07.04.

1498: French King Dies after Hitting His Head on a Transom

1498: French King Dies after Hitting His Head on a Transom
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Charles VIII of France wearing the cockleshell collar of the Order of Saint Michael

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 7 April 1498
  • The French king Charles VIII reigned during the papacy of Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia). One day he wanted to get through a door, and hit his head on a transom. It seems this caused internal bleeding, and he soon died.

On this day in 1498 the French King Charles VIII, a member of the Capet-Valois dynasty, died.

He led an active foreign policy and even invaded Italy in 1494. Namely, his army crossed the Alps and marched to the Kingdom of Naples. He was convinced that he inherited it through the line of his grandmother.

Indeed, Charles VIII conquered Naples and ceremoniously entered the city. Gilbert de Bourbon, Count of Montpensier, became his viceroy. However, the Italian states were allies against the French, and this was the beginning of the so-called period of the Italian wars.

At the time of his invasion of Italy, the Pope was Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), who was active in Italian politics. Charles VIII died in France, after an uncommon accident.

Namely, the competition called “Jeu de Paume” (literally palm game or racket game) was held near the royal Château at Amboise which overlooks the Loire River. He hit his head on a transom when he wanted to get through a door. It seems this caused an internal bleeding, and he soon died.

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