Hugh the Great facts for kids

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Hugh the Great or Hugues le Grand (895–16 June 956) was duke of the Franks and count of Paris.

Early career

Hugh was the son of King Robert I of France and Béatrice of Vermandois. She was the daughter of Herbert I, Count of Vermandois. Hugh was born in 895 in Paris, France. His eldest son was Hugh Capet who became King of France in 987. Hugh was a member of the family known as the Robertians.

Duke of France

In 922 the barons of western Francia revolted against the Carolingian king Charles the Simple. In his place they elected Robert I, Hugh's father, as King of Western Francia. Robert I died in battle at Soissons in 923. When Hugh refused the crown it went to his brother-in-law, Rudolph of France. Charles the simple asked his cousin Herbert II, Count of Vermandois for help in getting back his crown. But instead of helping the king he put him in prison. Herbert then used the threat of releasing his prisoner to get what he wanted. But Charles died in 929. From then on Hugh the great, acting for King Rudolph, had to struggle with Herbert II. Finally Rudolph and Herbert II came to an agreement in 935.

At the death of King Rudolph in 936, Hugh possessed nearly all of the region between the Loire and the Seine. This was the same territory as Neustria with the exceptions of Anjou and of Normandy. Hugh was one of those who brought Louis IV (d'Outremer) from the Kingdom of England in 936. In 937 Hugh married Hedwige of Saxony, a daughter of Henry I the Fowler of Germany and Matilda of Ringelheim. Very soon however Hugh was quarrelling with King Louis.

In 939 king Louis attacked Hugh the Great and William I, Duke of Normandy. But soon after they made a truce which lasted until June. That same year Hugh, along with Herbert II of Vermandois, Arnulf I, Count of Flanders and Duke William Longsword paid homage to the Emperor Otto the Great. They supported him in his struggle against Louis. When Louis fell into the hands of the Normans in 945, he was handed over to Hugh in exchange for their young duke Richard. Hugh released Louis IV in 946 but made him surrender the fortress of Laon. In 948 at a church council at Ingelheim the bishops excommunicated Hugh even though he was not there. Hugh's response was to attack Soissons and Reims. Hugh finally changed his mind and made peace with Louis IV, and the church.

When Louis IV died Hugh was one of the first to recognize Lothair as his successor. For helping to have him crowned the new king gave Hugh Burgundy and Aquitaine. In the same year Giselbert, Duke of Burgundy acknowledged Hugh as his overlord and gave his daughter in marriage to Hugh's son Otto-Henry. On 16 June 956 Hugh the Great died in Dourdan.


In 922 Hugh married Judith, the daughter of Roger, Count of Maine and Rothilde. She died childless in 925.

Hugh's second wife was Eadhild, daughter of Edward the Elder, king of the Anglo-Saxons. They married in 926 and she died in 938, childless.

Hugh's third wife was Hedwig of Saxony, daughter of Henry the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim. She and Hugh had:

  • Beatrice, married Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine.
  • Hugh Capet.
  • Emma.(c. 943-aft. 968).
  • Otto, Duke of Burgundy, a minor in 956.
  • Odo-Henry I, Duke of Burgundy (d. 1002).

Hugh the Great Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.