Louis VI the Fat

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Louis VI the Fat (01.12.1081, Paris, France – 01.08.1137, Béthisy-Saint-Pierre) – King of France, the fifth of the Capetian dynasty. Chronicles call him the King of Saint-Denis. Grandson of Anna Yaroslavna, Queen of France, daughter of the Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kyiv.

Son of King Philip I and his first wife Bertha of Holland. Grandson of Henry I and his wife Anna Yaroslavna, great-grandson of the Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kyiv. Inherited his father’s high stature and obesity, so was called the Fat. In the monastery he was brought up, he became close to Abbot Suger, who became his adviser throughout all his life. Louis’ stay at the monastery has a tremendous importance for formation of his ideas of rights and duties of a king. Having ascended the throne, he began an active struggle against vassals, defending royal rights, church, and public order, aiming at strengthening of the supremacy of law in the kingdom. Protecting church interests, Louis restrained Baron Bouchard de Montmorency, put an end to animosity between him and Saint-Denis Abbey. Another Baron, rich and militant Ebles de Roucy, robbed the Rheims eparchy. The Rheims Archbishop turned to Louis for assistance and Louis mercilessly ravaged de Roucy’s estates.

The lower classes, oppressed by feudal lords, sympathized with Louis, and the King often relied on them when his own forces were insufficient. When Huguet du Puiset began to plunder monasteries and churches, Louis managed to capture his castle only when parish communities headed by priests joined him. Regardless of the fact that Louis’ policy concerning cities was not well-defined, he understood the importance of city forces in the struggle against feudal lords.

In his struggle against Henry I of England Louis was defeated at Bremule (1119) but managed to save disputed regions. The conflict with Germany was caused by Louis’ support of Pope Callixtus II. German Emperor Henry V, married to Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England, together with the English King declared war on Louis (1124). Louis appealed to national feelings of the French. French vassals brought their troops and Henry retreated.

Almost all of his reign Louis VI fought against “robber barons” and Kings of England who tried to seize Normandy.

Had eight children.

Died of dysentery, buried in Saint Denis basilica.