Louis VIII of France

Louis VIII of France

Infobox French Royalty|monarch|name=Louis VIII the Lion
title=King of the Franks; Count of Artois

reign=14 July 12238 November 1226
coronation=6 August 1223
full name=
predecessor=Philip II Augustus
successor=Louis IX
spouse=Blanche of Castile
issue=Louis IX
Robert I, Count of Artois
Alphonse, Count of Toulouse and Poitiers
Saint Isabel of France
Charles I of Sicily
royal house=House of Capet
royal anthem =
father=Philip II
mother=Isabelle of Hainaut
date of birth=birth date|1187|9|5|df=y
place of birth=Paris, France
date of death=death date and age|1226|11|8|1187|9|5|df=y
place of death=Château Montpensier, France
place of burial=Saint Denis Basilica|

Louis VIII the Lion (5 September 11878 November 1226) reigned as King of France from 1223 to 1226. He was a member of the House of Capet. Louis VIII was born in Paris, France, the son of Philip II Augustus and Isabelle of Hainaut. He was also Count of Artois from 1190, inheriting the county from his mother.

As Prince Louis

At the age of 12, Louis was married to Blanche of Castile on 23 May 1200, following prolonged negotiations between Philip Augustus and Blanche's uncle John of England.

In 1216 the English barons rebelled in the First Barons' War against the unpopular King John of England (1199–1216) and offered the throne to Prince Louis. Louis invaded and was proclaimed King in London in May 1216, although he was not crowned. There was little resistance when the prince entered London. At St Paul's Cathedral, Louis was accepted as ruler with great pomp and celebration in the presence of all of London. Many nobles, as well as King Alexander II of Scotland (1214–49), gathered to give homage to him.

On June 14, Louis captured Winchester and soon conquered over half of the English kingdom. [Alan Harding (1993), "England in the Thirteenth Century" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 10. According to "L'Histoire de Guillaume le Marechal" Louis became "master of the country".] After a year and a half of war, however, most of the rebellious barons defected and so Louis had to give up his claim to be the King of England by signing the Treaty of Lambeth in 1217. The effect of the treaty was that Louis agreed he had never been the legitimate king of England.

As King Louis VIII

Louis VIII succeeded his father on July 14, 1223; his coronation took place on August 6 of the same year in the cathedral at Reims. As King, he continued to seek revenge on the Angevins and seized Poitou and Saintonge from them in 1224. There followed the seizure of Avignon and Languedoc.

On 1 November 1223, he issued an ordinance that prohibited his officials from recording debts owed to Jews, thus reversing the policies set by his father Philip II Augustus. Usury (lending money with interest) was illegal for Christians to practice, according to Church law it was seen as a vice in which people profited from others' misfortune (like gambling), and was punishable by excommunication, a severe punishment. However since Jews were not Christian, they could not be excommunicated, and thus fell in to a legal gray area which secular rulers would sometimes exploit by allowing (or requesting) Jews to provide usury services, often for personal gain to the secular ruler, and to the discontent of the Church. Louis VIII's prohibition was one attempt at resolving this legal problem which was a constant source of friction in Church and State courts.

Twenty-six barons accepted, but Theobald IV (1201–53), the powerful Count of Champagne, did not, since he had an agreement with the Jews that guaranteed him extra income through taxation. Theobald IV would become a major opposition force to Capetian dominance, and his hostility was manifest during the reign of Louis VIII. For example, during the siege of Avignon, he performed only the minimum service of 40 days, and left home amid charges of treachery.

In 1225, the council of Bourges excommunicated the Count of Toulouse, Raymond VII, and declared a crusade against the southern barons. Louis happily renewed the conflict in order to enforce his royal rights. Roger Bernard the Great, count of Foix, tried to keep the peace, but the king rejected his embassy and the counts of Foix and Toulouse took up arms against him. The king was largely successful, but he did not complete the work before his death.

While returning to Paris, King Louis VIII became ill with dysentery, and died on November 8, 1226 in the chateau at Montpensier, Auvergne.

The Saint Denis Basilica houses the tomb of Louis VIII. His son, Louis IX (1226–70), succeeded him on the throne.


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1= 1. Louis VIII of France
2= 2. Philip II of France
3= 3. Isabelle of Hainaut
4= 4. Louis VII of France
5= 5. Adèle of Champagne
6= 6. Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut
7= 7. Margaret I, Countess of Flanders
8= 8. Louis VI of France
9= 9. Adelaide of Savoy
10= 10. Theobald II, Count of Champagne
11= 11. Matilda of Carinthia
12= 12. Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut
13= 13. Alice of Namur
14= 14. Thierry, Count of Flanders
15= 15. Sibylla of Anjou
16= 16. Philip I of France
17= 17. Bertha of Holland
18= 18. Humbert II of Savoy
19= 19. Gisela of Burgundy
20= 20. Stephen II, Count of Blois
21= 21. Adela of Normandy
22= 22. Engelbert, Duke of Carinthia
23= 23. Uta of Passau
24= 24. Baldwin III, Count of Hainaut
25= 25. Yolande of Wassenberg
26= 26. Godfrey I of Namur
27= 27. Ermesinda of Luxembourg
28= 28. Theodoric II, Duke of Lorraine
29= 29. Gertrude of Flanders
30= 30. Fulk V of Anjou
31= 31. Ermengarde of Maine


On May 23, 1200, at the age of twelve, Louis married Blanche of Castile (March 4, 1188November 26, 1252).


# Blanche (1205–1206).
# Agnes (b. and d. 1207).
# Philippe (9 September, 1209 – July 1218), married (or only betrothed) in 1217 to Agnes of Donzy.
# Alphonse (b. and d. Lorrez-le-Bocage, 23 January 1213).
# John (b. and d. Lorrez-le-Bocage, 23 January 1213), twin of Alphonse.
# Louis IX (Poissy, 25 April, 121425 August, 1270, Tunis), King of France as successor to his father.
# Robert (25 September, 12169 February, 1250, killed in battle, Manssurah, Egypt)
# Philippe (2 January, 1218–1220).
# John Tristan (21 July, 1219–1232), Count of Anjou and Maine.
# Alphonse (Poissy, 11 November, 122021 August, 1271, Corneto), Count of Poitou and Auvergne, and by marriage, of Toulouse.
# Philippe Dagobert (20 February, 1222–1232).
# Isabel (14 April 122523 February, 1269).
# Charles Etienne (21 March 12267 January, 1285), Count of Anjou and Maine, by marriage Count of Provence and Folcalquier, and King of Sicily.


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