Robert II of France

Last updated

Robert II the Pious
Sceau de Robert II le pieux.jpg
Seal of King Robert
King of the Franks
Co-reign
Solo-reign
30 December 987 – 24 October 996;
24 October 996 – 20 July 1031
Coronation 30 December 987 [1]
Predecessor Hugh
Successor Henry I
Born27 March 972
Orléans, France
Died20 July 1031(1031-07-20) (aged 59)
Melun, France
Burial
Saint Denis Basilica, Paris, France
Spouse Rozala of Italy
Bertha of Burgundy
Constance of Arles
Issue Hedwig, Countess of Nevers
Hugh Magnus
Henry I of France
Adela, Countess of Flanders
Robert I, Duke of Burgundy
House House of Capet
Father Hugh Capet
Mother Adelaide of Aquitaine

Robert II (27 March 972 – 20 July 1031), called the Pious (French : le Pieux) or the Wise (French : le Sage), was King of the Franks from 996 to 1031, the second from the House of Capet. He was born in Orléans to Hugh Capet and Adelaide of Aquitaine. Robert distinguished himself with an extraordinarily long reign for the time. His 35-year-long reign was marked by his attempts to expand the royal domain by any means, especially by his long struggle to gain the Duchy of Burgundy. His policies earned him many enemies, including three of his sons. He was also known for his difficult marriages: he married three times, annulling two of these and attempting to annul the third, prevented only by the Pope's refusal to accept a third annulment.

Contents

Co-rule with father

Denier of Robert II the Pious, struck at Soissons Denier de Robert II le Pieux.jpg
Denier of Robert II the Pious, struck at Soissons

Immediately after his own coronation, Robert's father Hugh began to push for the coronation of his son. "The essential means by which the early Capetians were seen to have kept the throne in their family was through the association of the eldest surviving son in the royalty during the father's lifetime," Andrew W. Lewis has observed, in tracing the phenomenon in this line of kings who lacked dynastic legitimacy. [2] Hugh's claimed reason was that he was planning an expedition against the Moorish armies harassing Borrel II of Barcelona, an invasion which never occurred, and that the stability of the country necessitated a co-king, should he die while on expedition. [3] Ralph Glaber, however, attributes Hugh's request to his old age and inability to control the nobility. [4] Modern scholarship has largely imputed to Hugh the motive of establishing a dynasty against the claims of electoral power on the part of the aristocracy, but this is not the typical view of contemporaries and even some modern scholars have been less sceptical of Hugh's "plan" to campaign in Spain. [5] Robert was eventually crowned on 25 December 987. [6] A measure of Hugh's success is that when Hugh died in 996, Robert continued to reign without any succession dispute, but during his long reign actual royal power dissipated into the hands of the great territorial magnates.

Robert had begun to take on active royal duties with his father in the early 990s. In 991, he helped his father prevent the French bishops from trekking to Mousson in the Kingdom of Germany for a synod called by Pope John XV, with whom Hugh was then in disagreement.

Marital problems

As early as 989, having been rebuffed in his search for a Byzantine princess, [7] Hugh Capet arranged for Robert to marry Rozala, the recently widowed daughter of Berengar II of Italy, many years his senior, who took the name of Susanna upon becoming queen. [8] She was the widow of Arnulf II of Flanders, with whom she had two children. Robert divorced her within a year of his father's death in 996. He then married Bertha, daughter of Conrad of Burgundy, around the time of his father's death. She was a widow of Odo I of Blois, but was also Robert's second cousin. For reasons of consanguinity, Pope Gregory V refused to sanction the marriage, and Robert was excommunicated. [9] After long negotiations with Gregory's successor, Sylvester II, the marriage was annulled.

Finally, in 1001, Robert entered into his final and longest-lasting marriage—to Constance of Arles, the daughter of William I of Provence. Her southern customs and entourage were regarded with suspicion at court. After his companion Hugh of Beauvais, count palatine [10] , urged the king to repudiate her as well, knights of her kinsman Fulk III, Count of Anjou had Beauvais murdered in 1008. The king and Bertha then went to Rome to ask Pope Sergius IV for an annulment so they could remarry. [11] After this was refused, he went back to Constance and fathered several children by her. Her ambition alienated the chroniclers of her day, who blamed her for several of the king's decisions. Constance and Robert remained married until his death in 1031.

Piety

Robert was a devout Catholic, hence his sobriquet "the Pious." He was musically inclined, being a composer, chorister, and poet, and made his palace a place of religious seclusion where he conducted the matins and vespers in his royal robes. Robert's reputation for piety also resulted from his lack of toleration for heretics, whom he harshly punished. He is said to have advocated forced conversions of local Jewry. He supported riots against the Jews of Orléans who were accused of conspiring to destroy the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. [12] Furthermore, Robert reinstated the Roman imperial custom of burning heretics at the stake. [13]

In 1030–1031, Robert confirmed the foundation of Noyers Abbey. [14]

Military career

The kingdom Robert inherited was not large and, in an effort to increase his power, he vigorously pursued his claim to any feudal lands that became vacant, usually resulting in war with a counter-claimant. In 1003, his invasion of the Duchy of Burgundy was thwarted, and it would not be until 1016 that he was finally able to get the support of the Church to be recognized as Duke of Burgundy.

The pious Robert made few friends and many enemies, including three of his own sons: Hugh, Henry, and Robert. They turned against their father in a civil war over power and property. Hugh died in revolt in 1025. In a conflict with Henry and the younger Robert, King Robert's army was defeated, and he retreated to Beaugency outside Paris, his capital. He died in the middle of the war with his sons on 20 July 1031 at Melun. He was interred with Constance in Saint Denis Basilica and succeeded by his son Henry, in both France and Burgundy.

Children

Effigies of Robert II (middle) and Constance d'Arles (front) at Basilique Saint-Denis Robert II.jpg
Effigies of Robert II (middle) and Constance d'Arles (front) at Basilique Saint-Denis

Robert had no children from his short-lived marriage to Susanna. His illegal marriage to Bertha gave him one stillborn son in 999, but only Constance gave him surviving children:

Robert also left an illegitimate son: Rudolph, Bishop of Bourges.

Ancestry

Notes

  1. Fulk Nerra, the neo-Roman consul, 987–1040: a political biography of the Angevin count
  2. Andrew W. Lewis, "Anticipatory Association of the Heir in Early Capetian France" The American Historical Review83.4 (October 1978:906–927) p. 907; the last co-king was Philip Augustus, who was co-king to the ailing Louis VII.
  3. Lewis, 908.
  4. Lewis, 914.
  5. Lewis, passim.
  6. Robert Fawtier, The Capetian Kings of France, transl. Lionel Butler and R.J. Adam, (Macmillan, 1989), 48.
  7. The letter composed by Gerbert survives, though no Byzantine response is recorded: Constance B. Bouchard, 'Consanguinity and Noble Marriages in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries" Speculum 56.2 (April 1981:268–287) pp 274, 276.
  8. The most complete account of the marriages of Robert II remains that of Charles Pfister, Etudes sur le règne de Robert le Pieux (Paris 1885:41–69); see Constance Bouchard 1981:273ff.
  9. James Palmer, The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages, (Cambridge University Press, 2014), 215.
  10. "Hugh of Beauvais - Count Palatine in the Year 1000".
  11. Nolan. Capetian Women. p. 13.
  12. The Complete Jewish Guide to France.
  13. MacCulloch, Diarmaid. A History of Christianity. Penguin Books, 2010, p. 396.
  14. Chevalier, C. (1872). Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Noyers. Tours: Guilland-Verger, Georget-Joubert. pp. charter I.
  15. Constance Brittain Bourchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister: Nobility and the Church in Burgundy, 980-1188, (Cornell University Press, 1987), 343.

Sources

Robert II of France
Born: 27 March 972 Died: 20 July 1031
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Hugh
King of the Franks
987 – 1031
with Hugh Capet as senior king (987 – 996)
Hugh Magnus as junior king (1017 – 1026)
Henry I as junior king (1027 – 1031)
Succeeded by
Henry I
Preceded by
Otto William
Duke of Burgundy
1004–1016

Related Research Articles

The Capetian dynasty, also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Frankish origin, and a branch of the Robertians. It is among the largest and oldest royal houses in Europe and the world, and consists of Hugh Capet, the founder of the dynasty, and his male-line descendants, who ruled in France without interruption from 987 to 1792, and again from 1814 to 1848. The senior line ruled in France as the House of Capet from the election of Hugh Capet in 987 until the death of Charles IV in 1328. That line was succeeded by cadet branches, the Houses of Valois and then Bourbon, which ruled without interruption until the French Revolution abolished the monarchy in 1792. The Bourbons were restored in 1814 in the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat, but had to vacate the throne again in 1830 in favor of the last Capetian monarch of France, Louis Philippe I, who belonged to the House of Orléans.

Hugh Capet King of the Franks

Hugh Capet was the King of the Franks from 987 to 996. He is the founder and first king from the House of Capet. The son of the powerful duke Hugh the Great and his wife Hedwige of Saxony, he was elected as the successor of the last Carolingian king, Louis V. Hugh was descended from Charlemagne's sons Louis the Pious and Pepin of Italy through his mother and paternal grandmother, respectively, and was also a nephew of Otto the Great.

Hugh the Great Duke of the Franks, Count of Paris and ancestor of the Capetian dynasty

Hugh the Great was the Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris.

Duchy of Burgundy Vassal territory of France, 918–1482

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).

Robert I, Duke of Burgundy Duke of Burgundy

Robert I, known as Robert the Old and "Old French: Tête-Hardi, lit. 'the Headstrong'", was Duke of Burgundy from 1032 to his death. Robert was son of King Robert II of France and Constance of Arles. His brother was Henry I of France.

Lothair of France Penultimate Carolingian king of West Francia

Lothair, sometimes called Lothair III or Lothair IV, was the penultimate Carolingian king of West Francia, reigning from 10 September 954 until his death in 986.

The County of Auxerre is a former state of current central France, with capital in Auxerre.

Adelaide of Aquitaine Queen consort of the Franks

Adbelahide or Adele or Adelaide of Aquitaine, was queen consort of France by marriage to Hugh Capet.

Rudolph III of Burgundy King of Burgundy

Rudolph III was King of Burgundy from 993 until his death. He was the last ruler of an independent Kingdom of Arles, also called the Second Kingdom of Burgundy, and the last male member of the Burgundian group of the Elder House of Welf.

Constance of Arles Queen consort of the Franks

Constance of Arles, also known as Constance of Provence, was queen of France as the third spouse of King Robert II of France.

House of Capet Rulers of the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328

The House of Capet or the Direct Capetians, also 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. Contemporaries did not use the name "Capetian". The Capets were sometimes called "the third race of kings". The name "Capet" derives from the nickname given to Hugh, the first Capetian King, who became known as Hugh Capet.

Odo I, Count of Blois, Chartres, Reims, Provins, Châteaudun, and Omois, was the son of Theobald I of Blois and Luitgard, daughter of Herbert II of Vermandois. He received the title of count palatine, which was traditional in his family, from King Lothair of West Francia.

West Francia former country (843-987)

In medieval history, West Francia or the Kingdom of the West Franks was the western part of Charlemagne's Empire, ruled by the Germanic Franks that forms the earliest stage of the Kingdom of France, lasting from about 840 until 987. West Francia was formed out of the division of the Carolingian Empire in 843 under the Treaty of Verdun after the death of Emperor Louis the Pious and the east–west division which "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms ... of what we can begin to call Germany and France".

The Bosonids were a dynasty of Carolingian era dukes, counts, bishops and knights descended from Boso the Elder. Eventually they married into the Carolingian dynasty and produced kings and an emperor of the Frankish Empire.

Beatrice of Vermandois was a Carolingian aristocrat, queen of Western Francia by marriage to Robert I, and mother of Hugh the Great.

Bertha of Burgundy Queen consort of the Franks

Bertha of Burgundy was the daughter of Conrad the Peaceful, King of Burgundy and his wife Matilda, daughter of Louis IV, King of France and Gerberga of Saxony. She was named for her father's mother, Bertha of Swabia.

Rozala of Italy Countess consort of Flanders

Rozala of Italy was a Countess of Flanders and Queen consort of the Franks. She was regent of Flanders in 987-988 during the minority of her son.

The Robertians, or Robertines, as they are known in modern scholarship, are the proposed Frankish family which was ancestral to the Capetian dynasty, and thus to the royal families of France and many other countries. The Capetians appear first in the records as powerful nobles serving under the Carolingian dynasty in West Francia, which later became France. As their power increased they came into conflict with the older royal family and attained the crown several times before the eventual start of the continuous rule of the descendants the Capetians, the descendants of Hugh Capet.

House of Valois-Burgundy noble family

The House of Valois-Burgundy, or the Younger House of Burgundy, was a noble French family deriving from the royal House of Valois. It is distinct from the Capetian House of Burgundy, descendants of King Robert II of France, though both houses stem from the Capetian dynasty. They ruled the Duchy of Burgundy from 1363 to 1482 and later came to rule vast lands including Artois, Flanders, Luxembourg, Hainault, the county palatine of Burgundy (Franche-Comté), and other lands through marriage.

Henry I of France 11th-century King of France

Henry I was King of the Franks from 1031 to 1060. The royal demesne of France reached its smallest size during his reign, and for this reason he is often seen as emblematic of the weakness of the early Capetians. This is not entirely agreed upon, however, as other historians regard him as a strong but realistic king, who was forced to conduct a policy mindful of the limitations of the French monarchy.