Charles VIII, called the Affable (French: l'Affable; 30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498), was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498, the seventh from the House of Valois. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. His elder sister Anne acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485–1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.
In a remarkable stroke of audacity, Charles married Anne of Brittany in 1491 after she had already been married by proxy to the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in a ceremony of questionable validity. Preoccupied by the problematic succession in the Kingdom of Hungary, Maximilian failed to press his claim. Upon his marriage, Charles became administrator of Brittany and established a personal union that enabled France to avoid total encirclement by Habsburg territories.
To secure his rights to the Neapolitan throne that René of Anjou had left to his father, Charles made a series of concessions to neighbouring monarchs and conquered the Italian peninsula without much opposition. A coalition formed against the French invasion of 1494-98 finally drove out Charles' army, but Italian Wars would dominate Western European politics for over 50 years.
Charles died in 1498 after accidentally striking his head on the lintel of a door at the Château d'Amboise, his place of birth. Since he had no male heir, he was succeeded by his cousin Louis XII of France from the Orléans cadet branch of the House of Valois.
Charles was born at the Château d'Amboise in France, the only surviving son of King Louis XI by his second wife Charlotte of Savoy. His godparents were Charles II, Duke of Bourbon (the godchild's namesake), Joan of Valois, Duchess of Bourbon, and the teenage Edward of Westminster, the son of Henry VI of England who had been living in France since the deposition of his father by Edward IV. Charles succeeded to the throne on 30 August 1483 at the age of 13. His health was poor. He was regarded by his contemporaries as possessing a pleasant disposition, but also as foolish and unsuited for the business of the state. In accordance with the wishes of Louis XI, the regency of the kingdom was granted to Charles' elder sister Anne, a formidably intelligent and shrewd woman described by her father as "the least foolish woman in France." She would rule as regent, together with her husband Peter of Bourbon, until 1491.
Charles was betrothed on 22 July 1483 to the 3-year-old Margaret of Austria, daughter of the Archduke Maximilian of Austria (later Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I) and Mary, Duchess of Burgundy. The marriage was arranged by Louis XI, Maximilian, and the Estates of the Low Countries as part of the 1482 Peace of Arras between France and the Duchy of Burgundy. Margaret brought the Counties of Artois and Burgundy to France as her dowry, and she was raised in the French court as a prospective Queen consort.
In 1488, however, Francis II, Duke of Brittany, died in a riding accident, leaving his 11-year-old daughter Anne as his heir. Anne, who feared for the independence of her duchy against the ambitions of France, arranged a marriage in 1490 between herself and the widower Maximilian, thus making Anne a stepmother to Margaret of Austria. The regent Anne of France and her husband Peter refused to countenance such a marriage, however, since it would place Maximilian and his family, the Habsburgs, on two French borders. The French army invaded Brittany, taking advantage of the preoccupation of Frederick III and his son with the disputed succession to Mathias Corvinus, King of Hungary. Anne of Brittany was forced to renounce Maximilian (whom she had only married by proxy) and agree to be married to Charles VIII instead.
In December 1491, in an elaborate ceremony at the Château de Langeais, Charles and Anne of Brittany were married. The 14-year-old Duchess Anne, not happy with the arranged marriage, arrived for her wedding with her entourage carrying two beds. However, Charles's marriage brought him independence from his relatives and thereafter he managed affairs according to his own inclinations. Queen Anne lived at the Clos Lucé in Amboise.
There still remained the matter of Charles' first betrothed, the young Margaret of Austria. Although the cancellation of her betrothal meant that she by rights should have been returned to her family, Charles did not initially do so, intending to marry her usefully elsewhere in France. It was a difficult situation for Margaret, who informed her father in her letters that she was so determined to escape that she would even flee Paris in her nightgown if it gave her freedom. Eventually, in 1493, she was returned to her family, together with her dowry – though the Duchy of Burgundy was retained in the Treaty of Senlis.
Around the king there was a circle of court poets, the most memorable being the Italian humanist Publio Fausto Andrelini from Forlì, who spread the New Learning in France. During a pilgrimage to pay respects to his father's remains, Charles observed Mont Aiguille and ordered Antoine de Ville to ascend to the summit in an early technical alpine climb, later alluded to by Rabelais.
To secure France against invasions, Charles made treaties with Maximilian I of Austria (the Treaty of Barcelona with Maximilian of Austria on 19 January 1493) and England, (the Treaty of Étaples with England on 3 November 1492) buying their neutrality with large concessions. The English monarch Henry VII had forced Charles to abandon his support for the pretender Perkin Warbeck by despatching an expedition which laid siege to Boulogne. He devoted France's resources to building up a large army, including one of Europe's first siege trains with artillery.
In 1489, Pope Innocent VIII (1484–1492), then being at odds with Ferdinand I of Naples, offered Naples to Charles, who had a vague claim to the Kingdom of Naples through his paternal grandmother, Marie of Anjou. Innocent's policy of meddling in the affairs of other Italian states  was continued by his successor, Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), when the latter supported a plan for a carving out a new state in central Italy. The new state would have impacted on Milan more than any of the other states involved. Consequently, in 1493, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, appealed for help to Charles VIII. The next year in 1494, Milan faced an additional threat. On 25 January 1494, Ferdinand I, King of Naples, died unexpectedly. His death made Alfonso II, king of Naples. Alfonso II laid claim to the Milanese duchy. Alfonso II now urged Charles to take Milan militarily. Charles was also urged on in this adventure by his favorite courtier, Étienne de Vesc. Thus, Charles came to imagine himself capable of actually taking Naples, and invaded Italy.
In an event that was to prove a watershed in Italian history, Charles invaded Italy with 25,000 men (including 8,000 Swiss mercenaries) in September 1494 and marched across the peninsula virtually unopposed. He arrived in Pavia on 21 October 1494 and entered Pisa on 8 November 1494. The French Army subdued Florence in passing on their way south. Reaching Naples on 22 February 1495, the French Army took Naples without a pitched battle or siege; Alfonso was expelled, and Charles was crowned King of Naples.
There were those in the Republic of Florence who appreciated the presence of the French king and his Army. The famous friar Savonarola believed that King Charles VIII was God's tool to purify the corruption of Florence. He believed that once Charles had ousted the evil sinners of Florence, the city would become a center of morality. Thus, Florence was the appropriate place to restructure the Church. This situation would eventually spill over into another conflict between Pope Alexander VI, who despised the idea of having the king in northern Italy where the Pope feared the King of France would interfere with the Papal States, and Savonarola, who called for the king's intervention. This conflict would eventually lead Savonarola to be suspected of heresy and to be executed by the State.
The speed and power of the French advance frightened the other Italian rulers, including the Pope and even Ludovico of Milan. They formed an anti-French coalition, the League of Venice on 31 March 1495. The formation of the League of Venice, which included the northern Italian states of Duchy of Milan, the Republic of Venice, the Duchy of Mantua, and the Republic of Florence in addition to the Kingdom of Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Naples, appeared to have trapped Charles in southern Italy and blocked his return to France. Charles would have to cross the territory of at least some of the League members to return home to France. At the Fornovo in July 1495, the League defeated Charles. However, it was a pyrrhic victory because the French too celebrated Fornovo as a victory for them. The League lost 2,000 men to his 1,000 and, although Charles lost nearly all the booty of the campaign and had to withdraw to France, the League was unable to stop him from crossing their territory on his way back to France. Meanwhile, Charles' remaining garrisons in Naples were quickly subdued by Aragonese forces sent by Ferdinand II of Aragon, ally of Alfonso on 6–7 July 1495. Thus in the end, Charles VIII lost all the gains that he had made in Italy in 1494.
Over the next few years, Charles VIII tried to rebuild his army and resume the campaign, but he was hampered by the large debts incurred in 1494–95. He never succeeded in gaining anything substantive.
Charles died in 1498, two and a half years after his retreat from Italy, as the result of an accident. While on his way to watch a game of jeu de paume (real tennis) in Amboise he struck his head on the lintel of a door. At around 2pm, while returning from the game, he fell into a sudden coma, and died nine hours later, perhaps of an epidural hematoma.
Charles bequeathed a meagre legacy: he left France in debt and in disarray as a result of his ambition. However, his expedition did strengthen cultural ties to Italy, energizing French art and letters in the latter part of the Renaissance.
Since his children predeceased him, Charles was the last of the elder branch of the House of Valois. Upon his death, the throne passed to his father's second cousin, the Duke of Orléans, who reigned as King Louis XII.
Left childless at his death, Charles' widow, Anne returned to Brittany and there, as hereditary Duchess of Brittany, began steps to regain the independence of the duchy. It was exactly to stymie these moves toward independence that Charles VIII's successor—Louis XII—had his 24-year marriage to Joan of France annulled so that he could marry Anne of Brittany on 7 June 1500.
The marriage with Anne resulted in the birth of seven children, who all died young:
Charles VIII's invasion of Italy and his relations with Pope Alexander VI are depicted in the novel The Sultan's Helmsman.
In the 2011 Showtime series The Borgias, Charles VIII is portrayed by French actor Michel Muller. In the 2011 French-German historical drama Borgia, Charles VIII is played by Simon Larvaron. The event of the king's death is depicted in the TV series Borgia with a small twist: in the episode, Charles himself plays a game of jeu de paume with Cesare Borgia and loses; while leaving the game, Charles strikes his head on the lintel of a door.
Charles VIII of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 30 June 1470 Died: 7 April 1498
| King of France
1483 – 1498
| King of Naples
Title last held byFrancis
| Dauphin of France
1470 – 1483
Title next held byCharles Orlando
Events from the year 1470 in France1498 in France
Events from the year 1498 in FranceAffable
Affable may refer to:
Charles VIII of France, "the Affable" (1470–1498)
Affable RecordsCharles VIII
Charles VIII may refer to:
Charles VIII of Sweden (1409–1470), Charles II of Sweden, Charles I of Norway
Charles VIII of France (1470–1498), "the Affable"
Carlos VIII (disambiguation), regnal name of two claimants to the Spanish throneFrançois Joseph LeBreton Dorgenois
François Joseph LeBreton Dorgenois was the eighth mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, serving for less than a month at the end of 1812. The reason for his short stint as mayor is unknown.Dorgenois was a descendant of Denis d'Envrich, who fought in the Battle of Fornoue in 1495 and was bestowed the name of LeBreton by Charles VIII of France. He also descended from Nicolas Chauvin de la Freniere and Pierre-Charles Le Sueur and was related to the LeMoyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville.Frederick of Naples
Frederick (April 19, 1452 – November 9, 1504), sometimes called Frederick IV or Frederick of Aragon, was the last King of Naples of the Neapolitan branch of the House of Trastámara, ruling from 1496 to 1501. He was the second son of Ferdinand I, younger brother of Alfonso II, and uncle of Ferdinand II, his predecessor.
A combination of King Louis XII of France and Frederick's famous cousin King Ferdinand II of Aragon had continued the claim of Louis's predecessor, King Charles VIII of France, to Naples and Sicily. In 1501 they deposed Frederick; Naples initially went to Louis, but by 1504 a falling-out led to Naples' seizure by Ferdinand, after which it remained part of the Spanish possessions until the end of the War of the Spanish Succession.Italian War of 1494–1498
The First Italian War, sometimes referred to as the Italian War of 1494 or Charles VIII's Italian War, was the opening phase of the Italian Wars. The war pitted Charles VIII of France, who had initial Milanese aid, against the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and an alliance of Italian powers led by Pope Alexander VI.Jean II, Lord of Monaco
Jean II (1468 – 11 October 1505) was Lord of Monaco from March 1494 until his death. He was the eldest son of Lambert Grimaldi (1420–1494) and Claudine Grimaldi (1451–1515).
During his 11-year reign, he pursued the politics of his father. He was made Lieutenant of the Riviera by King Charles VIII of France.
Jean married Antonia of Savoy, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Savoy and his mistress Libera Portoneri, in 1486. The marriage was childless.
He was murdered by his brother Lucien, who then became Lord of Monaco.Kings of Naples family tree
This is a complete family tree of the Kings of Naples.List of rulers of Brittany
This is a list of rulers of the Duchy of Brittany. In different epochs the sovereigns of Brittany were kings, princes, and dukes. The Breton ruler was sometimes elected, sometimes attained the position by conquest or intrigue, or by hereditary right. Hereditary dukes were sometimes a female ruler, carrying the title duchesse of Brittany. Its principal cities and regions were ruled by counts who often found themselves in conflict with the Breton ruler, or who became the Breton ruler.
During the declining years of the Roman Empire, the earliest Breton rulers in Gaul were styled "kings" of the small realms of Cornouaille and Domnonia. Some such kings may have had a form of hegemony over all of the Brythonic populations in the Armorican peninsula, and Riothamus is called King of the Britons by the chronicler Jordanes. However, there are no certain rulers of the whole of Brittany, which was divided into the fiefdoms of local counts.
The Duchy of Brittany had its origins in the Battle of Trans-la-Forêt of 939, which established the river Couesnon as the boundary between Brittany and Normandy. In 942, Alan II paid homage to Louis IV of France, however the duchy did not gain royal attention until 1123, when Louis VI of France confirmed the bishop of Nantes. No other Duke of Brittany repeated Alan II's homage until Arthur I recognised Philip II of France as his liege in 1202.The area was often called a Duchy, and its rulers were considered independent Sovereign Dukes. However one historical view is that before the middle of the 12th century the Dukes of Brittany were often also called Counts by the Kings of France, as the kingdom of France then saw Brittany as no more than a county. In 1297, the peninsula was elevated into a Duchy in the peerage of France. This view is not consistent with the manner in which Charles VIII of France and then Louis XII of France approached the Duchy and the rights of Anne of Brittany who married each in succession.List of syphilis cases
This is a list of famous historical figures diagnosed with or strongly suspected as having had syphilis at some time. Many people who acquired syphilis were treated and recovered; some died from it.
Many famous historical figures, including Charles VIII of France, Christopher Columbus, Hernán Cortés of Spain, Benito Mussolini, and Ivan the Terrible, were often alleged to have had syphilis or other sexually transmitted infections. Sometimes these allegations were false and formed part of a political whispering campaign. In other instances, retrospective diagnoses of suspected cases have been made in modern times. Mental illness caused by late-stage syphilis was once a common form of dementia. This was known as the general paresis of the insane.Michel Muller
Michel Muller (born 9 September 1966 in Vienna) is a French actor, screenwriter and director. He is most recently known for playing Charles VIII of France in the television series The Borgias.Monte San Giovanni Campano
Monte San Giovanni Campano is a comune (municipality) of about 12,800 inhabitants in the province of Frosinone in the Italian region Lazio, located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) southeast of Rome and about 14 kilometres (9 mi) east of Frosinone. Monte San Giovanni Campano is in the Latin Valley
It is best known as the place where Thomas Aquinas was imprisoned by his family for two years. St. Thomas' cell now houses a 16th-century triptych of the Neapolitan School.
Monte San Giovanni is home to an 11th-century fortress, the Castello di Monte San Giovanni Campano. It was the first western fortification ever to be breached and captured using a bombardment from portable field artillery, when its castle was stormed by the troops of Charles VIII of France in a mere eight hours in 1495.
Monte San Giovanni was also a summer residence of Pope Adrian IV starting in 1155, and where sojourned the poet Vittoria Colonna.Octavien de Saint-Gelais
Octavien de Saint-Gelais (1468–1502) was a French churchman, poet, and translator. He translated the Aeneid into French, as well as Ovid's Heroides.
Born in Cognac, Charente, he studied theology at the Collège de Navarre, and became a member of the court of Charles VIII of France. A terrible sickness led him to abandon a formerly frivolous lifestyle and he took holy orders. Charles appointed him bishop of Angoulême in 1494. In this capacity, he reformed the monastic rules, visited the poor, decorated churches, and composed original poems, besides translating the works of the ancients. His poetic compositions include Tout m'est dueil, tout m'est desplaisir and Plus n'ay d'actente au bien que j'espéroye.
An outbreak of the plague forced him to abandon his post as bishop in 1502, and he died the same year.
The French poet Clément Marot praised his work, and wrote that Saint-Gelais had made his birthplace, Cognac, eternal.
His nephew was the poet Mellin de Saint-Gelais.Peter II, Duke of Bourbon
Peter II, Duke of Bourbon (1 December 1438 – 10 October 1503 in Moulins), was the son of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon, and Agnes of Burgundy, and a member of the House of Bourbon. He and his wife Anne of France ruled as regents during the minority of Charles VIII of France.September 1503 papal conclave
The papal conclave of September 1503 elected Pope Pius III to succeed Pope Alexander VI. Due to the Italian Wars, the College of Cardinals was surrounded by three potentially hostile armies, loyal to Louis XII of France, Ferdinand II of Aragon, and Cesare Borgia (the cardinal-nephew and illegitimate son of Alexander VI).
The participation of thirty-nine cardinals, made possible by the delay of the funeral of Alexander VI, made the conclave the largest in history, up to that time, in terms of the number of electors. There were 21 Italian cardinals, 11 Spanish, and 7 French. A convergence of factors undid years of planning by Louis XII and his predecessor Charles VIII of France to promote the candidacy of Georges d'Amboise. After receiving far fewer votes than expected on the first ballot due to the independent candidacy of Giuliano della Rovere and the loss of control of the Spanish cardinals by Cesare Borgia, d'Amboise threw his support to Francesco Piccolomini, who was elected Pius III on the second ballot despite receiving only four on the first.Treaty of Barcelona (1493)
The Treaty of Barcelona was signed on 19 January 1493 between France and the Crown of Aragon. Based on the terms of the agreement, France returned Roussillon and Cerdagne to the Crown of Aragon. In return, the Crown of Aragon vowed to maintain neutrality during any French invasions of Italy.
The two territories had been named earlier in the century as collateral for a loan of 300,000 crowns from France to the King of Aragon, and seized by France in 1462 when the loan was not repaid. The motivation for their return through the Treaty of Barcelona in 1493 was the desire of Charles VIII of France to placate any potential enemies before his projected invasion of Italy.Treaty of Sablé
The Treaty of Sablé (also known as the Treaty of Verger or the Treaty of Le Verger) was signed on 20 August 1488 in Sablé between Duke Francis II of Brittany and Charles VIII of France. Based on the terms of the accord, the Duke of Brittany acknowledged himself as a vassal of the King of France. Moreover, the Duke of Brittany pledged the territories of Saint Malo, Dinan, Fougères and Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier to be controlled by the French crown. Also, Francis promised to remove all foreign troops from his territories, as well as ensure to seek Charles's consent before marrying off his daughter, Anne. In return, Charles removed his forces from Brittany except in the town garrisons of the territories pledged by Francis. In another aspect of the treaty, the Duke of Brittany was no longer permitted to summon any troops from England.Treaty of Senlis
The Treaty of Senlis concerning the Burgundian succession was signed at Senlis, Oise in May 1493 between Maximilian I of Habsburg and King Charles VIII of France.
After the last Valois Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, had died without male heir at the 1477 Battle of Nancy, his cousin Louis XI of France was determined to come into his inheritance, especially the Burgundian Netherlands with the thriving County of Flanders. However, Mary the Rich, daughter of Charles the Bold, and her husband Maximilian also claimed their rights, which led to clashes of arms culminating at the 1479 Battle of Guinegate, concluded in favour of Mary and Maximilian. Nevertheless, Mary died in 1482 and according to the Treaty of Arras, Maximilian had to cede Burgundy, the County of Artois including the City of Arras and several minor lordships to France as dowry for the proposed marriage of their daughter, Margaret, with Louis' son Charles.
When Charles VIII, now King of France, married Anne of Brittany – who was at that time married in proxy to Maximilian – instead of Margaret, Maximilian urged the return of his daughter and the retrieval of the County of Burgundy, Artois and Charolais. In 1493, Charles VIII, stuck in the conflict with King Alfonso II of Naples, finally had to acknowledge the claims. Based on the terms of the Senlis Treaty, all hostilities between France and the Seventeen Provinces were officially over. Moreover, the disputed territories were relinquished to the House of Habsburg and Artois and Flanders were annexed by the Holy Roman Empire. However, France was still able to retain powerful legal claims and outposts in both provinces.
The Duchy of Burgundy (with capital Dijon and not to be confused with the Free County of Burgundy with capital Dole), which had also been ceded to France in 1482, remained in French hands.
|Ancestors of Charles VIII of France|
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