Charles Constantine of Vienne

Charles-Constantine (died 962) was the Count of Vienne, son of Louis the Blind, King of Provence, and the Holy Roman Emperor.


When Charles' father Louis died in 929, Hugh of Arles, who was already king of Italy, took over Provence and gave it, in 933, to King Rudolf II of Burgundy.[1] Charles-Constantine for whatever reason, did not inherit the imperial throne or Provence.[2] This has led many to believe he was, in fact, illegitimate.[3] He was awarded the county of the Viennois in 931, by Rudolph of France.[4]

He was married to Thiberge de Troyes.[4] They had two sons:

Name and ancestry

This count appears simply as "Carolus" (Charles) in his own charters.[5] Flodoard, writing his annals during the count's lifetime, called him Karolo Constantino Ludovici orbi filii (Charles Constantine, son of Louis the Blind), and this added byname also appears in the writings of 10th-century historian Richerus, who used Flodoard as a source.[5][6] The implications of this byname, Constantine, have been subject to debate. Poole considered it a toponymic name of Flodoard's devising, reference to Arles (sometimes called Constantina urbs),[5] but Previté-Orton sees in it a reference to his parentage.[7] A surviving letter by Patriarch Nicholas I Mystikos testifies that Emperor Leo VI the Wise of Byzantium, father of Constantine VII, had betrothed his daughter to a Frank prince, a cousin of Bertha (of Tuscany), to whom came later a great misfortune. That unfortunate prince could only be Louis III, whose mother Ermengard of Italy was a first cousin of Bertha, and who was blinded on 21 July 905, while the prospective bride would have been Emperor Leo's only surviving daughter at that time, Anna, born to his second wife Zoe Zaoutzaina.[7] Charles Constantine would thus have been given names reflecting his paternal and maternal imperial heritage.[8] However, it is still questioned whether the planned marriage ever took place,[9] and there are chronological difficulties (not insurmountable in the opinion of Previté-Orton) in making Anna the mother of Charles Constantine.[7] Richerus suggested that the ancestry of Charles Constantine was tainted by illegitimacy back to five generations,[7] although the meaning of this is disputed.

References and Notes

  1. Eleanor Shipley Duckett, Death and Life in the Tenth Century, (The University of Michigan Press, 1967), 58.
  2. Burgundy and Provence, Constance Brittain Bouchard, The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 3, C.900-c.1024, ed. Timothy Reuter, Rosamond McKitterick, (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 334-335.
  3. C.W. Previte-Orton, The Early History of the House of Savoy, (Cambridge University Press, 1912), 104 note6.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Constance Brittain Bouchard, Those of My Blood: Creating Noble Families in Medieval Francia, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), 82.
  5. 1 2 3 Reginald L. Poole, "Burgundian Notes", English Historical Review, 27(1912):299—309.
  6. C. W. Previté Orton, "Italy and Provence, 900—950", English Historical Review, 32(1917):335—47.
  7. 1 2 3 4 C. W. Previté Orton, "Charles Constantine of Vienne", English Historical Review, 29(1914):703—9.
  8. Christian Settipani, Nos Ancêtres de l' Antiquité, p. 6-7
  9. Shepard, Jonathan, The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire, Cambridge University Press, 2008, pg. 423


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