Louis VIII the Lion (French: Louis VIII le Lion) (September 5, 1187 – November 8, 1226) reigned as King of France from 1223 to 1226. He was a member of the Capetian dynasty. Louis was born in Paris, France, the son of King Philippe II Auguste and Isabelle of Hainaut.
As a prince, Louis won battles against the armies of King John of England. In 1216 the English barons rebelled against the very unpopular King John and offered the throne to Louis. In May of 1216, Prince Louis of France and his army invaded England in what has become known as the First Barons' War, but after a year and a half of war, Louis had to give up on his desire to become the King of England and signed the Treaty of Lambeth.
Louis succeeded his father on July 14, 1223; his coronation took place on August 6 of the same year in the cathedral at Reims. As king, he continued to seek revenge on the Angevins and seized Poitou and Saintonge from them in 1224. There followed the seizure of Avignon and Languedoc.
On 1 November 1223, he issued an ordinance that prohibited his officials from recording debts owed to Jews, thus reversing the policies set by his father King Philippe II Auguste. Usuary (debt with interest) was illegal for Christians to practice, according to Church law it was seen as a vice to profit from others misfortune (like gambling), and was punishable by excommunication, a severe punishment. However since Jews were not Christian, they could not be excommunicated, and thus fell in to a legal gray area which secular rulers would sometimes exploit by allowing (or requesting) Jews to provide usuary services, often for personal gain to the secular ruler, and to the discontent of the Church. Louis' prohibition was one attempt at resolving this legal problem which was a constant source of friction in Church and State courts.
Twenty six barons accepted, but Thibaut IV, a powerful baron from Champagne did not, since he had an agreement with the Jews that guaranteed him extra income through taxation. Thibaut IV would become a major opposition force to capetian dominance, and his hostility was manifest during the reign of Louis VIII. For example, during the siege of Avignon, he peformed only the miinimum service of 40 days, and left home amid charges of treachery.
While returning to Paris, King Louis became ill with dysentery, and died on November 8, 1226 in the chateau at Montpensier, Auvergne.
The Saint Denis Basilica houses the tomb of Louis VIII. His son, Louis IX, succeeded him on the throne.
On May 23, 1200, at the age of twelve, Louis married Blanche of Castile (March 4, 1188 - November 26, 1252).
- Philippe - (September 9, 1209 - 1218)
Louis IX - (April 25, 1214 - August 25, 1270)
- Robert - (September 25, 1216 - February 9, 1250)
- Jean - (July 21, 1219 - 1232)
Alphonse of Toulouse - (November 11, 1220 - August 21, 1271)
- Philippe Dagobert - (February 20, 1222 - 1232)
- Isabelle - (June 1225 - February 23, 1269)
- Etienne - (born and died 1226)
Charles I of Sicily - (March 1227 - January 7, 1285)
Last updated: 08-16-2005 01:58:51