| || Notes for Louis VII King Of France:|
b. c. 1120
d. Sept. 18, 1180, Paris
byname LOUIS THE YOUNGER, French LOUIS LE JEUNE, Capetian king of France who pursued a long rivalry, marked by recurrent warfare and continuous intrigue, with Henry II of England.
In 1131 Louis was anointed as successor to his father, Louis VI, and in 1137 he became the sole ruler at his father's death. Louis married Eleanor, daughter of William X, duke of Aquitaine, in 1137, a few days before his effective rule began, and he thus temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees. Louis continued his father's pacification program by building the prestige of the kingship through an administrative government based on trustworthy men of humble origin and by consolidating his rule over his royal domains rather than by adding new acquisitions. From 1141 to 1143 he was involved in a fruitless conflict with Count Thibaut of Champagne and the papacy. But thereafter his relations with the popes were good; Alexander II, whom he supported against Frederick Barbarossa, took refuge in France. But the major threat to his reign came from Geoffrey, count of Anjou and, briefly, of Normandy, and Geoffrey's son Henry, who later (1154) became King Henry II of England as well as ruler of both Anjou and Normandy. After Louis repudiated his wife Eleanor for misconduct on March 21, 1152, she married Henry, who then took over control of Aquitaine. Ironically, this act was probably to Capetian advantage because Aquitaine might have drained the resources of Louis's kingdom while bringing him little revenue. After the death of Louis's second wife, he married Alix of Champagne, whose Carolingian blood brought added prestige to the monarchy (1160); their son became Philip II Augustus.
Louis might have defeated Henry if he had made concerted attacks rather than weak assaults on Normandy in 1152. Anglo-Norman family disputes saved Louis's kingdom from severe incursions during the many conflicts that Louis had with Henry between 1152 and 1174. Louis was helped by the quarrel (1164-70) between Henry and Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, and a revolt (1173-74) of Henry's sons. Suger, abbot of Saint-Denis, who acted as regent in 1147-49 while Louis was away on the Second Crusade, is the primary historian for Louis's reign.
Louis VII, King of France, took the long route by land, by the west coast of Asia Minor, and had lost the majority of his troops when he reached the Holy Land in 1148. He joined Conrad III, who had come by sea from Constantinople, and Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, and after some deliberations they decided to attack Damascus. This was impolitic, as Damascus was the only ally they had to help stop Nereddin, and at the end of four days, July 28, 1148, the siege was an absolute failure, and the Second Crusade collapsed. Louis VII returned by sea to France in the spring of 1149. Louis VII was born about 1121 and died 1180. He succeeded his father in 1137, and in the same year he married Eleanor, heiress of William II, Duke of Aquitiane. In 1152 he had his marriage with Eleanor annulled, and in the same year she married Henry II, King of England. In 1154 he married Constance, daughter of the King of Castile. Five years after the death of Constance, on the 4th of October, 1160, Louis VII married Adela, daughter of Theobald III, Count of Blois and Champagne, and by this third wife he had an heir, Philip Augustus.
Descent from Louis VII, King of France, Leader of Second Crusade,
Philip Augustus, King of France, Leader of Third Crusade.
We speak of First, Second, and Third Crusades, but more exactly the Crusades were one continuous process. Scarcely a year passed in which new bands did not come to the Holy Land. Crusades seem to have been dignified by numbers when they followed some crushing defeat or disaster, as loss of Edessa in 1144, the Second Crusade, and the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, causing the Third Crusade, and they were led by Kings and Emperors. The years 1143-44 are in many ways the turning point in the history of the Latin East. In 1143 began the reign of the first native king. In 1143, John Comnemus and Fulk, King of Jerusalem, had just died, and Zengi, seeing his way clear, was able to throw himself on the great Christian outpost, Edessa, and finally entered on Christmas Day, 1144. Two years later Zengi died and was succeeded by his son Nureddin, and an attempt to recover Edessa was successfully repelled in November, 1146. Not only so, but the Franks, in the spring of 1147, were unwise enough to allow the hope of gaining two small towns to induce them to break the vital alliance with Damascus. Thus, in itself, the position of affairs in the Holy Land in 1147 were certainly ominous; aid from the west seemed a necessity. Early in 1145 news had come from Antioch to Eugenius III of the fall of Edessa, and at the end of the year he had sent an encyclical to France--the natural soil, as we have seen, of crusading zeal. The response was instantaneous: Louis VII of France himself, who bore on his conscience the burden of an unpunished massacre by his troops at Vitry in 1142, took the crusading vow on Christmas Day, 1145. St. Bernard, the crusading preacher, was persuaded by the Pope to become the preacher of the new movement. To the crusading King of France, St. Bernard added the King of Germany when, in Christmas week of 1146, he induced Conrad III to take the vow by his sermon in the Cathedral of Spires. Thus was begun the Second Crusade, under auspices still more favorable than those which attended the First Crusade, seeing that Kings now took the place of Knights.
Louis had a stroke on his return fron Canterbury, England and died as result.