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Henry I Of France

HENRY I OF FRANCE (1008-1060), king of France, son of King Robert and his queen, Constance of Aquitaine, and grandson of Hugh Capet, came to the throne upon the death of his father in 1031, although in 1027 he had been anointed king at Reims and associated in the government with his father. His mother, who favoured her younger son Robert, and had retired from court upon Henry's coronation, formed a powerful league against him, and he was forced to take refuge with Robert II., duke of Normandy. In the civil war which resulted, Henry was able to break up the league of his opponents in 1032. Constance died in 1034, and the rebel brother Robert was given the duchy of Burgundy, thus founding that great collateral line which was to rival the kings of France for three centuries. Henry atoned for this by a reign marked by unceasing struggle against the great barons. From 1033 to 1043 he was involved in a life and death contest with those nobles whose territory adjoined the royal domains, especially with the great house of Blois, whose count, Odo II., had been the centre of the league of Constance, and with the counts of Champagne. Henry's success in these wars was largely due to the help given him by Robert of Normandy, but upon the accession of Robert's son William (the Conqueror), Normandy itself became the chief danger. From 1047 to the year of his death, Henry was almost constantly at war with William, who held his own against the king's formidable leagues and beat back two royal invasions, in 1055 and 1058. Henry's reign marks the height of feudalism. The Normans were independent of him, with their frontier barely 25 m. west of Paris; to the south his authority was really bounded by the Loire; in the east the count of Champagne was little more than nominally his subject, and the duchy of Burgundy was almost entirely cut off from the king. Yet Henry maintained the independence of the clergy against the pope Leo IX., and claimed Lorraine from the emperor Henry III. In an interview at Ivois, he reproached the emperor with the violation of promises, and Henry III. challenged him to a single combat. According to the German chronicle which French historians doubtthe king of France declined the combat and fled from Ivois during the night. In 1059 he had his eldest son Philip crowned as joint king, and died the following year. Henry's first wife was Maud, niece of the emperor Henry III., whom he married in 1043. She died childless in 1044. Historians have sometimes confused her with Maud (or Matilda), the emperor Conrad II. 's daughter, to whom Henry was affianced in 1033, but who died before the marriage. In 1051 Henry married the Russian princess Anne, daughter of Yaroslav I., grand duke of Kiev. She bore him two sons, Philip, his successor, and Hugh the great, count of Vermandois.

See the Historiae of Rudolph Glaber, edited by M. Prou (Paris, 1886); F. Sochn6e, Catalogue des actes d'Henri I" (1907); de Caiz de Saint Aymour, Anne de Russie, reine de France (1896) ; E. Lavisse, Histoire de France, tome ii. (1901), and the article on Henry I. in La Grande Encyclopedie by M. Prou.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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