The Robertians, or Robertines, as they are known in modern scholarship, are the proposed Frankish family which was ancestral to the Capetian dynasty, and thus to the royal families of France and many other countries. The Capetians appear first in the records as powerful nobles serving under the Carolingian dynasty in West Francia, which later became France. As their power increased they came into conflict with the older royal family and attained the crown several times before the eventual start of the continuous rule of the descendants the Capetians, the descendants of Hugh Capet (ruled 987–996).

Robertian dynasty
Royal house
West Francia
Foundedca. 800 (800)
FounderRobert of Hesbaye
Final rulerHugh the Great
Dissolution956 (956)
Cadet branches

Hugh's paternal ancestral family, the Robertians, that can be found in clear records can be traced back to his great grandfather Robert the Strong (d. 866). His origins are not clear, but the medieval records which exist hint at an origin in East Francia, in what is now Germany, which was at that time still also ruled by the Carolingians. In particular, Robert the Strong's son Odo was said by Regino of Prüm to be a relative (nepos) of a Count Meingaud, count of in the area of Worms, who died in 892, and there are indications this Maingaud's family used the names Robert and Odo.

The modern proposals about their ancestry further back are based on the idea that there was one family which frequently named its sons Robert, including , Robert III of Worms (800–834), Robert the Strong (d. 866) and Robert I of France (866–923). For example one proposed ancestor is Robert of Hesbaye (c. 800), about whom we have almost no records.

The Robertian family figured prominently amongst the Carolingian nobility and married into this royal family. Eventually the Robertians themselves delivered Frankish kings such as the brothers Odo (reigned 888–898) and Robert I (r. 922–923), then Hugh Capet (r. 987–996), who ruled from his seat in Paris as the first Capetian king of France.

Although Philip II was officially the last king of the Franks (rex Francorum) and the first king of France (roi de France), in (systematic application of) historiography, Hugh Capet holds this distinction. He is the founder of the Capetians, the royal dynasty that ruled France until the revolution of the Second French Republic in 1848save during the interregnum of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. It still reigns in Europe today; both King Felipe VI of Spain and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg are descendants of this family through the Bourbon cadet branch of the dynasty.


The oldest known Robertians probably originated in the county Hesbaye, around Tongeren in modern-day Belgium. The first certain ancestor is Robert the Strong count of Paris,[1] probably son of Robert III of Worms, grandson of Robert of Hesbaye, and nephew of Ermengarde of Hesbaye, who was the daughter of Ingram, and wife of Louis the Pious. Other related family includes Cancor, founder of the Lorsch Abbey, his sister Landrada and her son Saint Chrodogang, archbishop of Metz.


Robert the Strong

The sons of Robert the Strong were Odo and Robert, who were both king of Western Francia and ruled during the Carolingian era. His daughter Richildis married a count of Troyes. The family became Counts of Paris under Odo and "Dukes of the Franks" under Robert, possessing large parts of the ancient Neustria. Although quarrels continued between Robert's son Hugh the Great and Louis IV of France, they were mended upon the ascension of Lothair I of France (954–986). Lothair greatly expanded the Robertian dominions when he granted Hugh Aquitaine as well as much of Burgundy,[2] both rich and influential territories, arguably two of the richest in France.

The Carolingian dynasty ceased to rule France upon the death of Louis V (d. 987). After the death of Louis, the son of Hugh the Great, Hugh Capet was chosen as king of the Franks, nominally the last ruler of West Francia. Given the resurgence of the Holy Roman Empire title and dignities in the West Francian kingdom, Europe was later believed to have entered a new age, so became to be known in historiography as the first king of France, as western civilization was perceived to have entered the High Middle Ages period. Hugh was crowned at Noyon on July 3, 987 with the full support from Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. With Hugh's coronation, a new era began for France, and his descendants came to be named, after him, the Capetians. They ruled France as the Capetians, Valois, and Bourbons until the French Revolution. They returned after 1815 and ruled until Louis Philippe was deposed in 1848.

However they continue to rule Spain, with two republican interruptions, through the Bourbon Dynasty right down to Felipe VI.

Family branches

The first two generations are speculative.


  1. Urbanski, Charity (2013-09-20). Writing History for the King: Henry II and the Politics of Vernacular Historiography. Cornell University Press. p. 160. ISBN 9780801469718.
  2. Bourchard, Constance Brittain (1999). "Burgundy and Provence:879–1032". In Reuter, Timothy; McKitterick, Rosamond; Abulafia, David (eds.). The New Cambridge Medieval History: Vol. III, c.900 – c.1024 (Link is extract=Volume III, Chapter 1 "Introduction: Reading the Tenth Century") (PDF). III (1. publ. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 336. ISBN 0521364477. Retrieved 28 Feb 2013.


  • Pierre Riché. The Carolingians, a Family who Forged Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Christian Settipani and Patrick van Kerrebrouck. La Préhistoire des Capetiens, Premiére Partie: Mérovingiens, Carolingiens et Robertiens.
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