Every French King Nickname, and How They Got It
First published: Tuesday February 8th, 2022
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So, in case you missed the blurb, I saw the interesting fact about the unflattering French king nicknames, and was wondering if there were any more like it. I decided to make a blog about all the French kings’ nicknames (if they had one), and how they got it.
Note that not all of the kings/emperors had nicknames. (Two dividers when a king was skipped, three when two were skipped, and so own.)
(558-561) Clothar the Old (Clothar I)
So, I wasn’t able to find info about some of the older kings (like Clovis I), but from what I can tell, this guy is called Clothar the Old. I’m going to take my best guess and say that he’s called that because he was the second king of France.
(613-629) Clothar the Younger (Clothar II)
Again, I wasn’t able to find a reason why he’s called this, but another nickname was “The Great”.
(639-657) Clovis the Lazy (Clovis II)
Apparently he was part of the “do nothing kings”, a group of kings who didn’t really do anything during their reign.
(695-711) Childebert the Just (Childebert III)
He’s apparently called that because he made decisions on his own will instead of the mayor of palace’s.
(752-758) Pepin the Short (Pepin)
People assume he was actually quite tall, and it is unknown how he got this nickname. Another name though is Pepin the Younger, as he was the youngest in his family.
(768-814) Charles the Great (Charles I)
Charles I, or Charlemagne, was called the great for expanding the kingdom and founding the Holy Roman Empire.
(814-840) Louis the Pious (Louis I)
Louis I is called the pious for his devoutness, and his liberality to church. Also sometimes called the Fair or the Debonaire.
(840-877) Charles the Bald (Charles II)
(877-879) Louis the Stammerer (Louis II)
Don’t stammer, or that’s what people will call you for the rest of history. My reaction to this name is just bruh.
(879-882) Louis the Blind (Louis III)
Louis III is called the blind after he was blinded after a failed invasion from Italy. Sad, but also funny that that’s his nickname.
(885-888) Charles the Fat (Charles III)
Another one that would probably be embarrassing. Imagine being so fat that that’s your nickname known to history….
(883-992) Charles the Simple (Charles III)
He’s called the simple for being straightforward and honest, in my opinion a good leading quality.
(936-954) Louis from Overseas (Louis IV)
When Louis was charged with treason, his mother took him from France to England for safety. Thus his name “Louis from Overseas.”
(986-987) Louis the Do-Nothing (Louis V)
During Louis V’s short reign, he didn’t really do anything. He didn’t listen to any advice nor did he are an alliance with Otto III of Germany. He died of a hunting accident.
(936-1031) Robert the Pious (Robert II)
Due to his devoutness to church, he was called the pious. Another byname is the Wise, though.
(1108-1137) Louis the Fat (Louis VI)
Louis VI was so fat, he got dysentery from being obese and died. Don’t be fat, people, or you could be killed, or worse
expelled have fat remembered to history as your byname.
(1137-1180) Louis the Younger (Louis VII)
Called the Younger for being the son and heir of Louis VI.
(1223-1226) Louis the Lion (Louis VIII)
I’m learning more Roman numerals from this blog than kings! Louis VIII’s bravery in battle earned him the nickname “Lion”
and the people liked alliteration.
(1226-1270) Louis the Saint (Louis IX)
To honor his history as a crusader, the Catholic Church made Louis IX a saint, earning him his byname. He was the only French king to achieve sainthood.
(1270-1285) Philip the Bold (Philip III)
Called the bold for fighting alongside his father at age 14 at the battle of Poitiers. He was captured but later released on terms of ransom.
(1285-1314) Philip the Fair (Philip IV)
Called the fair for challenging the Pope’s power in France, thus strengthening the monarchy.
(1314-1316) Louis the Stubborn (Louis X)
Also known as the Headstrong or the Quarrelsome. Louis X readmitted Jews into the kingdom and abolished slavery, earning him these nicknames.
(1316-1316) John the Posthumous (John I)
Louis the Stubborn died before he was born, thus earning him his nickname. He died five days after he was born, so the crown was passed over to Philip V, his uncle.
(1316-1322) Philip the Tall (Philip V)
Philip V is the tallest French king, earning him the nickname.
(1322-1328) Charles the Fair (Charles IV)
He was also called the bald, but I didn’t want to have two Charles the Bald in this blog lol. Called the fair for having Edward II of England swear allegiance to France and to pay a fine.
(1328-1350) Philip of Valois (Philip VI)
Philip VI was the first king in the Valois dynasty.
(1350-1364) John the Good (John II)
I wasn’t able to find out why he was called that, but during John II became king to a kingdom weakened by Philip VI, then the Black Death came. The hundred’s year war was also happening during this time.
(1364-1380) Charles the Wise (Charles V)
Charles led his country through the hundred’s year war, making good decisions which earned him his title.
(1380-1422) Charles the Mad (Charles VI)
Charles suffered from psychosis, earning his nickname “the mad”. He is also known as the well-beloved, due to overthrowing his avaricious regents and replacing them with highly competent advisors.
(1422-1461) Charles the Victorious (Charles VII)
Called the victorious for ending the hundred year’s war and reestablishing a strong French monarchy.
(1461-1483) Louis the Prudent (Louis XI)
His administration and consolidation earned him the title “Prudent”, but, he is also known as the Universal Spider (LOL) for spinning webs of intrigue around Europe.
(1483-1498) Charles the Affable (Charles VIII)
He was considered by his followers to have a pleasant attitude (earning him his nickname), but also unsuited for the job. He started the Italian Wars by trying to conquer Naples.
(1498-1515) Father of the People (Louis XII)
Called Father of the People for lowering taxes, and paying more attention to the poor.
(1589-1610) Henry the Great (Henry IV)
Henry IV is called the great for bringing unity to the country, as well as prosperity.
(1610-1643) Louis the Just (Louis XIII)
Louis XIII led France to become a European superpower.
Thank you so much for reading! This took a lot of work and effort. Sorry I couldn’t find nicknames for some of the kings, but I think I got a lot….