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VII Louis Of France

Male 1120 - 1180  (60 years)


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  • Name Louis Of France 
    Prefix VII 
    Born 1120  France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Sep 1180  France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I7246  MyTree
    Last Modified 15 Aug 2009 

    Family Eleanor Of Aquitaine 
    Married 22 Jul 1137  France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Marie Of France,   b. 1145, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Mar 1198, Champagne, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years)
     2. Alix Of France,   b. 1151, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1198  (Age 47 years)
    Last Modified 17 Jul 2017 
    Family ID F3840  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • In the first part of Louis VII's reign he was vigorous and jealous of
      his prerogatives, but after his crusade his piety limited his ability
      to become an effective statesman. His accession was marked by no
      disturbances, save the uprisings of the burgesses of Orléans and of
      Poitiers, who wished to organize communes. But soon he came into
      violent conflict with Pope Innocent II. 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 upon the king's lands.

      Louis became involved in a war with Theobald II of Champagne, by
      permitting Raoul I of Vermandois and seneschal of France, to repudiate
      his wife, Theobald's niece, and to marry Petronilla of Aquitaine,
      sister of the queen of France. Champagne also sided with the pope in
      the dispute over Bourges. The war lasted two years (1142-44) and ended
      with the occupation of Champagne by the royal army. Louis was
      personally involved in the assault and burning of the town of Vitry.
      More than a thousand people who had sought refuge in the church, died
      in the flames. Overcome with guilt, Louis declared on Christmas Day
      1145 at Bourges his intention of going on a crusade. Bernard of
      Clairvaux assured its popularity by his preaching at Vezelay (Easter
      1146).

      Meanwhile in 1144, Geoffrey the Handsome, count of Anjou, completed
      his conquest of Normandy, threatening the royal domains. Louis VII by
      a clever manoeuvre threw his army on the Norman frontier and gained
      Gisors, one of the keys of Normandy.

      In June 1147 Louis and his queen, Eleanor, set out from Metz,
      Lorraine, on the overland route to Syria. Just beyond Laodicea 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 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 and his army finally reached the Holy Land in 1148. His queen
      Eleanor supported her uncle, Raymond of Antioch, and prevailed upon
      Louis to help Antioch against Aleppo. But Louis' interest lay in
      Jerusalem, and so he slipped out of Antioch in secret. He united with
      Conrad III of Germany and King Baldwin III of Jerusalem to lay seige
      to Damascus; this ended in disaster and the project was abandoned.
      Louis decided to leave the Holy Land, despite the protests of Eleanor,
      who still wanted to help her doomed uncle Raymond of Antioch. Louis
      and the French army returned to France in 1149.

      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 (March 1152).
      The pretext of kinship was the basis for annulment. Its reasons had
      more to do with quarrels between Louis and Eleanor, her scandalous
      behavior during the Crusades, and the decreasing odds that their
      marriage would produce a male heir to the throne of France. Eleanor
      subsequently married Henry, Count of Anjou in the following May, which
      brought him the duchy of Aquitaine. Louis VII led an ineffective war
      against Henry for having married without the authorization of his
      suzerain; but in August 1154 gave up his rights over Aquitaine, and
      contented himself with an indemnity.

      In 1154 Louis married Constance, daughter of Alfonso VII, king of
      Castile. She, too, failed to give him a son and heir, bearing two more
      daughters:

      Marguerite of France(1158-1197), married (1) Henry the Young King; (2)
      King Bela III of Hungary
      Alys, Countess of the Vexin (October 4, 1160), engaged to Richard I of
      England; she married William III Talvas, Count of Ponthieu
      As part of a peace process with Henry II of England, Louis imprudently
      pledged his daughter, Marguerite, in the treaty of Gisors (1158) to
      Henry, Henry's eldest son, promising as a dowry the Norman Vexin and
      Gisors.

      Constance died in childbirth on the 4th of October 1160, and five
      weeks later Louis VII married Adèle of Champagne. Henry II, to
      counterbalance the advantage this would give the king of France, had
      the marriage of their children celebrated at once. Louis VII
      understood the danger of the growing Angevin power, however, through
      indecision and lack of fiscal and military resources compared to
      Henry's, Louis failed to oppose Angevin hegemony effectively. One of
      the few military successes of Louis, in 1159, was his expedition in
      the south to aid Raymond V, Count of Toulouse who had been attacked by
      Henry II. At the same time the emperor Frederick I in the east was
      making good the imperial claims on Arles. When the schism broke out,
      Louis took the part of the pope Alexander III, the enemy of Frederick,
      and after two comical failures of Frederick to meet Louis VII at Saint
      Jean de Losne (on the 29th of August and the 22nd of September 1162),
      Louis definitely gave himself up to the cause of Alexander, who lived
      at Sens from 1163 to 1165. Alexander gave the king, in return for his
      loyal support, the golden rose.

      Finally, in 1165 Adèle gave birth to them much longed-for son, along
      with a daughter a few years later. Louis and Adèle's children were:

      Philip II Augustus (August 22, 1165-1223)
      Agnes of France (1171-1240), who married (1) Alexius II Comnenus; (2)
      Andronicus I Comnenus; (3) Theodosius Branas
      Louis VII received Thomas Becket and tried to reconcile him with King
      Henry II. Louis sided with Thomas Becket as a way to weaken Henry
      politically. He also supported Henry's rebellious sons, but the
      rivalry between Henry's sons and Louis' own indecisiveness contributed
      to the break up of the coalition (1173-1174). Finally in 1177 the pope
      intervened to bring the two kings to terms at Vitry.

      His reign was a difficult and unfortunate one, from the point of view
      of royal territory and military power. 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
      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 and his Angevin rival, not to
      mention Henry's superior military skills, Louis should be credited
      with preserving the Capetian dynasty.

      He was to be succeeded by his son by Adèle, Philip II Augustus and had
      him crowned at Reims in 1179. However, already stricken with
      paralysis, King Louis himself was not able to be present at the
      ceremony.

      Louis VII died on September 18, 1180 at the Abbey at Saint-Pont,
      Allier and is interred in Saint Denis Basilica.