Summary: The Deeds Of Louis The Fat

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With the fall of the Carolingian Empire, Europe was left in a frantic and militaristic state marked by violence amongst fluctuating kingdoms and territorial leaders. In the early 12th century, however, France was beginning to experience a positive change in the monarchy when Louis the VI became king in 1108. Also known as Louis the Fat (due to his massive weight towards the end of his life), Louis was able to assert his force as king by giving just, and often violent, punishments to criminals and enemies. Once a confidant to the king and eventually the abbot of St. Denis, Suger writes about Louis’ various acts in The Deeds of Louis the Fat. These deeds helped to shape France’s monarchy into a powerful, centralized unit that would continue for…show more content…
Throughout The Deeds of Louis the Fat, a common attitude of greed and corruption can be seen manipulating men’s desires and intentions to turn violent. For example, Ebles of Roucy led a host of knights that brutally attacked and robbed churches surrounding Reims and “the more he roamed about with his host of knights, the more rabid and greedy he grew as he took his fill of pillage, plunder, and the pursuit of every wickedness” (Suger 34). William of Normandy proves to be another example of greed corrupting a man into brutal violence. Unable to overcome his desire for the fortress La Roche-Guyon, William murdered the innocent Guy, who controlled the castle and happened to be William’s brother-in-law and closest confidant. Fortunately, both acts of greed and maliciousness met justice by the hands of Louis. Louis exhibited another core attitude of the period’s people, the common attitude that evil acts must be faced with deserving justice, which often included violent punishments. With Ebles of Roucy, Louis fought to stop his crimes and “the plunderers themselves were plundered and the torturers tortured with the same or even more pain then they had used to torture others,” bringing swift justice to the band of criminals (Suger 35). William of Normandy and his supporters met their fate when Louis sent a host of knights to deal his just punishment,…show more content…
Despite this, he repeatedly commends Louis for his bravery and “his zealous care for the churches of God and his wonderful valor in administering the affairs of the kingdom” (Suger 23). By his reverent and admiring tone, Suger portrays Louis as a hero of France whose violent but forceful deeds were morally acceptable and even necessary for bringing order to his kingdom. For example, after laying siege to Corbeil and restoring a new count, Suger expresses that “by the gift of God, [Louis] gained an excellent victory and made the beginnings of his noble rule” (Suger 68). Suger’s tone remains consistent with each one of Louis’ acts, deeming them as appropriate and just responses to the various treachery that he had to face as the King of France. Not all of Louis’ deeds were violent, however; Suger supports Louis when he used discretion and peace when the situation called for it. Once when a baron abandoned his nephew and a dispute broke out, King Louis avoided war tactics in order to prevent the poor from becoming even more overburdened and “out of love for justice and his compassion for the churches and the poor” Louis eventually settled the quarrel in court in a merciful manner (Suger 110). In Suger’s judgement, Louis’ acts of nonviolence in order to retain peace for the churches and poor are appropriate decisions, but he reveals that
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