Louis VII of France

Louis VII of France

Overview
Louis VII (1120 – 18 September 1180) was King of France, the son and successor of Louis VI
Louis VI of France
Louis VI , called the Fat , was King of France from 1108 until his death . Chronicles called him "roi de Saint-Denis".-Reign:...

 (hence his nickname). He ruled from 1137 until his death. He was a member of the House of Capet
House of Capet
The House of Capet, or The Direct Capetian Dynasty, , also called The House of France , or simply the Capets, which ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328, was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. As rulers of France, the dynasty...

. His reign was dominated by feudal struggles (in particular with the Angevin family), and saw the beginning of the long rivalry between France and England. It also saw the beginning of construction on Notre-Dame de Paris, the founding of the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 and the disastrous Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

.

Louis VII was born in 1120, the second son of Louis VI of France
Louis VI of France
Louis VI , called the Fat , was King of France from 1108 until his death . Chronicles called him "roi de Saint-Denis".-Reign:...

 and Adelaide of Maurienne.
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Quotations

Now in Ireland, now in England, now in Normandy — he must fly rather than go by horse or ship.

On his enemy, King wikipedia:en:Henry II of England|Henry II of England.
Encyclopedia
Louis VII (1120 – 18 September 1180) was King of France, the son and successor of Louis VI
Louis VI of France
Louis VI , called the Fat , was King of France from 1108 until his death . Chronicles called him "roi de Saint-Denis".-Reign:...

 (hence his nickname). He ruled from 1137 until his death. He was a member of the House of Capet
House of Capet
The House of Capet, or The Direct Capetian Dynasty, , also called The House of France , or simply the Capets, which ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328, was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. As rulers of France, the dynasty...

. His reign was dominated by feudal struggles (in particular with the Angevin family), and saw the beginning of the long rivalry between France and England. It also saw the beginning of construction on Notre-Dame de Paris, the founding of the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 and the disastrous Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

.

Early life


Louis VII was born in 1120, the second son of Louis VI of France
Louis VI of France
Louis VI , called the Fat , was King of France from 1108 until his death . Chronicles called him "roi de Saint-Denis".-Reign:...

 and Adelaide of Maurienne. As a younger son, Louis VII had been raised to follow the ecclesiastical path. He unexpectedly became the heir to the throne of France after the accidental death of his older brother, Philip
Philip of France (1116-1131)
Philip of France was the first son of Louis VI of France and his second wife Adélaide de Maurienne.The favourite son of his father as a child, Philip was enthroned alongside Louis VI as joint king in 1129...

, in 1131. A well-learned and exceptionally devout man, Louis VII was better suited for life as a priest than as a monarch.

In his youth, he spent much time in Saint-Denis
Saint-Denis
Saint-Denis is a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris. Saint-Denis is a sous-préfecture of the Seine-Saint-Denis département, being the seat of the Arrondissement of Saint-Denis....

, where he built a friendship with the Abbot Suger
Abbot Suger
Suger was one of the last Frankish abbot-statesmen, an historian, and the influential first patron of Gothic architecture....

 that served him well in his early years as king.

Early reign


In the same year he was crowned King of France, Louis VII was married on 25 July 1137 to Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, heiress of William X of Aquitaine
William X of Aquitaine
William X , called the Saint, was Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, and Count of Poitou between 1126 and 1137. He was the son of William IX by his second wife, Philippa of Toulouse....

. The pairing of the monkish Louis VII and the high-spirited Eleanor was doomed to failure; she once reportedly declared that she had thought to marry a king, only to find she'd married a monk. They had only two daughters, Marie and Alix
Alix of France
Alix of France was the second daughter born to King Louis VII of France and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine.- Childhood :...

.

In the first part of Louis VII's reign he was vigorous and zealous of his prerogative
Prerogative
In law, a prerogative is an exclusive right given from a government or state and invested in an individual or group, the content of which is separate from the body of rights enjoyed under the general law of the normative state...

s, but after his Crusade his piety
Piety
In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that can mean religious devotion, spirituality, or a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.- Etymology :...

 limited his ability to become an effective statesman. His accession was marked by no disturbances, save the uprisings of the burgesses of Orléans
Orléans
-Prehistory and Roman:Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold, one of the principal towns of the Carnutes tribe where the Druids held their annual assembly. It was conquered and destroyed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, then rebuilt under the Roman Empire...

 and of Poitiers
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...

, who wished to organize commune
Medieval commune
Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...

s. But soon he came into violent conflict with Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II , born Gregorio Papareschi, was pope from 1130 to 1143, and was probably one of the clergy in personal attendance on the antipope Clement III .-Early years:...

. The archbishopric of Bourges became vacant, and the King supported as candidate the chancellor Cadurc, against the Pope's nominee Pierre de la Chatre, swearing upon relics that so long as he lived Pierre should never enter Bourges. This brought the interdict
Interdict
The term Interdict may refer to:* Court order enforcing or prohibiting a certain action* Injunction, such as a restraining order...

 upon the King's lands.

Louis VII then became involved in a war with Theobald II of Champagne
Theobald II of Champagne
Theobald the Great was Count of Blois and of Chartres as Theobald IV from 1102 and was Count of Champagne and of Brie as Theobald II from 1125....

, by permitting Raoul I of Vermandois and seneschal
Seneschal
A seneschal was an officer in the houses of important nobles in the Middle Ages. In the French administrative system of the Middle Ages, the sénéchal was also a royal officer in charge of justice and control of the administration in southern provinces, equivalent to the northern French bailli...

 of France, to repudiate his wife, Theobald II's niece, and to marry Petronilla of Aquitaine
Petronilla of Aquitaine
Petronilla of Aquitaine was the daughter of William X of Aquitaine and Aenor of Châtellerault. She was the sister of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was Queen consort of England...

, sister of the queen of France. Champagne also sided with the Pope in the dispute over Bourges. The war lasted two years (1142–1144) and ended with the occupation of Champagne
Champagne, France
Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 100 miles east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area...

 by the royal army. Louis VII was personally involved in the assault and burning of the town of Vitry-le-François
Vitry-le-François
Vitry-le-François is a commune in the Marne department in north-eastern France. It is located on the Marne River and is the western terminus of the Marne-Rhine Canal.- History :In 1142, Louis VII invaded Champagne and seized Vitry-le-François...

. More than a thousand people who had sought refuge in the church died in the flames. Overcome with guilt, and humiliated by ecclesiastical contempt, Louis admitted defeat, removing his armies from Champagne and returning them to Theobald, accepting Pierre de la Chatre, and shunning Ralph and Petronilla. Desiring to atone for his sins, he then declared on Christmas Day 1145 at Bourges his intention of going on a crusade. Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val...

 assured its popularity by his preaching at Vezelay
Vézelay
Vézelay is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France. It is a defendable hill town famous for Vézelay Abbey. The town and the Basilica of St Magdelene are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites....

 (Easter 1146).
Meanwhile in 1144, Geoffrey the Handsome
Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
Geoffrey V , called the Handsome and Plantagenet, was the Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine by inheritance from 1129 and then Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144...

, Count of Anjou, completed his conquest of Normandy
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:...

. In exchange for being recognised as Duke of Normandy by Louis, Geoffrey surrendered half of the Vexin—a region considered vital to Norman security—to Louis. Considered a clever move by Louis at the time, it would later prove yet another step towards Angevin power.


In June 1147, in fulfillment of his vow to go on crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

, Louis VII and his queen, Eleanor, set out from Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

, 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....

, on the overland route to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. Soon they arrived to the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 where they were welcomed by the king Géza II of Hungary
Géza II of Hungary
Géza II , , King of Hungary, King of Croatia, Dalmatia and Rama . He ascended the throne as a child and during his minority the kingdom was governed by his mother and uncle...

, who was already waiting with the German emperor. Due to his good relationships with Louis VII, Géza II asked the French king to be his son Stephen
Stephen III of Hungary
Stephen III , King of Hungary King of Croatia and Dalmatia . He ascended the throne as a child and he had to stand up against his uncles who usurped the crown supported by the Byzantine Empire...

's baptism godfather. After receiving provisions from the Hungarian king, the armies continued the march to the East (the good relationships between both Kingdoms continued flourishing, and decades later Louis's daughter Margareth was taken as wife by Géza's son Béla III of Hungary
Béla III of Hungary
Béla III was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was educated in the court of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I who was planning to ensure his succession in the Byzantine Empire till the birth of his own son...

). Just beyond Laodicea
Latakia
Latakia, or Latakiyah , is the principal port city of Syria, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages...

 the French army was ambushed by Turks. The French were bombarded by arrows and heavy stones, the Turks swarmed down from the mountains and the massacre began. The historian Odo of Deuil
Odo of Deuil
Odo, Odon, or Eudes of Deuil was an historian and participant of the Second Crusade .Born at Deuil to a modest family, he became a monk and was a confidant of Suger, abbot of Saint-Denis...

 reported:
During the fighting the King Louis lost his small and famous royal guard, but he remained in good heart and nimbly and courageously scaled the side of the mountain by gripping the tree roots … The enemy climbed after him, hoping to capture him, and the enemy in the distance continued to fire arrows at him. But God willed that his cuirass should protect him from the arrows, and to prevent himself from being captured he defended the crag with his bloody sword, cutting off many heads and hands.


Louis VII and his army finally reached the Holy Land in 1148. His queen Eleanor supported her uncle, Raymond of Antioch
Raymond of Antioch
Raymond of Poitiers was Prince of Antioch 1136–1149. He was the younger son of William IX, Duke of Aquitaine and his wife Philippa, Countess of Toulouse, born in the very year that his father the Duke began his infamous liaison with Dangereuse de Chatelherault.-Assumes control:Following the...

, and prevailed upon Louis to help Antioch against Aleppo. But Louis VII's interest lay in Jerusalem, and so he slipped out of Antioch in secret. He united with Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia, and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.-Life and reign:...

 and King Baldwin III of Jerusalem
Baldwin III of Jerusalem
Baldwin III was king of Jerusalem from 1143 to 1163. He was the eldest son of Melisende and Fulk of Jerusalem, and the grandson of Baldwin II of Jerusalem.-Succession:...

 to lay siege to Damascus
Siege of Damascus
The Siege of Damascus took place over four days in July 1148, during the Second Crusade. It ended in a decisive crusader defeat and led to the disintegration of the crusade. The two main Christian forces that marched to the Holy Land in response to Pope Eugenius III and Bernard of Clairvaux's call...

; this ended in disaster and the project was abandoned. Louis VII decided to leave the Holy Land, despite the protests of Eleanor, who still wanted to help her doomed uncle Raymond of Antioch
Raymond of Antioch
Raymond of Poitiers was Prince of Antioch 1136–1149. He was the younger son of William IX, Duke of Aquitaine and his wife Philippa, Countess of Toulouse, born in the very year that his father the Duke began his infamous liaison with Dangereuse de Chatelherault.-Assumes control:Following the...

. Louis VII and the French army returned home in 1149.

A shift in the status quo


The expedition came to a great cost to the royal treasury and military. It also precipitated a conflict with Eleanor, leading to the annulment of their marriage at the council of Beaugency
Beaugency
Beaugency is a commune in the Loiret department in north-central France. It is located on the Loire river, upriver from Blois and downriver from Orléans.-History:...

 (March 1152). The pretext of kinship was the basis for annulment; in fact, it owed more to the state of hostility between the two, and the decreasing odds that their marriage would produce a male heir to the throne of France. Eleanor subsequently married Henry, Count of Anjou
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

, the future Henry II of England, in the following May giving him the duchy of Aquitaine, three daughters, and five sons. Louis VII led an ineffective war against Henry for having married without the authorisation of his suzerain; the result was a humiliation for the enemies of Henry and Eleanor, who saw their troops routed, their lands ravaged, and their property stolen. Louis reacted by coming down with a fever, and returned to the Ile-de France.

In 1154 Louis VII married Constance of Castile, daughter of Alfonso VII of Castile. She, too, failed to give him a son and heir, bearing only two daughters, Marguerite of France, and Alys.

Louis having produced no sons by 1157, Henry II of England began to believe that he might never do so, and that consequently the succession of France would be left in question. Determined to secure a claim for his family, he sent the Chancellor, Thomas Becket, to press for a marriage between Princess Marguerite and Henry's heir, also called Henry (later Henry the Young King
Henry the Young King
Henry, known as the Young King was the second of five sons of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine but the first to survive infancy. He was officially King of England; Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou and Maine.-Early life:Little is known of the young prince Henry before the events...

). Louis, surprisingly, agreed to this proposal, and by the Treaty of Gisors (1158) betrothed the young pair, giving as a dowry the Norman Vexin
Vexin
The Vexin is a historical county of northwestern France. It covers a verdant plateau on the right bank of the Seine comprising an area east-to-west between Pontoise and Romilly-sur-Andelle , and north-to-south between Auneuil and the Seine near Vernon...

 and Gisors
Gisors
Gisors is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located northwest from the center of Paris.Gisors, together with the neighbouring communes of Trie-Château and Trie-la-Ville, form an urban area of 12,669 inhabitants...

.

Constance died in childbirth on 4 October 1160, and five weeks later Louis VII married Adela of Champagne
Adèle of Champagne
Adèle of Champagne , also known as Adelaide and Alix, was the third wife of Louis VII of France and the mother of his only male heir, the future Philip II...

. Henry II, to counterbalance the advantage this would give the King of France, had the marriage of their children (Henry "the Young King" and Marguerite) celebrated at once. Louis understood the danger of the growing Angevin power; however, through indecision and lack of fiscal and military resources compared to Henry II's, he failed to oppose Angevin hegemony effectively. One of his few successes, in 1159, was his trip to Toulouse to aid Raymond V, Count of Toulouse who had been attacked by Henry II: after he entered into the city with a small escort, claiming to be visiting the Countess his sister, Henry declared that he could not attack the city whilst his liege lord was inside, and went home.

Diplomacy


At the same time the emperor Frederick I
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

 (1152–1190) in the east was making good the imperial claims on Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

. When the schism broke out, Louis VII took the part of the Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III , born Rolando of Siena, was Pope from 1159 to 1181. He is noted in history for laying the foundation stone for the Notre Dame de Paris.-Church career:...

, the enemy of Frederick I, and after two comical failures of Frederick I to meet Louis VII at Saint Jean de Losne (on 29 August and 22 September 1162), Louis VII definitely gave himself up to the cause of Alexander III, who lived at Sens from 1163 to 1165. Alexander III gave the King, in return for his loyal support, the golden rose.

More importantly for French – and English – history would be his support for Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion...

, Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, whom he tried to reconcile with Henry II. Louis sided with Becket as much to damage Henry as out of piousness – yet even he grew irritated with the stubbornness of the archbishop, asking when Becket refused Henry's conciliations, "Do you wish to be more than a Saint?"

He also supported Henry's rebellious sons, and encouraged Plantagenet disunity by making Henry's sons, rather than Henry himself, the feudal overlords of the Angevin territories in France; but the rivalry amongst Henry's sons and Louis's own indecisiveness broke up the coalition (1173–1174) between them. Finally, in 1177, the Pope intervened to bring the two Kings to terms at Vitry-le-François.

In 1165, Louis' third wife bore him a son and heir, Philip II Augustus
Philip II of France
Philip II Augustus was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne...

. Louis had him crowned at Reims
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....

 in 1179, in the Capetian tradition (Philip would in fact be the last King so crowned). Already stricken with paralysis, King Louis VII himself could not be present at the ceremony. He died on 18 September 1180 at the Abbey at Saint-Pont, Allier and is interred in Saint Denis Basilica
Saint Denis Basilica
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis is a large medieval abbey church in the commune of Saint-Denis, now a northern suburb of Paris. The abbey church was created a cathedral in 1966 and is the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Denis, Pascal Michel Ghislain Delannoy...

.

Marriages and children


Louis married three times. By Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. As well as being Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, she was queen consort of France and of England...

, he had:
  • Marie
    Marie de Champagne
    Marie of France , Countess of Champagne was the elder daughter of Louis VII of France and his first wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.- Family :Marie's younger sister was Alix of France....

     (1145 – March 11, 1198), married Henry I of Champagne
    Henry I of Champagne
    Henry I of Champagne , known as "the Liberal", was count of Champagne from 1152 to 1181. He was the eldest son of Count Thibaut II of Champagne and his wife, Matilda of Carinthia....

  • Alix
    Alix of France
    Alix of France was the second daughter born to King Louis VII of France and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine.- Childhood :...

     (1151 – 1197/1198) , married Theobald V of Blois

By Constance of Castile
Constance of Castile
Constance of Castile may refer to:* Constance of Castile, wife of Louis VII of France* Constance of Penafiel , wife of Alfonso XI of Castile and Peter I of Portugal* Infanta Constance of Castile, claimant to the throne of Castile...

:
  • Margaret
    Marguerite of France (born 1158)
    Margaret of France was the eldest daughter of Louis VII of France by his second wife Constance of Castile....

     (1158 – August/September 1197), married (1) Henry the Young King
    Henry the Young King
    Henry, known as the Young King was the second of five sons of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine but the first to survive infancy. He was officially King of England; Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou and Maine.-Early life:Little is known of the young prince Henry before the events...

    ; (2) King Béla III of Hungary
    Béla III of Hungary
    Béla III was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was educated in the court of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I who was planning to ensure his succession in the Byzantine Empire till the birth of his own son...

  • Alys
    Alys, Countess of the Vexin
    Alys, Countess of the Vexin was the daughter of King Louis VII of France and his second wife Constance of Castile.- Life :...

     (4 October 1160 – ca. 1220), engaged to Richard I of England
    Richard I of England
    Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

    ; she married William III Talvas, Count of Ponthieu

By Adele of Champagne
Adèle of Champagne
Adèle of Champagne , also known as Adelaide and Alix, was the third wife of Louis VII of France and the mother of his only male heir, the future Philip II...

:
  • Philip II Augustus
    Philip II of France
    Philip II Augustus was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne...

     (22 August 1165 – 1223)
  • Agnes
    Agnes of France (Byzantine empress)
    Agnes of France was a daughter of Louis VII of France by his third wife Adèle of Champagne.She was a younger half-sister of Marie de Champagne, Alix of France, Marguerite of France and Alys, Countess of the Vexin...

     (1171 – after 1204), who was betrothed to Alexius II Comnenus (1180–1183) but married (1) Andronicus I Comnenus (1183–1185); (2) Theodore Branas
    Theodore Branas
    Theodore Branas or Vranas was a general under the Byzantine Empire and afterwards under the Latin Empire of Constantinople. He is called Li Vernas by western chroniclers of the Fourth Crusade, including Geoffroi de Villehardouin....

     (1204)

Legacy


The reign of Louis VII was, from the point of view of royal territory and military power a difficult and unfortunate one. Yet the royal authority made progress in the parts of France distant from the royal domains: more direct and more frequent connection was made with distant vassals, a result largely due to the alliance of the clergy with the crown. Louis VII thus reaped the reward for services rendered the church during the least successful portion of his reign. His greater accomplishments lie in the development of agriculture, population, commerce, the building of stone fortresses, as well as an intellectual renaissance. Considering the significant disparity of political leverage and financial resources between Louis VII and his Angevin rival, not to mention Henry II's superior military skills, Louis VII should be credited with preserving the Capetian dynasty.

Fictional portrayals


Louis is a character in Jean Anouilh
Jean Anouilh
Jean Marie Lucien Pierre Anouilh was a French dramatist whose career spanned five decades. Though his work ranged from high drama to absurdist farce, Anouilh is best known for his 1943 play Antigone, an adaptation of Sophocles' Classical drama, that was seen as an attack on Marshal Pétain's...

's play Becket
Becket
Becket or The Honor of God is a play written in French by Jean Anouilh. It is a depiction of the conflict between Thomas Becket and King Henry II of England leading to Becket's murder in 1170. It contains many historical inaccuracies, which the author acknowledged.-Background:Anouilh's...

. In the 1964 film adaptation he was portrayed by John Gielgud
John Gielgud
Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937...

, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

. He was also portrayed by Charles Kay
Charles Kay
Charles Kay is an English actor.Kay was born in Coventry, West Midlands, the son of Frances and Charles Beckingham Piff....

 in the 1978 BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 TV drama series The Devil's Crown
The Devil's Crown
The Devil's Crown was a BBC television series which dramatised the reigns of three medieval Kings of England: Henry II and his sons Richard I and John....

. He has a role in Sharon Kay Penman
Sharon Kay Penman
Sharon Kay Penman is an American historical novelist, published in the UK as Sharon Penman. She is best known for the Welsh Princes trilogy and the Plantagenet series. In addition, she has written four medieval mysteries, the first of which, The Queen's Man, was a finalist in 1996 for the Best...

's novel When Christ and His Saints Slept
When Christ and His Saints Slept
When Christ and His Saints Slept is a historical novel written by Sharon Kay Penman and published in 1995. When Christ and His Saints Slept is the first of Penman's Plantagenet trilogy, followed by Time and Chance and Devil's Brood....

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The early part of Nora Lofts' biography of Eleanor of Aquitane deals considerably with Louis VII, seen through Eleanor's eyes and giving her side in their problematic relationship.

Ancestors