Lothair of France
Lothair (941–986), sometimes called Lothair IV, was the Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 king of West Francia (10 September 954 – 1 March 986), son of Louis IV
Louis IV of France
Louis IV , called d'Outremer or Transmarinus , reigned as King of Western Francia from 936 to 954...

 and Gerberga of Saxony
Gerberga of Saxony
Gerberga of Saxony was a daughter of Henry the Fowler, King of Germany, and Matilda of Ringelheim.-Marriages:She married first Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine. They had four children:...



He succeeded his father in 954 at the age of thirteen and crowned at Rheims on 12 November 954. He was at first under the guardianship of Hugh the Great
Hugh the Great
Hugh the Great or Hugues le Grand was duke of the Franks and count of Paris, son of King Robert I of France and nephew of King Odo. He was born in Paris, Île-de-France, France. His eldest son was Hugh Capet who became King of France in 987...

, Duke of the Franks
Duke of the Franks
The title dux et princeps Francorum, or duke and prince of the Franks, was the title adopted by Pepin of Heristal after his epoch-making victory at the Battle of Tertry in 687...

 and Count of Paris
Count of Paris
Count of Paris was a title for the local magnate of the district around Paris in Carolingian times. Eventually, the count of Paris was elected to the French throne...

, who had been an adversary to his father but nonetheless was appointed guardian
Legal guardian
A legal guardian is a person who has the legal authority to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward. Usually, a person has the status of guardian because the ward is incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to infancy, incapacity, or disability...

 of the king's estates, though not as regent for the young king who assumed his royal dignities at thirteen. This gave the young Lothair the opportunity to come to know his guardian's heir, the sixteen year old Hugh Capet
Hugh Capet of France
Hugh Capet , called in contemporary sources "Hugh the Great" , was the first King of France of the eponymous Capetian dynasty from his election to succeed the Carolingian Louis V in 987 until his death.-Descent and inheritance:...

, before his father's death in 956; Capet later became king and founder of the Capetian Dynasty
Capetian dynasty
The Capetian dynasty , also known as the House of France, is the largest and oldest European royal house, consisting of the descendants of King Hugh Capet of France in the male line. Hugh Capet himself was a cognatic descendant of the Carolingians and the Merovingians, earlier rulers of France...


The beginning of his reign was occupied with wars against the vassals, particularly against the duke of Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, and it should be made clear that the monarch of Western Francia
Western Francia
West Francia, also known as the West Frankish Kingdom or Francia Occidentalis, was a short-lived kingdom encompassing the lands of the western part of the Carolingian Empire that came under the undisputed control of Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, as a result of the Treaty of Verdun of...

 was more a ceremonial title, more of a first among equals status, than that state which would represent the later centralised authority meant by monarchies of later historical epochs.

In 955, Lothair and Hugh together took Poitiers
Poitiers is a city on the Clain river in west central France. It is a commune and the capital of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. The centre is picturesque and its streets are interesting for predominant remains of historical architecture, especially from the Romanesque...

 by siege. Hugh died soon after and Lothair mediated between his sons, the aforementioned Hugh Capet and the younger Otto Henry
Otto-Henry, Duke of Burgundy
Eudes-Henry , called the Great, was Count of Autun, Avallon, and Beaune and Duke of Burgundy from 965 to his death...

. The king gave Capet Paris and the ducal title, but invested Otto with the Duchy of Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

 in 960. With young Hugh the new count of Paris et al., Lothair, now only fifteen, came under the guardianship of his maternal uncle Bruno, archbishop of Cologne
Bruno I, Archbishop of Cologne
Bruno the Great was Archbishop of Cologne, Germany, from 953 until his death, and Duke of Lotharingia from 954. He was the brother of Otto I, king of Germany and later Holy Roman Emperor....


Military conflicts

In 962, Baldwin III of Flanders
Baldwin III, Count of Flanders
Baldwin III The Young of Flanders was Count of Flanders, who briefly ruled the County of Flanders , together with his father Arnulf I....

, son, co-ruler, and heir of Arnulf I
Arnulf I, Count of Flanders
Arnulf of Flanders , called the Great, was the third Count of Flanders, who ruled the County of Flanders, an area that is now northwestern Belgium and southwestern Holland....

 died and Arnulf bequeathed Flanders to Lothair. On Arnulf's death in 965, Lothair invaded Flanders and took many cities, but was eventually repulsed by the supporters of Arnulf II
Arnulf II, Count of Flanders
Arnulf II of Flanders was Count of Flanders from 965 until his death. He was the son of Baldwin III of Flanders and Mathilde Billung of Saxony, daughter of Herman, Duke of Saxony-History:...

. He temporarily remained in control of Arras
Arras is the capital of the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. The historic centre of the Artois region, its local speech is characterized as a Picard dialect...

 and Douai
-Main sights:Douai's ornate Gothic style belfry was begun in 1380, on the site of an earlier tower. The 80 m high structure includes an impressive carillon, consisting of 62 bells spanning 5 octaves. The originals, some dating from 1391 were removed in 1917 during World War I by the occupying...


Lothair, when thirty-seven, seems to have conceived the design of recovering Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

, once held by his family. He attempted to precipitate matters by a sudden attack, and in the spring of 978 nearly captured the emperor Otto II
Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto II , called the Red, was the third ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty, the son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy.-Early years and co-ruler with Otto I:...

 at Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

. He took the imperial capital itself and even reversed the direction of the brazen eagle sitting atop the palace. Otto took his revenge in the autumn by invading France. He penetrated as far as Paris, devastating the country through which he passed (Soissons
Soissons is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France, located on the Aisne River, about northeast of Paris. It is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones...

, Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

, and Laon
Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...

), but failed to take the town, and was eventually forced to retreat with heavy losses across the Aisne
Aisne is a department in the northern part of France named after the Aisne River.- History :Aisne is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Île-de-France, Picardie, and Champagne.Most of the old...

, as Hugh Capet and through him, other key nobles supported Lothair. Peace was concluded in July 980 at Margut-sur-Chiers on the Chiers on the frontier of the two kingdoms, and in 983 Lothair was even chosen guardian to the young Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

 when Otto II died on 7 December 983. Around 980, however, Lothair quarrelled with Hugh Capet, who, at the instigation of Adalberon, archbishop of Reims
Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims
Adalberon was the archbishop of Reims, chancellor of Kings Lothair and Louis V of France.Upon the death of Louis V, in 987, Adalberon and Gerbert of Aurillac addressed the electoral assembly at Senlis in favour of Hugh Capet, to replace the Carolingian monarch. Adalberon pleaded:Capet was elected...

, became reconciled with Otto III, despite the defeat of his father with Capet's help.

In early January 985, he invaded the duchy of Lorrain, besieged Verdun in March and took several prisoners: Count Godefroy I, (brother of Adalberon Reims), Frederick (son of Godefroy I), Siegfried of Luxembourg (uncle of Godefroy I) and Thierry, Duke of Upper Lorraine (nephew of Hugh Capet).

Returning to Laon, he forced the Archbishop of Rheims to keep a garrison in Verdun to prevent the city from being taken over by the Ottonians. He also required writs from the archbishops of Trier, Mainz and Cologne, declaring he is the true king of the Carolingians. Lothair began to suspect that the Archbishop of Rheims, friendly towards the Ottonians and Hugh Capet, was playing a double game. When asked to destroy the fortifications around the monastery of Saint-Paul de Verdun Adalberon, archbishop of Reims
Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims
Adalberon was the archbishop of Reims, chancellor of Kings Lothair and Louis V of France.Upon the death of Louis V, in 987, Adalberon and Gerbert of Aurillac addressed the electoral assembly at Senlis in favour of Hugh Capet, to replace the Carolingian monarch. Adalberon pleaded:Capet was elected...

 refused, claiming that his soldiers, hungry, were no longer able to keep the city. Furious, Lothair wanted to bring justice and convened a meeting at Compiègne
Compiègne is a city in northern France. It is designated municipally as a commune within the département of Oise.The city is located along the Oise River...

 on 11 May 985, on the pretext that the priest had placed his nephew Adalberon on the seat of Verdun without his consent. Alerted, Duke Hugh Capet marched to Compiègne with 600 men and dispersed the meeting. Lothair could not afford an open war with Hugh Capet, as he would find himself caught between two fronts. He therefore freed the prisoners withheld in Lorraine, but Godfrey preferred to stay in prison rather than turning over Mons, the Hainaut and Verdun, as his son would be expelled from the bishopric. Instead, Duke Thierry of Upper Lorraine, nephew of Hugh Capet, was released.

The rest of Lothair's reign was dominated by internal troubles which distracted him from important peripheral affairs. In 985, when the caliph of Córdoba, Al-Mansur
Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir
Abu Aamir Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abi Aamir, Al-Hajib Al-Mansur , better known as Almanzor, was the de facto ruler of Muslim Al-Andalus in the late 10th to early 11th centuries. His rule marked the peak of power for Moorish Iberia.-Origins:He was born Muhammad Ibn Abi Aamir, into a noble Arab...

, sacked Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, Lothair was ill and could offer no assistance to the Count Borrel II
Borrell II, Count of Barcelona
Borrell II was Count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 945 and Count of Urgell from 948.Borrell is first seen acting as count during the reign of his father Marquis Sunyer in 945 at the consecration of the nunnery church of Sant Pere de les Puelles in Barcelona, and succeeded Sunyer along with...

 upon receiving his envoys at Verdun
Verdun is a city in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Verdun is the biggest city in Meuse, although the capital of the department is the slightly smaller city of Bar-le-Duc.- History :...

. This caused the final rift between the Hispanic March and the French crown during the reign of his successors.

Towards the end of his reign, Lothair's power seemed markedly less than that of Hugh Capet. In a letter of March or April 985, Gerbert of Aurillac wrote to the Archbishop Adalberon that "Lothair is king of France in name alone; Hugh is, however, not in name but in effect and deed." Gerbert goes on to suggest that if Adalberon wished to free his father who was held captive by Lothair, he needed only to warm up to Hugh by arranging an advantageous marriage alliance with Otto III. Lothair died a year after this, on 1 March 986.

Marriage and children

Lothair married Emma of Italy
Emma of Italy
Emma was the daughter of Lothair II of Italy and Adelaide of Italy , who would later become Holy Roman Empress...

, daughter of Lothair II of Italy
Lothair II of Italy
Lothair II , often Lothair of Arles, was the King of Italy from 948 to his death. He was of the noble Frankish lineage of the Bosonids, descended from Boso the Elder...

 and Adelaide of Italy
Adelaide of Italy
Saint Adelaide of Italy , also called Adelaide of Burgundy, was the second wife of Otto the Great, Holy Roman Emperor...

. Her maternal grandparents were Rudolph II of Burgundy
Rudolph II of Burgundy
Rudolph II was king of Upper Burgundy , Lower Burgundy , and Italy . He was the son of Rudolph I, king of Upper Burgundy, and it is presumed that his mother was his father's known wife, Guilla of Provence...

 and Bertha of Swabia
Bertha of Swabia
Bertha of Swabia was Queen consort of Burgundy. She was the daughter of Burchard II, Duke of Swabia and his wife Regelinda.In 922, she was married to Rudolph II of Burgundy. Adelaide of Italy was their common daughter...


Lothair and Emma had a son who succeeded his father as Louis V
Louis V of France
Louis V , called the Indolent or the Sluggard , was the King of Western Francia from 986 until his early death...

. Louis V held the office for only a single year.

Lothair also had an illegitimate son who became archbishop of Rheims, Arnulf.


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