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Early Portraits

Royal Portraits -1180

Royal Portraits -1870


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The Roman Era






It is curious - though possible in this case it may be only a coincidence - that, on a coin of the Emperor Hadrian, Gaul is typified by a female figure holding in the hand a lily, the legend being, “Restutori Galliæ”.

That, in any case was thought for a long time.

However, on this coin there is a scene of a warrior submitting himself to a man in senatorial dress with command baton (baculum), which could well be the Emperor, presenting him an object what may be a bill or treaty. This happened toward the end of 97, when Hadrian was chosen to go west to Gaul to convey congratulations to Trajan, whom the aged emperor Nerva had just adopted and thereby designated his successor. 


In any case there is no lily to be seen and therefore the theory that the lily was the symbol of France as early as roman times cannot be true.


The Gallic Empire


The Gallic Empire (Imperium Galliarum) is the modern name for a breakaway part of the Roman Empire that functioned de facto as a separate state from 260 to 274. It was established by Postumus in 260 in the wake of barbarian invasions and instability in Rome, and at its height included the territories of Germania, Gaul, Britannia, and (for a time) Hispania. After Postumus' assassination in 268 it lost much of its territory, but continued under a number of emperors and usurpers. It was retaken by Roman emperor Aurelian after the Battle of Châlons in 274.


Æ More: Wikipedia: Gallic Empire





Postvmvs, aureus, 263-264

Seated ruler and kneeling vassal. POSTVMVS PIVS AVG/INDVLG PIA POSTVMI AVG





Laelianus AV Aureus. Mainz or Trier mint, AD 268. IMP C LAELIANVS P F AVG, laureate & cuirassed bust right / TEMPORVM FELICITAS, female figure reclining left, holding branch in right hand and resting left arm on hare.





Marius (western provinces).  Aureus, 269






Victorinus, Aureus, 269






Tetricus, Aureus, 271






By Diocletion (284-305) the Roman Empire was divided in four prefectures. One of them was Gaul which was divided into four dioceses (Brittanny, Gaul, Vienna and Spain). On 1 March 293 the Tetrarchy was created by which the government of the Empire was divided between  2 “Augusti” and 2 “Caesares” the last succeeding the first and being appointed new caesares.

Four tetrarchs are represented on sculptures robbed from Constantinople in 1204 at the fourth crusade by the Venetians and now on San Marco square in Venice. The tetrarchs are in military dress with swords with hilts of eagle’s heads at their sides. On their heads there have been diadems, or kepi’s (pill boxes) probably decorated with badges or gems.  Gold coins with portraits of the tetrarchs reperesent them with a pointed sun-crown.


The Tetrarchs on San Marco Square in Venice

The one on the right Constantius I Clorus


Constantius I Chlorus (293/305-306) made Treves his residence in 293 be it that, forced by political circumstances, he temporarily resided in York (Brittanny). Treves became the capital of one of the newly created administrative territories (dioceses) comprising the then more than 100 provinces of the Empire. The diocese Galliarum as as the territory governed from Treves was called, comprised eight provinces.

On an unknown moment, likely shortly before the year 400, the Prefecture was moved to Arles. Because of the retreat of the troops in 406 the country became almost defenceless so that the invasion of German tribes crossing the Rhine at the turn of the year 406-407 and later moving further west, could not be halted.





Magnentius was the commander of the Herculians and Jovians, the Imperial guard units. When the army grew dissatisfied with the behavior of Roman Emperor Constans (337-350), it elevated Magnentius at Autun on 18 January 350. Constans was abandoned by all except a handful of retainers, and he was slain shortly afterwards by a troop of light cavalry near the Pyrenees.

Magnentius quickly attracted the loyalty of the provinces in Britannia, Gaul, and Hispania. His control on Italia and Africa was applied through the election of his men to the most important offices.



Emperor in the western provinces, 350-353

Bronze coin, struck in Trier. Bust and Christogram


The Western Roman Empire




Ivory consular diptych of Anicius Petronius Probus

Right part depicting the Roman emperor Honorius, crowned and nimbused, with commander’s staff,  sword and shield. On his breast a gorgoneion and the hilt of his sword an eagle’s head

Rome, 406. Museo del Tesoro della Cattedrale in Aosta, Italy.


Present France comprises the roman dioceses of Galliae and Vienennesis, parts of the larger praetorian prefecture of Gaul (praefectura praetorio Galliarum)


Magister Militum per Gallias


In that time the army in Gaul was commanded by the Magister Militum per Gallias. The title of magister militum was created in the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine the Great deprived the praetorian prefects of their military functions. Initially two posts were created, one as head of the foot troops, as the magister peditum (“Master of the Foot”), and one for the more prestigious horse troops, the magister equitum (“Master of the Horse”). The latter title had existed since Republican times, as the second-in-command to a Roman dictator.

As such they were directly in command of the local mobile field army of the comitatenses, composed mostly of cavalry, which acted as a rapid reaction force. Other magistri remained at the immediate disposal of the Emperors, and were termed in praesenti (“in the presence” of the Emperor).


Flavius Aetius.  Consul 432, †454

On his Consular Diptych

Ivory, first half of the 5th century.

Belonged until the Revolution to the library of the chapter of Bourges Cathedral.

Gift of P.A. Bourdaloue. Musée Municipal de Bourges inv. n° 860.3.2.


The consul seated under a ciborium decorated with eagles, with a sceptre representing two imperial busts, and a staff of command. Assisted by men of the guard. In the lower halves scenes from fights with wild animals (lions).


The Magister per Gallias commanded 32.000 men at Paris and the

Dux Mogontiacenses commanded 2.750

Dux Belgicae II commanded 500

Dux Germaniae I (n.a.)

Dux Sequanicae commanded 250

Comes Tractus Argentorates (n.a.)

Dux Armoricani commanded 2.500


By the late 4th century, the regional commanders were termed simply magister militum. In Gaul there have been ten Magistri Militum by the names of


352–355: Claudius Silvanus

362–364: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian and Jovian

? – 419: Flavius Gaudentius

425–433: Flavius Aetius

437-439: Avitus

452–456: Agrippinus

456–461: Aegidius

461/462: Agrippinus

 ? - 472: Bilimer

465–486: Syagrius


In the time of Flavius Gaudentius the insignia of a Magister Militum was a ivory plaque (diptych) on a table with a blue cloth. Such insignia are represented by the Notitia Dignitatum for the Magistri Peditum and – Equitum. The insignia for the Magister Militum per Gallias is not given but is supposed to have been of the kind of these two.


The Frankish Kingdom


In 358 Julian the Apostate permitted the Franks to settle more to the south in Toxandria, present Brabant, (in Germania II) and gave them the status of foederati.


Merovingian House


Childeric I (Doornik)



Childeric succeeded his father Merovech as king of the Salian Franks, traditionally in 457 or 458. By 457 at the latest he was the ruler of the Franks in the territory covering Tournai and the Lys valley. He may have had power over further territories to the south, but the sources are unclear on this. According to Gregory of Tours, Childeric was exiled at some point, the reason being traditionally given as Frankish unhappiness with Childeric's private life. Gregory further records that the Franks recalled Childeric after 8 years of exile.

In 463 Childeric fought in conjunction with the Roman General Aegidius, the magister militum of northern Gaul based in Soissons, to defeat the Visigoths, who had hoped to extend their dominion along the banks of the Loire River. After the death of Aegidius, Childeric assisted Comes (“count” = commander of a cohort of 500) Paul of Angers, together with a mixed band of Gallo-Romans and Franks, in defeating the Goths and taking booty. Saxon raiders under the command of Odoacer reached Angers and captured it, but Childeric and Count Paul retook the city in 469. Childeric, having delivered Angers, followed a Saxon warband to the islands on the Atlantic mouth of the Loire, and massacred them there. In the period around 476 to 481, he and Odoacer were discussing the possibility of an alliance against the Alamanni who wished to invade Italy


In 1653 a tomb was discovered in Tournai and pillaged. Its contents could be  assembled for a part by the deacon of the parish but an important part disappeared. The bones of the skeleton were dispersed. Nevertheless a signet ring was saved inscribed CHILDERICI REGIS from which it was gathered that the tomb had been of the Frankish King Childeric (†482).

The almost total disappearance of objects (in 1831) makes it difficult to assess exactly the value of the funerary furniture of Childeric's tomb, as well as its interpretation. When the tomb was discovered in 1653, many documents were lost. Chiflet reports a large quantity of gold threads, pieces of purple silk, and brocade effects (King's tunic and chlamys). Many iron objects were also lost, including a sword. The wood of the coffin with these iron hooks also disappeared, as well as the bones (the skeleton measured 1.80 m).

A large number of pieces, however, have been preserved or reproduced in casts or drawings. Most are typical of a royal tomb.


The objects saved and described were:

1. A monetary treasure

a. More that a hundred gold-coins dating from Theodosius II (450) to Zeno (476-491).

b. About 200 silver roman coins  mainly deniers from the Late Empire.


2. A golden signet ring, with the portrait of the king, en face, with long hair with a parting in the middle and plaited at the ends. The king is dressed in a breastplate and a paludamentum (mantle) of a roman officer and he keeps a spear in his right hand. The inscription reads CHILDERICI REGIS.

3. A golden bracelet of 300 g. A bracelet worn at the right wrist is a royal badge.

4. Fibula in the form of a cross with bulbs at its extremities, decorated with crosses fixing the paludamentum and being the badge of a high imperial official.


5. Golden bees. They were probably sewn on the mantle. Only two remain the total number being unknown.

6. Golden bull’s head. With a closing pin and set with pearls and grenades


7. Chrystal sphere of a diametre of 5 cm and 134 g.



8. Spatha. The hilt of gold, the pommel with two animal’s heads and decorated with a cloisonné of grenades;  hilt of cloisonné. The sheath decorated and cloisonné with grenades of oriental technique

9. Sheath of a scramasaxe. Gold, decorated with cloisonné and grenades

10. Francisca (axe). Iron, weight 1 kg.


Some of these objects are preserved in the Cabinet des Médailles in Paris. [1]


Of these the golden bees are famous because they were taken by Napoleon as a replacement for the fleur de lis. Also the sheath of the sword has attracted much attention because of its beauty.

The bull’s head is thought to have been a family-emblem of the Merovingians. A bull however is a military emblem of the same order as a griffin and comes between an eagle and a lion. It is the badge of rank of a prefect of a legion who commanded about 1000 soldiers at the end of the 5th century. [2] As a commander of a band of auxiliaries of about 500 he may have been entitled to wear a bull’s head as a badge of rank. A griffin was also the badge of rank of an official ruling a roman diocese (in the Middle Ages the ruler of an arch-diocese).


Chlodovech I ( = Clovis)



In 493 Clovis married Clotilda, daughter of the Burgundian Chilperic II. Clotilda was a Catholic and exerted a great influence over him. She is said to have inspired him to convert to Christianity at a critical moment in the Battle of Tolbiac in 496. Whatever the truth, he and 3,000 of his followers were baptized as Catholics at Rheims at Christmas 496. Clovis seized the banner of Catholicism to rally support and undermine the other Germanic kingdoms. In 507 he moved against the Visigoths. His victory at Vouillé was decisive and Clovis became ruler of most of what is now France. By now he ruled over a vast area and several peoples. The Eastern emperor Anastasius (491-518) granted him an honorary title of ‘consul’, no doubt seeing him as a counterweight to Theodoric the Great in Italy. Clovis moved his capital to Paris and laid the foundations for what was eventually to become the French nation. He died unexpectedly in 511 and his kingdom was divided up amongst his four sons.


About the vase of Soissons:


Æ see: Cup


38.Clovis received an appointment to the consulship from the emperor Anastasius, and in the church of the blessed Martin he clad himself in the purple tunic and chlamys, and placed a diadem on his head. Then he mounted his horse, and in the most generous manner he gave gold and silver as he passed along the way which is between the gate of the entrance [of the church of St. Martin] and the church of the city, scattering it among the people who were there with his own hand, and from that day he was called consul orAugustus. Leaving Tours he went to Paris and there he established the seat of his kingdom. There also Theodoric came to him. 




Chlodomer (Orleans)


Theuderic I (Reims)




Childebert I (Paris)



Signet ring of Childebert I

Royal bust with spear, inscribed  X HILDEBERTI REGIS


Chlothar I (Soissons)


Sole King 558-561

Theudebert I (Reims)


Theudebald (Reims)


Charibert (Paris)


Sigebert I (Reims, Austrasie)


Chilperic I (Soissons, Neustrie)


Guntram (Bourgogne)


Childebert II (Austrasie, Bourgogne 593)




Chlothar II (Neustrie, King 613)


Charibert II (Aquitaine)


Sigebert III (Austrasie 634)


Chlodovech II (Neustrie & Bourgogne)


Childebert (Austrasie)


Chlothar III (Neustrie & Bourgogne)


Childeric II (Austrasie, King 673)


Dagobert II (Austrasie)


Theuderik III Neustrie & Burgundy


King 679

Chlodovech III


Childebert III


Dagobert III


Chilperic II


Chlothar IV (Austrasie)


Theuderic IV




Childeric III




Kingdom of France / Royaume de France



Pepin the Short






*742- † 814

 King of Francia 768 - 814

King of Lombardia 774-814

Emperor 800 – 814


The empire of Charlemagne initially comprised the dioceses Galliæ and Viennensis and a some territory on the other side of the Rhine. Later the diocese of Italia Annonaria and Saxony in the north were added. Thus his empire had the dimension of a Prefecure.



Eginhard, in his Life of Charlemagne writes:


23 He wore the national – that is to say, the Frankisch dress. His shirt and drawers were of linen, then came a tunic with a silken fringe, and hose. His legs were cross-gartered and his feet enclosed in shoes. In wnter-time he defended his shoulders and chest with a jerkin made of the skins of otters and ermine. He was clad in a blue cloak and always wore a swords, with the hilt and belt of either gold pr silver. Occasionally, too, he used a jewelled sword, but this was only on the great gfestivals or when he received ambassadors from foreign nations.[3]


Fresco in the Cimetero di S. Ermete, Rome

Represented is a woman in Byzantine imperial dress with a child on her lap. She wears a crown with pendilia of strings of pearls. By her side two angels. To her right a warrior and a woman and to her left a prelate in monk’s habit.

According to Matthiae the fresco dates from the last years of the pontificate of Hadrian I (772-795) who also let restore the catacomb.[4] He ruled in the time that Empress Irene was a regent for her son Constantine VI. The fresco most probably dates from the period around the coronation of mother and son in 776, taking into account that the boy is still on his mother’s lap. For the warrior Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768, may qualify.

About Charlemagne is said for this period:

 “Charlemagne and his uncle Bernard crossed the Alps in 773 and chased the Lombards back to Pavia, which they then besieged. Charlemagne temporarily left the siege to deal with Adelchis, son of Desiderius, who was raising an army at Verona. The young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and he fled to Constantinople to plead for assistance from Constantine V Copronymus, who was waging war with the Bulgars.

The siege lasted until the spring of 774, when Charlemagne visited the pope in Rome. There he confirmed his father’s grants of land, with some later chronicles claiming – falsely – that he also expanded them, granting Tuscany, Emilia, Venice, and Corsica. The pope granted him the title patrician. He then returned to Pavia, where the Lombards were on the verge of surrendering.”

The correct dating is after 774 in any case, the year that Charlemagne visited Rome during his siege of Pavia. The persons represented in that case are Irene (between angels), Constantine, then of the age of three, on her lap, Charlemage, his wife Hildegard (†783) and pope Hadrian. Charlemage, born between 742 and 747, is of the age of between 27 and 32 here.

On the other hand the missing of a cross on the crown indicates that the empress was crowned but still had no executive power. This dates the fresco between 776-780.


Prince on a fresco in the Cimetero di S. Ermete, Rome


The warrior may be Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768 and King of Lombardia from 774. He was 38 years old in 780


On this representation he wears a red cloak and a blue tunic. In his hand he has a mace resembling the mace of Hadrian (or Trajan) on the coin showing the submission of Gaul. It can also be seen that Charlemagne was  of a mean stature, as mentioned in the prologue to Eginhard by Walafrid.


His title in 777 was: karolus dei gra rex francorum & longobardorum ac patricius romanorum.


Portrait of Charlemagne

Seated crowned ruler with lily-sceptre and orb charged with cross

Psalter of Charles the Bald, Paris B.N. ms lat 1152 fol 3 v . Between 843-869.



The legend can be translated as:

The seated  crowned Charlemagne  honours Josiah (= Jesus) and  resembles Theodosius


Meant is Theodosius I, Eastern Roman Emperor (379-394) and Roman Emperor (394-395). He made an effort to end paganism.


St. Peter, Pope Leo III and Charlemagne

Triclinio Leoniano, Rome


Charlemagne in official dress with his banner. On his head a crown of the model of the crown of Honorius, the first emperor of the Western Roman Empire.


The current structure dates back to the end of the sixteenth century when Pope Sixtus V ordered the demolition of the old Lateran palace, while preserving the Triclinium Leoninum of Pope Leo III (†816) It is possible that some parts of the original mosaics have been preserved in a mosaic in three parts: in the center Christ entrusts their mission to the Apostles, on the left handing over the keys to Saint Sylvester and the Labar to Constantine, while on the right Saint Peter gives the stole to Leo III and the banner to Charlemagne. The current structure is the result of the restoration of 1743 by the architect Ferdinando Fuga that led to the affixing of the coat of arms of Benedict XIV above the niche.

As on the right side is a representation of Christ, St Sylvester and R. COSTANTINVS, the mosaics should have been made between the beginning of the rule of Leo III in 795 and the death of Constantine VI in 797, at the age of  26 (then wearing a short beard).  As such the mosaic is demonstrating the political situation a few years before the coronation of  Charlemagne in 800. (See also: Empress Irene)


“........He disliked foreign garments, however beautiful, and would never consentr to wear them, excepts onse at Rome on the request of Pope Hadrian, and once again upon the entreaty of his successor, Pope Leo when he wore a long tunic and cloak, and put on shoes made after the Roman fashion. On festal days he walked in procession in a garment of gold cloth, with jewelled boots and agolden girdle to his cloak, and distinguished further by a diadem of gold and presiuous stones. But on othed days hus dress differed little from that of the common people.”[5]




Silver coin of Charlemagne, 804

Bust with crown of laurel. L.: KAROLVS IMP AVG


Italia Annonaria Louis the Pious





Lothair I

*778- † 840

Imperator Augustus 813 - 833 / 834 - 840

King of Francia 814 – 840

¥ 1. 798 Ermengarde de Hesbaye

¥ 2. 819 Judith of Bavaria 

Co-emperor 817 - 840



Louis I the Pious as a defender of christianity in coat of arms with a ducal hat and halo, standing, in his right hand a staff with a cross and his left hand resting on a red shield (Hrabanus Maurus: Liber de laudibus Sanctae Crucis. Fulda, ca. 810. Österr. N.B. Wien, Ms. 652, fol. 3. &: Codex Vaticanus Reginensis latinus 124.


Stuttgarter Psalter


820-830 Der Stuttgarter Psalter (Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart, Bibl. fol. 23) ist eine zwischen 820 und 830 in der Abtei Saint-Germain-des-Prés nahe Paris entstandene karolingische Bilderhandschrift. Das 168 Blätter (26,5´17,5 cm) lange Werk enthält die 150 Psalmen in schöner, gleichmäßiger karolingischer Minuskel. Unterbrochen werden diese von 316 farbigen Miniaturen. Diese Miniaturen illustrieren jeweils die Verse, zwischen denen sie stehen, und stellen meist deren theologische Deutung dar.


Cross of Charles the Bald.

By Félibien


Arcus Einhardi

BNF, Paris Ms fr. 10440, fol. 45


On this reliquiary Louis the Pious is represented with his sons Lothair (*795), Pepin of Aquitaine (*797) and Louis the German (*804). He himself has a shield charged with square crosses. If Louis the Pious and his sons are represented indeed, the Reliquiary may be dated at the end of the 1st Civil War (831).

Legend: AD TROPEVM AETERNAE VICTORIAE SVSTINEMNDVM EINHARDVS PECCATOR NVNC ARCUM PONERE AC DEO DEDICARE CVRAVIT. (This arch supporting the sign of eternal victory and its  dedication to God is the work of the the sinner Einhard).

This Peccator Einhardus is Einhard, the biographer of Charlemagne (*775-†840).

For the cross which the arch is supposed to have carried the so-called Cross of Charles the Bald qualifies. This cross was until the French revolution a part of the Royal Treasury. [6]


See also: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einhardsboog


Queen Judith (797/805–19 April 843), was the second wife of King Louis the Pious, which brought her the title of Empress of the Franks. Marriage to Louis marked the beginning of her rise as an influential figure in the Carolingian court. She had two children with Louis, a daughter Gisela and a son, Charles the Bald. The birth of her son led to a major dispute over the imperial succession, and tensions between her and Charles' half-brothers from Louis' first marriage. She would eventually fall from grace when Charles' wife, the new empress Ermentrude of Orléans, rose to power. She was buried in 846 in Tours.

Empress Judith of Bavaria *805-†843

Title: Plaque with the Virgin Mary as a Personification of the Church.

Date: carved 800–875. Carolingian Ivory;

Overall measures 22 x 14.5 x 0.8 cm. MMA.

Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.49)


For the person represented on the plaque Empress Judith of Bavaria qualifies. In her right hand she has a cross-staff resembling the cross-staff of Louis the Pious. This is the badge of religious authority. In her right hand she has a sceptre of the model of the sceptre of Charlemagne on his portrait in the Cimetero di S. Ermete (but also a distaff). Her rank or function is represented by the two peacocks, badges of a prefect, in the upper corners.

Also compare with the representations of Charles the Bald.

We may assume that the plaque is one of a pair, the other representing Louis I the Pious.


Charles II, le Chauve (the Bald)

*823-† 877

King of Francia 840-843

King of West-Francia 843-877

Emperor 875 – 877

Son of Louis I the Pious and Judith of Bavaria, half-brother of Lothair I and Louis II the German


Emperor Lothair I between Louis the German and Charles the Bald at the Treaty of Verdun, 843.

Bible de Vivien, dite Première Bible de Charles le Chauve

Présentation du livre à l’empereur Saint-Martin de Tours, 845

BnF, Manuscrits, Latin 1 fol. 423


The Emperor in a yellow mantle crowned with a closed crown and with a long staff. On his sides his sons Louis II in a green mantle and Lothair II in a red mantle. They are accompanied by two warriors, the left ne with a red cloak, a spear and a red shield , the one on the right with a sword. (Probably the Magister Peditum and the  Magister Equitum). The mantle of Lothair I has the color of the temporal power and qualifies him a caesar.

Seal of Charles the Bald, 847





SCEAUX. serie: sceaux ; collection Bourgogne


Moulage du sceau de Charles II le Chauve, roi de France.

Légende en latin restituée : “KAROLUS GRATIA DEI REX”, traduction : Charles, roi par la grâce de Dieu.




moulage consultable au service des sceaux


reproduction du moulage possible par le service des sceaux; photographie ou impression d’image numérique


plâtre pris sur cire originale


ovale hauteur 40 x largeur 32 mm




Charles II le Chauve (roi de France)

Noms de lieux

FRANCE – IXe siècle ; FRANCE


Le document portant le sceau original est conservé aux Archives départementales de Saône-et-Loire. Voir l’Inventaire des sceaux de Bourgogne par A. Coulon, publié en 1912 par la direction des Archives de France


Coronation of Charles the Bald, Orleans 6 June 848.

Sacramentary of Charles the Bald (869-870)

Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France Ms. Lat. 1141, fol 2 v°.


Charles the Bald is represented here between: Wenilon, archbishop of Sens (*?-†865), and Hincmar, archbishop of Reims (*806-†882).



Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France MSS Latin 1141

Date of Origin

around 869-870

Place of Origin

Charles the Bald’s palace school




III +17 + I ff.


270 x 210 mm.






Equestrian statue of Charlemagne, ca. 860.

Bronze, originally gilded. H. 25 cm.

Ancien Trésor de la cathédrale de Metz. Paris, Louvre, Département des Objets d’art


The king with crown mounted with four pieces. In his right hand a sword and in his left a sphere.


Equestrian statue of Charlemagne, with sword


Because of its time of creation the sculpture must represent King Charles the Bald .



The crown thus elaborates on the crown of Charlemagne but the attachments have been changed into leaf-shaped ornaments. This would mean that Karel de Kale retained the prefect rank after the division of Verdun in 843. Similar crowns must then occur simultaneously in Lorraine (i.e. Italy) and East Francia (i.e. Germany).


Emperor Charles the Bald, 870

As on München, Bayr. Staatsbibl. Clm 14000 Codex Aureus v. St. Emmeram, fol. 5v°.


Charles III, the Fat


King of East Francia and Alemannia 876-887

Emperor 881-887

King of Italy 880

King of West-Francia and Aquitaine 884-887


Portrait of Charles (the Fat), King of East-Francia. 880 ca.

Illustrated bible of San Paolo fuari le Mura monastery, Rome

(Edited by Ingobertus, Northern France, Reims? ) Last page.


Bible of San Paolo

Illuminated manuscript (Rome, S Paolo fuori le Mura), probably made at Reims c. 870. It is the most extensively illustrated of all extant Carolingian Bibles. A dedicatory poem by Ingobertus referens et scriba fidelis and the verses accompanying an image of a ruler establish that it was made for a King Charles, here identified as Charles the Fat, who, when he was crowned Emperor in Rome in 881, probably gave it to Pope John VIII (†882).

Fig.2– Charles III


Figure according to M. Dalas, Corpus des sceaux…, op. cit. [St 7982] ; cf. O. Posse, Die Siegel der deutschen Kaiser und Könige von 751 bis 1806, t. 1 (751-1347. Von Pippin bis Ludwig den Bayern), Dresden, 1909, table 3, fig. 5 [7]


Robertian House


Eudes (Odo) of Neustrie



Carolingian House


Charles III the Simple

*879- †929

King of West Francia 898-deposed 922

 crowned 893-923

King of Lorraine 911-923

Son of Louis II the Stammerer


Robertian House


Robert I

Rival King 922-923




Duke of Burgundy 921-936

King of France 923-936


Carolingian House


Louis IV d’Outremer









sceaux ; collection Bourgogne




Moulage d’un fragment du sceau de Louis IV d’Outre-Mer, roi de France.

Légende abîmée en latin : “... LUDOWICUZ..... T. ...”.













sceaux ; collection Bourgogne




Moulage du sceau de Lothaire, roi de France.

Légende restituée en latin : “LOTHARIUZ GRATIA DEI REX”,




moulage consultable au service des sceaux


reproduction du moulage possible par le service des sceaux;


plâtre pris sur cire originale




hauteur 54 ´ largeur 44 mm


Seal of King Lothair of France

West Francia, before 966


Brown wax, with wax-cup, seal on charter. Face rubbed. Legend badly printed at the end. Æ 4 cm

Gent, Bisdomsarchief, Carton 2. No 2: 966 Mai 5



Capetian House



Hugh Capet



Seal of Hugues Capet


Crowned ruler with main de justice (?) and orb.



Here the crown is set with groups of what seems to be three laurel leaves. Therefore it can be called a laurel crown. The orb is possibly a chrystal ball resembling the chrystal sphere of Childeric


Robert II le Pieux



Seal of Robert the Pious, about 997



(Robert by the Grace of God King of the Francs

Archives nationales, Paris.


Here again the crown is a laurel crown and the three laurel leaves are repeated in the bunch of leaves held in the sinister hand. The object held in the dexter hand most resembles an akakia or roll of dust symbolizing the mortal nature of men.



 co-regent 1017-1025


Henry I


Seal of Henry I, 1035[8]


Seated Ruler with crown, sceptre and cross



The king sitting on a chest-throne, crowned with a crown set with groups of three pearls, in his dexter a laurel staff and in his sinister a lily sceptre.



Philippe I




The king on his throne crowned with a crown set with groups of pearls, staff and sceptre as before



On this seal is the oldest representation of the so-called Throne of Dagobert  Æ Lion Throne


The Throne of Dagobert is mentioned for the first time by Suger in his “De administratione”. From this time the Kings are always represented seated on that throne. The present arm-rests dating from the 9th century are missing then and these should be added later.


Dagobert’s Throne, France, late 8th-9th century,

Department of Coins, Medals and Antiquities, no. 651


This is a plastic replica of the bronze armchair which belonged to the abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris, and which was imaginatively attributed in the Middle Ages to the Merovingian king, Dagobert I (623/9-639). In the Middle Ages religious institutions maintained magnificent collections of relics such as this throne. Such treasures provided a concrete expression of the power of the Church and of the Monarchy, and could be melted down or pawned for cash. [9]


The original chair consisted only of the four legs. The armrests were added later.


Louis VI le Gros



Louis VII 



Co-regent 1129-1131

 Co-regent 1131-1137


Seal of Louis VI the Fat


The king on a lion throne. Crowned of a crown of three lilies, in his sinister a sceptre and in his dexter an laurel-staff

Legend: lvdovicvs di gra francorvm rex.  [10] 


Seal of Louis VI


The king on a lion’s throne, in his right a sceptre and in his left hand a cross-staff. On his head a cilindrical diadem mounted with three fleurs de lis.



Mosaic representing King Louis the Fat

Alias King Salomo

Musée l’ Hôtel Sandelin. St. Omer


Mosaïque représentant le roi Salomon # Le roi Louis le Gros (titre ancien)

Auteur: anonyme

Ecole: Nord de la France

Période: 1er quart 12e siècle

Domaine: Mosaïque, Art religieux

Dénomination: pavé mosaïque ; fragment

Titre: Mosaïque représentant le roi Salomon # Le roi Louis le Gros (titre ancien)

Représentation: figure (roi biblique : Salomon, sceptre, être surnaturel : ange, main, oiseau : paon)

Précisions concernant la représentation : Le roi est assis sur le trône, et tient de la main droite un sceptre. Sa main gauche ouverte est étendue vers une autre main qui semble venir du ciel. Un diadème posé sur la tête, le roi porte une chlamide agrafée sur l’épaule droite. Au-dessus de lui est figuré un paon. Dans certains textes, le personnage représenté est identifié comme Louis VI le Gros (1080 vers, 1137), roi de France de 1108 à 1138.

Technique: mosaïque

Dimensions: H. 155, l. 131.5, E. 11 (avec cadre) ; H. 145, l. 122 (sans cadre)

Datation: 1109 vers

Genès : Saint-Omer (abbaye, provenance)

Précisions concernant la genèse: Découvert en 1830 à l’emplacement de l’abbaye romane de Saint-Bertin après sa destruction. Les fouilles ont été réalisées par la Société des Antiquaires de la Morinie, les fragments découverts ayant été déposés au musée.

Découverte: Saint-Omer (abbaye, fouilles archéologiques)

Inscriptions: légende

Précisions concernant les inscriptions: REX (en ocre, dans le corps de la mosaïque)

Localisation: Saint-Omer, musée de l’hôtel Sandelin

Statut: propriété de la commune ; don ; Saint-Omer ; musée de l’hôtel Sandelin

Date d’acquisition: 1833 acquis

Inventaire: 1624

Anciennes appartenances : Société des Antiquaires de la Morinie

Bibliographie: Oursel, Hervé, Deremble-Manbès, Colette, Thiébaut, Jacques, Nord roman (Flandre, Artois, Picardie, Laonnois), 1994, Zodiaque ; Epigraphie du département du Pas-de-Calais, publié par la Commission départementale des Monuments Historiques, tome V, 3e fascicule, Arras, 1901

Photographie: © cliché musée, YB/M3C

Commentaire: Le fragment de dallage a été placé sur une plaque de marbre et coulé dans un mortier, le tout dans un cadre en bois. Une restauration complète est à envisager.


Musée l’ Hôtel Sandelin. St. Omer


Le roi Salomon, Nord de la France, vers 1109, mosaïque, Saint-Omer, musée de l’hôtel Sandelin, inv. 1624.2 ©Musées de Saint-Omer, Ph. Beurtheret


Tomb of Louis VI in the Abbey Church of Barbeau near Fontainebleau,

By  Gaignière ~ 1695


The legend reads: Tombeau de pierre au milieu du chœur de l’Eglise de l’abbaye de Barbeau près Fontainebleau. Il es du Roy Louis le Jeune qui mourut l’an 1180.


* However, Louis the Younger had a long beard at an older age and was buried in St. Germain des Prés Abbey church in 1180. His tomb was later thought to be of Chilperic and the tomb of his father Louis VI the one of Childebert.

Therefore we may assume that the tomb in Barbeau was the original tomb of Louis VI and an additional tomb was made to be used for a reburial in St. Germain des Prés Abbey Church in 1163. When the new tomb was installed the old tomb was probably transported to Barbeau.

In 1695 commendite abbot Cardinal Guillaume-Egon Fürtstenberg let the tomb be reconstructed, reason why we cannot be sure about the authenticity of the fleur de lys decoration and the colours.of the statue.


Louis VI the Fat † 1137

alias Childebert

St. Denis Cathedral, from the Church of St. Germain des Prés


The king bearing a model of the Church of St. Germain des Prés of which the choir was inaugurated in 1163.

The tomb was made somewhat before the inauguration of the choir and is the oldest tomb from northern France preserved.  Once transported to St. Denis Cathedral.


Louis VII le Jeune






Co-regent 1131

King of France 1137-1180

Duke of Aquitania 1137-1152

¥ Alienor d’Aquitaine 1137-1152

¥ Constance de Castille 1154-†1160

¥ Adèle de Champagne 1160-1180-†1206

Philippe Auguste

Co regent 1179-1180


Alienor of Aquitaine and Louis VII

Église Notre Dame la Grande, Poitiers, westfront


During the second quarter of the 12th century, the old bell-tower-porch which was on the west side was removed and the church was increased by two spans towards the west. In the south, the turret of a staircase marks the site of this enlargement. It is at that time that the celebrated façade was built.

Seal of majesty, 1137


The king at the age of 17 on a lion’s throne. In his dexter hand a lily and in his sinister hand a sceptre crested with a lily. Crown wit a cross.

Legend: ludovicus di gra francorvm rex .


Plinius the Elder presenting his manuscript to the king

From: Plinius the Elder: Natural History (~1150)

Le Mans. Bibliotèque Municipale, 263 fol. 10v




Photo H.d.V

Fresco in Cressac Templar Chapel, ~1163

Probably representing Louis VII and his queen Adèle de Champagne


The field strewn with fleurs de lys. The man trampled by the horse of Louis VII probably meant to be a saracen killed by him during the 2nd crusade.


Besides the portraits of Louis VII at a youger age there are also portraits of him at and older age (40) when wearing a long beard. These are from statues in churches situated in Paris and have received several names through the ages, referring to the merovingian founders of the kingdom.



Queen Alice of Champagne and Louis VII

alias Clotilde and Clovis

Church of Notre Dame de Corbeil 1170 ca (Musée du Louvre)


Tomb of Louis VII

King Louis VII was buried in the abbey church (of St. Germain des Prés ?) on 19 September 1180. His tomb is thus described:

«The queen, his wife, had a large white marble stone placed on top of it, and with a suitable inscription. On this marble was the recumbent statue of Louis VII. This statue represented the king in long robes, with a coat that went down to the heels. He wore on his head an open crown, surrounded by simple clovers; he held in his hand a scepter surmounted by a pine cone. Finally, the queen, his wife, says an old historian, had a tomb of gold and silver, adorned with precious stones and a marvelous and rich work, made for him.»

In 1566 King Charles IX of France opened this tomb and took the most precious funeral furniture (a crown and a scepter of gold, a cross of gold containing a piece of the True Cross and gold rings ).

In 1695 Cardinal Guillaume-Egon de Furstenberg rebuilt the tomb in marbles of color, and replaced the original recess. He had a Latin inscription inscribed therein: “To the Most-Pious King of the Franks Louis VII, buried here on September 19, 1180, Queen Adele, his wife, erected a once magnificent mausoleum which was rebuilt to collect its precious remains, after that it had been destroyed by the dilapidation, the Most Eminent, Very Reverend and Highest Prince William Egon, Landgrave of Fürstenberg, Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg, Abbot of this Royal Monastery, in the year 1695.”

Shortly before the destruction of the church and the royal mausoleum by the sans-culottes in 1793, the remains of Louis VII had been secured by the prosecutor of the abbey named Lejeune, who will later be parish priest of Chartrettes; he had them put back in their tomb in 1813, then obtained their transfer to the basilica Saint-Denis by the king Louis XVIII in 1817.


Tomb of Louis VII the Younger

alias Chilperic

Once in St. Germain des Prés Abbey church


The legend reads: Tombeau de pierre a gauche du grand autel de l’Eglise de l’Abbay de St St. Germain des Prez a Paris. Il est de Chilperic Roy de France mort l’an 584. Et autour est escrit: Rex Chilpericus hoc tegitur lapide.



Collection : Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

Shelfmark : MS. Gough Drawings Gaignières 2

Type of object : Manuscript

Material : paper

Title text : Tombeaux des rois et reines de France' (Gaignières drawings).

Country or nationality of origin : French

Date : c. 1700

Folio or page no. : 4 whole page

Image description : Paris, St Germain des Prés. King Chilpéric, d. 584. 13th century relief slab (Adhémar 1,995).

Roll title : MS. Gough Drawings-Gaignières. Tombs of medieval France, depicted in coloured drawings by Francois-Roger de Gaignières, in the late 17th to early 18th centuries. Now the only evidence for some lost monuments.

Roll # : 214.7

Frame # : 1





Statue of Louis VII

alias Clovis

Formerly St. Genevieve du Mont Abbey church



This tomb composed of a socle and a statue was restored in 1628 by te care of cardinal-abbot La Rochfoucould who let it be placed in the rectangular axis chapel at the end of the church in a monumental marble baroque whole. The statue was transferred in 1816 to St. Denis Abbey church.

It was made about 1220-1230 when the fashion was to close the cloak with a strap.


The legend  on the pircture reads: Tombeau de marbre au milieu du chœur de l’Eglise de l’Abbaye de Ste Geneviève du Mont a Paris. Il est a la memoire du Roy Clovis.


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© Hubert de Vries 2018-05-19



[1]  Childeric – Clovis. 1500e anniversaire 482-1982..Tournai, 1982.  pp.69-71

[2] Treadgold, Warren: Byzantium and its Army 284-1081. Stanford Univ. Press. 1995. P. 96

[3]  Egingard: The life of Charlemagne. Translated by A.J. Grant. Cambridge, Ontatrio, 1999.  http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/eginhard_grant.pdf

[4]  Matthiae, Guglielmo: Pittura Romana del Medioevo. Vol. I (Secoli IV-X). Roma, 1965. Fig. 130, p. 195. The  catacomb of  S. Ermete  was restored by pope Hadrian I.  After the removal of the relics of S. Ermete by Pope Gregoriy IV (827-844)  the catacomb became an oratory with the  fresco in the apse.

[5]  Eginhard. op cit. 23.

[6] Le Trésor de Saint-Denis. Paris, 1991. P. 49,.fig 5.

[7] https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Die_Siegel_der_deutschen_Kaiser_und_K%C3%B6nige_Band_1/Tafel_3

[8] https://archive.org/stream/lmentsdepalograp02wail#page/340/mode/2up

[9] Le Trésor de Saint Denis, Paris 1991. 5 (p63 ff.)

[10]  Pinoteau, Hervé : Vingt-cinq ans d'études dynastiques. Eds. Christian. Paris, 1982. P. 120

[11] Pinoteau, p. 120