Hugh the Great
|Died||16 June 956 (Aged About 57-58)|
|Spouse(s)||Judith of Maine|
Eadhild of England
Hedwige of Saxony
|Father||Robert I of France|
|Mother||Béatrice of Vermandois|
Hugh was the son of King Robert I of France and Béatrice of Vermandois. He was born in Paris, Île-de-France, France. His eldest son was Hugh Capet who became King of France in 987. His family is known as the Robertians.
In 922 the barons of Western Francia, after revolting against the Carolingian King Charles the Simple (who fled his kingdom under their onslaught), elected Robert I, Hugh's father, as king of Western Francia. At the death of Robert I, in battle at Soissons in 923, Hugh refused the crown and it went to his brother-in-law Rudolph. Charles sought help in regaining his crown from Hugh's cousin Count Herbert II of Vermandois, who instead of helping the king imprisoned him. Herbert then used his prisoner as an advantage in pressing his own ambitions, using the threat of releasing the king up until Charles' death in 929. From then on Herbert II of Vermandois struggled with King Rudolph and Duke Hugh. Finally Rudolph and Herbert II came to an agreement in 935.
At the death of Rudolph in 936, Hugh was in possession of nearly all of the region between the Loire and the Seine, corresponding to the ancient Neustria, with the exceptions of Anjou and of the territory ceded to the Normans in 911. He took a very active part in bringing King Louis IV (d'Outremer) from the Kingdom of England in 936. In 937 Hugh married Hedwige of Saxony, a daughter of King Henry the Fowler of Germany and Matilda, and soon quarrelled with Louis.
In 938 King Louis IV began attacking fortresses and lands formerly held by members of his family, some held by Herbert II of Vermandois. In 939 king Louis attacked Hugh the Great and Duke William Longsword of Normandy, after which a truce was concluded, lasting until June. That same year Hugh, along with Count Herbert II of Vermandois, Count Arnulf I of Flanders and Duke William Longsword paid homage to the Emperor Otto the Great, and supported him in his struggle against Louis.
When Louis fell into the hands of the Normans in 945, he was handed over to Hugh in exchange for their young duke Richard. Hugh released Louis IV in 946 on condition that he should surrender the fortress of Laon. In 948 at a church council at Ingelheim the bishops, all but two being from Germany, condemned and excommunicated Hugh in absentia, and returned Archbishop Artauld to his See at Reims. Hugh's response was to attack Soissons and Reims while the excommunication was repeated by a council at Trier. In 953 Hugh finally relented and made peace with Louis IV, the church and his brother-in-law Otto the Great.
On the death of Louis IV, Hugh was one of the first to recognize Lothair as his successor, and, at the intervention of Lothair's mother, Gerberga of Saxony, was instrumental in having him crowned. In recognition of this service Hugh was invested by the new king with the duchies of Burgundy and Aquitaine. In the same year, however, Duke Gilbert of Burgundy acknowledged himself his vassal and betrothed his daughter to Hugh's son Otto-Henry. At Giselbert's death (8 April 956) Hugh became effective master of the duchy, but on 16 June Hugh died in Dourdan.