04.08.

1060: Henry I – French King of Limited Means

1060: Henry I – French King of Limited Means
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Basilica of St Denis, Henry I in background, Robert II, John I d. 1316 and Jeanne d. 1349

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 4 August 1060
  • At the time of King Henry I, the French royal domain (the area under the king’s direct authority) was probably the smallest in the entire history of France.

French king Henry I of the Capet dynasty died on this day in 1060.

At the time of his reign, the French royal domain (the area under the king’s direct authority) was probably the smallest in the entire history of France.

While the Kingdom of France nominally stretched from today’s Netherlands to Spain, in reality 95% of that territory was under the authority of feudal lords, who were the king’s vassals only in name.

Therefore, King Henry I had very limited resources and was forced to resort to different tactics.

For example, while discussing who should rule the Duchy of Lorraine during a meeting with the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry I challenged the emperor to a personal duel.

It appears the emperor wasn’t much of a warrior and escaped during the night. Despite this, Henry I still failed to acquire Lorraine.

It is interesting that Henry I’s wife hailed from faraway Kiev (today in Ukraine). Namely, his wife Anne of Kiev was the daughter of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise.

When she arrived in France, she wrote a letter to her father, describing the country as barbaric, with gloomy houses and revolting customs.

She knew how to read and write five languages (including Greek and Latin), while her husband was illiterate, allegedly just like the entire French court.

It also appears that she was the one who brought the name Phillip to France, since she gave it to her son (the future King of France).

Let us also mention that Henry’s royal domain was so small that it encompassed only Paris and its immediate surroundings, Orleans, Dreux, Senlis, and Melun.

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