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Louis IX, Saint

crown france royal king

Louis IX became king of France in 1226 at the age of twelve, when his father died. His mother, Blanche of Castile, served as regent during his minority and during his later absence from France on crusade until her *death in 1252. Louis was largely a capable and powerful ruler; dedicated to justice, he successfully defeated rebellions and established peace under royal authority. An extremely pious man, Louis supported the Franciscans, maintained stable relations with the papacy, founded numerous religious, charitable, and educational institutions, and twice went on disastrous crusades (1248–54, and 1270, when he died of typhoid in Tunisia). Although Louis’s military ventures on crusade were unsuccessful, his piety, charity, justice, and courage were deeply admired. He has been termed the “ideal medieval king.” He was canonized in 1297 during the reign of his grandson.


The arts flourished during Louis’s reign, perhaps most notably expressed in the construction of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris (to house several important *relics, including the Crown of Thorns, purchased from his cousin Baldwin II, the Latin ruler of Constantinople). The mid-thirteenth-century Parisian “court style” in architecture, sculpture, manuscript illumination, and stained glass was a distinct and influential phase of Gothic style, quickly emulated outside France.


Episodes in the biographies of Louis, composed in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, were illustrated in manuscripts, sculpture, and stained glass during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially under French royal patronage. As an independent figure, Saint Louis is recognizable by his crown and royal robes embellished with fleurs-de-lys (emblem of the French monarchy). Sometimes he holds the Crown of Thorns, or nails of the *Crucifixion.

Louis L'Amour's “The Sacketts” [next] [back] LOUIS ARMSTRONG: THE CHICAGO YEARS - EARL HINES

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