Capetian Kings of France Essay

2087 Words Dec 6th, 2012 9 Pages
What factors promoted the authority of the Capetian Kings of France in the Twelfth century?
France in the eleventh century had been a fragmented land, divided into federal principalities, or mini-states ruled by princes or dukes. Though they recognized the King of France’s authority they did not expect him to exercise it in their individual territories. Feudalism increased the power of these mini-states in the twelfth century, and was the tool used by the Capetian Kings of France to advance their influence and wealth. Why and how the Capetian dynasty sought to establish and then successfully utilize this particular system will be the main focus of my essay.
Feudal law was the customs and relations between lord and vassal in regards to
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The enlargement of the royal demesne was the essential aim of the king and his advisor and Suger’s account seems to support this view.
Suger may have also wanted to record the events in the life of Louis VI that involved the French Church in order to emphasise the strong bond between the crown and the clergy. The King was forced to move against Thomas de Marle who was claiming land unlawfully. True to form, Louis acts quickly to prevent loss of royal authority by handling the matter personally. Suger reports that the clergy move with him [the King] to excommunicate de Marle and strip him of all honours for his crimes. This is described by The Abbot as “yielding to the prayers of the great council”, to whom Louis VI “was always very strongly attached.”
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis was also known as the Royal Abbey of France as many Kings had been educated and buried there. The old abbey church of St. Denis was partially dilapidated by the early twelfth century, having been built in the late eighth century by Charlemagne, and required renovation as an important symbol of French Capetian royal power. Suger was overseer of the rebuilding of the abbey. Though Suger’s involvement in its reconstruction was of more religious significance, the project was nevertheless just as much a political and architectural an event. The new building marked the beginning of Gothic architecture which would spread with the expansion

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