Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine

Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Lithograph printed in circa 1850 with the caption Founder of Brussels, circa 976
Charles and his brother Lothair of France

Charles of Lorraine (Laon, 953–993 in Orléans) was the son of Louis IV of France and Gerberga of Saxony and younger brother of King Lothair. He was a sixth generation descendant of Charlemagne. Charles was excluded from the throne of France, and the German Emperor Otto II, made him Duke of Lower Lorraine in 977.

His father probably gave him royal powers in Burgundy, but Lothair took them back upon reaching his majority. In 977, he accused Lothair's wife, Emma, daughter of Lothair II of Italy, of infideility with Adalberon, Bishop of Laon. The council of Sainte-Macre at Fismes (near Reims) exonerated the queen and the bishop, but Charles maintained his claim and was driven from the kingdom, finding refuge at the court of his cousin, Otto II. Otto promised to crown Charles as soon as Lothair was out of the way and Charles paid him homage, receiving back Lower Lorraine.

In August 978, Lothair invaded Germany and captured the imperial capital of Aachen, but failed to capture either Otto or Charles. In October, Otto and Charles in turn invaded France, devastating the land around Rheims, Soissons, and Laon. In the latter city, the chief seat of the kings of France, Charles was crowned by Theodoric I, Bishop of Metz. Lothair fled to Paris and was there besieged. But a relief army of Hugh Capet's forced Otto and Charles to lift the siege on 30 November. Lothair and Capet, the tables turned once more, chased the German king and his liege back to Aachen and retook Laon.

As he had been a vassal also of Lothair, Charles' acts on behalf of Otto were considered treason and he was thereafter excluded from the throne. On Lothair's death (986), the magnates elected his son Louis V and on the latter's death (987), Hugh Capet. Thus, the House of Capet came to the throne over the disgraced and ignored Charles. Charles' marriage to the lowborn daughter of a vassal of Hugh was championed by his opponents as a cardinal reason to deny him the throne. In order to have free hand towards France, he resigned his duchy to regency of his eldest son Otto. Charles made war on Hugh, even taking Rheims and Laon. However, on Maundy Thursday[1]991 26 March, he was captured, through the perfidy of the Bishop Adalberon, and with his young second son Louis imprisoned by Hugh in Orléans, where he died a short while later, in or before 993.

In 1666, the sepulchre of Charles was discovered in the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht.[Need quotation to verify] His skin appears to have been interred there only in 1001, but that is not the date of his death, as some scholars assumed. Though Charles ruled Lower Lorraine, the Dukes of Lorraine (Upper Lotharingia) counted him as Charles I of Lorraine.



Charles married firstly (970) a daughter of Robert of Vermandois, count of Meaux and Troyes. He married secondly Adelais, the daughter of low-ranking vassal of Hugh Capet. He may have married thirdly Bonne, daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Verdun.[citation needed] His children with his second and first wives were:

  • Otto, succeeded him as Duke of Lower Lotharingia
  • Adelaide
  • Gerberga of Lower Lorraine, countess of Brussels, who married Lambert I, Count of Leuven
  • Louis, followed his father to France and died in prison
  • Charles (b. 989)
  • Ermengarde, married Albert I, Count of Namur (various sources assign paternity of Ermengarde alternatively to Charles, or to his son Otto)




Preceded by
Duke of Lower Lorraine
Succeeded by

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Otto, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Otto (c. 970–1012) was the duke of Lower Lorraine from 993 until his death. He was the son of Charles, son of King Louis IV, and his first wife, a daughter of Robert de Vermandois, count of Meaux and Troyes. When his father left the duchy to… …   Wikipedia

  • Lower Lorraine — Lotharingia divided, around 1000: the pink is Lower Lorraine, while the purple is Upper Lorraine. History of the Low Countries …   Wikipedia

  • Gerberga of Lower Lorraine — Gerberga of Lower Lorraine, Countess of Louvain, was the daughter of Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine, himself the son of Louis IV of France and Gerberga of Saxony. She married Lambert I, Count of Louvain …   Wikipedia

  • Charles II, Duke of Lorraine — by Pierre Woeiriot Charles II (1364 – January 25, 1431), called the Bold (French: le Hardi) was the duke of Lorraine from 1390 to his death and constable of France from 1418 to 1425.[ …   Wikipedia

  • Charles of Lorraine — (Charles de Lorraine) may refer to: Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine (953–993) Charles II, Duke of Lorraine (1364–1431) Charles III, Duke of Lorraine (1543–1608) Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine (1604–1675) Charles V, Duke of Lorraine (1643–1690)… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles I — may refer to: In Kings and Emperors: Charles I, Holy Roman Emperor or Charlemagne (742–814) Charles I of Naples, King of Sicily (1226–1285) Charles I of Hungary, King of Hungary (1288–1342) Charles I of Bohemia or Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles of France — might refer to: Kings of the Franks or of France Charlemagne (c. 742–814), counted as Charles I, reigned 768–814 Charles the Bald (823–877), counted as Charles II, reigned 840–877 Charles the Simple (879–929), counted as Charles III, reigned… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles I, Duke of Lorraine — may refer to: Charles, Duke of Lower Lotharingia (953–993) Charles II, Duke of Lorraine (1364–1431) This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same personal name. If an intern …   Wikipedia

  • Duke of Limburg — Coat of arms of the Dukes of Limburg The counts of Limburg rose to prominence when one of their house was appointed Duke of Lower Lorraine. Though Lorraine was soon confiscated, the ducal title was kept within the family, transferred it to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles I — /chahrlz/; Fr. /shannrddl/ 1. Charlemagne. 2. ( the Bald ) A.D. 823 877, king of France 840 877; as Charles II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 875 877. 3. 1500 58, king of Spain 1516 56; as Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 1519 56. 4 …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.