Alternate History

Régime de l'Aigle

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Bataille de Bouvines gagnee par Philippe Auguste

Geoffrey II victorious at the Battle of Bouvines in 1140, securing the throne of France for House Plantagenet. Geoffrey's victory would be an important moment in French history, officially ending The Anarchy, and ending years of dynastic conflict.

Welcome to the Régime de l'Aigle timeline. A project exploring an alternate history in which France is never centralized under the Capet Dynasty, eventually creating a Holy Roman Empire situation in western Europe. The lack of a stable dynasty, no central capital, numerous wars and conflicts, and other factors, eventually turn France and the surrounding area into a collection of smaller states, greatly changing the course of European history, and later the world.

Hugh Capet was elected King of the Franks in 897, the son of The son of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, and Hedwige of Saxony, daughter of the German king Henry the Fowler. Hugh Capet ascended to the throne at a time of rivalry between the Carolingians and the Robertians, to which he belonged. Before his rule two Robertians had been selected when Carolingian power failed; Odo I (888-898) and Robert I (922-923). Hugh Capet would spend much of his reign fighting among this rivalry, and was combated by Charles of Lorraine, the Carolingian heir. This conflict would continue for years to come, solidifying France's elective government, and eventually causing heavy
destabilization similar to that of the east.

Point of Divergence

King Hugh Capet

Non-contemporary painting of Hugh Capet after his coronation.

  • In 987 Hugh Capet is elected King of the Franks at Noyon and crowned by the prelate of Reims. Immediately following his coronation he asks for the coronation of his son Robert, claiming that he plans a campaign against the Moorish armies targeting Borrel II, Count of Barcelona. His request is denied by the Archbishop of Reims, who claims that there cannot be two kings at one time.
  • Hugh Capet's attempts to seize the Carolingian Charles of Lorraine and Arnulf, Archbishop of Reims fails, and Charles goes on to overpower the Capetian Dynasty. The Carolingian-Capetian rivalry continues for years to come, with the Carolingian Otto I and the Capetian king Robert continuing bloodshed after the short reign of Charles of Lorraine.

Major Differences

Additional differences between OTL and ATL, based on the original point of divergence.

  • Rule of France is split between Carolingians and Capetians into the early eleventh century, when in 1012 the French nobility elects William V, Duke of Aquitaine as king. William's descendants, the Ramnulfids, would become a predominant dynasty in France, while at the same time engaging France in conflicts with the Pope, the Holy Roman Empire, and the states of Italy.
  • A dispute between the French king William III and the Pope culminates in an Investiture Controversy, parallel to the one in Germany. This conflict is not resolved until the Concordat of Rouen, and would expose the limits to the rule of French kings.
  • William (the Conqueror) of Normandy seizes the French crown by force during the Investiture Controversy, whereas the Kingdom of England would remain under the House of Wessex.
  • From 1135 to 1140 France would be plunged into a period of civil war, known as The Anarchy. The conflict would begin over the succession of Henry I of Normandy, whose daughter Matilda and spouse Geoffrey of Anjou sought to secure for themselves, over claimants from the House of Blois. The conflict would culminate in Geoffrey's victory over a coalition at the Battle of Bouvines, securing France for the House of Plantagenet.
  • King Charles V Plantagenet would be invited by Pope Innocent IV to help uproot Holy Roman Emperor Conrad IV from the throne of Sicily. Sicily would be conquered by France, but would subsequently lead to conflict with Aragon and various other states.
  • At various points in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, the Kingdom of Sicily, Jerusalem, and various other European possessions, would be ruled by the King of France or his relatives.
  • By the turn of the fourteenth century the Kingdom of France has underwent massive structural change in how it administers its land. Money greatly becomes a means to represent economic value in agriculture, with peasants paying an increasingly large sum to their lords. The ancient forms of jurisdiction began to be replaced by the concept of individual property, with power becoming increasingly tied to land. As land came to form the basis of individuals’ power, legislation continues to be almost non existent, allowing courts to continue using traditional customs or rules.
  • The realm of the French kings as a whole begins to be commonly referred to as an ‘empire’, with later kings retaining the title “Emperor of Francia”. Within this empire individual territories form the basis of modern nation states, becoming increasingly independent. This leads to the emergence of a Sénat de Électeurs, a fixed college of prince-electors, who formalized the election of future kings of France. Under Philip I a decree would be passed designating seven nobles of France as the nation’s electors, responsible for future elections.
  • A series of conflicts between France and England over the Duchy of Aquitaine and various other territories in France, known collectively as the Aquitaine Wars, would dominate much of the fourteen century. The state of war between England and France during this time would lead to various other conflicts in western Europe over English and French dominance.

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