Louis IX of France
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(1214-1270, resurrection in 1296)
King of France (1226-1270)
All his life, Louis IX works to increase the power of the state over its vassals and to reduce the rights of the feudal lords. He extends France’s southern border and recaptures French territories fallen to English hands. His piety is often close to fanaticism. He never bothers himself with etiquette and serves soup to the poor people of his kingdom, spending more time with them than with men of high standing. Furthermore, he never favours lords at the expense of the lower classes and is very much in demand to settle conflicts opposing sovereigns of neighbouring states. If he likes peace between Christians, he is still a warlike chief who gets engaged in several wars in the name of his faith. Despite his puny-looking features, he fights ardently on the battlefield, showing the honourable course to his warriors.
Louis was king of France when the Flael first appeared in Lengadòc (southern France) but, distracted by his imminent departure on the Seventh Crusade, he did not pay attention to the shocking developments in his kingdom. At the Battle of Fariskur in 1250, his army was defeated in its attempt to retake the Holy Land and he was captured by the Mamluks. His wife, Marguerite de Provence, had to pay an enormous ransom to free him. Unwilling to abandon his cherished dream of regaining the Holy Land for Christendom, Louis IX remained there four more years, trying to rebuild Christian forces to combat the increasing might of the Mamluks.
Upon his return to France, he realised that Lengadòc had been ravaged by the violence instigated by Pope Innocentius IV’s condemnation of the region. To stop the slaughter of innocent people and restore peace, Louis instituted, with the help of the new Pope Alexander IV, a general Inquisition which gave the Church the right to execute creatures found guilty of impurity.
Ten years later, Louis politely refused to hand France over to Charlemagne who had claimed it as the old Frankish empire, since the former emperor had no means to enforce his claim on the kingdom and obviously could not raise an army to attack France. But a few years later, when Charlemagne called for the Rückeroberung (reconquest of Mongol-occupied Germany), Louis joined the host assembled by the revived Frankish emperor. He would later die at the Battle of Wien, the decisive final confrontation between Christians and Mongols, during which the European kingdoms would finally free themselves from the threat of invasion.
Louis IX was resurrected in 1296, after his canonization by Clemens V, thanks to Philippe IV’s influence. Ironically, Philippe later found Louis in a corridor of the royal castle and, before anyone else could see the resurrected king, he imprisoned him so no one would know he had returned from the dead.
By 1309, Louis is still trapped in a room in the attic of the castle, guarded by a deaf and dumb man. The only visits he receives are from his grandson Philippe IV, who comes seeking advice from the grandfather he has always admired... and feared.