Robert II of France

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Robert II (27 March 972 – 20 July 1031), called the Pious (French: le Pieux) or the Wise (French: le Sage), was King of France from 996 until his death. The second reigning member of the House of Capet, he was born in Orléans to Hugh Capet and Adelaide of Aquitaine.


Co-rule with father

Immediately after his own coronation, Robert's father Hugh began to push for the coronation of Robert. "The essential means by which the early Capetians were seen to have kept the throne in their family was through the association of the eldest surviving son in the royalty during the father's lifetime," Andrew W. Lewis has observed, in tracing the phenomenon in this line of kings who lacked dynastic legitimacy.[2] Hugh's claimed reason was that he was planning an expedition against the Moorish armies harassing Borrel II of Barcelona, an invasion which never occurred, and that the stability of the country necessitated a co-king, should he die while on expedition.[3] Ralph Glaber, however, attributes Hugh's request to his old age and inability to control the nobility.[4] Modern scholarship has largely imputed to Hugh the motive of establishing a dynasty against the claims of electoral power on the part of the aristocracy, but this is not the typical view of contemporaries and even some modern scholars have been less sceptical of Hugh's "plan" to campaign in Spain.[5] Robert was eventually crowned on 25 December 987.[6] A measure of Hugh's success is that when Hugh died in 996, Robert continued to reign without any succession dispute, but during his long reign actual royal power dissipated into the hands of the great territorial magnates.

Robert had begun to take on active royal duties with his father in the early 990s. In 991, he helped his father prevent the French bishops from trekking to Mousson in the Kingdom of Germany for a synod called by Pope John XV, with whom Hugh was then in disagreement.

Marital problems

As early as 989, having been rebuffed in his search for a Byzantine princess,[7] Hugh Capet arranged for Robert to marry the recently-widowed daughter of Berengar II of Italy, Rozala, who took the name of Susannah upon becoming Queen.[8] She was many years his senior. She was the widow of Arnulf II of Flanders, with whom she had children, the oldest of whom was of age to assume the offices of count of Flanders. Robert divorced her within a year of his father's death. He tried instead to marry Bertha, daughter of Conrad of Burgundy, around the time of his father's death. She was a widow of Odo I of Blois, but was also Robert's cousin. For reasons of consanguinity, Pope Gregory V refused to sanction the marriage, and Robert was excommunicated. After long negotiations with Gregory's successor, Sylvester II, the marriage was annulled.

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