The Capet rulers of France

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The Capet rulers of France

The Capet Dynasty dominated France for over three hundred years. The dates are 987 to 1328. Before them were the Carolingians, and it was one Hugh Capet who founded the best known royal dynasty apart from the unlucky Bourbons.

Two Capets stand out as dynamic and resourceful – Philip II and Louis IX, often called a Saint. These two increased territorial control, enforced the oldest son’s right to inherit, and spent a great deal of time improving administration and (feudal) justice. It could be said that the Capets laid the foundations of modern France, which is a Good Thing because the later Bourbons, including the super-luxurious Louis IV, cost France her good medieval reputation and uncountable fortunes. Here is an easy-to-follow list of the Capetian kings of France. There were no queens, excepting the queen consorts; the dates signify the reign:

987/986 A.D.     Hugh Capet

996/1031            Robert II

1031/1060          Henry I

1060/1108          Philip I

1108/1137          Louis VI (the Fat)

Charles IV The Fair /

Charles IV ‘The Fair’ /

1137/1180          Louis VII

1180/1223          Philip II

1223/1226          Louis VIII (the Lion)

1226/1270          Louis IX (St. Louis)

1270/1285          Philip III (the Bold)

Philip IV 'the Fair' /

Philip IV ‘the Fair’ /

1285/1314          Philip IV (the Fair)

1314/1316          Louis X (the Quarrelsome)

1316                  John I (the Brief?)

1316/1322          Philip V (the Tall)

1322/1328          Charles IV (the Fair)

Note that two Capets were nicknamed ‘the Fair’: whether this means their hair was fair, or their system of justice, is open to debate. Perhaps by the standards of the time they were good looking. Illustrations from their regnal dates do little to tell us.


By | 2014-04-01T13:35:40+00:00 September 24th, 2013|French History|0 Comments

About the Author:

‘Dean Swift’ is a pen name: the author has been a soldier; he has worked in sales, TV, the making of films, as a teacher of English and history and a journalist. He is married with three grown-up children. They live in Spain.

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