History for the Rest of Us

Louis IX – King of France

Louis IX – King of France

Oct 18, 2012

KING FROM 1226-1270 After the time of Barbarossa and Richard Cœur de Lion lived another great Crusading king. This was a grandson of Philip II, named Louis IX, who became sovereign of France in 1226. He was then only eleven years old, so for some years his mother ruled the kingdom. A few years after he had begun to reign Louis decided to make his brother Alphonse the governor of a certain part of France. The nobles of the region refused to have Alphonse as governor and invited Henry III of England to help them in a revolt. Henry crossed to France with an army to support the rebellious nobles. He was duke of Aquitaine and Gascony; so that although he was the king in England he had to do homage to the king of France for his possessions in that country, and fight for him if called upon to do so. Louis gathered an army and hastened to meet the English troops. He drove Henry from place to place, until at last he forced him to make terms of peace. The rebellious nobles who had invited the English king to France soon after swore allegiance to Louis and afterwards he had little trouble in his kingdom. Once Louis was dangerously ill and his life was despaired of. Finally he was believed to be dying and his wife and chief officials gathered round his bed to await the end. Suddenly he roused himself and said in a feeble voice, “The cross! The cross!” They laid the cross upon his heart and he clasped it fervently. For a while he slumbered. When he awoke he appeared much better. In a day or two he was entirely well. He then made a solemn vow that in thankfulness for his restoration he would go on a Crusade to the Holy Land. Louis lived at a time when everybody was full of the Crusading spirit. A few years before he was born even the children in France and Germany started out upon a Crusade of their own. It is called in history the “Children’s Crusade.” Several thousand left their homes and marched toward the Mediterranean. They thought that...

Clovis – King of the Franks

Clovis – King of the Franks

Sep 1, 2012

KING FROM 481-511 A.D. While the power of the Roman Empire was declining there dwelt on the banks of the River Rhine a number of savage Teuton tribes called Franks. The word Frank means free, and those tribes took pride in being known as Franks or freemen. The Franks occupied the east bank of the Rhine for about two hundred years. Then many of the tribes crossed the river in search of new homes. The region west of the river was at that time called Gaul. Here the Franks established themselves and became a powerful people. From their name the country was afterwards called France. Each tribe of the Franks had its own king. The greatest of all these kings was Chlodwig, or Clovis, as we call him, who became ruler of his tribe in the year 481, just six years after Theodoric became king of the Ostrogoths. Clovis was then only sixteen years of age. But though he was so young he proved in a very short time that he could govern as well as older men. He was intelligent and brave. No one ever knew him to be afraid of anything even when he was but a child. His father, who was named Childeric, often took him to wars which the Franks had with neighboring tribes, and he was very proud of his son’s bravery. The young man was also a bold and skillful horseman. He could tame and ride the most fiery horse. When Clovis became king of the Franks a great part of Gaul still belonged to Rome. This part was then governed by a Roman general, named Syagrius. Clovis resolved to drive the Romans out of the country, and he talked over the matter with the head men of his army. “My desire,” said he, “is that the Franks shall have possession of every part of this fair land. I shall drive the Romans and their friends away and make Gaul the empire of the Franks.” At this time the Romans had a great army in Gaul. It was encamped near the city of Soissons and was commanded by Syagrius. Clovis resolved to attack it and led his army...