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Capetians (kəpēˈshənz), royal house of France that ruled continuously from 987 to 1328; it takes its name from Hugh Capet. Related branches of the family (see Valois; Bourbon) ruled France until the final deposition of the monarchy in the 19th cent. The first historical ancestor was Robert the Strong, count of Anjou and of Blois. His son, Eudes, count of Paris, was elected (888) king after the deposition of the Carolingian king Charles III (Charles the Fat). From 893 to 987 the crown passed back and forth between Carolingians and descendants of Robert the Strong. Eudes's brother, Robert I, was chosen king in 922 but died in 923. The title, waived by his son, Hugh the Great, passed to Robert's son-in-law, Raoul, duke of Burgundy. In 987, Hugh's son, Hugh Capet, became king. His direct descendants remained on the throne until the death (1328) of Charles IV, when it passed to the related house of Valois. The successors of Hugh Capet were Robert II, Henry I, Philip I, Louis VI, Louis VII, Philip II, Louis VIII, Louis IX, Philip III, Philip IV, Louis X, John I, Philip V, and Charles IV. Their reign marked the expansion of royal authority, the revival of towns and commerce, and the beginning of the modern French state.


See R. Fawtier, The Capetian Kings of France (1941, tr. 1960); A. Lewis, Royal Succession in Capetian France (1982); R. McKitterick, The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians (1983); J. Dunbabin, France in the Making, 843–1180 (1985).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a dynasty of French kings (from 987 to 1328). The founder of the dynasty was Hugh Capet, who was elected king after the death of the last king of the Carolingian dynasty. Under the Capetians, the monarchy became hereditary rather than elective (this was at first a de facto development but became de jure after the 12th century). The Capetians succeeded in expanding the territory of the royal domain and were able to consolidate three-fourths of the territory of modern France by the beginning of the 14th century. Capetian policies promoted the establishment of a centralized state. After the death of Charles IV, who left no sons, the French crown passed to the Valois dynasty (a branch of the Capetians).

The Capetian dynasty consisted of Hugh Capet (who ruled from 987 to 996), Robert II (996–1031), Henry I (1031–60), Philip I (1060–1108), Louis VI the Fat (1108–37), Louis VII (1137–80), Philip II Augustus (1180–1223), Louis VIII (1223–26), Louix IX (Saint Louis; 1226–70), Philip III the Bold (1270–85), Philip IV the Fair (1285–1314), Louis X (1314–16), Philip V(second son of Philip IV; 1316–22), and Charles IV (third son of Philip IV; 1322–28).


Petit-Dutaillis, C. Feoda’naia monarkhiia vo Frantsii i v Anglii X—XIIII vv Moscow, 1938. (Translated from French.)
Fawtier, R. Les Capétiens et la France. Paris, 1942.
Calmette, J., Le Réveil capétien. [Paris, 1948.]
Bailly, A. Les Grands Capétiens. Paris [1952].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Her analysis of moralized Bibles produced in royal circles provides convincing insights into Capetian conceptions of kingship in the 1220s-30s, a period lacking 'mirrors for princes' literature.
LoPrete not only presents a new, and more expansive, interpretation of events as they transpired in northern Europe during the decades preceding the ascendancy of the Capetians under Philip II, but she provides an invaluable source for future scholars.
Agnes's writings, for instance, can be studied within the categories of royal and Capetian sanctity, (9) and the three works can be analyzed in terms of Franciscan (Agnes and Felipa) and Carthusian (Marguerite) spirituality.
The Capetian rulers of northern France were successful during the opening decades of the thirteenth century in expanding their control into fractious southern France, subduing the baronies of the south, adding these rich areas to their domain, and in the process falling heir to older and better rooted Jewish communities.
She argues that, in this way, Chretien prepares his audience to accept the "increased domination of the Capetian rulers, particularly after the advent of Philip Augustus in 1180" (14).
The high insecurity of rule of the early Capetians contributed to the difficulty of contracting.
Henry is often credited with seeking to turn Westminster into an English St Denis -- a royal mausoleum and eigenkloster that proclaimed the power and dynastic success of the English royal family much as St Denis did for the Capetians. Binski shows that to take such a view is to oversimplify the position.
The first of these occurred with the redaction of the Grandes Chroniques de France at the abbey of Saint-Denis, the initial installment of which was completed in 1274 by the monk Primat on the basis of his translation of a corpus of Latin texts collected and preserved at the abbey.(1) The Grandes Chroniques de France condensed the genealogical and dynastic memory of France into a simple edifice that inaugurated a new understanding of French history as the history of the trois races of kings--Merovingians, Carolingians and Capetians. The appearance of the initial installment of the Grandes Chroniques de France in 1274, therefore, represents a significant moment not only in the history of medieval France, but in the unfolding of French historical consciousness.
It is a model of comparative history, and offers historians of late medieval France important new ways of thinking about the reigns of the later Capetians.
As recounted here, Isabelle's life also illustrates the distinctive elements of women's piety, with special attention to books and images; the way men saw holy women differently than holy women saw themselves; the conscious campaigning required to create a saint's cult; the Capetians' cooperation in taking care of family business; and the dynasty's strong, royally distinctive piety, with its mendicant flavoring and emphasis on penance.
The GCF flourished under Charles V, king of France from 1364 to 1380, who incorporated the history of his own Valois dynasty, the new branch of the Capetians, into the official history of the monarchy, and that during a period when the English crown was challenging the legitimacy of the French rulers.