne de bretagne.jpg
Anne of Brittany as Queen

To secure France against invasions, Charles made treaties with Maximilian I of Austria (the Treaty of Barcelona with Maximilian of Austria on 19 January 1493) [9] and England, (the Treaty of Étaples with England on 3 November 1492) [10] buying their neutrality with large concessions. The English monarch Henry VII had forced Charles to abandon his support for the pretender Perkin Warbeck by despatching an expedition which laid siege to Boulogne. He devoted France's resources to building up a large army, including one of Europe's first siege trains with artillery.

In 1489, Pope Innocent VIII (1484–1492), then being at odds with Ferdinand I of Naples, offered Naples to Charles, who had a vague claim to the Kingdom of Naples through his paternal grandmother, Marie of Anjou. Innocent's policy of meddling in the affairs of other Italian states [11] was continued by his successor, Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), when the latter supported a plan for a carving out a new state in central Italy. The new state would have impacted on Milan more than any of the other states involved.[ citation needed ] Consequently, in 1493, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, appealed for help to Charles VIII. [12] The next year in 1494, Milan faced an additional threat. On 25 January 1494, Ferdinand I, King of Naples, died unexpectedly. [13] His death made Alfonso II, king of Naples. Alfonso II laid claim to the Milanese duchy. [14] Alfonso II now urged Charles to take Milan militarily. Charles was also urged on in this adventure by his favorite courtier, Étienne de Vesc. Thus, Charles came to imagine himself capable of actually taking Naples, and invaded Italy.

In an event that was to prove a watershed in Italian history, [15] Charles invaded Italy with 25,000 men (including 8,000 Swiss mercenaries) in September 1494 and marched across the peninsula virtually unopposed. He arrived in Pavia on 21 October 1494 and entered Pisa on 8 November 1494. [16] The French Army subdued Florence in passing on their way south. Reaching Naples on 22 February 1495, [17] the French Army took Naples without a pitched battle or siege; Alfonso was expelled, and Charles was crowned King of Naples.

There were those in the Republic of Florence who appreciated the presence of the French king and his Army. The famous friar Savonarola believed that King Charles VIII was God's tool to purify the corruption of Florence. He believed that once Charles had ousted the evil sinners of Florence, the city would become a center of morality. Thus, Florence was the appropriate place to restructure the Church. This situation would eventually spill over into another conflict between Pope Alexander VI, who despised the idea of having the king in northern Italy where the Pope feared the King of France would interfere with the Papal States, [18] and Savonarola, who called for the king's intervention. This conflict would eventually lead Savonarola to be suspected of heresy and to be executed by the State.

The speed and power of the French advance frightened the other Italian rulers, including the Pope and even Ludovico of Milan. They formed an anti-French coalition, the League of Venice on 31 March 1495. The formation of the League of Venice, which included the northern Italian states of Duchy of Milan, the Republic of Venice, the Duchy of Mantua, and the Republic of Florence in addition to the Kingdom of Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Naples, appeared to have trapped Charles in southern Italy and blocked his return to France. Charles would have to cross the territory of at least some of the League members to return home to France. At the Fornovo in July 1495, the League defeated Charles. However, it was a pyrrhic victory because the French too celebrated Fornovo as a victory for them. [19] The League lost 2,000 men to his 1,000 and, although Charles lost nearly all the booty of the campaign and had to withdraw to France, the League was unable to stop him from crossing their territory on his way back to France. Meanwhile, Charles' remaining garrisons in Naples were quickly subdued by Aragonese forces sent by Ferdinand II of Aragon, ally of Alfonso on 6–7 July 1495. [20] Thus in the end, Charles VIII lost all the gains that he had made in Italy in 1494.

Over the next few years, Charles VIII tried to rebuild his army and resume the campaign, but he was hampered by the large debts incurred in 1494–95. He never succeeded in gaining anything substantive.

Death

Charles died in 1498, two and a half years after his retreat from Italy, as the result of an accident. While on his way to watch a game of jeu de paume (real tennis) in Amboise he struck his head on the lintel of a door. [21] At around 2pm, while returning from the game, he fell into a sudden coma, and died nine hours later. [22]

Legacy

The Coat of arms of Charles VIII. The arms show on one escutcheon France Moderne, three fleur-de-lys on a blue background, and on another escutcheon France Ancienne: Azure, semy of fleur-de lys or (a larger number of smaller fleur-de lys), quartered with Jerusalem cross, the traditional arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Charles VIII was matrilineally descended from the House of Lusignan, the Kings of Jerusalem. Independent of this descent, Charles VIII also made claims to the Kingdom of Naples, a title which also included a separate titular claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Armes charles 8 france et naples.png
The Coat of arms of Charles VIII. The arms show on one escutcheon France Moderne , three fleur-de-lys on a blue background, and on another escutcheon France Ancienne: Azure, semy of fleur-de lys or (a larger number of smaller fleur-de lys), quartered with Jerusalem cross, the traditional arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Charles VIII was matrilineally descended from the House of Lusignan, the Kings of Jerusalem. Independent of this descent, Charles VIII also made claims to the Kingdom of Naples, a title which also included a separate titular claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Charles bequeathed a meagre legacy: he left France in debt and in disarray as a result of his ambition. However, his expedition did strengthen cultural ties to Italy, energizing French art and letters in the latter part of the Renaissance.[ citation needed ]

Since his children predeceased him, Charles was the last of the elder branch of the House of Valois. Upon his death, the throne passed to his father's second cousin, the Duke of Orléans, who reigned as King Louis XII.[ citation needed ]

Left childless at his death, Charles' widow, Anne returned to Brittany and there, as hereditary Duchess of Brittany, began steps to regain the independence of the duchy. It was exactly to stymie these moves toward independence that Charles VIII's successor—Louis XII—had his 24-year marriage to Joan of France annulled so that he could marry Anne of Brittany on 7 June 1500. [23]

Issue

The marriage with Anne resulted in the birth of seven children, who all died young:

Media

Charles VIII's invasion of Italy and his relations with Pope Alexander VI are depicted in the novel The Sultan's Helmsman.

In the 2011 Showtime series The Borgias , Charles VIII is portrayed by French actor Michel Muller. In the 2011 French-German historical drama Borgia , Charles VIII is played by Simon Larvaron. The event of the king's death is depicted in the TV series Borgia with a small twist: in the episode, Charles himself plays a game of jeu de paume with Cesare Borgia and loses; while leaving the game, Charles strikes his head on the lintel of a door.

Ancestry

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Paul Murray Kendall, Louis XI: The Universal Spider (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1971), p. 373-374.
  2. 1 2 Stella Fletcher, The Longman Companion to Renaissance Europe, 1390–1530, (Routledge, 1999), 76.
  3. Desormeaux, Joseph-Louis Ripault (1776). Histoire de la maison de Bourbon, Tome II. Paris: Imprimerie royale. p. 249. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  4. Joni M. Hand, Women, Manuscripts and Identity in Northern Europe, 1350–1550, (Ashgate Publishing, 2013), 24.
  5. Tóth, Gábor Mihály (2008). "Trivulziana Cod. N. 1458: A New Testimony of the "Landus Report"" (PDF). Verbum Analecta Neolatina. X (1): 139–158. doi:10.1556/Verb.10.2008.1.9 . Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  6. Hare, Christopher (1907). The high and puissant princess Marguerite of Austria, princess dowager of Spain, duchess dowager of Savoy, regent of the Netherlands. Harper & Brothers. pp. 43–44.
  7. "Histoire et Événements" (in French). p. Le Mont Aiguille – Supereminet invius. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  8. "L'ascension historique de 1492" [The historic ascent of 1492] (in French). Mont-Aiguille.com. 12 January 2009. Archived from the original on 16 June 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  9. Michael Mallet and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars: 1494–1559 (Harlow, England: Pearson Education, Limited, 2012) p. 32.
  10. Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars: 1494–1559, (Harlow, England: Pearson Education, Limited, 2012) p.13.
  11. Robert S. Hoyt and Stanley Chodorow, Europe in the Middle Ages (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc., 1976) pp. 618–619.
  12. Robert S. Hoyt and Stanley Chodorow, Europe in the Middle Ages, p. 619.
  13. Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian wars: 1494–1559, p. 14.
  14. Robert S. Hoyt and Stanely Chodorow, Europe in the Middle Ages, p. 619.
  15. Robert S. Hoyt, Europe in the Middle Ages, p. 619.
  16. Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars: 1494–1559, pp. 20–21.
  17. R. Ritchie, Historical Atlas of the Renaissance, 64.
  18. Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars: 1494–1559, p. 11.
  19. Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars: 1494–1559 p. 31.
  20. Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars: 1494–1559, pp. 32–33.
  21. Heiner Gillmeister, Tennis: A Cultural History (London: Leicester University Press, 1998) p. 21. ( ISBN   978-0718501471)
  22. Andrew R. Scoble, ed. (1856), The memoirs of Philip de Commines, volume 2, London: Henry G. Bohn, pp. 283–284
  23. Frederic J. Baumgartner, Louis XII (New York: St. Martin Press, 1996) p. 79.
Charles VIII of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 30 June 1470 Died: 7 April 1498
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Louis XI
King of France
1483–1498
Succeeded by
Louis XII
Preceded by
Alphonse II
King of Naples
1495
Succeeded by
Ferdinand II
French royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Francis
Dauphin of France
1470–1483
Vacant
Title next held by
Charles Orlando