Courageous Wife of Louis IV. of France
913 – 984 A.D.
Gerberge queen of Louis IV. of France, was the daughter of Henry, who became king of Germany in 918. She married first Giselbert, Duke of Lorraine, who was drowned in the Rhine. In 940 she married Louis IV., whose crown was secured to him by Hugh, Count of Paris, and William, Duke of Normandy. Five years after her royal husband was taken prisoner by the Normans, while endeavoring to free himself from the tutelage of Hugh.
Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, wished to obtain possession of him; but the Duke of Normandy consented to give him up only on condition that Louis’ two sons should become hostages for their father. Hugh sent to demand them from Gerberge, but she refused, well knowing that the race of Charlemange would be entirely destroyed if the father and children were all prisoners. She sent only the youngest so with a bishop; so, Louis not being set free, Gerberge sent to demand aid from her broth Otho, king of Germany. Louis was at length liberated, by Otho’s assistance, and he confided in Gerberge the defense of the town of Rheims, in which she shut herself up with her troops.
In 954 Louis died, and Gerberge exerted herself effectually to have her eldest son Lothaire, although hardly twelve, placed on his father’s throne. She and her brother Bruno, Duke of Lorraine, were appointed regents. She marched with her young son, at the head of an army, and besieged Poitiers; and in 960, she retook the city and fortress of Dijon, which had been treacherously given up to Robert Treves, and had the traitor beheaded in the presence of the whole army.
Lothaire reigned until 986, and was succeeded by his son Louis V., the last of the Carlovingian dynasty, who reigned a single year under the protection of Hugh Capet. Louis V. was poisoned either by his mother or his wife, both of whom were dissolute women, ad was succeeded by Hugh, the found of the Capetian dynasty.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.