France History: Early and High Middle Ages

After the Franconian empire was divided in the Treaty of Verdun in 843 between the sons of Emperor Ludwig the Pious (Lothar I, Ludwig the German, Karl II, the Bald), Charles II was able to rule over the western empire that had been assigned to him (border to Middle kingdom of Lothar aligned with the rivers of the Scheldt, Meuse, Saône and Rhône) v. a. thereby claiming that he bound the nobility and high clergy in the Treaty of Coulaines (at Le Mans, 843) as part of the rulership. Despite considerable resistance from the Bretons and Aquitaine, the rise of powerful noble families (Guelphs, Robertines, etc.) and the associated division of church rule once exercised by the king alone, the western monarchy remained as a unified political entity; Archbishop Hinkmar von Reims had advised Charles II. essential part of a process of early nation-building, which was characterized by the abandonment of the idea of ​​a great empire and concentration on the interests of the western monarchy under a king ordained by bishops and committed to ecclesiastical norms. The Norman invasions weakened the kingship, which was incapable of protecting the entire empire, and favored regional powers (Burgundy, Aquitaine, Flanders, Anjou), to which Normandy, founded in 911 by the elevation of the Norman leader Rollo to Count of Rouen, joined. In 888 a non-Carolingian king was elected for the first time with the Robertine Odo, against whom the Carolingian party Charles III., The simple-minded, whose territory remained essentially limited to the area between Oise and Aisne with the center of Laon. From then on, Robertines and Carolingians fought for the kingship until after the death of the last Carolingian king, Ludwig V (987), and the election of the Robert in Hugo Capet, the Capetian house (Capetian) prevailed.

This conflict, associated with constant acts of war, inhibited agriculture based on the ecclesiastical and aristocratic manorial rule and only allowed significant land development from the beginning of the 11th century, which began with the resettlement of “hospites” under better legal conditions in the Paris basin and in the Loire valley. The new villages (»villeneuves« in the north, »sauvetés« in the south) led to the densification of the road network and thus to better development of large areas of land. Population growth and legal improvements in the old settlements increased food production, which also brought better conditions for industry and trade. Legal awards to merchants’ and craftsmen’s settlements (Latin burgi) near monasteries and castles raised the residents (Latin burgenses, later French bourgeois [citizen]) from rural dependency and established pre-forms of urbanism. Roman legal continuity and Italian influence brought about the consular constitution in the cities of the south, while in the north in the 11th century approaches of communal oath associations emerged. Check to see more about France and other countries in the world.

Initially, the king only ruled over a fraction (around 10%) of the empire in his own right (crown domain), but the dynastic principle of inheritance was introduced by raising the eldest son to co-king during the father’s reign. The religious legitimacy of the king resulted from the coronation, which had been performed in Reims since 1129, using an anointing oil that was mixed with the “heavenly oil” of St. Remigius from 1131 onwardsequated. The Carolingian tradition was emphasized by the close ties to the Saint-Denis monastery (Charlemagne cult, burial place, insignia as consecration offerings, safekeeping of the coronation regalia). The cohesion of the empire was not based on various feudal ties, but on the political will of the princes, who in their territories all rights of the king, v. a. the appointments of bishops, perceived, so that fragmentation into petty lords was avoided.

With Ludwig VI. (1108-37) began a consolidation process that first brought the nobility of the Île-de-France under the power of the crown, against the Anglo-Norman power and against an attack by Emperor Henry V (1124) showed strength to self-assertion, as well as Louis VII participation in the 2nd crusade (1147-49) allowed. Against the advice of Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis, Louis VII separated from his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose second marriage to Heinrich Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy, brought Aquitaine into the possession of the English crown, as the Plantagenet as Henry II Became King of England (1154). Against his son John Lackland was Philip II. Augustus wage a successful war (1180-1223), who brought 1,204 Normandy and Poitou to the French crown. More effective administration increased tax revenue, allowing the king to recruit mercenaries and promote political goals through the use of funds. Provisions of feudal law were used for a far-sighted marriage policy, which left entire principalities by inheritance to the crown domain. The victory of Philip II over the Emperor Otto IV, who was allied with King John . at Bouvines (1214) affirmed France’s position as a major European power; a first advance to the south (1209) led as a crusade against the Albigensians was completed by Louis VIII with the conquest of the whole of Languedoc (1226) and as a result legally secured by the Treaty of Paris (1229) with Raymond VII of Toulouse (Duchy of Narbonne, parts of the Albigeois, area of ​​the Diocese of Cahors to the crown domain; marriage of the heiress Raimund to the brother of Louis IX to establish the inheritance claim for the remaining parts of the country). Louis IX, the saint (1226–70), rejected English attempts to recapture the lost territories and consolidated the reputation of the kingship despite the unfortunate course of the 6th and 7th crusades he led (1248–54 and 1270).

The government of Philip IV the Beautiful (1285–1314) brought about an increased expansion of centralized state power: jurists (lawyers) in royal service, final systematization of the imperial administration (parliament [Parlement] as the highest court, accounting chamber [Chambre des comptes] as an independent authority; Division of the crown land into fixed administrative districts: Bailliages in the north, Sénéchaussées in the south, controlled by inquiries directly appointed by the king), profits on the western border of the Holy Roman Empire (Free County of Burgundy, Toul), campaigns against Flanders and Sicily. The king opposed Pope Boniface VIII and obtained through the election of the French Clement V. considerable influence on the church (relocation of the papal court to Avignon 1309–76). With the smashing of the Knights Templar 1307-12 he gained its fortune. When the last Capetian king died without a male heir (Charles IV, † 1328), the crown went against justified claims of Edward III. from England to Philip VI. (1328–50) from the House of Valois. This was one of the occasions for the Hundred Years War, in which England defended her mainland holdings.

The outbreak of war hit France in a phase of economic recession, after a rising population, prosperity of the rural population and flourishing industries in the 12th and 13th centuries had also led to increased revenue from the crown. The central location between the Flemish industrial zone (cloth, metal processing) and the western German territories made the Champagne an internationally important trade fair venue (Champagne, History), which was particularly sought after by Italian merchants and bankers, who spread new forms of cashless payment transactions (bills of exchange). Protection of the kings and legal regulation of business transactions favored the circulation of money, which also reached the dependent farmers and enabled them to relieve their burdens by paying interest or buying them free. Since the noble landlords had to be available for court and military service, they had mostly converted their own farms into lease or pension companies that generated fixed income; Manorial rule and aristocratic society fell into crisis when rising costs for aristocratic lifestyles, military armor and high ransom demands for imprisonment began to exceed the income of most families, which was also affected by the loss of monetary value.

France History - Early and High Middle Ages