In 960, four years after the death of his father Hugues le Grand in 956, Hugues was named as duke of the Franks ["Otho et Hugo filii Hugonis, mediante avunculo ipsorum Brunone, ad regem veniunt ac sui efficiuntur. Quorum Hugonem rex ducem constituit, addito illi pago Pictavensi ad terram quam pater ipsius tenuerat, concessa Othoni Burgundia." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 960, 149; Bruno was archbishop of Köln (Cologne), and brother of Hedwig, the mother of Hugues]. On 1 June 987, after the death of king Louis V, the claims of Charles of Lorraine (brother of Louis) were set aside, and Hugues was chosen king ["Hac sententia promulgata et ab omnibus laudata, dux omnium consensu in regnum promovetur, et per metropolitanum aliosque episcopos Noviomi coronatus, Gallis, Brittannis, Dahis, Aquitanis, Gothis, Hispanis, Wasconibus, rex Kalendis Iun. praerogatur." Richer, Historia, iv, 12]. At the same time, his son Robert was made co-king [ibid.]. When Hugues died in 996, his son succeeded as king Robert II.
The cognomen of "Capet" which is generally given to Hugues is not contemporary. In fact, when the name first appears it is not as a cognomen of king Hugues of France, but of his father duke Hugues, now generally called "le Grand" ("the Great"). The earliest example is in one manuscript of the work of Adémar de Chabannes, from the eleventh century ["... Ugo, filius Rotberti, cognomine Capetius, ... et ipsi Ugoni Capetio ducatum permisit ..." Adémar Chab. (ms. "C"), iii, 22 (p. 142 n.); "... Ugo dux, filius Ugonis Copetii, in regem elevatus est." ibid., iii, 30 (p. 151 n.)]. The earliest unambiguous references to king Hugues of France as Hugues Capet are from the twelfth century, for example in Robert de Torigny's additions to the work of Guillaume de Jumièges ["Supradictus vero Hugo Magnus genuit ex filia Ottonis regis Saxonum, postmodum uero imperatoris Romanorum, Hugonem Capeiet et fratres eius." GND (Rob. Tor.), viii, 26 (vol. 2, pp. 244-5); also "... Hugonis duci Magni filius Hugo [Capet] ..." GND, iv, 19 (vol. 1, pp. 132-3), where "Capet" is an addition in Robert's revision]. For a detailed discussion of the appearance of the name Capet, see the work of Ferdinand Lot [Lot (1903), 304-323 (Appendice VI: "Le surnom de «Capet»")].
Date of birth: say
His parents were married in 937 [see the page of Hugues le Grand], and Hugues Capet, as the eldest son, was probably born not long afterward.
Place of birth: Unknown.
Date of death: 23×25 (probably 24) October 996.
[Lot (1903), 298-303 (Appendice V: Date de la mort du roi Hugues Capet)]
Place of death: Les Juifs (Judeis), buried at Saint-Denis.
["Hugo rex papulis toto corpore confectus, in oppido Hugonis Judeis extinctus est." Richer, Historia, final notes (2: 308)] Hugues de Fleury placed the death of Hugues at Melun ["Porro rex Francorum Hugo anno regni sui undecimo Miliduni defungitur, et in ecclesia sancti Dionisii tumulatur, relinquens sibi successorem filium suum Rotbertum." Hugues de Fleury, Modernorum regum Francorum actus, c. 8, MGH SS 9: 385]. Kalckstein placed the death of Hugues at Paris [Kalckstein (1877), 458], but Lot noted that Richer generally uses the word oppidum for a smaller place [Lot (1903), 184, n. 2]. The traditional interpretation of the word "Judeis" was that Richer was blaming the death of Hugues on the Jews, perhaps via bad treatment by Jewish medicine [e.g., Lot (1903), 185 & n. 2]. However, it was pointed out by Blumenkranz that there existed at the time of Hugues a village called Judeis (Les Juifs), near Chartres, now gone, and that this was the likely location of the oppidum Hugonis where Hugues died [Blumenkranz (1957); see also Gasnault (1960), Van Kerrebrouck (2000), 48 (the latter not seen by me, citation courtesy of Roger LeBlanc)].
Father: Hugues "le Grand", d. 16×17 June 956, duke of France.
Among many other sources, Hugues Capet is called a son of Hugues le Grand by the contemporary Flodoard [Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 960, 149, see above; "Otho, filius Hugonis, qui Burgundiae praeerat obiit; et rectores ejusdem terrae ad Hugonem et Oddonem clericum, fratres ipsius, sese convertunt." ibid., s.a. 965, 156].
Mother: Hadwig, daughter of Heinrich I,
king of Germany.
See the page of Hugues le Grand for his marriages. Of the three marriages, the fact that Hedwig was the mother of Hugues is proven by the mention of archbishop Bruno as an avunculus of Hugues Capet and his brother Otto (see above), and by the reference of Hugues as a consobrinus of king Lothair of France ["Rex Lotharius, locutus cum Hugone, consobrino suo, ..." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 962, 151], among other evidence. Hugues appears explicitly as a son of Hedwig in an eleventh century genealogical table of the descendants of Heinrich I of Germany [MGH SS 6: 32].
d. 15 June 1003×5.
Adélaïde is named as the mother of king Robert II by Helgaud ["... fuit rex Francorum Rotbertus origine natus nobilissima, patre illustri Hugone, matre Adhelaide vocitata, ..." Helgaud, Vita Roberti regis, RHF 10: 99; ibid., 104]. Adélaïde also appears in several charters of her son Robert during the period 997 to 1003 [RHF 10: 574 (#2, 997); ibid., 574-5 (#3, 19 April 998), 575-6 (#4, ca. 999), 577 (#5, 26 October 999), 581 (#9, ca. 1003), 582 (#10, Easter 1003)].
Robert II, d.
20 July 1031, king of France, 996-1031;
m. (1) Rozala Susanna, d. prob. 13 Dec. 1003, daughter of Berengario II, king of Italy, widow of Arnulf II, count of Flanders.
m. (2) Berthe, d. 16 January after 1010, daughter of Conrad, king of Burgundy, widow of Eudes I, count of Blois.
m. (3) Constance, d. 22 July 1034, daughter of Guillaume I (or II), count of Provence.
Named co-king with his father in 987, Robert is often found signing with his father in royal acts [987: "Signum Roberti filii nostri" RHF 10: 549 (#1); 988: "Signum domni Hugonis gloriosissimi regis Francorum, ... S. domni Roberti regis incliti" ibid., 552 (#4); ibid., 554 (#5, 988), etc.]
Hedwig/Avoise; m Regnier IV,
count of Hainaut [said to have m. (2) 1033, Hugues III,
count of Dagsburg].
["Filii Ragineri ... - Raginerus quippe Hathuidem filiam Hugonis postea regis, Lantbertus vero Gerbergam filiam Karoli ducis duxere uxorem - in terra patrum suorum relocati sunt." Sigebert de Gembloux, Chronica, s.a. 977, MGH SS 6: 352; "Hugo Pius rex genuit Robertus regem et filiam Hadevidem nomine comitissam Hainonensium." Genealogiae Fusniacenses, c. 2, MGH SS 13: 252; "Soro autem regis Roberti Hadwidis Rainero comiti de Hainaco, fratri Lamberti comitis de Lovanio, peperit Beatricem, ..." Aubry de Troisfontaines, Chronica, s.a. 1031, MGH SS 23: 783; "... comes Raginerus, Ragineri itidem comitis filius, Roberto regi Francorum ex sorore nepos dilectus, ..." Olbert, Miracula S. Veroni, c. 21, MGH SS 15: 752]. The supposed second marriage is given by Anselme [Anselme, 1: 70].
Gisèle, m. Hugues I,
lord of Abbeville, advocate of Saint-Riquier, ancestor of the
counts of Ponthieu.
["Hugo vero primo Dux, postea Rex, eo tempore, quo propter Barbarorum cavendos incursus Abbatis-villam nobis auferens, castrum effecit, eique Hugonem præposuit militem, Forestis-cellam nostræ ditioni subripuit et eidem Hugonis perpetuo habendam contradidit; quia videlicet ipsius Ducis filiam, nomine Gelam, uxorem duxerat ..." Hariulf, Chronicon Centulensi, iv, 12, RHF 10: 195; see also Hariulf (Fr.), 217]
Probable granddaughter, claimed by some to be a daughter:
d. after 1063, m. Renaud I, count of Nevers.
(called Adélaïde by some)
Avoise appears in a charter of 1028×1040 with her husband Renaud ["... ego Rainaldus, gratia Dei comes, ... pro remedio animæ meæ et anima patris mei Landrici et matris meæ Matildis et uxoris meæ Advisæ, ... S. Rainaldi, comitis et uxoris ejus Advise, hac filii eorum Wilelmi, ..." Cart. Cluny, 4: 14 (#2811)], and in a charter of 1063 with her son Guillaume ["Hadvida" Jessee (1990), 8 & n. 26, citing Ménage, Histoire de Sablé, p. 40 (not seen by me)].
The problem with Avoise's parentage has been a disagreement in the sources as to whether she was a daughter or a sister of king Robert II. The earliest account is that of the contemporary Rodulfus Glaber, who states that Renaud married an unnamed daughter of Robert ["Similiter Rainaldus, comes ejusdem civitatis, Landrici comitis filius, qui filiam Roberti regis duxerat uxorem; ..." Rodulfus Glaber, iv, 26 (p. 113)]. Another source gives Renaud's wife the name Adélaïde, with the same parentage, but commits a serious error by making Robert also the father of bishop Hugues of Auxerre, in fact a son of count Lambert of Chalon ["Anno Domini MXXXI obiit Robertus rex [qui dum viveret in sæculo genuit tres filios et unam filiam; Henricum scilicet qui post eum unctus est in regem, et Robertum ducem Burgundiæ, atque Hugonem Autissiodorensem episcopum, Adelaidem etiam Rainaldi comitis Nivernensis uxorem]" Ex fragm. chronici fr. Hugonis Floriac., RHF 10: 221-2; Jessee cites Aimo's Gesta Francorum as the source for the same quote, Jessee (1990), 5-6; also: "Obiit Robertus rex, qui genuit Henricum regem, Robertum ducem Burgundiæ, et Hugonem episcopum comitemque Autissiodori, atque Adelaidem Rainaldi comitis Niverensis uxorem" Ex Chron. Vezeliac., RHF 10: 324, which is clearly not an independent source]. On the other hand, two sources from the middle of the twelfth century, a chronicle of Vézelay and the Origo et historia brevis Nivernensium comitum, state that Renaud's wife was a sister of Robert ["Robertus rex Autissiodorum obsedit, et dedit cum sorore Rainaldo filio comitis Nivernensis Landrici." Ex Chron. Vezeliac., s.a. 1002, RHF 10: 319-320 (see also Jessee (1990), 6, n. 15); "Renaldum, qui conjunctus matrimonio sorori regis Roberti, filii Hugonis capitonis." Origo et historia brevis Nivernensium comitum, Jessee (1990), 6, n. 16].
Since Rodulfus Glaber is the only one of these sources to be contemporary, it is natural to give his evidence more weight. Other evidence points in the same direction. The charters cited above show that Renuad of Nevers did have a wife named Avoise (Hedwig), who was the mother of his son Guillaume. That it was Avoise (and not some other wife of Renaud) who was a member of the French royal family is proven by the Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium, which states that count Guillaume of Nevers was a nepos of king Henri I, son of Robert II ["... Guilelmo, nepote regis Henrici Philippi patris, consule Nivernensium, ..." Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium, c. 52, Bib. Hist. Yonne, 1: 398]. Although the word nepos could mean both nephew and cousin, the former meaning was much more common, and this would thus tend to support the testimony of Rodulfus Glaber (because Guillaume would be a nephew of Henri if Avoise were a daughter of Robert, and he would be a cousin of Henri if Avoise were a sister of Robert). Jessee also mentions a charter of Marmoutier which would call Guillaume's brother Robert a nepos of king Henri I [Jessee, 10-1, exact citation not given]. Confirming that Renaud's wife was named Avoise strengthens the case for making her a daughter of Robert, for Robert had a sister of that name who is otherwise accounted for (as the wife of Regnier of Hainaut, see above), and Hugues Capet is unlikely to have had two daughters named Avoise.
The most serious objection to making Avoise a daughter of Robert has been chronological. The chronicle of Vézelay states that the marriage occurred in 1002, which would be chronologically impossible for a daughter of Robert, for Robert did not have any children until 1005 or so [Bouchard (1988), 17-8, n. 29], but would be possible for a sister of Robert. Bouchard also stated "I tend, however, to trust the chroniclers of Vézelay, who had a long and intimate contact with the counts of Nevers, more than Raoul Glaber, who is often quite unreliable on genealogy (for example, he calls Queen Constance the daughter of the count of Toulouse, rather than of the count of Provence)." [Bouchard (1988), 18, n. 29; see also Bouchard (1987), 343-4; Bouchard later reversed her opinion after seeing Jessee's 1990 work: Bouchard (2001), 26, 48] However, the chronicle of Vézelay also contains the derivative passage which makes Robert the father of bishop Hugues of Auxerre and of Adélaïde, wife of Renaud of Nevers [RHF 10: 324, see above], so the source not only contradicts itself with regard to Renaud's wife, but it contains the error about the parentage of Hugues of Auxerre, derived from another source. The supposed date of 1002 for the marriage comes from the same late source, and there is no good reason to believe that it can be trusted. It is quite possible that the siege of Auxerre and the marriage of Renaud were a number of years apart and that they were connected only later in the process of compiling the chronicle. It is true that Rodulfus Glaber erred on the parentage of queen Constance, a woman whose mother married four times and had children by three of her husbands (causing confusion among more authors than just Rodulfus Glaber), but she did not live in Burgundy where the activities of Rodulfus Glaber were centered. Thus, there seems to be no good reason to reject the contemporary evidence of Rodulfus Glaber about the wife of Renaud, count of Nevers in Burgundy, especially when the alternative would force us to accept two daughters of Hugues Capet named Avoise, and would assume the less common usage of the word nepos by Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium.
Supposed illegitimate child (doubtful):
Gauzlin, d. 1029, archbishop of
This relationship has been frequently stated [e.g., Anselme, 1: 70]. However, the underlying basis for this statement is unclear. Léopold Delisle, in his introduction to the life of Gauzlin, states the relationship with a citation to Adémar de Chabannes, but the relevant passage of Adémar's work states only that Gauzlin was the illegitimate son of a most noble prince of the Franks ["Erat enim ipse nobilissimi Francorum principis filius manzer, a puero in monasterio Sancti Benedicti nutritus." Adémar Chab., iii, 39 (p. 161 & n. 4, where the editor states he was a son of Hugues Capet)]. The Vita Gauzlini itself states only that he was "ex liberiori totius Galliæ stirpe" ["Hic ex liberiori totius Galliæ stirpe fertur ingenuam genituram excepisse." Vita Gauzlini, c. 1 (Delisle's edition, p. 276)]. Robert II exchanged letters with Gauzlin in about 1022 without any mention of such a relationship [RHF 10: 495 (#10), 496 (#11)]. In the absence of better evidence, there is good reason to doubt the relationship.
Adémar Chab. = Jules Chavanon, ed., Adémar de Chabannes - Chronique (Paris, 1897).
Anselme = Père Anselme, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, 9 vols. (Paris, 1726-33).
Bib. Hist. Yonne = Louis-Maximilien Duru, ed., Bibliothèque historique de l'Yonne, 2 vols., (Auxerre & Paris, 1850-63).
Blumenkranz (1957) = Bernhard Blumenkranz, "Où est mort Hugues Capet?" Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes, 115 (1957): 168-171.
Bouchard (1987) = Constance Brittain Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister - Nobility and the Church in Burgundy, 980-1198 (Ithaca & London, 1987).
Bouchard (1988) = Constance Brittain Bouchard, "Patterns of women's names in royal lineages, ninth-eleventh centuries", Medieval Prosopography 9, 1 (1988): 1-32.
Bouchard (2001) = Constance Brittain Bouchard, "Those of my Blood" Constructing Noble Families in Medieval Francia (Philadelphia, 2001).
Cart. Cluny = A. Bernard & A. Bruel, Recueil des chartes de l'abbaye de Cluny, 6 vols., (Paris, 1876-1903).
Flodoard, Annales = Ph. Lauer, ed., Les Annales de Flodoard (Paris, 1905).
Gasnault (1960) = Pierre Gasnault, "Hugues Capet et la ville des Juifs" Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes, 118 (1960): 166-7.
GND (Rob. Tor.) = Additions to GND by Robert de Torigny.
Hariulf (Fr.) = Le Marquis Le Ver (translation to French) & Ernest Prarond (annotation), Chronicon Centulense ou Chronique de l'abbaye de Saint-Riquier (Abbeville, 1899).
Jessee (1990) = W. Scott Jessee, "A Missing Capetian Princess: Advisa Daughter of King Robert II of France", Medieval Prosopography 11, 2 (1990): 1-16.
Kalckstein (1877) = Carl von Kalckstein, Geschichte des französischen Königthums unter den ersten Capetingern (Leipzig, 1877).
Lot (1903) = Ferdinand Lot, Sur le règne de Hugues Capet et la fin du Xe siècle (Paris, 1903).
RHF = Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France.
Richer, Historia = G. H. Pertz, ed., & J. Guadet, trans. (French), Richer, Histoire de son temps, 2 vols. (Paris, 1845).
Rodulfus Glaber = Maurice Prou, ed., Raoul Glaber - les cinq livres de ses histoires (900-1044) (Paris, 1886).
Van Kerrebrouck (2000) = Patrick Van Kerrebrouck, Les Capétiens 987-1328 (2000). [Not seen by me]
Vita Gauzlini = Robert-Henri Bautier & Gillette Labory, ed. & trans., André de Fleury, Vie de Gauzlin, abbé de Fleury (Vita Gauzlini abbatis Floriacensis monasterii) (Paris, 1969). Edited previously by Léopold Delisle, "Vie de Gauzlin, abbé de Fleuri et archevèque de Bourges, par André de Fleuri", Mémoires de la Société Archéologique de l'Orléanais 2 (1853): 257-322.
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
First uploaded 26 July 2008.
Minor revision uploaded 2 August 2008, adding the place of death of Hugues Capet. The original version listed the place of death as "Unknown". Thanks are due to Roger LeBlanc. who noted this oversight and provided the information from Van Kerrebrouck (2000), along with its citation of the Blumenkranz and Gasnault articles, and to Peter Stewart for providing me with copies of those two articles.
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