Louis IV of France
Louis IV called d'Outremer or Transmarinus (both meaning "from overseas"), reigned as King of Western Francia from 936 to 954. He was a member of the Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 dynasty, the son of Charles III
Charles the Simple
Charles III , called the Simple or the Straightforward , was the undisputed King of France from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919/23...

 and Eadgifu of England
Eadgifu of England
Eadgifu or Edgifu, also known as Edgiva or Ogive was a daughter of Edward the Elder, King of Wessex and England, and his second wife Ælfflæd. She was born in Wessex.- Marriage to the French King :...

, a daughter of King Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder was an English king. He became king in 899 upon the death of his father, Alfred the Great. His court was at Winchester, previously the capital of Wessex...


Early years across the sea

He was only two years old when his father was deposed by the nobles, who set up Robert I
Robert I of France
Robert I , King of Western Francia , was the younger son of Robert the Strong, count of Anjou, and the brother of Odo, who became king of the Western Franks in 888. West Francia evolved over time into France; under Odo, the capital was fixed on Paris, a large step in that direction...

 in his place. When he was only three years old, Robert died and was replaced by Rudolph
Rudolph of France
Rudolph was the Duke of Burgundy between 921 and 923 and King of Western Francia from thereafter to his death. Rudolph inherited the duchy of Burgundy from his father, Richard the Justiciar...

, duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy was a title borne by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks...

. Rudolph's ally, a Carolingian himself, Count Herbert II of Vermandois, took Charles captive by treachery and the young Louis's mother took the boy "over the sea" to the safety of England, hence his nickname.

Return to France

Charles died in 929, but Rudolph ruled on until 936, when Louis was summoned back to France unanimously by the nobles, especially Hugh the Great
Hugh the Great
Hugh the Great or Hugues le Grand was duke of the Franks and count of Paris, son of King Robert I of France and nephew of King Odo. He was born in Paris, Île-de-France, France. His eldest son was Hugh Capet who became King of France in 987...

, who had probably organised his return to prevent Herbert II, or Rudolph's brother Hugh the Black, taking the throne. He was crowned king at Laon
Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...

 by Artald, archbishop of Rheims, on Sunday 19 June 936. The chronicler Flodoard
-Biography:He was born at Épernay, and educated at Reims in the cathedral school which had been established by Archbishop Fulcon .As canon of Reims, and favourite of the archbishops Herivaeus and Seulfus -Biography:He was born at Épernay, and educated at Reims in the cathedral school which had...

 records the events as follows:
Brittones a transmarinis regionibus, Alstani regis praesidio, revertentes terram suam repetunt. Hugo comes trans mare mittit pro accersiendo ad apicem regni suscipiendum Ludowico, Karoli filio, quem rex Alstanus avunculus ipsius, accepto prius jurejurando a Francorum legatis, in Franciam cum quibusdam episcopis et aliis fidelibus suis dirigit, cui Hugo et cetero Francorum proceres obviam profecti, mox navim egresso, in ipsis littoreis harenis apud Bononiam, sese committunt, ut erant utrinque depactum. Indeque ab ipsis Laudunum deductus ac regali benedictione didatus ungitur atque coronatur a domno Artoldo archiepiscopo, praesentibus regni principibus cum episcopis xx et amplius. "The Bretons, returning from the lands across the sea with the support of King Athelstan
Athelstan of England
Athelstan , called the Glorious, was the King of England from 924 or 925 to 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder, grandson of Alfred the Great and nephew of Æthelflæd of Mercia...

, came back to their country. Duke Hugh sent across the sea to summon Louis, son of Charles, to be received as king, and King Athelstan, his uncle, first taking oaths from the legates of the Franks, sent him to the Frankish kingdom with some of his bishops, and other followers. Hugh and the other nobles of the Franks went to meet him and committed themselves to him[;] immediately he disembarked on the sands of Boulogne, as had been agreed on both sides. From there he was conducted by them to Laon
Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...

, and, endowed with the royal benediction, he was anointed and crowned by the lord Archbishop Artold, in the presence of the chief men of his kingdom, with 20 bishops."

Effectively, his sovereignty was limited to the town of Laon and to some places in the north of France, Louis displayed a keenness beyond his years in obtaining the recognition of his authority by his feuding nobles. Nonetheless, his reign was filled with conflict; in particular with Hugh the Great, count of Paris
Count of Paris
Count of Paris was a title for the local magnate of the district around Paris in Carolingian times. Eventually, the count of Paris was elected to the French throne...


Louis IV fell from his horse and died 10 September 954, at Rheims, in the Marne, and is interred there at Saint Rémi Basilica.


Marriage and children

In 939, Louis became involved in a struggle with the Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Otto the Great
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

 on the question of Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

, but then married Otto's sister Gerberga of Saxony
Gerberga of Saxony
Gerberga of Saxony was a daughter of Henry the Fowler, King of Germany, and Matilda of Ringelheim.-Marriages:She married first Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine. They had four children:...

 (914 – 5 May 984). They were parents to eight children:
  • Lothair of France
    Lothair of France
    Lothair , sometimes called Lothair IV, was the Carolingian king of West Francia , son of Louis IV and Gerberga of Saxony.-Regency:...

  • Matilda
    Matilda of France
    Matilda of France was Queen of Burgundy as the wife of King Conrad. A Carolingian, she was born in 943 to King Louis IV of France and his wife, Gerberga of Saxony....

    , b. about 943; married Conrad of Burgundy
    Conrad of Burgundy
    Conrad the Peaceful was the king of Burgundy from 937 until his death. He was the son of King Rudolph II, the first king of a united Burgundy and Bertha of Swabia...

  • Hildegarde b. about 944
  • Carloman b. about 945
  • Louis b. about 948
  • Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine
    Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine
    Charles of Lorraine was the son of Louis IV of France and Gerberga of Saxony and younger brother of King Lothair. He was a sixth generation descendant of Charlemagne...

  • Alberade b. before 953
  • Henri b. about 953

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