Saturday, 7 January 2017

French King, Louis XII

(27 June 1462 – 1 January 1515) was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1498 to 1515 and King of Naples from 1501 to 1504. The son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Maria of Cleves, he succeeded his cousin Charles VIII, who died without a closer heir in 1498.
Louis XII 
 Before his accession to the throne of France, he was known as Louis of Orléans and was compelled to be married to his disabled and supposedly sterile cousin Joan by his second cousin, king Louis XI. By doing so, Louis XI hoped to extinguish the Orléans cadet branch of the House of Valois.

Louis of Orléans was one of the great feudal lords who opposed the French monarchy in the conflict known as the Mad War. At the royal victory in the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier in 1488, Louis was captured, but Charles VIII pardoned him and released him.

He subsequently took part in the Italian War of 1494–1498 as one of the French commanders. When Louis XII became king in 1498, he had his marriage with Joan annulled by Pope Alexander VI and instead married Anne of Brittany, the widow of his cousin Charles VIII. This marriage allowed Louis to reinforce the personal Union of Brittany and France.

Louis persevered in the Italian Wars, initiating a second Italian campaign for the control of the Kingdom of Naples. Louis conquered the Duchy of Milan in 1500 and pushed forward to the Kingdom of Naples, which fell to him in 1501. Proclaimed King of Naples, Louis faced a new coalition gathered by Ferdinand II of Aragon and was forced to cede Naples to Spain in 1504.
Louis XII coin

Louis XII did not encroach on the power of local governments or the privileges of the nobility, in opposition with the long tradition of the French kings to attempt to impose absolute monarchy in France.

A popular king, Louis was proclaimed "Father of the People" (French: Le Père du Peuple) in 1506 by the Estates-General of Tours for his reduction of the tax known as taille, legal reforms, and civil peace within France. Louis, who remained Duke of Milan after the second Italian War, was interested in further expansion in the Italian Peninsula and launched a third Italian War (1508–1516), which was marked by the military prowess of the Chevalier de Bayard.

Although he came late (and unexpectedly) to power, Louis acted with vigour, reforming the French legal system, reducing taxes and improving government much like his contemporary Henry VII did in England. To meet his budget after having reduced taxes, Louis XII reduced the pensions for the nobility and for foreign princes. In religious policy, Louis XII re-instituted the Pragmatic Sanction, which established the Roman Catholic Church in France as a "Gallic Church" with most of the power of appointment in the hands of the king or other French officials. As noted above, these reforms had been proposed at the meeting of the Estates General in 1484.

Louis was also skilled in managing his nobility, including the powerful Bourbon faction, greatly contributing to the stability of French government. In the Ordinance of Blois of 1499 and the Ordinance of Lyon issued in June 1510 he extended the powers of royal judges and made efforts to curb corruption in the law. Highly complex French customary law was codified and ratified by the royal proclamation of the Ordinance of Blois of 1499. The Ordinance of Lyon tightened up the tax collection system requiring, for instance, that tax collectors forward all money to the government within eight days after they collected it from the people. Fines and loss of office were prescribed for violations of this ordinance.
Louis XII leaving Alessandria to attack Genoa, by Jean Bourdichon

To assert his claim to his half of the Kingdom of Naples, Louis XII sent an army under the command of Bernard Stuart of Aubigny composed of 1,000 lances, 10,000 infantrymen including 5,000 Swiss troops to Naples in early June 1501. In May 1501, Louis had obtained free passage for his troops to march through Bologne on the way to Naples. As the army approached Rome, Spanish and French ambassadors notified Pope Alexander VI of the thus far secret Treaty of Grenada, signed 11 November 1500, which divided the Kingdom of Naples between France and Spain.

The Pope was pleased and enthusiastically issued a bull naming the two kings — Louis XII of France and Ferdinand II of Spain — as the Pope's vassals in Naples. Indeed, the public announcement of the treaty in the Vatican was the first news that Federico IV, the current king of Naples, had received about his fate and his betrayal by his own cousin, King Ferdinand II of Spain. Being a stern disciplinarian, Lord Stuart held the troops of his army to strict decorum during most of the march to Naples.

However, discipline fell apart when the army passed through Capua. The French army plundered and raped Capua mercilessly. However, when news of the rape of Capua spread throughout southern Italy, resistance to the French vanished. King Federigo, King of Naples fled and the French Army entered Naples unopposed. Louis XII claimed the throne of Naples and pursuant to the sharing agreement with Ferdinand II shared half the income of Naples with Spain. However, as Machiavelli had said, the agreement could not last and in early 1502 relations between France and Spain had gone sour.

Negotiations were started between France and Spain over their disagreements about Naples. However, in April 1502, without waiting for the conclusion of these negotiations, Louis sent an army under the command of Louis d' Armagnac, Duke of Nemours against the Spanish in Apulia. On 24 December 1514, Louis was reportedly suffering from a severe case of gout. In the early hours of 1 January 1515, he had received the final sacraments and died later that evening. Louis was interred in Saint Denis Basilica.

No comments:

Post a Comment